There are many reasons why people might find it difficult to speak up in a Bible study. Some will fear getting the answers wrong; some will be too shy to speak up; some will be intimidated by the group setting; some won’t have their head in the game and be distracted by other matters. So how can we make it easier for people to engage?
You might also find that the same people tend to dominate discussion. They are quick to jump in and answer questions or perhaps they will tend to offer an opinion on most topics. Some people are more confident in handling the Bible and others rely on their experience or general knowledge in answering questions. So how can we get others to contribute and keep the study from being a forum for one or two ‘experts’?
Here’s a suggestion: try the consider—consult—contribute approach.
When you ask the group a question get people to take some time to consider the answer for themselves. Point them back to the Bible and get them thinking about what it means and how it applies. No one needs to speak up at this point.
Then suggest people get together in twos and threes to discuss their observations and answers together. If there are only two or three people, it will make it easier for the less confident people to speak up. Make it okay for people ‘not to be sure’ and get people cooperating by sharing their thoughts and ideas. Encourage people to listen to each other and give one another equal time.
After people have had time to work things through in their pairs and triplets, a few people can be invited to share their little group’s findings with the group as a whole. If you ask a few questions using this approach, then you can ensure that a variety of people contribute by sharing with the group.