I’ve been leading a small group Bible study this summer through the book “Women of the Word” by Jen Wilkin. In addition to reading and discussing the book, we’re learning and practicing inductive bible study methods through the book of Jude. I’m publishing my study notes and lesson plans for my own reference, but also to provide ideas for anyone else who is interested in studying or leading a group discussion of the book or Jude. If you find this helpful, please let me know! Some of my discussion questions are taken or adapted from here.
Week 6: Study with Patience and Prayer / Interpretation
Discuss chapter 5
Chapter 5: Study with Patience
1. P. 74: “The concept of delaying gratification can be difficult to learn and practice in a patience-optional culture that celebrates immediate satiation of every desire.” Q: How does the concept of instant gratification affect your personal study of the Bible? Your practices and habits related to bible study?
2. How is studying the Bible different than simply acquiring information (such as reading a newspaper)? (P. 76-77) It requires discipline, is a quest for knowledge but even more, understanding; seeks to transform our hearts and minds from the habits, patterns, and values of the world and shape the way we think; challenges our worldview, our practices, and our motivation and hearts and presents an eternally-minded, kingdom-minded way of life that is dissonant from the world’s systems. It follows that it will therefore frustrate us, require us to dig and think and feel uncomfortable before our minds and hearts are changed.
How do you react to the dissonance you feel when your understanding isn’t equal to a passage?
3. P. 79-80 Feeling lost: “If I never allow myself to get lost, i never allow the learning process to take it’s proper course. If I never fight for interpretation on my own, I might accept whatever interpretation I am given at face value. And that’s a dangerous place to be.”
Q: What are the benefits of feeling lost or overwhelmed by things you don’t understand? How could God use this to cause us to trust His Holy Spirit as our teacher rather than to cause us to trust pastors or commentaries?
Q: If we didn’t have instant access to commentaries, resources, and “answers” who and what would we have to rely on for understanding? How would this change our time in the word and our study habits? What would the benefits of this be? How is our need today, with a plethora of instant resources available, actually the same? (Relying on and TRUSTING the Holy Spirit to teach us and give us understanding, learning to hear His voice as our Good Shepherd, and waiting on the Lord, meditating on His word. Jesus said things that were hard to hear, but He also promised the Holy Spirit who would teach us, and who would always be with us! But if we only rely on other voices, although most of them may be good, pastoral voices, we can lose our ability to hear Jesus’ voice through the Holy Spirit as we seek Him, meditate on His word, and allow Him to speak to us.
4. P. 81-83 Debit vs. Savings Account: How is the idea of Bible study as a long-term investment different than the way you may have been taught about “spending time in the Word?” Is there a place for both the debit and savings mentalities? How could this idea affect your daily quiet time?
5. P. 82-83 Patience with Circumstance: How does viewing study as a form of meditation helpful for season when circumstances don’t allow you to spend unlimited “time” in formal study? (Actually benefits the idea of meditating on God’s word and seeking Him for the answers because you are limited from how much research and outside resources you have time to invest in. Prayer and meditation can be done anywhere at any time, and keeps Bible study from being too compartmentalized)
Discuss outlining homework (get in groups of 3 and compare outlines)
– The second stage of inductive Bible study, AFTER observation/comprehension has been seemingly exhausted
– Sound, faithful observation lays a strong foundation for correct interpretation
– Asks the question: what does it MEAN?
* “Meaning” is not our subjective thoughts read into the text but God’s objective truth read out of the text
– It DOESN’T answer the question: What does it mean to me?, but RATHER, What did it mean to the original writer and recipients? What does it mean univerally to ALL Christians?
– Cross-referencing: using scripture to interpret scripture. The best commentary on Scripture is other scripture!
Two ways to cross-reference:
*In-line CF: provide a starting point, but are not exhaustive; are both specific to references to events, people, prophesies and quotes, etc.; also general, to other references to that topic in other parts of scripture
* Exhaustive CF (Blue Letter Bible): can look up by passage, or by key word
Jude 11: Treasury of Scripture Knowledge,
Way of Cain:
Genesis 4:1-14 Cain: brought an offering of the ground to God; it was not accepted by God; he became angry; God rebuked him and invited him to repentance and warned him of the effects of sin; Cain instead responded by killing Abel; when God asked Cain about it, he didn’t confess it; God curses him, yet still shows him grace by marking him so that he wouldn’t be killed by anyone; Cain went out from the presence of the Lord;
Hebrews 11:4 Cain: Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, showing that he was righteous (CONTEXT: faith, not works)
1 John 3:12 Cain: was of the wicked one and murdered his brother because his works were eveil and his brother’s righteous
Therefore…the “way of Cain” Sorrow or distress awaits these people FOR: the cause of this great distress or sorrow is that they were walking in the way of Cain: one who had an opportunity to be accepted by faith in God, but who instead was of Satan and became a murderer because of his evil works, who refused to repent of his sins and “do well” by overcoming sin