How do you know if you should start a Bible study?

Hi everyone,

Seeing some of the challenges and questions brought up in @lori’s post here, I started thinking about a lot of questions related to beginning a Bible study for the first time.

Every time I try to ask my questions my post keeps growing and growing, so I think I will post several questions about starting Bible studies in the future instead of just one. For now though my question is:

How do you know if and when you should start a Bible study with others?

I have led several Bible studies through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and TreeHouse as well as a couple on my own.

With InterVarsity, this wasn’t really a question, we just always led Bible studies each year, and tended to lead as many as we could depending on how many student leaders we had. We did spend a lot of time in prayer and discussion about where to have the studies and when and how often to host them, but for the sake of space, I’ll leave that discussion for the future.

With TreeHouse, we prayed about and discussed the areas of need we saw in the community and planned our curriculum around those, including Bible studies outside of our main teaching time for more specific areas of need or growth.

When I have started them on my own it has been from my love of spending time reading the Bible, wanting to discuss it with others, wanting to hear different viewpoints on passages to gain a deeper understanding than I could on my own, and wanting to share the richness of scripture that I found in taking time to slow down, read the Bible carefully, ask questions, and look at the context and commentaries to really gain a deeper understanding.

Each of these experiences were pretty different, some involved more prayer and discussion with Christian community than others, some were more outreach oriented, while others were creating a community - honestly primarily for myself, though also for others - that did not previously exist to help grow closer to God, and for each of them I had received training prior to leading them.

So how do you know if you should start one whether as an individual or as an organization? Should the processes look different for each? Do you approach the decision differently depending on if the Bible study is meant for established believers or for people seeking to learn more about God? Is there a right or best decision to be reached at all or is it just something you can choose to do or not do with little consequence either way? How much experience or training, if any, is needed?

For me right now, as with most decisions, I think I would recommend prayer, talking to godly mentors, and taking time to reflect on your life to see if this is an opportunity God is bringing about for you.

However, there is just so much to think about with this decision that I would love to hear what your experiences in making similar decisions have been and what your thoughts are about these questions and the things to think through in making the decision to start a Bible study.

I look forward to hearing from you all!