Proverbs ~ Bible Study Questions

Proverbs Studies 1-8

Proverbs Study 1 – The Wisdom of Solomon

Read 1 Kings 2:1-4

1. What advice did David give Solomon?

Read 1 Kings 3:4-15

2. What did Solomon ask of the Lord? Why?

3. What else did God promise Solomon?

Read 1 Kings 3:16-28

4. How was Solomon’s wisdom first demonstrated?

Read 1 Kings 4:29-34, 5:12, 10:1-9 and 10:23-24

5. How did Israel benefit from Solomon’s wisdom?

6. What was the effect of Israel’s wise ruler on the surrounding nations?

Read 1 Kings 11:1-13

7. What led to Solomon’s downfall? What were the consequences for the kingdom of Israel?

Read Luke 11:27-31

8. What did Jesus recognise as the ultimate wisdom? (v28)

9. How can we be wise?

Recommended Reading: 1 Kings 2-4 and 11

Proverbs Study 2 – An Introduction to the Book of Proverbs

Read Proverbs 1:1-7

1. What is the purpose of these proverbs, and for whom were they intended?

2. On what should true wisdom be based?

Read Proverbs 1:8-19

3. What temptations does this introduction warn against? What consequences?

Read Proverbs 1:20-33

4. Why might Solomon have presented Wisdom as a woman? What relationship does he encourage young men to have with Wisdom? (See also 7:4)

5. Why do people reject wisdom and what are the consequences?

Read Corinthians 1:18-31 and 2:13-16

6. What does it mean for Jesus to be our wisdom?

7. What will characterise a person who has the mind of Christ?

Recommended Reading: Proverbs 1 and 7

Proverbs Study 3 – The Fear of the Lord

1. What is fear and when is it useful?

2. What attributes and characteristics of God inspire fear?

Read Deuteronomy 31:12-13

3. How do God’s people learn to fear Him?

Read Proverbs 1:7 and Proverbs 3:1-8

4. How does a proper fear of the Lord lead to trust in His greater wisdom?

Read Proverbs 14:26-27, 15:33 and 19:23

5. How does the fear of the Lord lead to security?

Read Proverbs 14:2, 19:3 and 28:14

6. What foolish ways result from not fearing God?

Read Philippians 2:12-16

7. How can fearing the Lord help us to live our lives according to God’s will?

Recommended Reading: Proverbs 3 and 14

Proverbs Study 4 – The Moral Benefits of Wisdom

Read Proverbs 2

1. How does Chapter 2 assert that a person can find protection from following wicked ways?

2. What evils are warned against, and what are the consequences of following this path?

Read Proverbs 5

3. What advice is given to help a young man avoid the sin of adultery? How is this relevant to sin in general?

Read Proverbs 6:20-7:27

4. How did the simple youth of Chapter 7 seek temptation and court disaster?

Read Colossians 3:1-17

5. What aspects of our “earthly nature” are we told to get rid of?

6. With what should we “clothe” ourselves so we can better reflect the image of God?

7. How can we do better at “embracing wisdom” rather than flirting with sin?

Recommended Reading: Proverbs 2, 5 and 6

James ~ Bible Study Questions

James Studies 1-13

James Study 1

Read James 1:1 and 2:1

1. How does James identify himself in his letter? Is this a title of humility or authority?

Read Matthew 13:53-57, John 7:2-5 and 1 Corinthians 15:3-8

2. What was James’ relationship with Jesus?

Read Acts 15:13-21; 21:17-18, Galatians 1:18-19 and 2:8-10

3. What was James’ position in the early church? What were his concerns?

4. What do James 1:1 and 2:1 tell us about the intended audience for this letter?

Read Acts 7:59-8:4

5. Why were they scattered?

Read James 2:1-3; 4:10; Matthew 5:5 and Luke 18:14

6. What similarities can you see between James’ letter and the recorded teachings of Jesus?

7. How can this letter be relevant to us now?

James Study 2

Read James 1:2-4 and 2:6-7

1. What kind of trials were the people of the early church suffering?

2. How can a trial be an opportunity for joy?

3. What risks would there be to our faith in a life without suffering?

4. How would this affect our prayers for ourselves and others?

5. What ways does the world promote to deal with or escape from suffering?

6. Have you experienced a time when your faith has been strengthened through a trial, or seen it in the life of someone else?

7. What are we tempted to value more than maturity in Christ?

James Study 3

Read James 1:5-8

1. What is wisdom in the Bible and how can a person become wise?

2. Why is wisdom important in times of trial?

3. According to James, what is the alternative to being wise and what are the consequences?

4. Think of a person who is wise in the way James described. How is wisdom evident in their lives?

Read James 1:9-12 and Matthew 5:1-11

5. What value does James place on material wealth? What are the rewards of perseverance?

6. What disadvantages are there to “living for the moment”?

7. How does an eternal perspective change the way a Christian lives and what they value? Is Christianity just “pie in the sky when you die?”

James Study 4

Read James 1:13-15

1. Is it sinful to have desires or to be tempted? What are some examples of desires which can lead to a temptation to sin?

2. How can we keep our desires in check to prevent them from “conceiving” sin?

3. Do we tend to be too harsh on ourselves and others for being tempted or too soft on ourselves for giving in to sin? How can we keep each other accountable?

Read James 1:16-18 and John 3:1-18

4. What gift from God can deliver us from the path of sin and death?

5. Some have accused James of preaching salvation by good works. On what basis does this passage from James suggest our salvation rests?

6. What comfort would the early church have found in these verses about God and about themselves?

7. How would you explain God’s “grace” to someone who had never heard the term?

James Study 5

Read James 1:19-25 and Luke 11:28

1. What connection does James draw between hearing God’s word and the righteous life God desires?

2. What examples of righteous living does James give here? What others has he mentioned so far?

3. What does a Christian see in the mirror of God’s word?

Read Galatians 6:2, Romans 8:1-3 and 18-21, and James 2:8

4. What is the perfect law to which James refers and how does it bring freedom?

Read James 1:26-27

6. What does James mean by “religion”? What does he regard as pure and faultless religion?

7. Who are the “widows and orphans” in our midst today? How can we help to look after them?

James Study 6

Read James 2:1-7

1. How does Jesus’ glory help give perspective to differences between the rich and the poor?

Read Luke 20:46

2. What kind of person might get preferential treatment in a church today?

3. What kind of person might be discriminated against?

4. How do the rich and famous of our day exploit the common folk or slander the name of Christ?

5. What might be James’ advice to us today about how we respond to celebrities?

6. What kind of jobs and status did some of the early Christians have? Where are people of great faith found today?

Read James 2:8-11, Mark 12:28-33, Romans 13:10 and Galatians 5:6 and 14

7. What importance does James place on loving one’s neighbour? How is it consistent with the teaching of Jesus and Paul? When do we fall short of this “Royal Law”?

James Study 7

Read James 2:12-13, Matthew 5:7 and Luke 10:33-37

1. How does James’ letter build on Jesus’ teaching about mercy?

2. What modern examples of mercy can you think of?

Read James 2:14-19

3. What is James’ opinion of a faith in God which does not produce mercy and deeds of compassion?

4. What is easy or difficult about acts of charity? What could you give up to better provide for the poor?

Read James 2:20-26, Galatians 2:8-10 and 5:1-6

5. Some claim that Paul and James preached differing roads to salvation. What message do they share in common? How did their differing audiences change the context and emphasis of the message?

6. How do Abraham and Rahab help illustrate the way faith is made complete in deeds?

7. In what practical ways could you practise loving your neighbour?

James Study 8

Read James 3:1, 2 Timothy 2:2 and Jude 3

1. What special responsibilities did teachers of the gospel have in the early church?

Read Matthew 23:13-15; Luke 12:41-48 and 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

2. Why must teachers be especially careful to guard their speech?

Read James 2:8-11, Mark 12:28-33, Romans 13:10 and Galatians 5:6,14

3. What warnings about one’s speech do James and Jesus give?

Read James 3:9-12

4. What does it mean to praise God and curse men?

5. What is the Christian motivation for speaking to people lovingly and with respect?

6. What examples of poisonous speech can you think of?

7. What tests could you apply to your words before you say them to make sure they are pleasing to God?

James Study 9

Read James 3:13-18

1. How is heavenly wisdom revealed?

Read Galatians 6:7-10

2. How does the agricultural metaphor James uses help us to understand the relationship between wisdom and good works?

3. What is the opposite of each characteristic of wisdom and from where does this unspiritual “wisdom” come?

Read Matthew 5:9

4. How are peacemakers blessed? How can we promote peace in our community?

Read James 4:1-6, Matthew 5:21-22 and 6:24, 1 John 3:15-18

5. Why is James’ language so strong – calling his readers murderers, adulterers and enemies of God? By what have they been seduced?

6. What is God’s response to his unfaithful people? (v6)

7. In what areas do you need to humble yourself and pursue heavenly wisdom?

James Study 10

Read James 4:7-10 and Luke 18:9-14

1. What is needed when God’s people become his enemies? (v4)

2. What does true repentance involve?

Read James 4:11-12

3. Why is it inappropriate for one Christian to condemn or speak ill of another?

Read Matthew 7:15-20 and Romans 16:17-19

4. What is the difference between judging one’s brother and having discerning judgement?

Matthew 7:1-6

5. What similarities are there between Jesus’ teaching on judging and that of James’ letter?

6. What light does Matthew 7:5-6 shed on the difference between being wisely discerning and unfairly judgemental?

7. When are you tempted to be judgemental? How is this breaking the law to love your neighbour as yourself?

James Study 11

Read James 4:13-17

1. To what kind of people is this passage addressed?

2. What risks are involved in making ambitious plans without considering God’s will?

3. What advice does James give about making plans for the future? How might it be done?

Read James 5:1-6

4. To whom is this passage addressed?

Read Ezekiel 29:1-4 and Luke 10:13-15

5. The style of language James uses her is sometimes known as “Prophetic Lament”. How is it similar to the laments of Ezekiel and Jesus? Who were the words meant to comfort in each case?

6. When is the message of God’s judgement and the fleeting nature of life also a message of comfort and hope?

7. What kinds of oppression and injustice most move you? How can we seek to address injustice?

James Study 12

Read James 5:7-11

1. How is waiting for Jesus to return like a farmer waiting for rain?

2. What does James encourage Christians to do as we await Jesus’ return?

3. What quality of God’s character should encourage us to persevere?

4. How might we live differently if we truly believed in Jesus’ imminent return?

Read James 5:12 and Matthew 34-37

5. At the end of a Greek letter in James’ day it was customary to finish with a summary, an oath, a health wish and purpose statement. What is James’ opinion of the casual use of oaths and the importance of the truth?

6. When are oaths used today and why are they necessary?

7. Why is integrity so hard to find? How can we be known as people of the truth?

James Study 13

Read James 5:13

1. How does the world encourage us to deal with suffering and pain? Or with joy?

2. What is different about James’ advice?

3. What kind of prayers would be appropriate for those in trouble?

Read Matthew 26:27-30 and Colossians 3:16

4. When do you find it easiest to pray or to sing praises? When is it hardest?

Read James 5:14-18 and 1 Kings 18:1, 18:36-39 and 18:44-45

5. What should characterise the Christian community?

6. In light of his previous teaching, what does James mean by a prayer offered “in faith”? How is Elijah an example of prayer “in faith”?

Read James 5:19-20, 1 Peter 4:8 and Matthew 7:3-5

7. What is the Christian’s responsibility for an errant brother or sister? With what motivation or goal?

8. Why is it often easier to correct someone’s theology than challenge their lifestyle or behaviour? When is it loving to do so?

Redemption ~ Bible Study Questions

Messages From The Messiah

Redemption Study 1 : A Land and People Redeemed

Read Leviticus 25:8-55

1. What was the purpose of the “Year of Jubilee”?

2. To whom did the people and the land belong? (v 23 and 55)

3. What was the basis on which land could be bought and sold in the Promised Land? What did it mean to “redeem” it? (v 23-34)

4. How could a person become a slave? How could they be redeemed? (v35-55)

Read Exodus 6:6-8

5. How did God redeem His people from Egypt? Why?

6. What do the concepts of Redemption and Jubilee teach us about the nature of God and His relationship with His people?

Redemption Study 2 : The Coming of the Great Redeemer

Read Psalm 49:7-9 and 15 and Psalm 130

1. From what did God’s people expect redemption? On what basis?

Read Isaiah 35

2. This passage foretells the coming of the Lord to bring salvation. What else will He bring, and what should be the response of His people? (v4)

3. What will be the signs that the Lord has come to redeem His people? (v5-6)

4. How will the people of God respond to His coming?

Read Isaiah 49: 6-13

5. Passages like this one together formed a picture of the awaited “Anointed One”, the Messiah or the Christ. What kind of Messiah might the readers of these verses have expected? What would they expect Him to do for them?

6. How is the usual idea of a beloved King of Israel destroying the oppressive Gentiles turned on its head in verses 6 and 7?

7. What messages of hope were revealed to God’s people in these passages?

Redemption Study 3 : Jesus the Redeemer

Read Luke 2:25-38

1. In Jesus’ time many were looking forward to the redemption of God’s people. What did Simeon and Anna prophesy about the baby Jesus?

Read Luke 4:14-21

2. The Year of the Lord’s favor is the same as the year of Jubilee mentioned in the first study. How does Jesus define His ministry in terms of Isaiah’s prophecy?

Read Luke 24:1-3 and 13-35

3. What do the disciples say about Jesus as they walk on the road to Emmaus?

4. What had they hoped that Jesus would do?

5. How does Jesus go about explaining His mission to the disciples? Is it political or spiritual?

Read Romans 3:24; Galatians 3:13-14; Ephesians 1:7; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 9:12 and 1 Peter 1:18-20.

6. How has Jesus fulfilled the disciples’ hopes for redemption?

7. What will be the evidence for our redemption? (Read Galatians 5:1, 13 and 14) What marks a free person in Christ rather than a slave to sin?

Repentance ~ Bible Study Questions

Messages From The Messiah

Repentance Study 1: God’s Prophets Call for Repentance

Read Isaiah 59:12-21

1. What sins had God’s people committed?

2. How have their sins affected their relationship with God?

3. What did God promise to do?

Read Jeremiah 18:1-10

4. How is God like a potter and how are His people like clay?

Read Ezekiel 18:25-32

5. Why might people doubt that God is just?

6. What is repentance and why does God require it?

Read Jonah 3

7. How did the people of Nineveh show their repentance? Why?

8. How do God’s people show repentance today?

Repentance Study 2: Jesus’ Teachings about Repentance

Read Luke 15

1. In the first two parables, who is the one to act and who do they represent?

2. In the third parable (v17-20), how does the son “repent”?

3. Why was the older brother angry? What injustice did he perceive?

4. What is the father’s response to each of his sons? What does this teach us about God?

Read Luke 5:27-32

5. Why has Jesus come? In verse 27, what does He command?

6. What is Levi’s response?

7. How are the Pharisees and teachers of the law like the older brother in Jesus’ parable above?

8. How can God’s people deceive themselves today, thinking they are religious when their hearts are unrepentant? How can we avoid this trap?

Repentance Study 3: Spreading the Messiah’s Message of Repentance

Read Romans 2:1-11

1. How do some people misunderstand or try to take advantage of God’s kindness and compassion?

2. In what is the consequence of having an unrepentant heart?

3. What is promised to those who do what is good?

Read 2 Peter 3:8-10

4. Why is God holding off on the Day of Judgement?

Read Acts 26:12-20

5. What mission does Jesus give Paul, and to whom is Paul sent?

6. In verse 18 how does Jesus define repentance?

7. How is repentance different from just being sorry, and how is Paul’s own repentance an example?

8. How does our understanding of judgement and repentance affect our relationships with God and with others?

Kingdom of God ~ Bible Study Questions

Messages From The Messiah

Kingdom of God Study 1: God’s People in God’s Place under God’s Rule

Read Genesis 2:8-25

1. In what kind of place did Adam and Eve live?

2. What was their purpose and what rules were they given to govern their actions?

Read Genesis 12:1-3

3. What was Abram (later called Abraham) commanded to do?

4. What promises did God make to Abram?

Read Deuteronomy 12:1-11

5. What did God command His people to do when they entered the Promised Land?

6. What promises did God make to the people of Israel through Moses? (see verses 7 and 10)

Read 2 Samuel 7:1-16

7. What promises did God make to David?

8. What picture of the “Kingdom of God” emerges in the Old Testament?

Kingdom of God Study 2: An Everlasting Kingdom

Read Psalm 145

1. What sort of King is the Lord?

2. What relationship does He have with His people?

Read Daniel 2:24-35 and 44

3. What was Nebuchadnezzar’s dream?

4. How is the final kingdom described?

5. In what ways is it different from the previous ones?

Read Daniel 7:13 and 14

6. What is given to the “one like the son of man” by the “Ancient of Days”?

7. Daniel lived in exile in a foreign kingdom, yet recognised God’s rule in his life. How is Daniel’s situation similar to ours?

Kingdom of God Study 3: Entering the Kingdom

Read Matthew 3:1-12

1. John the Baptist came to prepare the way for the Lord and to warn that the Kingdom of Heaven was near. What does he call the people to do?

2. John claims that the Lord has come to separate the wheat from the chaff, a parable of Judgement. According to John, who will escape the fire and be gathered into the barn? What does this mean?

Read Matthew 4: 17-25

3. What good news of the Kingdom does Jesus preach? How is it manifest in Him?

Read Luke 18:18-30

4. What does it mean to enter the Kingdom of God?

5. Why is it so hard for the rich man?

Read Luke 19:1-10

6. How was Zacchaeus different from the Rich Young Ruler?

7. For what purpose did the Son of Man come?

8. What obstacles can prevent people entering the Kingdom of God?

Kingdom of God Study 4: Living in the Kingdom

Read Colossians 1:1-14

1. Where is the Colossians hope? (v5) What do they hope for and on what is it based?

2. Verses 12-14 seem to indicate that the Colossians already enjoy their inheritance – the Kingdom of God. How is God’s rule evident in their lives?

Read Romans 14:15-18

3. What characterises life in the Kingdom of God?

Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

4. What behaviours are not acceptable within the Kingdom of God?

5. What kind of people live in the Kingdom? (v11)

Read 2 Peter 1:1-11

6. How is it possible for God’s people to imitate His divine qualities?

7. How does this differ from “earning” salvation through good works?

8. Which godly attributes could we add to our faith to make us more productive and effective in our ministry?

Kingdom of God Study 5: Your Kingdom Come

Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

1. How can mortal man inherit an eternal kingdom?

2. What hope does this give?

Read Revelation 1:1-18

3. How does John’s description of Jesus compare with Daniel’s vision in study 2? (Daniel 7:13 and 14)

4. What images of Heaven do we glimpse from these verses?

5. What assurance is John given?

Read Revelation 22:12-21

6. How does Jesus’ second coming fulfil the prophecies about the Kingdom of God? What is the significance of the Tree of Life and Jesus being the offspring of David?

7. What do we mean when we pray, “Your Kingdom Come?” (The Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6:7-15)

Forgiveness ~ Bible Study Questions

Messages From The Messiah

Forgiveness Study 1: God’s Promise of Forgiveness to His People Israel

Read 1 Kings 8:22-61

1. What was God’s purpose in appointing a King to rule Israel and in having a temple built for worship? (v22-30)

2. What consequences does Solomon predict will result from the sins of God’s people? (v33-40)

3. In Solomon’s prayer of dedication, what does he understand God’s purpose to be in allowing His people to suffer?

4. On what basis can they ask for God’s forgiveness and how will they know when God has forgiven them?

5. What does God expect of His people after they have been forgiven?

6. In verses 41-43 and 60, what will be another consequence of God’s discipline and forgiveness?

Read Psalm 103

7. For which of God’s qualities does David praise God?

8. The Israelites knew they had been forgiven by a favourable change in their circumstances. How do you know when you have been forgiven?

Forgiveness Study 2: Jesus Teaches about Forgiveness

Read Matthew 18:21-35

1. What question does Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving servant address?

2. What did the first servant owe and how was it to be repaid?

3. Why was his debt cancelled?

4. What response did his master expect?

5. What lesson about forgiveness is Jesus teaching in this parable?

Read Luke 7:36-50

6. How do Simon the Pharisee and “the sinful woman” each respond to the presence of Jesus?

7. What do their actions tell Jesus about their hearts?

8. How does being forgiven change us?

Forgiveness Study 3: Spreading the Messiah’s Message of Forgiveness

Read Acts 2:36-47

1. What does Peter encourage the people to do?

2. What changes in behaviour were evident when people responded to forgiveness?

3. What changes of heart?

4. How else were the forgiven people blessed?

Read Colossians 3:1-17

5. In verse 13 Paul tells the Colossians to forgive one another. Why?

6. How else are the Colossians encouraged to conform themselves to God’s image?

7. What attitudes and behaviours towards God and one another will bring God’s people blessing and peace? How will this draw others to Christ?

Atonement ~ Bible Study Questions

Messages From The Messiah

Atonement Study 1: Sinful People Approaching a Holy God

Read Genesis 2:16-17 and Deuteronomy 30:15-18

1. What is the penalty for disobeying God’s commandments?

Read Genesis 22:1-19

2. What substitute sacrifice was found for Isaac? Who provided the substitute?

Read Exodus 12:12-13 and 21-30 and Leviticus 17:10-12

3. When the Israelites escaped from Egypt, what was killed in the place of their first born sons? What did God require of the Israelites?

4. What was the significance of the blood?

Read Leviticus 9:1-7 and 9:22-10:4

5. Why was Aaron’s sacrifice for the atonement of Israel’s sin acceptable, but his sons’ actions were not?

Read Leviticus 16:1-2

6. Why was Aaron, God’s appointed High Priest, not able to approach God whenever he chose?

Read Leviticus 16:6-10 and 20-22

7. How did the two goats represent the removal of Israel’s sins?

8. What do these graphic passages from the Old Testament teach us about God’s holiness and the seriousness of human sin?

9. What false ideas do people have about God? Why is a true understanding of His holiness important?

Atonement Study 2: The Servant, the Lamb of God and the New Covenant

Read Isaiah 51:21-22

1. What does God promise to remove from His people?

Read Isaiah 52:13-53:13

2. How has God’s “righteous servant” suffered? Why was it necessary?

3. In Isaiah 53:12 the suffering servant is assigned many roles in the act of sacrifice. What significant roles are given to the servant?

Read Jeremiah 31:31-34

4. How will God’s new covenant differ from the old one?

Read John 1:29; Luke 22:39-44; 1 Corinthians 5:7 and Revelation 5:6-14

5. What does it mean for Jesus to be the “Lamb of God”? How does it define His mission, and how does the “cup” of God’s wrath fit in?

Read Mark 14:22-25 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

6. How did Jesus use the symbolism in the Passover meal to explain His death and God’s new covenant?

7. Why might Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross be offensive to some people?

Atonement Study 3: A Righteousness from God found in Christ

Read Hebrews 9:11-10:18

1. Why was the sacrificial system insufficient to bring forgiveness for sins?

2. How was Jesus’ sacrifice different from the sacrifices of animals by earthly priests?

3. What did it achieve? (see especially 9:12-15 and 26-28 and 10:10 and 14-18)

Read Romans 3:21-26

4. Why was Jesus’ sacrifice necessary?

5. How can God’s people receive righteousness from God?

Read Romans 8:1-11

6. How did God destroy the causal link between sin and death? What is the result for those in Christ?

7. How does Paul use the image of the believer being “in Christ” to help explain resurrection to eternal life and guidance by the Holy Spirit?

8. What characterises a life lived “in Christ”?