Ask Leslie

I have received a few questions from readers this week. Yay! I’m so excited because you have given me something to post today.

Since I featured a review of Tested Faith yesterday, I thought I would answer questions about that Bible study today.

Heather asked several excellent questions that really should have been answered in a review of a Bible study. I just didn’t even think about how that study could work in a group setting because I did it on my own. I focused on the content rather than on its practical use. Here are some of her questions:

How long did it take?
Tested Faith can be tailored to your group. There aren’t videos, or leader guides (that I know of), and, therefore, there is not one way to do it. There are 24 chapters in the study, and the chapters are broken into headings determined by the verses for that week. It is not broken up into daily homework. Each chapter has fewer than ten questions to answer at the end of the reading.

For a group, the chapters are not so long that each one could not be completed in one week. 24 weeks is double the length of most group Bible studies. Tested Faith could be broken up into two semesters if you want to stick to one chapter per week. However, if you want to make it shorter, it is possible to do that by reading two chapters per week. I would just be afraid that doing that would mean that you didn’t have as much time to memorize the verses (unless you already use a good plan for scripture memorization). If you’re accustomed to spending about an hour a day doing your Bible study, then you could do at least two chapters per week without feeling pressured. For your group meeting, assuming you have about two hours, you could discuss the two chapters for that week. I imagine this study could yield a great discussion–especially the part about the tongue!

Did each lady have her own book?
Each participant will need her own book. I would also recommend that each woman use a notebook of some kind to record her answers and anything else she is moved to write as a result of the week’s study.

Are you supposed to do a study every day or just as a group?
Each woman should read the chapters and answer the questions before the group meeting. You can decide how many chapters you want to do each week.

What about the leader? No one asked me about the next two. Consider it bonus!
If I were going to lead this study, then I would start by skimming the whole study. After skimming the chapters, I would create a plan for our group study. Go ahead and plan it all out. Decide if you’re going to do one or two or even three chapters per week. Some women can take a book study like this and just go with it. But some women may appreciate it more if they know what they’re supposed to read each day. It may be helpful to delineate which pages to read and which questions to answer each day. It may take a good bit of time, but it will be worth it. The leader, after all, is the group’s servant. After I finished my homework for the first week I would start planning the first group discussion. I would look back over the chapter and determine if there was a difficult concept that I may need to give extra attention to and be ready to explain. Then, I would decide which questions would be good for our group discussion. Some are definitely better than others. You may even come up with some of your own.

Do you have any leader tips?

I’ve led Precept courses before, and by far the biggest hang-up participants have (in my experience) is that we are studying the Bible. Everyone comes to a study with their minds made up about one thing or another. They’ve heard this-or-that verse explained this-or-that way and they think this-or-that about it. Well, the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter what we think about it. Our personal feelings about scripture and our personal interpretations don’t matter a hill’o’beans. If we come to something in God’s Word that challenges a previously held belief, then we have to change our minds to the Truth. The Bible is a paradigm breaker. So, if in your group discussion someone shares an experience or a “teaching” that is contrary to scripture (and they aren’t about to let it go), then, as God-honoring as you can (I’m not good at this), emphasize what the Bible says over experience and personal paradigms. His Word is the standard and anything that doesn’t match up is false.

Well, that’s it for my first installment of Ask Leslie. If you have a question for me, put it in the comments of this post, or email me!

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