This workshop leader’s Bible study is a historical, theological, and contextual introduction to the “Redemption” rotation of Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest workshop rotation program. It is intended to provide workshop leaders with:
· A historical context for understanding the Bible story.
· A Biblical context for reading and teaching the story.
· The theological basis for the concepts to be taught to the children.
In Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest program, workshop leaders attend a one-hour Bible study two weeks prior to the start of a new rotation. This Bible study helps workshop leaders understand how the concepts to be taught to the children are derived from the Bible story and how the lessons in the rotation fit together to reinforce the concepts. It also provides an opportunity for the workshop leaders to grow in their own faith and understanding of the Bible.
It will be helpful to have a chalkboard, whiteboard, or flip chart for writing down questions or observations during the Bible study.
Note: This is not a comprehensive study of the text, but only a few notes to help provide context and background for workshop leaders. Consult titles cited in the reference list at the end of these notes for more information.
1 John 3:1 (CEV) “God loves us so much that he lets us be called His children, as we truly are.”
1. God came to live among us as a person named Jesus.
2. Jesus is God.
3. Jesus wants us to be witnesses, like John the Baptist.
4. We are the children of God.
5. We sing and pray and worship together because Jesus lives among us.
· If workshop leaders do not know each other, give them an opportunity to introduce each other and say which workshop they will be leading.
· Begin the Bible study by praying for God’s guidance as teachers begin a new rotation.
Ask a workshop leader to read the text aloud. Since this rotation focuses on an entire chapter, you might want to divide the reading among three or four workshop leaders.
Ask the workshop leaders what questions came to mind as they heard the story or read it before the Bible study. Write down any questions that arise and will need to be answered during the Bible study.
Like Genesis 1, John 1:1-18 is liturgical/hymnodic in its language and cadences. It has four parts:
The eternal Word is the light and life of creation.
John the Baptist witnesses to the light.
The light came into the world.
The Word became flesh and dwells among us.
It is a hymn to Christ the living Word of God and, as Stanley Hauerwas often says, it is the Christian story of creation. Gail O’Day says it is the most challenging passage in the NT. It answers the following basic questions:
· Where did Jesus come from?
· Where do we (Jesus’ followers) come from?
1:1 In the beginning
The Greek here matches exactly the Greek translation of Genesis 1:1. The author is making a deliberate connection between the two.
logos, a term from the Hellenistic (Greek) Judaic philosophy, which stands for “the creative plan of God that governs the world.” It has many connotations: the spoken word of God that creates the world, the spoken law of God handed down at Sinai, God’s voice speaking through the prophets (“thus saith the Lord”). Logos is also related to a term from the Jewish “Wisdom” tradition: Sophia. According to this tradition, Wisdom has been God’s companion “before the beginning of the earth” (Proverbs 8:23). But Sophia is a feminine noun, so John uses logos to “reshape the wisdom tradition to reflect the historical reality of the incarnation.”
1. Why is the phrase God the One and Only used for Jesus? I have just never noticed that before.
Probably the older KJV “only begotten Son” makes better sense to us and is truer to the Greek and to the theme of becoming children of God.
· Jesus is called the Word of God because he is God and was present with God when the world was made.
· Jesus is the source of all life.
· Jesus is like a light that can never be put out.
· God sends us people to teach us about the Jesus.
· People who tell others about Jesus are called witnesses.
· One witness to Jesus was John the Baptist.
· Not everyone who heard about Jesus believed in him.
· Because Jesus is the Son of God, we who have faith in him are also called children of God.
· God came to live among us as a person named Jesus.
· When we learn about Jesus, we learn what God is like.
· Jesus teaches us about the kindness and truth of God.
· Jesus gives us God’s kindness and truth as a gift that we do not have to earn.
Ask each workshop leader to summarize his or her workshop. As they do so, point out the concepts that each lesson reinforces. Ask workshop leaders if they have any questions about the logistics or practical application of their lesson.
God came to live among us as a person named Jesus.
Jesus is God.
Jesus wants us to be witnesses, like John the Baptist.
We are the children of God.
We sing and pray and worship together because Jesus lives among us.
Return to the questions that were gathered at the start of the hour. Have they been answered? Are there any further questions about the Bible story or about the lessons?
Close the Bible study with a prayer.
Brueggemann, Walter. Genesis Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1982.
Fretheim, Terence E. “Genesis.” New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 1. Leander Keck, et. al. editors. (Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1994), pp. 319-674.
O’Day, Gail. “John” New Interpreter’s Bible. Leander Keck, et. al. editors. Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1995.
Sloyan, Gerard S. John. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1988.