When I was in college, I had the idea of starting a small Bible study with friends—a casual time to meet once a week and talk about the Bible. So I reached out to a few guys and set a time for us to get together. We got there, engaged in the requisite small talk, then sat down and realized that none of us actually knew how to conduct a Bible study. We had all participated in one before, of course. But when it came to facilitating one, we realized we were woefully unprepared. We didn’t know where turn in Bible, and we didn’t know what to do once we got there. All we knew is that we wanted to talk about the Bible, but we had no plan or tools for actually doing it.
Maybe you’ve found yourself in the same situation. Or maybe, instead of focusing on a particular Bible passage, you’re trying to talk about a sermon, but don’t really know how. In addition to prayer and fellowship, our small groups also participate in sermon-based discussion, so I wanted to provide a short framework and series of questions you can ask of any sermon to help prevent others finding themselves in the same situation I did with my ill-fated college Bible study.
If a sermon has no implications for the lives of its hearers, then the preacher hasn’t fully done his job. In the lives of Christians, a sermon should:
- apply the Word of God
- to the People of God
- that they may believe afresh the Gospel of God
- and do the Work of God
- in the World God has created.
One of the ways we can reinforce this work and plant the applications of God’s Word down deep in our hearts is by talking about the sermon with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Answer the following questions by referring back to specific verses in the passage or specific points in the sermon to help solidify the truth of God’s Word in the hearts and lives of your group.
- Did anything stand out to you from this sermon or passage?
- Anything particularly impactful, powerful, convicting, reassuring, or new
- What did you learn about God from this sermon or passage?
- Was His character on display in a unique or captivating way?
- Were any actions of comfort or deliverance or displays His glory mentioned?
- Were any promises made or kept?
- What did you learn about God’s Word from this sermon or passage?
- Was there anything surprising or unexpected in the passage?
- Did you learn anything about the structure of the Bible as a whole that you found helpful?
- Was there anything revealed about God’s or the human author’s purpose in writing this passage?
- Did anything strike you about the specific genre (wisdom literature, prophecy, apocalyptic literature, poetry, history, personal letter, or narrative)?
- How did this sermon or passage illuminate the truth of the gospel?
- Were you convicted of a certain sin? Is there something for which you need to repent to God or someone else?
- How can you live differently in light of the finished work of Christ? Is there a specific area of your life you need to give over in trust that Christ lays claim to it all?
- What future hope do we have for our fight against sin and our eternal life with Christ?
- How did this sermon or passage help you love and serve others?
- Are there any preferences you need to lay down for the sake of others?
- Did you learn anything about the love of God for you that shapes your understanding of how you are to love others?
- How did this passage or sermon inform your understanding or practice of missions and evangelism?
- How did this sermon or passage inform your life and service in the church?
- What did you learn about the way the church relates to one another?
- How does this passage or sermon strengthen unity in the congregation?
Of course, there are countless other questions that could be asked of any specific sermon, but these should give you a helpful starting place to dive deeply into the truth of God’s Word and help apply that truth to your life week after week.