Open Bible Study Questions

In our small group I have introduced the “Open Bible-Study Questions” taken from The Tangible Kingdom: Creating Incarnational Community by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay (p. 167).  This is an effort not only to encourage more willingness to invite others to join but also to equip the group with an approach to Bible study that is less about what the “preacher” teaches and more about what we learn and discover together.  Here are the questions which you might find helpful to your own ministry context:

After reading a passage of scripture (e.g. John 3.1-21) ask…

  1. What did you like about what you just read?
  2. What didn’t you like?
  3. Was there anything you didn’t understand?
  4. What did you learn about God?
  5. Regardless of where your faith is at right now, if you were to apply what we learned about God to something in your life this week, what would that look like?

You might need to tweak the questions a bit for your own context.  For example, because of our group dynamics of all Christians at the time, a better question than “what didn’t you like?” was “what did you find to be challenging?”.

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3 responses to “Open Bible Study Questions

  1. richard constant

    excellent rex

  2. Incarnational community- in the Trinity there is both hierarchy and equality, and I suppose if we are to translate that to Bible Study, the Study should both allow the individual expression of the persons, and the expression of hierarchy; this expressed antinomy would be a ‘balanced’ incarnational approach to Bible Study. But I would suggest that the American egalitarian leveling has gone too far and this impulse, however well intentioned is going to continue the process of deconstruction of the Faith once delivered that has been going on for a thousand years in the West, beginning with the assertions of the Pope as the first protestant, then Everyman, as his own personal pope, as the pillar and ground of the Truth, instead of the Church.

    • Ben,

      I have great love for the Orthodox Church, but I find your comment a bit appalling. Your comment seems to be a overreaction to the idea of egalitarian leveling. Nearly every church in the US still has hierarchy. Pastors, preachers, and elders act as shepherds and teachers for their congregations. That fact is, sometimes it is time for the laypeople to speak. It is easy for a churchgoer to just disappear into the congregation when every group study is simply a lesson delivered by an authority figure. Everyone has to own their faith so that they themselves might serve Christ in the world. It is not only the leaders in the hierarchy that are charged to serve the Lord. I support the sort of Bible study Kerry is proposing. Even though it does focus on discussion among laypeople, Kerry or whoever else is leading would still be acting as a shepherd and guide throughout the conversation. I realize that the sort of hierarchy present since ancient times in the Orthodox Church is often scoffed at and attacked by American Protestants, but that is no reason to go off on a tangent about it when someone proposes a discussion-based Bible study. It greatly amuses me that, while you were attacking a lack of hierarchy, you managed to also attack the Pope, whose ecclesiology represents the pinnacle of hierarchical church organization. You seem to be hungry for any chance to attack all of the supposed enemies of the Orthodox Church.

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