Question Techniques for Student Bible Study


We have been using the Monday posts to think about today’s teens, Generation Z. While many teaching methods are appropriate for teens in small group Bible study, asking good questions may be the most helpful method you can use in guiding teens in Bible study. You can find a previous post about this topic here.

Here are four techniques for using questions in your small group Bible study with teens:

  1. Redirection. allows several learners to enter the conversation after asking a question. How? Ask the question. After a learner responses, ask the same question to another learner. You may need to add, “What can you add to that answer?” This technique encourages more learners to participant. Encouraging this sort of discussion will help youth feel more comfortable in group discussion. This also helps you avoid having one or two learners monopolize the discussion time.
  2. Prompting. allows you to offer clues and hints to encourage a successful response. This is particularly helpful when a learner gives an incorrect response. You can then add a hint or other information to help the learner answer correctly. For example, you might ask, “What are the marks of a disciple?” The learner might give a brief answer like, “A follower of Jesus.” Then you can prompt, saying, “Think about what we discussed. What does being a follower of Jesus mean?”
  3. Probing. technique allows you to prompt learners for more information. After asking a question and the learner responds, ask, “What else can you say to answer this question?” This helps you elicit a more complete response from your learners. This typically drives the learner deeper into the question.
  4. Wait Time. A scary time for a Bible study leader is that silence that usually occurs after he or she asks a question. You are wondering if they understand the question or if you did not teach the idea well. Be prepared for a full 10-second wait. Then re-state your question in another way. Wait again. The typical teacher only waits 1 second for a response so train yourself for a long wait. Get use to the wait. Why? Because if a teacher is quick to answer his or her own questions, teens will catch on and they will simply wait for the teacher to answer. Hang tough on this one!

Here are a few final hints:

  • Prepare questions in advance of the session. Don’t depend on getting inspired at the last minute as you teach. Plan your questions as you study to lead.
  • Prepare questions which motivate for learning, examine Bible content, and lead toward application.
  • State questions both verbally and in writing on the board or posters. When teens can see the question and hear the question, they tend to process the question better.
  • Present the questions and allow time for the learners to consider the answers.
  • Call for answers to the questions. Ask a question and expect an answer.
  • Do not ask questions that you do not intend for learners to answer. No rhetorical questions.
  • Make interpretative comments as necessary. You might need to add other information to clarify after a student responds, but resist the need to editorialize after every question.
  • Include everyone in the group in the answering process.

A master teacher is a master at asking questions. Questions help to determine how well you taught the session and can gauge learning. Learners who participate well in discussions become motivated to learn in a deeper way. Honing your questioning skills will help you be more effective in making young disciples.

Scripture: in Job 38-41, God asked Job several questions. Scan through Job 38-42. What do you think God wanted Job to learn as he dealt with God’s questions?

Dig Deeper: Read The Youth Worker’s Guide to Creative Bible Study by Karen Dockrey.

Now It’s Your Turn: Do you prepare questions as you study or do you come up with questions as you teach? Which works best in promoting learning in your group?  Please share your ideas so we can all grow together.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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