26 Apr Discussion Guide: Purple Book | Spiritual Hunger and God’s Word
Take the first few minutes of your time together to listen to what God is doing in one another’s lives and pray for any specific needs people in your group may have.
“When you read God’s Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, “It is talking to me, and about me.”
The Bible. It is a book that has been around for thousands of years. Men have tried to destroy it, dismiss it, modify it and mock it, and yet these 66 books that form 1 overarching story have remained and persevered through it all. Others have given their lives for it, smuggled in one page at a time just to have it in their hands and have spent entire lifetimes translating it so others might enjoy the benefits of it. Why? Why has this one book produced such hatred in some and such passion and commitment in others?
The answer, according to the Bible itself, is because within the pages of this book lies the written and inspired words of the Creator of the Universe. But, why would God put His words in a book? Why not just appear to us, or audibly speak to us?
In this discussion we will seek to answer those questions and more, and in the process, hopefully, come to the realization that the Bible isn’t just a book to be read, it is Truth to be lived.
The Authority and Power of God’s Word
What is your favorite book (other than the Bible) and why?
What is your favorite book/story in the Bible and why?
What does it mean to communicate something?
Communication is so much more than just saying something to someone. As we all have experienced, you can say a whole lot and communicate very little. Communication involves the words you speak, but it also involves body language, tone, inflection, etc. Beulah, even beyond what is coming from you, communication also involves the other person’s perceptions, experiences, and interpretations. Therefore communication is not just saying something, it is saying something in a way that your desired intent is understood. Miriam Webster’s Dictionary defines communicate as “getting someone to understand your thoughts and feelings.”
Why is communication so difficult at times?
Communication can be difficult at times because it involved more than one person. You may be saying or communication something with 100% clarity in your own mind, but if the other person has presuppositions, previous experiences or some other lens through which they are hearing what you are communicating that in some way skews or blurs your desired intentions then they may completely misunderstand what you are trying to communicate. What was meant as an encouragement can be taken as an insult (especially in the form of a text message!). What was meant to be good advice can be taken as judgment. It is the different experiences, cultures, languages, contexts, etc. of life that we have to work through in order to effectively communicate something.
What do you think is God’s main reason for putting His Word into a book?
2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” So we can see God’s desire to instruct and equip and train, but all of those things come under the larger umbrella purpose of God’s desire to communicate something to us. Had God appeared to us in person we, like the Hebrews, would have probably run and hid and asked for someone else to talk to Him on our behalf. If he didn’t say anything then we would be lost and confused in regards to who we are and what life is all about. So, what did God do? He put into a book (66 books to be precise) all that He wanted to communicate to us. The Bible, at it’s very core, is God’s desire to communicate to us who He is, who we are, what the purpose of our lives should be, where we have gone astray from that purpose and what He has done to bring us back to that purpose.
Why is understanding the Bible difficult at times?
It can be difficult to understand the Bible because we bring our own presuppositions, experiences, and filters to the interpretation of scripture. If a person has experienced abuse or some kind of trauma then he/she might have a skewed view of God (why would God allow that?) that alters the way he/she reads a certain passage or verse. If a person was brought up in a religious background that was legalistic, or perhaps overly charismatic, then it can blur the meaning of certain passages. Like any form of communication we have to filter through those experiences and presuppositions and ask ourselves, “From what the Bible tells me about who God is, what can I presume He is wanting to communicate to me here?” Also, there can be language differences (anyone here speak Greek or Hebrew), or cultural references that don’t make sense to us the same way it would to a native speaker. The moral of the story is that if we want to fully understand what God is communicating to us through His Word we need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us and then we need to do the work required to understand what God is saying. In the same way a wife needs to seek to understand her husband (and vice versa), so we need to seek to understand those parts of Scripture that may be difficult.
George Bernard Shaw
“No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means.”
Is that how we should approach the Bible if we want to understand it? If not then how should we?
The Benefits of God’s Word
What are some beneficial habits to have in life?
What is necessary in order to keep those habits going?
How might the Bible be beneficial in your life?
What is necessary to keep those benefits going?
Reading the Bible without meditating on it is like trying to eat without swallowing. –Anonymous
Can you define the word hunger? What produces the feeling of hunger?
Webster’s dictionary defines hunger as a craving or urgent need for. This feeling is produced when you realize you do not have the thing you crave or need. When you have not eaten I. A while your body becomes hungry and immediately your body and your mind are consumed with the thought of food.
How do we satisfy our hunger? How does it feel when it is satisfied?
The only way to satisfy hunger is to obtain the object of the craving or urgent need.
Why would someone hunger for God’s Word?
One would hunger for God’s Word only when he/she recognizes the urgent need for God’s Word. As long as we think we have the answers to life and that God and His Word are just something we add into the mix of who we are, then we will never truly hunger for God or His Word. It is only when we recognize that God’s Word is the source of life, the revelation of who He is, and that we desperately need it, not just in our lives, but as the authority over our lives, that we will develop a healthy hunger for it.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
How do you feel after spending time in God’s Word?
How does the Bible describe God? How do you know that to be true?
Love (1 John 4:8), powerful (Ps. 33:6-9, Exod. 13:3, Eph. 1:19-20), sovereign (Dan. 2:21), Holy (Joshua 24:19), truthful (John 14:6), faithful (Num. 11:22-23), righteous (Ps. 71:19), just (Ps. 9:7-8), Merciful (Romans 5:5), forgiving (1 John 1:9), good (James 1:17)
What do you think is the main point of God’s Law/Word?
Scripture tells us many reasons God has given us His Word. It is a guide for our lives (Ps. 119:105), it is a guardian that reveals our sin and leads us to Jesus (Gal. 3), it teaches and corrects us (2 Tim. 3:16), among other things. But ultimately it reveals god’s glory to us and leads us into the purpose for which we were created for in the first place. In other words, God’s Word is meant to point us and lead us into life, joy and fulfillment through the revelation of God’s glory and our purpose.
If God is who the Bible says He is, and His Word is for what it says it’s for, then what should our response to His Word be? Why?
We should gladly embrace and obey God’s Word. We should hunger for it, because it is where we find ultimate fulfillment and joy. It is for our benefit and well being. To reject it, or to not value God’s Word is to reject God’s design, His best for you.
What keeps you from obeying His Word at times? How can you overcome those obstacles?
“The word of God hidden in the heart is a stubborn voice to suppress.”
A. W. Tozer
“The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.”