I Am Who I Am, Part 2: God Is Love (05.18.20)
A Study & Practice Guide on the Biblical Names & Characteristics of God
We want to know what you’d like to study! After group time, anyone in your group can fill out this form to let us know what characteristics of God you’d like to explore, as well as lingering questions you have at the end of each group meeting.
After the group welcomes one another, have one person open in prayer and then take 2-3 minutes of silence. As you sit in silence, ask the Holy Spirit to help you be aware of what you’re bringing into this time in one word (e.g., contentment, hope, stress, curiosity, anxiety, etc.).
Set a timer for 1 minute per person to check in:
- In a word or short description, what are you bringing into group time today? What would you like the group to know?
Read Scripture Aloud
Have one or more people in your group read 1 John 4:7-5:5 — or, if preferable, all five chapters of 1 John, but focusing on 4:7-5:5. It’s highly encouraged to follow along in a physical Bible. As you listen and follow along, silently observe anything that stands out to you.
Cultural & Historical Context at a Glance
Read through these few simple things happening in and around this time:
- The book of 1 John is a letter written to a specific yet unnamed fellowship of the early church, and it was originally written in Greek (rather than other Biblical languages like Hebrew or Aramaic).
- Throughout the epistle, a core theme is the author’s instruction for how believers should discern truth from falsehood.
- The letter uses distinctive binary language for the sake of clarity — like light and dark, true teachers and false teachers, love and hatred, truth and lies, sin and righteousness, and so on.
Before interpreting the message for how it applies to us today, take 15-20 minutes to make some simple observations of the text in light of the cultural/historical context above or other things you know. Here are a few questions you might jump off from:
- What is happening?
- What are some distinct words or phrases in the passage that stand out to you?
- What other verses in the Bible does this passage echo?
Interpreting the Message
In light of your observations, discuss the message of 1 John 4:7-5:5 for 20-30 minutes.
- What message do you believe the early church would have received from this text?
- What does the passage have to say about who God is and who He is not?
- What further questions do you have to explore with God after studying this passage?
Applying Biblical Truth
After interpreting the message of the text together and what it reveals about God, consider the implications of this truth for your life. Share with one another for 15-20 minutes:
- How has your understanding of God been deepened, expanded, challenged, or refined?
- What would it look like to apply the message of this text to your life?
Pray for your group, our church, our city, and our world.
Do you have any lingering questions or thoughts about this practice guide series? You can offer them on this form.