I’ve led many a Bible study through the years. It’s taken a very long time, but I seem to have arrived at what I believe is the optimal length of time for a Bible study.
What I mean is that if you’re going to do a topical Bible study, you don’t have any more time than that to finish. And when I say you don’t have any more time, I mean it. I’ve never had a Bible study go any longer than that. I’ve planned 12, 14 and 16-week topical Bible studies that all ended after 10 weeks.
You can do Bible studies in less time than that, of course, but if you’re wanting to dig as deep as possible it seems there’s a limit.
This is something that’s puzzled me, but I have some theories. Life cycles, especially with children, seem to be a determining factor. When you factor in holidays, vacations, special events and the length of a school semester you arrive at not a day more than 10 weeks that you have a family’s attention.
When it comes to the younger crowd (pre-kids), it seems that the attention span before they’re ready to commit to something else is 10 weeks as well.
I’ve led Bible studies where the people were whole-heartedly engaged with lively discussions that completely die after 10 weeks. It’s an interesting phenomenon to me. I’m sure there are plenty of people who can lead Bible studies longer than 10 weeks, but I’m certainly not one of them. And I think the vast majority of people fall into a 10 week life cycle of one kind or another.
So I’m curious to find out from you, what do you think is the optimal Bible study length, and why? What’s the longest you’ve ever attended a topical Bible study? What’s the longest you’ve ever successfully led a topical Bible study?
Sound off in the comments.