Tips for Studying the Bible with Another Person

by Daniel Rieke

One of the great joys of the Christian life is the privilege of studying the Word of God – and doing so in community. But that task can also seem daunting if you’ve never done it before. So here are some tips for how to study the Bible with another person.

How to walk someone through Scripture

  • Pray. Ask that God would be glorified as you seek to apply the passage. The goal of this kind of Bible study is primarily to grow in faith and obedience, not mere knowledge.*
  • Read the passage you’ll be studying that week several times in the week ahead of time, reading before and after the passage to get good context. Read it a few times, silently and out loud, with a pen in hand. Note thoughts that might be significant. Answer the question, “What do I see?” 
  • Study a good commentary on the passage. The ESV Study Bible is a fantastic resource.
  • Take notes on what the passage means.
    • What is the main point of this passage?
    • Is there anything I don’t understand?
    • What do I learn about God, people or myself from this passage?
  • Take notes on how the meaning of the passage applies to your life.
    • What does this passage affirm or change in me theologically?
    • What does this passage affirm or change in me practically?
    • What specifically do I need to do (by the power of the Holy Spirit) as a result of hearing this passage?
    • No matter where I am spiritually, what would it look like for me to apply this week what we just read and talked about?
  • Create questions that will help guide your disciple into rightly interpreting the passage and rightly applying it to their life (see a possible example of this below).
    • Or use the questions we use in HG Bible study:
      • What is the main point of this passage?
      • What does this passage affirm or change in me theologically?
      • What does this passage affirm or change in me practically?
      • What specifically do I need to do (by the power of the Holy Spirit) as a result of hearing this passage?


Keys to Reading through Scripture with Someone

  • Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and for Him to use His Word to bring transformation.
  • Study the passage in advance to ensure that you are confident about its meaning and life application and how it points to Jesus.
  • Ask a lot of questions to the person you’re leading, rather than simply stating facts. One of the goals of this type of discipleship is to help your disciple grow in their ability to understand, interpret and apply God’s Word for himself/herself.
  • Emphasize the need to obey what is discovered in the Word. It’s not just “head knowledge” that we’re after. We want to see life transformation for the glory of God.
  • Emphasize the grace of God to avoid drifting into legalism.
  • Emphasize how each passage points to Jesus, the gospel, the cross (commentaries like the ESV Study Bible can help especially with Old Testament passages).
  • Don’t feel pressured to get through all the verses you planned to discuss that day. Be willing to take it more slowly, especially if there’s really good discussion about an earlier verse that goes longer than you anticipated. You can always catch up the following week or just take an extra week to finish the content you’re studying.
  • Ask God to give you a delight and a passion for His Word that will be contagious and increase others' affection for the Word of God.



* Some of this section has been adapted from The Austin Stone Community Church. http://toddengstrom.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/LTG-Overview.pdf