Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Creating and Writing a Bible Study: Week 3--Bonnie Lisech

A good Bible study begins with a hook. What’s a hook? Something unusual, thought-provoking or personal—a story, a question, a quote—that catches the students and draws them into the study.

As I discuss writing questions, I’ll use examples based on Luke 5:1-8.

Sample hook: Has God ever asked you to do something both difficult and illogical? If so, you can identify with Simon in Luke 5:1-8.

The hook is followed by factual questions to help students understand the passage. These questions answer: who, what, when, where, and how. They begin with words like: name, list, define, describe, picture, imagine. To vary the regular “question-answer” pattern, ask students to picture the scene—the sounds, the smells, the colors; have them draw an answer, for example, a cartoon strip of a parable; or suggest they read a passage aloud as a dialogue.

Sample questions: Name the two main actors in Luke 5:1-8. Describe the supernatural incident in these verses.

The next type of question asks about the deeper meaning of the passage—why? Have students explain, compare and contrast, show causes, consider the effects or identify with the people in the passage. They could fill in a simple graph or chart that shows how two things are similar. You might draw stepping stones and have students write how one action led to another to show cause-effect.

Sample questions: In Luke 5:5, contrast the two attitudes Simon shows. How do you think Simon felt as he rowed the boat out to deep water? Why did this miracle cause Simon to say, “I am a sinful man”?

Finally, help students apply what they’ve learned. “What does this truth mean to me?” These questions encourage students to open their minds and hearts to God. They’re the most important—and the most difficult—questions you’ll write. Phrase these questions to require specific answers.

Types of application questions:

  • Write the most important thing you learned from this study. Meditate on this truth, then journal how you plan to apply it in your life.

  • Write a psalm (or song) praising God for what you learned today.

  • List the changes you want to make in your life to....

  • Name any sin this passage convicts you to confess.

  • Write a prayer thanking God for the truth you learned today.

Sample questions: Describe a time when you’ve felt like Simon in Luke 5:8. How will you respond in the future when God asks you to do something ‘unreasonable’?

Generally, questions should be easy to understand and focus on one thing at a time. Avoid yes/no questions; they don’t require enough thought. When you’ve finished writing the questions, go back and write the answers. This helps you see if your questions really lead students to the points you want to make. Sometimes we have the right answer, but we’ve written the wrong question.

A good Bible study uses questions that help the students grasp the facts, understand the meaning, and apply the truth of the passage.

In the next blog, Bonnie will share help for writing Teacher’s Notes.

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