Developing Bible study aims and objectives can be challenging and one of the most important aspects of any Bible study program. Bible studies are about learning about God, how He has worked in the past, how we can trust Him today, and how He will work in the future (1 Peter 1:3). Developing Bible study aims and objectives helps you focus on this objective as you develop your program.
The Bible is an incredible book, full of wisdom and hope that can inspire you in your life and faith. But the Bible can also be intimidating—the sheer volume of the text can seem daunting to anyone looking to better understand it or simply pick it up for the first time. While reading the Bible cover-to-cover might be out of reach at this point, there are several other ways to better understand and engage with Scripture that don’t require you to read every word (which would take years!). Bible study aims and objectives are one way to get more out of your regular time spent in God’s Word.
Remember Why You’re Doing This
Before you start developing your aims and objectives, it’s important to take a step back. It can be easy to get bogged down in details or worry about things going perfectly during your study time. But don’t forget why you are studying the bible; don’t lose sight of what you hope to accomplish. Remember that these aims and objectives are meant to help you follow through on your goals—not distract you from them. That said, keep reading for some tips on how to build a great set of objectives!
Define Your Audience and Where They Can Find You
When you start studying, it’s easy to get caught up in all of your notes. But it’s not too early to consider who you’re talking to—to think about how you will present your study. For example, if I plan on presenting a study at a particular church on Sunday mornings, I probably don’t need to include any Hebrew words in my notes; anyone who wants to go deeper into my study should be able to come back another time or access further resources. But if I want my audience to be members of that church body specifically, I would want them there in person so they can follow along with me from a copy of my notes that I post publicly online.
Choose the Right Format
In a world where there are millions of bible translations, selecting which one to study from can be overwhelming. There are so many factors to consider such as language or whether you want an NIV bible or ESV bible. Other decisions that you need to make include studying a book in chronological order, reading by genre, or perhaps even dissecting specific portions of scripture like Jesus’ parables. Deciding on your format is an important step because it will dictate how long your study will take, what readings you will do daily and weekly, how much time you need per day/week, etc.
Pick One Aim and One Objective
As you begin to develop a plan for your bible study, it’s important to select an aim and an objective. An aim is what you are ultimately trying to accomplish while studying God’s word—what is your goal? One objective that can help guide your aim might be: I want to be able to recall three things I learned from my bible study at any given time. This objective could be developed from one of many aims, such as: I want God’s word deep in my heart (Psalm 119:11), or I want to be better equipped for Christian service (2 Timothy 3:16-17). With these aims in mind, let's dive into objectives. Write a professional business letter based off the following description:
Draft an Outline or Plan
The first thing you should do before sitting down to write your study plan is to draft an outline. Think about what you want to accomplish with your study. What is it that you want your people to be able to do after they’ve gone through it? What is their goal? With those two things in mind, begin outlining how best to get there. There are a couple different ways of doing that, including creating a timeline of sorts, breaking it down into steps or listing off everything out so you can begin deciding what’s important and what isn’t. I prefer something close to a list format (see above), but maybe you feel more comfortable with timeline or another structure instead; try out different formats until one speaks most clearly to you and then go with that.
Consider How You Want to Measure Success
Before you begin your study, think about how you want to measure its success. At times, people will forget what they’re trying to learn or how they are trying to get there, so being clear on these matters can help keep your group on track with specific aims. Ask yourself: What does success look like? How will I know we have reached it? Write down a few ways that you plan to measure progress toward reaching your goal.
Incorporate a Time Line into Your Approach
Chances are, your pastor doesn’t expect you to cover all 66 books of the Bible over a one-year period (though if she does, kudos!). Make sure you come up with an appropriate timeframe, whether it be daily or monthly. As you look at your aims, identify what portions of scripture will need to be covered in order to address those aims. These portions should fall into an identifiable timeframe—for example: Matthew 1–4 for Week 1; Luke 4:14–30 for Week 2; James 1:13–2:18 for Week 3; John 8:1–11 for Week 4. Now that your time line is set, you can use it as a focus point when looking at each portion of scripture.
Promote Your Teaching Sessions
Before your first lesson, let your students know that you’ll be sending out emails from time to time that link to videos or encourage them to visit particular websites. You should also send announcements about upcoming events related to your study, such as guest speakers or picnics at which you’ll discuss what you’ve been learning. The more ways you promote these ideas, either in-person or online, the more likely people will be to participate. And of course, don’t forget about any social media accounts that are associated with your church or ministry—many communities use these sites as an effective way to communicate upcoming events.
When it comes to teaching your students how to study the Bible, it’s important to help them develop goals and objectives. After all, you can’t expect them to develop good habits if they don’t know what they are working towards! Here are some helpful tips that can guide you in developing appropriate goals and objectives for your Bible study class.