Contained on this page you will find links to our Bible study resources, past and present. We are always looking for good resources to study in our group, so please let us know if you have any recommendations for our studies.

1 & 2 Thessalonians:

Scripture: Acts 17:1-15, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Discussion Questions

  1. What can we learn in Acts 17:1-15 about Thessalonica and the Thessalonians' relationship with Paul (Timothy, and Silas)? What specific spiritual needs do you think the Thessalonian church may have had?
  2. In verses 2-3, what does Paul give thanks to God for in the Thessalonian church? How can we better embody these characteristics and thank God for them in other Christians?
  3. In verse 4, what do you think the phrase means "he has chosen you?" How can Paul be so sure of this? How can this give us comfort too?
  4. In verses 6-8, what is the example set by the Thessalonians? How can we grow to be more like this?
  5. In verse 9, what do you think it means for the Thessalonians to have "turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God?" How can this apply to us?
  6. In verse 10, what is the hope Paul concludes this section with? How can you "wait" better and lay hold of this hope?
  7. What are your main takeaways, or do you have any practical applications?

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-16

Discussion Questions

  1. Verse 2, What incident helped give Paul and Silas boldness? What happened in Philippi? So, what is one known reason for why God allowed this seemingly bad thing to happen to them?
  2. Verse 3-4, Why does Paul make it clear what things do not motivate his ministry? What is a situation where it is easy to want to please Men/ ourselves over God? Why do you think this is? How can we combat it?
  3. Verses 5-9, What can we learn from Paul about how to treat others and do ministry? Additionally, what can you learn from Paul about his attitude toward the Thessalonians?
  4. Verse 6-12, Notice that Paul rarely asserted his authority. Why?
  5. Verse 13-16, Why is the distinction Paul made between "word of men" and "word of God" important? How might it help you to share with others if you know you are sharing the Word of God? How will it help you to listen to others when they share with you?

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:13

Discussion Questions

  1. Look at 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20. What does this reveal about Paul's heart for these Christians? Do you have the same heart or the same desire to be with fellow Christians? Why or why not?
  2. Paul explains that he and his associates longed to reunite with the Thessalonians, but "Satan hindered [them]" (1 Thess. 2:18). From this passage, we also see that Satan can hinder our plans (1 Thess. 2:18) and tempt our hearts (1 Thess. 3:5). Do you think we are over- or under-aware of Satan and the demonic realm? What are some of the dangers of this?
  3. Paul describes Timothy not merely as his coworker but also as God's coworker (1 Thess. 3:2). Compare this to 1 Corinthians 3:5-9. Why do you think he ascribes such a lofty title to Timothy? Why was Timothy sent?
  4. What are all Christians "destined" for, according to 1 Thessalonians 3:3-4? How should this knowledge affect the way we think and live in our society?
  5. Having been reassured through Timothy's report (in v. 6-7), Paul declares, "Now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord" (1 Thess. 3:8). How can we better stand fast in the Lord? What are you most tempted to "stand fast in" besides the Lord?
  6. What can we learn about prayer-what it is, what it is for, and how to do it-from 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13?
  7. What are a few practical applications or take-aways from this text?

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

Discussion Questions

  1. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us that our bodies are  “temple[s] of the Holy Spirit” (ESV). With this passage, and today’s reading from 1 Thessalonians, in mind, how can we honor God with our bodies?
  2. In verse 7, Paul reminds us that we are not called for impurity, but for holiness. Earlier, in verse 3, Paul also tells us that the will of God is our sanctification (being set apart). What does being called for holiness mean to you and how does it affect how we as Christians should live?
  3. There are 4 types of love mentioned in the Bible: eros, storge, philia, and agape. In verse 9, Paul is focusing on philia, or brotherly, love and is saying that he doesn’t need to talk about it because the Thessalonians are displaying it so well. What do you think brotherly love means here and how can we show brotherly love to others like the Thessalonians did?
  4. Verse 11 urges us to “aspire to live quietly, and mind our own affairs, and to work with our hands”. What do you think this verse means and how can we apply it practically?
  5. Any closing thoughts or key takeaways?

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11

Discussion Questions

  1. What does sleep refer to in the different parts of this section? Is there hope for the people who have fallen asleep (either meaning)?
  2. Why (or why isn't) it important to learn about the rapture? What should you do to prepare?
  3. How should our grief of a loved one be different from that of a non-Christian?
  4. What can we learn about heaven from this passage?
  5. What do we know about how Jesus will return?
  6. What about when? Is there a reason we don't know the exact day?
  7. Verse 11 says, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." What can we do to live in this same manner?
  8. What Applications can be drawn from this section?

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

Discussion Questions

  1. In 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, how does Paul describe godly church leaders and what are Paul's instructions for how we should relate to such authority?
  2. There are numerous commands and ways we are supposed to love each other listed in this passage. Which one do you do best? Which one challenges you most? How might you more deliberately cultivate a heart posture of obedience in this area?
  3. Re-read 1 Thessalonians 4:3 and 5:16-18. Twice now Paul directly answers the question, "What is God's will for my life?" What were his responses? Thinking of your own circumstances, what might it look like for you to carry out God's will based on these two verses?
  4. Looking at 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22, what do you think Paul means by "test everything?" How can we do this?
  5. What stands out to you in Paul's benediction (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)? Compare this to his prayer in 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13.
  6. One of the major themes in 1 Thessalonians is the second coming of Jesus. Here, we see instructions about community life and relationships. Can you think of reasons why being part of building a church family is important for preparing us for Christ's return?
  7. Any takeaways or practical applications?

Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

Discussion Questions

  1. Verse 3: How can we grow more and more to give thanks for these attributes in other believers and become the type of people others can give thanks for in these ways?
  2. Verse 4: What is the difference between the kind of boasting referenced here and sinful boasting? What kinds of things are you most prone to boast about?
  3. Verse 5: What is the "evidence of the righteous judgment of God?" How/why is this evidence?
  4. Verse 8: What do you think it means to "obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ?"
  5. Verse 9: What do we learn about the nature of hell from 2 Thessalonians 1:9?
  6. Verse 10: For whom is Jesus returning, and by what criteria are they identified?
  7. Verses 11-12: What happens to our every "resolve for good" and "work of faith" if we remove God from the equation? How should the language of Paul's prayerful challenge shape our perspective on the relationship between God's work and ours? What effect should this have on our hearts?
  8. How do you feel about the judgment of God? Does it give you comfort or cause other thoughts/emotions?


Scripture: Ruth 1

Discussion Questions

  1. What stood out to you in the Tim Keller summary video? For a glimpse into the period of the judges (as mentioned in Ruth 1:1), read Judges 2:6-23 and 21:25. Why might this background be important for understanding the book of Ruth?
  2. Jewish law provided for "levirate marriage" (after the Latin levir, meaning "brother-in-law"), in which a brother was obliged to marry a childless widow of his deceased brother and to raise children in the brother's name (see Deut. 25:5-10). Naomi is likely referring to this law as she addresses her two daughters-in-law. What characteristics does Naomi display in this section?
  3. Orpah took the sensible route and went home, but Ruth "clung" to her mother-in-law (v. 14). The same Hebrew word dabaq in Genesis 2:24 describes a man leaving his father and mother and "holding fast" to his wife. It's a strong word. Ruth's own words are strong and beautiful, full of poetic parallelism. What do we learn here about Ruth? How might this apply to us?
  4. "Naomi" means "pleasant," but "Mara" means "bitter" —a name with which Naomi identifies at this point. In what ways does Naomi specifically attribute her bitterness to God in Ruth 1:13, 19-22? How might you evaluate her theology? Does this seem like a fair assessment to you?
  5. What elements of hope does bitter Naomi seem to be ignoring throughout chapter 1?
  6. This book has been described as the story of a God who provides for his people according to his promises. In what ways does chapter 1 lead us to begin considering the various parts of this description?
  7. What are a few practical applications of this passage?

Scripture: Ruth 2

Discussion Questions

  1. Boaz's first words to Ruth were "My daughter". What do you think he meant by that? What would be the impact on Ruth?
  2. Ruth is from a different culture than Boaz. The Moabites worshiped many gods including their most prominent god Chemosh. He was known as the destroyer, subduer, or the fish-god. And despite this reality Boaz seems to respond differently than one would expect for a "Yahweh-follower." What can we glean about the character of Boaz from vs.4, 8-16?
  3. How is God's providence on display in this chapter? How can this be applied or how has this been experienced in your life?
  4. What does Naomi's response in verse 20 tell us about the plan of God in their lives? How does this contract the statements she made about God in Chapter 1:20-21. What do you think has changed in her?
  5. What can we learn from Ruth's example in this chapter?
  6. How does this chapter point to the gospel?
  7. What do you think are some practical applications of this passage?

Scripture: Ruth 3

Discussion Questions

  1. Notice the word "rest" in Ruth 3:1 and recall the context of the same word in Ruth1:9. What do you think is meant by "rest" here in Ruth 3?
  2. What do you think of Naomi's plan in verses 1-5? What does this reveal about Naomi's character and perhaps how her attitude has changed from chapter 1?
  3. In verse 9, Ruth says to Boaz, "Spread your wings over your servant for you are a redeemer." What do you think she means by the phrase, "spread your wings over your servant?" How is this connected to Ruth 2:12?
  4. In Ruth 3:10-14, in what various ways does Boaz honor and protect this "worthy woman" (3:11)? What words stand out?
  5. The chapter opened with Naomi and the search for "rest" for "my daughter" (v. 1). It closes with Naomi and the same themes ("rest," and "my daughter"; v. 18) but now with the resolution in sight. The pace of the narrative quickens, with the space of only hours between this chapter and the next. Stop and think, at this point, of the worthy man and the worthy woman we have witnessed at the heart of this climactic chapter. What qualities in them stand out, especially in contrast to the many love stories in our world today?
  6. What are a few practical applications or take-aways from this chapter?

Scripture: Ruth 4

Discussion Questions

  1. Any initial thoughts about the passage?
  2. Multiple times throughout the chapter, we see an emphasis on there being witnesses during the time process in which Boaz redeemed Ruth. Why do you think there was so much emphasis on the idea of witnesses being present?
  3. In verses 11-12, we see references to a few other important women in the Bible (Rachel, Leah, and Tamar). Why do you think these women are mentioned here?
  4. Verses 18-22 show how Ruth and Boaz fit into the genealogy of David, and of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-16). Take a moment to reflect on this genealogy. Does anything stick out to you?
  5. One big concept throughout the book of Ruth is that of the kinsman redeemer. While there were not many times God was mentioned directly throughout the book, we can still see the Lord working, especially through this concept. How can we see this, and can you see any ways in which Jesus was our kinsman redeemer?
  6. How can we apply this passage to our lives


Scripture: Genesis 8:6-12, Psalm 130, Luke 2:22-3:22 

Discussion Questions

  1. Read Genesis 8:6-12 (note the mention of 40 days of waiting). After the earth suffers long under humanity's violence, God resolves to wash away corruption while preserving Noah and his family. The rain pours down, and for months Noah sways back and forth in an ark. He needs to yakhal (wait) in the middle of animal waste and landless seas. So what assurance is Noah waiting to receive? And how does the dove deliver that assurance?
  2. Read Psalm 130 aloud together. The psalmist is sure that if God preserved a record of sin, everyone would be washed out-it's a scary thought. What specific things about God bring the psalmist relief? What does he yakha (wait) to receive from God?
  3. Keep Psalm 130 in mind. What do you think the psalmist would do if he did not wait on God for healing and forgiveness? How do you think despair might lead to violence and corruption? Consider how the process of forgiveness removes corruption while preserving life. How is this similar and different from the flood and Noah's long wait on the ark?
  4. Read Luke 2:22-33 and pay special attention to details about the setting. Then, check out Leviticus 12:1-8 and note the mention of 40 days of waiting (33+7). Why do Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and Simeon go to the temple that day? What is Simeon waiting on God to do for Israel?
  5. Let's examine a few key verses, starting with Luke 3:15-16. Who does John the Baptist say the people have been waiting for? Now, read Luke 3:21-22 and compare the message that accompanied the Spirit (appearing as a dove) with the message of Noah's dove. What similarities and differences do you notice?
  6. How does the arrival of Jesus bring relief and assurance? Take time to discuss this and any other themes, questions, or key takeaways from what you learned together.

Scripture: Isaiah 9:6-7, Colossians 1:19-23, Luke 2:8-15, Ephesians 4:1-3 

Discussion Questions

  1. The prophet Isaiah looked forward to the arrival of a future king who would make a covenant of shalom (peace, well-being) with his people. This king would set the world right and heal all that has been harmed. Read Isaiah 9:6-7 aloud together. What specific words or phrases stand out to you as you observe this passage and why? Or what are the implications of each of these titles?
  2. The prophet Isaiah looked forward to the arrival of the Prince of Peace, whose reign would lead to eternal shalom. Jesus' arrival fulfilled Isaiah's words. Read and reflect on Luke 2:8-15 as a group. Why do you think God announced the king's arrival to no-name shepherds? What does this tell you about the nature of God and his Kingdom? What do you think verse 14 means? What does it mean by "peace?"
  3. The biblical story shows how humanity often chooses a way of life apart from God and suffers as a result. According to Colossians 1:19-23, what did God want to do to remedy this pain, and how did he accomplish his desire through Jesus?
  4. Jesus offers his peace to all people as a gift. How did Jesus make peace between two sharply divided people groups (Jews and Gentiles), and why did he do it (see Eph. 2:11-22)?
  5. Now, let's carefully read Ephesians 4:1-3. How can humility, gentleness, patience, and love help maintain the unity Jesus calls his followers to? What happens to unity when one of these virtues is missing?
  6. In what ways is our world longing for this type of peace? How can we better communicate the peace with God available through faith in Jesus with others?


Scripture: Acts 16:11-40

Discussion Questions

  1. Paul is the stated author of Philippians (there is little question regarding his authorship), and he wrote to Christians in Philippi. The church at Philippi was the founded by Paul on his second missionary journey and the first church founded by him in Europe. He returned to Philippi at least twice, but we have the most detail about his first visit, which is recorded in Acts 16. It is most likely that this letter was written in 62 AD, when Paul was imprisoned in Rome, which was a little over 10 years after his second missionary journey (48-51 AD), 5-10 years after his third missionary journey (52-57 AD), and about 30 years after the death/resurrection of Jesus (30-33 AD). 
  2. Verses 11-15: What stands out to you? What does this teach us about Philippi and the Philippians? Do you see any similarities to our culture(s) today?
  3. Verses 16-24: What stands out to you? What does this teach us about Philippi and the Philippians? Do you see any similarities to our culture(s) today?
  4. Verses 25-40: What stands out to you? What does this teach us about Philippi and the Philippians? Do you see any similarities to our culture(s) today?
  5. Watch Philippians Bible Project Video:
  6. What stood out to you in the video?

Scripture: Philippians 1:1-11

Discussion Questions

  1. Paul wrote the greeting to the Philippians this way? What do you think it means that Paul identifies himself as a servant (or bondservant) of Christ Jesus and how is this similar or different to how we identify ourselves?
  2. Does anything else stand out to you in the greeting (verses 1-2)?
  3. In verses 3-5, what do you think Paul means by "partnership in the gospel?" Would your pastor or Christian friends be able to thank God for your partnership in the gospel?
  4. Should we have the same type of confidence Paul has in verse 6? If so, how?
  5. Why does Paul pair love with knowledge and discernment (verse 9)?
  6. What is Paul referring to when he says the "day of Christ" (verses 6 & 10)?
  7. What does it mean to be filled with the fruit of righteousness (verse 11)?
  8. What is the end/goal of Paul's prayer (verse 11)?
  9. How can this opening section as a whole serve as a model for how we should pray and what we should pray for?
  10. Does anything else stand out to you in verses 3-11?

Scripture: Philippians 1:12-26

Discussion Questions

  1. Any initial thoughts about the passages?
  2. In verses 12-14, Paul talks about how him being thrown into jail actually helped to advance the Gospel. Can you think of a time when something disadvantageous happened in your life but the Lord used it for good? What are some practical ways in which we can change our mindset to be more like Paul's in these types of unfavorable situations.
  3. What do you think about Paul's statement in verse 18? Do you think that the way in which the Gospel is preached (whether the motives are true or not) matters or is the importance in that It is simply being spread?
  4. In verse 19, Paul states that he knows that what has happened to him will "turn out for his deliverance". He states 2 reasons he knows this. What are they and what is the importance of each of them for us?
  5. Verse 21 is a very popular verse but with deep meaning. How/where have you heard this verse before and how have you interpreted it or heard it used? In light of verses 22-24, does having this context change how you see the verse?

Scripture: Philippians 1:27-2:11

Discussion Questions

  1. In verse 27, Paul says we are to live lives worthy of the gospel of Christ or "behave as citizens worthy of the Gospel." What do you think this means and how does this apply to us? Look at verses 1:27-30 for insights into what he might mean here.
  2. Verses 2:1-4 constitute one big thought. It is a big if then statement. "If you have experienced these four things in verse 1, then act this way described in verses 2-4." What is the point Paul is trying to make here? How is Paul encouraging the believers in Phillipi to act?
  3. Look at chapter 2 verses 5-8 again. What do you find most remarkable in Christ's humility and why?
  4. What are the grounds for Jesus' exaltation described in verses 9-11? What is the whole purpose of Christ's humiliation and exaltation?
  5. If humility means doing what is best for someone else rather than myself (Phil. 2:3-4), are there any limitations to that? Is it ever okay to do what is best for myself rather than someone else? Do you see evidence for your answer in the passage here or elsewhere in Scripture?
  6. Where are you currently falling short in demonstrating humility and what do you think needs to happen to change that?

Scripture: Philippians 2:12-2:30

Discussion Questions

  1. What do you think 'work out your own salvation' means? What are some examples of ways to do this? What additionally does it mean to do this with fear and trembling?
  2. Read Matthew 5:14-16, how do you think this relates to v. 16? How do you think v. 17 relates to this thought?
  3. Paul speaks highly of Timothy, why?
  4. What meaning do you think there is in Paul calling Epaphroditus his brother? A fellow worker? A fellow soldier? Do you think that the Philippians have met Epaphroditus? What does this say about the types of people considered "workers of Christ" and how we should treat those who work for Christ?

Scripture: Philippians 3:1-11

Discussion Questions

  1. What does it mean to "rejoice in the Lord?" How can we practice or apply this?
  2. Who is Paul referring to in verse 2? What do you think these phrases mean?
  3. What does Paul mean when he says, "We are the circumcision?" What about "worship by the Spirit of God" and "put no confidence in the flesh?"
  4. Verses 4-7: Paul lists his credentials and then says, "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ." What is the point Paul is trying to get across here? What are some things that our culture would fill Paul's list in verses 4-6 with?
  5. What do you see in verses 7-9 about righteousness through faith in Christ vs righteousness though obedience to the law? Is following the law needed?
  6. Jim Elliot has said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." What are a few things Paul describes as gaining in verses 8-11? How can we take hold of these things?
  7. What are the things in your life that matter most to you? Do you consider anything of more value than knowing Christ? How can we grow in counting all other things as loss compared to trusting in Christ for salvation through faith alone and knowing Him personally?

Scripture: Philippians 3:12-4:1

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the goal Paul is speaking of in verses 12-14? Why do you think releasing the past is essential to achieve this goal? How do you think a focus on our future with Christ impacts our present?
  2. What kind of actions might someone take who is straining forward to what lies ahead?
  3. In verse 17 what are your thoughts on Paul asking the Philippians to imitate him? Should we not only strive to imitate Jesus? Are there people in your life that you look up to as a model of faith? Why?
  4. Who are the enemies of Christ Paul refers to in verse 18?
  5. What does it mean to have citizenship in heaven? As a kingdom citizen, what does it mean to pray, "Let your kingdom come, let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven?"
  6. How often do you long for Christ's appearance? If you don't long for Him, what are the things that consume your thoughts? How would a focus on Christ change things for you?
  7. How can you stand firm in the Lord this week?
  8. What are ways you can respond to Christ to experience the fullness of him?

Scripture: Philippians 4:2-9

Discussion Questions

  1. In verses 2-3, Paul entreats two women who were prominent church members (Euodia and Syntyche) to "agree in the Lord." What does it mean to "agree in the Lord" /to what extent do we need to agree? Why is Paul so concerned about unity in the Philippian church?
  2. In Verse 4, what does it mean to "rejoice in the Lord" and how can we do this "always?"
  3. In verse 5, Paul calls the Philippians to "reasonableness" (or gentleness) followed by a brief comment: "The Lord is at hand." What does Paul mean by both phrases? Why are these things important?
  4. In verse 6, Paul uses at least 3 different words for prayer: prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving. What do these 3 words mean, how do they relate to being anxious, and are there any of these that you should incorporate more into your prayer life?
  5. Verse 6 is followed by a promise in verse 7. How would you explain the peace of God, have you ever experienced the peace of God, and how do we lay hold of it more?
  6. In verse 8, the Philippians are commanded to think about certain things. In what practical ways might you proactively think about these things described in verse 8? Compare this list to David's description of the Word of God in Psalm 19:7-9. There are a few parallels.
  7. This passage equips us with a few tools to fight anxiety and experience God's peace, including prayer (4:6-7), right thinking (4:8), and right living/practice (4:9). In which areas do you need to grow? What are some practical ways you can do that this week?

Scripture: Philippians 4:10-23

Discussion Questions

  1. Any initial thoughts about the passage?
  2. In verses 11 and 12, Paul mentions twice that he has learned how to be content in every circumstance. What do you think Paul means by “content” and how can we learn to be content in every circumstance in our lives?
  3. Philippians 4:13 is one of the most commonly quoted verses in the Bible and while it is a great quote, it sometimes gets used out of context. How have you heard this verse used in the past and how should we as Christians interpret the verse using the surrounding context of the passage?
  4. Verses 10-20 in my Bible are headed “Thanks for Their [the Philippians] Gifts”. In verses 14-19 especially, Paul thanks the Philippians for their generous gifts to him throughout his missionary journey thus far. What do these verses teach us about giving?
  5. Verses 21-23 conclude the book of Philippians, is there anything that stands out to you in this “Final Greeting”? How does this compare with some of Paul’s other letters?

Scripture: Philippians (Whole book)

Discussion Questions

  1. Read Philippians 1:3-11 and 4:6-7. How can you incorporate the type of prayer described here into your spiritual rhythms?
  2. Read Philippians 1:18-23 and 3:20-21. Describe Paul's spiritual outlook. How does this compare to your outlook on life?
  3. Read Philippians 2:1-4. Paul repeatedly talks about how Christians are to share in rich fellowship with one another. How can you cultivate this type of Christian fellowship?
  4. Read Philippians 2:5-11. How does this lead you to worship Christ? How can you better live out the example of Christ in your life?
  5. Read Philippians 3:7-11. The old covenant and observance of the law cannot provide the necessary right standing with God. Believers can be saved only through faith in Jesus Christ. Are there any ways you are tempted to fall into works-based righteousness?
  6. Read Philippians 3:12-16. How can we more actively progress/grow in our Christian life? How do you understand this considering Philippians 2:13: "It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure?"
  7. Read Philippians 4:11-13. Paul has learned to be content in the face of tremendous suffering. How can we grow in contentment/joy amid difficult life circumstances?


1 Peter:


The book of 1 Peter was written by Peter (a disciple of Jesus) to multiple churches in Asia Minor. Most of the Christians receiving this letter were non-Jewish, and they were suffering from persecution from non-believers around them. Peter's letter serves as an encouragement by reminding them that they have been chosen by God and of the hope found in Jesus.  


Bible Project Video on 1 Peter

This week we discussed two main points: the person of Peter & what it means to be "elect exiles."

The Person of Peter

Through the following passages: Mark 14:66-72, Mark 8:27-33, John 21:15-17, we learn a few things about Peter. We first learn that Peter is honestly not a very good disciple of Jesus. In the eyes of the world, Peter is a failure. He has denied even knowing Jesus. Jesus has even called him "Satan" directly to his face for getting in the way of God's plans. (And these are just a few of many examples). But this is not the end of the story for Peter. The second thing we learn from the passages above is that God is using him. God chose Peter to lead the church after Jesus ascended to heaven despite all of his past failures. God loves to use broken people. 

"Elect Exiles"

In verse 1 of chapter 1 we see this phrase "elect exiles." This is who the book of 1 Peter is written to, and if you are a Christian this is you. In this world, God's chosen people do not quite fit in. Thankfully, this is not our permanent home, and one day when we are with God we will not have to struggle with this anymore. But for now, we are called to boldly proclaim the gospel in world where we are outsiders.

Discussion Questions

  1. As Christians, we are “elect exiles.” Generally, we do not fit in too well in this world. In what ways do you feel like an exile in this world?
  2. Maybe there are some ways that we are fitting into the world when we shouldn’t be. Are there any areas of your life that you could use some courage to stand out as a follower of Christ?
  3. What is your reaction to Peter’s history and how God chose to use him?
  4. How does the statement “In God’s economy, perfection is not necessary” make you feel?
  5. What past failure or worldly object/idea are you allowing to be a large part of your identity?
  6. What would it look like for you to let go of those failures and allow Jesus to fully define who you are?

This week we discussed two main points: 1) Why we should be joyful & praising God, and 2) How we should be thinking about trials in our lives.

Being Joyful & Praising God

First, starting in verse 3, we see that the God of great mercy has caused us to be born again. Our life in Christ is a new life. This is pretty crazy when you think about it: to be born again. I think it’s important that we ponder this question often, “How desperately did we need God before he came to us?” No matter what you are thinking, the answer to that question is “we needed him enough for the death of his only son to be the solution.” For us to be made right with God, our sin required the death of Jesus. We were dead, but now we are alive. This should cause us to be joyful and eager to praise God.

Moving on to verses 4 and 5 we learn that our faith, and therefore whether we get into heaven or not, is secure. Our inheritance is imperishable, undefiled, unfading. It’s kept in heaven for us. It is not dependent on what we do. This, again, is something to be joyful about. 

Life's Trials

We first need to remember that God is sovereign over our trials. He is in full control. This reminds me very much of the last chapter in Genesis. Joseph has been reunited with his brothers after they sold him into slavery many years before. Joseph now has the knowledge to understand that God was able to bring about good things through his trials. He is able to say to his brothers:

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. (Genesis 50:20 ESV)

Now going back to 1 Peter, in verse 6, we see that our trials are temporary, even short, when compared to what we have in store for us in heaven.

In verse 7, we see that one purpose of our trials is that our faith would be refined. Peter says our faith is more precious than gold. God thinks very highly of our faith. God loves us, He knows what’s best for us and wants what is best for us.

Last, we see in verses 8 and 9, that we have all that we need for Christian living and we should rejoice in our salvation. 

Discussion Questions

  1. Re-read the passage. Any overall thoughts or questions?
  2. What do you think it means to be born again?
  3. How will knowing we have an inheritance in heaven affect our behavior and attitudes when we face trials?
  4. What should our attitude be when we face trials? Is it crazy to say that we should be praising God for our trials?
  5. What does verse 7 say about the importance of our faith in God’s eyes?
  6. In what ways does this passage make you want to praise God more?
  7. This week, how can you take a different approach on the trials you face?

This week we broke the text into two sections: 1) The hope we have in God (verses 10-12), and 2) Our holy calling (verses 13-21)

The Hope We Have in God (10-12)

Here, Peter is showing us who we are in God. Even though we may feel like exiles, Peter is reminding us that we have a place of belonging. Our faith is the same faith of the prophets of the past. The same faith as Abraham and Noah and David and Isaiah and so on. We are a part of a huge family of believer, past and present. We have received grace, just as they did, and we find it hard to fit in, in this world, just as they did. So let these verses be a hopeful reminder that you aren’t the only one going through trials as a Christian. All of us are, and we also have a book full of Christians who did as well.

Our Holy Calling (13-21)

As it says in verse 16, we are to be holy since God is holy. For us to be like God and be near to God we must be holy. Now obviously we are not holy. Only God is. And Jesus lived the perfect holy life, and took the punishment for us, so that we could be near to God and be in good standing with him. But the hope of Jesus is not what this part of the passage is focusing on. It’s about how we respond to what Jesus has done.

I’m stealing this metaphor directly from my pastor (so thanks Joel). We need to understand and grasp the fact that we are set free in Jesus, and we have the greatest hope in Jesus. We cannot be freed by Jesus, and then still live our old ways. That doesn’t make any sense. And if that’s how we are living, it honestly warrants the questions “do we even believe in Jesus at all?” But the metaphor I was talking about is regarding slavery. Slavery runs deep throughout the Bible and many times we are seeing God’s people being put into bondage. Now think about this, a slave doesn’t have their own freedom. But how little sense would if a slave were set free, but decided to continue living in bondage? That makes no sense, right? Well, that’s exactly what we are doing when we accept Jesus into our lives and then continue to live like we used to. Let's reflect this week on the freedom we have been granted through the gospel, and examine the way we respond. Are there any areas of our lives where we are still living in bondage even though we are free?

More specifically in this passage Peter describes many ways that we should response to being set free. He tells us to: prepare our minds for action (13), be sober minded (13), set our hope fully on the grace of Jesus (13), not be conformed to our old ways (14), be holy (15-16), fearing God (17), remember that we were ransomed (18).

Discussion Questions

Verses 10-12

  1. Re-read the passage. Any overall thoughts or questions?
  2. How does it make you feel that your faith is the same faith as the prophets? How could this impact your day-to-day life?

Verses 13-21

  1. Re-read the passage. Any overall thoughts or questions?
  2. How does the calling of "be holy" sit with you? How can the gospel empower us to be more holy?
  3. Spend some time going through the list of ways Peter tells to respond to God’s grace. Put each one in your own words and discuss how you can practically do these things.
    1. Prepare our minds for action (13)
    2. Be sober minded (13)
    3. Set our hope fully on the grace of Jesus (13)
    4. Not be conformed to our old ways (14)
    5. Be holy (15-16)
    6. Fear God (17)
    7. Remember that we were ransomed (18)
  4. If you have time, you can finish by discussing the importance of the order of Hope and then Holiness (as Peter does in the first chapter of this book). Discuss how we are to respond to God’s grace instead of try to earn it.

In 1 Peter thus far, we’ve talked about: the hope we have in Jesus, and how hope should lead us to holiness. Today we are going at how in our holiness, we should be prioritizing the family of God. This is important. This letter is written in a very intentional way, and the flow is also very intentional: hope→holiness→family of God.

Starting out in verse 22, we are called to have a sincere & pure love, and to love earnestly. What exactly does this mean? We must love each other, specifically other Christians, regardless of the circumstances. Our love should stand out because we should love in a way that persists through difficult times.

Now down in verse 1 of chapter 2 he expands on that. If we are loving in a persistent, sincere way, would it make sense for us to have ANY malice or deceit or hypocrisy or envy or slander? A resounding “No” should be our answer. Pure love does not include any of these things. In what ways can we put away malice or deceit or hypocrisy or envy or slander this week?

Now how exactly can we do this? This seems really hard, right? To put away ALL malice, ALL deceit, and so on. In verse 2, we see that we can do this by longing for Jesus. Longing for the pure spiritual milk that is Jesus. Jesus nourishes us and it’s only from a place of adoring and longing for Jesus that any of this is possible.

Short aside, this is from Dietric Bonhoffer. He says that we all have an idea of what we want church life to look like. Now if we set our focus on this and long for what we think church and Christian community ought to look like, it will divide. We all have different ideas, and this will separate. But if we make our focus Jesus, this is what will bring us together.

Moving on to verse 4 and 5, we see more about our Christian fellowship. We see the “living stone” who is Jesus, who was rejected by men. And we see that we are like “living stones” being built up as a spiritual house. Friends, we are called to be a part of this spiritual house. For Christian life, it is not optional. We see in Ephesians 2:19-20:

So, then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,

In verse 9 and 10, now as a united church we need to proclaim Jesus. We can stand together though the tough times in life and still proclaim God. Community is not built by being together a few times a month, but often. As often as we can. We need to grow God’s church, and grow stronger together as his people. This needs to be a priority.

Short aside again, I love this group, I love everyone here, but this is not church. I think this is an important part of the Christian life, but it is not church. If this group in any way is making you too busy for church, it may be a good time to rethink priorities.

Discussion Questions

1. Re-read these verses. Any overall thoughts or questions?
2. What motivates people to practice deceit and envy and slander?
3. Why should we be different now?
4. What can make our Christian love stand out?
5. Do you desire the spiritual food of the Word to this degree? What are some things that keep us from desiring the Word as we should?
6. Why is Jesus called the living stones, and so are we? (Verse 4)
7. What is a cornerstone? Is Christ the cornerstone/foundation of your life? If we want to examine to see what is the foundation of our life, what could we look at?


Previously in 1 Peter we’ve discuss the hope we have in the gospel and how we are called to be holy. Today we are continuing to look at how God calls us to act in this world, as we are living here as exiles.

Starting in verses 11 & 12. This is an encouragement to live in an honorable, gospel way. These verses show us that we must “abstain” (in verse 11) and “keep” (in verse 12). In other words, Christian living is compromised of both things we should and shouldn’t do. First, in verse 11, Peter is telling us to abstain from acting on impulse and desires of the flesh (malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, & slander as we saw earlier in 1 Peter). These are our old ways. In verse 12, he tells up that we should instead conduct ourselves in an honorable way. For the rest of our passage he talks in detail about how we can do that in 3 areas of life: society & government, employment, and marriage. We will see that all of what Peter is saying can be summarized with one word: submission (verses 2:13, 2:18, 3:1). It is also important to note that Peter is mainly talking to people that are being mistreated. It is not a full list of responsibilities of all parties involved. He is instead telling us how we can submit even in difficult situations.

Society & Government

First, verses 13-17 emphasize submission to those in political office. This is quite counter-cultural and a bit challenging to hear. We do not like the idea of being mistreated by those in power. For context, rulers in Peter’s days were quite violently anti-Christian. Peter was later martyred under these rulers. But Peter tells us to submit to rules like these….but why? Verse 15 shows us that submission to authority is the strongest apologetic against the view that Christians are bad people. It’s one of our most effective way to introduce people to Jesus and show his love and grace to those around us. Peter didn’t always understand this. Remember when Jesus was betrayed, and Peter had brought a sword with him and cut off the ear of one who had come to arrest Jesus. Yeah, Peter is wiser now. He understands that his greatest weapon is now something stronger. He has power in the Holy Spirit to live a Godly life that points to Jesus. Furthermore, verses 16 & 17 then show us that freedom is for serving. We are to show proper respect for all rulers.


Then moving on to verses 18-25 we look at submitting in our employment. At first glance these verses appear inappropriate, especially when taking America’s rather awful history into account. First, it’s important to note that just because something is talked about in the Bible, does not mean God supports it. You do not have to read very far to come across grotesque things in the bible: murder, rape, etc. All things we know God hates. But the Bible is real. It meets us where we are at. The Bible does not pretend these things don’t exist in the world. Regarding slavery as it pertains to American history, this much can be said “God never permits his people to use slavery as a means of permanent exploitation, feeding off other and their children for generation after generation.” In 1 Timothy 1, Paul calls out “enslavers” as being ungodly, unholy, and profane. But it’s important to understand who Peter is talking to here. He’s not referencing North American slavery. In Rome in Peter’s time, there were 3 main classes: Roman citizen (full freedom and rights), the freedmen (who were restricted in some areas but not others), and the servant class (employed as helpers in the home/farm). It’s not a perfect example, but a modern-day equivalent could be something closer to someone who received education in exchange for serving 5 years in the military. So what is Peter actually saying here then? Peter is asking: do you have masters or bosses who cheat and lie? If so, do them all the good you can, even if it leads to suffering. Why? Because of verses 19-20. Your goodness is displaying the true graciousness of God to the world.


Jumping down to chapter 3 verses 1-7, we see that Peter next talks about submission as it pertains to marriage. Before we jump in, I want to acknowledge that women have too often been mistreated by poor applications of this text. This is a terrible thing. But simply because this text has been misunderstood and applied wrongly, does not make it any less of God’s Word. This text is not saying that wives should: sin if their husband asks them to, always agree with their husband, or remain quiet in times of abuse. That is not what this text is saying. So what is it saying? Well Peter first tells wives, and women in general what not to do. He tell women not to have an extreme focus on external beauty. The worldly woman in Peter’s day was fixated on their hair, jewelry, and clothing. Peter doesn’t want Christian women to be overly concerned about this. The world today is still putting pressure on women is be EXTREMELY concerned with their looks, and Peter wants different for Christian women. Peter wants to free women from this. So what is proper conduct for women then? Verse 4 says the beauty Peter wants to focus on is found in the heart. Peter is asking women to focus more on preparing their inner self then their outer self. For this is more “precious” to God. I now have a couple questions for the guys in the room. Is this what we appreciate most in other women? Is this what we will tell our possible future sons to look for in a future wife? Peter then looked for a woman whose life modeled good works, and he chose Sarah, wife of Abraham. And if we know anything about Sarah, she was not weak, but strong. She was real. Willing to tell Abraham how things really were, at any moment. While culture may reject “a gentle and quiet spirit” as the first thing they think of is a weak women, we know that misses the mark as Sarah is very much not this way. While all of this may be frightening (as Peter references in verse 6), God can be trusted. Those who entrust themselves to God will find that he keeps his promises and provides for them. That has been one of Peter’s main messages throughout this letter. So then moving on to husbands in verse 7. Men, husbands, if the call upon the Christian wife is this challenging, then she sure deserves praise and adoration. She deserves care and love and honor. It is interesting that the word “your” in verse 7 is actually plural. This gives the ideas that husband and wife are making a practice of praying together. It’s also important to note at this point that the weaker vessel in verse 7, is discussing general physical capabilities. It is not discussing value or overall strength, but instead physical stature in a more general sense. Peter is getting at the idea men should protect their wives and treat them kindly. In a way, Peter is trying to make sure that these verses do not get abused like they so often have been.
So wrapping up, regardless of the situation, an unjust official, an overbearing employer, or a difficult husband, Peter wants you to know that God will deliver you. He can be trusted. And when you live in patterns of submission, you show yourself to be living a life modeled by Jesus. This brings us back to verses 21-25 of chapter 2. The motivation behind of all of this. We do not submit, because that’s the sole principle of our lives, but because Jesus submitted. This is just another way that we try to mimic Jesus in our lives and share his love and grace to those around us. Being treated wrongly is a great opportunity to exemplify Jesus and introduce him to someone with your deeds.

Discussion Questions

  1. Any thoughts or questions?
  2. What is most difficult about this passage for you?
  3. Why is submission so difficult to us when we are being mistreated?
  4. What does this say about Jesus and how he submitted for our own good? (Even though he was perfect)
  5. In what ways do you feel you have been mistreated in the past as pertains to society & employment? How did you respond? What is the proper response?
  6. Are there any ways that you can apply what we talked about tonight over the next week?


  1. Helm, David R., and R K. Hughes. 1–2 Peter and Jude : Sharing Christ's Sufferings. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2015. Print.


Last week we focused on this main point: God’s new community will be known for submission. While this is a difficult topic, as submitting does not come naturally to us, we take a fairly large leap forward this week. We see that Peter takes this idea of submission, and discusses suffering. While submitting is definitely unnatural for humans, I think we can all agree that suffering is even more unnatural and something we like even less. And because of that, we need passages like this one to encourage us through our suffering.

We see in verse 9. "Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing." We are called to be a blessing to those around us, and more specifically those who persecute us. As we discussed last week, this is the ungodly ruler, the unjust employer, the difficult husband. These are the people Peter is calling us to bless, as we are persecuted by them. That’s quite the difficult idea to process, is it not? We then see in verses 10-12 an excerpt from Psalm 34. This Psalm is written by David. And it’s written at the time when he has just been appointed as king. The only problem is that Saul is also king and has no intention of stepping down. You could say that Saul has gone a little corrupt and would fall under the category of an “ungodly government official” as we discussed last week. To protect his position as king, Saul is track down David and trying to kill him (talk about an ungodly ruler). And while David is being hunted by Saul, he is able to open this Psalm by saying “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Later in the Psalm, David says as we read in verse 10:

“Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

It’s amazing that David is able to teach us this while running for his life.

Peter then expands and explains this concept in verses 13-17. Peter basically tells us in these verse that this suffering provides an opportunity for our hope in God to shine. Let me just point out that this is no easy point to swallow. That suffering is good. Suffering is good for those around us, and it glorifies God. As Peter says in verse 17, "For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil." Peter than wraps up this section, as he normally does, with using Jesus as our example (and this is verses 18-22). Jesus suffered for doing good and it brought us to God. How could we do the same thing?

Discussion Questions

  1. Any thoughts? Any questions?
  2. When someone argues with or insults us, what is the natural reaction? How can you stop
  3. What effect could this kind of godly response have on the person who is mistreating us?
  4. Are you ready to tell others why you believe in Christ? (verse 15) If not, why not?
  5. How could you suffer for good this week? How could this impact those around you?


  1. Helm, David R., and R K. Hughes. 1–2 Peter and Jude : Sharing Christ's Sufferings. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2015. Print.

Last week we started discussing suffering. We learned through the second half of chapter 3 that suffering can be good. Suffering is good for those around us, and it glorifies God. This week we will continue to studying suffering by looking at 2 main points that Peter presents: embracing our calling to suffer, and embracing our calling in the Church.

Embrace our Calling to Suffer

Peter starts off this section by telling us to “arm ourselves.” In other words, Christians, be ready, because suffering is a part of your calling. Through the gospels, we see that Jesus is well aware that his life will be full of suffering and service. This was God’s design and plan. Jesus never even really tried to avoid the cross. So, ok. We should be ready to suffer, but how exactly do we do that? We just going to go through verses 1-4 and see what Peter has to say about this. In verse 1, Peter tells to prepare our minds. In other words, do not be surprised when we suffer in this world as Christians. In doing so, we need to live for the will of God and leave our human passions behind (as we see in verse 2). This is far from the first time we are heading about our human passions in this letter. In chapter 2 verses 11-12, Peter tells us to “abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable…”

Peter than goes on to specify ways we will be suffering. He shows us in verse 4 that the world will be surprised by us. In other words, we will not be understood. And then this surprise will turn to ridicule.

Peter than encourages us with a reminder that that a final accounting awaits all humanity. We don’t need to judge the world because God will. There will be a final accounting for everyone. And those who are in Christ, will live on in the Spirit forever. Because of this we do not need to live in fear and worry. We are saved, and so are those believers who have already passed on (as verse 6 explains).

Embracing our Calling in the Church

So since the end of all things are at hand, Peter presents four things that we should embrace in our life. In verse 7, he tells us to be self-controlled and sober-minded. And he wants us to do so for the sake of our prayers. This is quite an interesting statement that I’ll let you guys discuss further in your smaller groups. In verse 8, Peter tells us to show a sincere love to one another. Peter is calling upon the churches of what is now modern-day Turkey to love one another (both inside and outside their individual churches). Peter wants us as Christians to be known by our love. In verse 9, Peter tells us to show hospitality without grumbling. In the first century, when you traveled there weren’t really any hotels or Airbnb’s to stay at. Apparently, people would get to their destination and just hang around the town until someone invited them into their home.

Showing hospitality was, and still is, a great way to share the love of God. And then last in verses 10-11 he tells us to serve one another, either by teaching or by actually being a servant.

Peter wraps this sections up by reminding us why we are to do all of this. Why are we to suffer? Why are we to be hospitable, and loving, and servants to one another? As Peter simply puts it, “in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.

Discussion Questions

  1. Does anything stand out to you from this passage? Do you have any questions?
  2. In what ways have you suffered for God’s glory in the past?
  3. In what ways are you avoiding suffering for God’s glory?
  4. Why do you think Peter tells us to “be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers?”
  5. What is one way you could practice what Peter teaching in verses 7-11 this week? The 4 main points were: be self-controlled and sober-minded, show sincere love, show hospitality, and serve one another.


  1. Helm, David R., and R K. Hughes. 1–2 Peter and Jude : Sharing Christ's Sufferings. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2015. Print.

Last week we discussed how we are both called to suffer and should expect to. Peter reminded us that Jesus suffered and so will we. And we should respond to this circumstance in a changed way as Christians.

Today we see a similar story. Peter is STILL discussing suffering. One of the main themes of this books is suffering, so I think it’s important that we recognize the repetition and understand that this is an important topic.

In out text today, we see that Peters starts out by telling us “do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes to test you” (verse 1). Whereas, last week he started with “Since Christ suffered, arm yourself…” There is there repeated message of Christians are going to suffer. We do not fit in here and the world will make that known to us. So much so, that if you aren’t currently suffering as a Christian, it may be a good time to check yourself. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing everything wrong, it’s just a good thing to check in on. Peter then explains again why we should suffer. The answer is because Jesus did…

Peter then debunks a rather local rabbit trail we may go on as readers? If I should be suffering, and I’m not… then do I just need to piss some people off. Just be jerk and then I’ll be suffering, right. Peter says no to that in verse 15. Peter is talking about suffering for following Christ, not simply being a jerk and reaping the “rewards” of that.

Then in verse 17, Peter in an indirect way starts discussing again why we are suffering. In verse 17-18 Peter is talking about judgement on the household of God, or in other words, the purifying of His people. He then asks these very interesting questions saying: “What will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner. I think in some ways these questions are rhetorical, but in another sense I think Peter is saying: God judgment on us, as Christian, refines us and makes us more like him, but IT’S DIFFICULT. It’s tough at time. How much worse must his judgment be for those who don’t believe?

Verse 19 is then just a beautiful statement. “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”

Verses 1-4 shift focus a little bit as he starts discussing how elders and pastors should lead by example in this area of life. While I’m not going to try and make these verses super applicable to us, there is something to learn here. While trying to lead well in something we can all get better at, Peter is talking directly to pastors here. For the rest of us I think this text is a good time to ask the questions: “Are my pastors living in this way?” If so, be thankful. And if not, considering bringing this up with them or your church leadership team in a loving and respectful way. All of us need call out from time to time and our pastors are no different. And if you read these verses and think, “I don’t have pastors,” then it’s time to invest in your local church. Talk to some other people here about checking out some churches in the area. It’s a vital part of the Christian life.

Last in verse 5, Peter shifts back to all of us and tells us to be humble in our interaction with our pastors and in our lives in general for we know that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to humble.”

Discussion Questions

  1. Does anything stand out to you from this passage? Do you have any questions?
  2. Have you ever been insulted for the name of Christ? Did you consider it a blessing?
  3. (Verse 19) Do you entrust your souls to God? What adjective is used to describe God here and what does that say about Him?
  4. What is glory? What does it mean to glorify?
  5. Read Malachi 3:1-4. How do you think this relates to verses 17-18 of our text?

This week we are wrapping up first Peter. Just to remind us what we’ve been studying the past few months, the book of 1 Peter started off with a reminder of the hope that we have in Jesus. Verses 3-5 of chapter 1 read:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

We have great hope moving forward in life. We then learn that for people that have this hope, suffering can actually been seen as a strange gift. We learn that suffering for Christians can burn away false hopes and distractions like a purifying fire. So as strange as it may seem, life’s hardships actually deepen our faith.

We then learned more about our suffering and how it is not only helpful to us, but to those around us. Suffering can actually help bring clarity to our mission in life. The persecution we receive in this life may be unjust at times, but Peter does not instruct us to fight back violently. Instead, Peter tells us to respond through submission and showing love and generosity to your enemies, just as Jesus did. This joyful & loving response of submission can actually be one of the strongest evangelistic tools that we have. We can introduce people to Christ and save many non-believers in this way.

Moving to today’s passage, Peter is explaining that even though we may be persecuted by unjust governments, unfair bosses, or unloving friends & family, they are not the true enemy. We see in verse 8 of chapter 5 that the devil is our true adversary, as he seeks to devour us. Peter then tells us that we need to resist the devil in verse 9, by standing firm in our faith with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Peter repeating one of the themes of this book a few more times in the last passage, for Christians humiliation in followed by exaltation. We see this in verse 6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” And in verse 10: “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

Peter then wraps up with his “Final Greetings.” Here we find out that it’s wasn’t Peter who actually put pen to paper. It was his friend Silvanus. What a dramatic ending! Just to clear up why Peter is talking about Babylon, by Babylon, Peter really means Rome. Peter is taking after the OT prophets by calling any corrupt nation “Babylon.”


  1. Does anything stand out to you from this passage? Do you have any questions?
  2. What does it mean to humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God?
  3. Can you think of any examples in the Bible of people who humbled themselves and God exalted them?
  4. What is the reason given for why we should put our worries on God?
  5. Are there any worries you have that you need to take to God?
  6. What has been your biggest takeaway from 1 Peter?


General Resources:

We as graduate students are not just scholars, but Christian scholars, and our faith is important to the work we are doing. Here are some InterVarsity resources that might be interesting to the grad student who wants to learn more about marrying their faith with their work.
"To put it in a nutshell, I think the project of being a Christian scholar is the project of thinking with a Christian mind and speaking with a Christian voice within your chosen discipline and within the academy more generally."
This blog includes short articles and announcements about events (webinars, etc) which Christian graduate students/scholars may be interested in.
Book: "The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship” by George Marsden
"Marsden argues forcefully that mainstream American higher education needs to be more open to explicit expressions of faith and to accept what faith means in an intellectual context…"
There are also several Christian societies in many different disciplines, and we would encourage you to look into one in your discipline!

We have frequently referenced Desiring God by John Piper in our Bible Study discussions. If you are interested in reading this book, it is free to download in PDF format at this link.

John Piper also has other books available for free. You can view them and download them at this link. One timely book you might consider reading is called Coronavirus and Christ.

This document contains a devotional-type booklet that takes you through 21 days of prayerful reflection. 

2021 NSO 21 Day Challenge

Stress and anxiety are something that everyone faces. We as graduate students are no different. For bible study this week we are going to read through the following passage and discuss two things: 1) What the Bible instructs us to do in times of stress & anxiety, 2) What God does for us in these times. 

Scripture: Philippians 4:4-13

Discussion Questions:

  • What does God ask us to do when we are stressed or anxious?
    • Pray (v. 6)
    • Supplication- ask or beg for something earnestly or humbly (v. 6)
    • Come to him as you are in that situation (v. 6)
    • Rejoice (v. 4)
    • Think about the things of heaven (v. 8)
      • Honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, praiseworthy
    • Depend on him (v. 12-13)
  • What does God do for us?
    • He is always with us (v. 5)
    • Guard your hearts and minds in Christ (v. 7)
    • Gives us peace (v. 9)
    • Gives us strength (v. 13)

Questions for further thought:

  • Do these things come easily to you?
  • Which of these things do you find most difficult to do?
  • What does it look like to rejoice in difficult situations?
  • How does thinking about the "things of heaven" allow you to experience God's peace?
  • What does it mean for your heart and mind to be guarded in Christ?
  • How have you experienced peace or strength in difficult circumstances in the past?
  • How can you depend more on God this week/semester when you are feeling stressed or anxious?

For this Bible study, we asked members to submit "tough questions" they had about Christianity. Some supporting Bible verses were found for each question and then we discussed our responses to the questions for 5-10 minutes each. For each question you can find the scripture that was read along with the question. While contemplating and discussing these questions, we kept the following passage in mind: Mark 16:14-20. Jesus needs to be the center of our life. While other topics are important, Jesus on the cross is what saves us and unites us, and should therefore never be less important than any other topic. 

  1. How should the church respond to racism and injustice? (Proverbs 6:16-19, Psalm 11:5, Proverbs 17:15, Matthew 25:31-46)
  2. How to best explain the Trinity? (Luke 3:22, John 14:26, John 15:26, Job 11:7, Isaiah 55:6-9)
  3. How do you approach strangers/follow students to lead them to Christ? (Mark 16:14-20, 1 Peter 3:13-15)
  4. There are many many verses about unity in the church in the Bible. How does there being different denominations fit into God’s wish for a one united church? Does it? (1 Corinthians 1:10)
  5. How to balance preaching God’s grace and justice? (Exodus 34:5-7 ESV, Deuteronomy 19:4-13)
  6. Is homosexuality a sin? I have been hearing from modern christians that the forbidding of homosexuality is the thing of the past (old testament) that once Jesus came and saved us all we are free to choose love. It’s increasingly difficult to come to my own conclusions in today’s climate and would like some help on this. Thank you! (Leviticus 18:22-24, Romans 1:27, 1 Corinthians 6:9,18)
  7. Are all religions connected? Why is Christianity the “right” religion out of all? (Exodus 20:2-6, Revelation 21:8)




The book of Ephesians was written by Paul to the church in Ephesus who were a diverse group of Jews and Gentiles from various backgrounds.  He shares the message that Jesus has come to create a new humanity that is unified across all dividing lines. Paul also explains what exactly it means to be a part of this new unified humanity.


Bible Project Overview on Ephesians


In our study we will be breaking Ephesians into 2 main themes throughout the fall semester.

  • Theme 1 (Chapters 1-3): The Story of the Gospel
  • Theme 2 (Chapters 4-6): How the Gospel Reshapes Our Story

Week 1: Monday, September 13th, 2021 – Ephesians 1:1-14

Scripture: Ephesians 1:1-14

  • What promises do you see God making?
    • God chose us
    • God adopted us through Jesus
    • We are forgiven
    • All things will be united in him
    • We are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit
  • How are these promises hopeful?
    • We are God's chosen people not because of anything we did
    • God takes the initiative by pursuing us first
    • Our inheritance is "sealed," which gives us confidence as we go through life's trials 


Week 2: Monday, September 20th, 2021 – Ephesians 1:15-2:10

Scripture: Ephesians 1:15-23

  • In verse 17, what does Paul say about God
    • Paul manages to talk about all 3 parts of the Trinity in verse 17 (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
    • In the Spirit we gain wisdom
    • Through the Son we are connected with the Father
  • In verse 18, what do you think about "his glorious inheritance in the saints"
    • First, it is important to realize that the saints are all of God's chosen people
    • Second, Paul is saying that the saints are God's inheritance 
    • God cherishes us, even though we sin

Scripture: Ephesians 2:1-10

  • Why did God save us?
    • God saved us because of his great love and mercy
    • God did not save us because of anything we did
    • We were saved while we were still sinning
  • What implications does his grace have on the way we live?
    • When we understand God's grace, we want to respond by following him closer
    • Since we did not earn our salvation, we have no reason to boast
    • We are to give God the glory, instead of ourselves


Week 3: Monday, September 27th, 2021 – Ephesians 2:11-22

Scripture: Ephesians 2:11-22

  • What do you think it means to be brought near to God (verse 13)?
    • It means to have access to God (verse 18)
    • Christ died for everyone, regardless of how far you are from God.
  • The status of circumcision no longer separate us as Christians, but what does in 2021?
    • Theological views, cultural norm, race, economic differences, denominations
  • How did Jesus bring the Jews & Gentiles together?
    • By dying for all who believe, not just the Jews
  • Who are the saints and members of God's household
    • We are, as Christians. Whoever puts their faith in Christ is a member of God's household.
  • What does it mean for us to be a holy temple in the Lord?
    • In the Old Testament, the holy temple is where God meets with his people in joyful fellowship. Believers do not have to worship in Jerusalem today because they themselves have become the new temple of God.


Week 4: Monday, October 4th, 2021 – Ephesians 3:1-21

Scripture: Ephesians 3:1-13

  • What do we learn about Paul in this passage?
    • Paul is a prisoner (for Christ, not for Rome)
    • He was commissioned to go to the gentiles
  • What is the mystery that Paul talks about?
    • Christ has come to unify Jew and Gentile in one body through the gospel
    • God's Spirit reveals His wisdom to us

Scripture: Ephesians 3:14-21

  • What are some of the key themes of Paul's requests?
    • We should humbly adore God
    • We should be strengthened by the Spirit
    • We should be grounded in love
    • We should strive to comprehend the vastness of God's love for all of us
    • God reveals his wisdom to us

Week 5: Monday, October 18th, 2021 – Ephesians 4:1-16

Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-16

  • How does Paul’s message from Ephesians 3 inform our interpretation of his instruction in verse 4:1-3?
  • What words or phrases are repeated in this passage? What does this tell us?
  • What is Paul’s central message in this passage?
  • How do unity in the body of Christ and spiritual maturity relate to each other?
  • How does Paul envision the church functioning?
  • What insights does the text provide to help us walk in a “manner worthy of the calling?”


Week 6: Monday, October 25, 2021 – Ephesians 4:17-32

Scripture: Ephesians 4:17-32

  • What is Paul’s central message in this passage?
  • Why does Paul follow up his call to unity and spiritual maturity with this passage about new vs. old life?
  • What does the life of the “old self” look like and what does the life of the “new self” look like?
  • What does Paul mean by “be angry and do not sin”, “do not let the sun go down on you anger”, and “give no opportunity to the devil”?
  • Why does Paul say we should forgive one another?
  • Do you follow the advice in question 4 in your own life? What is a situation where this advice applies to your life?


Week 7: Monday, November 1st, 2021 – Ephesians 5:1-21

Scripture: Ephesians 5:1-21

  • What is Paul’s central message in this passage?
  • What does it mean to you to be a “fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”? (1, ESV)
  • This passage matches things inappropriate with what should be done instead (ex: 4, ESV: filthiness, foolish talk, crude joking exchanged for thanksgiving). Match up and discuss the ones that stick out the most to your group. 
  • Verse 16 begins with “making the best use of the time…” (ESV) | “making the most of every opportunity…” (NIV). What does this mean to you/to Christians?
  • What does it mean to “singing and making to the Lord with your heart”? (19, ESV)
  • Think about this passage within the context of the book of Ephesians we have read so far, any new ideas or insights?
  • What does this passage teach us about God? How does this passage relate to Jesus?


Week 8: Monday, November 8th, 2021 – Ephesians 5:21-33

Scripture: Ephesians 5:21-33


  • Keep 5:1 in mind, as it’s all part of the same letter. We should all be imitators of Christ. 
  • Paul is overturning cultural norms of husbands ruling over household with power. He is instead commanding them to sacrifice themselves.
  • A husband laying down his life for his wife is far from any kind of male tyranny or oppression.
  • Sacrifice & belonging to one another are the main themes here.
  • Check out: 1 Corinthians 7:3-5
  • A circle of love & respect is created when these commands are followed. 


  • What instructions are given to wives?
  • What instructions are given to husbands?
  • What does it actually mean to love?
    • To give oneself up for somebody
  • What does it mean to submit?’
    • To give oneself up to somebody
  • What the difference?
    • Not much. Love & submission are essentially 2 aspects of the very same thing, which is sacrifice. The same sacrifice which is the foundation of a growing marriage.

Application Questions:

  • What would a marriage look like if these instructions were followed by both the husband and wife?
  • How can the Christian community build and support our marriages?


Week 9: Monday, November 15th, 2021 – Ephesians 6:1-9

Scripture: Ephesians 6:1-9

Discussion Questions:

  • Everyone’s relationship with their parents is different, what does honoring your parents look like to you? (Verse 2-3)
  • Has the way you honor your parents changed over time? (Ex, from childhood to adulthood or from when you first became a Christian to now). If so, how?
  • Discuss how verses 5-9 apply to our lives today; how do they apply to an employer-employee relationship?
  • Does verse 7 change your perspective on your own work/research/study? How?

Full Circle Questions:

  • Throughout Ephesians, Paul has summarized the gospel and taught about God’s promises. Discuss what connections you have noticed between the initial teachings and the applications to congregational, husband-wife, parent-child, and employer-employee relationships.
  • What does this passage teach us about God? How does this passage relate to Jesus?


Week 10: Monday, November 29th, 2021 – Ephesians 6:10-24

Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-24

Discussion Questions:

  • What have we read in Ephesians so far that motivates us to “be strong in the Lord” (v10) and fight against evil around us (v12)? (bullet points from Blue Letter Bible)
    • Your standing as a child of God
    • God’s plan that he has made you a part of
    • God’s plan for you to mature in your faith
    • The conduct by which we are called to live
    • The filling of the Spirit and our walk in the spirit
  • Break down the different pieces of the armor of God. Why is truth a belt? Why is righteousness a breastplate? etc. etc.
  • What encourages you in this passage?
    • Be strong in god’s strength (v10)
    • Able to withstand devil’s schemes (v11)
    • Identifies the “armor of God” that equips you to face problems (v13-17)
  • Do Paul’s words in this verse 12 change your perspective on the problems you see in your life and this world as a whole?
  • Which pieces of the armor of God do you see as the strongest and weakest in your life?
  • Does this passage challenge you to change anything about the way you live?




The book of Galatians was written by Paul when he was frustrated that Jewish Christians were teaching Non-Jewish Christians that they had to follow the laws of the Torah in order to be part of God's covenant family. Paul wants to preserve the message of the true Gospel – that we are saved by the blood of Jesus, the new covenant, and not by the laws of the Torah. Because Jesus has fulfilled the laws of the Torah, we are united as a large, multi-ethnic family and transformed by the Holy Spirit.



Bible Project Overview on Galatians



In our study we will be breaking Galatians into 3 main themes, studying a new theme each month.

  • Theme 1 (Chapters 1-2): The True Gospel and Justification by Faith
  • Theme 2 (Chapters 3-4): Jesus fulfills the laws of the Torah and unites us as one family
  • Theme 3 (Chapters 5-6): Members of God's family are transformed by the Holy Spirit

These are the resources from Bible Studies of Galatians chapters 1 and 2 (put together by Rachel). Here you will find the questions we discussed together as a group and very brief answers to these questions. Please keep in mind that these answers do not cover all possible answers, and we discussed each of these questions in much more detail as a group.

Week 1: Monday, March 1, 2021 – Chapter 1

  • Background Context: Read Acts 15:1-11
    • What is the cause of the feud we read about in the passage?
      • Jewish Christians think that Non-Jewish Christians should adopt their laws (circumcision)
    • Why did Jewish Christians think it was so important that Non-Jewish Christians become circumcised?
      • In order to become part of God's covenant family, they must adopt Jewish laws.
    • What is Paul's reaction to these men? Why does he react this way? (we will talk more about this after reading chapter 1).
      • He dissents. He doesn't believe this is in accordance with the Gospel message.
    • What do the Jewish and Non-Jewish Christians have in common according to Peter?
      • Given the Holy Spirit
      • Aren't capable of living up to the high standards of the old testament laws due to their sinful nature
      • Saved through grace of the Lord Jesus
  • Scripture Reading: Chapter 1
    • Spend several minutes reflecting on this passage. What is something that stood out to you from the passage? What is something you have a question about?
    • We read in Acts 15 that Paul was upset, but here is where we really get to see that. Why is Paul so angry?
      • People are not listening to the Gospel message of Christ that he delivered and are instead adopting a distorted gospel.
    • How can the people be sure that Paul's account of the gospel is the true account?
      • He gives his credentials in verses 11-24 – he was commissioned himself by Jesus to go to the Gentiles. He was not commissioned by man because he didn't even meet any other apostles until he was already well into his ministry.


Week 2: Monday, March 8, 2021 – Reading New Testament Letters

This week we viewed the Bible Project's resources on the Historical Context and Literary Context of New Testament Letters. 

Historical Context:

  • Consider how they all fit into the larger story line of the Bible.
    • Notes from Video:
      • Apostles were heralds talking about the arrival of God's kingdom and Jesus.
      • It was bold thing to say in Rome because peoples allegiance was supposed to be to Rome.
    • Questions:
      • In what ways is Paul trying to announce the arrival of God's kingdom and Jesus to the Galatians?
        • We are justified through what Jesus has done for us, not by the works of the Torah.
      • What is bold about what he is saying?
        • It went against the ancient Jewish customs and definitely was not a popular opinion.
  • Consider the culture of the Roman empire.
    • Notes from Video:
      • Rome conquered and enslaved and required heavy taxes
      • In Rome there was a hierarchy where men rose to the top but women and slaves were worth nothing
      • But the Christian communities were different; everyone was treated with equal dignity
      • Through Jesus, God gives His love to everyone without regard to their status
    • Questions:
      • In what ways is what Paul saying counter-cultural?
        • Paul wants the body of Christ to be a united family through our shared salvation through Jesus.
      • Do we see a hierarchy in Galatians?
        • Jewish Christians placing themselves above Non-Jewish Christians
      • How does Paul want the Christian community to live differently than those around them?
        • He encourages us to break bread with those who are different than us.
  • Consider the situational context of the letter.
    • Notes from Video:
      •  Division in the church between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians
  • How are the New Testament letters applicable to us today?
    • Notes from Video:
      • These letters led to transformations in ancient culture with the good news of Jesus, and we can see how that same good news can transform our culture as well.
    • Questions:
      • Even though this letter was made for the Galatians, what can we glean from it years later and in a different culture?
        • Lessons about valuing others that are disadvantaged in our current culture, transforming our current culture with the good news shared in the letters.

Literary Context

  • Creating the Letter
    • Notes from Video:
      • Writing letters cost a lot of money, so they were all crafted very carefully
      • Written as a whole literary work – meant to be read beginning to end so we can know how each part contributes to the whole 
      • Paul didn't work or write alone – he was always a part of a missionary team.
      • Letters were read aloud because most people didn't read. They often sound like written speeches
    • Questions:
      • How does knowing the way in which these letters were crafted (intentional thought and delivery, meant to be read beginning to end) impact the way we look at this literary work?
        • These letters weren't just brief personal correspondence, they were well thought out masterpieces.
    • Action Items:
      • We encourage you to read through the book of Galatians on your own, all in one sitting. Even better, listen to Galatians being read aloud to you; this was how the message was designed to be heard.
  • Format (sections of a New Testament letter)
    • Notes from Video: 
      • opening
      • prayer of thanks/greeting (Main idea introduced the prayer)
      • body of letter (Body repeats and unpacks the idea introduced in the prayer)
      • conclusion (greetings, travel plans, a final request, or a prayer)
    • Questions:
      • When we consider the opening and prayer for this letter, are we able to identify what Paul might foresee as the main point of the letter?
        • This is one of the shortest openings in all the NT letters – Paul is really trying to get to the point due to his frustration and the urgency of his message.
        • "God gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age." – Paul saw the evils of distorted gospels and wants to redirect us to what Jesus has done on the cross first and foremost, because that is what is most important.
  • How to read New Testament Letters
    • Notes from Video:
      • transition words are clues to the progression of the letter
      • Each paragraph has its own main idea
      • To make the most of reading New Testament letters, break it down into smaller parts and find the message of each paragraph, trace repeated ideas and transition words to see how it all fits back together, and then see how the apostles brilliantly combined the pieces into a literary whole.
    • Questions:
      • If we break apart the paragraphs from Chapter 1, can we identify the main themes of the paragraph? Can we identify any transition words? Repeated ideas?
    • Action Items:
      • Apply what you have learned about how to read the New Testament letters as we continue this study on Galatians each week.

Week 3: Monday, March 15, 2021 – Chapter 2

  • Review:
    • During Week 1 we….
      • Read background on the feud between Jewish Christians and non-Jewish Christians in Acts. Jewish Christians thought that new Gentile Christians had to follow the laws of the Torah to be true members of God's covenant family.
      • Read the first chapter of Galatians where Paul expresses his frustration that they have adopted a gospel other than the one he taught them, and he gives his credentials to show them the credibility of his message.
    • During Week 2 we…..
      • Looked at the historical context of New Testament Letters
        • We talked about the overall storyline of the bible and how Paul is spreading the good news of Jesus's fulfillment of the old testament in the letter
        • We talked about the Roman empire and the culture of the time
        • We talked more about the situational context of feud between Jews and Gentiles
      • Looked at the literary context of New Testament Letters
        • What went into writing the letter
        • The organizational format of the letter
        • How to read the letter paragraph by paragraph and find transition words to trace the message through the whole letter and see how all the pieces fit together.
    • Now we will be reading chapter 2, which is broken into three sections:
      • The other apostles accept Paul's teaching to the gentiles.
      • Paul calls Peter out for being hypocritical toward gentiles in Antioch.
      • Paul says we are justified by faith through Jesus and not works of the old testament law.
    • Re-watch Bible Project Video for background
  • Read Sections 1 and 2 (verses 1-14) of Chapter 2 and discuss as a group
    • A couple minutes for reflection on these sections (think about the main ideas of the paragraphs, what stands out, and any questions)
    • Section 1 (verses 1-10): Paul interacting with the other apostles
      • Notes:
        • Paul meets the apostles and tells them what he has been teaching the Gentiles
        • He continues to assure us that they didn't add or take anything away from the gospel he was teaching (showing that it was God's true gospel)
        • The apostles accepted him and his teachings to the Gentiles.
      • Questions:
        • Why does Paul want to talk with the apostles?
          • "to make sure that I was not running or had not run in vain"
          • He was seeking the opinions of other godly men to see if they thought his teachings had gone astray of God's true gospel – accountability
        • How did Paul handle those whom he perceived were not preaching the true gospel?
          • He makes sure we know that he did not let those people influence him or lead him astray
        • How do the true apostles react to Paul's teachings?
          • They approve of them and change nothing about what he was teaching the Gentiles. They believe his was commissioned by God to teach to the gentiles the same way that Peter was commissioned by God to teach the Jews. They ask him to remember the poor.
    • Section 2 (verses 11-14): Paul calls Peter out for being hypocritical in Antioch.
      • Notes:
        • Peter used to eat with the gentiles, but when Jewish Christians came and demanded circumcision, he stopped eating with them to please those Jewish Christians.
        • The rest of the Jews and even Paul's  travel companion Barnabas were led astray by the hypocrisy.
        • Paul calls them out and asks them if they can't live like they ought to as Jews, then how can they make the Gentiles live like Jews?
      • Questions:
        • What does Peter do that makes Paul call him out?
          • He stopped eating with gentiles because of pressure from the "Circumcision party"
        • Why does Paul find Peter's actions so hypocritical?
          • It is against Jesus's teachings (and therefore inherently not Jewish/Christian) to treat the gentiles this way. It is hypocritical to require them to live like a Jew when they themselves cannot reach that standard.
        • Why do you think it was so easy for everyone, even Barnabas, to get caught up in this, too?
          • reluctance to let go of custom, crowd mentality, etc.
  • Read Section 3 (verses 15-21) of the chapter and discuss
    • A couple minutes for reflection on these sections (ask everyone to think about what stood out to them, and what they might have questions on)
    • Section 3 (verses 15-21): Justification by Faith alone, not works
      • Notes:
        • No one can be justified by the works of the law – we are justified through Christ alone
        • We sin and cannot upkeep the law, but Christ is not a servant to sin – he died to conquer it. It is a good thing we are not justified by the law, but through Christ.
        • If we insist keeping the law for our justification, we are undermining what Christ did for us. He would have died for no purpose.
      • Questions:
        • What does it mean to be justified?
          • from the Bible Project Video: to be justified is to be declared righteous, meaning you are in right relationship with God, forgiven and given a place in God's family
        • What message does Paul think this "circumcision party" is sending to the growing Christian community?
          • They are promoting justification by works instead of justification by faith and making less of what Jesus has done for us on the cross.
        • How does insisting on circumcision for Gentile Christians undermine what Jesus did for us on the cross?
          • We sin and cannot upkeep the law, but Christ is not a servant to sin – he died to conquer it. If we insist on keeping the law for our justification, we are undermining what Christ did for us. He would have died for no purpose.

Week 4: Monday, March 22, 2021

  • Review from previous weeks
    • Week 1: Chapter 1 of Galatians
      • Paul is appalled that the Galatians have adopted a different gospel and think they have to make non-Jewish Christians be circumcised.
      • Paul gives his credentials to make sure we understand his gospel message was the true gospel message.
    • Week 2: Historical and Literary Context of New Testament Letters
      • Historical Context: context in the Bible, context in the culture, context of the argument
      • Literary Context: importance of letters, how the letter is structured, how to read the letter
    • Week 3: Chapter 2 of Galatians (Part 1)
      • Paul tells us that the other apostles agreed that what he was teaching to the Gentiles was the true message of the gospel.
      • Paul calls Peter out for being hypocritical and not eating with non-Jewish Christians
    • Week 4 (this week): Chapter 2 of Galatians (Part 2) and Reflections
      • Justification by Faith
      • Thoughts on Chapters 1 and 2
  • Read Galatians Chapter 2, Verses 15-21
    • Reflect on what you read. What is the main point of this passage? What stands out to you? What do you have questions about?
    • Discussion based on personal reflection
  • Listen to the Bible Project Podcast Episode "Family Once More" (9:38 – 23:10)
    • This provides a good summary of what we discussed in the first two chapters
    • Wrap up the first major theme "The True Gospel and Justification by Faith"

These are the resources from Bible Studies of Galatians chapters 3 and 4 (put together by Kaleb). Here you will find the questions we discussed together as a group and very brief answers to these questions. Please keep in mind that these answers do not cover all possible answers, and we discussed each of these questions in much more detail as a group.

Week 1: Monday, April 5, 2021

Focus: Galatians 3:1-14
Bible Project Content:

Scripture references:

Discussion Questions:

  • Reconstruct the Galatians' spiritual biography (1-5); how did they act foolishly?
  • What does the example of Abraham say about being justified/righteous before God? (6-9)
  • How does Abraham's example compare to the Galatians' viewpoints? (10-12)
  • What does seeking righteousness through the law not succeed? (Gal 3:10; refers to Deut 27:26)
  • What verses do you want to keep with you from this reading?

Week 2: Monday, April 12, 2021

Focus: Galatians 3:15-29

Bible Project Content:

Scripture References:

Discussion Questions:

  • What does Paul say about the relationship between the law and the promises God gave to Abraham (and so all people)? How does he make his case?
  • Why was the Law given? What functions did the law serve?
  • What major conclusion does Paul make to tie wrap up this chapter?
  • What points from this chapter support this conclusion?
  • What ideas do Paul confront in order to prevent beliefs that oppose this conclusion?
  • How are we like the Galatians?
    • Are we foolish?
    • Do we put up barriers that divide God's family?

Week 3: Monday, April 19, 2021

Focus: Galatians 4:1-20


Discussion Questions:
  • Explain the analogy Paul introduces at the start of this chapter (1-7)
  • How does this analogy compare to the analogies from the previous chapter?
  • Why is this analogy necessary?
  • How and why did the Galatians' attitude towards Paul change?
  • Why does Paul urge the Galatians to "become like [him]" (v12)? In what way does he want them to become like him, and why?
  • Can you say to others, "become like me"?
  • In what ways do you act like a "spiritual slave"? How can you begin acting more like God's spiritual son or daughter?

Week 4: Monday, April 26, 2021

Focus: Galatians 4:21-31
Scripture References:
Discussion Questions:
  • Paul introduces another analogy here. Let's break it down:
    • Who/what does Hagar represent?
    • Who/what does Sarah represent?
  • What does Paul mean when he says Hagar's son was born "the ordinary way" but Sarah's son was "the result of a promise"?
  • Why are we "children of promise"?
  • Why are children of Hagar not free?

These are the resources from Bible Studies of Galatians chapters 5 and 6 (put together by Vaughn). Here you will find the questions we discussed together as a group and very brief answers to these questions. Please keep in mind that these answers do not cover all possible answers, and we discussed each of these questions in much more detail as a group.

Week 1: Monday, May 3, 2021

Focus: Galatians 5: 1-15

Resources: (video from 6:40 to the end)

Discussion questions:

Verses 1-6
- What about trying to satisfy the laws of the old testament “severed us Christ”?
- How were we slaves prior to coming to Christ? How is life different now?
- It certainly isn’t circumcision, but what do you think culture today wrongly assumes as the way Christians are saved?

Verses 7-12
- What does verse 9 mean?
- How can we protect ourselves, our family and our church from false teachings?

Verses 13-15
- How does Jesus simplify life for us?

Week 2: Monday, May 10, 2021

Resources: This week we studied the Bible Project's Bible Study on the Holy Spirit.


Week 3: Monday, May 17, 2021

Focus: Galatians 5:16-26


  • The power of the Holy Spirit: John 16:5-15
  • Jesus said that it would be better for us to have the Spirit in us, than for us to have Jesus himself beside us.  This shows the absolute power of the Holy Spirit, and we need to be careful to not overlook or forgot this.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are your overall thoughts on this passage? Does anything new or interesting stand out?
  2. This passage seems like it strays away from most of what Galatians has been about (Paul doesn’t talk about circumcision for a whole 11 verses!!!). How does this passage still relate to what we have been discussing (the law, Jesus putting an end to the law, etc.)?
  3. What do you think about verse 18? What do you think it means? “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
  4. Practically, what should we do if we find ourselves falling into one of the sins listed in the passage?
  5. Can someone put the end of verse 23 in their own words? What does is mean that “against such things there is no law”?
  6. If you feel comfortable sharing, what are some ways God is producing fruit of the Spirit in you recently? (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control)

Week 4: Monday, May 24, 2021

Focus: Galatians 6:1-18

Discussion Questions:
  1. What do you think Paul means when he says “you who are spiritual”?
  2. What do you think verse 4 & 5 means?
  3. What do you think verse 6 means?
  4. What do you think verse 14 means?
Close with Bible Project Video to bring everything back full-circle:

As we are reading the book of Galatians, it is helpful to learn more about how to read New Testament Letters. Please view the videos below and consider how you can apply what you learn from the video to Paul's letter to the Galatians. You can find our discussion on these videos under Chapters 1-2, March 8th meeting.

Historical Context of New Testament Letters: Video by the Bible Project

Literary Context of New Testament Letters: Video by the Bible Project


Graduate School Bible Studies:

Here are some helpful resources from our study on Stress and Stress Management prepared by Trevor:

Reference Material: Bible Project Limits of Labor Podcast

Bible Readings: 

  • The Vanity of Toil: Ecclesiastes 2:17-26
  • Joy in Trials: James 1:2-4

Benediction: John 14:17

Takeaway: Think about your work and research as a graduate student. How does your work serve the Kingdom of God? What are some ways you can lay your stressors on God this week?

Further Reading: Ecclesiastes 7, which talks about wisdom.