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How to & help notes

For information on how the guides work read below

For help running a Small Group click HERE

For Help leading a Bible Study click HERE

If you would like a printed copy, or you would like to save this study as a PDF file, click below for brief instructions:

For PCs

Press Ctrl + P or choose 'Print' from the menu. Then for PDF, On the print preview page under 'Destination', click the drop-down arrow beside the printer name and choose 'Microsoft print to PDF'

For Macs

Press Command + P or choose 'File:Print' in the menu bar. For PDF choose 'File:Export as PDF'.

How to use these guides

These guides are for those who wish to study Books of the Bible, verse by verse, often in a small group. Many of these guides are in that form but occasionally the studies are more topical. Some are more like sermons! Often they contain maps or charts.

These Bible studies were designed for use in a group. But feel free to use them as a Commentary for personal Bible Study too – I suggest you stop and try to answer the questions before looking at the answers!

These notes are free and you can use them in any way you like, but not for financial gain.

Most of these guides cover books of the Bible, chapter by chapter, verse by verse. Difficult verses are tackled head-on! Some guides have been split into several sections in order to cover one chapter. Some guides are more topic oriented e.g.: Elijah (1 Kings 16 etc.) or ‘I am the Vine’ (John chapter 15) (and within that, study 4 - verses 1,2,6 & 16: Predestination, Arminianism and Calvinism – but briefly!)


Although these studies are ready to use as a script, sometimes you may need to have some props – each guide will tell you what you will need to prepare. I would recommend that you read slowly through the study first to familiarise yourself with its contents.

Always, the words in black print are for you to read aloud to the group.

Words in red are questions to ask your group – often this is the best way to involve people. Don’t worry; sometimes there are no answers!

Where I suggest an answer it is in blue; you may need to guide the group towards an answer before you continue. Also in blue are notes and reminders for you.

For some studies you may need something to write or draw on to show the whole group. I have used a blackboard, a flipchart, a whiteboard (use ONLY dry-wipe pens) even the back of a roll of old wallpaper hung over a stepladder! You may also need a way to support maps or charts. Of course technology has moved on since I started writing these notes and showing on a monitor or TV or via a projector might be more appropriate now!

Where appropriate, studies indicate how to print them or save them in PDF format

If you are able to provide additional materials, so much the better, but be careful not to swamp God’s words with your own.

You must also take care not to display material that is copyright, without first having obtained permission.

Take Care! The Internet can be very useful, and can provide many helpful ideas. But some sites will definitely mislead you. has many useful aids, and allows you to produce your own maps (but not the easiest tool to use). I have included some maps, charts etc. where I have obtained permission, and others I have produced using BibleMapper. You may reproduce all of these as long as you include the attribution.

Be very careful with Biblical dates, generally they should be treated as best guesses only!

You might like to provide everyone with their own A4 copy of a map or chart. Alternatively it may be better to print them in a large ‘poster size’. Many printer drivers include the ability to print a page on 4, 9, 12 sheets etc. which you then paste together (see properties, page setup, page layout or similar – and you will then probably have to scroll-right within the box to reveal it! That will then open another option for the number of sheets).

Or you could insert your picture into an excel spreadsheet, increase the scaling, and that way force it to print on several sheets. There are also free programs on the Internet which may help.

By experience you will find how long a study should last. Always leave people wanting more, not bored to tears! I found that as a rough guide, five or six A4 pages is plenty. Where some of these studies are short you might like to combine them, others may need chopping up.

Occasionally I have used ideas from other people – if you think you may have been copied and are not happy about it, please let me know.

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How to run a Bible Study Group

Cell groups, Church groups, Home groups, Small groups – whatever yours is called the dynamics will most likely be the same. A group of like-minded people who want to learn more from God, through the study of his word. Your job is to facilitate that, not to act as a schoolteacher.

If at all possible, let people sit in a circle rather than in rows.

Groups that number up to around twenty are good. More than this means you have the potential to become two groups – perhaps with another group leader.

Up to six members, and everyone will join in. Over six and some will always be silent – then it is up to the leader to encourage participation.

Some groups will incorporate Bible Study into their regular program; others will meet solely for Bible Study. Whatever the group, the leader should always begin with a short prayer, asking for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. (2 Timothy 3:16, John 16:12-15, 1 Corinthians 2:9-11). If this is a new group, you could deliberately make the prayer simple, then after a few meetings you could encourage others to open in prayer.

It is also good to conclude the time of study with prayer, allowing people to respond to what they have learnt. Where appropriate this can then be expanded into a general time of prayer.

Even if it is the group’s intention to only study the bible, people meeting together regularly will inevitably share with one another and it is most appropriate to pray for each other’s needs. If you can, include a time of fellowship – perhaps with refreshments – this can be before or after the closing prayer time.

Leading a Bible Study

The best way to prepare yourself for a study is to read the whole Bible passage several times, perhaps using different versions.

Try to establish what the main teaching of the passage is, then go through the passage verse by verse making sure you understand what you are reading.

If places are mentioned, find them on a map. If people are mentioned try to find how they fit historically, and within the narrative.

Last of all use these notes for your own study, answering the questions (don’t cheat!) adding ideas of your own. Make sure you can give chapter and verse covering any facts you want to add (people are bound to ask ‘where does it say that?’).

Usually you are encouraged to read the whole passage out loud when starting the study. This could be shared around the group, but be alert for any who might find it difficult.

During the study READ SLOWLY. You have the advantage of having spent time with the passage – others will need time to assimilate what you are saying.

Be alert to statements which could be controversial, and leave room for comment. Always be prepared to stop to allow someone to share a pertinent insight, or question.

Try to encourage discussion, but don’t let it wander too far off the subject. Ask other people’s opinion if a statement has been made and always encourage people to check everything against the Scriptures.

The emphasis should always be on individuals (that includes you!) discovering for themselves what God wants to reveal to them. Getting people to answer questions is an excellent way to encourage thought but don’t pressurise people.

If someone asks you a question, don’t be in a hurry to answer it yourself. Ask the rest of the group what they think. Often you will find that people anticipate something that you are about to cover so you may have to tell them to be patient (unless of course you can deal with it there and then).

Try to encourage those who are naturally reticent, and try to hold back those who always seem to have an answer (If they become a problem, take them to one side, thank them for their contributions, and explain that the questions are not there because you need answers, but rather to encourage the others to think. Get them on your side!). Of course, if everyone else is struggling it would be good to be able to ask them for their insight.

Watch out though, some questions are rhetorical, and some will be unanswerable!

NIV Copyright