How To Prepare A Bible Study Lesson


You have a group of people who want to learn more about the Bible, and they want you to teach them? What an awesome responsibility! I’m sure you’ll be praying about it and asking God for help. But here’s some important information you’ll need which will help you get ready and teach more effectively.

In the Greek language, Paul used two different words to describe knowledge:

  • One word referred to intellectual knowledge (head knowledge).
  • The other referred to experiential knowledge (heart knowledge).

Good Bible teaching will help people gain head knowledge which will move 16 inches down and become heart knowledge – real life experience. Experiential knowledge is best gained when we use all parts of our mind and senses to take it in. Research shows that we remember:

  • 10% of what we read (e.g. a book).
  • 20% of what we hear (e.g. a speaker).
  • 30% of what we see (e.g. a poster ad).
  • 40% of what we hear and see (e.g. a T.V. program).
  • 70% of what we say (when we give a talk or are talking).
  • 90% of what we say and do (where we are actively involved in the process).

Learner-Centered Teaching

Learner-centered teaching is where the learner is actively involved. Learning has really taken place when a person’s life has changed. In other words, we need to teach with a method that lets the learner discover facts they can apply to their lives today and hopefully in the future.

Planning a Lesson

Following are some tips to help you plan your Bible study, keeping in mind the need for learner-centered teaching.

1. After you have picked the portion of the Bible you want to teach, work through the passage yourself.

This is always the first step in lesson planning and should be done early in the week. This extra work will allow you to think about it, learn it yourself, add to and revise the study during the week.

2. Identify the central truth.

Ask yourself, “What is the main fact or point I want the group to learn from this study?” For instance, your central truth may be that Jesus Christ is God and the only way to reach God.

3. Know your goals.

What do you want the students to do as a result of discovering the central truth? For example, you may hope that by the end of this lesson the students are able to tell another person three ways Jesus is unique.

Make sure your goals are ownable (the students want to do it), reachable (they are able to do it), and measurable (you can find out if they did it).

4. Make a list of your students and what you think they need to understand from the lesson.

This will help you stay person-centered rather than material-centered. Who wants a bunch of information thrown at them? Use this list for prayer during the week too.

Leading the Study

1. Begin with a short learning activity that gets their minds where their bodies are.

You want to get them thinking about the central truth. You might do this through a skit, drawing, or game. Just be creative. This usually takes about 5-10 minutes. For example, you might want them to think about how God searches for lost people. Hide a pager somewhere and set it off, seeing who can find it first.

2. Let them discover what the material has to say about the central truth.

Ask questions about the lesson content. Use open-ended discussion questions rather than ones with “yes” or “no” answers. Read appropriate Scriptures. Let them figure out how this truth relates to their lives.

3. Help them apply the central truth to their lives.

Once they’ve figured this out, they need to apply the truth to their life during the week. Help them see how the truth directly affects their lives. The success of the study depends on how you help them understand what the central truth is and how it applies to their life.

Organizing the Time

The flow of the Bible study needs to be just right. If you spend too much time eating and socializing, you won’t have enough time to dig into God’s Word. On the other hand, if you just study and don’t let the students interact with each other, they may only see the study as an intellectual exercise and not something that applies to their lives right now.

Flow of Your Study

Here’s a suggested flow for your Bible study:

1. Refreshments (20 min.) – Unhindered talking, sharing, and settling

2. Bring group together (5 min.) – Use a catch/hook statement or learning activity to get their attention and introduce the theme

3. Bible Study (30 min.) – Discover the central truth and apply it.

4. Prayer (10 min.) – Pray conversationally if the students are willing.

5. Conclusion – Make announcements for upcoming meetings and plan any other activities. Give rides home to kids who need them.

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What they’re saying about Cru

What is one thing that you will treasure when you leave high school? Here’s a hint: It will collect dust and make your own children laugh in years to come. It’s not your favorite outfit or a sports trophy, but – you guessed it: your school yearbook.


Flipping through the yearbook tells all: what is happening at your school, who is involved in what activities, the values students have, and even the amount of school spirit. So if you want to reach your campus, the yearbook is the place to start. It shows you the different groups and students who make up the puzzle of your campus.


The Lord may choose to reach the whole school through an assembly or some other event. But most likely it will be in smaller parts at a time. In Acts 1:8, Jesus gave us an example of reaching the smaller areas in order to reach the whole. So, in order to reach your school, you need to map out the different groups. Your school yearbook will help you break down the whole into parts you can target to reach. See how many groups you can list.


Gather some students and together go through your yearbook and list all the groups. Think about the characteristics and interests of the teens in the different groups you have listed. This will help you see the “natural groups” on your campus. Natural groups are those groups of students who know each other because of their common involvement in a class, activity, or social network. These would include band, sports teams, drama club, church, and groups of friends.


Now break down what the unofficial groups on campus are by drawing a sketch of the tables at each lunch period. Start by writing down who sits where until you write as many names of students as you can think of, creating a map to guide your outreach plans.


Once you know different groups on campus, you can begin to choose which group you and your friends want to reach out to first. Consider which groups you are already a part of and can influence right away. After that you can pick more groups to reach out to as you think about their spiritual interest. For example, the first table you see when you walk into the cafeteria is filled with freshman students. You know Jenny’s little sister sits there and you’ve met a guy named Joe who sits there, too. Jenny is a Christian but you’re not so sure about Joe.


To reach out to them, you could have a food fight (off campus, of course!) or play Water Wars (just make up water games using Super Soakers and balloons). After the games, you could give a talk on how life can be a mess if we aren’t guided by God, the One who knows what is best for us. Then you can tell the students that you receive that guidance as you relate to God in a relationship. Tell them how they can begin a relationship with the Lord. Write out the points from a tract like “Conecting with God” on a big piece of paper so everyone can see the writing.

Another idea: Invite a large group of students to a 15 (or 50) foot banana split. A Christian student would then explain what the Christian group on campus can offer; announce upcoming events or Bible studies where they can discuss more about how God relates to life, and then explain a personal relationship with God to them. You could even use a questionnaire to lead into the gospel. (See ‘Planning and Conducting an Outreach’).

After sharing the gospel, pass out comment cards to find out what the students thought and if they would like to know more about how to grow in a relationship with God. Call those who want to know more and set up a time to meet with them (all together or in small groups). Follow up with them by teaching the basics of how to grow in Christ. (See ‘Basic Growth Series.’) This will hopefully lead to a Bible study where you continue to help them mature spiritually. (See “How to Lead a Small Group.”)

Many types of students are on your campus and there are many ideas to reach out to them with the love of Christ. Mapping the campus is a great way to find out “who’s who” on campus and what their interests are so you can effectively reach them with the gospel.


There are teens and adults (teachers, parents, youth pastors) who want to work with you to reach your campus for Jesus. Talk to Christian teachers or administrators. Find out what they think would interest a particular group on campus or how you can become a part of what that group does.

Ask a few spiritually mature teenagers to join you in mapping the groups on campus. Plan and pray together, asking God, the One who understands everyone, to guide your steps of faith. Now go for it!

Every Student Plan Worksheet PDF

Decoding/Mapping the Campus Questionnaire