© 2017 Crickett Keeth
Step 1: Decide if you’re going to write a topical study or a book study.
Both types have strengths and meet a unique purpose.
Step 2: Map out an outline of the study.
If you choose a topical study, outline what you’ll cover each week. For instance, I wrote a topical study on the names of God and looked at a different name over eight weeks. Each day I looked at a different passage(s) with that name.
If you decide to write a study on a book of the Bible, map out how many chapters (or parts of a chapter) you’ll cover each week. Read through the book several times and look for a prominent theme around which you can tie each week’s lesson.
I also wrote a study on the life of Christ and how we can learn from His example. Instead of writing a study on one of the Gospels, I chose to make it a topical study and look at all four Gospels with each topic.
Step 3: Decide if you’re going to divide the week’s lesson into days or just have one lesson for the entire week.
I prefer five days of homework to keep consistent in the Word each day, with two days to review or catch up.
Step 4: Begin writing.
Now that you’ve framed the study, begin writing. Sometimes, I’ll begin writing the study before I know what my title or main theme will be. As I write, God redirects or affirms my focus.
A good rule of thumb is to have no more than six questions per day (or thirty questions per week), divided between observation and interpretation questions. Make the questions thought provoking. I want readers to ponder the answers instead of telling them everything. Use open-ended questions like “Why do you think …?” or “How would this …?” I always include a section for reflection and personal application at the end of each day.
Step 5: Review and refine.
After I’ve written the rough draft, I read through it to see if the questions make sense. Do they flow logically, or do I need to clarify? I also ask an editing friend to go through the study and send me feedback and suggested changes. That has been invaluable.
Sometimes, the hardest part is simply getting started. If you’ve been thinking about writing a Bible study, why not give it a try?
Crickett Keeth is the Women’s Ministry Director at First Evangelical Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where she writes and teaches the women’s Bible studies. She is the author of The Gift of Rest and the co-author of Sumatra with the Seven Churches. Crickett was on staff with Cru and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. She also speaks at women’s events and offers free resources for discipleship through her website.