Based on statistics from the turn of the millennium, the vast majority of Americans have at least one copy of the Bible but less than half are able to name any of the Gospels or the Ten Commandments. Preparing Bible study outlines that present information in a clear, accurate and simple manner is one way of helping more people in your area learn basic biblical information and deepen their faith. An effective outline provides information and stimulates personal reflection.

Choose a Bible passage. If you are having Bible studies on a regular basis, make a calendar and set passages in advance for the studies to make sure you progress steadily through the different books you choose. Select the passages sequentially, going through the Bible in order, liturgically based on the weekly liturgy and liturgical season; or thematically, choosing passages from different parts of the Bible related to certain topics.

Define the main points. Points can be academic, exploring the language, history and contextual meaning of the passage; or spiritual, interpreting the message of the passage and how it should influence daily life. Give a brief explanation of each point as a basis for discussion.

Write reflection questions. Use these after the general discussion to help participants evaluate the passage in light of their personal experience and summarize what they have learned through the Bible study. Suggest a few action points that can be adopted individually or as a group at the end of the Bible study.