Building Faith’s Top Picks for Adult Bible Study Curriculum

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Looking for a Bible study curriculum for adult Christian formation? There are many options from a variety of publishers and denominations. The right choice depends entirely on your context and goals.

Below you’ll find a list of Building Faith’s favorite adult Bible study curriculum options based on theology, availability, and pedagogy. The articles in our Curriculum Center can help you identify your needs, capabilities, and hopes. Looking for more support? Join Lifelong Learning’s free weekly Office Hours or reach out via email.

How To Use This List

For each Bible study “top pick,” we list the name, publisher, publication date, curriculum contents, and a brief summary. We have done our best to include helpful information such as:

  • how the curriculum works
  • number of lessons included
  • digital media options
  • additional accompanying resources

We have focused this list primarily on Bible study resources that meet two key criteria:

  • a design that requires little adaptation or supplementation for groups to use
  • an approach to engaging scripture that involves learning and critical reflection in its goals (for example, by including attention to historical, literary, and/or contextual dimensions of scripture)

While some of the options on this list feature prayer and meditation as part of their pedagogy, we have chosen not to include resources that are designed primarily for devotional use. We have also opted not to highlight resources that may be fruitful for Bible study but that do not provide the lesson-by-lesson guidance that a curriculum offers. This list, therefore, does not feature various Bible translations, commentaries, dictionaries, or other materials beyond the scope of curriculum.

For adult formation curriculum options that are not limited to Bible study, check out our Top Picks for Adult Christian Formation Curriculum. For adult confirmation options, see our Top Picks for Catechesis & Confirmation Curriculum. For intergenerational program resources, see our Top Picks for Intergenerational Curriculum. For seasonal resources, a good place to start is our Articles by Topic page.

The name of the curriculum provides a link to the curriculum’s website. The name of the publisher links to their “About” page where you can learn more about their theological approach. If you follow the link for each church denomination, you can review their statement of belief.

As always, when choosing a curriculum for your setting, take into account the theology, biblical interpretation, context, materials, and representation of human identities and experiences as you discern which curriculum might be the best fit for your context.

Adult Bible Study Top Picks (Updated April 2024)

1. Books of Faith

This Bible study series enables in-depth investigation of various books of the Bible. The series provides studies of all four gospels, Acts, many of Paul’s letters and other New Testament epistles, Revelation, and select books from the Old Testament. Each study consists of 4 – 8 lessons, which emphasize reading and discussing the biblical text together. The lessons offer insights and questions on the historical, literary, and theological dimensions of the scriptures and invite participants to explore how the scripture might speak to their lives of faith. The theological portion of the lessons makes connections to Lutheran tradition, but the content can apply across denominations as well. Each lesson also includes optional homework for participants who want to read the scripture in full and do related activities throughout the week. You can view sample lessons on the publisher’s website.

Additional Information

2. Conversations with Scripture

This series of books is designed to increase readers’ understanding of scripture and to give readers fresh ways of approaching scripture. The books are written by biblical scholars in language that is accessible for lay audiences. Each book contains 6 chapters, and each chapter provides extensive critical information about the biblical text, including comments on historical and literary features. The books also offer discussion questions for group study. The studies available include the Law, Psalms, all four gospels, Acts, parables, and additional select books of the Old and New Testaments.

Additional Information

  • Publisher and date: Church Publishing, 2005 – 2015 (The Episcopal Church)
  • Contents: These books are available for purchase in printed format; there are not separate leader and participant books for this series

3. Covenant Bible Study

This Bible study covers all of the Old and New Testaments in 24 sessions. Its overarching aim is to enable participants to deepen relationships with God and with one another by engaging scripture together. Lessons are organized into 3 modules under the themes of “creating,” “living,” and “trusting,” and they are designed to be 90 minutes long. The lessons involve story sharing, focused discussion on scripture, viewing videos featuring conversations with biblical scholars, devotional meditation, and prayer. Participants are expected to read the scriptures for the week before attending the group sessions. You can view sample lessons at Cokesbury Covenant Bible Study.

Additional Information

  • Publisher and date: Abingdon, 2014 (United Methodist Church)
  • Contents: This resource is available for purchase in printed or digital format by module or in a kit; it involves a leader guide for the whole series and participant guides for each module as well as accompanying videos; a meditations book, CEB study Bible, and bonus videos are also available to supplement the study

4. Interpretation Bible Study Series

The books that make up this series are designed to help readers gain deeper insight into the background and contents of scripture using language accessible to lay audiences. The books provide historical, literary, and theological engagements with the scriptures, and chapters include questions for reflection and discussion. Each book highlights a particular book or pairing of books of the Bible and contains 10 chapters. The series includes 8 books on Old Testament texts and 9 on New Testament texts.

Additional Information

5. Reading Between the Lines

This curriculum was formerly known as BibleWorkbench. It is designed to help adults engage scriptures from the Revised Common Lectionary in reflective and experiential ways. The curriculum provides weekly lessons for the whole year, and it can be used for personal or group study. Lessons include attention to biblical context, questions for imaginative reflection, prompts for connecting scripture to contemporary situations, and additional readings to put in conversation with the scripture. You can view a sample lesson on the publisher’s website.

Additional Information

  • Publisher and date: The Educational Center, now available at Progressive Christianity, at least from 2017 – 2024 (not affiliated with a specific church denomination)
  • Contents: This curriculum is available for purchase in digital format in sets containing 52 lessons per year by lectionary year (Year A, Year B, Year C); it involves a study guide for all participants

Featured image is by T Steele on Unsplash

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