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 Explore the Bible curriculum.
Bible Passage: 1 John 4:1-6
Discussion Questions: How do you know if a person’s teachings are true? What criteria do you use to determine the validity of someone’s teachings?
Food for Thought:
When we purchase something, we want to make sure we are getting the real thing. For example, if the salesperson offers name-brand sunglasses to us at a fraction of the cost, we ought to be skeptical. We should ask questions that help us determine if they are authentic. We might look for a model number printed inside the arm. We may look for the “made in” engraved in the correct spot. If the logo is on the lenses, we may make sure it is etched and not painted. We will test the product until our skepticism is either eased or confirmed.
John encouraged his readers to test the teachings of people they encountered with the same kind of skepticism (1 John 4:1). In John’s day, teachers would arrive in the area and look for a gathered crowd. John told his readers to pay attention to what was being taught. If the teachings did not affirm Jesus as being fully divine and fully human, that person’s teachings were to be rejected. If the teachers affirmed these teachings, then the people could give them an ear.
Consider the number of people today claiming to be messengers sent from God. Not all of these “messengers” represent God. John’s warning to test the teachings of people must continue to be heeded today. We can’t afford to simply accept all that is taught in our world as true. God is always consistent with His message. The whole of Scripture remains the standard by which all teaching must be measured, with the center of that standard being Jesus’ identifying Himself as the Son of God who came to earth to actually die in our place for our sin. The stakes are too high for us to fail to put “teachers” to the test.
Explore the Bible
Explore the Bible is an ongoing Bible study curriculum that helps groups dig into the key truths of each Bible book, while keeping the group on pace to study through the Bible books in a systematic way. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/ExploreTheBible.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.