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6 Reasons Your Assembly Should Have a Small Group Bible Study

6 Reasons Your Assembly Should Have a Small Group Bible Study
Jun 10 Tags: Bible Study | 7 Responses Print Save as PDF

I’m sold! After being involved in a small group Bible study for the past 4 years I’m convinced every assembly should have at least one.  Now please understand that I am not saying every assembly must have a small group Bible study.  There’s nothing in Scripture that states anything of the sort.

This recommendation comes from seeing believers grow tremendously and more rapidly because of their involvement in a small group.  The points are specifically for a mixed group study with both men and women but they could also be applied to a men’s or ladies study as well.

Is there a biblical example?

Yes, at least two. In Acts 5:42 we read “And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.”  It was the common practice of the Apostles to teach in small groups. We are not given the exact number but it certainly implies much smaller than most assemblies.

Paul speaking to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:20 tells them he “taught you publicly and from house to house …”.  It was Paul’s practice to visit homes teaching the Word of God.

1. Discussion helps retention

The stats are pretty concrete and I am sure we can agree from experience.  When we listen to a speaker (considered lecture style) we retain on average 5% of what is said.  Of course it will depend on the listener and the speaker.  If the speaker has audio/visual aids then retention goes up to 20%.  Group discussion pushes it up to 50%. When you have to teach someone else, which is a big part of small group Bible studies, the retention is a whopping 90%. [1]

2. It causes believers to dig deep

Listening to a speaker is passive. It require no other element than to listen and try to absorb. There’s no preparation required mentally and the listener is not required to stay engaged in the message.  In a small group Bible study the opposite is true.

There’s preparation required to read and meditate on what is being studied. If questions arise during the study then further digging is required. This all helps to solidify God’s Word into the participants minds.

3. It fosters more intimate fellowship

There is a spiritual bond that develops between brothers and sisters who share together in the Word of God. I believe this is a supernatural work of the Spirit that isn’t tangible or even possible by human effort.  I have seen men and women share difficult and personal struggles in a small group that have brought the group together.

4. It allows for questions by young believers

In both of the studies I have been involved in there have been young in the faith believers.  The small group setting allows them to ask questions and get answers they wouldn’t be able to get by only listening to a speaker. It has been so encouraging to see them go from milk to solid food.

This has been a double blessing because it also strengthens those who are stronger in the Word and helps solidify their foundation.

5 It gives women opportunities to participate

Because the NT is clear on women not teaching publicly in a corporate setting (1 Cor 14 and 1 Tim 2) a small group study is the perfect place for them to engage with others in the Word of God. I have found this to be personally beneficial as a man to hear a different female perspective. It can give all involved a more complete picture of the truth of Scripture.

6. It causes accountability

This may be the most important point here. Being involved in a small group Bible study helps us stay accountable to each other and to the Word of God. It creates opportunities for those struggling to be challenged and convicted.  It builds friendships that can be used to keep us accountable.

I have been challenged many times to be more surrendered and Christ-like because I know my fellow study believers are watching and seeing my life on a regular basis.

Conclusion

I highly recommend you as a believer getting involved in a small group Bible study.  If your assembly doesn’t have one then speak to one of the elders or a mentor you trust.  The benefits will be everlasting.

  1. http://thepeakperformancecenter.com/educational-learning/learning/principles-of-learning/learning-pyramid/

Crawford Paul

Crawford is an elder at Thorold South Gospel Chapel in Ontario and has a passion for the assemblies. He and his wife Beth serve in various ways within the assembly to build up and encourage the believers. He is president of Believers Stewardship Services Canada, an organization focused on helping individual Christians, local churches and Christian organizations with financial, legal and governance matters. Check it out at bsscanada.org

7 Responses to 6 Reasons Your Assembly Should Have a Small Group Bible Study

  1. David

    You’ve listed some really good points to the benefits of small group Bible studies that I agree are very valid. However, for the sake of discussion…can I ask a couple of practical questions:
    1) How do you respond to the issue of small group Bible studies trumping the mid-week prayer and Bible study held by a local assembly? Assuming it caught on and there were say 5 different small groups. This would start to impact other meetings because ultimately there are only so many nights in a week and choices would start getting made.
    2) What are the possible issues/downsides/dangers of small group Bible studies? For example, Who leads/oversees them? What if they go off track?
    3) In conjunction with the second question, should small group studies be overseen by the elders of the local meetings or is this just something to be done for personal edification that really doesn’t have anything to do with the local meeting?

    Please don’t take these questions as a bash in any way. I like the small group idea a lot but my practical side needs answers…

    • Crawford Paul
      Crawford Paul

      Good questions David. There are issues with any practice in the church including our regular meetings so a good thing can become a bad thing if not treated properly. I’ll try to answer your questions objectively.

      1. My first response is that a mid-week meeting is not a must for any assembly. There’s no instruction in the NT to have a mid-week meeting. Often these meetings are poorly attended already so there may be an advantage to breaking up into smaller groups. Our assembly for instance moved our prayer meeting to Sunday night. This frees up the mid-week for more flexible options. I will be honest from my experience that if I had to chose between listening to another speaker or being involved in a small group study I would choose the study. We shouldn’t make these meetings a competition. Lots more could be said but I’ll leave it there.

      2. There’s no specific rule for this but it’s a good idea to have elders involved. Our assembly has two studies and there are elders present at both. Having said that not every Bible study has to have an elder. It becomes tricky trying to regulate this and so I’m ok with a group getting together without an elder. There may be solid believers in an assembly who can lead a study but are not elders. Again it would be wise for elders to keep track of what is being taught and refute error if needed.

      3. Studying the Word of God is not just a church function. It is both personal and corporate. The same is true of prayer, evangelism, fellowship, worship etc.

      I hope these help. We’re not working with exact instructions so we need to exercise common sense and wisdom.

  2. Rey

    So this is really just six reasons why you should have an open format group Bible study.

    • Crawford Paul
      Crawford Paul

      Partly but not just the open format but small groups. There’s no magic number but we have found 6-10 is an ideal number.

  3. Robert Vaillancourt

    Being blessed with a large assembly.with having a mid week meeting as well as various home studies.We usually have around 40 people in attendance Wednesday nigh ,As you can see ,the mid week meeting does no suffer from us also having home studies. .We have a Monday morning men’s meeting at an elder’s house ,as well as a women’s study and the mixed study that I am involved in. .All these studies are possible because we have a large assembly.
    Having said that,I know of a few small assemblies (20-30 people) ,who have a few home studies instead of mid week meetings .How we do it at our assembly as well as what these smaller assemblies are correct.As long as God’s Word is studied in a correct way,by capable people,God will honour those efforts.

  4. James

    So, is it okay if my wife and I have a Bible study? Or does my assembly have to do it?

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