Note—As you work through the discussion guide, remember that you do not have to answer every question; pick and choose which questions work best for your group discussion.
Introduction: Back in May we were in Paul’s letter to Timothy, he wrote, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Tim. 2:15. Terry talked about being “blue collar truth workers.” That means we are to buckle down and believe, and live the truth. A workman approach implies that handling the truth will take effort and skill over time. There is nothing more important than mastering the skill of correctly handling the truth
Activity: This is risky, because I don’t want to become sidetracked, but get out your phones and look on a social media platform, or a news site and see who can come up with an example of someone who has their “own truth.”
Question 1: What is “steel truth” versus “mushy truth”? Give examples.
Explain: Quickly review Ps 73.
Question 2: How did the Psalmist fall prey to mushy truth and how did a return to steel truth help him?
Question 3: Can someone briefly explain what is meant by “history and mystery” of the incarnation of Christ?
Read: Luke 1:1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
Acts 1:1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
Question 4: Where do you see signs of history in these passages? What words and phrases indicate that this is a news story?
Question 5: What was Luke’s purpose in writing this news and how is this both like and unlike any other news story that has been written?
Read: Luke 2:1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Question 6: What are some ways that Luke seamlessly blends history and mystery in this passage?
Question 7: Why do people often divide life into steel and mush truth? (Why do they believe it matters what you put in your gas tank, but it doesn’t matter what you put into your mind and heart?)
Question 8: Do you really want to know the truth? Even if it conflicts with what you really want? Think about these questions for a moment before you answer. Can you think of a time when you would have said you wanted to know the truth – until it conflicted with what you wanted? How did you respond?
Read: Luke 647 I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.
Read 2 Timothy 2:15 again: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
Question 9: How are you/can you correctly handle the word of truth – in order to lay a foundation that is deep in steely truth?
Question 10: Who do you know that is building their life without a foundation?
Conclude: Let’s pray for those people, using their names (when appropriate). Let’s commit personally to believing the truth of God and not our own ideas, wishes, and demands. Verbalize your commitment to being a workman who correctly handles the truth.