Study Guide

Don’t take our word for it, open the book for yourself. If you want to know more about God and His promises, reading the Bible is your next step.

We believe it is important to be intentional about reading scripture. That’s why we provide weekly study guides every week to go along with our current message series.

Study guide for the week of 02-17-2019

MondayRead Matthew 6:9-13 in the New Testament.   In verse 12, many English versions of the Bible use the word “debt.”  In our day and culture, we pretty much accept debt as normal; we become pretty casual about it.  In the first century world, debt was critical.  If you failed to meet a financial debt, it meant imprisonment or enslavement.  In the Roman Empire, most imprisoned people were there because of debt.   Debt was often an insurmountable barrier.  This is the context in which Jesus used this word in the Lord’s Prayer.   How does this change the meaning of this line in the prayer for you?

Tuesday- Read Romans 12:19 in the New Testament.   In his epic letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul understood human nature.  When we believe someone has wronged us in some way, our impulse is to strike back.  We want to even the score, exact retribution, get revenge, etc.   But Jesus invites us to choose to forgive instead.  So forgiveness is not doing what human nature wants us to do.  How do we do that?   What do we draw on to go against the flow of our impulses and to choose forgiveness?

WednesdayRead Luke 6:27-28 in the New Testament.   Just like Paul, Jesus understood human nature.   It’s easy to be nice to those we love.  We have no problem doing good for those who are like us, who believe as we do, who act in ways that please us, or who clearly love and support us.   Jesus noted that anybody can do that; it takes no effort.  What DOES take conscious effort and an intentional choice is to do good to those who hate us and hurt us.  Forgiveness is doing what human nature doesn’t want to do.   Where and with whom is it hardest for you to do that right now?

Thursday—Read Matthew 20:1-16 in the New Testament.   While not having to do with forgiveness directly, this parable Jesus told addresses God’s view of fairness.   Just as people in the first century, we have pretty clear ideas on fairness.   Equal wages for equal work times are fair.  Having people pay what they owe is fair.  Getting punished for doing something wrong is fair.  Getting even is fair.  God’s grace and forgiveness are not fair.   Why do you think that is the case?

FridayRead Matthew 6:14-15 in the New Testament.    In verse 12 of Matthew 6, Jesus speaks of the desire we have to receive God’s forgiveness.  Once we realize that we’ve created a breach between us and God, a gap that we don’t have the power to close, then we want the forgiveness of that breach which God offers in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  However, notice that the prayer links God’s forgiveness for us with our forgiveness for others.  When I prayer the Lord’s Prayer but I have not done the critical work of forgiving someone else, then literally I am praying, “God, please don’t forgive me.”  What’s your reaction to this important truth?   With whom do you need to practice the forgiveness  which God has offered to you?