SDA Sabbath School Lessons
March 16, 1996
#11 How to Do a Bible Word Study
Read for this week's study: Lev. 19:11-16;
Prov. 30:5, 6;
Memory text: Matt. 25:40
This lesson seeks to demonstrate the effectiveness of Bible word studies. The word we will study is service. One way the gospel becomes real to others is by acts of kindness, compassion, and unselfishness performed by those who value the gift of salvation and fulfill their responsibility to the world.
What is service all about?
Service can take many forms. It may be practical service to those in need, service of various kinds for the church, witnessing to the centrality of Jesus in our lives, or teaching others God's special message for the last days. Whatever it is, we place ourselves at God's disposal to be His instruments. Service is part of our sanctification; we are set apart to be used by God. Service can bring peace to families, communities, churches, and to our own lives through presenting Jesus as the answer to human need. Service implements mercy and justice in our relationships with others.
- Sunday March 10: How to do a study on the word service (Psalm 12; Prov. 30:5, 6).
- The word-study approach involves a close look at the meaning, origin, and occurrences of a single word in the Bible. We try to find out how a word is used, to learn what the word means in the particular contexts in which it is found. It is important to find out what the Bible writers meant when they used the word so that we can accurately interpret each passage in which the word occurs. Only then can we be correct in the application of each passage.
- What does Psalm 12 tell us about the importance of God's words for our lives? Prov. 30:5, 6 uses a metaphor about the effectiveness of God's words.
- The steps in this method of Bible study include:
- Choose a word to study.
- Identify its English meaning and then compare Bible translations of the passages in which the word is used.
- Identify the exact meaning of the word in each Bible passage in which it is used. Strong's Exhaustive concordance is an invaluable aid. Bible dictionaries and commentaries may also be helpful.
- Determine how the word has changed in meaning with the passing of time.
- Apply its meaning to your life.
- Monday March 11: Definitions and comparisons (Lev. 19:11-16).
- According to Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, the word service has various meanings: "the occupation or function of serving," "employment as a servant," "the work performed by one who serves," "contribution to the welfare of others," "a form followed in worship or in a religious ceremony," etc.
- What are the usually accepted understandings of the term service in your congregation? What are the ways that service is seen in your family?
- In the laws of Moses, identify the concern for others the Lord wishes us to have. Using a concordance and other Bible translations, identify other meanings of the term service. What is the relationship between service and love?
- Tuesday March 12: The Bible meaning of service (Luke 10:29-42).
- In the Old Testament, service can refer to the work of servants in the court (Esther 1:10-12), or service rendered by one person for another (Gen. 29:18-20), or often it implies sacred service (Exodus 31:10).
- In the New Testament, to serve translates three different Greek words, which have the following meanings: (1) carrying out religious duties (Greek latreuo: Matt. 4:10); (2) being subject to, or in bondage to someone, whether willingly or by force (Greek douleuo: Matt. 6:24); (3) waiting on someone, caring for someone (Greek diakoneo: Luke 10:40).
- What conclusions do you reach about the biblical usage of the concept of service in the following texts? Matt. 20:27;
Matt. 25:44, 45;
1 Cor. 11:17-34;
2 Cor. 8:3, 4;
- Jesus Himself took the form of a servant (Phil. 2). How can you apply Jesus' concept of service in the setting in which you find yourself?
- Wednesday March 13: The biblical meaning of service (Matt. 20:26; Rom. 6:15-23; Gal. 5:13; Gal. 6:10).
- The Bible suggests that one way to define the church would be as a servant (Mark 10:45). We are to serve, not only the brotherhood and sisterhood, but everyone (Gal. 6:10).
- What can your church do to serve the community? How are you a part of this service model of ministry?
- Service is the most profound definition of the mission of Jesus' kingdom in the Bible. Service is the primary function of the church. This includes teaching others the truth, leading them to submit their lives to Christ, and providing a place where hurting people can be healed.
- Thursday March 14: Applications for our lives (Matt. 5:13-16; Matt. 6:1-4; 1 John 3:11-19).
- To understand service, we must understand love (1 John 3:14)
- Apply your understanding of service to your own life. What ideas do you have to begin service activities and positive ministry for members of your home? Your church? Your community?
- Conclude this word study of service by writing applications of a practical nature for your life.
- Friday March 15:
Further study: Read Eph. 6:5-9; The Desire of Ages, " 'The Least of These My Brethren,' " pp. 637-641; "A Servant of Servants," pp. 642-651; The Acts of the Apostles, "The Gospel in Samaria," pp. 110,111.
- Discussion Questions:
- What do you think of this saying: "To be a Christian is to have your heart broken by the things that break the heart of God"?
- Describe a person you know who exemplifies the biblical model of compassion.
- What ideas can you suggest that could be used in your own church to create a "servant" model of leadership and mission?
- What kind of personal preparation do you need before you can witness in the world through acts of compassion and concern?
This week, through the word-study method, we learned that we can be so concerned about our own personal religious experience that, in the process, we forget about others. We become so self-absorbed that we forget the biblical concept of servanthood. Jesus died for us, not only to give us a way to heaven. He lived and died in order to model how we might make a difference in the world. He wants us to illustrate the nature of His kingdom by our attitudes and actions.
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Last updated on February 20, 1996.