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Bible Study: Our Victor over internal foes

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: 1 John 5:4-5

Discussion Questions:

  • What is the closest you have ever come to being in a war zone? How did you feel?
  • In what ways is the Christian life a war to be waged?
  • Who or what would you identify as the greatest enemy to you having a victorious walk with Christ? Explain your answer.

Food for thought:

In February 2022 the world watched in anger and horror as Russian troops invaded Ukraine. Consensus opinion among pundits and military experts claimed that, barring direct engagement by NATO, Russian military would make short order of Ukrainian defenses, quickly moving in and taking the capital and the nation. Stalemate seems to be the most prominent description of the conflict at this point, as Ukraine has overcome its initial disadvantage.

Unsuspecting Christians often find themselves blindsided by a war they didn’t anticipate. We often expect, or at least live as if we expect, our journey in Christ to occur on smooth roads under clear skies. When war breaks out, we can sometimes feel ambushed and at a grave disadvantage. Yet John used “conquers,” “conquered” and “victory” to describe believers who have “been born of God” (1 John 5:4-5).

Famed evangelist D.L. Moody began his book “The Overcoming Life” addressing “the Christian’s warfare.” Moody identified two categories of foes that believers must conquer to experience an overcoming life. “If we are going to overcome, we must begin inside. God always begins there.” For the enemy within is always more dangerous than the one without.

Moody specified several internal foes. He cited appetite. The appetite takes several forms, but Moody highlighted the appetite for “strong drink” that can sabotage both the body and the soul. Moody cited temper; not temper in general, but temper that has mastered the individual rather than the other way around. Covetousness. So dangerous is this foe that it appears in the Ten Commandments. Jealousy and envy are taken together as a foe that puts its owner, not its object, at risk. Pride. All should be wary of pride, not just those whom society would deem worthy of it.

To be sure, we have external foes that aim to harm us as well. These include worldly habits that seek to redirect us, and pleasure that allures us to drop our guard. There’s business, which never is satisfied and always wants more of us, and persecution that increases its attacks the more we experience overcoming victory. But all foes, internal and external, remain subject to the Victor from the cross.


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.


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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources