Introduction: “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes?” (Mark Twain)
-Be prepared to give some examples.
-For instance, human wars have been very different in many ways (causes, strategies, weapons, outcomes) but very much the same in some important ways (and could be avoided in some important ways)
-Think about hair or clothing styles.
-Think about ideas about right and wrong, maybe among the different generations of each period of time.
Explain: The more common saying, “History repeats itself,” can cause people to look for too close of a connection between current and past events. Twain’s quote reminds us to look for similarities, not just duplications.
Question 1: What are some examples you can think of?
Question 2: What did CS Lewis mean by “Chronological snobbery?”
Question 3: How does this impact people’s views of the truth of Scripture today?
Read: 1:18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.
Read: Romans 1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
Question 4: How does his quote indicate that Paul saw the entire Bible as being the “gospel” or pointing to Jesus?
Explain: In James 1, the “Word of truth” is a phrase always used in the New Testament to speak of the gospel. In terms of the larger Biblical picture, all of Scripture is one large gospel presentation.
Read: 19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
Question 5: How would your life change for the better if you become better at this?
Question 6: Why is this so hard?
Question 7: What does this mean, “A twenty-year Christian versus a one-year Christian twenty times?”
Read: 21Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
Explain: Therefore, ties this backward as we move forward. Get rid of and moral filth form a word picture of taking off old dirty clothes. We are to replace the old dirty clothes by humbly accepting the word of God planted in our hearts.
Question 8: How does James’ mirror analogy paint a vivid picture of what it means to humbly accept the word (or not accept it)?
Explain: There are two sets of words and phrases here:
- Responsibility: Look intently, Continue to do, Not forgetting but doing
- Privilege:Freedom, Blessed
Question 10: Why is it important to balance privilege and responsibility (what will happen if we do or don’t)?
Read: John 8:31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Question 11: What did Jesus say is required for the truth to set you free, and how does it apply to what James is saying?
Conclude: Be honest about struggles to have confidence in Scripture. What are these struggles? What will you do about them?