Comparing Bible Study Styles

Who do you love? We all have our favorites—those Bible study authors we like to read again and again. We like to hear how they explain God’s Word and apply it to our everyday lives. They equip us for life and get us through rough times. Our favorite authors have personalities we admire and stories we can relate to as they share from the heart and show what God has taught them. 

In this post, I’d like to compare the styles of Bible teachers and the formats of their books. But first, let me share with you some of my favorites.

Since I was little, I have studied the Bible using Kay Arthur’s books. I met her when I was nine years old, and she told me I could call her “pretty Aunt Kay.” I loved her not just for her personality but for her powerful explanations of Scripture and her application of it. My favorite teachers also include Dr. Adrian Rogers whose sermons built a solid foundation of truth in my life and Dr. Charles Stanley whose messages taught me about the everyday Christian life.

There have been others too, men and women who have taken the time to study with God and receive an understanding of Scripture. We stand on their shoulders, learning from them—and from God—and then passing on what we’ve learned to others. Who have been your favorite teachers?

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I’d like to compare specific books or series from some well-known authors and add some new ones in the mix. I hope this list is useful if you’re looking for a Bible study to use for your small group. If you’re writing your own Bible study, it will help you see some formats and what’s been on the market.

Kay Arthur’s Precept Upon Precept Series:

  • Group members dive head first into Scripture, using Bible study tools and coming away with a verse-by-verse, or chapter-by-chapter, understanding of a book of the Bible. 
  • Small groups meet weekly to discuss the lesson and watch Kay Arthur on DVD give application of a chapter in all her pizzazz, class, and insight.
  • These studies require about five hours of homework, but are worth the time. I still use many of the Bible study tools today.
  • The books have to be bought directly from Precept Ministries International. (Other series by Kay Arthur are found in bookstores.) The group leader must be trained by Precept before leading any studies. (Not a bad idea.)
  • These studies are good for women who want to be in God’s Word on a deeper level and who are willing to take the time to do it. The relationships between group members also seem to grow deeper. I have known some Precept groups who have been together for years.  

MacArthur Bible Study Series:

  • John MacArthur’s commentaries are considered classics by many Bible students, and his Bible studies incorporate some of his insights in a streamlined way. Scripture is printed in the Bible studies with MacArthur’s definitions and notes around it in small print.  
  • Each chapter asks questions to help the reader discover the meaning of a passage and provides a paragraph of application. Room is also provided for the reader’s insights, questions, and prayers.
  • These books are usually twelve-week studies, and go verse-by-verse through a book of the Bible.
  • People who like the richness of definitions, cross-references, and commentary notes will appreciate these studies.

Beth Moore’s studies:

  • If you’ve ever heard Beth Moore or seen her on video, you know she is a whirlwind of charm, humor, and southern twang.
  • I’ve done three of her studies, and I found the homework to usually have a lot of reading. But stories, verses to look up, and questions help to break up the reading.
  • Fill-in-the-blank pages serve as a guide for the videos, where she tends to give the meat of her application.
  • Women who appreciate Beth Moore’s style and application and have some time for homework will take her studies again and again.

Dr. Charles Stanley’s The In Touch® Study Series:

  • These books take a topic (like emotional wholeness or our identity in Christ) and pull in verses from all over the Bible to talk about it. Room is provided next to Scripture for the reader to record any thoughts about the passages.
  • Questions personalize the truths taught and ask the reader about related experiences. The books continually ask for the reader to write down new insights learned.
  • Individuals or groups will find this series enlightening about many spiritual topics and be blessed by its practical application.

Women of Faith® Study Guide Series:

  • Reading these books is like you’re having a conversation with a friend.
  • The homework for these twelve-week studies is extremely light, and directs the reader to look up Scripture and answer questions about the topic.  
  • These books are good for young moms and busy women who like topical studies.

Lighthouse Bible Studies’ books:

(Of course I couldn’t write a post about Bible study formats without adding the books by a publisher I love so much. :) I may be a little partial, but I like the format. The teaching and application that are normally in a DVD are in the book itself.)

  • These Bible studies are topical in that they develop application for a book of the Bible under one theme, and they are devotional because they incorporate punch, zip, and wow.
  • Each devotion takes about five minutes to read. It normally starts with a story, intriguing thought, etc. that leads into explaining Scripture and applying it to life today. It also ends with questions to personalize the application.
  • These books can be used for quiet times, and a leader guide is provided for a group study.
  • Women who want to be in God’s Word on a deeper level but don’t have a lot of time for homework will appreciate the depth of insight in short devotions. (So I’ve heard.)

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What other studies have you used or taught? All of these different studies show that we’re not alone as we teach God’s Word or write about it. We can draw from others’ understanding of the Bible and pass it on with our own to other people. Do you have other studies that have been a blessing to you? What has been helpful about them?

Happy Fall, and happy studying!

 

© Copyright 2014 by Katy Kauffman

 

popular Bible teachers, women’s Bible studies, ideas for women’s ministry leaders, Comparing Bible Study Styles, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

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A Blog by Katy Kauffman

Author, Speaker, Bible Teacher

Katy loves to write about how God works in our lives on a daily basis. Each day with Him is an adventure. She hopes to capture some of those adventure moments here, and wants to see what God is teaching you as well.

 

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