This Bible study has two simple aims. First, the purpose of the study is to help believers, new and old, live out the faith through seven essential habits of the Church. Second, the study helps college students learn to practice the art of reading Scripture, especially the Gospels. The title, Living Gospel, tries to reflect these two aims with its double meaning. On one hand, we want students to live out the Gospel and to embody its message with their lives. On the other hand, the Gospels are not just fairy tales or mere accounts of history, but a living reality that affects us today just as much as it affected Jesus’ listeners 2,000 years ago. This reality has the power to completely change our lives if we are open to hearing God’s message.
INTRODUCTION: LEADING THIS STUDY
First, this study will help believers, new and old, live out the Faith through seven essential habits of the Church. Second, it will help college students learn to practice the art of reading Scripture, especially the Gospels.
CHAPTER 1: READING THE WORD OF GOD
In a poetic fashion, John places each line of Scripture into place with a distinct purpose. These first eighteen verses of John’s Gospel provide a table of contents, so to speak, for the themes that will reoccur throughout this book.
CHAPTER 2: PRAYING DAILY
The words of the Our Father are powerful in themselves, and they give us an incredible model for our own prayers. Let’s walk through the Our Father in Matthew, phrase by phrase, to get a better understanding of how Jesus is teaching us to pray.
CHAPTER 3: RECEIVING THE SACRAMENTS
First, we want members of the study to develop a desire for the sacraments themselves. It’s easy to view sacraments as dead rituals if we don’t know the meaning behind them. Second, we want members of the study to see the scriptural foundations for the sacraments (in this case, the Eucharist).
CHAPTER 4: BEING OPEN TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
Along with Jesus Christ and God the Father, the Holy Spirit is one of the three persons that make up the Trinity. Here, in John’s Gospel, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Counselor and the Spirit of Truth. Jesus will elaborate on these titles later in the passage.
CHAPTER 5: BUILDING OUR CHARACTER AND COMMUNITY
Jesus’ message in the Beatitudes seems to turn the thinking of the world upside down. The persecuted should rejoice. The meek will inherit the earth. How can this be? The Beatitudes are a reminder that, if we are truly dedicated to Christ, our lives should look distinctly different from what the world expects.
CHAPTER 6: PRACTICING STEWARDSHIP
Jesus gives us an eternal perspective by foretelling what God’s judgment will look like. This passage includes two powerful parables, where Jesus teaches His disciples about the end of the world and the judgment that will come. In doing so, Jesus wants us to see the eternal effect of our actions.
CHAPTER 7: SHARING THE GOOD NEWS WITH OTHERS
This passage teaches us about the human condition, the answer Jesus has to our deepest questions, and our responsibility to share Him with others.