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[Footsteps of Faith] Introduction

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Laurna Berg and Gwynne Johnson co-authored this material with Vickie and have graciously given their permission to share this resource with you.

Acknowledgements

This study is designed around the principles of inductive Bible study—observation, interpretation, and application. Your private preparation of the questions will be the most valuable portion of your work. Dr. Howard Hendricks states, “There is no jewel more precious than that which you have mined yourself.” Your small-group time provides an opportunity to share, learn, and connect with other women. Our fellowship week allows even greater development of community within your group. The lecture portion of our session wraps up the week’s lesson with the aim of personal encouragement and specific application.

This session’s study in the book of Hebrews is the cooperative effort of Laurna Berg, Gwynne Johnson, and Vickie Kraft. A special thanks goes to Mary Dean and Karen Hawkins for proofing and editing help. We are grateful to our Communications team of Mary Stark, Matt Zellner, Kenny Courtenay, Ashley Fritchie and David Montejano, who faithfully provided the final proofreading and editing for our Bible study.

Introduction

The footsteps of obedience taken today by faith, leave footprints in history for those who come behind us. In this series, Footsteps of Faith: Following the Call, we examine footprints left for our example by believers of the past. These were given to provide encouragement to us today to take footsteps of present obedience.

“The path of the godly person has never been easy. It is a way beset with trials, tests, difficulties and opposition. Saints in the Old Testament found this to be true. Old Testament believers such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David, Jeremiah and Daniel were all called to suffer for the sake of righteousness. The Lord Himself warned, ‘In the world you will have tribulation’ (John 16:33). He promised that those who belong to Him would experience the same opposition and rejection that he Himself endured (John 15:18).”1

As we study those who followed God in past ages, we learn from their example, gain hope for ourselves, appreciate more about faith, and discover much more about God. These insights only enhance our love and appreciation of God’s perfect revelation in Jesus.

Written by an unknown author, Hebrews was written especially to

Jewish believers in the early church who were undergoing severe persecution. This letter is written to reveal the superiority of Jesus over all that was known by them from the Old Testament, fulfilling the promises given and establishing a new covenant between people and God.

“We need encouragement to fight the good fight of faith, to continue to walk by faith in patient endurance, to manifest patient endurance in every trial or test, to live in light of the hope set before us rather than in light of present circumstances.”2

Footsteps Of Faith: Following The Call
Schedule

 

           

    Lesson

    Hebrews

    Date

    Topic

    Introduction

    Overview

    January 12

    Overview and Context

    #1

    Hebrews 11:4

    January 19

    Cain and Abel

    #2

    Hebrews 11:7

    January 26

    Noah

    #3

    Hebrews 11:8–18

    February 2

    Abraham and Sarah

    #4

    Hebrews 11:23–28

    February 9

    Moses

    Fellowship Week

    February 16

    Groups meet individually

    #5

    Hebrews 11:31

    February 23

    Rahab

    #6

    Hebrews 11:32

    March 2

    Deborah and Barak

    #7

    Hebrews 11:32–33

    March 9

    Daniel

    #8

    Hebrews 11:32–34

    March 16

    Jehoshaphat

    Spring Break

    March 23

    No meeting this week

    #9

    Hebrews 11:5,32–40

    March 30

    Perseverance & Promise of Faith

    Fellowship Week

    April 6

    Groups meet individually

    #10

    Romans 12:1–2

    April 13

    Called to Commitment

    #11

    Romans 12:3–16

    April 20

    Called to Serve

    #12

    Hebrews 11:6

    April 27

    Rewards of the Call

      Study Suggestions and Format

      Bible study provides an opportunity for you to develop in your relationship with Christ, grow in your understanding of His Word, and connect with other women as you share the insights you have gained from your personal preparation. The Bible study has three parts: Home Study, Discussion Groups, and Wrap-Up Message.

      Home Study

  • Prayer is often the key to real insight into the Scriptures. Before beginning, pray and ask the Holy Spirit, our ultimate teacher, to guide your thoughts and to reveal to you what He wants you to learn from His Word. If you encounter a confusing or difficult question, stop again and pray.
  • Each week you have a set of questions designed to help you explore the Scripture. Jot down answers as you read and record them as concisely as possible. Note the reference number of the verse(s) that support your response.
  • Feel free to use modern English translations of the Bible and study helps, such as Bible handbooks and Bible dictionaries. We would prefer that you not use commentaries until after class day, so that you may have the delight of personal discovery before reading what others have written.

      Discussion Groups

  • The first 40 minutes of class time is spent in small-group discussions. We meet with the same women each week to share insights gained from personal study at home. As we hear each other’s responses, we discover practical things about walking with Christ and grow in deeper connection with each other.
  • Each small group has a discussion facilitator who meets with the Teaching Leader prior to class in preparation for leading your group. She is there to keep the conversation and exchange of ideas moving. Your participation in the discussion will be most beneficial when you have taken the time to complete the questions at home.

      Wrap-Up Message

  • In the last 30 minutes of class, a teaching leader will offer fresh perspectives on the lesson and relevant applications for daily living. She will also clarify difficulties from the passages.

      It is our prayer that you will enjoy our study of Footsteps of Faith: Following the Call, that you will be refreshed and challenged in your relationship with the Lord, and that you will deepen your relationships with other women.

      Guidelines for Discussion

      1. Please be prompt. In order to have enough time to cover the lesson and share with one another, we need to begin on time.

      2. Please be sensitive to the length and frequency of your participation so we have time for everyone to join in.

      3. Visitors are welcome! If you have a friend you would like to invite, please bring her along.

      4. We want to grow in the knowledge of the Lord together by discerning truth from the Bible. Since women in our groups are coming from varied backgrounds, please refrain from referring to any particular denominations, religious groups, or religious leaders.

      5. Preparation will enhance the discussions and accelerate spiritual growth, so please complete the questions for each lesson.

      6. The leadership team will be praying for you. If you have individual needs and prayer requests, please fill out a Prayer Request Form and give it to your discussion leader.

      7. Nametags can be taken home or left in your group’s box. If you forget your permanent nametag, please use the temporary ones provided by your discussion leader.

      8. Out of respect for one another, please assume that EVERYTHING shared within your group should be kept CONFIDENTIAL.

      9. In the interest of protecting our discussion-group time from interruptions, please turn off all electronic items (cell phones, pagers, etc.).

      10. Please do not talk about politics or use the class for sales purposes.

      Discovering God’s Word for Yourself
      An Introduction to Inductive Bible Study Methods

      Why use the inductive method of Bible study? As you use this thorough method of study, you will discover God’s truth yourself, without leaning on the opinions and commentary of others. This sense of personal discovery develops your confidence in understanding God’s message of love to you. You will experience the joy of seeing your own observations affirmed when you do read the commentaries of others.

      Inductive Bible study begins by carefully examining the biblical text. The first step, observation, is key to all the others. Accurate observation leads to correct interpretation and provides the foundation for personal application. Always begin with prayer for the Lord to open your eyes and reveal His truth through His Spirit to your heart and mind. God provides each believer with a personal teacher in the person of the Holy Spirit who enlightens our minds. The discussion below takes you through each of the three steps in the inductive study process: observation, interpretation, and application. Enjoy!

      Observation—What does it say?

      Accurate observation requires spending time reading the text in order to determine exactly what it is saying. It is often helpful to read the passage in several English translations.

      Methods of enhancing observation include:

  • Answering questions such as: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
  • Identifying information about the author and recipients

      Who are they?

      What are their circumstances?

      What are their concerns?

  • Examining the immediate context

      Read the passage preceding and following the text

      Identify key words or phrases

      Identify lists

      Note comparisons, contrasts, conclusions

      Note time expressions

      Identify instructions or commands

      Outline or structure the text

      Why is the author writing? (What is the author’s purpose?)

      What is the main theme of the book or passage?

      Interpretation—What does it mean?

      Once you have carefully observed a passage, and accurate observation is foundational to interpretation, you can move to the next step, interpretation. One effective way to discover the meaning of a passage is by examining key words and consulting related cross-references.

      In this study, “Footsteps of Faith: Following the Call,” personal enrichment studies of key words and cross-references are included for each lesson. By using a dictionary, a concordance, and other tools, you will gain a greater understanding of the author’s intent and the message of the passage for you.

      Word Studies—Examine the meaning of the word used. A description and example of a word study follows:

      1. Simple word studies can be performed by consulting an English dictionary to clarify terms.

      2. More advanced word studies can be performed by consulting an exhaustive concordance [for example, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible]. The concordance will provide the English transliteration of the original Greek or Hebrew word, the definition, and an exhaustive listing of each use of the word in the Bible.

      3. Finally, an expository dictionary [for example, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary] may be consulted for a more complete definition.

      For Example: Anger (wrath, KJV) [James 1:19] “Anger” is used in James 1:19, but it is translated “wrath” in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. Most concordances are keyed to the KJV.

      Strong’s—(3709) orge (or-gay’) — desire, reaching forth, violent passion, punishment, anger, indignation, vengeance, wrath. Strong’s provides the Greek word, its pronunciation, the definition, and a list of every location it is used in the Bible.

      Vine’s—natural impulse, or disposition to anger, vengeance, wrath. Vine’s also contrasts orge (settled abiding condition of the mind, less active but longer lasting) with thumes (agitated outburst, quickly blazes up and quickly subsides). Vine’s provides an expanded definition. In this example, Vine’s additionally contrasts two different Greek words for “anger”.

      Cross-References—Consult other biblical references where the word or concept occurs.

      1. Basic cross-references may be listed in the margin of the text or in the concordance in the back of the Bible.

      2. An exhaustive list of cross-references is included in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

      For Example: Other references using Anger (wrath, KJV) include: Eph. 4:26; Gal. 5:20; Prov. 16:32; Eccl. 7:9

      Application—What does it mean to me?

      Having observed and interpreted the text, the final step is to specifically apply the Word to your personal life in order to reflect the Lord (Rom 12:1–2). Ask yourself these questions:

      Is there…

  • a command to be obeyed?
  • a principle to be applied?
  • a warning to be heeded?
  • an illustration to be considered?
  • a consequence to be avoided?

      Tools that enhance application include:

  • Identification of specific principles, commands, instructions, or illustrations
  • Memorization of verses (Ps. 119:11)
  • Prayerful evaluation of the text

      The questions in this study are designed for group discussion and cover each of the steps above: observation, interpretation, and application. In addition, we have included with each lesson a page entitled “Optional Studies for Personal Enrichment.” For those who would like to discover even more about the text being studied, we encourage you to spend time in the word studies, provided by consulting a dictionary or by acquiring one of the study tools such as Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance or Vine’s Expository Dictionary. You will also benefit in your understanding of each concept by examining the suggested cross-references.

      Several symbols have been employed to visually identify unique features in our curriculum.

      Memory Verse: God encourages believers to treasure His Word in their heart so that they might not sin against Him (Ps. 119:11). One memory verse question has been provided in each lesson to enable you to personalize in your own life and circumstances the instructions, warnings, and principles demonstrated in the lives of those who have faithfully followed the call of God.

      Optional Studies for Personal Enrichment: God encourages believers to study in order to show themselves approved to God as excellent workmen able to carefully understand the truth of the Word (2 Tim. 2:15). An optional section has been provided following each lesson to enable you to delve deeper into the incredible wealth of information contained on each topic in the awesome Word of God.

      My Footsteps of Faith: Lessons Along the Way: God desires that believers be transformed by renewing their minds in the truth of the Word in order to serve Him as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God (Rom. 12:1–2). A journal page entitled Lessons Along the Way is located in the back of your study guide following the lessons. By choosing one principle or application that you learned or hope to remember from each lesson, you will have a personal, treasured reminder of your journey through the footsteps of faith within the lives of the heroes of Hebrews 11 as they followed the call of God, as well as a composite picture of the call of God in your own life to personally reflect the Footsteps of Faith: Following the Call.

      Word Pictures in Hebrews: Selected words from each lesson have been provided which “paint a word picture” of a key concept and are followed by a specific personal application.3 The Word of God is beautiful, delightful, desirable, and profitable, and the time you devote toward studying the Word of God will profit you eternally (Ps. 119).


1 Pentecost, J. Dwight. Faith that Endures: A Practical Commentary on the Book of Hebrews. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publications, 1992, Page 5.

2 ibid. Page 6.

3 The “Word Pictures” contain information obtained from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible and from Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary.

Related Topics: Faith, Curriculum