Writing discussion questions is not an easy task. As you get to know your Bible study group, finding out what gets them talking will require a lot of trial and error. Don’t get discouraged if you ask a question and it falls flat. Have more questions prepared than you need so that you can move on easily. There are many great tips for writing effective discussion questions, but I’m only going to list three. I like the number three. It keeps things simple.
When writing discussion questions, you want them to be:
Open-ended: An open-ended question contains more than a one word answer. Examples of a one word answer would be, “Did Jesus die on the cross?” or “Who was Jesus talking to in this passage?” You want your questions to encourage discussion. For example, from this week’s scripture reference: Psalm 119:105-112, one of the questions for discussion was: How does the word of God affect David? The answer is within the parameters of Psalm 119:105-112, so it’s not too broad of a question, and it’s asking the reader to look at the information given and draw a conclusion. There’s room for discussion in this question. A one word answer would be something like, Who wrote this psalm? Or What is a lamp to David’s feet? Try and stay away from these types of questions. You want to guide people in thinking through the text.
Educational: Discussing Bible study tips in group will help your group members learn how to read their Bible effectively and accurately. You can use discussion questions to teach your group new ways to see hidden gems in scripture. For example, you can show them they need to be on the lookout for emphasis in scripture. If something is mentioned over and over again in a book, it’s worth paying attention to. A couple of great resources for finding different Bible study elements are, Living By the Book by Howard Hendricks and Basic Bible Interpretation by Roy B. Zuck.
Engaging: Group discussion has many benefits, among those are connection, exchange of opinion, and potential spiritual growth. This time will help people retain some of what they heard and hopefully think over it after they leave the Bible study. Engaging questions give people the opportunity to reflect and share with one another. Since the Bible study this week is still in the topic introduction phase, most of the information is from the article and not so scripture focused. A question suggested in this week’s study was: What are some ways you have made the short days better in the past? This question allows the group to learn more about a person while gleaning helpful information to use in their own lives.
I hope this information is helpful! If you would like more details or have further inquiries about forming discussion questions, please comment below or e-mail me.