Alpha Week 6: WORD Why and how do I read the Bible?

  1. The opening short showed a story of someone smuggling Bibles. Why do you think the Bible has been outlawed throughout history? Why is it considered dangerous?
     
  2. The Bible is the best selling book in the world. Even from a non-Christian perspective, why should we read the Bible?
    (Answer: because you should read the most important book in history 😃 )
     
  3. Read the passages below. Pay attention to what the Bible says about how God was involved in writing the scriptures.

    2 Timothy 3:16   All Scripture is breathed out [inspired] by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness...
    2 Peter 1:21   For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
     
  4. What word does it use in Timothy to talk how God was involved? What about in Peter
     
  5. Does the architect illustration explain what the Bible is saying in the two verses above?
     
  6. Do you think the Bible has a purpose in the world today? What is it?

    A legitimate conflict between science and religion cannot exist. Religion without science is blind, and science without religion is lame. ~ Albert Einstein
     
  7. The video quoted Albert Einstein. Why is it necessary to address the conflict between the Bible and science when introducing the Bible?
    (Answer: Because many people ignore the Bible because they believe it contradicts science.) 
     
  8. What do you think about the relationship between science and the Bible?
     
  9. Have you ever tried to read the Bible? How’d it go?
     
  10. The video gave six points about how to read the Bible. Can you explain why each point is important?
    1. Don’t flip and point
    2. Genre matters
    3. Ask lots of questions
    4. Pray
    5. Talk to people
    6. Put it into practice
       
  11. The most important tip for reading the Bible was “put it into practice.” Read the verses below and pray that God would help you to allow the Bible to be put into practice in your life.

    James 1:22-25   But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. 

Alpha Week 4 | Faith: How Can We Have Faith?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1. The video interviewed a few people about their experience of becoming a Christian. How would YOU describe becoming a Christian?

2. If someone asked you to explain how to become a Christian, what would you say to them?

 

THREE IMPORTANT TRUTHS ABOUT CHRISTIANITY

ANYBODY CAN BECOME A CHRISTIAN

The following verses show us just how inclusive the love of God is. After each verse, point out the word that most clearly shows how wide God’s love is. (Answers are underlined)

John 3:16   “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Revelation 3:20   Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

2 Peter 3:9   The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

3. Do you know anybody who feels like they are not welcomed by Jesus?

WHETHER SOMEONE GOES TO HEAVEN OR HELL DEPENDS ON THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS.

John 14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

4. Where in this passage does it say that Jesus is the only way to heaven?

5. On a scale of 1-10 how seriously do most of your friends take the ideas of heaven and hell? (1 not seriously - 10 very seriously).

Read through the following verses. Notice what the Bible says about heaven and hell. 
Matthew 25:41   [HELL] Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 

Revelation 20:14   [HELL] Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

John 14:1  [HEAVEN] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Revelation 21:1   [HEAVEN]  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."

6. In light of what the Bible says, do we take heaven and hell too seriously or not seriously enough? What is the reason for that?

A RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS HAPPENS THROUGH FAITH

7. After the resurrection, Jesus met with doubting Thomas. After seeing Jesus, Thomas believed. Thomas’ faith, along with the faith of those who would follow his example was praised by Jesus (John 20:24-31). Why should we be glad that God simply asks us to belief? What do other gods ask of their followers?

8. In Ephesians, Faith is contrasted with works. What phrases contrast faith and works?

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

9. In the very next verse though, what does it say we are created for?

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

10. How can we explain the two ways this passage talks about works? Is there a contradiction?            FAITH ≠ WORKS     &     FAITH leads to WORKS

11. The video gave two examples of what faith is like. The first example was of the wheelbarrow crossing Niagra Falls. The second example was to “lean our whole weight” on Jesus. How do these examples help us clear up the confusion of faith & works?
(Answer: In the Bible, true faith always leads to some type of action. See James 2:14-26)

12. The video used the picture of people swimming in the pool to ask how they would describe their relationship with Jesus. Which person in the pool best represents where you’re at? 

Alpha Week 3 | Cross: Why Did Jesus Die?

OPENING ACTIVITY

The cross is the major symbol of the Christian faith. Can you think of the symbols of other world religions?

Drawing a blank? Check out this article

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. The big question for today is: Why does Jesus death matter to us today?
    Being totally honest and incredibly short, how would you answer that question?
     
  2. Ben told the story of Maximilian Kolbe, the Polish friar who died for an inmate. Why are stories like that so powerful? How does that story affect how we view Jesus?
     
  3. How did the people in the video describe sin?
    “It’s a personal definition”
    “Sins are things that you should not partake in."
    “Sins are things that you know are hurting other people"
    “Something morally wrong."

    Do you agree or disagree with their definitions?
    Does it matter that none of the people mentioned a divine law (God’s laws) in their definition of sin? 
     
  4. Ben and Jason talked about the “good person test.” Do you ever compare yourself to others in order to feel better about yourself? How can that be dangerous?
     
  5. Have you ever had a lie or some other sin harm one of your relationships? What does that teach us about the consequences of sin?
     
  6. Sin has negative consequences. Read these verses and see if you can pick out the consequences of sin.

    James 1:15b…and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
    Romans 6:23a   for the wages of sin is death... 
    (Answer: Sin leads to death)

    Romans 7:14-20  14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
    (Answer: Sin leads to slavery, doing things we hate, and loss of control)

     
  7. Why are penalties for breaking the law needed in society?
    If penalties are needed to make society flourish, does it make sense that God would also punish sins?

     
  8. Why is it a problem that sins should be punished?
    Romans 3:10   For there is none righteous, no not one.
    Romans 6:23a   for the wages of sin is death...
     
  9. The video used the story of the judge and criminal to help explain how Jesus paid for our sins. Have you heard a story like the judge and criminal before? Have you heard any other stories that illustrate Jesus paying for our sins?
     
  10. The beauty of the gospel is that Jesus bore the penalty of our sins (Isaiah 53:4-6).Read the following verses and answer the questions below.

    2 Corinthians 5:21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

    1 Peter 3:18   For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

    1 Peter 2:24  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

    For other verses on the atonement, check out this list.
     
  11. In the verses above, what is the reason Christ died for our sins?
    (Answer: “so that we could be made right with God”, “that he might bring us to God," RELATIONSHIP, “that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” RIGHTEOUSNESS)
     
  12. Jesus paid for our sins so that we could have a relationship with God and live in righteousness before God. How is your current relationship with God?
     
  13. “Righteousness” is not a word that is used often. Why do you think righteousness is out of style in todays world?
     
  14. In light of Christ’s death, do you think a Christian can ignore living righteously?
     
  15. Do you think there is a difference between the death of Jesus and other religious leaders, martyrs or war heroes?
     
  16. Name one way that Jesus death IS different from all others? How does that change the way we view Jesus?

Often we look at the death and resurrection as the boring part of Christianity that we don’t need any more. The truth is that the Jesus death and resurrection are the most important parts of the good news. It’s his death and resurrection that allows us to have a relationship with God and the ability to live the right way (righteousness). Close your time with prayer that God would keep his death and resurrection in your thoughts this week.