Bible Study notes for Sunday 21st October, 2012
Job 38:1-7, 34-41
- The Reading from Job is the beginning of God’s ‘answer’ to Job’s complaint
- How does its general tenor strike you? What is the thrust of the ‘answer’?
- We recall that when Job’s friends first came to him, they sat silently for seven days and seven nights. ‘In the light of God’s response to Job, this was the wisest thing they did’ – Discuss
- God’s rebuke of Job is not exactly Pastoral (!!), yet actually God has done precisely what Job asked of him – appeared and responded to him. ‘Be careful what you ask for!’ might well seem to be the ‘Truth’ we learn in this passage and in this week’s gospel. ‘We are too sure of ourselves in our dealings with God’ – Discuss
- When we ask something of God, are we ready to hear his answer?
- The Scriptures do not have much time for those who are ‘wise in their own eyes’ (Isaiah 5:21, Proverbs 3:7, 26:12 – indeed this is at the heart of much of Jesus’ rebuke of his opponents).
- God’s answer to Job is that he lacks true understanding. Are we too ready to rush to answers – are we wise in our own eyes?
- We live in an age when seemingly we know everything, except that which is most important. Like the young ruler from last week we need to leave our understanding behind if we are to find Life. Discuss
iii. The church is going through a time when everything we once held dear is being taken away. What does God’s response to Job, who lost Everything, have to say to us?
- Our reading from Hebrews carries on one of the central themes of the letter – -Christ the Great High Priest. It is worth re-reading 4:15-16 as background before considering the passage
- Read through the passage – in what ways is Jesus like a high priest in the order of Aaron? In what way/s different?
- Reading 4:15 – we recognise that Jesus was like us in every way, but without sin. In this light, what do you think 5:8-9 mean?
- Read Philippians 2:1-8 – does this throw any light on this?
- One theme of the NEw Testament is that our bodies can get in the way of following Jesus. If you try to get out of bed early in the morning to pray you will know Exactly what I am talking about 🙂
- We do not take this bodily aspect of our faith with due seriousness – Discuss
- The suffering referred to in Hebrews 5:9 is the necessary suffering of a body being trained in faith (1 Corinthians 9:27). Fasting is an ancient discipline – a means of training the body which requires a degree of suffering. Is there a sense in which suffering must be embraced if we are to grow in faith and holiness?
iii. Does this make any sense with regard to ‘learning obedience through suffering’?
iv. The writer to the Hebrews doesn’t pull any punches re his audience (5:11-end) what do we make of his words? How far do we go to try and understand the Scriptures?
- High Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. We met this phrase earlier in the year in our lectionary. Do we remember anything about Melchizedek and what this means? (Read Genesis 14:18-21) 
- Finally to the Gospel
- James and John’s request to Jesus is just like our approach to prayer – Discuss!
- In the light of the Job passage, why might this be thought a somewhat foolish way to pray?
- There is a difference in this regard from our day to day prayers and prayers ‘in extremis’ – Discuss
- Be careful for what you ask! Discuss how James and John’s request and Jesus’ answer to their prayer exemplify this
- Reflect again on God’s answer to Job. The gospel reading reminds us that in following Christ we are caught up in something we do not fully understand. The Spirit of the age of modernity with its emphasis on control and right techniques has made Christian faith, following this Strange God profoundly counter cultural – Discuss
- Read Jesus’ word to his disciples vs 42-end. Jesus does not do away with heirarchy – he turns it upside down. Discuss
 The writer to the Hebrews is setting up a second contrast with the Priesthood of Aaron. This Priesthood is one of bread and wine! He is a