I Am Who I Am, Part 7: God Is Merciful (06.22.20)
A Study & Practice Guide on the Biblical Names & Characteristics of God
Be mindful of your community group and determine if you need to cover every question. This is the final CG material before summer break, and concludes our “I Am Who I Am” series.
After greeting one another, take 2-3 minutes of silence to invite the Holy Spirit to be present and help you be aware of what you’re bringing into this time together.
Set a timer for 1 minute per person to check in and answer these two questions:
- In a word a short description, what are you bringing into group time today?
- Briefly share what the word mercy means to you (you’ll have a chance to share more later).
Series Wrap Up: God is Merciful
Mercy is a cornerstone characteristic of God, and one that he requires from his people. God displays mercy through compassion, forgiveness, love, justice, and more, many of which we’ve studied in the “I Am Who I Am” series.
Read Scripture Aloud
Ask one or more people to read from a passage below from “Mercy &…” the attribute your group selected (compassion, forgiveness, love, justice). We encourage you to use a physical Bible if possible. As you listen and follow along, silently note anything that stands out to you.
Together select one to focus on this week:
- Mercy & Compassion: Luke 10:25-37 (Parable of the Good Samaritan)
- Mercy & Forgiveness: Matthew 18:21-35 (Unmerciful Servant)
- Mercy & Love: Luke 6:27-42 (Love your Enemies)
- Mercy & Justice: Matthew 12:1-13 (Sabbath), John 8:1-11 (Adulterous Woman)
Context: Defining & Understanding Mercy
Before interpreting the Scriptures, ask one person to read these definitions for what mercy means in the context of the Bible.
- Defining Mercy: Several Hebrew and Greek terms lie behind the English term “mercy.”
- hesed/chesed: God’s covenant “lovingkindness” and faithfulness (primary Hebrew term)
- eleos: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them (primary term in Greek translation)
- oiktirmos/oiktiro: compassion, pity, to show mercy (also seen in Greek translation)
- splanchna/splagchnizomai: to show mercy, to feel sympathy for (also seen in Greek translation). (Bible Study Tools)
- Mercy in Practice: Mercy in relationships is both vertical (God and humans) and horizontal (human to human).
- Mercy from human to human: to exercise the virtue of mercy, show one’s self merciful
- Mercy of God towards humans: in general providence; the mercy and clemency of God in providing and offering to humanity salvation by Christ
- Mercy of Christ, whereby at his return to judgment he will bless true Christians with eternal life (Bible Study Tools Dictionary)
- Call to Mercy: In both the Old and New Testament, God calls us to show mercy, just as we continuously receive His mercy:
- Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
- Zechariah 7:8-10: “And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.”
- Matthew 9:13: “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
- Luke 6:36: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
Before interpreting the message for how it applies to us today, take ~10 minutes to make some simple observations of the text in light of the definitions 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 these passage for 10-20 minutes.
- What does the passage have to say about who God is and who He is not in this passage?
- What further questions do you have to explore with God after studying this passage?
Living in 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 20-30 minutes:
- Take a few minutes to reflect on a time in your life where you felt, experienced, or witnessed God’s mercy. What happened? How has your life, attitude, or behavior been affected by that experience?
- Think of a time when you did not show mercy. What would you do differently if you were presented with that situation again?
- In what ways might God be calling you to be merciful today? This week? During this season of your life?
- In what way has your understanding of God been deepened, expanded, challenged, or refined?
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 here.