Bible Notes to be used at home from May to July – see below
We value reading and learning from the Bible since it is the foundation of our faith. Its teaching never goes out of date because God and people have not changed. In the Old Testament we read of how God made the world and tried to establish a relationship with us, which we kept breaking until we were almost completely out of touch with him. The prophets looked forward to a time when God would do something new to bring us back to God. This special agent or Messiah would be identified with God Himself.
In the New Testament we read of the coming to earth of this rescuer, Jesus. We read of his life, his teachings and miracles, his death and resurrection, God who became a man. We read then of what his disciples did in spreading the message about Jesus as rescuer. Paul and others write letters to encourage the early Christians in their relationships with the risen Jesus and with one another.
Our bible studies focus not on academic study but on finding out what the Bible is saying to us about how we should run our personal and church lives.
THIS term we focus on Paul as role model for us as disciple of Christ. We see this in his prayers, his treatment of others, his ministry and even his endurance in hardship. Enjoy. The hard copy notes re reproduced here for your on line convenience:
Week One Paul’s commitment and enthusiasm
MONDAY Read Philippians 3. 4b-9
What is most important to Paul ? What does he think about his own background and qualifications ? What is important to you as a Christian ?
TUESDAY Read Philippians 3.10-11
Paul wants to follow in the footsteps of Christ through Good Friday and Easter Sunday. What did that journey feel like for you this year ? Why does he want to share Christ’s sufferings first ?
WEDNESDAY Read Acts 20.17-28
Paul’s farewell unashamedly refers to his own example as a minister. What has he done which he wants them to take note of ? What has been his preaching focus ? What is his attitude to his own future – what does he want to do ? What does God want you to do as a priority ?
THURSDAY Read 2 Corinthians 4.7-12
In what was are our bodies like clay pots ? How is Jesus’ life revealed in us ?
FRIDAY Read 2 Corinthians 4.16-18
What things make you lose heart ? Why does Paul not lose heart ? How good are you at focusing on the unseen rather than the seen ?
Week Two Paul’s giving and self-giving
MONDAY Read Acts 28.1-10
Paul doesn’t make capital of the survival of the ship’s company but quietly does a lot for the people on the island, despite a need to rest after his terrible ordeal at sea. What motivates him ?
TUESDAY Read 2 Corinthians 9.6-8
What teaching does Paul give on ‘giving’ ? in what ways are you generous ? When do you enjoy giving ?
WEDNESDAY Read 2 Corinthians 9.9-14
What point does he make here ? Have you experienced receiving through giving ? When has generosity been a good witness to people inside or outside of church ?
THURSDAY Read 2 Corinthians 11.21b-26
We don’t know about some of the experiences described, but it shows the extent of his self-giving. What hardships have you experienced in giving of yourself in service to God ?
FRIDAY Read 2 Corinthians 11. 27-29
This part features things Paul has put up with voluntarily as a minister. How are you concerned for your fellow believers ?
Week three Paul’s ministry and work
MONDAY Read Acts 16.11-15
A chance meeting recruits Lydia, but was it chance ? What does this reveal about Paul’s mission strategy ?
TUESDAY Read Acts 16.25-33
What does this say about Paul’s thoughtfulness in the prison when he surely wanted just to get away ? What is it that causes the jailor to want to come to faith ? Is there anything we can learn here ?
WEDNESDAY Read Acts 17. 22-31
How does Paul appeal to an audience who knew nothing about the Bible ? How can we appeal to people today ? What do you think of Paul’s last words here ? What might get through to people now ?
THURSDAY Read 2 Corinthians 6. 3-10
How would such a catalogue of experiences validate Paul’s ministry ? What is the point of the contrasts in vv8-10 ? What are the upsides of ministry ?
FRIDAY Read 2 Corinthians 11.3-9
Paul was no parasite, he paid his way. Are we net receivers from others ? How comfortable are you doing straight-talking when you think others are being badly treated (Paul saw his rival ministers as preying upon the Corinthians)
Week four Paul’s encouragement of faith in others
MONDAY Read Acts 15.1-5, 12
How did Paul cope with a potentially divisive issue ? What does he focus on ? How do you encourage fellow believers ? What do you tell others about that you see God doing ?
TUESDAY Read Acts 20. 7-12
Is there something you could criticise in Paul here ? Do you see the individual with a need in the crowd ? How does he deal with Eutychus ? What effect would this have had on his hearers ? How can our words and actions match ?
WEDNESDAY Read Acts 22.3-5
What was Paul like before he found faith ? What traits of character do you see coming out in his ministry ? What aspects of your character you might see as negative could be used for God ? How ?
THURSDAY Read Acts 22.6-16
This is the third time Paul gives his story (see Acts 9 too). Why does Paul give such a focus on Ananias ? What credit should we give to others for our well-being or ministry ?
FRIDAY Read 2 Timothy 1.3-7
How does Paul encourage Timothy ? Lessons for us ?
Week five Paul’s prayers
MONDAY Read Philippians 1.3-6
Who did pray for ? How many people do you pray for ? What do you pray for in terms of their future ?
TUESDAY Read Philippians 1.9-11
In simple words what four things is Paul praying here for his friends ? What is the link between love & knowledge ? What do you need most ?
WEDNESDAY Read Philippians 4. 4-7
What do you notice about the four words for prayer in v6 ? What do we get when we pray ? What is the peace of God ?
THURSDAY Read Acts 13. 4-12
How was Paul able to discern Elymas’ wickedness ? How we can spot people who aren’t what they seem ? It sounds like Elymas has been cursed by Paul, but this is not the case – his disability is to be temporary. Why does Paul do this ? What does this remind you of in Paul’s life ?
FRIDAY Read Acts 27. 9-12 and 21-25
How did Paul know there was going to be a shipwreck ? Later on Paul’s words are heeded. How can our ability to hear God impact on people around us ?
Week six Paul’s suffering and attitude to hardship
MONDAY Read Acts 13.44-52
How did Paul cope with persecution ? When should we shake the dust off our feet in a situation we’re involved with ?
What was it that gave Paul joy in a situation of flight and disappointment ? Have you ever experienced joy in hardship ? What was there for Paul to celebrate ? What things cause you celebration today as you see what God is doing ?
WEDNESDAY Read Acts 14.19-20
Paul didn’t learn ! This time it’s worse persecution. Why does Paul go back into the city ? What situations are you tempted to walk away from, where God wants you to stay involved ?
THURSDAY Read Acts 17.1-9
Jason and friends have a price to pay just to give Paul hospitality. Paul has no chance to disciple those who responded to the message. Do we trust God enough to work in people who are searching ?
What helps Paul keep going despite the same experiences ? When do you rely on others’ help ?