THIS TIME OF YEAR SCARES ME.
Every spring for the past several years I have led the curriculum team in my Bible study group at church. It’s usually just a half a dozen people, sometimes not that many. We spend the better part of a Saturday assigning lesson topics for the next 12 months.
Some of us come to that meeting with a bunch of brainstormed ideas. Others come with the seat-of-their-pants, more gifted at reacting and filtering than at brainstorming and planning on their own. Which is fine. We need all kinds of brains to pull a trick like this out of a hat.
We meet in someone’s home, usually around 9:30 in the morning, and going into the early afternoon. I bring the doughnuts. The host provides the coffee. Somewhere along the way we order in pizza or sandwiches, to get us through the working lunch hour.
Now I don’t know if it would help you to see how I go about the process of brainstorming ideas for this meeting. But I’m going to do a little of it anyway.
Our meeting is in another week. So I’m going to take a few minutes to kill two birds with one stone. I’m going to finish out this blog article by doing a little of the brainstorming I need to do for the meeting.
Here are some Bible study ideas I will toss into the pot for consideration by the committee. I’m just sitting here right now, typing them up as they come into my head from who knows where, for better or worse.
SERMON ON THE MOUNT VS DONALD TRUMP. 1 week.
That’s actually kind of a joke, but I will take it to the meeting. I think it would make for an intriguing and lively Bible study session. The trick would be to come out of that session without condemning to hell all Christians who vote for Mr. Trump, and to treat those souls with more respect than Mr. Trump treats anyone who disagrees with him.
FINDING CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES IN POLITICS. 1 week.
One-week standalone session team-taught by one Progressive and one Traditionalist, for amicable balance. Instead of focusing on the plethora of lies, name-calling, and profanity that has erupted during this election cycle, focus on the ideas the presidential candidates have that track with Christian teachings.
GENESIS, 5 HEAD-SCRATCHING STORIES. 5 weeks.
- Seven days of creation: history or poetry? (Gen. 1)
- How do we resemble God? (Gen. 1:26ff)
- God: “I’m sorry I made humans” (Gen. 6)
- Abe to the rescue (Gen. 14)
- Jacob puts a wrestling hold on God (Gen. 32)
THE GOSPEL OF MARK, A READ-THROUGH. 8 weeks.
We read aloud in class the entire book over a stretch of 8 weeks. That’s two chapters a week since Mark has 16 chapters. Each week we discuss the highlights of each two-chapter section.
THREE MOTHERS: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY. 1 week, for Mother’s Day. Profile of 3 mothers, for a review of character traits we want to see in mothers.
The Good: Jochebed (mother of Moses). The bad: Herodias (mother of dancing Salome who got the head of John the Baptist). The ugly: Leah (Jacob’s surprise wife and mother of half of his sons).
DON’T FORGET. 3 weeks, leading up to Memorial Day weekend.
- Week one. Pentecost Sunday. Bible passage is one of the lesser familiar passages in Acts in which people are converted to the Christian faith and are filled with the Holy Spirit. Life application will be to remember and talk about some of our most memorable spiritual experiences.
- Week two. Precious Memories. Bible passage: Jews in exile in what is now Iraq, remembering Jerusalem and their homeland. Life application will be to talk about memories we have that we go back to for comfort, reassurance, inspiration, or simply as a reminder that God has richly blessed us.
- Week three. Bible passage will focus on one of the Bible characters whose story is especially inspiring and is retold often. Life application will be to remember and talk about the people we’ve lost and the stories they left behind.
REVELATION AND THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 1 week. Talk about clues in Revelation that lead many Bible scholars to say that much of Revelation is about Roman times. Example, from the fact that Rome was built on seven hills: “Anyone with wisdom can figure this out. The seven heads that the woman is sitting on stand for seven hills. These heads are also seven kings….The woman you saw is the great city that rules over all kings on earth” (Revelation 17:9-10, 18 CEV).
ADVENT: BACK TO BETHLEHEM. 3 weeks. Childhood events in the life of Jesus, studied in reverse.
- The dedication of Jesus. Life application: Our dedication to Jesus. Our dedication of our kids to Jesus.
- The honoring of Jesus (wise men). Life application: What do we do that brings honor to Jesus?
- The birth of Jesus. Life application: How has Jesus changed our culture and the way we live personally?
EYES ON JESUS, HOW OTHERS SAW HIM. 4 weeks. An Easter series on the various ways people saw Jesus
- Pharisees & other Jewish leaders: “He’s challenging our authority.”
- Palm Sunday crowds: “He’s the Messiah king who will run out the Romans.”
- Pilate: “He’s innocent but he could cause me trouble.”
- Disciples on Easter: “He’s out of this world.”
For more about Bible study
- How to criticize your Bible study leader
- Surprised by a bad Bible study idea
- Pick a favorite: worship service or Bible study
- Bible study needs more geeks
Blog subscribers who win books this week
- Tamra Higgs
- Barbara Ratigan
I give away free books each week.
Randomly selected subscribers to this free blog or to my free quarterly newsletter get the option of choosing my newest book: A Quick Guided Tour Through the Bible – among about half a dozen other titles.