Welcome to online Bible study at the Womens Bible Cafe! We’re discussing week one from the book What Love Is by Kelly Minter. It’s not too late to join this online Bible study; all small groups are open attendance and everyone is invited to participate! To register for this study please CLICK HERE
When I was a teenager, I sat one day at a large kitchen table in my great-grandmother’s home, listening to her stories.
My mom had said that if we didn’t hear the stories now, it might be too late.
So we wanted to be intentional about listening. We asked her to tell us her whole story, how she came to America as a young girl with her family and how they traveled into town on Sundays for church and then spent the rest of the day sharing meals and visiting friends before heading back to the farm.
She was an eyewitness to the Depression and World War II, to a world before cars and computers.
I scribbled notes into a spiral notebook so that we wouldn’t forget dates and details.
About two years later, she passed away in her sleep and I’m so thankful we had listened—really listened—to her while we had the chance.
As I read those first few lines of 1 John for this study, I felt like I was sitting at a farmhouse table with John, soaking in the memories told by the last living disciple of Jesus.
He was an eyewitness, someone who knew what Jesus’ laugh sounded like when He told a great story.
He knew what it was like to look straight into Jesus’ eyes and see love and grace looking back at him.
He had heard Jesus praying and saw Jesus transfigured in glory on a mountain.
He watched Jesus die and then ran breathless to the tomb days later when some of the women said it was empty.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us…. (1 John 1:1-3 NIV).
I don’t know about you, but as I read last week, I wanted so much to pepper John with question about Jesus so that I didn’t miss out on a single detail.
There’s something more, though.
Sometimes life smashes hard against our faith, ramming at the foundation and threatening to topple us over.
Kelly Minter writes in What Love Is:
“Sometimes my belief is shrouded in doubt, sometimes it’s overturned by blatant unbelief, at other times pain and suffering threaten to cut off its oxygen supply” (p. 16)
When we’re struggling, John reminds us that we can trust Jesus. We can know that God is faithful and God is love.
After all, John was there. He was an eyewitness. Maybe John isn’t alive to tell the stories to us any longer while we sit around the kitchen table, but we have his own personal testimony written down in his Gospel and in these letters.
So, if you’re ever feeling a little worn or weary, hurt or confused, shaky or uncertain, read that assurance from John again and hold on tight to belief.
That’s the power of testimony.
And, when God has taken you through that season, don’t just tuck that away in your own heart. Share the testimony with others so their hearts are encouraged and they are also reminded to believe and have hope.
BIBLE STUDY TIP FOR THE WEEK:
It might sound silly to say aloud, but sometimes questions in Bible study can be hard to answer! Maybe you are reading along in your workbook, doing just fine, and then you read a question that you don’t understand right away. Or maybe she asks you to give a personal example of something and you can’t think of what to say. Don’t get frustrated and give up! Give the question a good try—read it slowly and read a little before and after the question to see if context helps. If you’re still stumped, don’t let it become a hangup or discouragement. Leave it blank. Put a star next to if you want to return to it later.
Also, remember that one of the joys of doing Bible study together is being able to share with each other and ask others for help! If you didn’t understand a question, it’s okay to ask your small group about it at the end of your time together. Or, you can ask your small group leader if you can send her a message with your question.
Never let one blank question make you feel like giving up. Invite the Holy Spirit to teach you every time you open His Word and then focus on understanding the BIG idea that the author is sharing in that section of the study or, even more importantly, what God is teaching you through that Scripture passage.
ASSIGNMENTS FOR THE WEEK:
- Basic Study: Complete week 2 in the study guide, about 20-30 minutes each day.
- Optional: To watch session 2 video CLICK HERE (optional due to cost).
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THIS WEEK (answer in small groups or post a comment here)
- Did you learn anything about John’s life that surprised you or maybe something that you knew before, but were struck by in a fresh way? (From Week One, Day One)
- John called Jesus “The Word of Life” (1 John 1:1) and A.W. Tozer wrote, “it is the nature of God to speak, to communicate His thoughts to others.” How does knowing this give you hope in trying circumstances? (from p. 17)
- Kelly Minter writes that John offers an ‘invitation for togetherness’ when He writes about Christian fellowship. What kinds of blessings do we receive when we fellowship with other believers? (p. 22) Do you have a personal example of a particularly memorable time when you were blessed to be part of a Christian community?
- Kelly writes that missing out on fellowship with other Christians “not only isolates our hearts, but others miss out on the uniqueness of what only we can bring” (p. 18) Is there anything you can do to be more purposeful about participating in Christian community? Or is there a tangible way you can extend the hand of fellowship to someone else this week? (p 25).
- What was the most impacting moment for you this week? It may be a Bible verse, principle, prayer experience, revelation, new understanding, or conviction.