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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 think about 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 Picture 1: a spiritual house

Read 1 Peter 2:4-8. Here Peter uses the first of three pictures to describe the community of Christians. In Jewish culture the cornerstone was the first stone to be laid down and was a large stone at the corner of the building supporting two walls at right angles to each other.

BIBLE STUDY 2 Picture 2: a holy and royal priesthood

Read 1 Peter 2:4-9. At the time when Peter was writing, the priests in the Jewish faith acted as go-betweens between God and the people of Israel. They maintained the buildings, took the people’s sacrifices, presented them to God on the altar and gave the people’s tithes to the poor.

BIBLE STUDY 3 Picture 3: a holy nation

Read 1 Peter 2:9-12. Using the term ‘holy nation’ would remind Jewish people of their own history. God had saved the nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt and taken them to the Promised Land. They were to be the light, or an example, for the Gentiles.

After bringing together all the answers and discussion from these three studies, consider the characteristics of:  • the ideal church (and compare with our own church situation)  • the ideal priesthood of believers (and compare with the situation within our churches)  • the ideal nation (and compare with the situation within this country).

BIBLE STUDY 4 The ministry of Jesus: repentance

Read Matthew 3:1-2 and 4:17. Jesus is giving his agreement to the message which John the Baptist had preached.

BIBLE STUDY 5 The ministry of Jesus: healing

Read Matthew 4:12-13, 23-25. Jesus went out to meet with people where they were, in order to do his work.

BIBLE STUDY 6 The ministry of Jesus: compassion

Read Matthew 9:35-38.

After bringing together all the answers and discussion from the three studies above on the ministry of Jesus, consider what we have learned about:  • the kingdom of God  • how we need to change in order to show more of God’s kingdom in our own lives  • how we need to change as a church in order to show more of God’s kingdom.

BIBLE STUDY 7 Salt and light

Read Matthew 5:13-16. This is a passage from Jesus’ ‘Sermon on the mount’.

BIBLE STUDY 8 Servants of the King

Read Matthew 20:20-28. Each of us needs to develop humility and servanthood in our Christian lives. We need to be witnesses by what we do – not just by what we say – even if those all around us act differently.

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