One-to-one Bible study
What’s your ideal size for a Bible study? Your answers will likely widely vary; some prefer a small group of 5 or 6 people, some a group of 10-20. Recently I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how uniquely productive it’s been to go through a Bible study in a very small group—just one other person.
The idea was born somewhat out of necessity—someone in my circle wanted to be in a Bible study but couldn’t fit any of the existing groups into her tight schedule. She lived too far away for me to form a group that fit her needs, so we just started one with the two of us. We complete the studies alone as we have time, then discuss them via messaging. It’s of course not ideal—we’d both rather be face-to-face with mugs of coffee in hand! But we’re studying the Bible together when we wouldn’t be otherwise, and it’s worked remarkably well.
First of all, one-on-one Bible study opens up opportunities to study the Bible with someone who may not be able to fit into a larger group. Consider those whose schedule is not conducive to a weekly study, who may have social anxiety or concerns, or those who are housebound (like many of us experienced this past year!). If someone is new to the idea of Bible study, they also may be more likely to say yes to an invite if it’s just you, someone they’re comfortable with already.
While larger groups may have the advantage of more input and interaction, a one-on-one setting provides more opportunity—in time and attention—for asking questions and fully understanding difficult ideas and passages. I’m less afraid to admit that I came up completely blank on an answer, or that I’m really struggling to understand or agree with something I’m learning, if it’s to only one person and not a whole group. Yet I also found I’m more likely to put more thought and effort into my study and come up with more thorough answers when I know there’s only two of us in the group.
Even if you’ve done group studies for years, maybe you could benefit from a change of ‘scenery’—a slower pace and a more focused method. Find someone ahead of you who can share wisdom and experience, or seek out a newer Christian, or someone who might not otherwise be able or interested in signing up for a group. And dig in to a good study! Matthias Media has plenty to pick from, but there are plenty of other excellent choices out there.
No matter what we’re used to or comfortable with, may we always be looking for ways we can grow through the reading, study and understanding of Scripture. And at the same time, may we be looking at those around us and finding ways to help them do the same.