Connect Bible Study Notes

Term 4 2017

500 years on – Echoes of the Reformation
This year marks 500 years since Martin Luther launched the Protestant reformation with his 95 Theses. This movement shook the world. We take a fresh look at the 5 “pillars” of
reformed doctrine:  Scripture alone, Grace alone, Christ alone, Faith alone and Glory to God alone and then three great reformation outcomes that shape our church and our lives: The priesthood of  all believers, The freedom of the Christian and Assurance of salvation.

Assurance of Salvation John 10:11-30 & Romans 8:28-39 10th December

  1. You get talking to a friend who says she feels guilty because she misses church some Sundays and she thinks this might disqualify her from heaven. How would you answer her?
  2. Why do you think the Bible says BOTH “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” and “God works in you to will and to act according to his good pleasure”?
  3. In John 10 Jesus takes up the ideas of Psalm 23 (The Lord is my shepherd) and claims to be the good shepherd. Read John 10:1-32 and list the things that give you confidence that you are right with God.
  4. Do the same with Romans 8:31-39.
  5. How would you respond if someone accused you of pride and arrogance if you claim to be confident that you have eternal life?

The Freedom of the Christian 1 Corinthians 9:1-23 3rd December

  1. What do you understand the word ‘freedom’ to mean? What is the opposite of freedom?
  2. In Galatians 5:1-6, what contrast is Paul drawing? What is the connection in this passage between grace and faith and justification? (Note that righteousness is the same as justification.)
  3. How does the freedom of the Christian follow from ‘grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone’?
  4. Read 1 Corinthians 10:23-33. How may we express our freedom in seeking the good of others?
  5. How would you respond to a Christian who said ‘we have to do such and such’?
  6. Is it fair for churches to use guilt as a motivation to get people to sign up for tasks? Why/why not?
  7. If our church members are freed from a sense of compulsion, how can we get anything done?
  8. Do you have any ‘have-to’ ideas in your heart that need to change?

The Priesthood of All Believers Ephesians 4:1-16 26th November

  1. Read Ephesians 4:1-6.  How does Paul’s instruction in verse 2 lead to the unity of verse 3 and 4?  Why is unity in a congregation so important?
  2. What exactly is given by whom and to whom in verses 7 and 11?
  3. What is the purpose of the gifts in verse 11?  “Works of service” in verse 12 means the “work of ministry”.  Exactly who does the work of ministry in a local congregation?
  4. What do verses 12-16 tell us about the goal of Christian ministry?
  5. Sometimes full time paid church “ministers” are called “stoppers in a bottle”, restricting the ministry of church members. To what extent do you think this is true? How can a local church guard against this danger? What place is there for ordained ministry in a church?
  6. Some denominations see the role of a minister like that of the Old Testament priest – mediating between God and people. What is wrong with this view? How does Jesus transform the role of church leaders? 
  7. Read Hebrews 10:19-25 and discuss the implications of this passage for our own understanding of our relationship with God. How do we differ from Old Testament believers?

Glory to God Alone Ephesians 1:3-14 19th November

  1. How would you define the word “Glory”?  
  2. The Westminster Confession states that “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever”. What do you think it means to glorify God in practical terms – in your work, relationships, friendships, family, study etc? Why do you think the authors of this confession combined glorifying God and enjoying him? Do you see any possible tensions between these two things? What could resolve these tensions?
  3. The reformers taught the importance of giving glory to God alone. What temptations do we face when it comes to giving glory to other people/things besides or as well as God? Why do you think it is important to give glory ONLY to God.
  4. Read John 1:1-18 and Hebrews 1:1-2:4. What do these passages teach about where we see the glory of God? How has Jesus changed this? 

Christ Alone Romans 5:1-11 12th November

  1. What do you understand by the phrase, ‘Christ Alone’?
  2. What has Christ done for us? See Romans 5:8.
  3. What benefits do we receive from Christ’s actions? See Romans 5:9-11.
  4. What does ‘justified’ mean in Romans 5:9?
  5. What are we saved from, according to Romans 5:9?
  6. How have we been justified, according to Romans 5:1-2 and 9?
  7. In the history of the church, what have people wanted to substitute or add to Christ Alone? Why did they do this?
  8. In modern times, what do people want to substitute or add to Christ Alone? Why do they do this?
  9. What practical steps can you take to ensure that you maintain your trust in Christ Alone? What practical steps can you take to ensure that your church maintains trust in Christ Alone?

Faith Alone Romans 1:16-17 & 3:20-4:8 29th October

  1. Think of some everyday things you trust, or have faith in.
    How does this help you to understand biblical faith?
  2. In Romans 3:28, what is being contrasted with faith? Why is faith superior?
  3. Why is there no room for boasting (Romans 3:27)?
  4. What does the Christian have faith in, i.e. what does the Christian trust? (Romans 3:22-25)
  5. How does Abraham help us understand faith (Romans 4:1-8)?
  6. Put Romans 1:16-17 into your own words.

Grace Alone  Ephesians 2:1-10 22nd October

  1. Verses 1-3 paint a rather negative picture of men and women. Is this how people often think of themselves? Is Paul saying all people are bad or is he saying something more profound? What does “dead in transgressions and sin” mean?  How do we know Paul includes himself in this category?
  2. How does the first word of verse 4 give us hope? What does this hope depend on?
  3. How does Paul describe the character of God in verse 4? What does God do to demonstrate this character?
  4. In verses 4-10 list the actions God takes.
  5. Paul describes God as rich in mercy (v4) and rich in grace (v7). What is the relationship between these? In what situations should we display mercy and grace?
  6. How do good works fit into a godly life? What would be lost if we said we are saved “by grace PLUS good works” rather than “by grace alone”?
  7. Someone has defined GRACE with the acronym “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense”. How well does this summarise the teaching of this passage?

Scripture Alone 2 Timothy 3:10-17 15th October

  1. Why do you think it is important that the Bible is available in a translation that people can read easily?
  2. What qualities would you look for in a Bible translation?
  3. Someone has said “God’s word comes to us in the context of relationships.”  Read 2 Timothy 3:10-17 and find evidence that supports this statement.
  4. How would you describe the relationship between the authority of the Church and denominational leaders and the authority of the Bible?
  5. What mistake were the religious leaders making in John 5:39-40. In what ways could we make this same mistake today? What is the relationship between Jesus and the Bible?
  6. How would you make a case for the authority of the Bible in the current same sex marriage debate to a person who does not accept the Bible’s authority?