6 Essential Elements to a Thriving Women’s Bible Study Group

If you're considering starting a women's Bible study, or need help with the one you lead, here are 6 elements to help make it thrive! #WomenLivingWell #GoodMorningGirls #OnlineBibleStudy #WomensBibleStudy

On Monday, I talked about Social Media and Our Friendships.  I encouraged us all to take our friendships off-line.  Starting or joining a women’s fall Bible study is a PERFECT way to do this!  Here’s what I’ve learned about women’s studies.

For over 30 years, I’ve watched my mom lead Women’s In-depth Bible Studies. I followed in her footsteps 15 years ago and began leading women’s studies also. The studies I have led have always met on a weekly basis. We usually go for 10 weeks in the fall, 15 weeks in the winter/spring and 8 weeks in the summer.

As a child, I peeked through the railing of our stairs and watched the ladies come in streams through our front door. There was excitement in the air as the women ate snacks and laughed together. Some would come upstairs and visit my sisters and I to give us hugs goodnight – we loved that! Then in my footed pajamas along side my 2 sisters, we would freeze so my mom would not see us peeking, and there’d be a hush as my mom opened in prayer and then taught God’s word. It fascinated me as a child to watch all these women open God’s word. What a joyous night we had in our home once a week!

Since I’ve started blogging, I have not led a study but I have attended and hosted them in my home because I believe they are so vital to my walk with God and Christian friendships.  This summer, I have had the joy of welcoming over 20 ladies into my home on Wednesday nights. To be honest, a group of 20 is a bit large. 12 is an ideal number for connecting – but when it comes to studying God’s word – I turn no one away!

Some essential elements to a thriving women’s Bible study group are:
1. A good leader – she must have integrity and be wise with her words. She must love God’s word and all the women and be praying daily for her group.

2. A good Bible study book – there are many good materials out there. My personal favorites are written by Kay Arthur, Beth Moore and Elizabeth George.

3. Consistency
– the ladies must be committed to attending.

4. Prayer time together –
sometimes ladies can share too much or too long. It’s important to give them time to share prayer requests and connect – but it’s equally important that it does not take so long that there’s no time left for Bible study discussion. It’s the leaders job to manage this time.

5. Confidentiality –
the women need to keep in confidence all that is shared during Bible study time. No husband bashing…as I have personally watched a friend not be allowed to attend Bible study because other women were doing this and he feared his wife would do the same. Protect the marriages and ask private matters to be shared one-on-one.

6. Food and laughter –
some cookies, coffee and fellowship time for 15 minutes at the beginning and again at the end can do a soul good.

The first time I ever led a women’s Bible study fresh out of college (It was a Beth Moore study), I was a bit nervous.  But the joy I have found participating in Women’s Bible Study is uncomparable!  I just love learning God’s word with other women!

Are you in a Bible study this fall?  Tell me about it!  What have you found to be an essential element to a thriving Bible study?  And If God is laying on your heart the desire to lead or host a Bible study in your home or church, Go For It! Just watch God knock your socks off!!

Walk with the King!

Not sure where to study in your Bible – check out all of the Bible Studies we offer at Women Living Well – HERE.

My most popular Bible Study is my Ecclesiastes Study – check out the free video series and all of the resources HERE.  Your group will love this one!


Ecclesiastes: Wisdom for Living Well
An In-depth Bible Study

**Was #1 on Amazon’s Best Selling Christian Devotionals List**

Available exclusively on Amazon both in Paperback &  Kindle.

*This post contains affiliate links.


  1. What a blessing to grow up in a home where God’s word went out to so many. I’d love to find a group like this. The one that I did attend was more of a judgemental, partonizing meeting that turned me off because I felt like I could never measure up to these women.

  2. Love this! Completely agree with all 6 elements. I also grew up sneaking peaks at my mom leading a Bible study or discipleship group. Loved seeing those women all praying together. I lead a group for several years when we first moved to Dallas but the one problem I faced was that eventually the group grew too large. Is your group new each semester or do the same girls continue coming and how do you handle when the group gets too large? I tried to encourage another girl to lead and split the group. Eventually I just stepped back completely and now there are two groups meeting.

    1. When I began leading 15 years ago- my first study had 16. The next year it had 32 (many returned plus new added in). I found a girl in the group that I felt was mature spiritually and who often answered the questions (she wasn’t shy and clearly did her homework 🙂 ) and I asked her to co-lead with me. She said “yes”! So we would divide the group for group discussion and then come together to watch the Video. We did this for years. There was a little bit of drama trying to divide the group – certain friends wanted to be with certain friends and certain people wanted certain leaders – but in the end it all worked out!

      1. Did you do this at your house?! 32? I have facilitated a Beth Moore Study. The problem I’ve run into is how long the meetings tend to be. Her videos are all over an hour. It’s hard to have a few minutes to socialize, prayer requests and prayer, discussion of the week (which I love and don’t want to minimize, because it is so refreshing to see what God is teaching each of these ladies!), then get the video in too. Her videos are always really good too! Any suggestions??

        1. I had a great experience going b through Betg Moore’s Breaking Free study. For time savers, our leaders had anyone who wanted to catch up come 30 min early, they had prayer request cards and pens on a tray in the middle of the room (also with encouraging Bible verse cards if anyone wanted to take one) the idea was to leave a prayer card and take a prayer card. This saved a lot of time but also allowed the ladies to get to know one another. Another time saver was nit havibg to answer every question, but instead the leader would go through each day asking if anythibg really stood out to anyone…or has a star from their notes next to it etc. It was a group that changed depending on the week but was around 13 ladies. I’m hosting for that series starting soon and I’m excited!

  3. Right on, Sister! GREAT post and all six elements are so crucial. I have been leading Bible study for the past five years straight and LOVE it! I look forward to Thursday mornings all week. We take the summers off since with our combined almost 30 children there is just too much going on. I am really looking forward to next week…. Kick off for the new school year. Really enjoyed your pictures…. that is one thing I have never been good at… I think I need to make sure I get some pics this year! I hope your post has inspired other women to either host or attend a woman’s Bible study…. It has been a HUGE key for growth in God and emotional well being.

  4. I’ve been thinking about doing a women’s Bible study & this was the perfect advice. I’m also glad I’m not the only one that doesn’t like husband bashing or allow it.

  5. Guess what, Courtney? Because of your encouragement and the Lord working in my heart, I am officially starting a women’s Bible Study… Tuesday nights, beginning September 13! We’ll be doing Beth Moore’s “Believing God” study and I am so excited!! Thank you for your insight and wisdom. I’ll have to let you know how it goes… 🙂

    1. Wooohoooo!!! You know this post is because of you girlfriend :)!!! I was just praying this morning that God would move in the hearts of the women he wants to lead a fall study – to step up and DO IT! You will be so blessed! I love Beth Moore! Enjoy your ladies and the study and I can’t wait to see you at Relevant and hear ALL about it!!! 🙂

  6. Thank you for sharing this! I’m a new college graduate, living at home and back at church with my parents. I LOVE my church, but it’s lacking a small bible study for women my age, in my position. I have been thinking and praying about starting a small group for ladies like me, navigating new waters and transitioning from the familiarity of college and school to the new ‘grown up’ world. I got butterflies in my stomach reading this, I know God’s telling me to go for it. Thanks for the encouragement!

  7. I am facilitating a ladies book club at our church. It is a small group of about six. We are reading through “Womanly Dominion [more than a meek and quiet spirit]” by Mark Chanski. I make up discussion and study questions that we review together. It was fun for a while when I had a friend making up the questions with me but she has moved away. We haven’t been meeting consistently for the summer but we normally meet once a month. That seems to work best for the women.

  8. Great points! I was involved in women’s studies at my church for a few years – the leader was amazing and had all the character qualities you mentioned. When she decided to step down from women’s ministry, I was devastated and have yet to find another leader. I have thought about starting one myself, but I really think I need to work on my mercy traits first!

  9. I love the idea of studying the scriptures in a group atmosphere. I will ponder on starting one myself. I really enjoy reading blogs that are about the scriptures. The group pictures were awesome. I remember as a child that my parents would have friends over on Sunday evening and they would listen to the scriptures on tape and then discuss what they were learning. I could hear them from my bedroom. I am sure it was one of the reasons that I love the scripturs.
    I also enjoyed reading your post on Friendships and the media. I believe it is important to have actually conversations with your friends and not just through social media. There are som many bad things that can come out. I know we had a problem with two of our family members that had a huge arguement on facebook. It was really awful.
    Thanks for some great posts and continue to enjoy those moments!

  10. I’ve both attended and led women’s Bible studies in the past. At this point, I think I’m looking more to be part of a group rather than to lead one. I’ve found a church I really like, but no women’s Bible study so far (the church’s meets at the same time I have a standing appointment to take an elderly relative to the doctor). A good study group is such a blessing, though.

  11. I love this idea and I was part of many bible studies before kids. Lately, God has led us away from the church we’re at and unsure of where to go. I don’t feel like I have more than 1 Christian female friend….nevermind 20! I am insecure and intimidated about where to start. Any ideas?

    1. Becky – finding a local church is very important. It is God’s will that his people worship together. So if he has led you away from your church – he is leading you to a new one. Take the time to visit churches every Sunday until you find one where you can serve and worship. If they don’t have a women’s study – open your home – invite your neighbors – if they do have one – join it! And if you really have no one local to turn to – I highly recommend you join our on-line fall study over at http://www.goodmorninggirls.org – we begin September 15th!

    2. Hello Becky(and Courtney!),
      Enjoying so visiting women living well this morning.

      Just wanted to let you know Becky that you are not alone in feeling out of the church loop.

      Many families now feel like misfits in their “home” churches.

      Keep searching for that one true church and pray and carry on!

      In Jesus,
      We must all first Obey the gospel -Acts 2:38

  12. We have been doing a Bible Study by Joanna Weaver called Having a Mary Spirit – Allowing God to change us from the inside out. I highly recommend it!! We have been so encouraged and challenged! We were meeting twice a month in the summer, but now with the school year starting (we almost all homeschool our kids) we will probably have to go to once a month. We meet during the day while our husbands are at work. To meet once a week would be nice, but we have Wednesday night Bible Study at church and Thursday night prayer.

  13. Courtney, thanks for sharing this! I’ve led a women’s Bible Study group for close to 3 years now, and you were right on all 6 elements! Consistency is definitely the key!

  14. Courtney, you’ve been such an encouragement to me since I started reading your blog! I read this post, and I was thinking, man, I’d love to hang out with Courtney for a week, to learn from her. You just seem to have such a heart for women, and you are great at sharing your wisdom.

    Our church ladies meet together every Thursday morning during the school year. We’ve done this for as long as I can remember, and it’s a great time of encouragement. We take turns watching the little ones, so once a month or so I take my turn, but the rest of the time, I get to enjoy learning and sharing with my sisters in Christ. I often feel like I will be one of the next leaders in the group, as our pastor’s wife has been leading it this whole time. She needs a break! But it’s intimidating to me. I’m one of the younger moms (in my 20’s) and there are many older, wiser women. The thing is, none of them are brave enough to take the step as a leader.

    Anyway, if you ever want to extend your ministry to taking in young moms who need some guidance, I’d be on your doorstep, LOL! I think you know who Sara Mae is, right? Anyway, I just about cried when I read about how she got to spend time with Sally Clarkson. What a beautiful way to mentor women! I dream of having that experience someday.

    1. OH I hope someday I can do this for younger women.. I love Sweet Sally – and actually she invited me to come to her home also here in the month of August – but I could not make it because of schedule conflicts. She truly is a Titus 2 woman. Such a blessing!

  15. I’m doing a Bible Study on my blog starting Sept 5th on 1 Cor. 13. I’m hoping to use lots of these points (well except for the food since its online lol). My husband actually s uggested we do a Bible Study at our house. It’s something I’d be interested in.

  16. Hi Courtney! I will be moving to a new area next week, and I can’t wait to find a Bible study after reading your post! Or maybe starting my own once I get settled in. I am really lacking in having Christian fellowship with other women, and I have a really strong desire to have that in my life. So if whoever reads this could say a quick prayer for me, that would be appreciated! I am really looking forward to growing more in the Lord and fulfilling His purposes in my life, and I know that lack of fellowship has to be hindering me. Plus I know that the Lord has placed spiritual gifts in me and I want to be able to minister those to others also.

  17. About two years ago I joined a women’s Bible study for the first time in my life. I was a nervous wreck. lol. I had never been apart of one. I didn’t know what would be expected of me. I am a very quiet person, would I have to talk? But I can honestly say, it was one of the best things I had ever done. These ladies became my sweet sisters, my accountability partners, my best friends. I began looking forward to Bible study night and loved talking to my girls. After our year commitment was up, we all wanted to continue to meet. Our leader, now my best friend, asked me to help her co-lead a new book study. Again, one of the best things I’ve done.

    A few months ago, God moved us to a new church. I greatly miss my girls. Although I miss meeting with them every week, I am looking forward to starting a women’s Bible study group in our new church at the beginning of the year. I am excited to see what God does.

    I firmly believe that it is extremely important to have a group that you can commit to and connect with. We all need each other and we all need accountability. This is a great post.

  18. This is fantastic Courtney. I have not had the pleasure of attending a regular Bible study outside of GMG. Most are at night during bedtime for my little guys and it’s hard to get someone to watch them for me. I have thought about possibly hosting one myself, earlier in the evening for other single moms or moms with little ones and prepare dinner for everyone but I’m not ready yet!

  19. Thank you for this post. My pastor’s wife and I are co-leading a women’s Bible study this fall. Actually I will probably be leading the children’s program but also occasionally teaching the women’s as well. We are doing the Ministry of Motherhood book this year, but we are calling it “Moms with a Purpose” and we are focusing on the spiritual disciplines with Scripture memory and daily Bible study heavily encouraged. We are very excited to start this year! Thank you so much for your blog and your encouragement.

  20. All good tips….yes I’m beginning a study in Jonah next week….I love the fellowship and the sharing….through the years, I’ve had some great facilitators and some that didn’t know how to manage the time….
    Mama Bear

  21. Last year I really felt the Lord leading me to do my first ever home study with mom’s. We read through and discussed Sally’s Dancing With My Father. We met 2 times a month and that was even a stretch for a lot of the women. I don’t know if it’s the culture here in Oregon or what but people just don’t seem to commit or want to commit to anything. I’ve spoken to so many mom’s who are running from activity to activity every night of the week that they don’t have a night free. The women I did get to commit said once a week was way too much so we chose to do it twice a month instead. It seemed to be ok for a few weeks but by the middle of the study, women weren’t showing up or they were showing up very late, which I have a tough time understanding. By the end of the study I became so discouraged and lost all of my enthusiasm to continue in Jan. I have been praying about what to do this fall again but I’m just not sure. I think I need something weekly but it’s so difficult getting people to commit. Does anyone else have that problem where they live? If so, how do you handle it?

    I did speak to one good friend about my discouragment and she said she sees the same in other Bible studies and other areas of life around here in the Northwest. It seems to be families are so over burdened with activity and other weekly commitments. I would love to have a weekly group of women again in my home. I will pray and ask the Lord if that’s something he would like me to do this fall. Thank you for your encouragement, Courtney.

    God Bless,

  22. I am leading a Bible study for single women this fall, and I am so excited to get started! I was single for longer than I wished or anticipated, and this was a difficult period in my life. I hope to give hope and encouragement along with Biblical wisdom to these women whom I will be leading and doing life with!

  23. God Bless you for this page Courtney,
    I am leading a women’s bible study which begins TOMORROW morning. We will be doing a 12 week bible study of Joyce Meyers book, the Battlefield of the Mind. We will be using the book, study guide and her 4 part teaching dvd. Im somewhat nervous because about 35 women have signed up for the class, including my pastors wife and other women ministers in the church. I like the idea i read above in the posts about breaking into groups for the study questions, that would give more women the opportunity to share. Thanks to all the ladies for their comments…..they have helped me out and given me boldness and confidence to go forward! Thank you Jesus!

  24. I am starting a Ladies Fellowship this Sunday and am feeling more than a bit nervous! I joined a study in the fall and missed it so much when it ended–I realized that I have been sorely lacking the support, encouragement and accountability of a close group of Christian women friends on a regular basis. I have never lead anything in my entire life so it is daunting. I am trusting the Lord to lead it and to equip me to just focus on serving, blessing and loving the women He brings to me. We are starting with the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan which is a very convicting read so far!! Ouch! Please pray that I will get and stay out of the Lord’s way and to listen twice as much as I speak!! :0) Wendie

  25. Thanks for sharing and giving insight in your ministry. I have been asked to pray about helping out in our women’s ministry this year. We meet at the church and the atmosphere is kind of cliche and people are to themselves. Part of what they would like from me is provide some changes to this. Part of the issue is the space is way too big for our size group. It is hard to connect with people (i think) because of this. We usually have around 25 people attend. Do you have any books or places where I can research a better way to get these ladies connected? Any insight will be helpful!

    Blessings from Northern Michigan!

  26. I am a young pastor’s wife and our church has just started rearranging how we do our Wednesday night Bible Study program. We all meet to eat, then pray together, and then split up into Bible study groups for 30 minutes. This is my first time leading a Bible study and I’m not sure what study to choose especially because the amount of time we have to study and share. I’ve thought about getting a study by Beth Moore, but I don’t know what all I would need for that half hour. I thought maybe we could all have a book to read and study at home throughout the week and then come back and discuss and share that and any other prayer requests and concerns during our time. The main thing I wondered about the books though, is do the study books have discussion questions in them already or are the questions in the separate study guide book and are the related to the dvds? I don’t think we will have time to view the dvds during our time. Any ideas for how I can organize a study for this short amount of meeting time?

  27. I am having a hard time getting ladies you commit to a Bible Study Group at my home.
    How did you get started?
    I have been praying on it for some time.

  28. Wonderful post! I know it was written a few years ago, but I was wondering if you could offer any tips on how to lead a small group in your home for moms with young children. This is kind of a new arena for me, and I would love any suggestions for how this would work! Is it better to hold the group in the morning/early afternoon and let the kids play or evening when kids can stay with dad? Any suggestions are more than welcome! Thanks!

  29. This is such a great post!! A friend and I are leading a study starting in September. I’m pretty nervous because I have never lead a group before, and I’m scared that the women won’t get out of it what I want them to because I may not be as knowledgable of the Bible as others (newfound faith). Do you have any suggestions for a first timer?

  30. Even though this was written a few years ago all of these are still extremely relevant points! I don’t lead a women’s Bible study, however I am involved in several and am working on preparing to lead a girl’s Bible study now. Am working on making a study to go along with the book Miracle Girls…I can’t wait to actually get the study started! So excited! Thanks for the tips! All of these will help to guide me in this endeavor!

  31. What a great post! You are such an inspiring woman, Courtney! I don’t think I am mature enough in my faith & knowledge of God’s Word to LEAD a bible study (although, one day it would be amazing!!) but I have wanted to be apart of one for some time now & this just made my heart yearn for it even more.

    I try & read the bible as much as possible & I have started a bible study/prayer journal, but as a “newbie” I have a hard time studying it on my own… Or even knowing where to begin! I feel like a group setting would be sooo beneficial to me! Plus, I just live the idea of women who love The Lord, coming together & studying His Word!

    If you have any suggestions on where I should start as far as bible study options go… Or if any of your readers are in the Portland, OR area & have a great church &/or women’s bible study suggestion, I’d be so happy to hear it. Thanks again, Courtney, for all that you do! You & your work are truly an inspiration to me.

  32. Hi!
    I am leading a Bible study this semester on my campus and was wondering if you had any tips or recommendations for me. I really want it to be discussion based and a time were girls are able to freely share and ask questions, and I’m not sure how to get there. Currently it’s a lot of me talking about the passage, I ask a question get a 1 sentence answer and no one expands so I’m forced to talk some more ask another question etc. and there doesn’t seem to be a connection or real discussion going on. If you have any suggestions that would be awesome! Thanks!

  33. Hi Courtney,
    we have been blessed to host a Google hangout Bible Study and just finished an on-site local Bible Study & Workshop of the first book I published. We are currently working on the curriculum so that others can host it themselves.

    When you pause, check us out and if you have any suggestions, feel free to share.

    God bless

  34. Thanks for the advice! I am starting a women’s Bible study at my church and we will be using your “Ecclesiastes: Wisdom for Living Well” study guide. I have never lead a study before. We plan on holding it at our church since we live in a rural area and the church is more centrally located . How can I make the church feel more homelike and not so formal? I want them to feel relaxed and enjoy our time together. I am thankful for any advice. God bless!

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