2/18/18 Study Questions

1. Read Hebrews 2:14,15,17. Why did Jesus became human—flesh and blood?

2. The Christian life isn’t just “pie in the sky when you die”, so to what extent should we experience the abundant life now?

   a) What exactly does ‘experiencing the abundant life' mean (see John 10:10)?

3. How, practically, can we keep our focus on our eternal destiny in the midst of life’s problems?

4. Sometimes Psalm 8 is used to teach the unbiblical concept of “self-esteem.” Was David’s response to these truths to glorify himself or God? Is it proper to have a sense of significance because we’ve been created in God’s image? Why/why not?

5. Read Hebrews 2:10. In what sense was Jesus ‘perfected’?

   a) This same word ‘perfected’ is used in the following verses: Hebrews 5:8-9, 7:28, 10:14, 11:40. What insights does their context provide about the meaning of this word ‘perfected’?

6. Read Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 22:39-45, and Matthew 26:35-56. What does it mean, “He himself suffered when he was tempted”? In what way/sense was Jesus tempted?

7. Read Hebrews 2:18 and 4:15.  Why is Jesus able to help us, and how does He help us when we’re tempted?

8. Read Hebrews 12 and James 1:2-4. What do you think are some of God’s purposes in allowing us to face temptation?

9. Read 1 Corinthians 7:5-7, 1 Corinthians 10:6-13, 2 Corinthians 11:3, Galatians 6:1-5, James 1:12-16, and 1 Timothy 6:9-10. What are other sources of temptation mentioned in these verses?

   a) Once we’ve identified areas of personal temptation, we can feel alone or embarrassed to share our weaknesses. Yet, the Bible encourages us to “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16). God says that sharing our weaknesses with other believers is part of our growth process. Which of these temptations do you tend to struggle with?

   b) Take time to share and encourage one another with the temptations you are currently facing.

2/11/18 Study Questions

1. The illustration was given of people regressing and going back to lesser things they’d grown out of (crawling etc).

     a) How does this relate to the big picture of the letter to the Hebrews?

     b) Try and describe what the letter to the Hebrews is about in a single sentence.

Read Hebrews 2:1-4

2. How does knowing this letter was written to believers affect how you interpret these verses—especially verse 3?

Read John 6:37-40, John 10:27-30, Ephesians 1:13-14, and Ephesians 2:8-9

3. What theological truth do these verses teach us about eternal life?

     a) How does this truth change your love and appreciation of Jesus?

     b) How does this truth affect your motivation to obey and serve God?

4. What’s the difference between serving God out of love versus duty?

5. Examine your own motivation. What motivates you as a follower of Jesus—and why? Do you need to adjust your thinking?

6. It was suggested that we sometimes have more confidence in our own sinful nature, or in Satan’s ability to deceive, than in God’s power and grace.

     a) Have you ever experienced this? If so, how and why?

     b) What are some of the outcomes or consequences of being more confident of our own weakness than in God’s grace and power to save?

Read 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

7. A consequence of ignoring our salvation is loss of our future reward.

     a) What causes us to slip into performance mode where we only serve God to get rewarded?

     b) What is the remedy to regressing back to this ‘works based’ mentality (Hebrews 2:1)?

8. How can we pay attention to Jesus as the author of our salvation and the one who loved us saved us?

2/4/18 Study Questions

1. The thought that some first century Jews worshipped angels can seem a bit strange to believers today because we’re very aware that Jesus is so much greater than the angels. But today Christians and non-Christians are still fascinated by the supernatural.

     a) How can a fascination with the spiritual realm sometimes lead to a false understanding of angels—and therefore a false understanding of ourselves as Christians? Give an example.

     b) Read 1 Peter 5:8-9 and 1 John 4:4. What do these verses teach about what our attitude and relationship towards fallen angels should be (i.e. demons/devils/evil spirits)—and why?

Read Hebrews 1:4-14

2. The author’s main point in these verses is that Jesus is divine and therefore vastly superior to the angels. What proofs does the author use to show that Jesus is superior to the angels?

     a) Some would say that the word ‘firstborn’ in verse 6 means that Jesus isn’t eternal but was created. How would you answer this? What verses from the Bible would you use to refute that claim?

Read Hebrews 1:4-6 and then read Psalm 2.

3. How do these verses point to Jesus being divine (God) as opposed to being an angel who became a Son of God—or any other option?

     a) What difference does it make if Jesus is just an angel, or is truly God?

     b) Why is it so essential and important to our Christian faith to affirm the full and complete deity of Jesus Christ?

4. Hebrews 1:13-14 talks about a future salvation that followers of Jesus will inherit. The illustration was given of a drowning person being saved by a life preserver, but then being saved again when they are pulled onto the boat. The preserver represents the salvation of faith in Jesus, and being pulled back into the boat represents the coming salvation when Jesus comes back to take his own out the world.

     a) Are you confident of the power of God through Jesus Christ to completely save you already? Why/why not?

     b) What does it mean to ‘inherit’ salvation’?

     c) How can we live in the hope of ‘inheriting’ the coming salvation?

5. What difference does it make to our daily life here and now if we truly recognize and live by the fact that Jesus is God, supreme and over all things, and has already won the victory over sin and death?

     a) What is the visible evidence of God’s divine power in your life through Jesus?

Read 1 Peter 5:8-9

6. What is Peter’s main point in these verses (what’s he hoping we will do)?

     a) How can you resist Satan?

     b) What faulty beliefs do you have that make you an easy target for Satan?

     c) What verses could you memorize to rehearse the truth about the spiritual battle?

     d) Going back to the illustration of saved people still being in life preservers safely bobbing in the water, is your fear of the ocean (the troubles and threats of the world) greater than your confidence in the preserver (Jesus) and His ability to one day pull you into the boat (take you to Heaven? Why/why not?

1/28/18 Study Questions

1. Communication is a fundamental aspect of our culture and society. What are some of the specific strengths and weaknesses of the various forms of communication available to us today, e.g. phone calls, written notes, FaceBook, email, texting, tweeting etc?

Read Hebrews 1:1 and Deuteronomy 18:18-22

2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of prophets speaking on behalf of God?

3. What are some of the creatively different ways that God has historically spoken through prophets (e.g. Ezekiel 4:1-6, Hosea 1:2)? 

     a) What do we learn about God from how he deliberately ‘spoke in various ways’ through the prophets?

Read Hebrews 1:2-3

4. The writer of the letter lists seven facts about Jesus that prove He is greater than the prophets.

     a)What do each of these facts reveal to us about Jesus?

     b)How do these facts about Jesus separate Him from the prophets?

Read Luke 9:28-33

5. In his excitement Peter forgot the difference between Jesus and the two prophets. How can we sometimes forget the difference between Jesus and the many voices in our lives that speak on behalf of God?  

6. What are the ‘voices’ in your life that you let speak to you on behalf of God?  

Read John 1:1-2,14 and 1 John 1:1  

7. John called Jesus ‘the Word’ and ‘the Word of life’? (Word = Gk: Logos) What does this name mean?

8. The prophets gave indirect, impersonal communication from God but Jesus gave direct, personal communication with God. How are you able to hear or listen to the Word of God as a result of Jesus?

9. What can you do to ensure that you ‘listen’ to Jesus regularly and receive the full and complete revelation Jesus offers?    

1/21/18 Study Questions

Overview of Hebrews:

  • Purpose: exhort Jewish believers to stay with Jesus and not return to Judaism even though they were discouraged by constant persecution and beginning to doubt their faith in Jesus.
  • Jesus trumps the prophets, the angels, and Moses because of who he is. (Hebrews 1:1-4:13)
  • Jesus trumps the priests, the old Covenant and the temple sacrifices because of what he has done. (Hebrews 4:14-10:18)
  • Jesus trumps Judaism and all religions/philosophies because a) Faith in Jesus gives us the confidence we need to live life! (Hebrews 10:19-11:40), b) Faith in Jesus gives us the power we need to live life! (Hebrews 12:1-29), c) Faith in Jesus gives us love we need to live life! (Hebrews 13:1-25)

1. Persecution caused the Jews to get discouraged and starting doubting their faith in Jesus.

     a) Do you ever get discouraged in your faith and start questioning/doubting it? If so, why—what are the things that cause you to get discouraged and start doubting?

     b) The discouraged Jews turned to the familiarity and comfort of Judaism. When you get discouraged and doubt, what familiar comfortable substitute/crutch do you turn to and put your faith in? Why?

2. Read Hebrews 1:1-4 and Hebrews 3:1-6. The writer says Jesus is greater than the prophets and the angels and Moses because of who He was. Why was Jesus’ so much greater than the prophets, angels and Moses—what does the text tell us specifically?

3. Read Hebrews 4:14-16, Hebrews 8:1-13 and Hebrews 9:1-28. The writer says Jesus is greater than the priests, the old covenant and the temple sacrifices because of what he’d done. What had Jesus specifically done that was greater than the priests, the old covenant and the temple sacrifices?

4. How do these facts/truths about Jesus help strengthen your faith—what practical difference do they make to you today as a follower of Jesus?

5. The writer appealed to the Jews 5 times, warning them not to give up and fall away: 

     Appeal #1: the danger of ignoring God 2:1-4

     Appeal #2: the danger of not believing God 3:7-4:

     Appeal #3: the danger of not growing in Faith 5:11-6:20

     Appeal #4: danger of quitting on God (backsliding/cruising) 10:26-39

     Appeal #5: danger of saying no to God 12:25-29

What do Christians do (or not do) that causes us to run the risk of doing these things—and what we can do practically to ensure we avoid them?

6. Which of the appeals/warnings is most relevant to you—which do you tend to do?

     a) Revisit your answers to questions 2 and 3. Which of the facts/truths about Jesus in this letter to the Hebrews helps you with that appeal/warning most, when you’re discouraged and have doubts? Share with the group and pray for each other.