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Archive for the ‘Bible Study’ Category

Below are more sessions from what I am currently calling the Getting Familiar With The Bible series. It’s a very casual study/discussion for anyone who wants to get more familiar with the Bible. Sessions 4 and 5 do not have notes.

  • Session 4 Human Beings in God’s Plan: Adam & Eve “The Two Trees” Gen 3; Cain & Able “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” Gen 4; and Noah and The Flood “God Starts Over” Gen 6-9.
  • Session 6 Peter and the Pearly Gates – Why do people say Peter is standing at the gates of heaven? Found this blog post to explain Peter and the Pearly Gates. We discussed Revelation 21: We don’t go to heaven. Heaven is coming to us.

 

Click Here for links to the Intro and Sessions 1-3

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Below are links to the intro and first three discussion guides I’m writing to help a friend who simply wanted to learn about the Bible because of so many references that are made to scripture in other literature and everyday conversation.

This material, I hope, will also be helpful for Christ followers who want to get reacquainted with the Bible, learn how to study it and how to share the Bible and your personal faith with others.

These are just discussion guides and I haven’t spent a lot of time developing them. If they help you, great! Feel free to use them.

Intro Session Why Read The Bible

Session 1 God the Creator

Session 2 Jesus the Image

Session 3 The Holy Spirit

To interpret scripture properly, we need to do as much as possible to understand the context of what we are reading. A lot of context can be understood simply by reading the text around the verses being studied – just like any other book. A couple of my favorite quick and simple references are:

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee
How to Read the Bible Book by Book by Gordon D. Fee

May the Lord add the blessing of understanding to the reading of His Word.

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Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”

Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

John 1:40-51

Who did Andrew (v41) and Philip (v45) find? Why do you think this a big deal to them?

see Deut 18:15-18; Is 9; 11; 53  looking for the Messiah for thousands of years

What was Nathaniel’s response (v46)?

When have you doubted that someone really found what you are looking for? Or doubted that something would taste good when someone is telling you how wonderful something is; or doubted going some place would be as fun as someone said? Did just hearing about it convince you? What would convince you that something tastes good or that some place is fun?

How did Philip convince Nathaniel (v46)?

What happened when Nathaniel was willing to go and see  (v47)?

What would you think if someone you’d never met said something like that to you the first time they saw you?

How did Nathaniel respond to Jesus’ comment (v48)?

What do you think Jesus meant by “I saw you” (v48)? How would seeing Nathaniel make him say what he said about Nathaniel (v47)? What do you think Nathaniel was thinking when he responded to Jesus in verse 49?

What does Jesus promise Nathaniel (vv50-51)?

How does it feel to you to know that Jesus can see you all the time?

The Bible has lots of references to God seeing us and it is always considered a good thing for those who love him.

In Genesis 16, Hagar, a slave who was mistreated, was scared and didn’t know what to do. Then she realized God could see her and he was taking care of her.

Matthew 10:28-30 says God knows when a bird dies and he even knows how many hairs are on your head.

Psalm 139 – David, who killed the giant and then did some bad things when he was king, is comforted knowing that God knows his thoughts and when he gets up and when he goes to bed and everything in between.

How would your conversations or the things you do throughout the day be different if you remembered that God loves you very much and is watching over you all the time? He knows you better than anyone and he wants you to know him and love him.

What can you do so that you can be as excited about seeing Jesus as Andrew and Philip were when they found him? Think about why they were excited. List one or two things that would make you excited enough about Jesus to want to go tell your friends about him. 

Seeing Jesus is more than intellectual agreement that he exists. Nathaniel believed that the Messiah would one day come but then he saw him.

When Jesus came back to life, the tomb was empty. He ascended into a realm that is not always visible to us today but he has brought that realm into reality. While we cannot see Jesus as the disciples saw him either before or after his resurrection, we can experience his presence in nearly the same way. If you haven’t had this experience, come and see.

This is not a formula but it is how I experience the presence of Jesus daily. I’m excited about seeing Jesus and knowing he is with me and I want to share that with you.

  • Sit with your eyes closed (preferably in a quiet place but not necessarily) I’ve done this in small groups and alone.
  • Place your hands on your lap, palms up (I don’t know why this makes a difference but for me it does. I think it is a physical act that symbolizes my desire to receive whatever God wants to give me. It is a willingness to surrender and be submissive to God.)
  • Now take a deep breath as you think or say out loud, “come Holy Spirit” or “Jesus, where are you?” or whatever you expresses your desire to see Jesus. The part that has made a difference for me at this point is trying to focus on seeing him rather than asking him for anything.  When I say “seeing” here, it’s more of a “sensing” him but it is as real as seeing with physical eyes. There is nothing I could do to make that sensation happen. I’ve tried just saying the words without really seeking him, doesn’t have the same affect. Also, keep in mind, God is already with us and he wants to make his presence known. This is more about slowing down to acknowledge and recognize his presence. It’s not about trying to make him appear. We are not manipulating God by slowing down to look at him. He has already initiated this experience by sending Jesus to live in our midst.
  • This may take some time. It’s not always easy to focus on seeing Jesus in a world full of visual stimulation and noise. But once you experience his presence, it will become easier to recognize. I often think about John 20:22 when Jesus appears to his disciples after his resurrection. It says “he breathed on them and said, ‘receive the Holy Spirit.'” When I take those deep breaths, I imagine Jesus breathing on me and saying “receive the Holy Spirit.”

Let me know if these steps helped.

Psalm 33:13-22

The LORD looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race.

From his throne he observes all who live on the earth.

He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do.

The best-equipped army cannot save a king,

nor is great strength enough to save a warrior.

Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory—

for all its strength, it cannot save you.

But the LORD watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.

He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine.

We put our hope in the LORD.

He is our help and our shield.

In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.

Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.

sources:
Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993. Print.
Spangler, Ann. Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004. Print.

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