These questions are connected to the message, “The thing you didn’t know … that you really should know.” from Feb. 27, 2022. You can watch it here.
Dive In: Read this passage in a few different translations (e.g. The Message, N. T. Wright’s The New Testament for Everyone, Contemporary English Version, Amplified Bible, The Living Bible).
- What stood out to you in this passage?
- What parts of this passage (there are four separate sections to this passage — 14-20; 21-22/23; 24-26; 27-28) do you struggle with and why?
- Does the fact that scholars struggle to understand parts of this text and debate it encourage or unnerve you?
- If you haven’t already discussed this as a group in previous passages, how do you feel about/understand the spiritual realm?
- In your experience, how do we war against our disordered desires and the lure of the world without falling into legalism and behaviour modification? What are some practices that help you?
- How do you relate to this author’s definition of spiritual growth: “…spiritual growth is more than a procedure; it’s a wild search for God in the tangled jungle of our souls, a search which involves a volatile mix of messy reality, wild freedom, frustrating stuckness, increasing slowness, and a healthy dose of gratitude … spiritual growth begins with desire, not guilt; passion, not principles; desperation, not obligation. Are you ready to travel the road of failure, frustration and surprise? ~ Michael Yaconnelli, Messy Spirituality
- Describe a time when your own experience, or witness to an experience, has enlightened your understanding of Scripture, as Brian Bulger’s experience with Celebrate Recovery did for this passage?
- Have you considered experience to be a legitimate way of interpreting scripture before? Why or why not?
- Describe how being a part of a faith community has helped you on your faith journey. If applicable, describe how it has wounded you and what you learned from that.
Ponder: Verses 21-22 could be said to be the summary of Jesus’ entire mission: to bind Satan and the forces of evil and reclaim the kingdoms of the world for himself.
Greg Boyd has noted that “the assumption that undergirds Jesus’ entire ministry is the view that Satan has illegitimately seized the world and thus now exercises a controlling influence over it.” (God at War, Gregory A. Boyd)
- How does this impact your view of the carnage we see all around us, be it war, disease, addiction, broken relationships, etc.?
- What is it not saying? (In other words, what do we have to be cautious of when viewing the world this way?)
Act on it: It’s so easy to see the brokenness of the world — its faults and power-struggles, its pride and greed. This week, as you see all that’s wrong with others and the world, consider using it as a mirror to what’s inside your own heart. In the words of Thomas Merton (paraphrased): I came to see that all the evils of Hiroshima, Viet Nam, and Auschwitz were bound up in my own heart.