THE LIVING AND ACTIVE WORD
“The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12) Read Genesis 1:1-5 and Psalm 33:6-9. How is the power of the Word evident in these verses?
Read Isaiah 55: 8-11.
Here again we see the power of the Word of God. How is the Word like snow or rain? How did Jesus, the Word made flesh, fulfill the promise of these verses?
Read 1 Peter 1:22-25 and James 1:21.
What is said about the Word’s creating power in these verses? What particular “word” from God is the apostle describing? When did that creating Word first come to you?
THE WORD MADE FLESH
Read John 1:1-5.
What similarities do you find between these verses and Genesis 1:1-5? What does John, the apostle and evangelist, tell us about creation and about the eternal existence of Jesus, the Word? Read John 1:14-18 and Hebrews 1:1-4. How does the writer to the Hebrews describe Jesus as God? What is the relationship of Jesus, the Word made flesh, to all of creation?
Read John 5:30-36.
Jesus came to accomplish the will of Father. For a while, John the Baptist bore witness to Jesus’ identity. What else bears witness to Jesus, identifying him as the Father’s Son (see also Acts 2:22)? Read John 5:37-47. To what might Jesus be referring when he says that the Father bore witness to him? What did the Jews hope to find as they searched the Scriptures? Why were they not able to find what they sought? What glory did they prefer to the glory that comes from God? Why would Moses accuse them? In what circumstances today do people “search the Scriptures” without seeing the Word’s testimony to Jesus?
Read Matthew 17:1-8.
When Jesus was transfigured, Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets, appeared to speak with him about his departure, or exodus, soon to be accomplished in Jerusalem (Luke 9:30-31). What does the Father say to testify to his Son? When the frightened disciples finally looked up, “they saw no one but Jesus only” Why might those words be good advice for us as we study Holy Scripture?
THE WORD PROCLAIMED
Read Luke 24:44-49.
Jesus accomplished everything that had been written about him in the Scriptures. Name a few of the many prophecies written about Jesus in “the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms” What particular message about Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, was to be proclaimed by the disciples? Why was their testimony especially credible? Read Matthew 28:16-20. How does Jesus’ description of the proclamation similar to and different from his words in Luke’s gospel?
Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.
The word of the cross is the good news that Jesus Christ was crucified and raised for our salvation. Why would the lost—those “who are perishing”—think of the word of the cross as “folly,” or foolishness? In what ways did God reveal himself in Christ with a weakness that was “stronger than men”? Why don’t we have any reason to boast? Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. How does the apostle Paul describe his skill in public speaking? (Paul’s opponents agreed with him; see 2 Corinthians 10:10) Why did Paul consider even this weakness to be a strength? What was Paul’s central message? Is that still the central message in our churches today? Why or why not?
Read Acts 1:15-26.
It was necessary to replace Judas, who had betrayed Jesus and then taken his own life. What particular experience or requirement was necessary for the man who would be selected to become an apostle? Along with the message of Christ crucified, what was also central to the apostolic proclamation? (see also Acts 4:2; Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39-40; Acts 17:30-32)
Read 2 Timothy 1:8-14.
What has happened to Paul because of his ministry as “a preacher and apostle”? Why might Timothy be ashamed of the gospel testimony, or of Paul? What counsel does Paul give to Timothy concerning the proclamation of the Word? How do we still follow Paul’s counsel today in our proclamation of the good news? Read 2 Timothy 2:1-2. What was Timothy to do with the message he learned from Paul? How do we do the same today? Read 2 Timothy 4:1-5. What does it mean to be ready to preach the Word “in season and out of season”? What is Paul’s warning concerning Timothy’s audience? How have you seen that warning fulfilled in our culture today?
THE WRITTEN WORD
“All Scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16). “Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21) The Holy Spirit inspired the authors of Scripture to write the words of God in human language, with its vocabulary and rules of grammar. Read Romans 1:16-17. Martin Luther struggled with the words “the righteousness of God” He knew that the righteous God punished unrighteous sinners. Then, through his study of the words, Luther came to see that God’s righteousness is a gift. How is that gift received?
Read John 20:30-31.
Jesus had said that the written Scriptures of the Old Testament bore witness to him (John 5:39, 46). What was the purpose of John’s New Testament account?
Read Luke 1:1-4.
Luke was not one of the twelve disciples, but he was a believer who was a doctor (Colossians 4:14) and a traveling companion of the apostle Paul. In the introduction to his Gospel, what does Luke say about the apostles who had first proclaimed the Word to Luke and the other believers? What was Luke’s purpose in compiling his “orderly account”? Why is that purpose useful for us today?
Read Psalm 1.
Why would “day and night” meditation on the “law of the Lord” help us to grow and thrive in our faith? Why is the image of a thriving tree a helpful image for our study of God’s Word?
Read Acts 2:42-47.
In what different ways did the early believers gather around the Word? How did they express their trust in Jesus, the Word made flesh, in their words and actions? How was the Lord active among them? How is your life in Christ similar today? How is it different?
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