The Bible clearly tells us that Christians are to exhort each other (not just an ordained minister or pastor encouraging others) or else we may find ourselves hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:12 - 13). Our persistent pursuit to understand the Bible, through our studies, is critical to grasping not only the will of God, but also strengthening our faith, instructing us in right living, and providing a foundation on which to receive salvation (2Timothy 3:15 - 17).
The Bible (in particular the New Testament), in spite of what many denominations may teach and practice, supports the concept of small groups conducting studies of God's word. These groups, which were much of the time led by those we would not consider "ordained," regularly met in homes to worship God and fellowship with one another.
Aquila and Priscilla, a couple the Apostle Paul met during his second missionary journey, led Bible studies in their home (Romans 16:3, 5). They were instrumental in teaching Apollos the full truth about the gospel and Jesus Christ that he lacked (Acts 18:24 - 28). A man named Nymphas, who lived in Laodicea, also hosted a group of believers in his home (Colossians 4:15 - 16). Philemon, from where we get the Bible book of the same name, led a fellowship as well (Philemon 2).
Christians meeting together to strengthen each other with the truth of the Bible and encourage fellow believers to do good works, is essential in the end time. The Apostle Paul admonishes us in the book of Hebrews that it is important for Christians to regularly meet so that we can, "(stir) up one another unto love and good works; Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together . . . but rather, encouraging one another" (Hebrews 10:24 - 25, HBFV).
Preparation and Tips
The person chosen to lead a particular study involving believers should first pray about the subject they wish to discuss. They should choose a topic that instructs and edifies their listeners and does not berate, put down or otherwise dominate them. They should be willing to do the work necessary to prepare notes with Scriptural references and whatever reference material they find helpful.
One method for leading a Bible discussion is to have those attending read a passage based on a particular topic. After the passage is read, others in the group can then offer their comments. Another method is having the person chosen to led services that day talk for ten or fifteen minutes and then ask the group for any information that would like to add or questions that come to mind. Further discussion during Bible studies can be stimulated by having the leader ask questions of the group.
What are some tips for conducting a home based Bible study that will help you avoid certain problems? No single person should be allowed to dominate a meeting of the group or fellowship. Discussion helps clarify what is read and taught, and exposes our understanding to others so that it might be corrected or adjusted. Any meeting of believers should be conducted with the goal of everyone respectfully participating (1Corinthians 14).
Intense or heated discussions during Bible studies should be avoided. Such behavior can tear an otherwise fruitful meeting apart! Try to stay on the general topic being discussed. Discussions that stray can end up being boring and unedifying. Encourage give and take in your meetings, but do not let anyone use it for selfish purposes (e.g. to push their own "pet doctrines" or to gain a following).
Lastly, please be mindful that many people may have to work the day after your have a Bible study or meeting in your home. Keep the time of the meeting to a reasonable length (one to two hours) so that folks can make it home safely.