Six elements of a ‘group’ bible study

Leave a comment

01/07/2013 by Chris Green

bible-study-groupComing together as a group of Christians to study God’s Word together should be a rich experience.  Paul describes the results of such an experience in Colossians 3:14-17, and we can see six elements:


Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful.  Let the word of God dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1. Peace.  A bible study is a not a seminar or classroom – it is supposed to have a relational element as primary. So when we spend time together, we are not wasting it when we talk and get to know each other.

2. Thanks.  Paul three times underlines the theme of thankfulness or gratitude. In a culture which is fundamentally about gratifying desires for more or newer or better, the theme in Colossians is constant gratitude for the fullness, finality and perfection of the gospel.

3. Bible.  It is a bible study, after all.  I go to book groups where we all discuss our views on a novel – it’s interesting and fun, but not life-changing.  But this book is God speaking (‘the Word of God’), and so our fundamental attitude will be to be humble, and expect to obey it.

4. Mutual teaching.  In some bible studies, one person does all the speaking and other people nod or give a simple yes/no answer.  It’s like a small scale sermon.  In others, there’s good discussion, but the leader is outside it, guiding or controlling but not affected.

Paul says we are to teach one another – and that includes the leader being taught as well.

5. Praise.  Small groups can find this hard, but one way to make sure we are delighting in God’s word is to express our gratitude by singing, whether old, new, biblical or fresh.  Paul here gives a deliberately wide range to what we can sing – so let’s find a musician in the group and give it a bash!

6. Service.  Notice how Paul sneaked that in?  ‘Whatever you do in word or deed.’ Whatever your bible study group is, it is never just a bible study – it’s a bible study-and-action group.

Think it through:

Take each of those six areas in turn, and consider how your bible study group could raise its standards:

  • Peace
  • Thanks
  • Bible
  • Mutual teaching
  • Praise
  • Service.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Shortlisted for “Most Inspiring Leadership Blog, 2018”

New resource

Pastors are busy, and leading a church is a demanding task.  That’s why I wrote this e-bookchecklist: The Pastor’s Checkup – The Top 10 Questions every pastor needs to answer (and helpful stuff if you can’t)

There’s only way to get it is by subscribing to my  (occasional) email newsletter here.


God, Suffering and Joy

A conversation between me (with cancer) and Michael (with Multiple Sclerosis)

Legal stuff

This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyse and optimise your content and reading experience. I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.

I welcome your participation on the Ministrynutsandbolts site, and invite you to share ideas elsewhere on what you learn and read here. At the same time, I ask that you respect my intellectual property rights in the process.

You are welcome to link to my site or any specific post on my site, extract and re-post less than 200 words on any other site, provided you link back to my original post, or print my posts in any non-commercial publication (e.g., company newsletter, class syllabus, church newsletter, etc.), provided you include this copyright notice: “© 2017 Chris Green. All rights reserved. Originally published at”

Please do not do the following without written consent: Re-post one of my posts in its entirety anywhere else on the Internet, use this content for commercial purposes, including selling or licensing printed or digital versions of my content, or alter, transform, or build upon this work.

If you have some use for my content that is not covered here, please contact me. If you would like me to do a guest post on your blog, email me at

Copyright does not apply to the titles of books, but transparency means I should own that the title of the blog is taken from the excellent ‘Ministry Nuts and Bolts: What They Don’t Teach Pastors in Seminary ‘ by Aubrey Malphurs (Kregel: 2nd edn. 2009)

© 2018 Chris Green

%d bloggers like this: