Bible Study for January 7, 2024
Bible Study as Discipleship: Scripture calls us to grow in the knowledge of God/theology, and the pursuit of this knowledge, of theology, is an act of Christian obedience. It is part of Christian discipleship, a non-negotiable for the believer.
Creator of all, we thank you for the opportunity to gather in study. Open our minds and hearts. By the power of the Holy Spirit, unite us in faith, hope, and love. Help us to be faithful to the gospel and to walk humbly with you. Grant us your peace as we grow in wisdom and understanding. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Mark 1:4-11 n what ways are you identified as a Christian? What marks you as a disciple?
John the Baptist came preaching a baptism of repentance – but not just repentance in general. John wanted people to repent because the Messiah was coming, and he wanted people to be ready. John’s appearance was a revival of the prophetic movement, which most Jews felt ended around 400 BC. John’s baptism was a one-time event, a reorientation of a person’s life in that moment. It marked the baptized person as one of God’s chosen who was leaving behind the sins of the past and making a fresh start and who was committed to welcoming the coming Messiah. John was building a community that was ready for the reign of God. So why was the sinless Jesus baptized for repentance? He was choosing to associate himself with this gathering of God’s chosen who were obedient. The most basic reality of the Christian faith is the Incarnation – the faith that in Jesus Christ God entered the world in human form to identify with all humanity. So By being baptized, Jesus identified himself with our sinfulness and need for repentance. The miraculous and supernatural signs surrounding the baptism of Jesus are all affirmations of who Jesus is – God’s beloved Son.
Acts 19:1-7 Consider the person and work of the Holy Spirit. How have you received the Holy Spirit, and how do you live out that experience daily?
Paul and Apollos were partners in ministry, appealing to different people. Paul clashed with other early leaders and disciples who were taught that a Christian still need to observe Jewish customs. Apollos was a Jewish “Jesus Follower” from a Hellenistic / Greek background who had disagreements with Paul. Despite this tension, they were able to work together in mutual purpose and Christian love. In Ephesus, Paul met some Jesus Followers who only knew the baptism of John the Baptist. Paul saw their faith as incomplete as they had not received the Holy Spirit, so Paul taught them in this new way, and then baptized them. Christian baptism is a rite of initiation into the life and kingdom of the Messiah.Closing Prayer
God of glory,
you have given us a new name and robed us in salvation.
May we like Anna find our home in your presence,
and like Simeon recognize Jesus as the Christ,
so that, in joy and thanksgiving at becoming your children,
we may join with all creation to sing your praise. Amen.