Small groups and adult classes often discuss books by Christian authors, one or two chapters at a time. The next time your group chooses a book to read—and it doesn’t come with a study guide or questions for group interaction – the following ideas may help you.
- QUESTIONS TO EXAMINE THE GENERAL CONTENT
Pick several of the following questions to employ in each group session. Vary the questions from week to week.
- Summarize the point of this chapter in a couple sentences.
- What words describe your reaction to this book? Why?
- What fresh, I-never-thought-of-that-before insight did the book offer?
- Share one sentence or excerpt that you underlined or highlighted. Why is that statement significant to you?
- What did the author say that you disagree with, or at least question? Why?
- If you could ask the author to elaborate on one point or sentence, what would it be? Why?
- From your personal experience, how can you illustrate a point from this chapter?
2. IDEAS FOR COVERING SCRIPTURE FROM THE CHAPTER(S)
- Examine each Bible verse or passage mentioned in the book chapter. Formulate study questions that will assist group members in observing, interpreting, and applying selected verses.
- During the group session, instruct them to use their Bibles (not the book itself) to find answers to the questions.
- Since you’ve been studying a separate book, members may not be in the habit of bringing their Bibles. Encourage them to do so, but just in case, prepare a handout containing the verses typed out.
- Be sure to stick to questions that correlate with the theme of the book chapter you are examining. Don’t stray from the book’s slant by focusing on Bible passage elements unrelated to the book author’s purpose or main points.
- As you read the book and prepare for the group discussion, you may think of Scripture passages that correlate with the author’s point but which aren’t cited in the book. Have group members read these passages and ask questions similar to the following:
3. QUESTIONS TO FACILITATE APPLICATION
Pick a couple questions for each session. Vary your selection from week to week.
- How did what you read increase your appreciation for God the Father, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit?
- How did God’s Spirit speak a personal word to you as you read?
- What challenged or convicted you? Explain.
- What encouraged you as you read? Explain.
- Did anything you read prompt you to pray? Explain.
- What relationships, personal circumstances, or life experiences came to mind as you read? Why?
- If the truth of this chapter were applied, what effect would it have on our decisions? Relationships? Schedules?
- What could be the consequences of not heeding this chapter?
- How did the chapter enhance your appreciation for God’s grace?
4. WAYS TO WHET THEIR APPETITE FOR THE NEXT FEW CHAPTERS
At the end of each session, “hook” their interest in the next assigned chapter(s) by…
- Giving a thought-provoking quote from the next chapter.
- Raising one or more questions the next chapter will address.
- Tell how the next chapter touched you, and suggest that it may have the same effect on them.
As an experienced teacher or small group leader, what other ideas can you add for enhancing discussion of a Christian book?
Terry has written Now That’s A Good Question! How to Lead Quality Bible Discussions, available at Amazon: https://www.createspace.com/5970561. 20% discount code: RFDKWGTJ