Christian Life and Growth

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1 Christian Life and Growth Faith Church Lesson 2 Provision Through God s Word When you received Jesus Christ as your Savior, 1 Corinthians 2:10-15 declares that you now have a new ability! Now, you can begin to understand and comprehend Scriptures like never before. This is accomplished through the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures are the source of truth that not only have taught you about the Gospel message, but also give instructions about how to overcome sinful habit patterns and how to grow in righteousness. The Scriptures also give guidance and help us know our great God more. This study is designed to give you a greater reverence for God s Word and also equip you to use the Scriptures more effectively in your life. I. The Divine Character of God s Word A. Exclusive Source of Authority. The Word of God is to be the one and only source of authoritative truth by which man lives his life. 1. From where do people in society typically get advice for living, for relationships, for what to think on certain issues, for how to handle trouble, for where man originated, etc.? In other words, to what sources of truth does society listen? 2. What would a person look like (in speech or in actions) who based how they live and make decisions upon the following: a. Reason b. Experience c. Tradition d. Science e. Feelings f. The Bible 1. In Deut. 8:3, God expected the children of Israel (and us) to conduct their lives with regard to a certain authority. What is that according to this passage? 2. Please read through Matthew 7:24-27 which is about standing firm amidst the storms of life. a. Why was the wise man compared to one who built his house on the rocks and the fool compared to one who built his house on the sand?

2 b. What was the wise man s source of authority which he not only heard but obeyed (v. 24)? 1. Please read Colossians 2:3-4, 8-10 and answer the following questions. a. What does this passage have to say about our source of authority and truth? b. What happens, according to v. 8, when one begins to listen to philosophies and traditions of men? B. Infallible Source of Truth. Not only is the Word of God the exclusive source of authority, but also an inerrant and 100% accurate source of truth! 1. 2 Tim. 3:16 says All Scripture is inspired by God. Inspired literally means breathed out by God. Thus, the Scriptures have been directly exhaled from God. Realizing that they are from God, remind yourself of some of God s characteristics by recording what the following passages say about God. a. 1 John 1:5 b. Numbers 23:19 c. Psalms 31:5 d. James 1:17 1. Many people believe that only parts of the Bible are inspired. Which view below fits best with 2 Tim. 3:16? Circle the correct one. a. Only the parts of the Bible that deal with salvation and spiritual truths are inspired. b. Everything but the historical records is inspired. c. Everything but the miracles is inspired. d. Everything but those events that do not correspond with modern science is inspired. e. Everything from Gen. 1:1 to Rev. 22:21 is inspired. 1. Read 2 Pet. 1:16-21 and answer the following questions. a. What is more sure than extraordinary experiences perceived by our senses? 2

3 b. Approximately thirty-nine men of God wrote the Scriptures under special inspiration over a period of 1500 years. Who specifically inspired these men? c. As we study God s Word what are we to keep in mind (v. 20)? C. Sufficient Source of Guidance. Finally, in addition to being the exclusive and inspired source of truth, the Word of God is also ALL that we need for life and godliness. 1. Referring again to 2 Tim. 3, please read verses 15, 16, & 17. a. What is the most important teaching that we learn from the Scriptures (v. 15)? b. The Scriptures are also profitable for, for, for, and for in righteousness (v. 16). c. Thus, the Scriptures enable the believer to be what according to v. 17? 1. Read 2 Pet. 1:2-4. What has God given us? Where would one find this? 2. Read Psalms 19:7-11 and list all that the Word of God does and how it would be sufficient and superior to anything else this world has to offer. C. Complete the following statement with several of your own personal thoughts. Because the Word of God is to be my exclusive, infallible, and sufficient source of truth, I must... (For additional insight read Psalms 119:35, 42, 62, 117, 164, 167,168) D. One appropriate response in D was I must obey and keep it. What will obedience to the Word of God demonstrate about a person according to I John 5:3? 3

4 F. Read Luke 8:5-15. What three things may hinder an individual from obedience to God s commands? G. What should you do when your feelings, experience, reason, tradition, logic or philosophy is contrary to what the Bible says? II. The Believer s Use of God s Word In order for God s Word to be profitable we must regularly be exposing ourselves to the Word in the following five ways as demonstrated in the picture below. A. Hearing God s Word. 1. According to Hebrews 11:6, What is the one thing that God requires in order to please Him? 2. Faith comes through a specific activity mentioned in Romans 10:17. What is that activity? 3. What are some actions you can take to make sure you are regularly hearing the Word of God? A. Reading God s Word. Please read Deuteronomy 17: This passage was specifically addressed to kings of Israel. What was the king of Israel commanded to do (v. 19)?. For how long? 2. What would this do for a King of Israel? 4

5 3. If reading the Word of God would help a mighty king, how might that same word help you? 4. By reading God s Word we can obtain an overall knowledge of God. A few minutes each day, highlighting and marking key thoughts can be a great aid in helping you to know God more. As you read ask yourself these questions: a. To whom is the passage speaking? b. What is the circumstance? c. What does it tell me about God/Christ? d. Are there sins I should confess/avoid? e. Are there promises to claim? f. Are there items that I don t understand which I need to study to find answers? C. Studying God s Word. 1. What had Ezra set out to do in Ezra 7:10? 2. How was Timothy to handle the word of God in 2 Tim 2:15? 3. Studying to accurately handle the Word of God requires proper hermeneutics (principles on how to interpret the Bible). Below is a brief study on hermeneutics. Introductory Guidelines for Studying God's Word The following is a portion of a letter written from an early church planter facing legal prosecution to a pastor trying to lead a church. Read the excerpts from the letter and then answer the questions.... Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching. At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, in order that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the lion s mouth. The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen... What would be wrong with claiming that this church planter had been on safari in Africa and was nearly eaten by a lion ("delivered out of the lion's mouth")? 5

6 What would be wrong with claiming that this church planter played "defense" on a football team because he claimed that he was at a "defense"? In actuality this passage is 2 Tim. 4: Just as with any book, magazine, newspaper article, etc. the words, sentences and paragraphs are written to convey a specific message based upon what the author wants to communicate. To help us arrive at the inerrant message that God intends a portion of Scripture to have, we must follow certain "principles" of interpretation. The questions above were designed to illustrate two principles regarding Scripture interpretation. 6

7 1) The meaning of sentences, phrases, and words must be interpreted in a way consistent with the context of the passage. That's why in the above example, we cannot say that Paul was almost eaten by a lion. Paul was speaking symbolically of the persecution he faced at the hands of the Roman Government. Context is always important. 2) The original definition of words is also important. "Defense" in the above passage could never mean a defense on a football team. First, football did not exist in that time period. Secondly, it doesn't fit the context. Third, this word which is translated "defense" originally meant a speech or a verbal response given in reply to a charge. To find the original meaning of words use Strong's Concordance of the Bible or Vine's Expository Dictionary. Now, Read Matthew 18:20. What, if anything, is wrong with interpreting Matthew 18:20 as a promise of God's presence at a small group Bible Study or prayer meeting? (Hint read several verses before this passage and determine the purpose of the passage.) 3) Try to determine the purpose of the passage. Many times we use Scripture in ways which it was never intended to be used like in the Matthew 18:20 passage. Therefore we need to ask "What is the purpose of the passage?" 4) Finally, your interpretation must be consistent with the rest of the Bible. Every passage must bear the weight of the rest of the Bible, even if it seems unclear to you. Remember that God is the one who inspired Scripture and there are no contradictory statements in Scripture. Each of the 31,177 verses is perfectly balanced with the rest of Scripture. Contradictions arise when you misinterpret a passage. You must interpret Scripture with Scripture. What are some possible dangers in misinterpreting Ecclesiastes 10:19? How do you make sense out of this passage; it seems contradictory with the rest of Scripture (compare with I Tim 6:10)? Read 1 John 3:9. Some say that this means that once you become a Christian you will never sin again. Now Read 1 John 1:8-10 & 2:1. How would you now interpret 1 John 3:9 to be consistent with the other passages? D. Memorizing God s Word. 1. What does Psalm 119:9-11 say about knowing or memorizing God s Word? 7

8 2. In what ways do you see Jesus applying the principles of Psalm 119:9-11 in His encounter with Satan in Matthew 4:3-11? 3. Guidelines for Scripture Memory: a. Before you start make sure you understand what the verse means. b. Read it several times. c. Write it out on a 3x5 card. d. Work on the verse(s) out loud whenever you can, so that you not only see the verse but hear it which helps the memorization process. e. Gradually add phrase to phrase until you can recite the verse without looking. f. REVIEW daily for at least a week, then occasionally throughout the next two weeks. Remember a verse is NOT memorized if two weeks later you cannot quote it! The keys to Scripture memory are REVIEW, REVIEW, REVIEW. D. Meditating on /Applying God s Word. 1. What was Joshua commanded to do in Joshua 1:8? 2. What would meditation result in according to that verse? 3. Meditation is transforming God s Word from head knowledge to concrete applications by enumerating and initiating steps for becoming more like Christ. 4. Paraphrase Jas. 1: Meditation practice. What specifically should result from meditating upon Phil. 2:3-4? 8

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