Bible Study notes for Sunday August 19th
1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14
(You might like to read all three passages first to get a feel for how they might fit together)
This week we will look in brief at the first two
The theme of this week’s service hasn’t yet been chosen by the All-age worship team, so for the purposes of our study we shall keep in mind “Christ Jesus, who has become for us Wisdom from God” (after 1 Corinthians 1:30)
Read through each text slowly, whilst everyone else listens – (not following in your own bibles) – asking ‘what catches your attention in this passage? Does it leave you with questions?’
[At whatever point you have but a few minutes left for Study, Make sure to leave time at the end to read through in this way at the end – ‘What is Christ saying to his church in these verses?’ is there a message for us at St John’s? Respond in prayer]
- Solomon asks for the gift of “an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil. We understand a little later that this is called ‘wisdom’ (vss 12, 28)
- What do we think of when we think of wisdom?
- In what sense is Solomon’s request ‘Wise’ in and of itself? Does our answer suggest a different quality to Wisdom than common understandings of it
- What does it suggest is a particular characteristic of Wisdom, given that Solomon must ask for it?
- The French philosopher and social theorist, Michel Foucault spent many years investigating the idea of ‘common sense’ down through the ages. He showed that ‘Common Sense’ is invariably the thinking of those who control the levers of economic power. In what sense does Solomon’s request reveal the Wisdom of God at work acting against such ‘common sense’?
- TS Eliot writes this :- The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,
e.The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.
o perpetual revolution of configured stars,
o perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
o world of spring and autumn, birth and dying
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to GOD.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from GOD and nearer to the Dust. (Opening stanzas of ‘The Rock’)
We live in an age supremely of ‘information’ – we Know Everything – ironically in a time when according to some, humankind may be about to eradicate not only itself but also much of the rest of the Created order from the face of the Earth. ‘Wisdom’ in Scripture is supremely linked to the Creator (Seen most clearly in Proverbs Chapter 8) Do we find ourselves in agreement with Eliot? Do we live in an age lacking in Wisdom?
- St Paul writes ‘Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16making the most of the time, because the days are evil.’
- In the light of the one who has become for us ‘Wisdom from God’, what does it mean to live ‘not as unwise, but as wise’?
- This passage from Ephesians begins ‘Be imitators of God therefore, as dearly loved children’.
- Why does Paul say, ‘As dearly loved children’
- Reflect on the passage given. How does Paul’s counsel relate to being ‘dearly loved children?’
- iii. What does the phrase ‘the days are evil’ mean. Are ‘the days evil’?
iv. Throughout Scripture foolishness is seen as the opposite of Wisdom – ‘The fool says in his heart, there is no God’ – Given that, what does v17 suggest is the nature of Wisdom?
- Given that? Is it reasonable to suggest that it is only in relationship with God that we can be Wise? Reflect on John 1:12 – ‘Jesus has become for us ‘Wisdom from God (1 Cor 1:30)’(I take it as given that one can be in relationship with God and act like a fool 🙂 – that is not what is being asked here)
- 2. If that is the case, how does it affect our understanding of the relationship between our Christian Life and the World?