Why include discussion in a Bible study, small group, or Sunday School class? Why not just lecture, or watch a great preacher or teacher on DVD, then call it quits for the day?

Discussion is an essential part of every Bible study or teaching time for six important reasons:

1. Discussion keeps people attentive. It's easy for listening to become a passive activity. If a class is composed of pure lecture (including DVDs or videos), people can tune out at any time. Discussion encourages people to listen actively because they don't know when you might ask a question and request their input on the topic at hand.

2. Discussion lets people actively participate. People want to be involved. Discussion opens the floor to let people share their wisdom, talk about themselves and their experiences, and help others.

3. Discussion helps people make principles their own. By talking about a topic, discussion helps people make the movement from hearing facts (head knowledge), to understanding truth (heart knowledge).

4. Discussion brings additional insights. Teachers are not magically gifted with all knowledge. The participants in the group or class will often be able to add examples, insights, and encouragement that the teacher simply doesn't possess. By giving people a chance to speak, leaders allow God to get across everything he might want to say.

5. Discussion keeps balance in the group. Sometimes people are tempted to put a teacher or leader on a pedestal as "the keeper of all knowledge." Discussion helps level the playing field: by inviting discussion, leaders affirm that they are also students of the Word, and that each person can learn from everyone else.

6. Discussion fosters relationships among members. When people talk and share, they build bridges between one another. Especially in a small group setting, discussion is critical for developing true relationships with one another.

© 2008 Paula Marolewski

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Author's Bio: 

Paula J. Marolewski provides challenging and interactive adult Bible studies for individuals, Bible studies, small groups, and adult Sunday School classes at SinkYourRoots.com. Studies include such topics as Debunking the Myths about Knowing God's Will. The site also offers free weekly Seedlings - “Little thoughts that grow big results.”