Download a PDF of the Bible Study: Remember the Titans.
(This Bible study is centered on the concepts of division and unity, especially as they factor into the lives of believers and the churches they attend. To examine this theme deeper, the movie Remember The Titans will serve as the backdrop for this study. If you don’t have the movie already, it would be a great addition to your library as it has many wonderful teaching moments throughout the film.)
Thinking about the history of our country, what are some instances of division that we have experienced? What have been the consequences of those divisions, how were they resolved (if they have been) and how have they impacted our lives today?
Throughout Scripture, we come across the contrast of unity and division on a regular basis. Some examples include (Have students look up these verses and read through them):
1 Corinthians 1:10 – I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Corinthians 6:17 – But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
Colossians 2:2 – My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,
Psalm 133:1 – How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
Romans 16:17 – I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.
Matthew 12:25 – Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.
Thinking about the word “unity” and all it encompasses, what are some positive examples of unity and what are some instances of unity in a negative sense when you think of the church and the Christian faith as a whole?
Now, utilize the word “division” and work through both the positives and negatives again in relation to the church and the Christian faith as a whole.
The Christian church has a long history of division within itself. Just the very fact that we have denominations lets you know that people are divided on a variety of issues when it comes to the faith. Even within a particular denomination (or a particular congregation for that matter) there are going to be disagreements and even divisions.
From a positive vantage point, these divisions can move us as a church to be continually growing deeper in our understanding of God’s Word and to discuss in a healthy forum why we disagree on certain aspects of Scripture and how we can move forward as the Body of Christ. There is something powerful when we are growing together.
On the flipside though, we see the damage of division when approached from a negative and sinful attitude. Name calling, line drawing and pompous piety leave people hurt and the Body of Christ far from where she could be on this side of the grave.
A great example of division from a negative vantage point is found in the movie Remember The Titans. (Cue the scene where the team is running through the woods and arrive at the battle of Gettysburg site. Give a little background to the movie in regards to the racial tensions of the time and how a school that was forced to have black and white students playing together worked through the divisions that existed because of the color of a man’s skin.)
From the clip – Coach Boone: This is where they fought the battle of Gettysburg. Fifty thousand men died right here on this field, fighting the same fight that we are still fighting among ourselves today. This green field right here, painted red, bubblin’ with the blood of young boys. Smoke and hot lead pouring right through their bodies. Listen to their souls, men. I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed my family. You listen, and you take a lesson from the dead. If we don’t come together right now on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed, just like they were. I don’t care if you like each other or not, but you will respect each other. And maybe… I don’t know, maybe we’ll learn to play this game like men.
There was division amongst the team. A history. Black and whites not trusting each other and not wanting anything to do with each other. And without trust and continued animosity, they could not effectively be a football team. Do you see some similarities within your church, your denomination and the faith as a whole? Look what Christ says:
John 17:20-23 – “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
The apostle Paul continues:
Ephesians 4:1-6 – As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Here we see two examples of Scripture calling for the unity of the body. As redeemed brothers and sisters in Christ, we should strive to be one. And yes, there is an understanding that we are different. Paul uses the analogy of a body with different parts as a perfect example. We are unique, we are different, and yet, we are all one body.
What are ways that you as an individual and as a student ministry can work to improve the positive elements of unity and division and to lessen the negative elements?
What do you think some of the challenges will be?
From a scriptural stand point, how will you work with and address those who disagree with you?
Jesus spoke at length about how the world would hate Him and those who followed Him. His word would be like a two-edged sword. There is definitely division between believers and the world, and that is to be expected, especially if we are living out our faith. Jesus also spoke about unity within the body of believers. The salvation that we have through the sacrifice made upon the cross should serve to bring us together to be a witness to the world around us. And though we may not agree on particular issues, we must be cautious to not let sin be the cause of those disagreements but instead take those opportunities to grow personally and together.