One of the qualifications of an elder is that he be "apt, or able to teach." Teaching is not lecturing or preaching but explaining and leading people to understand the scriptures. Every elder should himself be a student of the Word. Paul exhorts Timothy to "Study (be diligent) to show yourself approved unto God a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth." (2 Tim. 2:15)
That is why we encourage every elder to be personally dedicated to the reading and study of Godís word. In Deuteronomy God gave His command to spiritual leaders the Levites:
"And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: Ė Deuteronomy 17:19
If you are newer to your elder responsibilities you should begin now to develop good habits with the word. At the minimum you should begin ever morning with the reading of a chapter from Godís word. You should be eager to memorize new verses and promises God gives you.
You should be willing and able to lead your small flock (sometimes called a cell group) in an inductive Bible study. There are lots of helps available for learning to study and teach in small groups. The pastor from time to time will offer a course during the Sunday School hour on "Word Studies in the New Testament." The principles and tools you will learn there will help you become a better Bible student.
Here is a simple guide to leading an inductive study. Take any passage and read it out loud together. Use several translations if you wish. Look at only a paragraph at a time. Use the 1,2,3 formula for examining the Bible passage.
SMALL GROUP BIBLE STUDIES
I. Observation - Who? When? Where? What?
Use the powers of observation. Catch the bird's eye view.
What is happening?
Where is it?
Who is doing it to whom?
When did it happen?
II. Investigation - How and Why?
What words are interesting or need definition?
What statements are paradoxical, confusing, or profound?
What things are unfamiliar, customs, places, names?
What cultural expressions, actions need explanation?
What questions does this passage raise for you?
What other Scriptures speak to this same issue?
III. Application - So what?
What new thing do I learn from this?
What old truth is reinforced here?
Is there a promise?
Is there a command to obey?
Is there an example to follow?
Is there a sin to avoid?
Is there a truth to explore further?
P = promise
E = example
P = point to ponder & pray about
S = sin
I = instruction or command