When preparing for conducting Bible study, the first thing to do is to pray and study the Bible. Take time to find out what God wants to say through you. It should not be rushed, and it would be best to prepare weeks in advance. It is very difficult to convey certain topics, and the Bible is one of the toughest books to interpret. It should not be taken lightly, and thorough research is needed. You should not only prepare your mind but your heart as well, because all knowledge without compassion for one’s listeners is useless. There are tons of websites that provide free Bible study materials and aids, but I would like to help you with the more general aspect of searching for free Bible study materials and lessons online.
- The first thing you need to decide on is your focus. A clear, specific topic will help you narrow down your search, and a clear focus will allow you to give the best possible delivery of any topic. For example, if you want to talk about "love", decide on what type of love you want to discuss. Decide whether it will be about God’s love for us, our love for God or our love for one another. The general broader term would be a great topic, but you should narrow such a broad topic down. It is better to fully explain a specific topic than to give your listeners just bits and pieces of a general topic, since your time will be limited (unless you plan on making the topic a series, of course).
- Decide on a format. It really depends on your students. If you are to teach youths or children, make sure to keep it fun and light, but stick to the essence of the Scripture. Keep in mind ways to maintain the youth’s interest, because their attention span is usually limited. If your audience is more advanced, your format will need to be more serious and focused on the deeper meanings of God’s Word. An open discussion would be ideal, because more mature people often feel the need to voice their ideas in a group.
- After deciding on a topic and format, determine if the Bible study will have an open discussion, activities or if it will simply be straight Scripture review. Determine if the study will be inductive, deductive or analytical. You should also know the frequency of your meetings. This will help you decide on what material to search for. Give consideration to the cultural and spiritual background of your students, like if they are Greek, Jewish, Baptist or Seventh-day Adventist and so forth.
- After all the planning is done, you will be ready to search the Internet. There are a lot of great sites, and it is up to you to make the most of your Internet research. Sites like:
Most sites offer time-frames and provide breakdowns of lessons that are too lengthy for the amount of allotted time you have for a single Bible study. Christian sites are powerful tools in spreading the Word of God, and as Christians, we should make the most out of the Internet and its wide library of resources. In all things, we give glory to God even if it’s in the simple act of searching for ways to give our best while preparing for small group Bible studies.