MENU

Where the world comes to study the Bible

10. The First Letter to Timothy

Related Media

In the first nine lessons, you have learned these truths about Christ.

  • In Romans, Christ is our righteousness. Every believer is equally right with God and has equal righteousness from God.
  • In 1 Corinthians: Christ is the wisdom of God, greater than any human wisdom or strength.
  • In 2 Corinthians: Christ is our comforter when we hurt.
  • In Galatians: Christ is our freedom from the law of works to earn God’s acceptance.
  • In Ephesians: Christ is the powerful head of the church. Christ’s power works in us to help us live God’s way and for us to protect us from anything evil.
  • In Philippians: Christ is the supplier of every need of yours so that you can help others.
  • In Colossians: Christ is Lord over everything. He is Lord over the universe, the earth, the angels, and our behavior.
  • In 1 & 2 Thessalonians: Christ is our returning Lord. When He comes, we will receive new bodies and live forever with Him.

Today, we will look at how Christ is portrayed in Paul’s first letter to Timothy.

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus…” (1 Timothy 2:5 NIV)

The Key Question

1. When have you needed someone to represent you to someone else?

Whoever did that for you was acting as a mediator—someone who goes between two people or groups to solve a problem or settle a dispute. A professional baseball player hires an agent to act as a mediator between himself and a team that is interested in hiring him. The mediator needs to understand both sides—what the player needs and what the team needs.

The key word for this lesson is mediator. The questions we’ll consider are, “Why do we need a mediator, and who is the best one for us?” Paul’s friend Timothy needed to give the people in his church the answer to those questions.

The People and Their Need

Timothy was a teenager when he met Paul. You can read his story in Acts 16. His family lived in Lystra so he was a Galatian. His father was a Greek man; we know nothing of his faith. But, Timothy’s mom and grandmother were faithful Jewish women who taught the Old Testament scriptures to this boy they loved so much. As the women heard Paul preach, they believed in Jesus, and so did Timothy.

Timothy may have seen Paul heal a lame man in his town. That would have been exciting! He may also have watched as an angry mob threw stones at Paul and left him for dead. Yet, he also knew Paul survived.

When Paul came back to Lystra a couple of years later on his second missionary journey, Paul invited Timothy to travel with him. What an honor! Do you think Timothy might have been a little bit scared, too?

Timothy helped Paul as he preached throughout Greece—Macedonia in the north and Achaia in the south. He carried money to Paul collected by the Philippian church to care for Paul’s needs in Corinth. Timothy could be trusted. During the 3 years Paul was in Ephesus teaching them about the amazing power of God, Timothy was there, too.

When Paul was in a Roman prison for two years, Timothy was right alongside him much of the time unselfishly taking care of Paul’s needs. By now, Timothy was a young man of about 30 who for at least 13 years had been learning how to teach about Jesus and serve God’s people well as he watched Paul do it.

Timothy was teachable! Paul thought of Timothy not only as a very faithful friend but also as his spiritual son. The one who leads you to trust Christ becomes your spiritual mother or father. Did you know that?

Hooray! Paul was finally free again. So, he and Timothy traveled to visit friends in the churches they had founded. When they got to Ephesus, Paul recognized some men in the church were teaching bad stuff about Jesus, saying that Jesus could not have been a man and God at the same time.

Paul wanted to go on to visit his friends in Macedonia, but he didn’t want to leave the Ephesian church in turmoil. So, he left Timothy to teach truth to the church there while Paul went on to Macedonia. Paul thought he’d get back to Ephesus soon, but that didn’t happen. He was concerned about what was going on in Ephesus, so Paul wrote a letter.

We have that letter called First Timothy. It is a gift from God to us. In it Paul reminded Timothy, the Ephesians and us that Jesus was fully God and fully man. He had to be both in order to be the perfect mediator for us. In First Timothy, Christ is our mediator. Let’s see what that means.

The Answer: Christ Is Our Mediator

2. Read 1 Timothy 1:11-17.

  • Verse 11—What was entrusted to Paul?
  • Verses 12—What had Jesus done for Paul?
  • Verse 13—For what does Paul thank Jesus?
  • Verse 14—What did Paul receive?
  • Verses 15-16—How does Paul view himself?
  • Verse 17—What is Paul’s response to God’s abundant grace toward him?

True teaching agrees with the good news that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, those who have done wrong things against God’s ways. Paul was thankful for this good news for himself because he was a sinner who needed God’s mercy. Christ showed him that mercy and love, too.

Did Paul need someone to understand how bad he was and how much he needed help? He calls himself the worst of sinners. He couldn’t help himself. He didn’t know any better. Paul needed a mediator to get him out of his trouble.

3. Reread verse 14. Remember that grace is “undeserved favor.” The phrase, “the grace of our Lord poured out abundantly,” carried the idea of overflowing.

  • What picture comes to mind when you read about something overflowing with abundance?
  • How generous is God with His grace to everyone?

4. Read 1 Timothy 2:3-6.

  • Verse 4—What does God want?
  • Verse 5—Who is the go-between for God and humans?
  • Verse 6—As the perfect man, what did Christ Jesus do for us?

Remember that the title Christ refers to Jesus as God. Notice Paul’s emphasis on Jesus as a man. Do you think of Jesus as a man, as a human just like you are? It’s easy to forget that Jesus was fully human like you are. As a man, Jesus could understand how you feel and think. He could understand your troubles and how hard it is to get yourself out of trouble, especially to get rid of the wrong things you do against God. He can have compassion on your helplessness. Isn’t that wonderful news!

In 1 Timothy 2:5 (NIV), Jesus is called our mediator. A mediator helps to solve a dispute between two persons. We were separated from our God because of our sin. Jesus took that sin upon Himself—became the bridge for us to have a relationship with God. No one else, nothing else can ever do that for us—not a parent, a boss, a judge, or a pastor—only Jesus Christ, who was fully human and fully God. Because He was both, He could represent each side perfectly. Isn’t God’s plan wonderful?

In 1 Timothy, Christ Jesus is the mediator between us and God. No man or woman can do that for you. Christ is the perfect mediator between God and mankind. As mediator, Jesus understands our needs and the best way for God to take care of our needs.

5. Read Hebrews 4:15-16.

  • What can you do when you are weak and hurting (verse 16)?
  • When can you go to Him? How often?
  • What do you receive from Him?
  • How should that make you feel?

When you are weak and hurting, you can go directly to Jesus and tell Him all about it. You can go to Him any time and as often as you need it. You will receive grace and mercy in your time of need. That’s a promise! And, you should feel thankful for receiving mercy and help just like Paul was thankful for Christ Jesus showing him mercy when he needed it.

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17)

Living Dependently on Christ

1) Bible verse to learn:

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus…” (1 Timothy 2:5 NIV)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

Where are you hurting today? Where are you feeling weak? Go to Jesus now and tell Him all about it. Let Him pour out His grace on you abundantly. Respond by joining Paul in his response of praise to God (1 Timothy 1:17) for His marvelous plan of grace.

3) Getting to know Him more:

Spend a few minutes each day reading this wonderful letter and reflecting on how God’s marvelous grace offers you a life of freedom and joy.

  • Read 1 Timothy chapter 1. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 1 Timothy chapter 2. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 1 Timothy chapter 3. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 1 Timothy chapter 4. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 1 Timothy chapter 5. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 1 Timothy chapter 6. Reflect on what you read.

Related Topics: Women's Articles

11. The Second Letter to Timothy

Related Media

In our lessons so far, you have learned these truths about Christ.

  • In Romans, Christ is our righteousness. Every believer is equally right with God and has equal righteousness from God.
  • In 1 Corinthians, Christ is the wisdom of God, greater than any human wisdom or strength.
  • In 2 Corinthians, Christ is our comforter when we hurt.
  • In Galatians, Christ is our freedom from the law of works to earn God’s acceptance.
  • In Ephesians, Christ is the powerful head of the church. Christ’s power works in us to help us live God’s way and for us to protect us from anything evil.
  • In Philippians, Christ is the supplier of every need of yours so that you can help others.
  • In Colossians, Christ is Lord over everything. He is Lord over the universe, the earth, the angels, and our behavior.
  • In 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Christ is our returning Lord. When He comes, we will receive new bodies and live forever with Him.
  • In 1 Timothy, Christ is our mediator. As mediator, Jesus understands our needs and the best way for God to take care of our needs.

Paul’s second letter to Timothy presents Christ as the giver of crowns.

“Finally the crown of righteousness is reserved for me. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will award it to me in that day—and not to me only, but also to all who have set their affection on his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8 NET)

The Key Question

Do you like to give gifts? What do you like best about giving gifts to someone? How do you go about picking out what you want to give? Are you a cheerful giver, or do you resent having to bring a gift to someone? What kinds of things can you give that don’t cost money? Do those gifts still cost you something like time, effort, and creativity? What’s the best gift you have given to someone?

The key word for our lesson today is giving. The questions to ask are, “Who is the best giver, what does He give to us, and how can we be givers like He is?” Some of Paul’s friends needed to know the answer to those questions.

The People and Their Need

Remember that Paul loved Timothy as a son and a friend. After Paul’s release from his first Roman imprisonment, he and Timothy traveled to visit friends in the churches they had founded. When they got to Ephesus, Paul left Timothy to teach truth to the church there while Paul went on to Macedonia. Paul thought he’d get back to Ephesus soon, but that didn’t happen. So, he wrote the letter called First Timothy.

Paul traveled for a while longer, but then he was arrested again and sent to Rome. This time Paul was thrown into a cold dungeon, and he knew that he would soon die! Paul had already appeared once before the wicked Roman emperor Nero, and he expected to be tried again. Nero had become more wicked in his hatred for Christians.

Paul felt very lonely because many of his friends had left him. At this time, only his doctor friend Luke (the writer of Luke and Acts) was still with him in Rome. Other friends were taking care of the churches Paul had founded, including Timothy who was still pastoring the church at Ephesus. Paul knew God was with him still, even in prison. He wrote another letter to Timothy, the last one he wrote that we have in our Bibles. Paul asked Timothy to come right away and bring his coat and scrolls he left behind in Ephesus. Paul was not sure Timothy would get to Rome before Paul was killed. A very sad time!

This letter contains Paul’s last words of encouragement to Timothy and warnings that Nero’s hatred of Christians would cause many believers to suffer. We have this letter called Second Timothy. It is a gift from God to us.

In his letter, Paul reminds Timothy to stand firm on the truth he had heard from Paul. Don’t let the bad teachers win. Don’t give up because of suffering. The Holy Spirit would be his continual helper and guide. And, Jesus Christ rewards those who are faithful to Him. He gives many good gifts, including crowns. Yes, I said crowns. In Second Timothy, Christ is the giver of crowns. Let’s find out what that means for us.

The Answer: Christ Is The Giver of Crowns

1. Read 2 Timothy 2:1-6, 15.

  • According to verse 2, how does the true message get passed on?
  • According to verses 4-6, what do the soldier, athlete, and farmer have in common?
  • According to verse 15, what are we supposed to do?

Pastors and church leaders are to teach trustworthy people who can teach others, also. This is called disciplemaking—making disciples for Jesus. As individual followers of Christ, we are to do our best to please God and to teach truth correctly. Paul continues to encourage Timothy to keep doing what is right and keep teaching truth even if some people who hated Christians would try to stop his teaching what the Bible says.

2. Read 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

  • Does Paul feel that his life has been faithful to the God he serves?
  • What is waiting for him?
  • Who will give it to him? [NOTE: Some translations use the word “award” rather than “give” in verse 8, but it means the same thing.]
  • Who else will receive a crown?
  • Does that include you?

In Second Timothy, Christ is the giver of crowns. Christ is a giver. In fact, He is the best giver of all, including the giving of crowns.

3. Read 1 Peter 5:1-4.

  • What crown does the Lord Jesus give?
  • To whom and for what reason?

4. Read James 1:12. What crown does the Lord Jesus give to everyone who loves Him?

Some crowns are rewards to believers who have worked hard to please the Lord Jesus as in the “Crown of Righteousness” and the “Crown of Glory.” Other crowns are given to every believer as in the “Crown of Life.”

But, we’ve learned in Paul’s other letters that Christ is a giver not only of crowns but also of many other things to those who trust in Him. To all believers, Christ gives forgiveness of all sins, salvation, and eternal life. We have also learned that Christ provides a relationship between God and man (1 Timothy) that gives freedom from the law so we can choose to please God (Galatians). He is the supplier of every need (Philippians) who gives protection and Holy Spirit power to live a life that pleases God (Ephesians) as we change our behavior (Colossians).

Christ gives us spiritual wisdom (1 Corinthians), comfort (2 Corinthians), righteousness (Romans), and a new body when He returns (1 Thessalonians). We will soon learn that He also gives us hope (Titus) and new hearts (Philemon).

Jesus Christ is the best giver! He rewards those who are faithful to Him. We can follow His example and be givers, also. But, we sometimes get to thinking about ourselves too much and don’t want to be givers.

5. Read 2 Timothy 3:1-5. How does Paul describe the different types of people who are living to be takers rather than givers?

6. That sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it? Do you know anyone like that now?

Look at Paul’s warning in verse 5. The New International Readers Version puts it this way, “Teach the people not to follow their example!”

5. What choices must you make to not follow their examples?

6. Read 2 Timothy 3:14-17. How do you stay on track in following the right examples?

7. Does God want you to be a giver because you have to or because you love Him and want to please Him in gratitude for what He has done for you?

8. What do you think you will do with the crown Christ gives you when you get to heaven some day?

9. Read Revelation 4:10-11. Some think the 24 elders represents all believers in the Church. They give back their crowns, laying them at Jesus’ feet. Why do you think they do that?

Jesus Christ is the best giver! He rewards those who are faithful to Him. He gives many good gifts, including crowns. In Second Timothy, Christ is the giver of crowns.

Living Dependently on Christ

1) Bible verse to learn:

“Finally the crown of righteousness is reserved for me. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will award it to me in that day—and not to me only, but also to all who have set their affection on his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8 NET)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

Thank Jesus for what He gives to you. Ask Jesus for a heart that wants to give to others as Jesus has given to you. Ask Him to help you stick to the truth of God’s Word even when others do not.

3) Getting to know Him more:

Spend a few minutes each day reading this wonderful letter and reflecting on how God’s marvelous grace offers you a life of freedom and joy.

  • Read 2 Timothy chapter 1. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 2 Timothy chapter 2. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 2 Timothy chapter 3. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 2 Timothy chapter 4. Reflect on what you read.

Related Topics: Women's Articles

12. The Letter to Titus

Related Media

Through Paul’s letters, we have learned many truths about Christ. Repetition is good for the memory.

  • In Romans, Christ is our righteousness. Every believer is equally right with God and has equal righteousness from God.
  • In 1 Corinthians, Christ is the wisdom of God, greater than any human wisdom or strength.
  • In 2 Corinthians, Christ is our comforter when we hurt.
  • In Galatians, Christ is our freedom from the law of works to earn God’s acceptance.
  • In Ephesians, Christ is the powerful head of the church. Christ’s power works in us to help us live God’s way and for us to protect us from anything evil.
  • In Philippians, Christ is the supplier of every need of yours so that you can help others.
  • In Colossians, Christ is Lord over everything. He is Lord over the universe, the earth, the angels, and our behavior.
  • In 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Christ is our returning Lord. When He comes, we will receive new bodies and live forever with Him.
  • In 1 Timothy, Christ is our mediator. As mediator, Jesus understands our needs and the best way for God to take care of our needs.
  • In 2 Timothy, Christ is the giver of crowns. He rewards those who are faithful to Him.

This lesson covers Paul’s letter to Titus.

“That's how we should live as we wait for the blessed hope God has given us. We are waiting for Jesus Christ to appear in all his glory. He is our great God and Savior.” (Titus 2:13 NIRV)

The Key Question

What is hope? Your answer depends on your perspective. The kind of hope that the world offers is generally the wishful thinking kind where someone is not sure they will get what they want or need but “hopes” they will. Biblical hope is the confident expectation of something that will definitely take place because it is based on God’s promises.

1. When do you need hope?

2. What happens when you lose hope?

The key word for our lesson today is hope. You need hope whenever you are facing something tough to do, when you are sad and/or when you can’t see the end. The result of losing hope is discouragement. The questions to ask are, “What is hope in the Bible, and how does hope affect our lives?” Paul’s friend Titus needed to give the people in the churches on the island of Crete the answer to those questions.

The People and Their Need

During Paul’s first missionary journey, a young man named Titus heard Paul preach about Jesus. Titus was a Gentile—he had not grown up worshiping the God of the Bible. As he listened to Paul, Titus’ heart responded to the message, and he believed in Jesus. Paul brought him to Jerusalem to show the apostles and other Jewish believers how a Gentile could love God just as much as they did. Titus represented all the other non-Jewish people who became Christians and were completely accepted by God through their faith in Jesus Christ—like most of us! Hooray!

Titus continued to travel with Paul on missionary journeys, helping in the work of sharing the gospel. During the 3 years Paul was in Ephesus teaching them about the amazing power of God (third journey), Titus was there. Then, Paul sent him to Corinth to help that church with its work. Paul thought of Titus not only as a very faithful friend but also as his spiritual son because he had led him to trust Christ.

After Paul was released from the Roman prison where he had been for two years, he and Titus traveled to the island of Crete. The people, called Cretans, were known to be very rough people who were liars, were lazy, and loved to eat and argue with one another. Paul and Titus taught them about their need for God and the good news about Jesus. God was certainly powerful enough to change their hearts and their behavior. Soon there were enough believers to start churches in several towns.

Paul wanted to go visit the church in Corinth so he left Titus to continue teaching the new Christians and to appoint church leaders for each new church. When someone came to replace him in Crete, Titus met Paul in western Macedonia and continued the missionary work northward into what is now Albania. The gospel was spreading farther into Europe.

While on the island of Crete, Titus was a busy man as he cared for all the new Cretan believers, especially because the people just didn’t know how to do what is good in God’s eyes. Paul knew Titus needed some encouragement and reminders of what was important to teach the people. So, Paul wrote a letter to Titus. We have that letter called Titus. It is a gift from God to us. In it Paul reminded Titus, the Cretans, and us that Christ is our hope for any kind of life that pleases God. Our hope in Christ sets us free from the bad things we used to do and teaches us to do what is good. Let’s find out more about this hope we have in Christ.

The Answer: Christ Is Our Blessed Hope

3. Read Titus 2:11-12.

  • Paul says God’s grace teaches us to say “no” to godless ways. What do you think are “godless ways”? See also 3:3.
  • If we say “no” to godless ways, we must say “yes” to something else. What does Paul say in the rest of verse 12?

4. Who gives you power to live this way—your own strength or the Holy Spirit living inside you?

Godless ways are things that go against God’s way of living a life that pleases Him. We are to say “no” to godless ways and “yes” to doing what is right in today’s world. The Holy Spirit living inside of us is the only way we can consistently do what is right. Don’t forget that. Jesus wants us to live in dependence on His Spirit inside of us to be able to live the kind of life that pleases God.

5. Read Titus 2:13.

  • What is one promise given to us in this verse?
  • What is Christ called in this verse?

In Titus, Christ is our blessed hope. The word "hope" in the Bible is the confident expectation of something that will definitely happen because it's based on God's promises and faithfulness. It has been promised to you, it is good, and you know it will happen. In Titus 2:13, the promise is that Christ is going to appear in all his glory. He is coming back. We will see Him at some point in the future—guaranteed. That’s hope we have in Christ. Let’s see some of the other good things we have.

6. Read Titus 2:14.

  • What has Christ already done for us?
  • For what purpose?

7. Read Titus 3:4-6.

  • What has Christ already done for us?
  • How are our lives renewed?

8. Read Titus 3:7. What other hope do we have?

We have already been set free from doing bad things in order to do what is good. Our sins have been washed away permanently. We’ve been given new life now by God’s Holy Spirit who lives inside us from the moment we believe in Jesus. That life lasts forever. The Spirit gives us power to live the kind of life that pleases God. We’ve been adopted as God’s children. All these things have been provided for us by Christ who is our hope.

9. Knowing God’s promise that all those good things will happen to you, how does that make you feel?

In Titus, Christ is our blessed hope. The word “blessed” means “happy.” We can be truly happy in our hope because we know all those things promised to us will happen. Hope is God’s gift to us.

Remember that hope is the confident expectation of something that will definitely happen. We have this blessed hope in Christ. It can never be taken away from us. Knowing this can help us in two ways: 1) We can look at life as an adventure with God because the best is yet to come for us. 2) We can let God’s Spirit give us a longing to do what is good.

Let’s look at each one of those.

First, looking at life as an adventure with God. What do you think would happen if you began each day by asking, "What new adventure do you have for me today, O God?" How would that affect the way you looked at your day?

Second, longing to do what is good. We will long to please God—not because we have to do good things but because we are so thankful for what God has done for us that we want to do what pleases Him. We can be teachable—letting God’s Spirit teach us how to say “no” to godless ways and “yes” to doing what is right while we are waiting for Jesus to come back.

10. Where do you need to say “no” and “yes” in your life?

11. Who gives us the hope to live a life of adventure with God and learn to do what is good?

In Titus, Christ is our blessed hope—the confident expectation of something that will definitely happen because God has promised it to us. That kind of hope will never disappoint.

Living Dependently on Christ

1) Bible verse to learn:

“That's how we should live as we wait for the blessed hope God has given us. We are waiting for Jesus Christ to appear in all his glory. He is our great God and Savior.” (Titus 2:13 NIRV)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

This time respond through any creative means you choose (journaling, prayer, poem, drawing, painting, song) to illustrate what you have learned from this lesson about Christ being your hope. An extra page is added at the end of this lesson for you. This will be your praise to Him today.

3) Getting to know Him more:

Spend a few minutes each day reading this wonderful letter and reflecting on how God’s marvelous grace offers you a life of freedom and joy.

  • Read Titus chapter 1. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read Titus chapter 2. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read Titus chapter 3. Reflect on what you read.

Related Topics: Women's Articles

13. The Letter to Philemon

Related Media

Through Paul’s letters, we have learned many truths about Christ. Today’s lesson builds on each of these truths.

  • In Romans, Christ is our righteousness. Every believer is equally right with God and has equal righteousness from God.
  • In 1 Corinthians, Christ is the wisdom of God, greater than any human wisdom or strength.
  • In 2 Corinthians, Christ is our comforter when we hurt.
  • In Galatians, Christ is our freedom from the law of works to earn God’s acceptance.
  • In Ephesians, Christ is the powerful head of the church. Christ’s power works in us to help us live God’s way and for us to protect us from anything evil.
  • In Philippians, Christ is the supplier of every need of yours so that you can help others.
  • In Colossians, Christ is Lord over everything. He is Lord over the universe, the earth, the angels, and our behavior.
  • In 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Christ is our returning Lord. When He comes, we will receive new bodies and live forever with Him.
  • In 1 Timothy, Christ is our mediator. As mediator, Jesus understands our needs and the best way for God to take care of our needs.
  • In 2 Timothy, Christ is the giver of crowns. He rewards those who are faithful to Him.
  • In Titus, Christ is our blessed hope. We can look at life as an adventure with God because the best is yet to come for us.

Lesson 13 covers the very short but personal letter from Paul to his dear friend, Philemon. It is a letter of forgiveness and renewal.

“Renew my heart. We know that Christ is the one who really renews it.” (Philemon 20b NIRV)

The Key Question

Think about a time when someone wronged you. How long did you stay wounded? What did it take (or would it take) to bring about reconciliation? How hard was it to forgive that person?

The key word for our lesson today is forgiveness. The question to ask is, “How do I really forgive someone who has wronged me?” Some of Paul’s friends needed to know the answer to that question.

The People and Their Need

Paul looked across the room of his Roman prison at the young man, Onesimus. How dear he was to Paul! The young slave had stolen some money from his master in Colossae and run away. Somehow, he ended up in Rome and met Paul. Though Paul was chained to a Roman guard, people could come and visit him, even stay with him.

Somehow Onesimus found his way to Paul, Paul told the runaway slave about Jesus, and Onesimus trusted Christ to take away his sins. Paul became his spiritual father, teaching him and loving him as a Christian son. Onesimus learned to love Christ Jesus and received a renewed heart.

As much as Paul wanted this young man to stay near him, he knew that Onesimus should return to Philemon, his owner, and seek forgiveness for stealing the money and for running away. Philemon was a fairly rich man who owned slaves. It was common for people to have slaves. One of every two persons in the Roman Empire was a slave. Every large Roman household had them. Slaves were not free to do whatever they wanted but had to do whatever their owner said. And, any slave who ran away could be killed. Paul certainly didn’t want that to happen to his son Onesimus. Paul had to trust Jesus with Onesimus’ safety.

We don’t know if Paul ever met Philemon though Paul seemed to know of him well enough to appreciate him as a Christian brother and a leader of the church in Colossae. Christ had renewed Philemon’s heart from being a sinner separated from God to being completely forgiven.

Now, Philemon the slave owner and Onesimus the runaway slave were Christian brothers. Would Onesimus have the courage to return to his master, or would he run away again? Would Philemon forgive Onesimus for stealing money and running away, or would he have Onesimus killed?

Well, Paul sent Onesimus back to Philemon. It was the right thing to do. And, he sent a letter along with Onesimus. We have that letter called Philemon. It is a gift from God to us. Philemon is the shortest of Paul’s letters, more like a postcard. It’s also the most personal.

In his letter, Paul reminded Philemon and us that Christ is the renewer of hearts. Christ had renewed Paul’s heart many years before. He had renewed Philemon’s heart when he heard the gospel message and believed. Christ had renewed Onesimus’ heart. A renewed heart is grateful for the forgiveness received through God’s grace and wants to be a “grace giver” to others. Let’s find out how that works.

The Answer: Christ Is The Renewer of Hearts

Philemon has only 1 chapter so we just use verse numbers. Since it is so short, we’ll read most of it to get the whole story.

1. Read Philemon 1-2. What information is given about Philemon?

2. Read Philemon 4-7. In Verses 4-5: What kind of Christian was Philemon?

3. In verse 7: Referring to what Philemon has done for God’s people, Paul says that he has “renewed their hearts.” [NOTE: the NIV says “refreshed the hearts of the saints.”] What do you think that means to renew or refresh their hearts?

4. Read Philemon 8-11. What did Paul do instead of ordering Philemon to forgive Onesimus?

Paul calls Philemon a dear friend who was working for the gospel. A church met in his home. Apphia and Archippus are probably his wife and son who are fellow believers. Philemon was faithful and loving as he took care of the needs of the church there in Colossae, encouraging the people and giving them hope. Notice how Paul says he was in prison and that Onesimus was his spiritual son and a fellow believer. By not ordering Philemon to forgive Onesimus, Paul made him think about it and appealed to him on the basis of love.

5. What would be the advantage to both of them if Philemon forgave Onesimus out of love and respect for Christ and Paul rather than doing so just because he felt forced to do it?

6. Read Philemon 12-16. In verses 12-14, how does Paul show respect for Philemon’s authority as a slave owner?

7. According to verses 15-16, how has the slave-master relationship changed?

Paul knows Philemon has the right to make all decisions regarding Onesimus. So, he sends Onesimus back rather than assuming it’s okay for him to stay with Paul. But, now Onesimus is more than a slave. He’s a Christian brother. That changes everything in his relationship with Philemon.

8. Read Philemon 17-22.

  • In verse 17, Paul asked Philemon to welcome Onesimus back. What might be the opposite of welcoming him?
  • In verses 18-19, Paul offered to pay anything Onesimus owed to Philemon. Hmmm. Did Paul steal the money?
  • Who else do you know took the consequences for someone else’s bad behavior?

Jesus died on the cross for our sins, not for his own. Paul repeated Jesus’ example of someone who substitutes himself for another. Paul didn’t have to pay what Onesimus owes, but he offered to do it to help heal the relationship between Onesimus and Philemon. Christ healed our relationship with God when He died on the cross for our sins even though He never sinned.

In Philemon, Christ is the renewer of hearts. In verse 20, Paul says,

“Renew my heart. We know that Christ is the one who really renews it (NIRV).”

9. What does it mean to renew something?

Renewing may involve restoring a relationship or repairing something broken so that it works well again. Making something like new again.

10. How does Christ renew our hearts?

11. Read Philemon 23-25. In verse 25, Paul writes, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” What does Paul want Philemon to remember about his own life?

Notice that Paul calls Jesus Lord 5 times in this short letter. Jesus is Philemon’s king and master as He is our king and master. Paul is reminding Philemon that he has received forgiveness through grace overflowing to him from Jesus who is his Lord. Because Philemon has received grace from his Lord Jesus, Philemon should, therefore, be a “grace giver” to Onesimus.

Christ calls us to be grace givers to others as we have received grace from Him.

12. What do you think it means to be a “grace giver”?

13. Read Ephesians 4:32. How can you be a “grace giver” in your life?

A grace-giver is kind and tenderhearted, forgiving others as Christ has forgiven us. A grace-giver does not hold grudges and works at renewing relationships rather than being continually angry with someone.

14. What relationships in your life need renewing?

In Philemon, Christ is the renewer of hearts, making us right with God so our relationship with God is no longer broken. He forgives us completely, gives us new hearts and fills our hearts with joy. Christ gives us His grace so that we can then give grace to others, following His own example. A renewed heart is grateful for the forgiveness received through God’s grace and wants to be a “grace giver” to others.

Living Dependently on Christ

1) Bible verse to learn:

“Renew my heart. We know that Christ is the one who really renews it.” (Philemon 20b NIRV)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

Ask Jesus, as the renewer of your heart, to help you be a grace-giver to your friends and family members.

3) Getting to know Him more:

Spend a few minutes reading this wonderful letter and reflecting on how God’s marvelous grace offers you a life of freedom and joy.

  • Read all of Philemon again. Reflect on what you read.

Related Topics: Women's Articles

Painting The Portrait Of Jesus: The “I Am’s” From The Gospel Of John

Related Media

This Bible Study is part of the Graceful Beginnings Series of Bible studies specifically designed for anyone new to the Bible—whether you are a new Christian or you just feel insecure about understanding the Bible. The lessons are basic, introducing you to your God and His way of approaching life in simple terms that can be easily understood.

The Painting the Portrait of Jesus lessons view the self-portrait of Jesus using His seven “I am” statements from the gospel of John. Discover amazing things about Jesus that will satisfy the spiritual hunger in your soul and answer one of the most asked questions of all time. What does Jesus look like?

Related Topics: Christology, Gospels, Women's Articles

Introduction

Related Media

The Graceful Beginnings Series of Bible studies are specifically designed for the new-to-the-Bible Christian—whether you are a new Christian or you just feel insecure about understanding the Bible. The lessons are basic, introducing you as an inexperienced Christian to your God and His way of approaching life in simple terms that can be easily understood.

Just as a newborn baby needs to know the love and trustworthiness of her parents, the new Christian needs to know and experience the love and trustworthiness of her God. Graceful Beginnings: New Believers Guide is the first study in the series, laying a good foundation of truth for you to grasp and apply to your life. The other studies in the series can be done in any order.

Some Bible Basics

Throughout these lessons, you will use a Bible to answer questions as you discover treasure about your life with Christ. The Bible is one book containing a collection of 66 books combined together for our benefit. It is divided into two main parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament.

The Old Testament tells the story of the beginning of the world and God’s promises to mankind given through the nation of Israel. It tells how the people of Israel obeyed and disobeyed God over many, many years. All the stories and messages in the Old Testament lead up to Jesus Christ’s coming to the earth.

The New Testament tells the story of Jesus Christ, the early Christians, and God’s promises to all those who believe in Jesus. You can think of the Old Testament as “before Christ” and the New Testament as “after Christ.”

Each book of the Bible is divided into chapters and verses within those chapters to make it easier to study. Bible references include the book name, chapter number and verse number(s). For example, Ephesians 2:8 refers to the New Testament book of Ephesians, the 2nd chapter, and verse 8 within that 2nd chapter. Printed Bibles have a “Table of Contents” in the front to help you locate books by page number. Bible apps also have a contents list by book and chapter.

The Bible verses highlighted at the beginning of each lesson in this study are from the New English Translation ® (NET®) unless otherwise indicated. You can use any version of the Bible to answer the questions, but using a more easy-to-read translation (NET, NIV, NIRV, NLT, ESV) will help you gain confidence in understanding what you are reading. You can find all these translations in Bible apps and online.

This study capitalizes certain pronouns referring to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit—He, Him, His, Himself—just to make the reading of the study information less confusing. Some Bible translations likewise capitalize those pronouns referring to God; others do not. It is simply a matter of preference, not a requirement.

Painting the Portrait of Jesus

Have you ever worked on a paint-by-number or color-by-number picture? How easy is it to tell what the picture is before you paint or color it? For some, you can look at it and guess what the picture might be. For others, you can’t really tell what it is. So, what do you need to do to start finding out what the picture will really look like? If you are like most people, you usually start with one number that represents one color and fill in all the spaces having that number with the appropriate color. After you’ve colored in that number, the picture begins to be revealed. Then, you do the same with the other colors. After adding each color to the picture, you can finally recognize what the picture represents. You get the complete picture.

You can also paint a picture with words.

1. Think about 3 words true about you that you could use to describe yourself.

2. Now say, “I am…” followed by those three words.

You just painted a picture of yourself with those words. That’s similar to what Jesus did with His “I Am” statements. Just like adding each color to a paint-by-number picture enables you to recognize the picture, Jesus used the “I Am” descriptions to paint His own portrait.

A portrait is a painting, drawing, or photograph of a person. Usually, a portrait reveals someone’s physical appearance. It is a true likeness of that person. When you look in a mirror, you see a likeness of yourself. In a sense that’s a portrait.

Jesus’ portrait does not reveal His physical appearance. Instead, Jesus did what I asked you to do above—describe yourself with a few words to “paint” a portrait of yourself.

Jesus painted Himself with words that reveal a “picture” of who He is, how He meets our needs, and why we can trust Him enough to follow Him.

The Painting the Portrait of Jesus lessons focus on what are commonly called the “I Am’s.” The “I Am’s” are statements that Jesus made in the gospel of John. They are called the “I Am’s” because each one of them starts with the same 2 words, “I am.” Then, Jesus follows the words “I am” with a phrase to describe Himself to those who are listening.

As one who lived as a man among us, He understands the spiritual needs of men, women, boys, and girls. These “I am” declarations are like colors Jesus used for the canvas of His own self-portrait so His followers could know Him better and understand His significance in their lives.

These “colors” reveal the Jesus that we follow. And, studying them is in a sense “Painting the Portrait of Jesus.”

Like Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the gospel of John contains the good news about Jesus—who He is, why He came, and what He offers to those who trust in Him.

Jesus used specific phrases as word pictures to describe Himself to those who were listening and to describe the difference He could make in their lives when they trusted in Him.

Discovering these truths will make a difference in your life as well.

Following Jesus

Here’s what you are going to learn in the Painting the Portrait of Jesus lessons—Jesus is the answer to the spiritual needs of every person.

He is the answer to every inner need that you have. And, you will see that His self-portrait describes that.

With each lesson, you’ll be adding to your portrait of Jesus as you study the “I Am’s.” As He reveals Himself, you will long for a close relationship with this same Jesus, the one to whom you belong. And, you will want to follow Him because He is trustworthy!

As fully God and fully man, you can be confident that Jesus understands how you feel.

For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

And, Jesus is powerful enough (as God) to take care of your every need.

Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think… (Ephesians 3:20)

Through faith in Him, you are completely accepted and loved by God your Father. And, you enjoy awesome treasures God promises to you.

Jesus offers you a new life that is joyful and fruitful. Following Him involves trusting Him to guide you in your daily life through what you read in God’s Word and through talking to God.

You can enjoy a relationship with Him—now and forever!

At the end of each lesson, we will include three things to help you follow Jesus: “Bible verse to learn,” “Response in prayer & praise,” and “Filling in the Portrait of Jesus” readings.

1) Bible verse to learn

This will help to renew your thinking and make what you are learning part of your life as you journey on this adventure. Memorizing Bible verses is not just something “to do.” You are planting God’s words to you in your mind. The Bible calls it “renewing your mind” with truth about who God is and who you are.

If your Bible is a different translation from the one given in Painting the Portrait of Jesus, feel free to memorize the verse from your Bible rather than what is given. The point is to begin a habit of memorizing Scripture. You will be surprised at how soon it just flows from your mind.

2) Response in prayer & praise

This will help you begin regular conversation with your God who loves you dearly. You will be encouraged to talk to God about anything and everything. Tell Him what you are thinking and feeling. He is someone you can trust. You will be encouraged to praise God for who He is and what He does. Praise is appreciation of God and giving Him credit for who He is.

3) Filing in the portrait of Jesus

Keep filling in the portrait of Jesus through Bible reading of the life of Jesus as told in the gospel of John. Christianity is Christ so spend a few minutes each day reading the verses and reflecting on Jesus—His life, His relationships, and His teaching. Get to know this One who loves you dearly.

What You Will Learn

The eight lessons cover these truths for you to know:

  • White represents the presence of God. Jesus is the “I Am.” He is the answer to the spiritual needs of every person.

Jesus answered, “Before Abraham was born, I am.” (John 8:58 NIV)

  • Purple represents abundance & being satisfied. Jesus is the Bread of Life. His abundant love satisfies our hunger for a relationship with God.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35 NET)

  • Yellow represents light & guidance. Jesus is the Light of the World. His light directs us to follow Him.

Then Jesus spoke out again, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NET)

  • Orange represents safety. Jesus is the Gate for the Sheep. There is safety in following Jesus and doing life His way.

“Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep…whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.” (John 10:7,9 NIV)

  • Green represents relationship. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. You can enjoy a forever relationship with Him.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me.” (John 10:11, 14 NET)

  • Blue represents the hope of eternal life. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. To His followers, He gives eternal spiritual life now and eternal physical life in a new body after death.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies, and the one who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 NET)

  • Red represents love, life, and celebration. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He gives us His life so that we are completely loved and accepted by God our Father. Celebrate!

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV)

  • Brown represents nourishment to bear fruit. Jesus is the Vine. He nourishes us with His life so we can bear fruit in our lives that represents our connection with Him.

I am the vine. You are the branches. If you remain in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 NIV)

Jesus painted Himself with words that reveal a “picture” of who He is, how He meets our needs, and why we can trust Him enough to follow Him. Enjoy your study!

Related Topics: Women's Articles

Lesson 1: Jesus Is the “I Am”

Related Media

Jesus answered, “Before Abraham was born, I Am.” (John 8:58 NIV)

The Painting the Portrait of Jesus lessons focus on the “I am” statements Jesus made in the gospel of John. These are called the “I am’s” because each one of them starts with the same 2 words, “I am.” Then, Jesus follows the words “I am” with a word picture to describe Himself to those who are listening.

Jesus’ word pictures were like paint colors in a portrait. Remember that a portrait is a painting, drawing, or photograph that is a true representation of that person. Each one of those “I am” statements is like another paint color being added to Jesus’ portrait.

Jesus painted Himself with words that reveal not His physical appearance but a “picture” of who He is, how He is the answer to our spiritual needs, and why we can trust Him enough to follow Him.

Jesus is the answer to the spiritual needs of every person. He is the answer to every inner need that you and I have. And, you will see that His self-portrait describes that. We’ll be adding a different color each lesson as we paint the portrait of Jesus.

Paint Color #1: White

Our first paint color is white. White is really a mixture of all colors. Have you ever seen white light shining through a prism?

A prism is a special kind of glass that causes white light shining through it to break up into all the different colors of a rainbow. All those colors miraculously mix together to form white light. So, white represents all the colors Jesus used to paint His portrait. And, in the Bible, the color white often represents the presence of God.

We find the “I am” statements in the book of John, written by one of Jesus’ disciples named John. The book of John is also called the gospel of John. The word “gospel” means “good news” so the book of John contains the good news about Jesus—who He is, why He came, and what He offers to those who trust in Him. In it, John emphasizes repeatedly that Jesus is God in human flesh. He says so in the key verse for the book of John found at the end in chapter 20.

1. Read John 20:31.

  • What did John say was his purpose in writing his gospel?
  • And, once you know and believe this, what will happen?

Belonging to Him means you will have a relationship with Him. It’s great to belong to someone who loves you, isn’t it? And, once you belong to Him, you also get life from Him, eternal life. We’ll learn a lot about both of these special things that come to those who know that Jesus is God’s Son and believe that to be true.

Let’s talk about the two words “I am.” To us, they are just part of our English language. To the Jewish people of Jesus’ time, those words were part of God’s name. Years and years before Jesus was born, God spoke to a man named Moses and told Moses to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. Moses said to God, “What if I go to them, and they want to know your name, what shall I tell them?” We read God’s answer in Exodus chapter 3.

2. Read Exodus 3:13-14. What name did God give Himself?

That’s what our English Bibles say. The Old Testament where Exodus is found was written in the Hebrew language. The Hebrew name for God is spelled YHWH. We think the name was pronounced Yahweh (ya-way). This was God’s personal name. Jesus knew this name for God. And, He frequently claimed that name for Himself.

One time Jesus was talking to a woman at a well. She said that one future day the promised leader known as the Messiah would come. Let’s see how Jesus answered her.

3. Read John 4:19-26.

  • What would the Messiah do (v. 25)?
  • How did Jesus respond to her (v. 26)?

Since Jesus spoke Hebrew, what He originally said would have been, “Yahweh, the one speaking to you.” That’s what Jesus actually said.

4. What was Jesus communicating to the woman about Himself?

Another time, Jesus was talking to some Jewish leaders and told them He knew Abraham. They said, “You are not even 50 years old. How could you have seen Abraham?” Let’s see how Jesus answered them.

5. Read John 8:56-59.

  • What was Jesus’ answer?
  • Notice what happened next. Why do you think the Jewish leaders became so angry with Jesus?

So, this is what you can know. When Jesus said, “I am,” He is revealing something about Himself. He is God. He did the things that God does. He healed people and forgave them of their sins. He told people that He was God.

Jesus is the “I am.” He is God. We don’t think of God’s name as Yahweh anymore. We often think of God’s name as Jesus, don’t we?

Remember that I told you the color white represents the presence of God. One day, when Jesus was on a mountain with His disciples, His clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any bleach could ever make them. His disciples saw that and knew it meant they were in God’s presence.

6. Read Mark 9:2-8. What did the disciples hear the voice from heaven say?

So, not only is Jesus God, He is more specifically the Son of God. He knows God as His very own Father.

Jesus obeyed His Father and lived His life as a God-man among people. That way, He knows every need that we have—every need, both physical and spiritual. He knows what it is like to be hungry and thirsty, to know fear, to be alone, and to long to know God.

Jesus knows that He is the answer to every need, especially the need to know God.

7. Read Hebrews 4:15. How confident are you that Jesus (as man) understands how you feel but is also powerful enough (as God) to take care of your every need?

Jesus is the “I Am.” He said to His disciples, “If you know me, you will know God.” That’s what Jesus is saying to you and what the rest of these lessons will be about—getting to know Jesus through His descriptions of Himself as though they were paint colors. With that we’ll paint the portrait of Jesus.

Jesus is the answer to the spiritual needs of every person, especially the need to have a relationship with Him, to belong to Someone who loves us dearly.

8. Read Matthew 11:28-29.

  • What is the invitation and the promise?
  • What inner needs do you have that Jesus’ promise could satisfy?

Isn’t it great to know that you are loved by someone as wonderful as Jesus?

Following Jesus

1) Bible verse to learn:

Jesus answered, “Before Abraham was born, I Am.” (John 8:58 NIV)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

Thank Jesus for coming to earth and living among us so you can see what God is like by learning from Him. Thank Him that He wants to have a relationship with you. Ask Him to give you a longing in your heart this week to know Him closely.

3) Filling in the portrait of Jesus:

Christianity is Christ so spend a few minutes each day reading the verses and reflecting on Jesus—His life, His relationships, and His teaching. Get to know Him well—this One who loves you dearly.

  • Read John 1:1-28. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 1:29-51. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 2:1-11. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 2:12-25. Reflect on what you read.

Related Topics: Women's Articles

Lesson 2: Jesus Is the Bread of Life

Related Media

Lesson 1 covered Jesus as the “I am.” He is the answer to the spiritual needs of every person. In this lesson, we will look at Jesus as the bread of life.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35 NET)

Paint Color #2: Purple

Today, we are painting with the color “purple.” What does the color purple mean to you, or what do you associate with the color purple?

Throughout history, the color purple has often been associated with kings, queens and other very rich people. Kings and emperors dressed in purple clothing to display their importance because purple dye was quite expensive. Only the wealthy could afford to have clothes dyed with purple. So, purple as a color represents abundance—having plenty of everything, including food so that your hunger was being satisfied.

1. Consider the word satisfied. What does it mean to be satisfied?

2. Give examples of feeling satisfied because of having abundance.

One day Jesus saw a huge crowd of people coming towards Him as He was teaching. He knew they would be hungry so His disciples found a boy with 5 small loaves of bread and 2 small fish. That’s all Jesus needed to feed the crowd of more than 5000. Do you remember what happened?

3. Read John 6:5-15. If you were a reporter, what parts of this event would really stand out to you so that you would write about it?

Did you notice that Jesus fed every one of those people as much as they wanted to eat so that they were satisfied? For that day, at least.

The next day, the crowd was hungry again so they searched for Jesus. When they found Him, Jesus fussed at them because they were only looking for Him to give them more food, not to believe in Him as the Son of God. He said they should not be hungry just for physical food but for the bread that comes down from heaven to give life to the world.

4. Read John 6:25-34.

  • When they asked Jesus what works they must do to please God (verses 28-29), how did Jesus answer?
  • What kind of bread were the people thinking Jesus was offering to them (verse 31)?

5. Read John 6:35. How did Jesus answer them?

6. Have you ever gone without eating for a whole day or longer? What was that like?

Without food, your body begins to get weaker. Food is one of our basic needs; we all must eat to live.

In most of the countries of the world, the main food source for people is bread made from some kind of flour. That’s been true for the past 4000 years or so. People have eaten bread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with some other things like cheese and fruit. To them, bread means life. Without it, they starve. When their grain crops fail because of drought or disease, they have no bread. That was true for the people in Jesus’ crowd. There were no grocery stores.

Today, we don’t depend on just bread in America because we have so many different kinds of food. But we still need food to live, whether bread or not, so food sustains life. Jesus was telling the crowd that He is even more important to them than their daily meals.

7. Reread John 6:35.

  • What does Jesus promise to those who come to Him?
  • Do you think Jesus meant that you don’t have to eat food or drink water every day?

Jesus must have meant something else. During this story in John chapter 6, Jesus says 6 times that He is the bread who came down from heaven to give life to the world (verses 33, 38, 41, 50, 51, & 58).

Since bread is usually meant to be eaten, that means you must personally take it into your body so that it nourishes you for life. That’s physical bread giving physical life. Jesus refers to Himself as spiritual bread that gives spiritual life through a relationship with God.

8. God creates every human being with a hunger for a relationship with Him. How have you tried to satisfy this hunger in the past?

Sometimes people try to satisfy that hunger by staying very busy or doing good works or following a set of rules. The Jewish people followed many rules. But, Jesus didn’t say, “I am the bread of life. He who completely follows the rules will never go hungry again.”

9. Read John 6:35 again. What invitation does Jesus give in this verse to satisfy our hunger?

That’s an invitation to have a relationship with God because Jesus is God. It’s not through just following rules. And, Jesus promised that no one who comes to Him would ever go hungry. The food He gives will never spoil. He will never run out of it. That’s abundance. Look at this promise He makes to everyone who comes to Him.

10. Read John 6:36-37. What does Jesus say He will never do?

Wow! Isn’t that wonderful? He wants you to be close to Him, and He will never reject you. Never push you away. That’s eternal life. Knowing Jesus as your best friend. And, His love for you is abundant and satisfying.

You will not feel hungry for God’s love because you will have it constantly.

Jesus is our bread of life. His abundant love satisfies our hunger for a relationship with God. Next time you have lunch or dinner, think about how that never lasts long. You always get hungry again. But, Jesus said if you come to Him for your spiritual food, He will satisfy the hunger in your heart for a relationship with the God who made you.

11. Think about it, in what areas of your life do you not feel satisfied?

So, the question to ask is this, “How do I go to Jesus for spiritual food so that I can be satisfied?“

  • First, by trusting in Him to take away your sins. You only need to do this once in your life. After you have done that…
  • Follow Him every day by reading your Bible, especially the parts that talk about Jesus—the books called Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Those will tell you all about who Jesus is. The “Filling in the Portrait of Jesus” at the end of each lesson suggests that you read through the book of John, a couple of chapters at a time.
  • Talk to Him through prayer. Prayer is simply conversation with Someone who loves you dearly. Jesus is always there for you. Will you do that this week?

Following Jesus

1) Bible verse to learn:

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35 NET)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

Talk to Jesus about any feelings of spiritual hunger or thirst that you might have. Tell Him you are ready to begin to experience being satisfied by His abundant love that He gives to those who come to Him and follow Him.

3) Filling in the portrait of Jesus:

Christianity is Christ so spend a few minutes each day reading the verses and reflecting on Jesus—His life, His relationships, and His teaching. Get to know Him well—this One who loves you dearly.

  • Read John 3:1-21. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 3:22-36. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 4:1-26. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 4:27-54. Reflect on what you read.

Related Topics: Women's Articles

Lesson 3: Jesus Is the Light of the World

Related Media

In Lessons One and Two, we painted the portrait of Jesus with two ways He described Himself to those listening to Him.

  • Jesus is the “I Am.” He is the answer to the spiritual needs of every person.
  • Jesus is the Bread of Life. His abundant love satisfies our hunger for a relationship with God.

In this lesson, we add another paint color as we see Jesus as the light of the world.

Then Jesus spoke out again, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NET)

Paint Color #3: Yellow

Today’s paint color is yellow since we’ll be talking about light. Would you agree that the sun is the biggest yellow object you know? Bright sunlight warms us up and helps us to see the world around us. At night, the sun is shining on the other side of the earth so it is dark here. When it’s dark, you might feel afraid or alone. You might feel confused because you cannot see where to go. You can stumble and fall without light to guide you.

Light helps us to see where we are going so we can keep going in the right direction and not get lost. Think of how a light at the end of a dark hallway directs you to the doorway so you don’t keep bumping into the walls. So, for this lesson the color yellow represents light and direction.

In our world, we depend on electricity to give us light in the dark. Just turn on a lamp or a switch and get instant light. When Jesus lived on the earth, there was no electricity. People depended on candles and oil lamps for light at night. Imagine what it would have been like to look out your window at night without any streetlights—anywhere! Consider how dark it could have been.

1. If you have been in a very dark place, what was that like?

2. How does darkness make you feel?

Jesus understood how much we need light to direct us in the darkness. One day He was attending a big festival in Jerusalem during the fall. A major part of that festival was the lighting of huge lamps that illuminated the entire temple area. Those weren’t the small oil lamps most people owned. They were really big ones that shone light all over the temple building. The people would gather together in that light to sing praises to God and dance. Right in the middle of that time of singing and dancing, Jesus told the crowd something about Himself.

3. Read John 8:12.

  • What does Jesus call himself?
  • What is the promise to those who follow Jesus?

You already thought about darkness and how it makes you feel. Sometimes scared, sometimes confused, and sometimes lonely. When there’s darkness all around us, light gives us direction to follow the right path. Light gives us security and makes us feel less lonely. Light helps us to see clearly.

Suppose I turned on a flashlight and pointed it at various objects in a dark room while asking you “What do you see?” After looking at several objects and hearing your responses, I could ask, “How did you know what I wanted you to see?” You would probably answer that the light directed your eyes. The light helped you to see each object better. Light gives us direction.

4. What do you think Jesus meant when He said He was the light of the world? (Consider the flashlight example above.)

Darkness in the Bible usually means not knowing God and His love. But, Jesus promises His light leads to life. Life in the Bible means spiritual life—knowing God and His wonderful love for us and living a life that pleases God. Light gives us direction. So, our yellow paint represents both light and direction.

Not too long after that festival of lights with the huge lamps, Jesus was in Jerusalem walking around. As Jesus went along, He saw a man who was born blind. That man had never seen the sun or the sky. You might know someone who is blind. Most of the time people who are blind can’t see any light at all. They are always in the dark.

5. If you couldn’t see with your eyes, what would you miss the most?

6. Read John 9:1-7.

  • What did Jesus’ disciples think was the reason the man had been born blind? [Note: That’s what many people of Jesus’ day thought.]
  • What was Jesus’ response (verse 3)?

God wasn’t angry with the man and punishing him. God allowed this man to be born blind for a special purpose. Then Jesus said these words again, “I am the light of the world.

7. Looking at John 9:6-7 again…

  • What did Jesus do next (verses 6-7)?
  • What happened then (verse 7)?
  • How do you think the man felt to finally be able to see through his eyes?

8. Read John 9:8-34. How did other people who knew the blind man respond to the knowledge of his being healed?

The blind man’s neighbors could hardly believe it. They kept saying, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “Yes.” Others said, “No. He only looks like him.” But the man who had been blind, let’s call him the ex-blind man, kept saying, “I am the man. The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go…and wash. So I went and washed. Then I could see.” But the ex-blind man didn’t know what Jesus looked like or where He was.

Some of the Jewish leaders who didn’t believe in Jesus found out what happened to the man. Instead of praising God for the healing, they refused to believe that Jesus was God. And, they got angry with the ex-blind man and threw him out of their church building. Can you believe that!

9. Read John 9:35-39.

  • When Jesus heard that the Jewish leaders had thrown the ex-blind man out, what did He do?
  • When Jesus found him, what did He say (verse 35)? [Note: “Son of Man” was something Jesus called Himself.}
  • How did the ex-blind man answer (verse 36)?
  • When Jesus revealed Himself, how did the ex-blind man respond?

10. How did Jesus as light of the world give light to the blind man?

11. How do you think the man’s life changed after this?

To follow Jesus means to believe in Him, trust what He says, and trust what He tells us to do in the Bible.

12. In what areas of your life do you need light and direction?

13. What do you think it would look like to follow Jesus in those areas?

Jesus is the light of the world. His light directs us to follow Him. And when you follow Jesus, you are never alone because He is always with you just, like turning on a lamp in a dark room makes you feel less lonely.

No one can put out the light that Jesus brings into the world.

Following Jesus

1) Bible verse to learn:

Then Jesus spoke out again, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NET)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

Are you willing to trust Jesus as the light of your life and follow Him this week? Go ahead and talk to Him about how to follow Jesus in your life today.

3) Filling in the portrait of Jesus:

Christianity is Christ so spend a few minutes each day reading the verses and reflecting on Jesus—His life, His relationships, and His teaching. Get to know Him well—this One who loves you dearly.

  • Read John 5:1-30. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 5:31-47. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 6:1-24. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 6:25-71. Reflect on what you read.

Related Topics: Women's Articles

Lesson 4: Jesus Is the Gate for the Sheep

Related Media

So far, we painted the portrait of Jesus with three ways He described Himself to those listening to Him. Remember these truths about who Jesus Christ is and what He does for you.

  • Jesus is the “I Am.” He is the answer to the spiritual needs of every person.
  • Jesus is the Bread of Life. His abundant love satisfies our hunger for a relationship with God.
  • Jesus is the Light of the World. His light directs us to follow Him.

In this lesson, we will paint Jesus as the gate for the sheep.

Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep…whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:7, 9 NIV)

Paint Color #4: Orange

The color in this lesson is orange—a color often associated with safety. You may have seen a highway construction worker wearing an orange vest. Highway workers also use orange cones and barrels to tell the driver which lanes are open and which are closed for repairs. In fact, the shade of orange used is called “Safety Orange.” The United States government requires that certain construction equipment must be painted “safety orange.” So, what does “Safety Orange” have to do with Jesus?

In John chapter 10, Jesus described Himself as a shepherd for sheep. It is common in the Bible for kings and priests and other leaders to consider themselves shepherds of the people, their sheep. In this lesson, we’ll learn what it means when Jesus called Himself a gate for the sheep. In the next lesson, we’ll cover Jesus as the good shepherd.

1. Read John 10:1-10. How does Jesus describe Himself in verses 7 and 9?

You might be thinking, “That sounds weird. Why does Jesus call Himself a gate or door? What does a gate have to do with being a shepherd?” Actually, it made a lot of sense to the people listening to Him.

Every community would have a sheep pen with high walls and one doorway. Some countries today still have these kinds of sheep pens. Several flocks of sheep would go in the sheep pen at night to keep them from wandering and getting lost. The sheep inside the walls would be kept safe from wolves and thieves who tried to break in and steal them. A watchman would guard the opening all night long.

Here’s what happened every day if you were a sheep. In the morning, you and your sheep friends see the shepherds come through the doorway to get their sheep. As the shepherds are calling out to their sheep, you hear your own shepherd’s voice calling the special name he’s given to you. Yay! You run on your little sheep legs to where he is. He leads you and your flock mates out of the sheep pen. Then, he leads the flock to the pastures. You follow close behind him.

Once you get to the pastures, you see a small fenced area. The shepherd takes his place in the doorway or entrance of the fenced area and functions as a door or gate. You can safely go out and munch on grass for as long as you want because your shepherd is watching over you. But, if you get tired or frightened, you can go into the fenced area where it is safe and secure. Your shepherd is still watching over you. He is the gate.

2. Reread John 10:9. Look again at what Jesus said He does as the gate. What does Jesus promise to anyone who enters through Him as the gate?

See that phrase “will be saved?” The Bible teaches that every person needs to be saved because of sin. Remember that God loves everyone. But, every person has done bad things called sin. God says that sin separates us from Him forever. He didn’t want that to happen so He sent His Son Jesus to take the punishment for your sin and my sin so we don’t have to be separated from God forever.

When you trust in Jesus and what He did to take away your sin, you are saved. You are saved from being separated from God, and you are saved from being punished for your sin. That’s what it means to be saved.

When Jesus says, “Anyone who enters through me will be saved,” He was telling the people that anyone who trusts in Him will be saved from being separated from God forever.

3. Notice what the sheep can do within this “safety” zone.

Being able to come and go to find pasture presents a picture of freedom and fulfillment, doesn’t it? Jesus offers that to us as His sheep as well.

The phrase “will be saved” can also be translated “be kept safe.” To those who already trust in Jesus and are already following Jesus like sheep follow their shepherd, Jesus promises to keep you safe. Now, people are not really sheep. But, every person needs to feel safe. There are enemies out there who want to hurt Jesus’ sheep.

4. Reread John 10:10.

  • What do the enemies want to do to the sheep?
  • That’s not good for sheep, is it? What does Jesus promise His sheep?

5. What is your concept of abundant or full life that is rich and satisfying?

Abundant life is life that is so satisfying that it is like a cup overflowing. Better than any sheep could ever dream about. As a follower of Jesus, He promises you life that is full and satisfying. The Bible calls it eternal life. We sometimes think it only starts when we die and go to be with Jesus in heaven. But, you have eternal life while you are here on earth, too.

This life with God that Jesus provides for you is good and satisfying. You only need to follow Him to enjoy it here.

Jesus is the gate for the sheep. There is safety in following Jesus and doing life His way. Notice that Jesus said He was the gate for the sheep, not the jail keeper. 

6. Reread John 10:9. Why should you consider Jesus to be someone who offers you freedom to live a fulfilling life rather than someone who is restrictive?

Following Jesus

1) Bible verse to learn:

Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep…whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:7, 9 NIV)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

You can feel safe in Jesus’ loving arms knowing He cares so much for you and is watching over you while you enjoy the freedom He provides. Thank Him for doing that for you. Ask Jesus to direct you to His way of doing life. Following Jesus’ way of doing life can help to keep you safe from enemies in your life. Do you recognize other voices trying to get you to follow them? What would it look like in your life to choose to follow Jesus as your shepherd rather than anyone who tries to keep you from following Him?

3) Filling in the portrait of Jesus:

Christianity is Christ so spend a few minutes each day reading the verses and reflecting on Jesus—His life, His relationships, and His teaching. Get to know Him well—this One who loves you dearly.

  • Read John 7:1-24. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 7:25-53. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 8:1-30. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read John 8:31-59. Reflect on what you read.

Related Topics: Women's Articles

Pages