Small Group Studies

An Extra Helping Week 3 Study


In a world where so many often use their words to argue, tear others down, and complain, we often miss opportunities to encourage others. People are desperate to hear kind and encouraging words. As followers of Christ, the good news is that you and I get to be ambassadors of the encouragement that people are desperate to hear. This is one of the best ways that you can build relationships to make Christ known.


Who is the most encouraging person you know? Why?


Bible Study Questions


1. Why is encouragement so important in the lives of all people?

2. Read Acts 4:32-37. What do we learn about Barnabas in these verses?

Acts 4:32-37

All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.

For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.

3. How are encouragement and generosity intertwined?

4. Read Acts 9:26-31. Based on what we know about Paul and his story, what are the implications as a result of Barnabas’ encouragement to Paul in these verses?

Acts 9:26-31

When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.

So Saul stayed with the apostles and went all around Jerusalem with them, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. He debated with some Greek-speaking Jews, but they tried to murder him. When the believers heard about this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus, his hometown.

The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers.


5. After reading about Barnabas, the son of encouragement, how would you define encouragement?

6. How have you been encouraged by others in the past?

7. Who do you know who needs encouragement? How can you offer that encouragement this week?


Take a few moments to think about how your group is doing with encouragement? Are you all carrying out a spirit of encouragement? What is going well? What needs improvement? Spend a few moments brainstorming together, thinking about three ways you can better encourage each other, and make plans to carry out that encouragement this week.

Going Deeper

Encouragement is so important because of the incredible power our words have on ourselves and others. While the words we say may not seem all that significant to us at the time, God’s Word tells us that our words are, indeed, powerful. They can bring life and hope. Or they can bring death and destruction. Let’s look at what Scripture teaches us about the power of words and our call to use our words to build others up.

Read Proverbs 11:17

  • What does this verse teach about the way our own words affect ourselves?
  • Is the power that your own words have on you something that you often think about? How have you seen this to be true in your own life?

Read Proverbs 15:1-4

  • Compare and contrast the effect of gentle words versus harsh or deceitful words.
  • What stands out to you in these verses about the power of the words we say?

Read James 3:1-6

  •  What comparisons does James make to the tongue in these verses?
  • What is the significance of these comparisons?

Questions to Discuss:

  • After reading these verses, how would you explain the power of words to another person?
  • Have you experienced the power that words have in your own life, for better or worse? If so, how?
  • How does this understanding of the power of your words compel you to use your words?
  • What steps can you take to practice intentionality with your words?

The challenging thing with this subject isn’t that we are ignorant of what God says about our words. We have all heard at least one of these passages before. Most of us have heard them all, many times over. The problem isn’t in what we know. Rather, it is in what we do. Spend some time talking through what each of you plan to do to use your words to bring life. As you share, make plans to check in with each other throughout the week to see how you all are speaking life-giving words this week.


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1 John 4:12

No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.