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Bible Study: New identity in Christ

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: Genesis 35:1-15

Discussion Questions:

  • What are some things we’re tempted to idolize in our society?
  • How can we actively work to avoid idols and keep our focus on the Lord?
  • What is the significance of God identifying Himself as “God Almighty” in verse 11?

Food for thought:

Our understanding of who we are goes a long way in determining what we become. The foundation for understanding who we are is first laid within the context of family. As soon as we enter the world, we are a daughter or son, possibly a sister or brother. We’re given a name that identifies what we call ourselves and what others call us.

As we age, we develop our sense of personal identity. As believers, we are given a new identity in Christ when we’re born into the family of God – an identity God expects us to fulfill.

In Genesis 35, God directed Jacob to move his family to the city of Shechem in Canaan and to build an altar to God there. Jacob instructed his family to do three things in preparation: get rid of their false gods, purify themselves, and change their clothes. He wanted his family to be ready to experience God. Jacob buried all the idols and pagan jewelry under a tree, putting the past behind him. The Israelites needed to recognize that, just as God remembered His covenant with Jacob, they must never forget God’s faithfulness to them.

As Jacob and his family traveled, God brought a terror over those who surrounded them. This fear provided protection, as the other residents of the region chose not to pursue or attack Jacob’s family. Upon arriving in Bethel, Jacob built an altar and called the place “God of Bethel.”

God appeared to Jacob, reinforcing that Jacob’s name was changed to Israel. God also identified Himself as God Almighty, directed Jacob to multiply, and told him that he would become a source of nations and kings who would occupy the promised land. Jacob set up a marker on which he made a drink offering, poured oil on the marker, and named the place where God had spoken to him Bethel.

God gave Jacob an identity and expected him to fulfill it.

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.

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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources