There are Bible studies and there are ‘Bible studies’, the former are awesome – and the latter, perhaps not so much.
It looks to me pursuing the shelves of my local Christian bookstores, that the vast majority of youth Bible study resources on the market today are the prefabricated and pre-answered formulaic type. You don’t necessarily study any Bible! Instead you study somebody else’s thoughts on studying the Bible. Does anyone else feel cheated and cheesed by this? If we don’t it’s possible that we too were reared on these ‘prefab Bible studies.’
Tell me, does this excerpt look familiar?
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this short excerpt, but it’s not really a Bible study is it? It’s a thematic, application-driven chat bouncing around a couple of verses in a passage without cracking them open and getting to the goo-of-awesomeness inside.
How about approaching a question set like this instead:
Read: 1 Samuel 17:48 (in context of vv.31-50)
– If you we’re leading, what questions would you ask from this verse?
– What or who was running with David? (Look back at v.47)
– How about fear?
– What Goliath qualities could you do without?
There’s some key differences in this approach:
Most people you work with are not going to be Bible scholars. Every other word is going to create complications and confusion. So why not let that be the way into reading the passage?
Question-driven relies off who, what, when, where, why and how – whereas formula-driven relies on seeking exact answers to set up the teaching point that you (or your handy resource book!) need to make. Prefabricated studies are like knock knock jokes; the person hearing the joke needs to understand the joke formula or the punchline will fail!
You might end up in a similar place application wise, but the grounding for it is much more secure.
You and me – we’re fallible; shock, horror. The Bible? Not so much! Young people will be able to use this Bible reading technique on their own, carry it with them to university and help them spot Bible loving churches throughout their life.
The Holy Spirit is never divorced from the Bible itself, so you are allowing the Holy Spirit to speak more clearly because you are allowing the Word to speak more clearly. You also trusting conversation and discussion to the Holy Spirit for guidance and quality.
Particularly in the early and late questions. This allows you to know much more about the young people that you’re working with, it helps them feel like they’re being heard and it develops you as a family, a team and a community.