Bible study Archives - Big Dream Ministries
Big Dream Ministries exists to help people understand the Bible as God's amazing Word and help them apply Biblical truth to their daily lives. We do this by offering studies that drive people to the Scriptures for answers and equipping leaders with excellent resources to reinforce learning.
The Amazing Collection, Bible study, Know the Word, Biblical Truth, Bible history, Christian Ministry, Christian Living, Bible teaching, How to study the Bible, Jesus Christ
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Bible study Tag

Since Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden and sin began to reign in their hearts, God has promised a Messiah, someone who He would send to save us…from ourselves. And from then on man has been waiting, longing for the help that was promised so long ago. Prophet after prophet kept that dream alive for the people of Israel and then, after Malachi, there was silence for four hundred years, broken only by the cry of a baby, sent from heaven. The New Testament Historical books are filled with eyewitness accounts of the man, the work, and the ministry of Jesus Christ the Messiah, Son of God from His virgin birth to His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. The fifth book in the series follows the birth and expansion of His church into the known world.

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The Amazing Collection: The New Testament Historical Books

These beloved books (Matthew-Acts) will spark joy as you marvel at the sovereignty of our loving God. They begin with the birth of Jesus Christ and conclude with the first imprisonment of the apostle Paul about six decades later.  Workbook on Amazon

The Amazing Collection takes you on a unique journey through the Bible – the story of God, of who He is and how He works with mankind. The complete collection contains eleven workbooks and 66 free teaching videos. Each workbook covers 4-11 books of the Bible and are grouped into eleven sections.   

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A prophet is one who speaks for God. Stepping into the Major Prophets is like stepping into a war. There is a nation heading in a direction away from God whose people are bent on moral and spiritual depravity and ultimately destruction. On the other side is the prophet, a courageous, dynamic man who is trying desperately though powerful messages and examples to turn the people back to safety, to spiritual vitality, to peace and joy. Throughout the pages one can sense the prophet’s deep love for the people, a love that is willing to sacrifice reputation, time, energy… sometimes his own life.

The five Major Prophets consist of four books written by some pretty impressive men: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. These men lived in different periods and wrote from different places yet their messages all cry out from the heart of God. The little book of Lamentations is a book of laments, of poetry written by Jeremiah as he witnessed the horrific destruction of Jerusalem. It is included in the Major Prophets immediately following the Book of Jeremiah. These prophets clearly disclose man’s sin (then and now) but also paint in vivid detail the gracious, loving and longsuffering God who will not allow sin to go unpunished, for He is a God of justice, tenderly wrapped with strands of grace and forgiveness. These five books are called “major” simply because they are considerably longer than the remaining twelve prophetical books.

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The Amazing Collection: The Major Prophets 

The five books of the Major Prophets cover a significant time span and present a wide array of messages – from warnings 150 years before the exile into Babylonia, encouragement during the exile, and eventual restoration.   Workbook on Amazon

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God’s Word is His love letter to His people. It is the source of knowledge God has given us to really know Him as He is and abide in Him fully. The Amazing Collection: The Poetical Books beautifully displays not only the great love of God for His people but also the great love of His people for Him. Some of the most extravagant, exquisite, beautiful words toward and about God are revealed in the poetical books.

Here, in these five books, men such as Job, King David, and King Solomon lift our eyes to our God…

whose help we can rely on
whose promises are true
who will never leave us or forsake us
who is the true light, our Savior and true Love.
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The Amazing Collection: The Poetical Books 

The Poetical Books reveal the heart of the nation of Israel and are considered some of the finest literature ever written. Pain is not minimized, nor is man’s struggle to understand God downplayed. Questions of suffering are boldly asked, worship is gloriously displayed, wisdom is held in highest esteem, married sexual love is unashamedly portrayed, and philosophy is openly debated.  Workbook on Amazon

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Jesus wept. As He stood at the tomb of his beloved friend, Lazarus, who had died four days earlier, He wept (John 11:25-42). The Sovereign Lord with the power to heal and raise the dead – wept. He wept because death is not the way it is supposed to be. God created man to be in His own image, our spirits are a reflection of His (Genesis 1:27). We were created to love deeply and live eternally, that is until sin entered the world (Genesis 3).

Now, our nation is weeping for the same reason – death as a result of sin. Our hearts ache over the senseless killings, racial inequality, and violent outbursts. It is not supposed to be this way.

Join us in praying God’s Word over the deep pain that is being experienced by individuals, families, and communities.

  • May we start by examining our own hearts for any sin that must be confessed – Psalm 139:23 “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!”
  • May the anguish of loss and oppression be healed by the Lord Jesus – Isaiah 61:1 – “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”
  • May we respond to others with the love and compassion of God – John 13:35 – “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
  • May we see the image of God in every single person, each created for a unique purpose – Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
  • May we see and address the social injustices within our communities – Isaiah 1:17 – “… Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”
  • May we seek to be united with others, especially those who are different from us – Ephesians 4:1-3 – “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

The only hope for our nation is Jesus Christ. As Christians filled with the Holy Spirit, we need to be His ambassadors in this world (2 Corinthians 5:20). There are challenges we all face and we need each other: leaders, law enforcement, and every single person who calls our nation home. Let us be a people who listen to one another in order to do what is right for each other (1 Corinthians 10:24). And may we seek to be a part of the solution in our spheres of influence – Matthew 5:9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

 

Written by Pat Harley

Based on John 11:1-44

We are in the midst of a pandemic. Around the world as of this morning, there have been over 200,000 deaths from the Coronavirus. It makes no difference if one is rich, powerful, poor, or even destitute. The virus is no respecter of persons and makes no differentiation between social classes or bank accounts. At present, no weapon, no medication or vaccine can take it down. It is a ruthless enemy. And behind every one of those deaths is a home where loved ones are grieving, their lives changed forever.

Two thousand years ago, there was another home with a family who was grieving deeply. The two sisters knew there was a cure for the disease their brother was suffering from, yet they were unable to procure it. And so as days went by, they simply had to sit by helplessly and watch their brother, whom they loved dearly, slowly slip away unto death.

It was enormous sorrow – certainly sorrow over their great loss, yet that sorrow was intensified, because the cure was none other than the One they had accepted as the Messiah, and He was their dearest friend. They had witnessed His power. They had heard amazing stories from reliable witnesses about healings from disease, from demon possession, and paralysis. It had been His very words that had raised the young man in Naim, raised him right out of a coffin. They had heard about the leper whose body had been completely healed and cleansed. The disciples had told them about the calming of the storm and the feeding of the five thousand. And yes, they had believed every one of those stories. They had believed without a doubt that Jesus was the Christ, sent from God, and the Son of God.

Lazarus Suffered

They had enjoyed His company and friendship, but they had never needed His power until now. And so, as Lazarus lay suffering, the sisters cried out to Jesus through an anguished message. “Behold, he whom you love is sick.” And then they waited, knowing surely He would come at once. But Jesus did not come. The hours of suffering continued as life gradually slipped away. And then … Lazarus was dead. Anguish, Loss, Confusion, Doubt. No more chances for healing; all hope was gone.

And so, the sisters wrapped Lazarus’ body in strips of cloth layered with the accustomed spices. Some of the men then carried his body to the family tomb, laid it on a cold stone slab, and rolled the stone across the opening. Done. The end.

Almost a week went by. No word came from Jesus. Then after six days, Martha heard that He was coming to Bethany and their home. She went to Him immediately and spoke the words that had plagued her for days. “Lord if You had been here my brother would not have died.” But clinging to the last bit of faith, she continued, “Even now I know whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”

And Jesus responded, “Your brother will rise again.” But Martha continued, seeking perhaps answers, perhaps an explanation, most likely seeking HOPE.

“I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”

And then Jesus spoke words of comfort, assurance, joy, TRUTH. Words so important for us today as we are surrounded with sorrow and grief and fear death.

“I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE: HE WHO BELIEVES IN ME LIVES EVEN IF HE DIES.”

Within the next few hours, Jesus would once again show His awesome power, and yet in a way he had never done before. Mourners once again gathered at Lazarus’ tomb along with the sisters. Jesus, even as Martha objected, asked that the stone be rolled away. And then Jesus spoke, no commanded. “Lazarus come forth.” And in a moment, death was replaced with life, mourning with joy, and doubt with robust faith, for death had been conquered and Lazarus was alive.

The Resurrection and the Life Are For Us

As I sat under the awning, reserved for family members at my mother’s grave during the funeral, the casket resting just above the open grave, I was overcome with sorrow and loss. I had prayed for healing for Mom. I had prayed that she would walk again and enjoy life for a few more years. That prayer was not answered. But then as I looked upon the opened grave that was before me, the Lord brought to mind those same words He had spoken to a sorrowful sister some two thousand years ago. Only this time my name was inserted into the sentence. “Pat, I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE. HE WHO BELIEVES IN ME SHALL LIVE EVEN IF HE DIES.”

And then I envisioned Mom, not with limbs twisted from debilitating disease, but whole and joyful and free of pain and suffering. It was a glorious picture but one that was real because Momma KNEW Jesus. And at that moment she was more alive than she had ever been, never to face death again. She was with her Savior and there was LIFE. And for me those words brought immense comfort, abundant comfort for such a sorrowful heart.

At Easter, we celebrate the empty tomb. It is an awesome reminder that he has indeed overcome death and for those of us who believe, death truly will be swallowed up, and we will be fully alive, fully healed, and fully at home with the One who gives life to enjoy Him forever.

The Savior Is Calling

The Savior IS calling to all of us, not just during a terrifying pandemic, but every day. Come to Me. I AM the resurrection and the life…even if you die you will live.

Life is such a struggle at times! There are real battles going on around us. The world is so unsettled, especially now with the pandemic impacting all facets of human life. The current virus may be new for our generation, but the Bible tells us that early in the creation story, a war was waged against humanity. A war without and a war within. The evidence is all around us. The world we live in is anything but peaceful, with an enemy who desires to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). As if that is not bad enough, personal struggles with sin keep us from thriving.

But there is good news! You can have faith over fear and be victorious over the battle. You can overcome whatever battle you are facing through the powerful love of God. He is not surprised by any situation you are facing. In fact, He will equip you with everything you need for victory.

Discover the battle plan God revealed in the story of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, through the Invincible Love, Invisible War Bible study. The six-week Bible study is an overview of the entire Bible, which highlights the war we encounter and the love that triumphs over it.

You will discover who the battle is really against and have access to the weapons to prevail. You will realize that the promised future victory is available today.

When you follow God’s battle plan, you will avoid the despair and hopelessness that many people find themselves consumed by. But rather, you will live confident in the plan, knowing God is always in control. You will recognize that you are a part of a much larger story that God is weaving throughout human history – a story of an invincible love that is victorious over an invisible war.

Are we in a battle? Absolutely! But we can live victoriously!

Not long ago, Crawford Lorritts offered the opening address for the Moody Bible Institute’s Founder’s Week Celebration. In his message, he explained that the Bible must be the context from which Christians live, not the culture. The emotions that the culture stirs up in individuals must be set aside to look at the truth. Truth doesn’t change, but our emotions change how we respond to it. I couldn’t agree more.

But how is the Bible supposed to be the context of our lives when our current culture is so far removed from when the Scriptures were written? We have a 21st century understanding of the world and reading even the New Testament with a modern point of view can be difficult to fully grasp. After all, why are hair and hats worth discussing in 1 Corinthians 11? How is it that slavery still exists after the resurrection (Colossians 3:22-25)? And what’s the harm of having a replica of a statue (Ephesians 19:26)?

There are realities of the early church that are vastly different from the realities of today.

We cannot assume that we can fully understand the core of what is being communicated unless we know the circumstances of the original message. Who was delivering the message and to whom was the message delivered? Were there any specific situations or issues that were being addressed? If so, why?

These are important questions, especially when reading the epistles. The Apostle Paul delivered his message to be received by the audience he was addressing. He used images and examples that they would understand and relate to in their own lives. By his second missionary journey, he had developed a pattern of sharing the gospel in his ministry journeys. Upon entering a new city, Paul and his traveling companions would enter the synagogue to share with the Jews that the Scriptures had been fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Acts 17:2-3). As a “Jew of Jews,” Paul had a heart first for his own people to know that Jesus was the promised Messiah. His message was rejected by most of the Jews and he was banned from the synagogue. Paul would then take the good news to the Gentiles of the city (Acts 13:46-47).

In Acts 17, Paul arrived in Athens and was “provoked” in his spirit by the sheer number of idols in the city. When the opportunity presented itself to speak with some of the thought leaders of the day, he gave a culturally-specific sermon that was tailormade for the listeners on Mars Hill. For those who can remember learning about ancient Greece in history class, you may remember the pictures of all the temples and altars to the numerous gods that provides a backdrop of what was taking place while Paul was there. The historical context lends richness to our current understanding of the message.

The gospel may have been contextualized for the Athenians, but the good news is just as relevant for our culture. The ancient idols may have been carved from stone, but today’s idols are just as numerous. And the sneering response of the philosophers to the resurrection of Christ is no different from the reactions given today.

There is much we can learn from the cultures of another era that applies to our own culture.

Reading the epistles, you sense how Paul was equally intentional with each letter he wrote to the different churches. If we are observant, we will discover the specific issues and challenges that Paul was addressing in each letter. When we learn more about the context and the culture of the original recipient of the letters, we realize the essential truth that Paul is conveying. Paul was teaching the early church how to live a life worthy of the gospel. Because the letters were written many years ago, it is crucial to understand Biblical context, because the practices may have changed over time, but the principles have not.

The timeless principles can be then be contextualized for today’s culture.

When the norms of today are the foundation of a person’s life, it will be difficult for him or her to see the biblical truth through that “lens.” It will be hard for him or her to live biblically, much less have the Bible be the foundation for living. As Bible teachers, we can help broaden students’ perspective of the Scriptures by helping them discover the biblical context first, and then they will be able to accurately discern the truth that is being portrayed.

Jesus said to those who believed in Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32).

The word “continue” is the root word for “abide.” This is ongoing remaining; never departing. What truth! John wrote the words Jesus spoke, so the original hearers would be free from the cultural norms and so can we!

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the truth of the Bible can be the foundation of Christians of every era.

 

Written by Pat Harley

The timing was all wrong for sure. There was something more exciting on the other side of the room and so I had lost my audience.

It was Christmas Morning and, as is our tradition, each one of my family including my husband and our then-young two young daughters, gathered early to give our gifts to Jesus. This always comes first before we dive into our own Christmas presents. Now this is not a complicated thing. Beloved had written a poem, Jenna had learned a violin piece and Cameron ( the youngest) had drawn and colored a picture  of the nativity scene. I had written a story entitled Meshed and the Messiah. (more…)

Libby came into class beyond excited! Now she could see! She could see what her husband was talking about. She could see what her friends were talking about. She grew up attending church and heard all the Sunday school stories about Jesus, but she could not see what the consuming passion for Him was about. In fact, Libby was pretty annoyed with Joseph’s new found love for Jesus. Joe had been challenged to read through the gospel of John with a co-worker who practically dared him to stick with it until the end. Libby didn’t hear her husband talk much about his time reading the Bible, but she definitely noticed some changes in him. He was a bit more patient with their boys; he was a bit more helpful around the house, and he was a bit less sarcastic – and she was not complaining! However, Libby was dumbfounded when Joe returned home early from work one day and announced that he was born again. She just couldn’t see what he was talking about.

At Joe’s urging Libby reluctantly joined the women’s Bible study at a local church. They were teaching The Amazing Life of Jesus Christ so she thought she would start there. Now, 9 weeks after she reluctantly started the Bible study, she could see Jesus for who He is and the sacrifice He made on her behalf. She was no longer confused; her eyes had been opened so that she could see the truth of Jesus.

 

Jesus’ Disciples Couldn’t See

Following Jesus’ resurrection, His followers couldn’t see the truth about Him either. Cleopas and his friend had been in Jerusalem for Passover when the city was reeling with the news about Jesus’ crucifixion. These men were His disciples; they had known His teaching and they believed and desired Him to be the long-awaited Messiah. The problem was that they only saw what they wanted to see about Jesus. He said He was coming back after three days, yet instead of anticipating His arrival and waiting in Jerusalem, these two disciples were heading home to Emmaus. When Jesus joined them on the road, they didn’t recognize Him (Luke 24:13-16).

Jesus, always a teacher, questioned the travelers about their conversation, drawing out all that they knew about Him and the events that had taken place. They relayed the facts accurately, even the women’s report of Jesus’ body being missing. Yet, the two still could not see Jesus right in front of their eyes (Luke 24:17-24). When they had finished their account of the events surrounding the weekend, Jesus spoke to them.

       “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to enter into His glory?”    ~Luke 24:25-26

Jesus Uses Scripture to Open Their Eyes

Then Jesus reviewed all the Scriptures written by Moses and the prophets – highlighting how they pointed forward to Him. What a Bible study!  Even with the detailed exposition of the Scriptures, Cleopas and his friend still could not see Jesus. It was not until later in the evening when Jesus broke bread with them, that they were able to receive not only the bread, but their spiritual sight – they could see Jesus and couldn’t wait to share the news. Once the men moved beyond knowing only the facts about Jesus, to receiving Him, they were able to see.

Bible study teachers have the privilege of walking students through the Scriptures, pointing to Christ along the way. The Bible is more than a historical narrative of what has occurred; it contains the very words we need to know about Jesus.  When we teach the Bible with the purpose of knowing the Lord better, every book, every chapter, and every word will point to Christ. As we see Christ portrayed, His heart is revealed over and over again – and the Holy Spirit will affect a person’s heart and open their eyes.

 

Bible Studies Are a Lens to See Jesus

Everyone attending Bible study needs to see Jesus in a fresh and comforting way. Students attend studies for different reasons. Some are committed to learning more about Christ. Others come to satisfy their need for companionship or curiosity. We have heard countless testimonies from people taking The Amazing Collection: The Bible, Book by Book or The Amazing Life of Jesus Christ that the truth of Scripture and Christ is revealed to them as never before.

Let us never to be so accustomed to Scripture that we only learn the facts, but rather approach each and every study with the prayer, “Open my eyes that I may see!”