Writing Stellar Application Questions that Spark Radical Change

The whole point of a good inductive Bible study is to help your participants understand the meaning of the passage and then apply what they have learned to their life. The book of James says it this way:

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22)

Some Goals for Good Application Questions

Here are a few simple conversation starter questions that you might consider in writing good application questions:

  • What issues does this passage raise which are still issues today?
  • What does this passage say about God, about people, about sin, about salvation, about living?
  • How might we build into our lives the truths in this text?
  • When might we apply these truths?
  • Where might we apply them?
  • In what ways does this passage challenge my modern-day values and lifestyle?
  • What behavior does this passage call for?
  • How might I put into practice what I am learning from this passage?
  • Char it out:  For Example–Write out various ways that I might build into my life Ruth’s kind of loyalty to her family?

4 Keys | Keep in Mind Four Basic Goals for Writing Well-Crafted Application Questions.

1.  Help group members integrate the personal meaning and relevance of the text into their own lives.  (I, Me)

2.  Apply what has been learned from the passage to the here and now

3.  Identify at least one specific thing I could do (personal application).

4.  Identify at least one specific thing that the group could do (corporate application, i.e. “we”).  This could be different for each person depending upon what they feel the group needs, but try to lead the discussion toward identifying some common themes that may apply to the whole group (this take discernment and a knowledge of the group).

Examples of Application Questions

Mark 2:1-12

  • Jesus talks about his ability to forgive sins.  Do you think forgiveness of sins is a need that people have today?
  • Is this a need you have experienced in your own life?
  • How, if ever, has forgiveness been important to you?

Ephesians 2:1-10

  • Share an example of a movie, story, fictional character, t.v. show, etc. where a character seemed to be spiritually “dead” but then something happened and they became what appeared to be “spiritually alive”.
  • Has there ever been a “before (dead)” and “after (alive)” in your spiritual life?
  • What made the difference for you?
  • What are some of the “good works” which you believe Christians should be engaged in as a result of receiving God’s love and grace?

Psalm 37

  • Where do you find yourself tending to worry and how does the writer of this Psalm speak to your condition?
  • Where do you find his counsel easy, and where do you find it difficult?
  • Write your own question for one of the passages above.


Before you lead your discussion or give out your quiet time questions, consider whether your question passes the test of the 4 Keys above.  If so then this is a GOOD INTERPRETATION QUESTION. Way to go!

Action Step

  • Choose a passage of Scripture you’d like to use during your next small group or adventure outing, and write out a few Observation, Interpretation, and Application Questions.  Then test each of the questions on your own or run them by a friend to see if they pass the tests for “Well-Crafted Questions” that I’ve outlined in each section.

Other Posts in this Series, “3 Steps to Writing Well-Crafted Outdoor Bible Study Questions”

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One thought on “Writing Stellar Application Questions that Spark Radical Change

  1. I’d love to hear from folks on this. Do you have any quiet time questions that you’ve written for outdoor ministry that you could share?

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