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GUIDELINES FOR BIBLE SHARING GROUPS

 

THE PEOPLE IN THE GROUP AND ITS STRUCTURE

  1.        Form a group of 20 people-to insure that 10-12 people will be present at all sessions.

  2.        Each group should have a leader. This function can rotate from session to session and it is always part of a total cooperative effort by all.  However, the leader should:

 a.         Plan the session;

b.         Introduce the section to be read;

c.         Lead discussion, promote participation, keep discussion on the Bible;

d.         Provide stimulating discussion questions;

e.         Research answers to problems that come up.

  3.        Meet at least once every two weeks, preferably once a week for 1 ½ to 2 hours.

 4.        Provide means of communication among members to:

                         a.         Inform members if you will be absent;

                        b.         To hear preaching of priests.

 5.        Have longer meetings with other groups from time to time, perhaps with a Liturgy of the Word, Eucharist, Fellowship, etc.

 6.        Unite for Sunday Mass with other members of the group.

a.         Lectors should be members of the group.

           b.         To hear preaching of priests.

 7.        Involve children when they are ready.

 8.            Constantly seek new members; form new groups to reach out to more people.

 9.        Be flexible in structure.

 10.       If group is incompatible in outlook or style, feel free to change or form a new group.

 11.            Frequent reasons for failure:

a.        Too few members                                 e.         Insufficient new information

b.         No experience of growth                      f.          Lack of study

c.         Insubstantial discussion                         g.         Not sticking to the Bible

d.         Not enough input from members  

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE SESSIONS

 

1.         Prayer is an essential part of each session; it should be drawn from the texts you will be sharing.

 2.         Study and meditate on the Bible itself, not books or commentaries about the Bible:

a.         Use a Catholic Bible with footnotes and introductions

 b.         Have on hand a Catholic commentary on the Bible to use as a reference source

 3.            Concerning each passage you are sharing ask:

 a.         What is the literal sense of the Bible?

 b.         What is the relationship of the passage you are working on to the whole Bible and to the book of the Bible in which it is contained?

 c.         What special significance does the passage have for life today?

 d.         How have you experienced the truth of the passage in your own life?

 e.         Where do you find similar ideas and themes in other books of the Bible?

 4.         Before each sharing session, each member of the group should:

 a.         Read the passage in the Bible

  b.         Study the notes and commentaries as necessary

 c.         Be prepared to participate in the discussion by asking appropriate questions about the meaning of the passage

 5.         Begin with the New Testament: The Acts of the Apostles, The Gospel of Luke, the Letter to the Romans.  Decide how many sessions you want to have to go through each book.  When you have completed these books, you are ready to read any other   you wish.  Reading these three and sharing them may take you a year and a half.

 6.         Read the Old Testament in the light of the New; for example,  always read the original passage in the Old Testament when it  is referred to in the passage of the New Testament you are sharing.

 7.            Summarize frequently in your discussions and give a final summary at the end of your sharing session.