The Pros and Cons of DVD-driven Bible Studies

Like Us

DVD driven curriculum is popular but has received much criticism.

Many churches are using DVD driven Bible studies as their primary format for Bible study in groups. Yet they are the target of much criticism. Because of this I think it’s important that we consider the pros as well as the cons when a group uses these.
I believe there are five pros:
1.     DVD driven Bible studies assures the church leadership that biblical truth is going to be taught. A conversational Bible study can quickly become a night of shared ignorance. If a knowledgeable and spiritually mature Bible teacher is the talking head on the DVD that individual will teach the truth and the group will give their time focusing on application.
2.     DVD driven Bible studies demand little to no preparation time.
3.     DVD driven Bible studies can help in the recruitment of new group members. That is, if the teacher teaching on the DVD is a well-known teacher or preacher.
4.     DVD driven Bible studies makes it possible for a group to experience substantial understanding without having someone in the group with the spiritual gift of teaching.
5.     DVD driven Bible studies allows an expert to teach the group concerning topics that are often outside the knowledge base of any of the group members.

While there are some very important pros, there are also some cons that cannot be overlooked.
1.     If a group uses DVD driven Bibles studies exclusively individuals with the spiritual gift of teaching will never be able to utilize the gift God has given them.
2.     If a group uses DVD driven Bible studies exclusively the Holy Spirit is given little room to be the teacher as He often makes truth known through the synergistic conversation that takes place when a group of Spirit-led Christ followers are seeking truth together.
3.     When a group uses DVD driven Bible studies exclusively individuals who have the gift of teaching but are new to teaching will never have the opportunity to grow in their teaching abilities.
4.     When a group uses DVD driven Bible studies exclusively group members seldom learn how to seek God’s revelation using their own Bible. Most of us learn how to use our Bibles by watching others. We watch them as they are cross-referencing, using the helps in their study Bibles, etc… And the only setting most people are in where this happens is during a small group Bible study.
5.     When a group uses DVD driven Bible studies exclusively small group leaders are unable to evaluate the Biblical knowledge level and the worldview of each group member. Knowing this information is important so that the group leader can determine how to take next steps with each group member in their spiritual formation process.  

Rick Howerton Rick has one passion... To see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.” He is presently the Small Group and Discipleship Specialist at LifeWay Church Resources. Rick has authored or co-authored multiple books, studies, and leader training resources. Rick’s varied ministry experiences as a collegiate pastor, small group pastor, teaching pastor, full-time trainer and church consultant, as well as having been a successful church planter gives him a perspective of church life that is all-encompassing and multi-dimensional. Rick is a highly sought after speaker and trainer speaking at or leading training in about forty settings annually.

More from Rick Howerton or visit Rick at

Please Note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, uncivil and off-topic. Read a detailed description of our Comments Policy.
  • Twinsfan1

    Rick, thanks for this balanced approach. I especially appreciated how in your cons you say, “If a group uses DVD driven Bible studies EXCLUSIVELY…” That makes an important distinction. They are great for use as the occasion requires, but are not intended to be the only thing a small group needs.