A free Bible study group involves having a Bible course delivered without charge. To have such a group, you must advertise and plan since it is more than just sitting, reading and talking about the Bible. It is a good idea to link it with a church. It should be clear about the theological line that it takes.
Organising a group
Membership A Bible study group might be open to anyone for free, but it might also be for a target group, for example, women, men, etc. You must therefore, ascertain your target group. It is important to be generally clear as to whether you are linked to a specific branch of the church, for example Baptists, Evangelical etc. as otherwise, tensions can soon arise. Advertising it within a specific church community is an advantage. Planning Some people might believe in just sitting there, opening the Bible and beginning to talk. However, this will not be efficient. Planning is needed as you need to have thought through your discussion subject. You need notes. There are Bible tools that you might use. There are Bible websites that provide you with notes to help study groups. An online Bible means that members who do not have a Bible can access the text. Content The subject should not be too academic as members join such groups for religious reasons. Therefore, they want to link the Bible to their devotional lives. A devotional bible would be useful as this will contain material which is helpful to the participants. There are also Bible videos that can shed light on certain topics in the Bible and which are enjoyable for members to watch.
The danger in religious matters is that one person tend to dominate the group and hence, it becomes more like a sermon. Even if you have established the group, you need to allow members to flourish. Do not give all the information yourself. Encourage others to give the talks sometimes. Encourage discussion among the members. Too tight a theological line can produce a bad reaction among members as religious groups are notoriously prone to splitting on doctrinal issues, sometimes ones that seem very trivial to outsiders. The meetings should be enjoyable. Members will have been working during the day and they need to enjoy what they are doing. Sessions that are too demanding can be counter-productive as members will drop out. The meetings should provide a social occasion for members to congregate in a religious and friendly atmosphere. Some people may attend because they are seeking answers to questions. They need to find these answers themselves. Therefore, ensure that they feel no pressure to come to a conclusion.