Module 10 - Motivating Members for Bible Study

Teachers’ Seminar

Module 10: Motivating Members for Bible Study

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this teaching module the learner will be equipped to:

  1. Use a number of methods to motivate members to study their Bibles.
  2. Demonstrate how to share experience in reference to Bible texts.
  3. Demonstrate how the Bible meets spiritual, physical, psychological, and emotional needs.
  4. Format the class discussion for self-discovery of how the Bible can meet needs.

How does a teacher motivate members to study the Sabbath School lesson so they can discuss the Bible with proper understanding? Experiential study is a great motivator because members discover that the Bible is relevant to their needs. They also are motivated to study because they want to participate in discussion using biblical facts.

The lesson facilitator can demonstrate that relating the Bible to experience is joyous and practical. He or she chooses a need, finds a text that relates to this need, reads the text, and gives a testimony explaining how the text helps to fill that need. The following examples illustrate this method:

Members need to experience victory over their sins.

  • Text: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Ps. 119:11).
  • Testimony: I have found it to be true that the Bible will keep me from sin if I do not allow sin to keep me from the Bible.

Members need emotional stability.

  • Text: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:14, KJV).
  • Testimony: I don’t seem to have the emotional ups and downs if I read and meditate on the Bible every day.

Members need positive relationships with family members and society.

  • Text: “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Eph. 5:2).
  • Testimony: I have found that meditation on texts such as this helps me to be aware that a loving atmosphere at home starts with me. Similar texts and testimonies can help motivate the learner to study the Bible.
  • The Bible has answers to loneliness and depression, helps us understand salvation, and teaches what is essential and eternal. It shows the way to heaven, explains how to know God as a friend, satisfies the longings of the human heart, prepares people for earth’s last days.
  • The Bible offers strength and wisdom for protection and guidance. It is bread for the soul and gives power to bind our children to Christ.
  • The Bible is the most fascinating book ever written. It gives practical business principles, It is a real-life drama of conflict, love, and romance with an ending that is better than a fairy tale’s.
  • The Bible breathes the very life of God. It is represented as the leaves from the tree of life. Study of God’s Word increases our faith; brings personal blessings in health, finance, and well being; improves personality; makes us more persuasive and influential. Bible study is essential for spiritual life.
  • Bible study helps people form an intimate bond with divinity, thereby improving the mental and emotional states: increases the powers of the mind, helps wad off depression and Alzheimer’s, motivates people to be more loving, takes away fear, gives peace of mind, strengthens faith, and produces the fruit of the Spirit.

Get Members Involved

Assignments: It would be effective for the discussion leader to ask members to develop their own list of reasons Bible study is essential. Then ask each member to select an item from the list, find a Bible text illustrating the principle expressed, and add an appropriate life-related testimony that they report to the group.

Mentoring: Leaders can also motivate members to study the Bible by asking them to choose a portion of the next week’s lesson and write the question for that section. The member who writes the question can then lead the discussion on that portion. Members should be instructed how to form the question so that the question sparks discussion and focuses on experience. Then they could take turns preparing the discussion questions for the entire lesson and leading the discussion.

Resources: Teachers can introduce simple methods of study, such as considering context, doing word study, and checking commentary and background information. The Adult Bible Class and Adult Bible Class: Exegesis sections of this magazine help with this. In addition, the Web site for the Sabbath School Adult Bible Study Guide is a wonderful tool. Online Bible Web sites offer quick access to Bible words in a number of versions; plus it places lexicons and commentaries at one’s fingertips.

Seminar Evaluation

This evaluation form is designed for your self-assessment. Some teachers may wish to use this form to get feedback from class members on the questions that reflect class members’ opinions.

1. The teacher gives the impression that Bible study is joyous and meets practical needs of Bible students.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

2. Members are highly motivated to relate experience to the Bible.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

3. Members frequently relate testimonies to Bible passages.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

4. Members bring their Bibles as a basis for discussion.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

5. Members find biblical solutions to their daily needs.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

6. List five needs common to class members that can be met by Bible study (may or may not be from materials presented here). Then find Bible texts that meet these needs or explain how the needs can be met.

Needs: Texts:

Score: Total the circled numbers for questions one through five. Add 10 points for each answer for number six. Ask church leader or class members to evaluate your responses to number six. Total possible: 100. Your score _____

James Kilmer
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists