Date: December 18, 2016
Session 3: Gods’ Word Gives Courage
The Point: Because of God’s Word, I can stand in a world that opposes me.
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
Say: We can see evidence of courage all around us.
Then share this news item:
For example, in Gatlinburg, Tenn., Roaring Fork Baptist Church’s buildings were destroyed the night of November 28, 2016 when fire roared through the town. The fire was devastating as it “killed at least 14 people, scorched nearly 18,000 acres, and damaged or destroyed more than 1,600 homes and businesses.” In addition to the loss of the church buildings, about a half dozen of the church’s members lost their homes to fire. Many others who did not lose their homes, are still waiting to find out if they might lose their jobs because of the fire damage. Yet despite the catastrophic loss, the congregation gathered to worship on Sunday, December 4. A nearby Christian summer camp offered the church a temporary place to meet for their services. So less than a week since the deadly fire had destroyed so much, the congregation met, and the pastor, Kim McCroskey, told them, “We’re God’s church. Fire couldn’t take that away. Fire can’t take our resolve away,” he said. “I’m weak in the knees and overwhelmed with grief about what’s happened, but I’m also overwhelmed with joy about seeing all of you here today.” Plans are already underway to rebuild the church, and they hope to be ready to worship in a new building by the end of 2017. In the meantime, they will continue meeting at the summer camp.
Say: The pastor and congregation of Roaring Fork Baptist Church, like many others in that region impacted by the fire, are courageous in their desire to rebuild their lives.
Then read Question #1 (Who are some heroes that inspire you with their courage?) (PSG, p. 40) and invite volunteers to respond to the question.
Information for this post was gleaned from here:
— Donna McKinney wrote this Leader Extra. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina.
Study the Bible
Use the following activity during your study of Psalm 119:21-22.
Interpreting the Bible is more like an art than a science. One reason so many different denominations exist is interpretive difference. With different interpretations also come different uses. While many receive it as God’s words handed down to reveal Himself to humanity, not everyone uses the Bible as He intended. Some use the Bible to justify things they love to do. Others use it to strike fear in others and condemn their actions. An op-ed titled, “Misleading the People, Abuse of Power and the Bible,” appeared in the Huffington Post after Jason Stadtlander saw this marquee in front of a church in Georgia:
“Homosexuality is a death worthy crime. – Leviticus 20:13”
The writer (whose faith is ambiguously described in the article) spends significant time identifying several problems with a church using the Bible in this way. One of the ending statements is particularly poignant:
“This pastor in Georgia is not trying to convert or pull in anyone; he is trying to keep the zealots he currently has, which is a sad misuse of the title of ‘pastor’.”
- Without compromising the gospel or truth of the Bible, what would have been a more helpful message for the marquee?
- Why does using the Bible to condemn and strike fear into people ineffective for imparting the beauty of God’s word and redemption?
- While the Bible teaches truths that are very difficult for our culture (and we should not shy away from them), how can we discerningly use Scripture to encourage those with whom we engage?
- Knowing many in and outside of the church use the Bible for their own ends, why is it necessary for gospel-driven people to rightly use Scripture to bring courage their church families and the world?
Emily Jennings is wife to Brian, mother to three wonderful boys, a writer, amateur runner and loves to cook. Her family lives and ministers in Woodstock, GA.
Extra Option // Bible Studies for Life: Adult KJV
The Adult KJV Leader Guide (p. 42) suggests showing a video segment of a short inspirational speech. Follow up with discussion of what makes it so inspiring.
Here are two examples of short inspirational speeches from movies you can use to transition from the opening question to the study.
Option 2: Scene from Rocky Balboa (2006) (3:09)
- What are some situations in life that uproot those are not firmly planted in the truth of God’s Word?
- What situations in your life have called for courage?
- What in your life has required the most courage?
- How do you typically respond to trouble in your life?
- When have you witnessed true courage in action?
- What percentage of our prayers are focused on physical needs and provision?
- What can we do when we realize our desire for God’s word has diminished?
- How is God’s Word like a map? What other metaphors would you use for the Bible?
- What are positives and negatives of being a “stranger on earth”?
- When have you felt like an outcast or sojourner in this life?
- When have you felt like God revealed something “wondrous” to you? How did this impact your faith and outlook on life?
- Why is prayer a key to walking in obedience to God?
- What are practical ways to connect with God while studying the Scriptures?
- Who in your life has a true passion for God’s Word?
- Why does pride go hand in hand with the person who wanders from God’s Word?
- How does keeping God’s statutes enable us to pray with boldness?
- How does God’s Word help when you are persecuted?
- Why do believers face opposition on this earth?
- What kind of opposition most drains your courage and why?
- What recourse do believers have when we are opposed and insulted because of our commitment to Christ?
- What kind of opposition do Christ followers face today? What are some positive and negative ways they respond?
- How have you experienced ridicule because of your faith in Jesus?
- How do we guard against insolence and pride?
- How does a focus on God’s Word bring courage in times when we are facing enemies?
- Can you share a specific example from your life when God’s Word was your counselor?
- How can we stay focused on God’s perspective when life is frustrating or frightening?
- Why is it to our benefit to stay focused on God’s perspective?
- In what specific ways have God’s decrees delighted and counseled you?
- What are some practical ways you can let God’s Word be a counselor to you?
- How have others reacted to your trust in God’s Word?
- When have you experienced delight in God’s Word?
- How can we work together to stand on the foundation of the Scriptures?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional:
Here’s a brief five-minute teaching video about this session: Spoken, Session 3