Bible studies

This is a new Page and we hope you find it interesting.

One of our Members, Chris Jaggard, embarked on a series of Bible studies in July 2020. She produced notes to accompany these studies. The Church were invited to attend in person, or follow the study thru a zoom connection.

We thought it would be useful to publish these  notes, to enable anyone to follow these studies.  So you will find them below in date order.

  Bible Studies

On Tuesday 7th and 21st July, we tried an experimental format for our Bible Studies! I'm intending to send out some questions/references etc. by email, and suggest that as many people as feel they can, read the Bible passages and try to respond to the questions 
For a subject, I thought we'd look at two well-known Old Testament characters - Moses and Samuel. This week we'll look at their family background, birth and early life - quite extraordinary in both cases - and see what we can learn about how God uses the circumstances of our lives to prepare us for his purposes. Then on 21st July we'll take a brief look at how God used them later in life.
Spend as long or as short a time as you wish doing the study. Please don't have any concerns about whether your answers are 'right' or 'wrong' - that's not how it works.  You might decide only to answer some of the questions. Answers can be very brief or in greater depth
Here is the first study, for 7th July.
MOSES
1. When you think about Moses, what are the main things which come into your mind?
Read Exodus 1. 6-22 and Exodus 2. 1-10
2. What difficulties surrounded the birth of Moses?
3. What opportunities did this lead to as he grew up?
4. Try to put yourself in the position of his mother. What was it like for her?
5. Any other comments about the early life of Moses, or these Bible passages?

SAMUEL
6. When you think about Samuel, what are the main things which come into your mind?
Read 1 Samuel 1. 1-28 and 1 Samuel 3. 1-10
7. What difficulties surrounded the birth of Samuel?
8. What opportunities did this lead to as he grew up?
9. Try to put yourself in the position of his mother. What was it like for her?
10. Any other comments about the early life of Samuel, or these Bible passages?
11. Are there any particular ways in which you see God's hand on your early years?
      It may not feel as dramatic as Moses or Samuel!
12. Can you identify ways in which your early life equipped you
      to serve the Lord in adult life?

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Suggestions for prayer
1. Pray for families/children you know, or in this nation, or across the world
who are in vulnerable or difficult situations. Place them in God's hands.
Are there any practical ways in which you could help?

2. It is not only in early life that the Lord can be at work in shaping us.
Even if you have experienced difficult or traumatic times in the past,
allow the Lord to heal those memories and help you to move on.
So pray for yourself, here and now, to take the next steps with God.


21st July
Here is the second of our email Bible studies. Two weeks ago we looked at the birth and early life of Moses and Samuel. This week we are continuing to learn about Moses and Samuel, this time looking at just some of the ways in which they served God, and in particular their relationship with the Lord and the people they led. I'm aware that this is too long this week! (I just found it very interesting!) Please feel free to read as many or as few of the passages below as you wish.

MOSES
Exodus 3. 1-10
Moses was getting on for 80 years old at this point, and there is no record of him knowing the Lord. He is living in a kind of exile in Midian, having killed an Egyptian for beating an Israelite. He has a wife (Zipporah) and a son (Gershom). God now steps into the story. He takes the initiative to make himself known to Moses in the burning bush and to call him for the special task he is to do - leading the Israelites out of Egypt to go to the promised land. (What about starting your main life's work at 80?!)
What things stand out to you from this passage?
Exodus 3. 11-14 and 4. 1-4, 10 - 15
I don't think Moses was very keen to be given the task of confronting Pharaoh! I wonder what questions we would ask, or what excuses we would make?
What are Moses' 5 questions/excuses?
Frequently in the life of Moses we see him speaking to God about the people, and also speaking to the people about God. In these Old Testament times, there was often an intermediary like this. Here are some verses which illustrate this. If you want to make any comments as you read through, please do. If there are too many readings, it's fine to leave some out!
Exodus 20. 18-21    This is on the occasion of the giving of the 10 commandments.
Exodus 32. 19-24, 30-35   The golden calf. Compare Moses' anger when he saw the idolatry of the people with his prayer the following day.
Exodus 33. 12- 19     Moses was desperate for the presence of God! How desperate are we? Do we sometimes think we can manage without it?
Exodus 34. 29-35     The face of Moses shone because he had spoken with the Lord. (Optional extra - compare 2 Cor. 3. 7-18, where we note that this now applies to all God's people.)
Numbers 12. 1-9     Look at the way Moses' relationship with God is described here. It was clearly something exceptional!
Numbers 14. 10-24     This is the occasion when Joshua and Caleb, 2 of the spies sent into the promised land, tried to encourage the people of Israel to go in and possess it, but the other 10 spies discouraged the people from this course of action so strongly that the people rebelled and wanted to choose a new leader and return to Egypt!

If you would like to close the study of Moses by reading about the very end of his life, it is found in Deuteronomy 34.

SAMUEL
Historical background
After the death of Moses, Joshua led the people of Israel into the promised land - at last, after 40 years! The settling of the land was a long and difficult process, which was never completely finished. The people were led by judges, who were raised up by God from time to time. It seems that the judges were used to bring the people back to follow the Lord when they went astray, or lost battles, or worshipped idols, etc. Some of the most well-known are Gideon, Samson, and the last one - Samuel. The last verse of the book of Judges sums up the situation like this:- "In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit."
We saw last week from 1 Samuel chapter 3 that the word of the Lord was rare in those days, but Samuel did hear the Lord speaking to him clearly at a young age.
1 Samuel 3. 19- 4. 1a
What picture do these verses paint of Samuel's life and ministry as he grew up?
1 Samuel 7. 1-12
Here we see Samuel speaking to the people about God, and at their request, speaking to God about the people. This two-way communication is very important in the lives of both Moses and Samuel. Do you think this now applies to all Christians, as each one of us now as individuals can have our own direct relationship with God?
There was a book written quite a long time ago now, called "Life with a Capital L". The main thought was that our lives as Christians need to have a good balance between the vertical stroke of the 'L' - conversation with the Lord - and the horizontal stroke of the 'L' - conversation with other people. How easy is it get the balance? Do we tend to err on one side or the other?
1 Samuel 7. 15-17
This gives us another picture of Samuel's life. Are there any other comments you would like to make about Samuel?
1 Samuel 8. 1-10
Samuel's sons did not follow their father in his walk with the Lord. This seems to be what pushed the people to ask for a king to rule them, in line with the surrounding nations. The Lord explains that the people are rejecting him, not rejecting Samuel. (If you wish to read how this king was appointed, the account is in 1 Samuel chapters 9 and 10 - it is a very interesting story which is seldom heard!)


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Suggestion for prayer
Thank God for the special people he has raised up over the years to call others back to himself.
Pray for such people to be raised up in our nation in these days.
Pray about our own relationship with the Lord and other people - time we spend talking with him, or talking with others.

4th August 2020

ABRAHAM AND DANIEL, PART 1

Having looked at Moses and Samuel, to see how their early life affected them, and how God used them during their lives, I thought we could do something similar (but hopefully not too long-winded!) with Abraham and Daniel.

This week we'll look at:

NEW COUNTRY

NEW NAME

ABRAHAM PART 1

NEW COUNTRY
Abraham's father was Terah. Their family line came from Noah's son Shem. In the first part of Abraham's story, his father sets out with his son Abraham, his grandson Lot and his daughter-in-law - Abraham's wife - Sarah, to move from Ur (near Basrah in modern day southern Iraq) to Canaan (Israel). However, when they reached Haran (in modern day southern Turkey), they didn't go any further, but settled down.
The journey from Ur to Haran goes north west, about 600 miles, following the river Euphrates. Haran to Canaan goes mainly south, about 400 miles, along the Mediterranean coast to present day Israel. Canaan is the 'Promised Land' to which Moses led the Israelites.
Genesis 12. 1-7  The Lord called Abraham to go to the land he would show him. Maybe his father had actually set out under the Lord's direction in the first place? The first promise of blessing for Abraham's offspring, and through him 'all nations will be blessed'. 'They set out for the land of Canaan and they arrived there.'
What would it be like to leave your home and travel that sort of distance, in those days, not expecting to return?
Why do you think Abraham made this journey?

NEW NAME
Genesis 17. 1-8    Name change - and promise that Sarah would bear him a son when both of them were too old. Abram means 'exalted father' and Abraham means 'Father of many'.
What stands out to you from God's covenant promise of blessing?

Any comments on Abraham's life so far? He's travelled over 1000 miles, has heard God speaking to him more than once, is 99 years old and childless!


DANIEL PART 1
NEW COUNTRY
It has been prophesied that the people of Judah would go into exile for 70 years. Try to imagine what 70 years feels like. It's a long time!
How might you react to the new place and lifestyle?
When the people went into exile, they will have pretty much retraced the journey Abraham had taken approximately 1400 years earlier!
Jeremiah - left in Jerusalem - sends a letter to the exiles in Babylon
Jeremiah 29. 4- 7, 10-11
How were the people encouraged to behave in exile?
Daniel 1. 1-5
Not all the people were taken to Babylon. Many of the poorer people were left to farm the land. But some intelligent and royal young men taken to Babylon to be trained - a 3 year degree course!

NEW NAME
Daniel 1. 6-7.The purpose of changing the young men’s names was to help erase their attachment to their own nation and religion. Thus, Daniel and his three friends were given Babylonian names. Note how each Hebrew name includes a reference to the only true and living God, whereas the Babylonian name points to a false god worshipped by the Babylonians.(Original names all ended 'el' or iah/jah - both references to God.)Daniel, whose name meant “God is my judge” received the name Belteshazzar (“Bel protects his life”). Bel was a Babylonian god.Daniel 1. 8-16

Why did Daniel & his friends make this stand over the food? They would have received 5 star dining, but turned it down for a simple vegetarian diet!Daniel 1. 17-21

How well did these 4 men do at University? Why were they so successful? v. 17. As we know from the rest of the events of Daniel's life, God had plans to use him to call foreign kings to serve the Lord.


Any comments on Daniel's life so far? He's travelled a long way, and become an important official in the new country, poised for God to use him further in that situation.


YOU AND ME PART 1
NEW COUNTRY

Song "This world is not my home, I'm just a-passing through"
John 14. 1-6
"I go to prepare a place for you."  "I am the way, the truth and the life"
Hebrews 13. 14.
"For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come."
2 Peter 3. 13
"In keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth"
How much do we feel we belong in this world? What is our attitude to the new country which is to come?
Is there sometimes a conflict within this 'joint citizenship' we live in at the moment?
NEW NAME
Revelation 3. 12
1 Peter 4. 16
"If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name."
Are we ashamed to bear the name of Christ? Or are we proud to do so?
Is it sometimes difficult or misunderstood?


Bible Study 7.30 on Tuesday 18th August 2020

We continue looking at the lives of Abraham and Daniel, focusing this week on:-
1) their prayer life
2) their biggest challenge

ABRAHAM PART 2

Prayer Life
Genesis 18. 20-33 This prayer is a conversation, and not the only time Abraham had conversation with the Lord!
How persistent was Abraham in his requests? Did Abraham get what he was asking for?
What did happen as a result? In what ways was his prayer answered?
How do we react when our prayers are not answered in the way we have been praying for?

Biggest Challenge
Genesis 22. 1-8
Mount Moriah is only mentioned twice - here, and with reference to Solomon building the Temple in Jerusalem
Try to put yourself in Abraham's shoes. What would you be thinking? Remember Isaac was the child of promise.
Genesis 22. 9-19
How easy is it to 'trust and obey'? Did this incident work out as Abraham expected?
Look at the New Testament perspective on this event. Hebrews 11. 17-19

Further comments about Abraham?

DANIEL PART 2
Prayer Life
Daniel 2. 17-23 Prayer (with his friends) to reveal the mystery of the King's dream.
What would that prayer meeting have been like?
Notice how Daniel was careful to give God all the glory, and not take any credit himself. Let's be careful to do the same.

Biggest Challenge
Daniel 6. 1-9. Darius is tricked into signing a decree. Why did he sign?
What do you think of the laws of the Medes and Persians, which couldn't be changed?
Daniel 6. 10-18. What is Daniel's reaction to the King's decree? Did anything change about his prayer life?
What do you notice about how and where he prayed?
What was the King's reaction when he heard about Daniel and realised he had been tricked into signing the decree?
Daniel 6. 19-23. We've probably all known this story since we were very little! Does this limit the impact of the miracle of this story?
What can we learn? How can we apply this situation to our own lives? We are fairly unlikely to face lions!

Further comments about Daniel?


Comparing Abraham and Daniel
Did they triumph in their biggest challenge because of their relationship with God through prayer?
Would either of them have been expecting to suddenly face their challenge?
Does this encourage us to keep a good relationship with the Lord in prayer?

PRAYER TIME
Daniel's prayer in chapter 9. Read and 'repray' it for our nation and our situation. 

9th September

JOSHUA AND SOLOMON - PART 1 JOSHUA 

       The name Joshua has a similar root to the names Hosea, Isaiah and Jesus! The meaning is all about God being our salvation. There are so many references to Joshua in Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy that we won’t get onto the book of Joshua until next week! 

       1446 - 1445 BC The Israelites have left Egypt, crossed the Red Sea and are travelling through the wilderness. Joshua comes into the story much earlier on than we might expect, leading the Israelites in their first battle after leaving Egypt. Exodus 17. 8-13 

            Comment:- Here we see the example and importance of persistent prayer while the battle is being fought. How might we apply this to the life and work of our fellowship?

         Exodus 24. 12-13. Also Exodus 32. 17 It seems that Joshua was with Moses as assistant when he was given the 10 commandments.

        Comment:- Was he there for the full 40 days and nights? What did he see and experience?

       Exodus 33. 9-11 (This is after the episode of the golden calf.) Moses met the Lord face to face in the tent of meeting. Joshua was there too, and in the habit of staying in the tent, in God’s presence.

        Numbers 11. 27-29 Eldad and Medad were prophesying in the camp. Joshua wanted Moses to stop them, but Moses said he wished all the people would prophesy. See Luke 9. 49-50.

         Numbers 13. 26 - 14. 1-10, 30 (we won’t read it all!) 12 spies go into the promised land. Only Caleb and Joshua encourage the people that they can go in and take the land. Because of this, they were the only ones of their generation who did enter in.

         Comment:- The people talked of stoning Caleb and Joshua. It can be hard to stand up against the crowd. The people then tried to go in attack, but the timing was now wrong. We need to go with God’s timing!

        After these events, the Israelites turned back into the wilderness, where they wandered for a further 38 years. Fast forward:- Numbers 27. 12-13, 15-19 Moses is about to die. He asks the Lord for a successor, and the Lord appoints Joshua, who is commissioned for the task. 

       Comment:- Think about the importance of the Lord providing successors in our situation. Deuteronomy is mostly Moses’ account at the end of his life of the Israelites’ journey. Deut 31. 7-8 The most frequent instruction to Joshua is ‘Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid’. 

       Comment:- This is one of the most common commands in the Bible! How easy is it to obey?

         Deut 34. 9 Joshua was filled with the spirit of wisdom (through the laying on of hands). 

      SOLOMON 

       The name Solomon means ‘peaceful one’. It comes from the same root as ‘Shalom’. He was one of David’s many children! Today we will look at his story from his birth, through past the death of David, up to just after he became king. 2 Samuel 12. 22-25                    After David’s adultery with Bathsheba and arranging the death of her husband Uriah, Bathsheba’s son dies, as a punishment for David’s sin. David repented (Psalm 51) and the Lord forgave him. Solomon is born, and we read that ‘the Lord loved him’. The prophet Nathan brought a word from the Lord to name him Jedidiah, which means ‘loved by the Lord’. (Bathsheba did apparently have 3 other sons after the death of this infant before Solomon was born - the account here is presumably shortened, since Solomon was to be the most prominent and succeed David as king.)

         Comment:- Discuss how God both punished sin and turned around a really bad situation. The King David did have a lot of wives and a lot of children! This led to several problems over the years. His firstborn was Amnon, but he was killed after raping his sister. Then Absalom tried to take power, and later Adonijah proclaimed himself king, (1 Kings 1. 5-6 - no home discipline!) but David announced that Solomon was to be his successor.

        Comment:- This succession is a lot more complicated than that of Joshua! Think about how our situations are sometimes simple and easy, and sometimes a lot more complicated!

        1 Kings 1. 11-15, 29-30 David was old and getting a bit out of touch. This is a wake-up call which results in Solomon coming to the throne, as David had earlier promised.                     Comment:- Do we sometimes ‘take our eye off the ball’ and forget what is important?

         1 Kings 1. 32-37 Musical interlude ‘Zadok the priest’. This was written by Handel for the coronation of George II in 1727, and has been played/sung at every British coronation since! If you wish, continue reading the chapter from verse 38 as you listen.

       1 Kings 2. 1-4, 10-12 Instruction to Solomon to ‘Be strong! and obey the Lord’. (Sounds familiar from Joshua.) We must follow God’s commands. 

       David dies and Solomon’s throne is firmly established.

        Comment:- How good are we at keeping God’s commands? We do have to know them too!

         1 Kings 3. 5-15 Solomon’s dream and the Lord granting him wisdom - and more than he asked for.

          Comment:- Do we have any personal examples of the Lord giving us more than what we asked for? 

       See Eph. 3. 20-21 Both Joshua and Solomon took over leadership from an amazing, long-term leader who was successful and had a really close, strong relationship with the Lord.

          Comment:- What difficulties might they have experienced in this situation? What positives would there have been? Are there ways in which we can apply this to our personal or church situation? Who are the people we have looked up to and learnt from?

Bible study from 16th September

Hope you like the change of format which I hope will make the Study easier to follow.


Bible study 7th October 2020


Bible Study 21st. October 2020