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%. 
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.
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.