I always did what was best for you. I told you the Good News about Jesus in public before the people and also taught in your homes. Acts 20:20 ERV
We are all encouraged, like Paul, to share Jesus in the homes of our friends and loved ones. This is something we all can do.
Among the members of our churches there should be more house-to-house labor in giving Bible readings and distributing literature…. As we sow beside all waters we shall realize that “he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” –Ellen White, Maranatha Page 104
As we study the three angels’ message, we must remember we are the angels who give this last message to the world. In the book of Revelation, angels are messengers, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church members are the messengers giving the message in Revelation 14:6-12. Of course there are many ways this message can be shared, but both the Bible and the writings of Ellen White talk about the importance of giving Bible studies in small group studies, as well as personal Bible studies. Some think they are not skilled enough to give simple Bible studies or readings in people’s homes, but it really is not that hard. Without any formal training, I have given Bible studies leading to well over 400 baptisms over a 30-year period. If God can use me, He can use anyone! After all, in Numbers 22 God spoke through a donkey. If God can speak through a donkey, he can speak through me too. He can speak through anyone, and that includes you.
If you feel the Holy Spirit impressing you to give a Bible study, but you need some encouragement, here are 5 quick and easy tips I have found for giving effective Bible studies over the years.
- Don’t pretend to know it all. Many people tell me they are afraid to give Bible studies because they don’t know enough. That’s okay, No one wants to learn from a know-it-all anyway. The fact that you don’t know it all will make others more comfortable studying with you. I actually began my Bible worker career by telling my friends and co-workers that I needed to practice giving Bible studies, and asked if I could practice giving Bible studies to them. Many agreed, some attended church with me, and one still does attend church with me whenever I return to visit his area. If you’re not a know-it-all, you will be great at giving Bible studies.
- Stick with the study guides or chain referencing format. Don’t adlib or try to philosophize. Many tell me they are afraid to try and give Bible studies because they don’t know what to say. That’s perfect. The study guides ask questions, and then share Bible verses that give the answer. The answers are provided in the Bible passages provided by the study guide or chain referencing format you are following. When I train people to give Bible studies, one of the common mistakes many make is feeling like they have to adlib and add to what is already in the guide or Bible text. When they adlib, they get distracted and wander from the thought process already provided in the format. Each question and Bible answer, in the Bible study guide, builds upon the next in a logical sequence. Simply point out the answer in the text. Don’t adlib. That only distracts from the logical sequence. See? You can do this!
- Don’t quote authors outside the Bible. This is a Bible study. A while back, I took a lay member with me to a Bible study I had just started. The man I had just begun studying with knew nothing about the Bible or the church, much less Ellen White. He asked if there was life on other planets. I told him we could study about that in the future, when the lay member with me blurted out. “Oh! Ellen White talks about visiting people on other planets!” The man we were studying with knew nothing about Ellen White, and wondered why the lay member even said that. I quickly changed the subject back to our topic for the Bible study. Of course I believe in Ellen White, but I also believe a Bible study should be a Bible study.
- Get a decision. After every Bible study, ask for a decision on the topic. When I was a literature evangelist, after telling my customer all about the books, I never made a sale until I asked them to buy them. It is not enough to just share information. Ask your Bible student to make a decision based on what you studied. If studying about salvation, ask them to accept Jesus as their Savior. If studying about clean and unclean foods, ask them to follow the Bible counsel you both just read.
- After the decision, have a prayer regarding their decision, and then leave! Do all your small talk before the Bible study. Get that pie recipe or discuss that ball game before the Bible study, not afterwards. At the end of the Bible study, you want to pray and then politely and quickly leave, so that you leave them with that prayer marinating in their mind and heart. Don’t distract them with small talk after the prayer. After the prayer, politely excuse yourself.
Of course you will want to be praying before, during and after your Bible studies. With God’s help, you can do this! You will make mistakes, just like the rest of us. If you don’t make a mistake, you will be the first person ever to give a perfect Bible study. Then you will become a know-it-all, and no one will want to study with you. Be humble. Be human, so people will feel comfortable studying with you. God will use you with all of your mistakes and shortcomings. Remember, I have studied with over 400 people who became baptized, and I made some big mistakes while studying with over 400 of them. I have never given a perfect Bible study — ever! But I don’t let that discourage me. I seriously doubt that the talking donkey in Numbers 22 was perfect, but God surely used it to get Balaam back on the right track. You and I are not perfect either, but God will use us to take the Gospel into all the world.
Now, in the Words of Jesus,
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. ” Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV
You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson on the three angels message here.