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Planning and conducting a Bible study week after week can be a challenging assignment.

One very helpful tool is the Hook, Book, Look, Took plan. The Hook, Book, Look, Took [HBLT] plan gives you a coherent and sequential format for the study and application of a passage of Scripture. It can be used to engage students in the process of examining a text and discovering its truths for themselves, a key to effective learning. The terms Hook, Book, Look and Took represent the four phases a Bible study should move through from beginning to end. The purpose of the first phase, the Hook, is to get the learners attention and to get them interested in and thinking about the Scripture passage to be studied. Most of us do not step into a Bible study class prepped and ready to go. We have other things on our minds and hearts. The Hook needs to start with the students life situation and then move them to the text. Some teaching methods that are useful in the Hook include: a thought question, a brief video, a written (brief) survey on a topic, a case study of a current issue, etc. Once the students are thinking about the central idea of the biblical text; transition into the Book section. As the title implies, the Book section is used to carefully examine the text itself. Spiritual growth happens as a result of a growing understanding of the Word of God and how it impacts our lives. In the Book section, lead students to examine the background of the text. What is the historical and cultural setting? What is the literary context of your passage? That is, what is stated before it and what after in the chapter? What is the subject of the passage, what is the biblical writer talking about? After identifying the subject, look for what the writer is saying about the subject. What are the supporting ideas and details that explain the subject? How do they relate to the subject? Some ideas support the subject; some are given as opposite examples, others are given as illustrations or applications of the subject. Remember to allow your students to discover these truths through their own efforts. Use thought questions to guide them in their study. After gaining a clear understanding of the meaning of the text, move to the Look section. The purpose of the Word is to bring transformation in our lives, to mold us into the image of Christ. That requires that we move from the biblical world back into our own. In the Look section, your purpose is to help your students identify eternal spiritual principles that apply to life in the 21st century. Lead them to discover how God is working in the lives of the people in the text, what promises made that are still valid, what provision does God in Christ make for our spiritual growth? Teaching
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methods that could serve in the Look phase include (but are not limited to): interpretation questions, case studies, brainstorming, and role play. Be careful to accurately interpret what the Scripture is actually saying. Evaluate interpretations by taking them back to the text for verification. If the text does not support the interpretation, rethink and rewrite the interpretation until it is accurate. Even this process is a learning tool, as it teaches students how to read the Scripture for themselves. The final phase of the HBLT method is the Took phase. The purpose of the took phase is to guide students to a personal commitment of obedience and growth. As the authoritative Word of God, the Bible is to be obeyed. Lead students to identify specific ways in which they can act on the principles discovered from the text. Give them a time-frame and occasionally ask them to share with the group how they are doing with their commitment. For example, if you have studied a passage on praying, lead students to commit to a daily quiet time for the next week. The following study, ask for testimonies of their experiences with the quiet times. Leading students to specific commitments with a built-in accountability process encourages follow-through on what is learned. How much time should be spent on each of the phases? Generally speaking a Bible study class should not exceed one hour. Preliminary fellowship, announcements, prayer time will require about fifteen minutes of that time. That leaves about forty-five minutes of study time. With that in mind, the Hook should be no more than five minutes. The Book, as the heart of the study, would require twenty-five minutes or so. The Look, could take ten minutes, and the Took the remaining five. The time spent is not as important as accomplishing the learning goal, so be flexible in planning and in teaching. One final note, many published Bible study curriculums use this four-phase plan in developing their lesson materials. Knowing the HBLT framework can help the teacher see the clear progression through the lesson. It also gives a great sense of purpose in the teaching/learning experience.