My five-year-old daughter loves cookies. She loves Fruit Loops and the color pink. She loves zebras and flamingos.
She loves cherry tomatoes and apple slices.
She loves music you can dance to (and she does boogie!)
All day long, she squeals with excitement over this joy and that joy, expressing delight and comfort and gratitude.
I call her my “joy bucket.” She loves to love.
It’s so easy, though, to toss that word around.
We love coffee or tea. We love books and we love sunny days. We love fresh-fallen snow and warm, fuzzy blankets.
We love to love and we love to be loved.
But can we say this, also?
We love our neighbor?
We love the unlovable?
We love God?
What is this Love, anyway? Surely it’s not the same as loving chocolate or loving Starbucks.
In our study of Kelly Minter’s book: What Love Is: The Letters of 1, 2, 3 John, we’ll be looking at the themes of:
More than that, we’ll be looking at Love. As Kelly writes in the Introduction, “at a time when the word love means just about anything under the sun, and therefore almost nothing, John tells us ‘this is what love is…..’ And then he shows us Jesus” (p. 7).
BIBLE STUDY TIP:
This study is going to take you all over Scripture. One of my favorite ways to complete a study like this is to use a tool such as BibleGateway.com. For this study, I actually opened Bible Gateway up in my web browser two times. I used one Bible Gateway page to read the main passage for each day. Then I used the other page of Bible Gateway to look up the many additional Scriptures Kelly Minter references. This saved a lot of time and I was able to read the verses in multiple translations or look at whole passages and chapters for context easily.
A FEW GUIDELINES FOR ONLINE BIBLE STUDY
IMPORTANT: The first week of online Bible study, many women are exploring different small groups. Some groups will move very fast and are challenging, while others are easier to read. This changes the second week…and the timelines are much easier to follow. Please be patient as the new women navigate the small groups and learn how they work. We usually have 15 women in the large groups, 8 women in the smaller groups on the second week of study.
CONFIDENTIALITY: Anything shared in small groups is not to be repeated outside of the group. Please respect the women who are transparent with their testimonies.
SENSITIVITY: Please resist the temptation to interrupt (such as posting Facebook symbols or links to articles and videos), monopolizing by drawing attention to yourself instead of the Holy Spirit, or trying to “fix” shared problems. Women want to be heard and not told what to do.
NON-DENOMINATIONAL: As a diverse group of women, we have different church doctrines, Bible translations and theologies. This is a place to respectfully disagree, rather than judging one another, so that you may grow and understand different viewpoints. It’s okay to question and see things differently, however we ask you to be kind and sensitive to the feelings of others.
BIBLE TRANSLATIONS: The author of this Bible study uses the New Living Translation (NLT) for teaching. You’re welcome to use any Bible translation of your choice, we encourage you to explore parallel (side-by-side) translations to get the most from this study. Use an online program such as BibleGateway, YouVersion, or BlueLetterBible if you’d like to study the Word in many translations- NIV, NKJV, ESV, NASB, and more. Many Bible apps have audio Bibles, so you can listen to the entire book of John if you’d like to!
ACCOUNTABILITY: We encourage you to find an accountability partner to pray for you and keep each other on track. If you see someone in your small group that you feel the Holy Spirit is guiding you towards for accountability, send her a friend request. Our leaders are available to serve you too, so if you want a leader to help you then send her a friend request.
ASSIGNMENT FOR THE WEEK:
- Write a prayer inside the cover of your What Love Is workbook sharing with God what’s on your heart as you begin this study.
- Join a small group and fellowship with your fellow Bible students!
- Basic Study: Complete week 1 in the study guide, about 20-30 minutes each day.
- Optional: Watch session 1 video (optional due to cost).
- Download: Answers to the Video Sessions: What Love Is Video Viewer Guide With Answers
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THIS WEEK (Answer here or in your small group)
- Imagine you win a free ski vacation this winter. Would you be more likely to spend all day out on the slopes or spend all day cozied by the fire with hot chocolate and a good book?
- What do you hope to gain from this study and the time spent together?
- If you had to define Love in just a few words, what would you say?
- If this is your first Bible study, we’re so excited for you! If you’ve done a Bible study before (here at WBC or anywhere else), do you have any tips you can share for those new to Bible study?
- Does anyone have any questions before we meet again next week?
Before we meet next week, please read WEEK ONE in your study book. You’ll need about 20 to 30 minutes each day to complete the lesson. Be intentional about making the time and protecting this time with God, not because it’s a chore, but because you love Him and want to be with Him!
Welcome to Online Bible Study!