Passing the Faith along – Bible Study

Read 16: 1 – 5; II Timothy 1: 5; II Timothy 3: 14 – 17

Acts 1-5 He also went to Derbe and Lystra. At Lystra there was a disciple by the name of Timothy whose mother was a Jewish Christian, though his father was a Greek. Timothy was held in high regard by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium, and Paul wanted to take him on as his companion. Everybody knew his father was a Greek, and Paul therefore had him circumcised because of the attitude of the Jews in these places. As they went on their way through the cities they passed on to them for their observance the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. Consequently the churches grew stronger and stronger in the faith and their numbers increased daily.

II Timothy 1: 5 I often think of that genuine faith of yours—a faith that first appeared in your grandmother Lois, then in Eunice your mother, and is now, I am convinced, in you as well. Because you have this faith, I now remind you to stir up that inner fire which God gave you at your ordination. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love and a sound mind.

II Timothy 3: 14-17 Yet you must go on steadily in all those things that you have learned and which you know are true. Remember from what sort of people your knowledge has come, and how from early childhood your mind has been familiar with the holy scriptures, which can open the mind to the salvation which comes through believing in Christ Jesus.

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Conversations ( questions prepared by Samuel Thambusamy)
1) Who are the characters mentioned in the passage? What do we know about them?

2) “ He was well spoken by the believers” (V2). What are the contemporary stories of Children/young people well spoken by believers? Share the faith-stories of children and young people?

3) Timothy’s father was a Greek. If Timothy had attended your Church VBS how would you have responded to Timothy? What would you have told him knowing that his father was not a believer? How do you think Timothy was able to live out his faith even as a child/young adult even though is father was not a believer?

4) Lois (Grandmother) and Eunice (Mother) had a huge influence on Timothy (2 Tim.1: 5) . Christian nurture is to be primarily done in the context of family (Deut 6). What role do you think a VBS teacher/Director can play in joining children on their spiritual journey? Are we usurping the role of parents?

5) How can VBS help parents/church join children in their spiritual journey?

6) What is God telling us through the passage? What are we going to do in response to God’s Word to me today?
I will …..

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Kids finding faith – Bible Study

Read 1 Samuel 3: 1 – 20

Conversations: (Questions prepared by Samuel Thambusamy)

1)What is this passage about?

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2)Who are the characters mentioned in the passage? What do we know about them?

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3)Hannah, Samuel’s mother was devout(I Samuel 1: 10 -11, 15 -16 ; ) and had depth of spiritual insight (2 Samuel 2: 1 – 11). She weaned Samuel (I Samuel 1:23) and later brought him to the temple. She dedicated him to the Lord’s service (I Samuel 1: 24, 27 – 28). She visited him during the annual sacrifice and brought him a new robe each year (I samuel 2:19). Do you agree that Hannah played a significant role in influencing Samuel to ‘minister before the lord’ (I Samuel 3:1)and grow in the presence of the Lord (I Samuel 2: 21b). What are the contemporary stories of mothers influencing faith in their children? In what ways can mothers influence their children to be sensitive to spiritual experiences?

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4)Samuel’s spiritual development is contrasted with the moral degradation of Eli’s sons. Their failure as sons was due the Eli’s failure as a father. Would you agree with this? What do you think is the role of the father in the spiritual development of children?

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5) The boy ministered before the Lord under Eli (I samuel 3:1). It was Eli who recognized that the Lord was calling samuel (I Samuel 3:8b) and guided the boy Samuel to respond to God ( I samuel 3:9).What do you think was Eli’s role in nurturing Samuel in the faith? What do you think is the role pastor/adults in the church can play in the spiritual development of children? Why do you think Eli was unable to nurture his own sons but able to help Samuel in his spirtual journey?

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6)The Lord spoke to Samuel. Do you think Samuel (who was a boy) understood what God told him? Why? can children experience and understand their experience with God?

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7)Do you agree that children have natural spirituality? Why? What qualifications would you put on this? Think of groups of children you have encountered. What evidence can you offer that children have a sensitivity or openess towards God? What are the factors in our church/community/family that work to damage or deaden this awareness of God?

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8) Can you share some spiritual lesson you learnt from the children you journey with?

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9) What is God telling us through the passage? What are you doing to do in response to God’s word through this passage?

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Children and Spirituality

David’s victory over Goliath is a fascinating story. The ‘rise-of-the-underdog’ theme within its narrative is a compelling metaphor throughout history. The story is replete with all ingredients of a super thriller. David’s triumph over Goliath – a champion of Gath – is not merely a story about the victory of an underage challenger over a formidable champion. It is not even about the defeat of an insolent bully who terrorized a spiritually impoverished nation. Rather, it is an extraordinary story about how an ordinary ‘shepherd-boy’ with a rare display of his faith in God resuscitated the faith of an entire Nation. Make no mistake; the story of David’s victory over Goliath is a fascinating story of what (child-like) faith in God can do.

In all probability, David could have been between 15 – 17 years of age; At least, he was still in his teens. References within the narrative by way of authorial comment (the youngest 17v14), King Saul’s cautionary remark (you are only a boy 17v33) and Goliath’s derision (you are only a boy17v42) are indicative of David’s relatively lesser age than the required age for military service (Numbers 13:3). However, David demonstrated the power of faith before all the people who followed King Saul to war. This ‘shepherd-lad’, barely in his teens and relatively inexperienced in the mechanics of warfare, singlehandedly re-wrote the script with an undisputable display of the presence and power of God. A nation desperate for a warrior to fight the mighty Goliath witnessed the rise of an unlikely ‘faith-hero’.

Can children and young people inspire faith? Children and young adults are not amongst our priority in the life and Mission of the Church. But, they have the potential of being faith-heroes. Surely, they can inspire our faith, redeem us from inaction and energize our Mission. The problem is not in their ‘unwillingness’ but rather in our mindset and praxis. This compelling narrative is both insightful and instructive about the promise and potential of faith in the lives of children and young adults. We (can) learn precious lessons, particularly to widen our outlook on children/young adults, lookout for these unlikely heroes within our own congregations/families and most importantly learn from them so as to re-discover the joy of returning to faith in God.

[Excerpts from my book that is to be published shortly]

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