Theme for 2019, Answers: What God has said about important life questions
STUDY GUIDE, WEEK 2, 1.13.19
PART 1. WHAT IS THE BIBLE ABOUT AND WHY I SHOULD TRUST IT?
2. What is the Bible?
Opener: Have your group picture themselves sitting in a coffee shop reading their Bible. Suddenly the person next to them leans over and says, “What are you reading?” They answer, “The Bible.”
With a puzzled look on their face, the person sitting there asks, “What is the Bible and why are you reading it?”
Questions: How would you respond to this person’s question? How would you describe the Bible?
What if they pushed back and said, “We’ve outgrown that book, it is outdated and not relevant to today’s world.” How would you respond? And why?
Summary Statement: The Bible is the reality of human life and God’s purposes. It was written during the span of a thousand years and it is meant to apply to all people everywhere. It speaks to what matters the most to all of us—how to live life at its best.
Passage: 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Tim. 3:16)
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
(2 Peter 1:20)
Our passage for the week says that the Bible is “Useful.”
Question: Useful for what? Why does it even matter to us?
Answer: The answer is found in the rest of the passage.
- Teaching: So we can know truth about the ways things actually are.
- Rebuking: So we can know truth about how and where we have gotten off track.
- Correcting: So we can know truth about how to get back on track with what is good and real.
- Training in righteousness: so we can know truth about how to stay on track for the long haul—to hold a good course no matter what happens in and around us.
Look back at the summary statement as well.
Question: Since Scripture is “God-breathed” what could be more valuable to think about, understand and apply? “The” key principle we see in Scripture is simply to trust God. How can you apply this truth to what concerns you today?
Think about some of the things that confuse you. Now think about how what you know of Scripture is often “upside-down” from what the world around you believes to be true.
Personalize it: Give a personal example of what this has looked like in your own life.
Question? Terry talked about upside-down/right-side up living (Think about when he talked about paths to walk on).
What will it mean for you to live “right-side up” today? How will you trust God’s word in your life? Forgive someone who offended you? Love someone who annoys you? Be kind even if you don’t feel like it? How will you “do what is true”?
Question: So if all that we’ve discussed is true, then how would you respond to a person who says:
This is a bold claim for what is often seen as an outdated, irrelevant, confusing book?
Important fact to remember: It doesn’t matter as much whether you are able to defend the Bible verbally, or defeat someone in an argument who denies its basis in fact. Truth never depends on our ability to defend it…it stands on its own. What will matter is that you live in increased confidence in the God who is there and the God who has spoken and that you live in increasing love and obedience to Him…revealed in love and grace for others…all revealed in the Scriptures.
Question: What is one of the common mistakes (pitfalls) people make when they decide they want to know/understand what the Bible says? And why does this mistake miss the mark so many times?
Answer: Often people look the Bible, expecting sort of a magic book. There is nothing magical in just reading the Scriptures though, they must be applied, eaten, and practiced. Think back to Terry’s example of studying for Air War College and the importance of having the big picture in mind. It’s always important that we keep the larger plotline of the Bible in mind as we read, and as we apply it to our lives.
Application: Understand that the Bible originated in the mind of God and like any personal, thinking, choosing being, He sets out to communicate; He had something specific in His mind to get
across. God’s thoughts are perfect—so what He wants to get across is perfect.
God has spokenWe have his words
So we can know and love the God who exists
Let’s do the work to understand…and make the choice to obey when we do understand.
Read the following to your group:
What will matter going forward this year is that we live with increased confidence in God. Knowing that He is the God who is there, He’s present in your life, and He has spoken. We can live in ever-increasing love and obedience to Him…as revealed in the Scriptures—the Bible.
The challenge for us is: How can we make this a reality going forward into 2019?