How to Use this Study:
The author has composed this study in a conversational tone, lacking the typical “student handout” or “leader’s guide.” Hence, the study can be used in a conversational Bible class setting, or even in personal devotion and study. Use the left column as the “Monologue” of the author, either read it verbatim or use it to develop your own talk as the teacher of the class. Whenever the author makes a direct reference to scripture, consider leading students to open the Word and do likewise. The right hand column provides “Asides” to the primary monologue, interesting tidbits as if the author were seated next to you during his own lecture, sharing added insights.
Lesson 1: The Family
Families…we all have them, for better or for worse. We are all members of at least one family. Brothers, sisters, half-siblings, children, parents, step-parents, spouses…we are all connected through birth for life to various people that we had no part in choosing. What is even more strange is that we usually love these people deeply and profoundly, with a love that often forgives the most hurtful injuries and gets us through many hard times. Amazing.
Lesson 2: Honor Your Father and Mother
Here we go again, with more of this Old Testament stuff. A commandment no less. What does this have to do with us modern (or post-modern) New Testament/ saved by faith not works/Gospel-oriented citizens of the twenty-first century? Sure, we may want to stick them in courthouses and other public buildings, but the commandments…Jesus came to free us from the Law, after all. But as we’ve seen in the previous study, we gain important tips for living as people (children) of God in all of God’s Word, including the Old Testament.
Lesson 3: The Real Story of Family and Relationships
We’ve painted a nice ideal portrait of the functional loving family–cell phones, mini-vans, 2.3 children, soccer moms, chocolate chip cookies and milk, apple pie–surely the family we all have and experience on a daily basis, right? So why the disparity between the ideal the real? Obviously, we can blame sin…and would be right to do so. We can recognize certain traits of broken/disfunctional relationships and work to counter or at least hold in check the extremely basic desires/drives/human tendencies that destroy relationships.
Lesson 4: So What?
Okay…we’ve gone on for three lessons looking at various aspects of the family. Should be a place of unconditional love and security, but often is not. Parents and children are gifts from God and have their unique roles in the family. Selfishness hurts relationships. God and Jesus are our role models in almost everything. If I’m a ticked off elder, I can summon, in righteous anger, omnivorous predators who will rend my enemies limb from limb. We know all these things but have a lot of trouble taking them to heart, applying them.