NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passages: Ephesians 1:4-5,13-14; 3:16-20
- Would you say your knowledge of God’s love is greater, equal to, or lesser than it was the day you became a follower of Jesus? Explain.
- Can one know God’s love apart from a community of believers? Explain your answer.
- What is the greatest thing you have learned about God’s love?
Food for thought:
For a while, at least where I lived, it seemed that every conversation liberally sprinkled in the phrase, “you know.” “What did you do last night?” “Well, you know, we went to the mall, you know, and got something to eat before, you know, going to the movies, you know?” Though I sometimes found myself falling into the same pattern, it did strike me as begging for one of two responses: either, “No, I don’t know!” or “If you think I know, why are you telling me?”
Perhaps the most important thing we do know, or should know but can’t know fully, is that God loves us. When we hear or say that, it often comes with little more impact than the redundant “you know.” Author and pastor Alistair Begg, drawing from Paul’s prayers in the book of Ephesians, calls for us to pray for love. Certainly we need not pray that God would love us, for the crucifixion and resurrection clearly attest to the fact He already does. But Begg urges us to pray that we “may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love” (Ephesians 3:18).
“With all the saints” helps us recognize we will only grasp God’s love within the context of the church. It is not something we discover on our own. Lest temptation overtake us to claim we have known this truth since our tender years, Begg points out that “comprehend” addresses two realms – the mind and the heart. While our minds might have grasped the simplicity of God’s love long ago, who among us can say our hearts comprehend it day in and day out, for it “surpasses knowledge” (v. 19)?
How then can we know that which is beyond our knowledge? Only by ministry in our “inner being through his Spirit” (v. 16) can we hope to begin to grasp such knowledge-defying love. We can’t learn it on our own. Only the Spirit’s ministry can teach us.
Pray big – pray to know God’s love, you know?
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at Lifeway.com/masterwork.