One of the things I enjoy most about working for SmallGroups.com is the diversity of resources we produce here. We've got training tools, Bible studies, Icebreakers, interactive Web Quizzes, worship songs, Q & A questions, Darryl's Dilemma, E-Training Modules, audio and video clips—just about everything we could think of to help churches and individuals advance the kingdom of God through small-group ministry.
And as you can see from the list of our Top 10 Bible Studies below, that diversity also exists within each of the categories mentioned above. Where else can you find downloadable Bible studies covering topics ranging from Advent to "Theology 101" to "Is Our Gospel Too Small?"
Best of all, each of the Bible Studies listed below can be purchased at a 25 percent discount from now until the end of the month. So now, without further ado, here are the Top 10 Bible Studies of 2009.
1. Theology 101 (6 session course)
The word theology is derived from two Greek words: Theos (God) and logos (speech or reason). Therefore, theology in its simplest terms is rational discussion about God. It has been described as "the science of God and his relationship to man and the world" and "the attempt to reduce religious truth to an organized system." Systematic theology is any study that answers the question, "What does the whole Bible teach us today?"
If you would like to understand these basics about the Christian faith—such as the doctrines of the Bible, God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, mankind, the church, salvation, and the future—download this six-session course today.
2. Advent: Clash of Two Kingdoms (4 session course)
This four-part study looks at the ways that Jesus turned things upside down when he came to Earth. As the introduction to the study says, "[Advent is] more than a nice tale about a baby being born in difficult circumstances. It is the strategy of God and the tactics of the Son. It's about life, death, blood, confrontation, darkness, light, and war. It's the clash of two kingdoms."
3. Is Our Gospel Too Small? (6 session course)
Six Bible studies from the Christian Vision Project pose the question of our modern American gospel message: is it too small? In an age of consumerism, are we trying to "sell" Jesus? Are we embracing the whole Bible or just select parts of it? And is our faith real and deep enough that we can share it with others—simply, creatively, genuinely?
4. Ortberg on Understanding God (5 session course)
John Ortberg, pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California and author of numerous books including The Life You've Always Wanted and If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat, helps us to understand God better in this five-session course from our Great Bible Teachers series. Ortberg challenges us to partner with God in our spiritual growth by responding to the tests he sends, waiting on him patiently, and standing boldly for him. Enjoy this insightful new series from a popular Bible teacher.
5. Use Your Spiritual Gifts (5 session course)
This five-session course on spiritual gifts looks at our predisposed talents and how these change when we give our lives to Jesus Christ. Some spiritual gifts fit our personality, and others challenge us to grow and change. Spiritual gifts provide clues to God's intention for how we should live out our days and affirm the uniqueness of our calling as human instruments of his grace. Included is a personal inventory to help you determine your spiritual gift.
6. Nehemiah: Learning Leadership (4 session course)
If you've ever faced an overwhelming task or felt inadequate to meet a challenge, you'll be able to identify with Nehemiah. He struggled with issues still with us today: motivation, fatigue, criticism. But this book also offers inspiration and vision. Without neglecting the practical, Nehemiah shows how to tackle God's difficult assignments and survive both opposition and apathy.
7. Romans: Extreme Makeover of the Soul (Church Discipleship Campaign)
Most people in your church and small groups can probably think of things they would like to have renovated. It might be houses, cars, landscaping -- maybe even budgets or 401k's. But what about our souls?
This Church Discipleship Campaing provides an opportunity for your entire congregation to focus on what is truly important in their lives. You'll focus on vital Scriptures from the Book of Romans both in your weekly sermons and weekly Bible-study material, and you'll cover the whole experience of a mature follower of Jesus: justification, sanctification, transformation, and glorification. It's a great opportunity to help your whole church experience true life-change together.
8. John Ortberg on Jonah (Video Bible Study)
An excellent story and an excellent teacher make an excellent opportunity for your group to grow spiritually.
9. 1 Thessalonians: Sharing the Faith (4 session course)
Are you longing to learn how to share your faith? Or do you want to but don't know where to begin? Or does the whole idea terrify you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this series is for you. This four-session course looks at the apostle Paul's life, and his advice in the book of 1 Thessalonians to help us overcome our uncertainties and fears about sharing our faith. Hopefully by the end of this course, you will count talking about your faith with others as a great privilege.
10. The Elijah Chronicles (3 session course)
Elijah demonstrates both courage and fear in the book of 1 Kings. We see him boldly tell the evil king Ahab, "There will be no rain or dew until God says so." Elijah trusts God to bring a young man back to life, and he faces the prophets of Baal in a contest. But when Elijah bottoms-out emotionally, he finds out that God's kingdom is bigger than he can imagine. This three-session course reveals that God is true to his Word and that he will never leave us alone.
—Copyright 2010 by the author and Christianity Today.