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Walk through any Christian bookstore or browse the Bible study section of an online bookseller and you will find hundreds, probably thousands, of Bible studies. Choosing the right one for your group or yourself can be challenging. The 10 Bible study questions can guide your selection process.
Before getting to the questions, it’s important to understand that some of these questions are “must” questions. That is, you must ask them and get answers that line up with your beliefs or that study cannot be an option.
Other questions are helpful but you can still choose a great study without clear answers. Now, let’s ask some Bible study questions!
Must Know Bible Study Questions
Some questions simply must be answered before you can confidently choose a particular Bible study for yourself or your group.
Does the Bible study reflect core Biblical truth?
This is the most important question to ask and answer. Plenty of people, even well-meaning people, have different ideas about the Bible and what it means. Knowing your core, non-negotiable beliefs, and those of your church, will help you to steer clear of anything that teaches contrary beliefs.
To help, here are 10 core beliefs of traditional, Biblical Christianity. Any study that doesn’t hold to these isn’t worth your time or money.
- God exists as an all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present Being. He was never created and will never ends. God exists in three distinct Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All are equally God. All are distinctly different.
- Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to earth and lived a completely human life as fully God and fully man. He never sinned, died on a Roman cross for the sins of all humanity, and rose again on the third day. He ascended into heaven where He intercedes continuously for believers (Hebrews 7:25).
- All people who have ever lived or will ever live, except for Jesus Christ, are sinners by both nature and choice.
- The holiness of God prevents sinful humanity from entering His presence so Jesus Christ died to provide a way of salvation. Salvation cannot be earned it can only be received as a free gift of God’s grace.
- All people will spend eternity either in heaven because they received the gift of salvation or in hell because they rejected that free gift.
- Once a person receives the free gift of salvation, he or she receives the indwelling Holy Spirit as a guarantee of eternity in heaven. The Holy Spirit teaches and convicts believers, enabling them to grow in faith and grace.
- The universal Church consists of all who are saved while local churches may contain both unsaved and saved members.
- Jesus Christ promised He would return one day for His church and He will.
Does the Bible study elevate the Word of God over the words of human authors?
When you are evaluating a study for this question, look at random pages. Are multiple Bible verses used? Do most questions ask about what the Bible is teaching? Are readers directed back to the Bible over and over?
Or are the questions more about how you feel about a Bible passage? Or maybe the questions focus on the author’s interpretation or application of a passage?
Perhaps, students of the study aren’t directed to read the Bible at all, but only to listen to a video or take the author’s word for something. These are red flags and you need to steer clear of any such so-called Bible studies.
Does this study focus more on gaining knowledge of the Bible or changing lives?
Any good Bible study will include both an increased knowledge of God’s Word and an emphasis on how God’s Word should be changing your life.
The goal of any Bible study worth your time should always be changed lives. Sometimes to get there, more knowledge is necessary. But knowledge for the sake of knowledge only leads to pride (1 Corinthians 8:1). When you’re evaluating the emphasis on changing lives, look for personal questions in each day, week, or section.
Such questions could be general questions such as “How would doing as verse X says change your life?” or “In what way can you apply verses XYZ to your personal situation?” Or application questions could be more directed, such as “Is there a relationship you need to seek to repair or someone you need to forgive?” or “Would a coworker say that your speech shows you are a Christian or not?”
Knowing God’s Word is good. Allowing it to change hearts and minds by putting it into action is better.
Helpful Bible Study Questions
Once the “must know” questions have been answered correctly, it’s time to ask some questions that will help you choose a study that will fit into your life, schedule, or group.
Does This Study Include Enough Background Material?
This isn’t in the “must” category of questions, but it is one you’ll want to consider seriously – especially if you’re thinking of doing a study on a book or topic you’re very unfamiliar with. For example, to understand the book of Hosea, you’ll need to understand the historical setting of Israel at the time.
If you’ll be leading the Bible study, you’ll also want to consider how much background material your group members will need. For example, maybe you’ve studied the history of Israel before so you’re comfortable going through the book of Judges. But your group members might not have the same wealth of knowledge. Keep their needs in mind.
What is Your Purpose or Goal for the Study?
Knowing your purpose will guide your choice. Perhaps the most important purpose is “In what area do you think you need to grow?”
- Do you want to grow in your prayer life?
- Do you desire to become more knowledgeable about basic doctrines, like who Jesus is?
- Or do you want to learn to speak with wisdom and kindness instead of cutting remarks and sarcasm?
- Do you need to understand the grand story of the Bible better?
- Or do you need to know more about having a strong faith?
If you are selecting a study for a group, you’ll need to consider their needs. You may also want to ask group members directly what they are interested in studying. If your group is larger than 4 or 5, you might want to offer a few choices instead of having an open-ended discussion.
How Much Time Do You Have?
This question can be asked in a few different ways.
- How many weeks does your group have?
- How long does your group meet each week?
- How much time do you have each day or week to do the study?
- How many days a week can you realistically commit to doing the assignments? Does the study have four or five days of homework each week, so you have grace days, or are a full seven days expected?
If you’re choosing a study for a group, remember that enthusiasm wanes over time. This means that even if you have 20 weeks to fill, it might be better to do two 10-week studies than 1 longer study. In fact, anything longer than 10 weeks is usually a bad idea. If you’re not sure that’s true, just remember that most schools and businesses focus their calendars are 9-week quarters.
Who is the Author of this Bible Study?
Knowing the author of a particular Bible study isn’t necessary. But it can be helpful for a variety of reasons.
- First, if you’re familiar with the author, you’ll have an idea of the core beliefs as well as how the study is most likely written.
- Second, knowing the author can give you confidence that you’ll be getting Biblically sound teaching.
- Third, if you find you’ve done mostly studies by one author, it might be time to branch out. As great as the more popular Bible study authors are, you could be cheating yourself of some great studies by sticking with just one or two authors.
The Most Important Question
The questions covered above will guide you in choosing a Biblically sound study that will help you or your group to grow strong in faith. These are great questions to guide your selection.
However, there is one final question that is most important to ask yourself:
Will doing this Bible study draw me closer to Jesus and make me more like Him?
That’s the entire reason to study the Bible. If the answer to that question is anything other than a resounding “YES!” that study is a waste of your time.