A couple of months ago we started writing a new bible study for this coming summer's SDI. It has been quite a number of years since we have written our own material for the bible studies. This is only because it takes so much work, so we took a break from it and used outside sources as an experiment. This year we are returning to writing our own study because when we do, it is easier to tie the lessons into our SDI's 'theme', we are able to make each lesson suit the needs of our varying age groups better, and we have found that the in-house material we create seems to be so much easier than the other stuff for us to work with, being the bible study leaders for the small groups. When we use outside materials we also face the challenge of trying to make them work for our unique number of bible study sessions and we end up having to manipulate, chop up, and edit them ( the formats; not the context, as truth is absolute, of course 😉).
SO, we are going with writing our own bible study this year, and I am so happy to have the privilege this time around of being on the writing team! Let me tell ya! Ya'll students are in for a treat! Without giving away what SDI's theme will be for this summer, I WILL give you a little sneak peek into what I've been working on the past couple of weeks...
Lately, we have been just eating up the chapter of Ephesians over here. IT'S SO GOOD! Below are a few questions that were posed, along with the rough draft of my answers to them that I've drawn up from scripture. Though quite academic in form, I can't express how much fun I have had pressing the Word of God to find the answers to these questions. I've been re-experiencing just what the bible means about itself when it says that it's 'living and active' (Hebrews 4:12). In reading Ephesians I have been rediscovering the character of God, and who I am [to be] in Christ. Being a part of the writing team has been such an invigorating and refreshing process, which I believe comes not so much from the writing part but from the reading/ researching! "For I treasure the words of his mouth more than my daily bread." (Job 23:12)
Who is our example in right living?
As children imitate their parents, Christians are to imitate God (Ephesians 5: 1-2) and Jesus Christ being in the very same nature of God; Philippians 2:5 paul tells us to have the same mindset as Christ. Review God's character and all that He is, that we are to imitate; He is love, he is gracious, merciful, forgiving, holy (1 Peter 1:16), etc. It is only by the power and work of the Holy Spirit in us that we can even begin to be imitators of Christ.
We have all been immoral, impure, or greedy at some point. Does verse 5 mean none of us has an inheritance in the kingdom? Why or why not? (Ephesians 5:3-5)
1 John 1 verses 5-10 says: "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us." If we are believers; followers of Jesus who acknowledge our need for him, confess our sins as they occur, and repent of them as verse 9 suggests, then the promises in God's Word hold true for us. He is faithful to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness when we confess and repent. When someone commits a moral crime, a sin ( like the ones you and I are prone to regretfully commit every day) it would only be right for that person to be punished. God sent Jesus as our pardon, free of charge, to take on the punishment that we deserve. For the unrepentant, unbeliever who is unable to accept God's free gift of salvation and redemption that comes through belief in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, he is unable to receive the inheritance in the kingdom of God. The following are additional scriptures I like on repentance and God's promises for believers: Hebrews 8, Psalm 23, Psalm 103
Has the idea of God exposing everything and making everything visible ever scared you? Why or why not?
Having your darkness exposed in the light of God's holiness can be scary and/or uncomfortable but it is truly a good thing! The light of God that shines on us has the power to illuminate, transform, expose and cleanse us. His light gives us life, is salvation, and brings us clarity, knowledge, and understanding. The following are some of my favorite additional scriptures about it: John 3:19-21, John 8:12, 1 John 1:7, Psalm 119:105,130, Psalms 27:1, 2 Corinthians 4:6, Psalms 27:1, 2 Corinthians 4:6, Isaiah 42:16
John 16:5-8 explains that while it is the Holy Spirit's job to bring us conviction of our sins that are hiding in darkness, it is also his job to be our helper! We are not left helpless or alone. A great place to look for additional scriptures on the Holy Spirit is John 14: 15-31.