Bible Study: Feb. 19, 2017
NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week's Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.
Bible Passage: Nehemiah 8:1-12
Discussion Questions: How can you tell if a church is centered on the proclamation of God's Word or centered on something else? Why is gathering to hear God's Word so important for believers? What things may be filling up your heart or life so as to prevent you from having a fresh hunger and thirst for God's Word?
Food for Thought:
There is something special about being gathered together with other people for one purpose.
Whether it is a college or professional sporting event, an outdoor music festival, or a holiday celebration, people love to gather together for one focus. The same is true whenever believers gather to hear God's Word. We see a powerful example of God's people gathering to hear God's Word in Nehemiah 8.
If you have read the history of Israel, you know about how idolatry was at the root of their turning away from God. Because of their sin, God's people spent 70 years in exile. Now that many had moved back to Jerusalem, they were able to gather publicly and worship the Lord by listening to His word. The event was timely. The law required the nation to gather together every seven years to hear the law of God read to them (Deuteronomy 31:9-13).
As Christians, we do not have to wait for the availability of God's Word. We're blessed to hear God's Word proclaimed, not every seven years but every seven days! That doesn't even include our ability to read God's Word on our own throughout the week. The beauty of gathering together to hear a pastor "rightly divide God's Word" (2 Timothy 2:15, 4:2) is that we, God's people, are then equipped for every good work God has called us to do for His glory (Ephesians 2:10, 4:11-16).
The anticipation and excitement of this scene in Nehemiah 8 reminds me of the Kimyal Tribe of West Papua, Indonesia. In 2010, the entire village was gathered at a landing strip. Onboard the coming airplane were the first copies of the New Testament translated into their native language. When the plane came into sight, the people began to shout. When the Bibles were unloaded, the people wept! They placed the Bibles on an ark made of wood so people could carry them. It was an emotionally moving moment. I couldn't help but feel convicted as I watched the scene, wondering to myself, When was the last time I celebrated God's Word as this precious?
The Gospel Project
The Gospel is a chronological, Christ-centered study for kids, students, and adults. The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is one story of God's plan to rescue His people from sin and death. It is the story of redemption, the gospel message of Jesus Christ. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/gospelproject.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.