3 Parts to a Great 30 Minute Men’s Bible Study
I’ve been teaching the Man in the Mirror Bible Study here in Winter Park, FL for 18 years this month. Though I never delivered the “perfect” message, I have a pretty good idea what it would look like. You can teach a great Bible study by breaking your message into 3 parts and answering the following questions (actually, not “all” the questions every time, but those that make sense to answer given the text and topic).
Part 1-Relevance: 5 to 10 minutes
Have a good answer to the questions.
- Why give this message?
- Who is it for?
- How does it relate to the real problems my men face?
To be “heard” your message must address a problem, issue, or challenge your men face. I always ask, “Where is the gravity?” To arrest the attention of men whose minds are in 1,000 different places, you have to relate the message you are about to present to “their world.” They have to literally feel the weight of a problem, or they won’t want to solve it. Someone should be on the verge of shouting, “Okay, I get it! What should we do?”
Part 2-Teaching: 10 to 15 minutes
Now that you have their attention (the hard part), you can solve the problem you’ve made them “feel” from your text. Questions to answer once gravity established.
- What does the text say?
- What does it mean?
- What is the one question I can answer that can most focus this message? The right question will produce the right message.
Tap into the dissonance men feel about the topic-that’s where the energy is. Find a tension that needs to be resolved. Probe until you find the passion in the text. Prepare this section of your message first, then flesh out Parts 1 and 3.
Part 3-Application: 5 to 10 minutes, but throughout
Questions to answer to bring your message home (in addition to this whole section, pepper you message with applications too).
- So what?
- What is the message for my listeners-the take away?
- What do I want my men to think, feel, or do differently as a result of this message? (That’s another way of asking, What is the purpose of my message?)
- What is the single point I want to make? Put that into a sparkling, memorable sentence and repeat it several times during your message. Why? So on Tuesday someone can repeat that sentence, or the general idea of it, to a hurting co-worker or neighbor.
- Be vulnerable. I like to ask, What is the unique contribution I can make to the unique contribution/response that my men can make?
Establish Relevance, deliver the Teaching, and connect the dots to their real world with grace-based Application. That’s how it’s done. Oh, and smother your message in the gospel and in grace. Help men change the core affections of their hearts. How? Bring them into the real presence of Christ. No man should leave your meeting feeling like he’s just been beat up. No man should leave feeling like he has to “do” something to make God happy, or to improve his record to be good enough.
For the glory of Christ and no other reason,