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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Leaning on the Word of God in Challenging Times- Part 1

Welcome back! Now that we are finished with Thessalonians it is time for something new! This Bible Study will focus on the value of the Word of God in the life of a Christian. We will look for ways to develop a consistent approach to personal devotions. Also, we will search God's Word for the comfort of the Gospel. This will lead us to look at how we need to apply both Law and Gospel, we will look at biblical examples of the faithful in difficult times, and how the Spirit builds up our faith through the Word. These are just a few of the topics we will study! We will rely heavily upon a Bible study from the Lutheran Spirituality Series called Word: God Speaks to Us by John T. Pless. (Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis: 2006) 

First we will look at how God is speaking to us. Then we will examine the importance of God's Word to believers.

  1. There are times when the church seems to have its own language. For example, we use the phrase "The Word of God" or the "Word", but what is it? What is the Word of God? How would you describe it to someone who did not know?


    The Word of God is simply what God says to us in order that we would be saved. Typically, the Word of God is broken up into three categories: the written word (the Bible), the Word Incarnate (Jesus), and the spoken Word (preaching).


    Read 2 Timothy 3:15-16- What are some uses for the Written Word of God? How has the written Word affected your own life?


    Jesus is the Word Incarnate, because he fulfilled everything that was prophesied about him in the flesh. Also, he came to earth full of grace and truth proclaiming the gospel, and did nothing but his Father's will. Read Luke 24: 25-27- On the "Road to Emmaus" Jesus, the Word Incarnate, told the disciples about how he was the fulfillment of prophecy. Many Christians are envious of the disciples, but where do we encounter the Word of God in the flesh? We encounter it at the Lord's Supper, and when we hear preaching that proclaims Christ as the fulfillment of prophesy, and salvation.


    Consider the Spoken Word. Usually, we think of Pastors in the pulpit giving their sermons. Jesus has commissioned Pastors to faithfully preach the Word of God. However, he has also given responsibility to every believer to tell the world about the forgiveness of sins, the law, and the work that he has done. Read John 17:13-19- How have you used your authority to speak the Word of God to others?

 2. God is still speaking through the Written Word, the Word Incarnate, and the Spoken Word. What things get in your way of hearing God's Word? (Pless 2006, 7) What can you do to avoid those things? 

  3. Think about how you have grown in your faith since you were baptized. Can you name at least one way that each category of the Word of God has helped you? (i.e. How has the Written Word helped you grow?, How has the Word Incarnate…) Look back to 2 Timothy 3:15-16 if you need a little direction.  


Every week I will post a spiritual exercise that might help you in your devotional life. This one comes from Word: God Speaks to Us by John T. Pless. Pray Psalm 119:33-40. By praying this psalm you will be asking God to instruct you in his Word, and to confirm his promises.


Please post any comments or questions below!

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