Structural Bible Study

Structural Bible Study is studying the Bible in a sequence of questions. The Bible Teacher starts with a question and then proceeds to the next question in relation to the answer he or she received for the first question. The questions are discussed in a sequential order. This kind of Bible Study focuses on filling in the answers and creating a discussion upon what students are unable to answer or understand. Structural Bible Study is a great way of having healthy and constructive Bible Study discussions. The building block of Structural Bible Study are questions with corresponding answers. Each question is cohesive to the previous question in nature and keeps building upon each other. There is no limit to how many questions you can have. It is always a good idea to create two teams to make this kind of Bible Study more interesting and fun. Let me illustrate with an example how you can use this form Bible Study method.

Let’s say I am the Bible Study Teacher. I count the number of students present and divide them into two teams. Let’s call them Team A and Team B. We can do a coin toss and decide which Team gets the first question. The Bible Teacher needs to have a blackboard or whiteboard to write down the answers that the students give and form a structure by relating each answer provided to the previous answer. Let’s say the coin toss gives Team A the first question. The Bible Teacher selects a topic of interest; let’s say Bible Structure and asks Team A the first set of questions. Since this is a teamwork, multiple questions are allowed.

Team A: First Set of Questions

  1. How many books are there in the Bible?
  2. How many sections is the Bible divided into? Name them.
  3. How many books are there in each section?

Team A: Answers

  1. 66
  2. 2 Sections, Old Testament & New Testament
  3. OT – 39, NT – 27

This is a set of three questions which requires five answers. 1 answer for question 1, 2 answers for question 2 and 2 answers for question 3. We have 5 answers. I personally believe in rewarding students for getting the correct answers. For every 5 points earned, the team gets to pick a prize. This also motivates students to work together as a team and challenges them to learn and absorb new facts quickly. Since each answer is closely linked to the question and then the question links to the previous answer, the information learned becomes easier to store in the head. A pattern is formed, which the teacher keeps updating on the blackboard or whiteboard as new questions are asked. Let’s say Team A got all the questions right. Now the Teacher will ask Team B the next set of questions which are formed of the answers given by Team A to the first set of questions.

Team B: Second Set of Questions

  1. The books in the Old Testament are divided into three categories. Name them.
  2. The books in the New Testament are divided into three categories. Name them.

Team B: Answers

  1. History, Poetry, Prophecy.
  2. History, Letters, Prophecy.

For correctly providing the six answers, Team B earns 6 points and gets to pick a prize. Now the teacher creates a new set of question from these answers and askes Team A some new questions.

Team A: Third Set of Questions

  1. In the Old Testament, how many books are there in the category of History, Poetry and Prophecy?
  2. In the New Testament, how many books are there in the category of History, Letters and Prophecy?

Team A: Answers

  1. 17, 5, 17
  2. 4, 21, 1

The teacher needs to discuss the answers provided with both the Teams. In the above scenario, the Teacher may question both the Teams if they are hundred percent sure these answers are correct. The Teacher may proceed forward like this:

Are there really 17 History Books in the Old Testament?

At this point, students are given the opportunity to look at their Bible content page and count the history books to see if they really add to seventeen. The Teacher will then follow through asking if the count on all the other categories is correct. I purposely answered the count of History Books for the New Testament four assuming the Team A thought that only the four Gospels were History Books and left out the Book of the Acts of the Apostles which is also a History Book. So, the correct answer should have been five. This gives the teacher and the students the opportunity to start a group discussion on figuring out the correct number of history books in the New Testament, the name of these books and why they are included in the category of History and not any other.

Now this is one form of using the Structural Bible Study method. One of the major purpose for Structural Bible Study is Teamwork with Progressive Learning. The reason learning is progressive is because you learn along the way as you get your answers wrong. It somewhat eliminates the need to do long discussions on topics which the students are already familiar with. There’s a catch at the end of the Bible Study though. Keep in mind that the Teacher keeps writing down the answers on the board. At the end, he or she briefly goes through all the information accumulated and then opens the floor for any questions or answers that the students could not understand.

As I mentioned before, that there are many different forms that the Teacher can use to start a Structural Bible Study. The important fact to note is to make sure the questions and answers are interlinked together to form a pattern on the board, which the teacher can explain in simple terms at the end of the Bible Study. I have tested out this form of Bible Study and received a very positive feedback from my students. I highly recommend that you give this form of Bible Study a try and see if this is something that will help your group to grow, learn, and advance in your Bible knowledge and spiritual walk with God. Amen.