You don’t have to be a Jews for Jesus volunteer to offer one-on-one Bible studies to an unbelieving friend. Here are some guidelines that can help you as you study with someone who is spiritually seeking.
- If possible, meet in your home. You have several resources close at hand in your own home (such as reference books) that won’t be available at your friend’s home. Also, your friend’s home might have many distractions (interruptions from telephones and children) that you can minimize in your own home.
- Offer hospitality, but don’t overdo it. It’s always good to offer a cold drink in warm weather, or a hot drink in cold weather, along with a small nosh (snack). However, if your hospitality is too generous, your guest might feel uncomfortable and your hospitality might appear to be an inducement.
- Select a convenient meeting time for your friend, but if she or he works, see if you can schedule the Bible study directly after work. Point out that the lesson is short, and this way, your friend can have most of the evening free. Once a person is home from work and has eaten a meal, there’s more temptation to stay comfortably at home and cancel the Bible study.
- Stick to the time limit you promised. If you said it would be a half-hour Bible study, stick to the half-hour. If you are not yet experienced, give your material a practice run so that you’ll know if you are trying to cover too much material in too short a time.
- Do not get sidetracked with irrelevant issues. Keep on point. You can always offer to interact with an off-point question at a later time.
- If possible, and especially if your friend is Jewish, use their copy of the Bible to put them at ease. The authorized Jewish version of the Hebrew Scriptures has some of the books in a different order than your Bible. If you have many opportunities to open the Bible with a Jewish friend, you might want to purchase your own copy so that you can familiarize yourself with the order.
- Ask your friend to read the passage aloud so that he or she is interacting with the text.
- Don’t write out the entire lesson for your friend as this discourages listening, but if you can, print out an outline of each lesson that she or he can use to follow along and take notes.
- Most importantly, pray! Ask for God’s help, both to give you wisdom and to soften your friend’s heart. “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Psalm 127:1).