- What does this chapter teach about the Holy Spirit?
- What does this chapter teach about evangelism?
- What does this chapter teach about prayer?
- What does this chapter teach about the church (e.g., what it is, how it is structured, its leadership, etc.)?
- What does this chapter teach about being in the world but not of it?
- What does this chapter teach about God’s sovereignty over human history?
- What does this chapter teach about God’s plan for the nations, Israel, the end of the age, His kingdom, etc.?
- Focus on external and internal adversities in the overview; point out 5:12 as the key purpose verse.
- What adversities because of following Christ does this passage mention?
- What aspects of God’s grace does this passage reveal? (Locate the indicatives)
- How does this passage call us to stand firm in God’s grace? (Locate the imperatives) Look specifically for how this passage urges us to be different from non-Christians.
- What does this passage say about God/Jesus: titles, character, and roles?
- What does this passage say about the end: eternal life for believers and/or judgment for non-believers?
- What does this passage say about revelation: God’s Word and His spokespersons and/or false teaching and their teaching?
- What does this passage say about spiritual growth: God’s resources, our role, descriptions of maturity, and blessings of growth?
One key thesis is: “Life under the sun is vanity.” “Under the sun/heaven” (30 times) means human existence in a fallen world and with very incomplete revelation. “Vanity/futility” is hebel (37 times out of 72 total Old Testament uses). “Vanity” (NASB) or “meaningless” (NIV) don’t capture its meaning. Solomon uses it to describe the fleeting, unfulfilling, inscrutable and uncontrollable nature of life “under the sun.”
Another key thesis is that God does exist, and that we need to fear Him, heed what He has revealed, and appreciate what He has provided (e.g., 12:1,13,14).
Passages (4-week version):
- 1:1 – 3:22
- 4:1 – 6:12
- 7:1 – 9:18
- 10:1 – 12:14
- What do these chapters teach about how life “under the sun” is hebel? How have you experienced this in your life and/or seen it in others’ lives?
- What do these chapters teach about what God has revealed – especially about how to live wisely and hopefully in this hebel world? What else does scripture say about this (other passages; practical steps; God’s help toward this; etc.)?
Pick a genre (e.g., lament, praise, etc.) or select examples of different genres.
- What does this Psalm teach about God (e.g., His character, activity, etc.)?
- What does this Psalm teach about us/humanity (e.g., individual and social evil, inner doubts, transience, etc.)?
- What does this Psalm teach about communicating to God (e.g., honesty, gratitude, etc.)?
NOTE: The passages about human adversaries can usually be applied to demonic adversaries.
2 Corinthians 2:14 – 6:10 (“The Grand Digression”)
- 2:14 – 3:6
- 4:16 – 5:10
- 5:11 – 21
- What does this passage teach about the privilege of ministry?
- What does this passage teach about the sufferings/challenges associated with ministry?
- What does this passage teach about the priorities of ministry?
- What does this passage teach about God’s resources for ministry?
Questions for chapters 1,2,4:
- What does this passage teach about rejoicing &/or joy?
- What does this passage teach about the advancement of the gospel?
- What does this passage teach about unity in the church?
Questions for chapter 3:
- What kind(s) of falsehood does this passage warn against?
- What insights into spiritual growth does this passage reveal?
Explain what a “sign” is. See Jn. 20:31 for their purpose.
- What claim about Himself does Jesus make that is connected to this miracle?
- What spiritual need does this miracle emphasize?
- What aspect of spiritual life does Jesus claim to provide to meet this need?
- How does this sign help us understand what it means to “believe” in Jesus?
John: Upper Room Discourse (Jn. 13-17)
- What does this passage teach about the adversities we will face as followers of Jesus?
- What does this passage teach about our mission as followers of Jesus?
- What does this passage teach about the provisions Jesus promises to enable us to fulfill our mission (e.g., Holy Spirit; eternal life; answered prayer; His authority)?
- What does this passage teach about sound doctrine (i.e., God’s grace)?
- What does this passage teach about the things that fit with sound doctrine?
- What does this passage reveal about a life centered/not centered on sound doctrine?
- What does this passage reveal about being double-minded?
- What does this passage reveal about authentic (vs. double-minded) spirituality?
- What does this passage say about how God enables us to be authentically spiritual?
Revelation 2,3 (for each of the seven letters):
- For what does Jesus commend &/or reprove this church? Why are these matters important to our individual spiritual lives and/or to our home church’s spiritual vitality?
- How does Jesus describe Himself to this church? How is this aspect of His Person pertinent to their situation? To our situation?
- What counsel does Jesus give this church? In what practical ways might we put His counsel into practice in our lives/our home church?
- Why aspect of eternal life does Jesus promise the “overcomers” of this church? How does this help them/us to respond to His counsel?