• Tuesday, 24 October 2017

    Bible Gateway Plus Study: The Word Became Flesh (John 1:1 – 18)

    Prophecies for 2018 by Pastor E.A Adeboye

    Bible Gateway Plus Study #2: The Word Became Flesh (John 1:1 – 18)

    A step-by-step Bible study for use with your Bible Gateway Plus membership

    Welcome to our Bible study guide for John 1:1-18! This study guide is designed to function as a simple tutorial for studying a Bible passage, and for using Bible Gateway's tools to do so.

    This Bible study is based on our Big Picture Bible Reading Checklist, which highlights 100 key Bible passages that together tell the grand story of God’s plan for us today. Today’s study looks at the second reading on that Checklist. If you didn’t receive your Checklist or the first Bible study in this series, contact support@biblegateway.com to request them. The Checklist is helpful but not required to do this Bible study.

    Before You Begin

    In the first Bible study in this series, we explained the resources you’ll want to gather before starting your study. If you haven’t read through that first Bible study on Genesis 1-2, we encourage you to do so before diving into this one. Rather than repeat that information, we’ll summarize it below and note a few things we’re doing differently in this study. You’ll need:
    ·         45-60 minutes of distraction-free time, in a comfortable location.

    Bible Gateway Plus Study

    ·        A Bible. This guide assumes you are reading on BibleGateway and are logged into your Bible Gateway Plus account; this is highly recommended and will make it easier to use this guide. Unlike the first Bible study, this study asks you to consult two different Bibles so you can compare how they translate the same Bible passage. This is easy to do if you’re using Bible Gateway. You can use the Bible selection drop-down menu to change Bible versions—or even better, use the parallel Bible feature to display both Bibles side-by-side for easy comparison.

     You can use any two Bible versions that you want, but this study is written with the New International Version (NIV) and New King James Version (NKJV) in mind.

    ·         Access to Bible reference works. This guide assumes that you’re using the Bible Gateway Plus study library for this purpose. In our last Bible study, the main resource we used was the NIV Study Bible. This time we’re going to add some additional resources into the mix: the NKJV Study Bible, the Reformation Study Bible, and the New International Encyclopedia of Bible Characters. We’ve provided quick links below to these resources. If you’re new to Bible Gateway Plus or aren’t sure how to use it, clickhere for a short tutorial that shows you how to access Bible references inBible Gateway Plus.
    ·         A way to take notes. Remember, writing down your thoughts and answers to the reflection questions will greatly help you process what you read. Bible Gateway has an online note-taking tool for this purpose , or you can take notes the old-fashioned way on paper—whatever works best for you.

    It's always a good idea to begin your study encounter with a prayer to God. If you're not sure what to pray, try this:
    Dear God, thank you for the opportunity to read and study your Word today. As I read today about your incredible gift of grace to me, please grant me a focused mind and an open heart to understand what you want me to learn. Thank you. In Jesus' name, amen.

    Step Two: Read the Bible Passage
    Start by looking up today’s Bible passage, John 1:1-18, in the Bible.

    When studying a Bible passage, it’s often very useful to read the same passage in more than one Bible version. Different Bible translators bring different priorities and backgrounds to the task of Bible translation, and seeing how different translators render the same verses can help us better understand the nuance of a Bible passage.

    For this lesson, let’s read the same passage—John 1:1-18—in two different Bibles. You can choose any two Bibles you want, but if you’re new to this, we recommend the NIV and NKJV Bible versions. 
    Consider these questions as you read these two different translations of John 1:
    1.       How do these two Bibles differ in their translation of this passage?
    2.       Do you find one Bible easier to read and understand than the other? Why?
    Once you’re finished with this exercise, close the second Bible and return to just one Bible version. You can choose whichever Bible you like; for the purposes of the study questions below, we assume you’re using the NKJV. 

    Step Three: The Basic Questions
    Now take a few minutes to answer the following general questions about what you just read. We highly recommend writing these answers down—you can use Bible Gateway's note-taking tool for this purpose, or jot them down in a physical journal or notebook.
    1.       How would I summarize this passage in just a few sentences?
    2.       What is God doing in this passage? What do God's words and actions in this passage tell me about who God is?
    3.       Who are the human characters in this story? Can I relate to any of them? How?

    Now that you've done an initial read of this passage and have recorded your initial reactions to it, it's time to explore it in more detail!

    Step Four: Digging Deeper
    Walk through each of the questions/exercises below. Not all of these questions can be answered by just reading the passage—most require you to access the study Bibles and other resources available to you in your Bible Gateway Plus study library. Anytime a particular study resource is useful for answering a question, we list the specific commentary and provide a link to it.
    1. Since this is our first visit to the book of John, it's a good idea to start by reading a short overview of this book to learn who wrote it and what we can expect to encounter in it. The NKJV Study Bible's summary of John provides a good short overview. (Clickhere to read it.)
    2. What do you think is the significance of God being identified as "the Word"? To see how Bible scholars understand this, see the Reformation Study Bible's note on John 1:1.

    If you want to dive a bit deeper and explore the meaning and context of logos—the Greek word translated here as "Word"—see the NIV First-Century Study Bible's word study.

    3. Why is "the Word" described both as God and with God? See the NKJV Study Bible's note on John 1:1.
    4. Different Bibles translate verse 5 differently. The NIV, for example, reads "the darkness has not overcome it," whereas the NKJV translates the same phrase "the darkness did not comprehend it." How do you think these two different translations of the same word fit together? To learn the nuance behind this word and translation choice, see the NKJV Study Bible's note on John 1:5.

    5. Verses 6-8 describe a man named John who was sent to bear witness. What does a witness do? What does it mean to bear witness to the Light? Both the NIV Study Bible and the NKJV Study Bible talk about this in their notes for John 1:7.
    6. The man named John mentioned in verse 6 is not the author of the book of John, despite sharing the same name. We've actually met two different Johns in this passage: John the Apostle, author of the book of John that we're reading; and John the Baptist, the man described as bearing witness in verse 6 and after. Confused? Let's take a minute to read about these two important Bible characters. To do so, navigate to the Encyclopedias section of the Study This panel, select the New International Encyclopedia of Bible Characters, and click on the entries for John the Apostle  and John the Baptist . You don't need to memorize every detail of their (lengthy) biographies, but read until you're clear about what makes each John distinct.
    7. Who is being talked about in verses 9-11, and what do you think it means that the world did not "know" or "receive" him? See the NKJV Study Bible's notes on verse 11.

    8. In verse 13, what do you think it means to be "born of God"? How is being born of God different from the other types of "birth" mentioned in this verse? See the NKJV Study Bible's note on verse 13.
    9. In verse 16, the NKJV says that we've received "grace for grace." What does this somewhat unusual phrase mean? See the NKJV Study Bible's note for John 1:16. (Clickhere to read it.)
    10. Does verse 17 suggest that the law did not contain "grace and truth"? What is the relationship between the law given through Moses and the grace given through Jesus? See the Reformation Study Bible's brief note on John 1:17. 

    Now that you've considered the above questions, it's time to go back and take a look at any specific verses or sections that you highlighted as interesting (or confusing), and which the above questions didn't address. To do so, use the same approach we've used with the above questions. Once you've identified the verse you want to study, use the study resources above (the NIV Study Bible, NKJV Study Bible, and Reformation Study Bible—or different resources of your choice) to help you explore them further.

    Step Five: Personal Application Questions
    What you read in the Bible should shape your understanding of who God is today, and what your relationship to him should be. Think through the following questions:
    1.       Look back at your early answers in Step Three above. Has your understanding of this passage changed since you first read it? How?

    2.       What does this Bible passage teach you about God—who he is, and what he desires?
    3.       What about this Bible passage speaks to you today? What idea or lesson will you take with you as you go about your everyday routine?
    Step Six: Closing Prayer   
    It's always a good idea to conclude your Bible encounter with a prayer. If you're not sure what to pray, try this:
    Dear God, thank you for making your Word available to me to read and study. Thank you for sending your son Jesus to become flesh and dwell with us. Please help me to carry this passage with me as I go through my daily routine, and open my ears and heart to hear the message you want me to take from today's reading. Thank you. In Jesus' name, amen.

    The Next Step                     
    Our next Bible study will take us back to the Old Testament, where in Genesis 3:1-24 we’ll read one of the most famous stories in the Bible: the Flood.

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