These Bible studies are designed to use in small groups. They may provide a useful introduction to a meeting where different topics from the Guide are being discussed. Choose a study that will be linked to the topic you plan to study or that is relevant to your situation. During the studies, encourage people to reflect on what they read, to discuss the meaning and the implications of what they learn and, finally, to pray together about what they have learnt.

BIBLE STUDY 1 God’s view of trees

Trees are mentioned at both ends of the Bible, and play a crucial role in both situations.

Read Genesis 2:8-9.

Read Revelation 22:1-2.

This tree symbolises the completion of God’s saving grace in Jesus Christ. How grateful we are that it was on another tree – the cross – that our sin (which began with Adam and Eve disobeying God and picking the fruit from the one forbidden tree) was forgiven.

BIBLE STUDY 2 Trees and difficult times

Read Deuteronomy 20:19-20.

In war the rules of life change. People can forget to love in the same way. The environment suffers too. In those days, trees were cut down to use in attacking enemy cities. God could not stop that, as wars sometimes become unavoidable. Instead he tried to limit the damage caused by war. So fruit trees were not to be cut down. Why? Because it was not in their future interests. No fruit trees mean no fruit, less food and hungry people. Here is plain teaching that we have no right to destroy trees and forests without a real need.

BIBLE STUDY 3 Bearing fruit as Christians

Read Mark 11:12-14 and 11:20-21.

This story seems out of character for Jesus. He normally gave encouragement to others so it seems surprising that he cursed this fig tree. The tree was covered in healthy leaves, which are usually produced at the same time as the flower buds from which figs later develop. The flower buds resemble the ripe fig in appearance. But Jesus found no flower buds or ripe fruits – only lots of leaves.

This is a parable that provides us with a clear lesson on the need to ensure that our lives don’t just look good from the outside but are producing the kind of fruit that Jesus wants to see.

BIBLE STUDY 4 Responsibility to God

Read Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Genesis 1:26 and Genesis 2:15.

These verses all teach us something about our duty towards the land and God’s creation.

Discuss how we can work together to care for God’s creation. Pray that we will learn more effectively what it means to be responsible stewards.

BIBLE STUDY 5 Caring for the environment

Read Matthew 10:29-31.

In the Bible the whole creation is important, as well as the people. We are meant to work in harmony with the world God has made to support us. Take courage when you seek to protect the environment and the people who live there! This difficult project is also on God’s agenda.

BIBLE STUDY 6 Conserving creation’s fruitfulness

‘How many are your works Oh Lord! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures’ (Psalm 104:24). God wants us to conserve creation’s fruitfulness.

Read Ezekiel 34:17-19.

Because God made all things and holds all things together through Jesus (Colossians 1:15-20), everything belongs to him. While God leads us to green pastures and pure water (Psalm 23), the earth belongs to God alone (Psalm 24:1). His are gifts we do not own. His are gifts that must never be taken from us or the other creatures!

Keeping our places fruitful for all God’s creatures brings praise to God, the creator and owner of all things!

BIBLE STUDY 7 Our Father the gardener

We have learned in this guide how to help young trees to grow well – by providing them with manure, compost or fertiliser as they are planted. Trees also grow best and produce most fruit in full sunshine. Here we consider the kind of care and teaching we need as Christians to produce plenty of fruit. This passage pictures God as a careful gardener.

Read John 15:1-8.

In verse 15 Jesus tells us that we can do nothing apart from him. We can only bear fruit for him if we try and become like him and love God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength. The key word here is ‘all’, not just ‘some’ or ‘most’ but with ‘all’. When we do this, then our lives will shine out with his love for others and we will indeed bear much fruit.

BIBLE STUDY 8 Our need and not our greed

Read Proverbs 30:7-9.

It is good to stop and consider what attitudes control our approach both to farming and to our lives.

Pray that we will learn more effectively what it means to be responsible stewards.

BIBLE STUDY 9 Trees as a picture of faith

Read Psalm 1:1-5 and Jeremiah 17:7-8.

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