This is the revised version of the Bible study that I posted a couple of weeks ago, made much less academic (and more practical). It’s part 2 of a series that began with a post on 1 January, “Study: Why Should We Study the Bible?”, and a revision of “Study: What Kind of God?” from 3 January.
Forgive the formatting changes, I pasted it from Google docs.
- CREATION I. “What Kind of God?”
I want to accomplish the following things with this lesson:
- I want to give you a tool that will help you understand the Bible better. The tool is: I want you to begin thinking of the Bible as a single story that has six parts, and the six parts all fit together.
- I want you to begin thinking of the Bible as a single story that has SIX parts.
- I want you to memorize the titles of the six parts of the biblical story, in order.
That’s the first tool: seeing how the entire Bible fits together, like a story with six chapters.
- I want to give you a second tool to help you understand the Bible better. The tool is: I want you to begin thinking of the Bible as the story of God. God is the main character in every story. God is always the hero. Every story in the Bible is about who God is, or what God is doing (or trying to do).
- I want you to begin developing a biblical picture of who God is and what he is like, and to see how the biblical picture is different from other pictures of who God is.
We begin with asking questions about how people in the world around us picture God, and how the Bible pictures God, and why the difference between the two is important. So think:
- What do people around us think about God?
- Many people have false ideas about God, false pictures of who God is and what he is like. List some of the bad ideas about God you can think of.
- Is what we think about God important? Why? Does what you think about God affect anything about the way you live, the decisions you make, etc.?
Genesis 1 is a story that gives us a helpful description of God. It paints a picture of who he is and what he is like. As we read the story, notice two things:
- Notice the things that are repeated: words, actions, descriptions.
- Notice what the chapter is saying about God, how it describes him.
- Based on Genesis 1, how would you describe God? According to this passage, what is God like?
Here are the characteristics of God that I see in Genesis 1.
- He is powerful; he speaks and everything he commands happens as he commanded it.
- He is personal; he has intent, personality. He seems to be someone you could relate to & communicate with. He is NOT an impersonal force.
- He is organized and orderly; he works according to a plan.
- He is good to others; he blesses and cares for the things he creates.
- He is supreme; no one is competing with him.
- He is artistic; he creates beautiful things and blesses them by calling them “good”.
- He is social; he has relationships. (“Let US make man in OUR image …”)
Do you notice any other characteristics of God?
- Are any of the characteristics of God surprising to you? Have you thought of God this way before?
- Which of the characteristics of God that you see in Genesis 1 is important to you right now? Why? How do these different pictures of God meet your needs?
Let’s talk for a minute about how we are reading the Bible in this study.
- We are reading the Bible as a STORY. Ancient Israel used stories to remind themselves and to teach their children the answers to the most important questions:
- What is God like?
- What does it mean to be human?
- Why do we worship Yahweh, and not the gods of other nations?
- What is wrong with the world? How do we respond to what is wrong with the world?
From the Bible’s perspective–from GOD’S perspective–there are good ways to answer these questions, and there are bad ways to answer these questions. The Bible is one of God’s ways of getting us to believe the good answers, and to live by them.
- The Bible is easier to understand if we will read it as a single, very long story about God and what he does for his creation.
The story has six parts:
- CREATION, where God makes the universe. God designs our world, and everything in it, so that it all fits together the way he wants it to be. This includes humanity, which God created to bear his image and to rule and care for creation in ways consistent with God’s character.
- CORRUPTION, where we rebel against God. Our rebellion doesn’t just affect us, it damages everything in creation. Our rebellion damages the way we think and feel. It damages our relationships with each other, with God, and with creation itself.
- COVENANT, where God chooses and works through people to begin saving creation. These people are not perfect and sinless, but they are available to God and faithful to him. The most important covenant during this part of the story is God’s covenant with Abraham, which establishes Israel (Abraham’s family) as the nation that Jesus will come from.
- CHRIST: when the time is right, God himself becomes a man, born in Abraham’s family. He lives a life that perfectly reflects God’s character, so that we can finally understand what God is like and what he wants. He dies in our place for our sins, and he rises from the dead in victory over sin and death.
- CHURCH, where Jesus’ people continue the work that he did, empowered by the Holy Spirit, spreading God’s rule in the world. This part of the story continues today, because the story isn’t over yet. You and I are participants in this part of the story.
- COMPLETION, where Jesus returns to rule all of creation as its righteous king.
These six parts are the outline of the entire Bible. They aren’t just the story of the Bible, they are the story of EVERYTHING, all of history.
Biblija je Priča o Bogu koja se može podijeliti u šest dijelova.
- STVARANJE – Bog je stvorio svemir. Oblikovao je naš svijet i sve što je u njemu, stvorivši savršenu skladnost svega. Ovo uključuje i čovječanstvo, koje je Bog stvorio na svoju sliku kako bi ljudi vladali i brinuli se o stvorenjima u skladu s Božjim karakterom.
- SLOM – ljudi su se pobunili protiv Boga. Naša buntovnost ne utječe samo na nas, već oštećuje sva stvorenja. Naša buntovnost oštećuje način na koji razmišljamo i što osjećamo. Oštećuje naše međusobne odnose, naš odnos s Bogom, i odnos sa svim stvorenjem.
- SAVEZ – Bog je izabrao i radio kroz ljude kako bi započeo sa spašavanjem stvorenja. Ti ljudi nisu bili savršeni i bezgrešni, ali su bili Bogu na raspolaganju i njemu vjerni. Najvažniji savez u ovom dijelu priče je Božji savez s Abrahamom koji postavlja Izrael (Abrahamovo potomstvo) kao narod iz kojeg će Isus doći.
- SPASITELJ – pravi trenutak je došao i Bog je postao čovjekom, kao Abrahamov potomak. On je živio život koji je savršeno odražavao Božji karakter kako bismo konačno mogli vidjeti kakav je Bog i što on uistinu želi. On je umro za nas i za naše grijehe, ustao od mrtvih i pobijedio grijeh i smrt.
- CRKVA – Isusovi ljudi nastavljaju s njegovim radom, puni Duha Svetog, šireći Božju vlast na zemlji. Ovaj dio priče se nastavlja i danas jer priča još nije završena. Ti i ja smo sudionici ovog dijela priče.
- SVRŠETAK – Isus će se vratiti kao pravedni kralj koji vlada nad svim stvorenjima.
Ovih šest dijelova su okvir cijele Biblije. Nisu samo priča o Bibliji, već su priča O SVEMU, o cijeloj povijesti.
2 thoughts on “Take 2: What Kind of God?”
This is great, Perry! I know lots of peple are benefitting, and will continue to benefit by your being where you are, doing what you’re doing. Please say hi to Beth 🙂
Thanks, Lynette. We miss you guys; thank you for the kind words.