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 Passage: Matthew 6:9
— Do you like or dislike your name? Why?
— How do people show respect or disrespect for your name? How do they show respect or disrespect for God’s name?
— What steps can believers take to assure that their lives reflect respect and honor for God’s name?
Food for thought:
Shakespeare asked, “What’s in a name?” Plenty apparently, if you consider the agony and effort many parents-to-be put into the task of selecting a name for their child.
The website Goodreads.com identifies 72 popular baby names books, and by implication there would be many, many more that did not qualify as “popular.” We use names to honor family or friends, commemorate events, or give homage to a favorite team, player, character or the like. We seem to intuitively understand that names are important.
That holds particularly true of God’s name. In the model prayer (Matthew 6:9-15), a part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He began by instructing His disciples to pray, “Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy” (CSB) or “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name” (KJV). What does it mean to pray God’s name be “honored” or “hallowed”? To begin with, it means taking God seriously. While it might make us uncomfortable to hear people use God’s name in a curse, the question comes back to us, “How seriously do we take God in disciplining ourselves to the highest standards He has laid out for us?”
Hallowing God’s name means we recognize the significance of His name, or actually His names. His character shines through in the names by which Scripture reveals Him. To take God seriously calls for us to know Him in personal terms, more than just by a formal title. He revealed His many-faceted character throughout His Word. Not the least of these is His holiness. He is righteous, distinct, set apart from all else, but He also calls for His followers to be holy (Leviticus 11:44-45, 1 Peter 1:15-16). Because God is holy and calls us to holiness, we have no option but to fear the Lord.
The author closes the session of MasterWork with a list of ways, steps or conditions for hallowing God’s name. One does not accidently honor God any more than one accidently follows God. Both are intentional determinations. May honoring His holy name ever occupy the forefront of our thoughts.
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 www.lifeway.com/masterwork .