About the Walking Points Bible Study Series
Walking Points Bible Study Series
In the Bible, the word “walk” or “walking” is often a metaphor for one’s faith and relationship with God, as well as a right pattern of living.
The purpose of the Walking Points Series is to help followers of Christ draw from Scripture, those key truths and ideas that will help them walk faithfully with him – that is, know him better, love him more, become more like him, and follow him more faithfully.
Each lesson moves chapter by chapter, verse by verse, drawing from the text that which God has revealed. After a “bird’s eye view” question is asked, to get the big picture of the text, the questions that follow hone in on particular verses, in order to draw out key truths and ideas related to those verses.
Walking Points Questions
While application runs through most questions in each lesson, the Walking Points questions are designed to give the group members an opportunity to reflect on some practical “next steps,” so the application of God’s Word will continue to make a significant impact in their lives after the lesson is over. At the beginning of each lesson the members are asked to “review and report” on what Walking Point from the previous lesson they followed through with, victories and/or struggles they experienced, and what they learned that week.
Prayer requests in group settings frequently get stuck on appeals for physical needs. And often the requests are for people far removed from the members in the group. Christians absolutely ought to intercede for the physical needs of others. However, the “prayer request” space in this study guide will remind the group members that requests should primarily focus on the spiritual, physical, relational, emotional, vocational, and other needs of those who are part of the group.
Covenantal Reflection and Accountability Questions
These are questions from the Wesleyan tradition, designed for covenantal relationships. It’s doubtful a large Bible study would or should use these questions. Instead, these questions are included for smaller group use, such as a covenant/accountability group or a one-to-one discipling relationship. These questions assume a deep level of trust and confidentiality among those in the group, a serious commitment to one another’s spiritual growth, and Christlike love for one another.
A Personal Word about the Word
Having taught Bible studies and directed small groups for over 25 years, I have used many kinds of curricula. Some are more academic and do a marvelous job of imparting information. Other resources skate along the surface of biblical content but do better at drawing out application. Still other material creatively connects group members, but doesn’t necessarily help them grow spiritually.
In Romans 12:2, the Apostle Paul told the Romans not to be conformed to the world around them, but to be transformed by renewing their minds. A vital form of such mind-renewal occurs as we study God’s Word together. But such study should not be merely the imparting of information for its own sake. Instead, the purpose of studying God’s Word is mind-renewal and life-transformation.
Consider what God says about his Word throughout Scripture. It penetrates our deepest being (Heb. 4:12), judges our thoughts and attitudes (Heb. 4:12), makes us wise for salvation (2 Tim. 3:15), was breathed out by God himself (2 Tim. 3:16), is truth (John 17:17), is the means by which we are sanctified (John 17:17), is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16), thoroughly equips us for every good work (2 Tim. 3:17), works as a mirror to show us our truest selves (James 1:23-25), endures forever (1 Peter 1:23-25), cannot be broken (John 10:35), counsels us in every sphere of our lives (Ps. 119:24), will not return to God empty but will achieve the purpose for which he sent it (Isaiah 55:11). As the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17), it is our offensive weapon in our war with the world, the flesh, and the devil.
We are, therefore, to let it dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16). Our Lord commanded us to abide in him and let him and his word abide in us, if we would bear much, good, and lasting fruit (John 15:1-8). It is as God’s Spirit renews our minds in and through God’s Word, in the fellowship of God’s people, that our lives will become increasingly transformed so that we will be better able to know, love, and follow the Lord and help others do the same.
There is no perfect study guide. However, I have tried to put together a resource that will help those who use it better appreciate and understand God’s Word and more faithfully apply it in their lives. I pray it will draw group members closer together as the Spirit of God moves through his Word and the discussion. And, of course, I hope prayer requests and the accountability questions will foster a deep and abiding relationship for those who make use of that part of the lesson.
Above all, I pray God will be glorified in each lesson.
There are presently two study guides ready for purchase. One is, Costly Discipleship, which is a six lesson study on Jesus' words about what it means to truly follow him. The other is a study of Philippians, entitled, Joy in Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria,
2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Timothy 1:2; Acts 13
In my reading over the years I’ve been often reminded of how important one-to-one ministry really is. As a man invests his life into the life of another man, real growth can occur in remarkable ways. This is one of the key ways our faith has been passed down through the centuries. And I can certainly attest to the power and influence such a ministry has played in my own life.
A helpful way of thinking about one-on-one ministry is to think about three names: Paul, Barnabas, and
Timothy. Below is a description of what each name represents as we think in terms of ministering to other men.
1.) Paul represents that person in your life who mentors, leads, and directs you. This is the man who comes along side you to disciple you along the road of faith and life. This is someone who has traveled further down the road of faith and life than you. This man doesn’t have to be a great deal older than you, but it probably ought to be someone who has walked faithfully with God long enough and far enough for you to profit from his wisdom – his reflected-upon experience, study of God’s Word, etc. And it usually is the case that, though not exclusively so, this man will be older than you as well. But, as I said, sometimes this simply means, “older in the faith.”
I hasten to add that you must beware of someone who says he has been a Christian for 25 years when in reality, he has been a Christian for only one year, 25 years in a row. In other words, there has been no growth and maturation over that 25 years. My own observation as a pastor is that this sort of person abounds in the church. There are many people who, by their own admission, haven’t learned much more about God’s Word and walking along the road with him, than when they were children in Vacation Bible School. And so brothers, you must be careful about this. Pray for discernment.
Also, just because a man is at the top of his game in his profession, does not mean he is likewise mature and advanced in his faith. Success in one field of endeavor doesn’t necessarily mean success in another area of life. As I heard one person describe it, a man may have a Ph.D. in psychology, but have a second grade Sunday school degree in Bible. This is not the sort of man you want to have as your Paul.
2.) Barnabas is someone who encourages you and holds you accountable in your faith and life. This is more or less a mutual friendship, or what’s called in the world of spiritual formation, a “spiritual friendship.” In the book of Acts, Paul and Barnabas traveled together side by side. Barnabas was a key person in Paul’s life, especially at the beginning of his walk with Christ as he introduced Paul to the Christian community. Their relationship then became one of mutual encouragement, ministry, and accountability.
There are men I have discipled for years who have gone from being a Timothy in my life to becoming a Barnabas to me. And while I can still disciple them, they also minister to me in many ways.
3.) Timothy is that man you help guide along the road of faith and life. This is generally someone who has not traveled as far as you have in your walk with Christ. Such a man is marked (or should be) by an eagerness to grow in his relationship with Christ and is humble and teachable enough to receive what you have to share and to interact with you on the things of faith and life.
This “mark of a Timothy” should not be ignored just for the sake of having a Timothy. There are many smart guys out there who don’t have teachable spirits. They feel they have nothing to learn from another man. So too, some are indifferent to the things of God. Timothy, Paul’s “son in the faith,” as Paul called him, was humble, teachable, and eager to know, love, and follow God through Jesus Christ. So too, a “Timothy” shouldn’t expect to only receive guidance and wisdom from his “Paul,” but should plan on becoming a Paul himself one day so he can begin the whole process over again with another man.
This is a process in a man’s life that ought to last a lifetime and be produced, reproduced, and multiplied over and over again throughout the course of the man’s lifetime, as well as in the lives of the men he invests in. We are Christians today, humanly speaking, because those who went before us were faithful to this process.
In sum, we need to be a Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy and we need to have a Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy. Such men in our lives are gifts from God. And we have the blessed opportunity to be such a gift to other men.
· Who is your Paul? To whom are you a Paul? Describe those relationships.
· Who is your Barnabas? To whom are you a Barnabas? Describe those relationships.
· Who is your Timothy? To whom are you a Timothy? Describe those relationships.
· If you drew a blank on any of those questions, begin praying for God to bring men into your life who will invest in you or who will be open to you investing in them.
I’m on a mission. I’m searching for one hundred godly men.
John Wesley once wrote in a letter…
“Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen, such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven upon earth.” (From a letter by John Wesley to Alexander Mather in 1777)
For Wesley, “preachers” didn’t have to be what we call professionals. Instead, the proclamation of the Gospel and the witness of and for God’s Kingdom was to be done by every person who follows Christ. The undergirding biblical witness of Wesley’s words inspires and provokes in me a strong desire to see one hundred godly men in my community fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God. If such a faithful Kingdom fellowship of one hundred brothers in Christ could be cultivated and encouraged, it would transform our little corner of the world for Christ.
A Grand Vision
Is this too grand a vision? Thomas Chalmers once said, “No matter how large, your vision is too small.” In other words, nothing is impossible for God and therefore, we must dream big. I believe this vision for one hundred godly men is well within the reach of a sovereign and gracious God. Of course, my desire is not only for my community. Instead, my prayer is that bands of "one hundred godly men" will spring up in many “little corners of the world.”
The Nature of the Call
This is not a call to nominal or cultural Christianity. It is a call to what John Wesley described as Scriptural Christianity (what I refer to as Kingdom Discipleship). Following Christ in such a way steers clear of halfhearted and mere intellectual belief in Jesus. Instead, it’s the terrifying and exhilarating call of discipleship our Lord warned must be responded to first by counting the cost of following him daily. This does not produce a privatized or compartmentalized faith. Instead, it develops a faith that is passed from one person to another, from one generation to the next. As salt and light, this faith permeates every sphere of a man's life... in homes, workplaces, communities, cities, and, ultimately, the world.
The Real Counterculture
I once heard pastor and writer, Tony Evans, preach these words,
· As the man goes, so goes the family
· As the family goes, so goes the church
· As the church goes, so goes the community
· As the community goes, so goes the city
· As the city goes, so goes the state, the nation, finally the world
This, is Scriptural Christianity... Kingdom Discipleship.
Our world is in great need of such men of God, for they are truly, in our day and age, the real counterculture and one of God’s primary provisions for a lost and hurting world. Such men are ambassadors of the King of kings, and therefore, minister and bear witness to the kingdom of this world under his authority and according to his agenda. They have no message but his. And not only are they called to proclaim this message, but they must also live it out before a watching world. The motivation of their mission is love for their Lord and their neighbor.
This mission to find such men is part of God’s call in my life. Through Bible studies, small groups, one-to-one discipling, mentoring, spiritual direction, counseling, and writing, I am prayerfully working to help and encourage available and willing men become the kind of men God has created, redeemed, and called them to be. I believe God is calling you to be such a man.
If you hear this same call from God in your life, but aren't quite sure how to move forward as his disciple, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be happy and honored to help you join this Kingdom Fellowship our Lord is calling us to.
1 Corinthians 2:14, 16b – The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. …But we have the mind of Christ.
The mannishness of man. That was a phrase Francis Schaeffer used to describe human beings in their fallen state. I like to use the word, “worldling” to describe the same idea. Paul uses the phrase “natural man” or “the man without the Spirit.” All of these describe the basic antithesis between those who have eyes to see spiritual truths and those who don’t – those who love the foolishness of God and know it’s actually unparalleled wisdom and those who see God’s foolishness and believe that it really is folly, an utter waste of time. Like the wicked described in Job 21, they say to God…‘Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?’ (vv. 14-15)
God’s wisdom is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18).
Paul writes that a person in his natural state,
doesn’t accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned (v. 14).
It isn’t simply that he chooses not to know God’s ways and prefers not to understand them. He cannot. He is unable. Such things are spiritually discerned and he does not have the Spirit. His heart is unregenerate. He is blind. It is impossible for him…for him.
But Not For God
But nothing is impossible for God. Those of us who are now in Christ were once as blind as the worldlings that surround us today. There was a time when we did not understand the deep truths of God. But God is in the business of waking the dead, giving them (us) hearts that beat according to his Word, and providing eyes to see that which is invisible and eternal. This was not of ourselves, lest we should boast. It wasn’t because we were so smart, righteous, or born into the right family. It was the free and undeserved favor of a gracious God.
We now have the mind of Christ. We