[Pre-Lesson1] Using This Study Guide
Profiles Of Perseverance
What is perseverance? By definition, “perseverance” is holding to a course of action, belief, or purpose without giving way. Perseverance, often used interchangeably with the word endurance, is the quality that enables a person to stand on his or her feet when facing a storm head on. It refers to active staying power and tenacity to hold up under some long-term burden, not just getting stuck in traffic. It carries the connotation of whole life experience.
By viewing the profiles (biographies) of several Old Testament believers during much of their lifetime, we see God’s faithfulness to them over many years, not just during a scene from their lives. By looking at their stories, we gain a long-term perspective through the rough-and-tumble of real life. We can be encouraged to endure faithfully throughout our own rough-and-tumble life in this troubling yet exciting world.
The Basic Study
This study guide consists of 13 lessons covering the evidence of perseverance seen in the lives of 4 Old Testament believers. If you cannot do the entire lesson one week, please read the Bible passage(s) covered by the lesson.
Process of Bible Study: Each lesson includes core questions covering the passage narrative. These core questions will take you through the process of inductive Bible study—observation, interpretation, and application. The process is more easily understood in the context of answering these questions:
· What does the passage say? (Observation: what’s actually there)
· What does it mean? (Interpretation: the author’s intended meaning)
· How does this apply to me today? (Application: making it personal) Questions identified as “Your Life’s Journey” lead you to introspection and application of a specific truth to your life. You will be given opportunity to use creative means to express God’s faithfulness to you in your life’s journey.
Deeper Discoveries (optional): Embedded within the sections are optional questions for research of subjects we don’t have time to cover adequately in the lessons or contain information that significantly enhance the basic study. If you are meeting with a small group, your leader may give you the opportunity to share your “discoveries.”
Study Aids: To aid in proper interpretation and application of the study, five additional study aids are located where appropriate in the lesson:
· Historical Insights
· Scriptural Insights
· From the Hebrew/Greek (definitions of Hebrew/Greek words)
· Focus on the Meaning
· Think About It (thoughtful reflection)
Getting The Most Out Of Historical Narratives
Because this study includes historical narratives set in various time periods, this is an excellent opportunity for you to learn how to use a Bible handbook, commentary, study Bible text notes or internet sources to discover information about the time period in which each person lived as well as the towns, the occupations, and other cultural information that would add understanding to your study. If you choose to do this research, you will enhance the discussion for everyone else as you share what you have learned at appropriate times in the small group discussion.
Sustained By Hope In The Rough-And-Tumble Of Real Life
Jesus said that we will surely have trouble in this world (John 16:33)—yes, even those of us who are faithful to Him. Whatever the struggles we face, we need a secure hope in order to “hang in there” over a lifetime of growing in His grace. The Christian life is not only empowered by faith, it is also sustained by hope. Only a secure hope rooted in the faithfulness of God enables us to weather the storms of life and persevere over a lifetime.
The writer of Hebrews pointed to the one focus in life that can give us hope that lasts, “keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2). We must focus on what He is doing in the midst of what we are doing. It is our total confidence that Christ will complete the work He began in us that enables us to persevere through the rough-and-tumble of real life. Are you ready to develop perseverance in your life?!
“We have approached the Christian life as a subject to be learned rather than as a life to be lived. You can’t grow in grace in a classroom, through a seminar, or during a “quiet time,” as good as those things may be. As a matter of fact, you cannot grow in grace through reading a book…You can only grow in grace through a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, who teaches you truth from His Word, which you then take out into the rough-and-tumble of real life in the real world. The “curriculum” cannot be planned or anticipated. Through the sovereignty of a loving God, the pathway we will tread in this fallen world will be as unique as each one of us...Whatever the situations in your life may be, that is where you will have to grow in grace...in spite of our personal failures and sins… as we focus on what God is doing in the midst of what we are doing (Hebrews 12:1,2).”
—Bob George, Growing in Grace, p.13-15 (emphasis added)