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Top 5 New Bible Studies for Small Groups – 2021

As you know, at Small Group Advisor, we take our recommendations of bible studies very seriously. This means that we’ve spent the past couple weeks watching videos and assessing the companion study guides as we continue the quest to recommend only the best of the best for our site visitors/blog readers. During this process, we typically utilize the following criteria:

1) Must have sound teaching based on biblical principles and scripture
2) Must have DVDs/videos that are accessible to everyone (can be purchased if necessary)
3) Must have a study guide (we prefer ones that have personal homework at least 3 days per week)
4) Must have reasonable video length (we try not to recommend studies with videos over 30 minutes)
5) Must have an engaging and relatable teacher

So after reviewing nearly 25 studies, we narrowed it down to just 5 (published/released in 2021) that we deemed suitable to be included in our list of Top 100 best video bible studies for small groups.

So here our our Top 5 New Bible Studies for 2021:

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Best New Bible Studies for 2020

COVID put a significant damper not only on social engagement, but also production companies in 2020.  Therefore, our usual study review was delayed because there simply weren’t many new bible studies for small groups released in 2020.  That said, we did find a few that we wanted to add to our list of Top 100 Best Video Bible Studies.

In August of 2020, Harvest House Publishers and RightNowMedia teamed up with Tony Evans to release The Power of Knowing God.   They released a book along with DVD/streaming videos and a companion study guide featuring the teaching of Tony Evans.  Well, Dr. Evans happens to be one of our favorite teachers here at Small Group Advisor.   His teaching style is authentic, straight-forward and filled with every day life analogies that we so appreciate.  This particular study poses some thought-provoking questions (especially for those of us that go to church every Sunday and go to bible studies during the week).  How well do we really KNOW God?  Do we really experience Him as our friend, heavenly Father and companion in every day life?   God wants to know you intimately and Dr. Evans helps open eyes as to how this can be achieved.

And then in November of 2020, author and bible study teacher, Lysa Terkeurst came out with Forgiving What You Can’t Forget: Discover How to Move On, Make Peace with Painful Memories, and Create a Life That’s Beautiful Again.  We here at SGA think this is her most vulnerable and personal study yet.   She has faced some significant pain and issues in her life over the past several years including marital problems and breast cancer.  And in this study, she is up front about the fact that it is beyond difficult to forgive people when you have suffered so much or when the person keeps inflicting pain.  This is the perfect study choice if you are stuck in an unresolved pain cycle or have people in your life that just don’t seem to get it and are unwilling to make things right.  God requires us to forgive and this study helps us figure out a way to do just that. 

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Top 10 Bible Studies from 2020

As mid-January rolls around, I thought it would be a great time to look back at the small group bible studies that were released in 2020.  With COVID19 running rampant around the world, this year saw many of us hunkering down with our families and doing small group sessions virtually.  Fortunately, many of the new releases were actually filmed back in 2019 so there were plenty of fantastic studies to choose from for our virtual get-togethers on Zoom.

After watching and analyzing the available offerings, here is my list of Top 10 Bible Studies from 2020.  I hope you find them as inspiring as I did!  As always, feel free to leave your thoughts and feedback in the comments section.

NOTE – the videos for all of the studies (except Matchless and Better) are also available on Study Gateway so you could just stream them online and then buy the study guide from Amazon.com

#1) Forgiving What You Can’t Forget by Lysa TerKeurst

It seems like Lysa TerKeurst comes out with a new bible study every year.  Sometimes they speak to me and sometimes not so much.  But in this study, you can feel Lysa’s palpable pain as she has walked this journey of forgiveness herself.  How does one forgive the unforgivable?  This powerful study is a keeper.

 

#2) You Are Never Alone by Max Lucado

When you are in the midst of a storm, God is right there with you.  This study couldn’t have been more appropriate for the times and challenges that we face in 2020 and beyond.

 

#3) Meant for Good with Megan Fate Marshman

Using Jeremiah 29:11-14 as the basis for this study, Ms. Marshman explores how to listen for God’s voice, how to let go of your past, how to defeat anxiety, and how to finally and fully trust God’s plan for your life.

 

#4) 28 Day Prayer Journey with Chrystal Evans Hurst

Do you feel like your prayer life is lacking?  If you struggle with distractions, doubts, or consistency, this bible study will offer you great tips and suggestions so that you can start having simple, meaningful and heartfelt conversations with God.

 

#5) Galatians: Accepted and Free with Jada Edwards

One of my favorite bible studies for women released in 2020!   Galatians: Accepted and Free, features practical teaching from Jada Edwards based on the fact that God has called and chosen each of us.  As part of the beautiful word bible studies collection, the study guide is like a piece of art so get your crayons or colored pencils ready so you can share in the fun!

 

#6) Matchless: The Love & Life of Jesus by Angie Smith

This study will deepen your understanding of Jesus through biblical, historical, and cultural insight and help you see Him less as an iconic figure and more as an intimate friend.  Angie Smith unfolds the story of our matchless Savior—His mission, miracles, and message.

 

#7) Jesus Over Everything with Lisa Whittle

Lisa Whittle challenges us to put Jesus over everything- from simple to complex circumstances, heart to head understanding, in everyday application and see what really happens. Because only when He is first do we know what a truly transformed life feels like.

 

#8) Everything You Need with Dr. David Jeremiah

Drawing on 2 Peter 1:3–11, Dr. Jeremiah shows how there is help at your fingertips—help that will give you everything you need to walk life’s trail with resilience and strength. While many Christians feel unprepared to walk the journey of faith, you can be assured that God has provided the tools you need to guide your way—resources such as virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.

 

#9) Get Out Of Your Head with Jennie Allen

One of my favorite bible study teachers for women shares the truth of how to get out of the spiraling and non-helpful thoughts/feelings that can take over our lives.  If you want to get free, join Jennie for this study through Philippians that includes video teaching, group discussion, and personal study that will inspire real change from the inside out and will help you choose to get out of your head and into the mind of Christ.

 

#10) Better: A Study of Hebrews with Jen Wilkin

This year I am focused more and more on Books of the Bible rather than just themes or topics so this new study from Jen Wilkin was a no-brainer for my top 10 list. In this verse-by-verse study of the Book of Hebrews, Jen Wilkin explores how God “provided something better for us” in the person of Jesus Christ (Heb. 11:40).

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Online Bible Studies for Women

For the past year or so, Lifeway Women has been offering free access to 2 or 3 different studies each quarter. This is an ideal option for women’s groups that are meeting virtually to save some money and to get some direction on choosing a study. If you’ve never hosted or participated in an online/virtual bible study, here’s how it normally works.

  1. Watch – you watch the video and make notes of anything that stands out to you. You think about and answer the group discussion questions contained in your study guide.
  2. Discuss – you meet with your group via an online platform such as Zoom to discuss the video, discussion questions and pray.
  3. Study – you do your personal study exercises contained in most participant’s guides before watching the next video so you are ready to meet with your group again.
  4. Rinse and repeat.

Starting in January of 2021, they will be offering access to the following three studies (I highly recommend that each member of your small group purchase their own individual participant’s guide). My group utilized this opportunity to study Jude with Jackie Hill Perry and it turned out to be our favorite bible study EVER.

You can simply go to Lifeway and sign-up to participate in any one of the following studies that they are offering to kick-off 2021!

 

Option 1 – Matchless with Angie Smith

To kick off the new year, you can study Matchless—an 8-session study to search for truth as Angie Smith unfolds the story of our matchless Savior—His mission, miracles, and message. Through her signature wit and accessible style, Angie unpacks Scripture in a way that’s easy to understand, regardless of how long you’ve been studying the Bible (a great option for new believers!). This study will deepen your understanding of Jesus through biblical, historical, and cultural insight and help you see Him less as an iconic figure and more as an intimate friend.

Starts on Thursday, January 7. You’ll be able to watch the weekly teaching videos for free!* All you’ll need is a copy of the Bible study book to follow along with the discussion which you can buy at Lifeway or at Amazon.

*Videos will remain up for free until March 11, 2021 (11:59 PM CT).

 

Option 2 – U – turns with Tony Evans

Consider kicking off 2021 with one of my favorite teachers, Tony Evans. In this 6-session study about God’s direction over your life, Dr. Tony Evans shows you the reality of human freedom, the consequences that come from bad choices, and the way to reverse the consequences. By aligning your life choices under God’s Word and pursuing an intimate relationship with Him, you can experience the abundant life Jesus has for you. You get to choose whether or not you want that. And sometimes, you get to witness God change the direction of your life.

Starts on Wednesday, January 6. You’ll be able to watch the weekly teaching videos for free!* All you’ll need is a copy of the Bible study book to follow along with the discussion which you can buy at Lifeway or at Amazon.

*Videos will remain up for free until March 10, 2021 (11:59 PM CT).

 

Option 3 – The Battle Plan for Prayer with Alex & Stephen Kendrick

Develop a deeper walk with God as you seek the Lord for your battles first. The Battle Plan for Prayer Bible Study equips believers to create their own prayer strategy and be specific and strategic in prayer. This 8 session study features teaching by Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick on the topics of: what prayer is and is not, why God wants us to pray, specific areas of prayer, specific strategies for prayer, and more.

Starts on Tuesday, January 5. You’ll be able to watch the weekly teaching videos for free!* All you’ll need is a copy of the Bible study book to follow along with the discussion which you can buy at Lifeway or at Amazon.

*Videos will remain up for free until March 9, 2021 (11:59 PM CT).

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RightNow Media Limited Free Access

For those of you that aren’t familiar with RightNow Media, they are an online platform that offers access to over 20,000 different biblically-based videos for small groups, church leaders, families, youth groups and more. Normally, your church must sign-up and pay big bucks to give their members access. I find this annoying because not every church can afford to give all of their members access. We’ve been asking for a way for individuals or small groups to access the vast video library on their own to no avail. However this year due to the COVID19 crisis, RightNow Media has generously opened up at least part of their library to the general public for free. That means that from now through July 2021, you can get free access to thousands of videos including amazing small group studies. Just go to RightNow Media and click on link at the top that says “Access Limited Library”. You will instantly be able to stream their content on all your devices like iphone, android, tablets, Roku, fireTV, chromecast, etc.

We love using RightNow Media for our virtual small group because we can simply watch the videos on our own before meetings and then just get-together to discuss the questions and video notes. We each buy or download (some are free) our own discussion guide for the given study and do the personal exercises during the week between meetings. Here are my three favorite Books of the Bible Studies from RightNow Media and because I’m all about honesty, I’d suggest you avoid Philippians by Jo Saxton and Ephesians by J.D. Greear (not much substance).

The Book of 1st Corinthians with Jennie Allen

In this 12-part series, author and speaker Jennie Allen walks into the messy lives of the Corinthians and takes us through Paul’s words to the conflicted church. We’ll see how the truth of the gospel and the Spirit of God can empower us to choose to follow Jesus every day of our lives.

 

Gospel of Mark with Francis Chan

In this 11-part series on the Gospel of Mark, author and speaker Francis Chan invites us to walk with him along the ancient ways of the Master. Tracing the steps of Jesus and the Twelve through Israel, Francis explores the major themes of the Gospel of Mark, and asks: Are we willing to take this journey to embrace discipleship?

 

The Books of 1, 2 and 3 John with Tony Evans

Comfortable Christianity often means a weak Christianity. In this study on John’s three letters, Dr. Tony Evans challenges Christians who have grown comfortable and complacent in their faith. Fellowship with God is the essence of our faith, and Tony walks through 1, 2 & 3 John to paint a picture of love, obedience, and truth. In a world that hates Jesus, we are called to love Him and His people with a fierce love.

NOTE – the study and leader guides are all included and can be printed out directly from RightNow Media for this small group study.

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Best New Small Group Bible Studies for 2020!

Well I’ve spent the last two weeks updating the Small Group Advisor website….fixing broken links, updating pictures, getting the prices up-to-date, etc. In addition, I’ve been going through newly released studies from 2019 and 2020 to see if any would make the Top 100 Best Bible Studies cut.

After watching literally 35 studies and looking through matching study guides and Amazon reviews, I’ve found a couple studies that we feel meet our requirements. That means a couple of others from Andy Stanley’s pre-2010 collection got the boot from the Top 100. That isn’t because the studies aren’t good, but in some cases, the newer content just seemed more relevant to the times we are currently facing.

Please let us know what you think of these two new 2020 small group bible studies by leaving reviews on our website after you’ve completed the study. The Get Out of Your Head Jennie Allen study won’t be fully available until April, but you can already pre-order it and the Get Your Life Back study with John Eldredge is already available. Enjoy!

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New Studies for 2019! Books of the Bible

Finally, finally…finally! Bible study publishers like Right Now Median and Zondervan have started coming out with studies that focus not only on a given topic, but instead on a specific Book of the Bible. This year they have released some great new studies that we think would be perfect for small group settings.

Of course, adding these new studies means that we had to get rid a few of the old ones that were featured in our Top 100 Best Small Group Studies so I spent quite a bit of time going through watching videos and looking at the discussion guides to select the best of the best. In the end, we replaced some existing studies with newer, more up-to-date versions of the same Bible Book.

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Christmas Serving Project

I am so bummed that we were out of town this past weekend, but four of the couples in our small group worked at the Big Lake Food Shelf on Saturday morning.  They checked in clients, packed groceries, and helped any way they could.  Hope we can do more of this in the future!

Afterward, they had a Christmas luncheon which I hear was delicious.  Looking forward to next year!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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New Studies for 2017!

As you can imagine, whittling down all the great studies out there just to our Top 100 favorites was difficult.  Initially, we had a hard time finding good studies to cover various books of the bible so this Spring I focused on finding some good ones to replace a few that we weren’t thrilled about.  If your group is looking for a great small group study that focuses on a Book of the Bible take a look at these:

Book of James: Developing a Faith That Works DVD Study

It should come as no surprise that Rick Warren is a favorite teacher of mine and although this two volume series dates from about 10 years ago.  It is an oldie, but goodie.  You’ll find practical advice for walking in faith and applying lessons to your everyday life.

Each volume is 6 sessions with a video that is 25 to 30 minutes long.  Be sure to get the study guide as well which will have memory verses, teachings and discussion questions.

 

The Girl’s Still Got It: Take a Walk with Ruth and the God Who Rocked Her World Small Group DVD Study

Liz Curtis Higgs is a well-known women’s bible study teacher that hits it out of the park with this series where she walks through the Book of Ruth which has 12 chapters verse by verse.  You can choose to do one chapter per session or do several so that you could meet for 3, 6, or 12 weeks.  The flexibility is nice.

The book is full of provoking study questions that will have your small group attendees talking and that’s the point right?!?

 

The Gospel According to Jonah: A New Kind of Obedience DVD Study

Join J.D. Greear for a walk through the Book of Jonah in a world that is fraught with missteps, disobedience, idolatry, and mistaken “identity.”

Group members will recognize some of this issues and themes in their own lives.  Be sure to get the participant’s guide as well!

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