Life Enrichment through the BIBLE – Part 1: An INTRODUCTION to the Series
This Bible Study Series looks at what we can learn from the Bible, by both positive and negative EXAMPLES, as well as by direct ADVICE.
We will be looking at ‘LIFE ENRICHMENT’ from three angles:
OUR ATTITUDE: Honesty, Love, Anger, Trust, Happiness, Forgiveness, Jealousy, Loyalty, Fairness, Responsibility, Acceptance, Generosity, Thankfulness, Joy.
OUR ACTIONS: Making Friends, Spending Money, Employment, Leisure Time, Celebration, Food and Drink, Judging Others, Listening, Prayer, Celebration, Sharing, Time Management.
OUR REACTIONS: Peer Pressure, Family, Facing Troubles, Addictive Behaviour, Education, The Media, The ‘World’, Our Culture, ‘Bridge-Building’.
We will endeavour to explore these topics HONESTLY and PRAYERFULLY, with BIBLES in hand. It would help if you could have a Bible in your hand for self reference.
Session 1: An INTRODUCTION to the series
Many people feel that because the BIBLE was written long ago, about people from the PAST, it is IRRELEVANT to modern hi-tech man.
BUT WE DISAGREE!
The BIBLE was written down by ORDINARY people, and WE are ORDINARY people too!
Throughout the THOUSANDS of years that the BIBLE was being written, its MESSAGE stayed EXACTLY the same: a message TO ORDINARY people— a message in MANY PARTS, but of ONE THEME:
The BRINGING TOGETHER of GOD and MANKIND
PLANNED by God from Earth’s beginning, to be FINALISED when the TIME is RIGHT.
The Bible LOGS the TIMELINE of the progression of God’s PLAN towards its future culmination.
At one point the whole project MATERIALISES as JESUS, the SAVIOUR.
This is why John styles JESUS as ‘the WORD’ or ‘message’ or ‘saying’ (LOGOS):
A CONCEPT which APPEARS when it is SAID.
So really, the WHOLE BIBLE is about JESUS,
and JESUS epitomises the WHOLE BIBLE!
And just as OUR journey towards God has DIFFERENT PARTS to it –
- GROWING as OURSELVES
- REALISING WHO we are
- And WHO OTHER PEOPLE are
- LEARNING ABOUT GOD
- LISTENING to GOD
- ANSWERING GOD
- WANTING to come CLOSER to him
So the DIFFERENT PARTS of the BIBLE can nourish our GROWTH towards GOD:
As a HISTORY book, it can teach us WHO we ARE, and WHERE we came from.
As a REFERENCE book, it can teach us about GOD, the Earth, and his PLAN for its future, which gives us VISION and PURPOSE.
As a LIFE MANUAL, it can teach us LIFE-SKILLS :
How to become more comfortable with ourselves and with others
How to make our lives rich and strong, even though they may be full of troubles.
This ENRICHMENT is GOD’S GIFT for ANYONE to reach out and take.
So how does it work?
Well, firstly, God gives us DIRECT ADVICE.
We shall be looking at God’s DIRECT ADVICE at the beginning of each topic.
But most of the Bible is STORIES ABOUT PEOPLE.
God is a great psychologist and he knows that we copy people we admire, rather than doing what people tell us. So he introduces us to people he knows we will either LOVE or HATE to encourage us to BE either LIKE THEM or NOT!
These people are REAL people—our ancestors.
How they think and act is how WE think and act. The difference is that the Bible shows GOD’S reaction to what they do.
And so WE can learn what his reaction would be if WE did the same things.
They are EXAMPLES for us to LEARN from.
‘These things happened to them (Israel, in the wilderness) as EXAMPLES, and they were written down as warnings for us …
These things became our ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLES, so that we should not crave evil things like they did.’
(1 Corinthians 10 vs 11 and 6)
We will discover how things could go wrong for us, but also meet people who INSPIRE us to GAIN their STRENGTH for OURSELF!
So here are some Examples of Examples:
Ahab and Jezebel
But this list is very BLACK and WHITE’. We realise that where HUMAN NATURE comes into it, we can’t generalise completely.
Some people in the ‘GOOD’ list, are also examples of how we can be forgiven for BAD STUFF!
So we will be considering the BIGGER PICTURE also, when dealing with each topic.
For instance, thinking about ‘HONESTY ‘, might there be ANY place for a ‘little white lie’?
We have found that the MORE we READ the Bible, the more everything falls into place, and like a giant JIGSAW PUZZLE being completed, the BIG PICTURE will come into view – everything fitting together perfectly.
But there’s another thing:
We should read ALL of it. We can’t just read the bits we fancy. God has given it ALL to us, like a plate of food with meat and two veg. We can’t leave our greens on the plate.
EVERYTHING in the Bible is GOOD for us in some way. Even the bits we don’t like. They are the FIBRE in our diet—helping us sort the rubbish and get rid of it!
Sadly, for many Christians, READING the BIBLE has gone out of fashion.
But we believe that filling one’s mind with WORDS that have COME FROM GOD is filling one’s mind with the PURPOSE of GOD. And that has got to be GOOD!
Reading it PRAYERFULLY, CAREFULLY, and CONSISTENTLY will naturally bring us closer to him.
And that is what it’s all about!
So, let’s JOURNEY together!