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Week 3 Lesson: Courageous

A Precious Word from God

“I have told you these things so that in the world you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage—I have conquered the world.”

Jesus in John 16:33 (NET)

A Precious Word from God

“I have told you these things so that in the world you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage—I have conquered the world.”

Jesus in John 16:33 (NET)

Have you ever been truly afraid? I spent much of my childhood fearing everything, or so it seems from today’s perspective. I was even afraid of dogs—not just big ones but those of any size. My sister and I would run into the house at any glimpse of a dog down the street. We never had animals ourselves and just didn’t know what they would do to us. No matter what we were doing outside, no matter how much fun we were having, we left it all and ran for our lives☺

Last week we looked at obedience and noted that it is based on faith. If we truly trust God, we obey him. Our emotions are not to drive us; instead, we are to obey God whatever that means. Sometimes the possible consequences of obedience are so enormous, we need great courage to obey God. For many believers throughout the centuries, obedience has meant that they were faced with the possibility of loss, torture, or death. In many cases they courageously chose to obey God because of their faith despite the cost. Courage is the decision to choose faith over fear in the face of danger or loss.3

Our biblical character this week is Elijah, a man of true faith and great courage.

Day One Study

Before we look at Elijah, we want to observe Jesus’ courage. Sometimes I get confused about Jesus, knowing that he is God and in perfect unity with the Father, and so I forget that he limited his power and relied on his faith to give him courage, just as we must do.

Read Luke 9:18-22, 43-45.

1. What was Jesus facing that would take great courage, especially considering the fact that he knew exactly what would happen to him?

2. How did the disciples respond to Jesus’ news about the challenge ahead? Consider how their response may have made it more difficult for him emotionally. Write down your thoughts.


3. Consider the following verses. How did Jesus’ actions or words require courage?

    a. Luke 9:51-53 (took place after the verses you already read)

    a. Matthew 23:13-36 (set after he arrived in Jerusalem the last week before his crucifixion)

Diamonds in the Word: Read this account in Mt. 21:23-46 of other things Jesus said during that final week that required courage. Write your thoughts.

4. Sharing question: Have you ever been required to show courage and act despite the risk? If so, share what that circumstance was with your group.

5. Responding to God: Spend time thanking Jesus for his courageous actions on your behalf and for your example.

Day Two Study

Now we turn our attention to Elijah, a prophet called to speak forth God’s word even when faced with severe consequences. He prophesied during the reign of King Ahab of Israel, the northern kingdom. The Bible says that Ahab “did more evil in the sight of the LORD than all who were before him” (1 Ki. 16:30, 33). As a result, God sent a famine on the land of Israel at Elijah’s word.

Diamonds in the Word: Study more about King Ahab in 1 Ki. 16:29-33 and in your Bible resources. Note your insights.

6. Read 1 Kings 17: 1. What do you learn about Elijah that helps explain his courage?

7. Sharing question: Honestly evaluate your own life. Whom do you really serve most of the time? God? Self? Husband? Children? Beauty? Fun? Achievement? Job? Money? Friendships? Love? Feelings? Attention? Your own desires? Having others see you as perfect? Popularity?

Read 1 Kings 18:1-19.

8. Describe Elijah’s courageous behavior.

62. Why did he do this (1 Ki. 18:1)? What does this story teach us about courage?

9. Responding to God: Write a journal entry or poem about the state of your own courage and the “god(s)” whom you serve.

Day Three Study

Continue the story that we began yesterday. Review 1 Ki. 18:1-19 and read 1 Ki. 18:20-40.

10. Summarize the story.

11. What were the odds against Elijah (1 Ki. 18:19)? How might that have affected his emotions in the situation?

Diamonds in the Word: Read other stories where the odds were against God’s people in 2 Kings 6:8-23 or Judges 7:1-23. What do you learn about God from these stories?

12. Read the following verses to help you build courage in the face of fear. Write down what encourages you to be brave when you are outnumbered or afraid of what others will do to you.

    a. John 16:33 (this week’s verse)—you may want to read vv.31-32 also

    b. Rom. 8:35-39

    c. Psalm 91

    d. 1 John 4:4

13. Sharing question: Which verse in the previous question most helps you build courage? Why? Work on memorizing it:)

14. Sharing question: Have you ever stood alone against the crowd? It may have been refusing to bad mouth your boss with the other workers. Perhaps it was the refusal to gossip with the other moms at your child’s school. If you cannot remember such a situation, can you think of a time when you now wish you had stood alone? Share the story with your group

15. Responding to God: Pray the verse(s) that you chose back to God. Put yourself in the verse, and write your prayer below. For example, you could pray this from John 16:33: Father, help me believe the things that Jesus told us so that I will have peace. Give me the grace to deal with the trouble and suffering that will happen in this world. Help me take courage in knowing that Jesus conquered the world and can give me the power to do the same.

Day Four Study

Continue Elijah’s story by reading 1 Kings 18:41-46.

16. How does this relate to 1 Ki. 18:1-2?

17. What do you learn about God from this passage? What do you learn about Elijah?

18. Compare James 5:16-18 to this story. Write down your insights.

19. Sharing question: Elijah’s prayer was based upon the will of God. How well on a scale of 1-10 do you ask God to know his will before you begin to pray about a situation? With how much patience do you wait to hear his answer so that you can pray in accordance with what he wants to do? If you did, do you think that you would have more courage when you face trouble?


20. Read these verses on praying in God’s will and write down your thoughts about how doing so may help you grow in courage.

    a. Jn. 14:13-14 (to ask in Jesus’ name is to ask according to his character and his will)

    b. Jn. 16:23

    l. 1 John 5:14

Diamonds in the Word: Read in some Bible resources on 1 Kings 18. Journal what God shows you in his word.

21. Responding to God: Write a prayer asking God to reveal his will about a specific situation to you so that you can pray accordingly. Ask him to give you the time and patience to wait for the answer rather than jumping ahead and possibly praying something opposite of his will.

Day Five Study

Read 1 Kings 19:1-18.

22. How did Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, react after hearing about the confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal (1 Ki. 19:2)?

23. What was Elijah’s reaction to her message (1 Ki. 3-4)? How would you explain Elijah’s loss of courage?

24. Sharing question: What do you learn from Elijah’s fear response that you can use in your own life when you are faced with a dangerous or difficult situation?

25. Sharing question: What do you learn about God from his response to Elijah in 1 Ki. 19:5-18, and how does it encourage you today?

Diamonds in the Word: Go back to Heb. 11, which we considered in Week One reading vv. 32-40. Consider these characters and what you learn about courage.


26. Responding to God: Draw (yes, stick figures are great!) a picture of yourself defeated in some way, maybe not in a cave but wherever you go when you are down, tired, and fearful. Draw something to represent God’s care for you, perhaps angels ministering to you in some way. Thank God for that care.

Each of us has an area where we need courage, but it probably doesn’t involve torture or imprisonment but an everyday area of life where we are truly afraid. Sara and Bob Ann share such stories.

Sara’s Story

Part of my job at a local television station was answering phone calls from viewers who had questions or complaints about programs that aired on the station. Two weeks prior to airing a very controversial program, my boss suggested that I watch the program ahead of time so that I would be better prepared to respond to the onslaught of complaint calls that were expected because of the pre-publicity about this particular program.

I watched the program one day during my lunch hour. The subject matter and the way it was presented was the complete antithesis of my Christian beliefs. Immediately my stomach churned and my heart sank. I knew the Lord was showing me that I could not continue working at the station, even though it was my "dream job" and I had worked there for seven years.

I decided that day that I would give my two-week notice, and be out-of-there by the time the program was scheduled to air. This was probably the biggest decision I had ever made.

However, I felt a complete peace about my decision even though I had never quit a job before without having another job already lined-up.

My boss, my co-workers, the president of the station, and my family, all were keenly aware that I was leaving over a matter of principle.

God strengthened my faith through the whole experience. God honored my courage to stand-up for Him and my faith when I had no prospects or plans to find a new job, by providing a new job for me within the exact two-week-period!

Would you courageously give up a job with nowhere to go and no one to support you in order to stand alone for God?

Bob Ann’s Story

I had not been a Christian many years when I was asked to introduce someone to a large group of women at Northwest. I have a terrible fear of public speaking, so I was really praying and thinking and trusting God for what I would say. The morning that I spoke I remembered part of a verse that said God would give you “the peace of God”. I couldn’t remember anything else. I knew I needed peace so I began to search my Bible for the verse. I found it in Phil. 4:6&7:  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be make known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  

At that time I did what the verse told me to do: I prayed, thanked God for the opportunity to speak, and told him that I was scared. I waited for peace and it didn’t come. I still had to introduce the lady, so I got up to the podium and began to speak. At that time I realized my fear was gone; I introduced the lady, and then told everyone about God answering my prayer. It was at that time that I realized that God doesn’t necessarily answer prayers ahead of time; he waits until the time when we need him the most.

What is your greatest fear? Would you trust God and courageously step out in faith when he calls you to do it?

Growing in Godliness for Moms - Courageous

As I was working on this section, I received a call from a mother who is in a crisis situation with her teenage children, their friends, and the friends’ parents. She is walking through a stressful situation that requires both courage and wisdom. We have talked several times, but I felt prompted today to encourage her to read through the book of Proverbs noting every verse that applies to her situation, particularly the ones that apply to a confrontation with a difficult perhaps even abusive person. I reminded her that the LORD could speak through her and give her the confidence and wisdom she needs to be His representative at a potentially dangerous meeting. I told her that the Holy Spirit could call to her mind wisdom from God’s word during the meeting exactly when she needs it.

This mother called me back that same afternoon to say that while talking with another mother who is involved in the situation, the Holy Spirit did call to her mind a verse from Proverbs that she learned long ago but had not looked at in quite some time. She had to look in the concordance to find the reference, and there it was – Proverbs 21:1: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord like channels of water; he turns it wherever he wants.” She not only was encouraged that God had already reminded her of a verse she had forgotten, but she was also appreciative of God’s reminder to her of His sovereignty. God is the one who can change someone’s heart. Rather than focus on fear, she can focus on God’s control both of the situation and of the heart of the abusive person. Her courage will not be from her wisdom or her boldness, but her strength will come from the Lord.

We do not have to teach our children to be courageous in their own strength but to know that courage and boldness come from the Lord. We are able to face the enemy in His strength not in our own. When our children face a problem at school or a problem with a friend, we can pray for them by name asking God to go with them and give them courage. When we face difficult situations with the strength that comes from the Lord, we model for our children that confidence and courage do not come from within ourselves but from God.

Lord, help me to remember that You are the source of my confidence. I thank You that You are sovereign and that You control all things. Help me to place my confidence in You rather than in circumstances, people, money, or any of the false gods of our culture. Help my children to be God-confident and face difficult situations in Your strength rather than in their own ability.

Proverbs 14:26

In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence,

and it will be a refuge for his children.

Action Step: Tell your children about a time when you were frightened but you asked the Lord to be your confidence. Share with them how the Lord allowed you to get through the situation and how He worked in your behalf. Explain that God wants to do the same thing for them as they face their own difficulties.

Related Topics: Spiritual Life, Character Study, Curriculum