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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 One in heart and mind

Read Philippians 2:1-4. Is there someone in your life who has treated you in a way that has been a great encouragement, comfort or support to you? Such people help us to realise the value of unity and love.

With any group it is important to:
• agree on a purpose and what we intend our group to achieve
• relate positively to one another.

Paul tells the Philippian church to be ‘one in spirit and purpose’. Likewise, Acts 4:32 says: ‘all the believers were one in heart and mind.’

Jesus said: ‘Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.’ (Luke 11:17) It is important in any group to consider everyone’s opinions, to ensure that each person in the group feels valued and is contributing in a positive way.

Read Philippians 2:5-11. Christ Jesus is, of course, our greatest example. According to this passage, who is Jesus? Yet what was he prepared to do for us? How far will you forego your own position to encourage others?

Read Philippians 2:12-13. Is God achieving his purposes through your group?

BIBLE STUDY 2 Leadership: 1

Read 1 Timothy 3:1-10. This passage describes the qualities Paul considered important for leaders in the church. What does Paul say about the person who sets their heart on being an overseer (verse 1)?

BIBLE STUDY 3 Leadership: 2

Read the following verses: Exodus 3:11, Judges 6:15, 1 Samuel 9:21, 1 Kings 3:7 and Jeremiah 1:6.

Having reviewed the qualities and attitudes a leader needs and the work to be done, many people might feel (as did some of these examples) inadequate and unable to fulfil the leadership role. This can be a healthy attitude if handled correctly, as it means the leader will look for support and not become proud.

BIBLE STUDY 4 Leadership: 3

What help might your leader need to fulfil their role effectively? The following may give you some ideas:
• God’s help – Exodus 3:11-12; Judges 6:15-16
• Help from others – Exodus 4:10-16; Exodus 17:12; Acts 6:1-7
• Prayer – Acts 6:6; 13:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:25
• Resources and workers – Exodus 36:2-3; Nehemiah 4:6
• Training alongside those with more experience, following the example of Joshua (Exodus 24:13; 33:11); Elisha (1 Kings 19:19-21); Timothy (Philippians 2:22).

BIBLE STUDY 5 One body, many parts: 1

Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 and Romans 12:3-8.

One body – There is much we can learn from these passages about how a group works together. In any group there are a variety of people but they form one body (1 Corinthians 12:12; Romans 12:4-5) and as such have a commitment to, or belong to, one another (1 Corinthians 12:14-16; 12:26).

Many parts – Each member of the group has a gift to use. In these passages several dangers are highlighted when thinking about our own gifts and those of others. What warning does Romans 12:3 give us? 1 Corinthians 12:21-25 teaches of a similar attitude.

BIBLE STUDY 6 One body, many parts: 2

The Bible tells us that every person has gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7, 11). Jesus himself also gave us some strong teaching on what happens to those who do not use their gifts (Matthew 25:14-30).

1 Corinthians 4:7 reminds us that all we have has been given to us – so there is no room for pride. However, what is the opposite danger (1 Corinthians 12:15-20)?

BIBLE STUDY 7 Planning

Read 1 Chronicles 22:1-19. David shows us the importance of making good preparations before beginning work. Luke 14:28-30 likewise encourages us to ‘estimate the cost’ before starting anything, so that people will not laugh at us because we began something and were then unable to finish it.

We can see how the Five Finger planning method applies to this passage (see sheet C14):

All the practical details for this project are thoroughly planned: the aim; the site; the materials; the workers; the supervisor; the helpers and the timing.

Proverbs 16:3 tells us: ‘Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.’

BIBLE STUDY 8 Nothing is impossible with God

Read Judges 7:1-22.

The Lord uses the way that the men drink from the river to decide who else shall not go with Gideon. The majority of the army kneel down to drink and just 300 men lap with their tongues like a dog, with their hands to their mouths. God tells Gideon that these 300 men are the ones to go into the battle.

Gideon and his men use the resources they have to great effect: they work together (verses 17-18, 20), with each man playing his part (verse 21), ‘for the Lord and for Gideon’ (verses 18, 20). They know that the victory is the Lord’s (verses 15, 22).

If God has called us and we keep our eyes fixed on him, however immense the task seems, and however small our resources are, we will succeed: ‘For with God, nothing is impossible.’ (Luke 1:37)   

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