Bible Readings for Elders’ study and discussion

“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. Tend the flock of God that is in your charge, not by constraint but willingly; not for shameful gain but eagerly; not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd is manifested, you will obtain the unfading crown of glory.” 1 Peter 5:1-4

Using Biblical Texts with Elders for study and reflection

When Elders meet together for prayer and study, the following scriptures make good starting places.

Below is a suggested method of preparing to study scripture together.

  • You can ask a leader to do this before the meeting to prepare .
  • You can ask each Elder to do this exercise and come to the meeting prepared to share his or her thoughts.
  • You can ask different Elders to come prepared to discuss their thoughts about individual discussion questions listed below.

On a sheet of paper, work your way through this process, taking notes as you go.

  • Spend some time in prayer seeking God’s guidance as you read the text.
  • Read the text in several translations and look up all the notes in the Bible margins.
  • Make a list of the key words, places, persons, ideas in the text and look them up in a Bible Dictionary or Concordance.
  • Look at Biblical commentary book for ideas of what scholars think about the text.

Answer these questions:

  • What have I learned from this text?
  • What questions does this text raise for modern readers?
  • How might the first hearers of this text have understood it?
  • What is different in the world and church today
    than it was for the first hearers of this scripture?
  • What problems/issues does the text raise for discussion?
  • Are there other Bible texts that are similar to this one or that seem, at first reading, to contradict this one?
  • How does this text fit into what you understand already about Eldership?
  • What changes does this text invite you to make in your ministry as an Elder?
  • What does this text help you to understand about your faith and the church?
  • Besides discussion of the text, is there another way our Elders could explore this text? (see a list of options for Bible Study methods listed at the bottom of this page)?

Pray in thanksgiving for the ways God has used this text in your heart and mind.

Eldership in General

These Bible verses refer to elders and Christian leadership in the early church. Read these Scriptures and discuss the meaning of eldership in your congregation:

Acts 14:21-23
Acts 20:17-35
Romans 16:1-16
Galatians 3:25-26
Colossians 3:12-17
1 Timothy 3:1-13
1 Timothy 5:17-22
2 Timothy 4:1-5
Titus 1:5-9
James 5:13-16
1 Peter 4:7-11
1 Peter 5:1-11
2 John 1-6
3 John 1-8

Words of Institution

The “words of institution” are spoken during the Communion service as the the serving of the bread and cup begins. These words focus the attention of the church upon Jesus, God’s forgiveness and the hope that is shared in this meal.The “words of institution” may be selected from these verses:

Matthew 26:26-29
Mark 14:22-25
Luke 22:17-20
Luke 24:28-32
1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Church Unity

Elders work for the unity of the Body of Christ, whether within the congregation, denomination, or in ecumenical relationships.These verses show the importance of Christian unity to New Testament writers:

Romans 12:3-7
1 Corinthians 1:10-17
1 Corinthians 12:4-26
2 Timothy 2:14-26
Titus 3:1-10


Elders spread encouragement. Elders share the hope and courage of our faith with each other, with church members, pastors, and those who are outside the community of faith. The Bible has many words of encouragement for you and for those in your care. Read these verses to prepare you for the ministry of encouragement:

Psalm 91
Romans 5:1-5
Romans 15:1-6
Romans 16:25-27
1 Corinthians 1:1-4
1 Corinthians 15:58
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Galatians 6:9-10
Philippians 4:1-9
2 Timothy 1:3-7

20 Different Methods for Bible Reflection as individuals or groups

  1. Paraphrase: Put the Bible verses into your own words and write it down. Exchange them with each other, or take turns reading aloud. Ask what participants learned about themselves and the text from this writing exercise.
  2. Writing a prayer: Write a prayer that is inspired by the Bible verses you have studied. Read the Bible passage slowly and ask what your prayers might be for God’s comfort and support. Share your prayers together and use them to make a worship center by placing them in a basket or around candles.
  3. Use the Scripture as a prayer: Choose a verse and use the words for your prayer. For example, breathe in with the words “This is the day” and breathe out with the words, “that my God has made.”
  4. Meditation: Read the Bible verses slowly in a group or alone. Listen for a phrase that “pops out” at you. Write that Scripture on a piece of paper and put it where you will see it often for several days or weeks. Repeat it often and commit it to memory.
  5. Prayer circle: Take turns putting one Elder into the middle of the circle and laying your hands on them for prayer. Pray for the strength, vision, encouragement and spiritual gifts that are needed to strengthen the elders group and the church.
  6. Discussion: divide the group into twos or threes and ask people to share the parts of the Scripture that spoke most to them. Ask what might have made this part of the text to seem more important.
  7. Personalize: Select a passage and insert your name or the name of another person into it. For example, Psalm 54, “Save Susan, O God, by the power of your name. and defend her by your might.”
  8. Listen for your emotions: Read or listen to the text and list the feelings that you recognize in yourself as you hear the passage. How is God using your emotions to teach you?
  9. Connect to people in your church: Think of people in your congregation who might be encouraged by this Bible passage. Send the verses to them with a card or e-mail with a note to say that you are praying for them.
  10. Make a Bible card: write the Scripture down on cards that the elders will carry with them through the week. Agree to read the verses and pray at a certain time daily.
  11. Music: Find hymns or praise songs that convey the themes of the text and share them. You might even try writing words to a familiar tune to retell the story or message of the Bible text.
  12. Other art projects: Using clay, you can make small individual or large group sculptures to represent the text or its message. You can make quilts as well out of cloth or paper. Banners make a nice project to convey a text and can be given as a gift to your congregation.
  13. Pictures: After reading some Bible verses, invite people to create pictures of the story of the feelings they have hearing the story or an event that the story calls to mind. Use pens, pencils, chalk, paints or finger paints.
  14. Poem: Try your hand at writing a poem that expresses the meaning of the Bible verses or your feelings about this passage.
  15. Story/parable: Using the text or one of the characters or ideas in the story, write your own story about what might have happened next after a character disappears from a Biblical story. Make up a parable that teaches the lesson of the text.
  16. Dialogues: If there are two characters in the passage you can write a conversation between them. Share your dialogues with each other.
  17. Journaling: Have the group write in journals after listening to the text. How does this text apply to you? How does this help us to grow in our roles as Elders?
  18. Brainstorm a list of questions that you would like to ask of the characters in the story. What question would you like to ask to God or Jesus after this story?
  19. Tell a story to the group that comes to mind after you read this passage.
  20. Litanies: Use a line from the Bible for a refrain in a litany. Have people write the other lines and say the unison line in between each individual line. For example, “In God, we live, and move, and have our being,” could be the key line, for instance:
    1. Where ever we go, we are in God’s care, for
    2. In God we live, and move, and have our being.
    3. When we are close together and far apart, we remember
    4. In God we live, and move, and have our being.
    5. When we suffer and when we rejoice, we know
    6. In God we live, and move, and have our being.