When you are prepping for your next Bible study, it’s important to get the details worked out ahead of time. In the midst of the Bible study you will get busy and will thank your past self for doing the hard work before the study begins. So what’s involved in creating a solid structure for your Bible study? Welcome to the three T’s of planning.
Table! Theme! Time!
Table: The Trees Before the Forest
Deciding what route you’re going for the study is essential when putting together the schedule. The details are what make creating a schedule easy.
If you decide to go the exegetical direction and teach through a book of the Bible, you’ll need to chart the book first, and then use the subsections to schedule out the study. I’ll put a post out soon on charting books of the Bible. It’s tedious, rewarding work and totally worth it!
If your study is topical, think on the main points you want to get across and write them down. Topical studies are great because you can pray through what your group would need to hear and be interested in. Then, you can go as detailed or broad as you like. For more information, take a look at my post on choosing a topic.
Theme: What’s your main message?
The work you do by charting your book or praying through your topical study will get you to your main theme. This is the forest view.
If you are doing a Bible chart, it will lead you directly to the theme of the book. All you need to do at that point is word it in a way that will draw people into your study. For example, once charting the book of James, you may find that the theme of the book is, “Stand Firm”. However, when forming it into a theme for your study, you may title it, “Know Yourself”. You will be communicating the message of standing firm but in a context that may draw more of a picture for your audience.
For a topical study, you’ve basically chosen the theme, but like with the Bible chart, you’ll need to depict the theme in a way that reaches your audience. Look at the points you have created and organize them into a cohesive flow. Find that one main message that ties them all together.
Time: How long is your study going to be?
Once you have your main theme and the subsections of that theme, you can adjust them to any length of Bible study. If you’re doing a six week Bible study, take the top tier subsections of your theme and there are your topics for each week! If it’s a twenty week study… no problem! You have the material for it! Doing the detail work upfront will help you out in the long run. Keep the work you’ve done for later use.