This series was written to provide a one-hour weekly study session, each session focusing on one book of the Bible. The series is not tied to any particular version of the Bible, and if people bring different versions, all the better. If you loop the series (starting over again once complete) participants can join at any point, and continue until the entire Bible is covered. By combining some of the smaller books as suggested below, the entire Bible may be covered in about a year.
The goals of this series are:
- to provide a tool for basic Bible fluency, especially for those who have little or no experience in group Bible study
- to provide all materials at no cost
- to provide a non-denominational study, with no other agenda than to learn about the Bible as the inspired word of God
- to provide each session as a standalone session, so participants do not feel left out if they only attend some sessions.
- A dry-erase board or poster paper is needed, as many activities involve charting, listing, or diagramming various events.
- A quantity of the study guides for the current session. 3-hole punch them if possible.
- A quantity of the study guides for the next session to follow.
- Some extra Bibles - preferably versions which have footnotes
General session format:
- There should be a wall clock visible to the leader, in order to respect the time schedule. The session consists of four 15-minute segments.
- Open with a short prayer.
- Here are the four 15-minute segments:
- Introduction and Bible Reading(15 minutes) Read a synopsis as an introduction - preferable not the one in the study guide, which they have already read! The synopses in How to Get Into The Bible and the Nelson Pocket Bible Handbook are concise. Other Bible guides have short introductions for each book. Then
ask for volunteers to read selections representative of the content of the book. This may include some from the "preparation" section, but also add in other readings. Don't stick to the provided list verbatim (they should be familiar with those readings already). Page through the entire book together, noting the various stories and events.
- Characters and Events (15 minutes). This portion reviews names and events, to gain fluency and knowledge of what's where in the Bible. Look up the references if you have not done so already in segment 1.
- Activities (15 minutes) This is a hands-on time. Participants can work on these individually, or a volunteer can sketch it out as participants look up information.
- Discussion Points or Relevance (15 minutes) - an open, unstructured discussion time. If conversation is lagging, look up the references in the Connections section together.
- Afterwards, distribute the study guides for the next session.
- Some questions have an asterisk(s), keyed to the answer(s) found at the bottom of the page. If you wish, you can cut off the answer portion prior to distributing the guides, in order to encourage participants to search for the answers themselves.
- One hour is a very short session to cover an entire book. The series relies upon participants having read several sections prior to the sessions. Use every opportunity to get the study guides into participant's hands prior to the session. Distribute them at the end of the each session, have them available following Sunday worship or any church gatherings.
- Minor prophets: Some are so short they may be combined to make a one-hour session. Good combinations are:
(Amos + Obadiah),
(Nahum + Habakkuk), and
(Zephaniah + Haggai)
- The gospels contain some repeat accounts of the same events. One way to study the gospels is to have a different focus on each book:
- Matthew: First review Matthew, then review the Harmony of the Parables across the gospels (since Matthew contains the most parables)
- Mark: First review Mark, then review the Harmony of the Miracles across the gospels (since Mark contains the most miracles)
- Luke: First review Luke, then review the Christmas prophecies (since Luke contains the most-read Christmas account)
- John: First review John, then review the Harmony of the Gospels (everything else not included above)
- Titus and Philemon may be combined to make a one-hour session.
- 1 John, 2 John, 3 John and Jude may be combined to make a one-hour session.
- Strive to keep each session self-contained. We recommend distributing the study guides as individual pages, and not bound or inserted in a binder. This way, people who pop in for one session will not feel "left out" or feel they arrived in the middle of a series. Participants are, of course, welcome to bind their guides in any manner they feel useful.
- The links within these pages are all relative links. This means you can save all the HTML files in one folder, burn the folder to a CD, and all the links will still work. Feel free to do so.
- We'd love to hear about your thoughts, and how you are using the materials. The author may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Your group is encouraged to use this study series for small group sessions. Duplication is permitted. This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License. Read the license for details on permissions.