There is much emphasis on learning about biblical truths through preaching. However, there is also great value in studying the Bible in small groups. God does not need experts to help us make sense of the Bible. When people discover truth and new meaning from studying the Bible together, they are more likely to take action as a result.

Groups of 6–12 people who regularly meet together for Bible study and discussion develop as disciples. As people build relationships, they can pray together, discuss personal concerns and gain advice, fellowship and friendship. People with potential leadership skills may be identified through such small groups.

Each person needs to know they are valued and their gifts and skills appreciated. Membership of small groups can help people feel part of the church family, particularly in large churches where it can be hard to get to know others well. People outside the church may find such groups helpful in learning about the Christian faith.

Good Bible study notes that encourage discussion through questions can be of great value. Where possible, church leaders should provide or develop such materials.

Discussion 
  • What have we found helpful about meeting as a group to discuss the information in this PILLARS guide? How do we learn from each other? What could be improved?
  • What experience do other people in our church have of studying the Bible in small groups? How could we encourage this?
  • Read Luke 6:12-16.
    • What did Jesus do before choosing twelve disciples to become apostles?
    • At what stage of his ministry did he choose them?
    • How much time do you think he spent with his disciples?
  • If a church wants to form small Bible study groups, should people choose their own groups or should the leadership place people into groups which mix ages, abilities and men and women, and in which people may not know each other well?
  • What kind of training or support would help someone to lead or facilitate a small study group? How could a leader of a small group train another assistant leader?
  • How can those leading a Bible study make sure that people keep to the subject?
  • How can we help people who feel uncomfortable about praying or worshipping in small groups?