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Lesson 1: Cain and Abel - Hebrews 11:4

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Questions for Group Discussion

Reflection: What aspect or lesson from last week’s study or lecture most encouraged or challenged you? Why?

Begin this lesson by praying for wisdom in your relationships. Cain and Abel provide a dramatic picture of broken relationships and contrasting lives. They illustrate both the blessings of faithful worship and the danger of self-willed worship. Their lives stand as an encouragement and a warning these thousands of years later.


To witness [Gk martureo—to witness, testify, give evidence] is to proclaim what has been seen, heard, or known. It is the basis of the English word martyr, which is one who bears witness by his death. The Bible describes the witness of God, of Christ, of those who testify of their faith in Christ by their words and actions, and of martyrs who proclaim their faith in Christ by their death.

Hebrews 12:1 pictures a great cloud of witnesses whose lives proclaim the responses and rewards of faith, providing motivation for future generations to run the race of life with endurance by fixing their eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.

A righteous life testifies to present and future generations!

Read Hebrews 11:4–5 and Genesis 4.

1. In what ways were Cain and Abel the same? How were they different? How did their worship differ? Organize your observations on the following chart.





      2. List Cain’s downward progression. Why did he kill Abel? (Matt. 23:35; 1 John 3:12)

      3. Was Cain a believer who sinned or an unbeliever? (1 John 3:12) What evidence is there that Cain belonged to the evil one? (John 8:44)

      4. How many times is the word “brother” used in Gen. 4 and in 1 John 3:12? Why is this emphasized?

      5. What do we learn of the character of God in His dealings with Cain?

      6. What two basic approaches to God do the two offerings represent?

      7. What is implied by the statement in Heb. 11 that by faith Abel offered a better sacrifice?

      A. What is necessary for faith? (Rom. 10:17)

      B. What additional insights do you gain from any of the cross-references on sacrificial worship in the Optional Studies for Personal Enrichment?

      8. What did the offering of animals teach the offerer about God, man, sin, and salvation? (Heb. 12:24)

      A. What did the blood of Abel speak out for?

      B. What is the “better word” that the blood of Christ speaks? (1 John l:7; John 1:29; Heb. 9:12, 14, 22; 10:19)

      9. In light of Romans 5:12–21, what is the significance of the first man born murdering the second?

      A. How would you describe the way of Cain? (Jude 11)

      B. What additional insights do you gain from the cross-references on the testimony of a faithful life in the Optional Studies for Personal Enrichment?

      Application Questions for Class Discussion

      1. What does 1 John 3:12 tell us about the attitude of unbelievers toward believers?

      A. Why is it important to understand this basic fact to have a proper worldview?

      B. Does this help you to understand a difficult relationship you may be experiencing now?

      2. What are some of the reasons that can cause us to begin to hate other believers?

      A. If we have a “just” cause and there is no repentance or desire for forgiveness, are we justified in harboring resentment?

      B. What must we do? (Matt. l8:15–17; Eph. 4:32)

      C. Why is it necessary? (Heb. 12:15)

      D. Who gets the advantage when we don't forgive?

      E. Is there someone in your life now that you are bitter towards? What will you do about it on the basis of this lesson?

      F. If the situation doesn't change, how can you change? (l Thess. 5:18; 4:1; Phil.4:8)

      G. How can forgiving be done by faith?

      3. How does a person today attain a right relationship with God?

      A. What works does she have to do?

      B. How can anyone know that she will continue in that relationship?

      C. What does one have to do to stay there? (Eph. 2:8–10; John 10:27–29; John 6:28, 29; John 5:24)

      4. What one insight or lesson do you hope to remember from your study of the blessings of faithful worship and the danger of self-willed worship? Write it below to share in class, and then write it on the journal page entitled “Lessons Along the Way” at the back of your study guide.

      Choose one verse from this week’s lesson to memorize. Write it here and meditate on it.

      Optional Studies for Personal Enrichment

      Cain and Abel—Hebrews 11:4

      Abel’s sacrifice pleased God, and it endures as a positive testimony of his faith to future generations. Cain also brought a sacrifice, but his legacy remains a serious warning. Utilize your word-study tools to examine the meaning of the following words, and list the insights you learn from the related scriptural cross-references. How do these insights enhance your understanding of the response of faith in sacrificial worship and the reward of faith of a righteous testimony that speaks to others?

      Response of Faith: Sacrificial Worship

    Sacrifice [Heb. 11:4]

      Rom. 12:1

      Phil. 4:8

      Heb. 13:15

      Heb. 13:16

      1 Peter 2:5

      Heb. 9:23

      Rev. 2:10

      Matt. 5:21–24

      Reward of Faith: Testimony of a Faithful Life

    Testimony (witness, KJV) [Heb. 11:4]

      Heb. 2:4

      Rev. 1:5

      Heb. 10:15

      Acts 22:20

      Heb. 12:1

      John 5:36

      Prov. 14:5

      2 Tim. 4:7–8

      What testimony or witness does your life proclaim to others? Why are our relationships so very important?

Related Topics: Character Study, Curriculum

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