a study on faith

Key Text: Ephesians 2:8


1. Know: That faith is more than just belief, but an experience of trust and certainty.

2. Feel: Your faith grow stronger through the study of the Bible and a relationship with Jesus.

3. Do: Let faith be the guiding principle in your life.

Lesson Outline:

I. Finding Faith (Habbakuk 2:4)

A. Faith is more than just believing in a truth; it is to live by that truth. How does you faith guide your actions everyday?

B. Faith matures through study of the scripture and personal experience. What is the basis of your faith? Why do you believe the way you do?

II. Living Faith (Hebrews 11)

A. Hebrews 11 is often referred to as the faith chapter. From Abel to Gideon, those of great faith are noted here. What specific traits set these people apart? How can we aspire to be like them?

B. Hebrews 11:6 says it is impossible to please God without faith. Why is it so hard to accept the gift of faith? What makes us waver at times?

III. Evidencing Faith (James 2:14-17)

James tells us that faith without deeds is dead. What are some ways you can let your faith be evident in your actions?


Our faith experience should serve as our guide through life. By studying the Bible and developing a relationship with Christ we can let our faith manifest itself in all aspects of our lives.


a study on love

Key Text: 1 Corinthians 13:13


1. Know: That God is love and that Jesus is the greatest expression of that love

2. Feel: The difference between human love and God’s all-encompassing love.

3. Do: Allow God’s love to manifest itself in our lives through Christ.

Lesson Outline:

I. Needing Love (Genesis 1:26)

A. The Message Bible translates this verse as “Let us make human beings…reflecting our nature.” Because we reflect God’s nature and God is love, we should reflect that love through our actions. How can we do this in our lives?

B. As humans, we all have the need to love and be loved. How is God’s love different than the love of others? Can you replace one with the other?

II. Experiencing Love (1 John 3)

A. God’s extraordinary love is highlighted throughout scripture. Creation, the gift of the Sabbath, the plan of salvation, and the spirit of prophecy all affirm God’s loving nature. Share specific ways you have experienced God’s unfathomable love?

B. The gift of eternal life is the ultimate demonstration of love. What are other examples of God’s love?

III. Reflecting Love (Matthew 22:35-40)

A. Our reaction to the love of God should be love for one another. This can be hard to do in a world full of sin. How can you better reflect His love?


God is love. By allowing Christ to abide within us, this love will be evidenced in our lives.


power misguided

A Bible Study on Ahab and Jezebel

Introduction: The book, Shantung Compound, describes the lives of the people detained in a camp in China by the Japanese during World War II. One particular chapter talks about the development of a black market within the camp. Because of the black market precious commodities like eggs, sugar, and milk that were not known to be available in the camp, became regular items on the menu. When the Japanese found out about the black market operation they shot the people involved. Ironically, this was not done not to put and end to the black market, but rather to take over the illegal business themselves and make and keep the money for themselves. (Option 2: Ask the class to name characters in the Bible who abused power. Examples: Saul, Absalom, Herod the Great, Judas, Pilate, David)

Study: Imagine having total, complete control of everybody and everything. How far would you go in using your power? What would be your limit, the line you wouldn’t cross? Would a good motive justify a dictatorial use of power?

Thanks to sin, life is filled with strife and Job-moments of tests of faith. And every time we are tested with difficulties, we brace ourselves by saying it is a time of testing, and look forward to the future when life will take a more favorable turn. But in reality, the greatest tests of spiritual fortitude occur not during difficult times but during the good times.

Take Joseph for instance. He probably thought being gagged and sold by his own brothers and sent to a foreign land was his greatest test. But it wasn’t. His greatest test came when he had control, had power, had authority to get back at his brothers. It is one thing to be tested when you are powerless and have no options; it is another to be tested when given the opportunity to get revenge and have self-satisfying options at your disposal.

While poverty, suffering, or injustice may be tests that come our way from time to time, like Joseph we are tested most by the power that is ours and the way that we use it. Our lesson this week shows how power is abused (specifically by Ahab and Jezebel). Compare this with the way Joseph used the power he had.

The use of power is an act of stewardship. True, legitimate power is a gift from God. Like money, power in itself in not evil; the love of it is evil.

Consider the following texts that speak of power as stewardship:

Genesis 1:26
Genesis 9:5-7
Romans 13:1
John 19:11
Genesis 41:15-16
1 Corinthians 4:7

Power is not to be sought for self-gain, but used to serve others. Ezekiel charged Israel’s leaders with having lost sight of the purpose for their power (Ezekiel 34:1-4). The same evil use of power was evident during Jesus’ time (Matthew 23:1-12). So it was no surprise when the disciples looked out for themselves (Mark 9:34, 10:35-45; Luke 9:33, 22:24). Yet the truth is that greatness cannot be measured in terms of power, but in terms of service (Mark 10:45).

Discuss: Have the class independently explore the different types of powers and how they may be abused in our society. Below are some kinds of power to start the discussion.

Power of position. This is the power that comes with office. A sergeant in the army has authority over a private; A manager or supervisor has authority over those under him or her. A parent has certain authority over his child; etc (Example: Ahab and Jezebel ruled as tyrant for 22 years simply because they had the title and clout to do what they wanted)

Power of situation. While positional power is the formal mechanism for allocating power, circumstances also have a way of putting power into our hands. (Example: Jacob and Esua—Jacob used Esau’s hunger gave Jacob situational power to get the birthright he wanted)

The Old Testament Law made it extremely difficult for a person to take advantage of someone else. Study the following texts:

Exodus 22:25-27
Deuteronomy 15:7-11
Deuteronomy 15:1-2
Deuteronomy 15:12-15
Leviticus 25:8-17

 Power of competence. In a situation that demands expertise, we tend to defer to someone with education and experience in that particular field. And the expert can either aid or exploit the situation with his power. (Example: For centuries people believed that Aristotle was right when he said that the heavier an object, the faster it would fall to earth. Aristotle was regarded as the greatest thinker of all time, and surely he would not be wrong.

Anyone, of course, could have taken two objects, one heavy and one light, and dropped them from a great height to see whether or not the heavier object landed first. But no one did until nearly 2,000 years after Aristotle’s death. Bits & Pieces, January 9, 1992, pp. 22, 23. (Source:

Power of personality and character. There are many ways that one can have the upper hand in a situation by playing to the psyche of another. It could be using physical attractiveness as a lure, tears for sympathy, body language for assertiveness, empty threats to get results, pretending to be helpless to get someone else to do the job, etc.(Example: Delilah used her hold on Samson as power to bring down a nation)

Conclusion:While Ahab and Jezebel are examples of how we should not use power, Joseph is an example of how we can use power: While Joseph’s feigned harshness produced fear, it was his graciousness that resulted in spiritual awareness and the beginnings of repentance. The gruff accusations of Joseph did produce the facts he sought about his father and brother (42:8-13), but it was grace that caused his brothers to consider their circumstances as coming from the hand of God. It was only after Joseph released his brothers from prison and relaxed his demands and offered hope and life by assuring them that he, too, feared God (42:18) that they began to consider God’s hand in their dilemma (42:21-22). And it was after they realized that their money was given back to them in the grain sack that they said, “What is this that God has done to us?” (42:28).


What are some of the selfish gain that result from abuse of power (money, influence, prestige, control) in every day situations? How can we exercise the power which is at our disposal? Do we use it to serve others or to seek our own selfish ends?

You can make the Bible say anything you want and sometimes the Word of God is manipulated from the pulpit to justify a personal agenda. What can you as a church member do about this?

What Christlike characteristics do you think help combat the temptation to abuse power? What can you do to cultivate these characteristics?

In the Old Testament, many kings—like Ahab—abused power and reigned as tyrants for years. Yet God’s chosen people prevailed. What lessons can we learn from this to encourage us when church leaders abuse power at the expense of church?

Contemplation: Often it is difficult for us to objectively identify the areas of power we struggle with. Power has a way of sneaking up on you and taking over your ego. How can we deal with this problem?

Consider appointing someone whose opinion you trust and value to be your accountability partner. Give this person the authority to set you straight when you abuse power. Think of other ways you can protect yourself from caving into the lure of power and authority?

Application: Power of any kind can be a temptation, a test of a Christian’s stewardship. And how you combat the temptation of power is the same way you fight any other kind of temptation. Rick Warren in his book Purpose Driven Life gives four ways to defeat temptation:

  1. Refocus your attention on something else.
  2. Reveal your struggle to a godly friend or support group.
  3. Resist the Devil.
  4. Realize your vulnerability.

(Details in Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan], pp 209 –216)

Consider the following activities to help you from abusing power:

  1. When you find yourself in the middle of a disagreement or conflict, deliberately take time out to pray and then look at the situation from the other person’s perspective. Deliberately fight your natural instinct to justify your point of view. Practice humility with the help of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Take the time to read the Beatitudes in an easy version of  the Bible. Meditate on Jesus’ counsel in the Beatitudes about attitude and behavior.
  3. Develop the habit to begin each day by turning over your life into God’s control. Remind yourself that with God in control, there will be no temptation to abuse power.
  4. When you read or hear of people in the world who abuse power, set aside time to specifically mediate for them in prayer.
devotion, Spiritual Musings

family chronicles

Who am I, LORD God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 1 Chronicles 17:16

Suppose you were to lose everything you held dear, how would you feel? What would you cling to if all that had once been tangible in your life was no more? The Israelites often found themselves in a similar situation. Their history was filled with much disappointment and discouragement. Their story alternates episodes of hope with that despair.  The book of Chronicles finds them at the end of half a century of captivity. During this time they lost more than their freedom; they lost their sense of identity. At such a milestone, the book of Chronicles urges them to remember their glorious past, to recollect the best of times. The narrative is an effort to help the Israelites get in touch with who they were in God’s plan.

Do you see the similarities between the Israelites and us? Are we at a time in our lives when we need to remember our “glorious” past? Like the Israelite, we too are a race of hope. Although our past has its interludes of disheartenment, we have many stories that beget hope in our present. Forgetting where the Lord has led us will only jeopardize our future.

Maybe it’s a good idea to chronicle our miracles, struggles, and joyous events. And periodically, re-read the stories at family gatherings to strengthen our hope in Christ, to see where we fit into God’s divine plan.

devotion, Reviews

soul shaping by stephen w. smith (david c. cook)

I’m a big proponent of group studies. The accountability, support and perspective that comes from sharing ideas and learning together often have long-term benefits. The couples my husband and I studied with once a month, some 15 years ag,o are our closest friends today; their children and ours were bonded for life as well. But this long lasting bond doesn’t just magical result from every group study. The glue that brings all members of the group together is the common passion or yearning and the product that feeds the emotion and need. When the subject matter resonates with everyone, you have a winner. Soul Shaping is that kind of book

For a group searching for ways to begin a renewed, active life in the hands of Jesus, this is the perfect study guide. Each lesson is portioned into sections, varied and targeted for different learning styles. The lessons taught are then reinforced through a exercises in one or more spiritual discipline. A lot of white space and a good choice of font and layout make the book very user and pen-friendly.

If you or your church is looking for a new set of Bible studies, this is it.

(I received this book free from David C. Cook. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

devotion, Misc Stuff, Previously Published

four-step discussion

Preaching a 40-minute sermon is sometimes easier than leading a 15-minute discussion; delivering  a monologue is easier than initiating dialogue! Try this four-step method the next time you are to lead a discussion.

Step 1: Illustrate. Tell a story. The right story has power. It can reel in the wandering mind, bring the soul to attention, and impress upon the heart a thought to last a lifetime—all in a moment.

Step 2: Quote.  Plant your story in an environment of credibility. Quotations and passages from authoritative, respected sources not only provide this environment, but also anchor the listener to your story.

Step 3: Reflect. Throw out a few questions to provoke thinking and start and start a discussion.

Step 4: Apply. Invite the participants to incorporate into their lives the story and the quotations they have reflected on.

Now, let’s try this method using the topic Forces of Habit.

Illustrate. “On the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains, a giant Sequoia lies rotting. It was a growing sapling when Christ walked the shores of Galilee. When Columbus discovered America, it was reaching maturity; during the America Civil War, it looked down from lofty heights. The tree seemed destined to live many more centuries. Then, a few years ago, a tiny beetle started to burrow into its bark and lay eggs that would produce other beetles. It seemed like an unequal battle at first, but the few beetles multiplied into hundreds, then into thousands, and finally into millions. First they attacked the bark, then they worked deeper into the trunk, and finally, they were eating the very heart and strength of that magnificent forest giant. Then one day, the rains came, the winds blew, and lightening flashed. And after withstanding the elements for centuries, the giant tree fell. Not because of the elements, but because of the weakening effects of those tiny beetles.

“Bad habits do the same to people. They slowly take a toll until the day comes when the person falls like that giant tree.”—Zig Ziglar

Quote. “The person who has been born into God’s family does not make a practice of sinning, because now God’s life is in him; so he can’t keep on sinning, for this new life has been born into and controls him—he has been born again” (1 John 3:9, TLB).

“Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about” (Phil. 4:8, TLB),.

“Sow an act and reap a habit; sow a habit and reap a character; sow a character and reap a destiny” (an old proverb).

Reflect. Why is it hard to admit that we are doing something wrong? What role does confession play in the breaking of a bad habit? What confidence does Jesus’ death on the cross give us? What should we do with our evil desires? How do we nail our desires to the cross? What specific differences might we expect if our lives were Spirit-controlled?

Apply. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is an ongoing process—you can’t be filled with the Spirit today and expect the supply to last a lifetime. Translated most accurately, the Greek verb, be filled (as in Eph. 5:18), would read be always being filled. Having once had an experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit is not nearly as important as being filled with the Holy Spirit today. We need to make a conscious, rational decision to yield to Christ’s control. And when we do so, the Holy Spirit’s power will be released. As we continue yielding, He will fill every part of us.

What can you do today to be open to whatever the Holy Spirit wants to do in your life? What steps will you take this week to break a habit that keeps you from growing? With the Spirit in control, how do you see yourself thinking and acting?

devotion, Previously Published

telling it like it is

Texts: Matt. 4:18–22; 10:24, 25; Mark 3:13, 14; 8:34, 35; Luke 14:25, 26

Jesus lived in a time where stories were used very specifically. A story wasn’t just something you read to put a child (or an adult) to sleep. Stories were used to derive a legal conclusion; teach a moral lesson; illustrate an idea in philosophy or in faith; or to share a wondrous or miraculous event. And these stories were told in three different styles: as in a dream and something that does not really take place in the physical world; as a real event but related as a metaphor, using symbols; or as a real event but related in an exaggerated manner to emphasis certain points.

In making His call to discipleship (Luke 14:26, 27, 33), Jesus goes all out on the story-telling tactic of exaggeration and draws a mental picture of a disciple —The man is standing at the doorway of his house, a new disciple ready to embark on a journey. To publicly display his total, 100% commitment to follow this radical man Jesus, he’s called the leaders of his community to bear witness of what he is about to do. The neighbors are there and so is the press. This is important because it is BIG and because it doesn’t happen often–The man writes off his parents forever; he is now dead to them. He gives his wife and children his permission; he blesses them into a new life without him. He executes his new will and testament; He donates all his things except the clothes on his back and the extra set in his satchel to Goodwill. And then as a final salute to his calling, the man calls to his neighbors to pick up the heavy cross made especially for him and strap it to his back. That cross, he claims, will remain on his back throughout his discipling journey! 

This severely exaggerated story of Jesus can scare the average Christian. It’s as though Christ is calling us to be suicide bombers—Forget yourself, your family, your job, your life—just strap a bomb to yourself and die for the cause, if that’s what it takes! Not many of us can commit like this so we end up feeling like we’d never live up to Jesus’ expectations of a disciple and therefore, we might as well give up right now.

What we need to do is to remember that Jesus was trying to make a point. He wanted there to be no doubt about the level of commitment He expected, the magnitude of the call, and the power of the Spirit that He had to offer each of us to be His disciple. Let’s convert the story-telling technique of exaggeration of Jesus into plain, today’s language to understand what Jesus was saying:

The urgency of the call. When Jesus called his disciples (Matthew 4:19) Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men there had to be something in His voice, in His body language, in His demeanor that expressed urgency. We know this was probably true because of what the disciples did: Immediately they left their nets and followed Him (v 20). This does not mean that they stopped being fishermen and husbands. There are numerous references in the Bible to their occupation and their homes after this call; they continued living like regular people and carried out their society and family responsibilities. But the key point is that the moment they said YES to Jesus, they put Him FIRST and everything else second.

When Jesus calls us to be disciples, the time to answer is NOW. The lifestyle of stewardship demands an immediate response. Besides, if Jesus didn’t think we were ready to be His disciples, He wouldn’t bother calling.

The prerequisite of the call. When He called them to be fishers of men in Matthew 4, Jesus had no intention of sending them in pairs at that very moment. That call was to walk with Him, learn from Him, abide in Him—until such a time came that He was ready to send them (Mark 3:13, 14).

The prerequisite then is to learn at His feet before following at His heel. Jesus is not a one with illogical expectations: When we’re called to be disciples, our creator God personally trains and equips us for the task. We need to remember that we are merely tools placed in His hands. We have nothing to fear.

The side effects of the call. This is the most amazing perk of accepting the call to discipleship—When the disciples recognized the urgency of the call and made it their priority, they were immediately placed in a training program of emulation of Christ. And in doing so, they experienced awesome side-effects—a) Cross-bearing (putting Christ above self, family, job, culture and everything) was a joyous, willing, and voluntary act; b) Witnessing was a natural way of life!

When we are true disciples, what was once difficult is now a piece of cake. What was once a burden is now the farthest thing on our minds. This is not because of our own strengths but because in imitating Jesus, we’re becoming more and more like Him each day.

So, what Jesus was really saying is that a true life of discipleship requires Him alone as Lord of our hearts and lives. He’s not calling us to a one-time zealous act of martyrdom; He’s calling us to a life-long expression and reflection of His love. The result: Everyone around us will yearn to be disciples too!


What are the privileges that come with being a disciple? (John 15:7-16)

Think of phrases that describe discipleship (Eg. growing in the image of Christ). Consider scenarios in your church where you can use these phrases to encourage Christian growth.


church, community, fellowship

Age Group: high school, college

Key Texts: Col. 3:12-14; Matt. 12:49, 50; Rom. 12:4 -10

The redwoods grow to be over 300 feet tall. They never stand alone because the southern winds can whip them down. The redwoods stick together. They grow in clusters, supporting one another. Water is hard to find in the rocky mountains. The redwoods must quickly drink the water at the soil surface before the water evaporates into the hot air. So they creep just beneath forest floor, quenching their thirst, and creating a bumpy terrain that is not much of an anchor (big trees need roots that dig deep into the earth). However, a closer look reveals their strategy–The roots of one tree intertwine with the roots of other trees. That’s how they stand tall even when their roots cannot dig deep

Option 1: Dump a pile of children’s building blocks on the table or floor. Ask for two volunteers to compete in building the tallest building in 90 seconds. When you have your volunteers, let them know they will be blindfolded, and may only use one hand. Divide the rest of the class into two sides to cheer and shout instructions. (Illustrates how easy it is to break a family/how difficult it is to build one and the importance having the needed elements to make a family work.)

Option 2: Ask for a few brief positive, personal stories about family bonding. Create slogans that describe some of the families represented in the class. Keep it sensitive, positive, and fun.

Option 1: The dynamics of a human family unit are parallel to that of the church family. Have you been in a church where you were a stranger yet you felt very comfortable? Have you attended a church for years yet continued to feel a stranger? What made one a home where the Lord and His brothers and sisters got together? What made the other a spiritual clinic lacking warmth and fellowship?

Read Colossians 3:12 -14.Find the key ingredients needed to make the church a true family of God. (compassion; kindness; humility; gentleness; patience; forgiveness; love)

Write the ingredients on the chalkboard. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being very good), rate your home church on each ingredient. Emphasize the importance of being honest about ourselves.

Option 2:
What do the following biblical passages teach you about the family? What does each Bible passage teach about the family? What change should be made in your homes to better conform to each biblical principle?

  • Exodus 20:12
  • Proverbs 10:1
  • Proverbs 13:1
  • Proverbs 15:5
  • Matthew 10:37
  • Matthew 18:6,7
  • Romans 1:28 -30
  • 1 Cor. 13:4 -7, 13
  • Ephesians 6:1 -4
  • 1 Timothy 5:8


Brainstorm for specific ways your class can enhance their church family (visit  thesick/discouraged; offer services to the elderly/disabled; begin a new tradition [e.g a quarterly praise potluck where members share recent experiences of God goodness]). Take a few minutes to organize planning groups and dates.

Appoint two students with the gift of organizational skills to follow through and make it happen.



  • How do God’s general instructions for families help you in your personal growth towards Christian maturity?
  • How can you carry over the positive attitude of family to your work place?
  • Why is an environment of encouragement important in your personal family as well as your church family?
  • What does it mean to call God your Father?
  • Does being created in God’s image affect the standards we set for ourselves?
  • Why is communication important between family members. How can bad communication be destructive?
  • What is the role of the Holy Spirit within the church family?




made for a purpose

Age group: high school

Key texts: James 2: 14-26; Matt 13:3; 1 Cor 12:8-11; John 14:6

Material needed: Paper; pencils; crayons; paper bags; common objects such as cotton ball, twigs, candy, piece of leather, string, a flower, a paper clip, etc.

Introduction: Did you know that your brain is most active when you daydream? In fact, your brain is SIX times more active when you daydream than when you are studying at school! This is so because you need time out—to be alone and inactive—to give yourself the opportunity to think of fresh ideas, capture them, and make them productive. While you daydream, let yourself be gullible. Never think, “This idea is too stupid to bother with.” Instead, ask, “What if?” or “Is there another way?” Attending a meeting out of town, two men found themselves alone and bored one night. One bought a tub of ice cream to share with the other. But there was a problem: no spoons. Then came creativity to the rescue: The men found a shoehorn that played the role of a spoon that night!

Activity: a)     Option 1: Give each class member a piece of paper on which to draw a symbol, icon, or picture that describes his or her special giftedness and talents. Have each share their drawing and an explanation of it with the rest of the class. If the class members are familiar with one another, encourage others to highlight the talents of other members. b)    Option 2: To each class member, give a brown paper bag that has a commonly used object (such as cotton ball, twigs, candy, piece of leather, string, a flower, a paper clip, etc.). Using the object in the bag, have each class member give a brief 30-second object lesson on creativity.

Bible Study: a)     Option 1: Divide the class into groups. Have each group rewrite a biblical parable for today’s society and culture. Encourage the group to follow the sequence of events and Jesus’ words in connection to the parable. b)    Option 2: Divide the class into groups. Have each group find a biblical example of creative problem solving from which to list key points that can be used in similar situations today.

Discussion Questions:

  • What are some practical things you can do to make your “daydreaming” time one that is creatively productive for the Lord?
  • What does the use of symbols reveal about God’s character?
  • How does the creativity of Bible writers make Scripture easier or enjoyable to read?
  • How does God’s creation illustrate his creativity?
  • How does the gift of creativity enrich our lives?
  • Why was Jesus creative when telling parables?
  • How can we use our creativity to praise God?
  • Why did God give us creativity?

Conclusion: First tell this anecdote: The movie Chariots of Fire is about a young missionary named Eric, whom God blessed with the talent to run like the wind. When his sister tried to discourage him from running races, he answered with these unforgettable words: “God made me for a purpose and God made me fast. And when I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” In his heart Eric was a runner. When he ran, he was more creative for God then any other time. Then, pass out note cards on which each member writes his or her “creation” story. Each story will begin with the following words and continues with a list of each one’s talents and spiritual giftedness: And then God created (class member’s name). He said, ‘In (class member’s name) let there be . . . . (list of talents) 


devotion, Previously Published

inspired word of God

Age Group: High School

Key Text: All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16, NIV)

Materials needed: Paper, pens, chalk board

One cold night, a colporteur encountered a robber who ordered him to light a bonfire and burn his books. The colporteur lit the fire, and then asked to read a little from each book first. He read the twenty third psalm from one; the story of the good Samaritan from another; the Sermon on the Mount from another; 1 Corinthians 13 from another. At the end of each reading, the robber said “It’s a good book. We won’t burn that one; give it to me.” In the end, none were burned; the robber left with all the books. Years later the man turned up again. Only this time he was not a robber; he was a Christian minister. (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible, The Letters to Timothy, Titus and Philemon, St. Andrews Press, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1975, p 201)

Option 1: Give each several pieces of paper and pen. Ask them to put their Bibles away and say: “Pretend all our Bibles are destroyed. You have to rely on your memory. For the next five minutes, write down all the Bible verses you can say from memory (once verse per piece of paper), including the reference if possible. Post the verses on the wall under the categories Law, History, Poetry, Prophets, Gospels, Epistles.

Then ask questions like What made this exercise difficult? Why is it we reproduce so little of the book we use so much? What difference should the Bible make in our lives? Why do we feel more comfortable with some parts of the Bible than others? What is it that keeps us from studying and learning more from the Bible?

Option 2: Distribute portions of a recent newspaper. Have them glean stories of people who were in a difficult, happy, sad, or strange situation. Encourage the class to contribute recent, personal experiences. Draw a 2-column table on a chalkboard. The heading of the left column is “In this the situation.” The heading of the right “The Bible says.”

As the class finds stories, write a brief description of each in the left. Stop when you have about a dozen stories. Now have the class find encouraging, faith-affirming Bible texts   that can be encouraging to the individuals in the stories.

Bible Study:
Option 1: Divide into five groups and have each study 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 along with one of these passages: Hebrews 4:12; James 1:22-24; Luke 16:17; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; 2 Timothy 2:15. Questions they could tackle: What do these verses say about the Bible? What is function and purpose of Scripture? What results can you expect in your life from studying the Bible every day?

Option 2: Divide into five groups and have each rewrite one of the following passages to give it a personal and contemporary application. Then have each group read aloud the original passage from the Bible followed by their paraphrase: Matthew 5:13-16; Romans 8:38, 39; 1 Corinthians 13:4-12; Philippians 4:4-7; Hebrews 13:1-3; James 1:2-8. After the sharing of these paraphrases, emphasize the relevance of Scripture and the importance of personal application in the studying of Scripture.




  • If you know the Word and don’t do as it says, what does that say about your respect for God and His authority?
  • How can you develop a personal checklist to ensure you say and do what is biblically right?
  • If someone told you the Bible was just a how-to book for good moral behavior, how would you defend it as being the inspired Word of God?
  • How can you communicate the message of the Bible with confidence and yet without arrogance?
  • How can you safely compare what people say about God with what the Bible says?
  • What can you do when you find it difficult to believe without seeing?