This study unit contains stories from Genesis 1-11, the Book of beginnings. The biblical account of creation, of man and woman, of marriage and family, and the destruction caused by the disobedient act of the created against the Creator are all a part of the beginning. The stories introduce characters such as Cain and Abel, Noah and his family, and a people who wanted to make a name for themselves.
History for God’s chosen people began with the life Abraham. Genesis 12-25 tells the story. Learn the promise God made with Abraham and his descendants. Life with his barren wife Sarah, however, demanded faith in the One who made the promise. These chapters tell the stories of their visitors, the prayer for his nephew, the birth of his promised son Isaac, and the mountain climb they took together.
Genesis 26-33 relates the story of Isaac, his wife Rebekah, and their twin sons Jacob and Esau. One quickly recognizes the destructive forces at work within this family. Favoritism and deceit run amuck and the result is a family at risk. But God’s faithfulness does not depend on their behavior. He remains faithful to the covenant promise He made to Abraham and blesses Jacob with twelve sons.
Jacob’s sons are adults, bitterly resenting Jacob’s favoritism for their younger brother Joseph. Genesis 37-50 relates the sequence of events that divide the family and also the happenings that unite and restore them. The tenacity of guilt and the freedom of forgiveness are at war. God’s relationship with Joseph strengthens him in desperate times and enables him to rise to the heights as Egypt’s ruler.
A mother with eyes of faith looks on her son as no ordinary child. His life began in the home of a slave. Then he became the grandson of Pharaoh, a fugitive, and a shepherd. Then the call of God came to go back to Egypt. After the destruction of the land and the death of Egypt’s firstborn the Israelites were delivered by God from the bondage of slavery. This part of Israel’s history is recorded in Exodus 1-12.
The years Israel spent in the wilderness are recorded in the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The cycle of their life together included obedience, then disobedience and God’s punishment, and Israel’s repentance and return to an obedient life. God’s faithfulness continued to be tested but His commitment to His promise never wavered.
The time has come for Israel to take possession of their inheritance with Joshua as their new leader. When the Ark of the Covenant moved out, the people followed. The Book of Joshua tells of Israel’s conquests. The Book of Judges, on the other hand, tells us that “again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”
This unit of study includes the Books of Ruth and First Samuel and introduces three characters: Ruth, Samuel, and Saul. Ruth, a foreigner loved the God of Israel. Samuel, a prophet, served the Lord in the tabernacle. Because the Israelites wanted to be like other nations and have a king Saul was anointed king of Israel. Saul chose to disobey, rebel, and eventually reject God.
We experience God’s mercy in the stories of First and Second Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. The life of David as shepherd and king, the decline of Solomon’s reign as the wise king, and the voice of Elijah and Elisha, the prophets who rebuked the Israelite kings, all give witness to God’s unfailing love for His people.
The reluctant witness of Jonah, the exemplary lives of Daniel and his friends, and the courageous act of Queen Esther are examples to us of God’s activity in the lives of the Israelites even in the face of oppressive captivity. Ezra and Nehemiah give the account of Israel’s return to the ruins of the land, their Temple, and the city of Jerusalem.
Stories from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
God’s mission throughout history has been calling all humankind back into a relationship with Him. His plan is about to unfold as His only Son, our Champion, comes as a baby and lives among us. These stories will reveal who Jesus is—the promised Messiah, the Christ, our Savior, and ultimately the Victorious One over sin and death.
Personalities and Parables from the Gospels
Jesus changed lives! Three biblical characters give witness of Jesus’ affect on their lives as He brings His Good News to three unlikely candidates for the Kingdom of God. To touch the hearts of those who followed Him, He told stories. As He traveled throughout Israel as a man in search of the lost He shared stories, or parables, that taught truths about the Kingdom of God.
Discovering God’s Love for All Humankind as He Offers Life Through the Suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus
Of all the love stories in the world, this is the greatest! It is the Father’s story of His Son’s suffering and death. Part I includes Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem, time alone with His disciples, the betrayal of Judas and the denial of Peter, His arrest, trial, sentence, and crucifixion. No one knew what to do with Jesus because Jesus was innocent.
Let the Gospel writers give you a firsthand account of what happened that afternoon and the days that followed. Envision watching Jesus’ body carried into the tomb, His burial, and the sealed tomb. Visit the tomb again on Easter; walk along the road to Emmaus and hear Jesus as He offers peace to His disciples. Go fishing with Peter; watch Him ascend into heaven and hear Him declare His mission to now be yours and mine!
The early Christian church set out to go and make disciples by baptizing and teaching. Luke is the Gospel writer who wanted his friend Theophilus to know all that was accomplished by God’s Holy Spirit who was now at work in the lives of the followers of Jesus, in particular, Peter, the Christian community, Stephen, and Philip. This same Spirit is active in our lives enabling us to bear much fruit.
The Good News was intended by God for both the Jews and the Gentiles. Part II shares stories of visions, persecutions, imprisonment, trials, and false accusations made against the apostles, primarily Paul. The one who persecuted the Church now was the one who was persecuted. Yet, his faith remained strong and persevered to the end.