This is the second blog post in our three-part series with ideas about hosting a new, engaging Bible study with your adults! Miss our first one? Check it out here.
In a sense, there's no need to make the Bible relevant for a modern audience. After all, it's themes of faith and charity, struggle and hope, betrayal and redemption are timeless. The Bible is a living document, which constantly affects the lives of those who read it in the present day.
Still, when you're trying to teach faith content as part of a regular Bible study group for adults, stories in the Good Book don't always have a clear relevance. They can seem contradictory or misleading. They don't engage your members or give them clear direction.
Here's how to take a story from the Bible and use it as the springboard for a discussion that resonates with your group's membership.
Find a story with a broader meaning
There are many to choose from.
For instance, the story of Adam and Eve has been told so many times it's hard to keep track of. The idea that innocence is a state of grace, and knowledge leads to corruption is perpetually engaging. Even movies such as Wall Street play with this idea, showing how difficult it is to gain wisdom without betraying personal morals.
The story of Christ's last days on earth, including the Last Supper and the Resurrection, involves another theme with broader application, the theme of resurrection. A few days before he is sentenced to death, Christ resurrects his friend Lazarus, telling the dead man's sister Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."
Christ's message is clear: in raising Lazarus from the dead, he shows that he has power over life and death. It is proof of his divinity. He also promises eternal life to those who believe in him.
Choose a new way to interpret the message
But do note, you don't have to stick with just this message. There's nothing to stop you from looking at resurrection from other angles and leading a broader group discussion.
- In what ways have you been asked to reinvent yourself?
- When you think of resurrection in a secular way, what comes to mind? Architecture? Beliefs? Fashion?
- Is our society constantly recycling the same messages and ideas?
- What about cycles of nature? Is the planet able to restore and perpetually renew itself?
- If Christ promises eternal life, does that mean you can give up your responsibility to the planet and new generations?
Let the discussion develop organically, encouraging members to think about resurrection and renewal in creative ways. As we'll discuss in our next blog post in this series, these ideas can lead to action.
What are other ways you can make the Bible relevant for your adult faith formation group? Share your ideas in the comments below!