Small Group Studies

Hall of Faith Week 5 Study


The other day, I asked a friend the best part of his job and the hardest part of his job. “The people,” he responded to both questions. It is true. The people God brings into our lives are a blessing, but they can often bring unwanted conflict and frustration. Sometimes people hurt us and let us down. Sometimes we hurt people and let them down. So what do we do when people let us down? This is the question we are asking today as we look at the life of Joseph.


Who is someone you admire who has persevered through a difficult time?


Bible Study Questions

1. How do you think faithfulness and forgiveness are intertwined?


2. Read Genesis 37:18-30. List all of the odds that are stacked against Joseph right now. How might these odds affect his relationships?

Genesis 37:18-30

When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him. “Here comes the dreamer!” they said. “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!”

But when Reuben heard of their scheme, he came to Joseph’s rescue. “Let’s not kill him,” he said. “Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” Reuben was secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father.

So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beautiful robe he was wearing. Then they grabbed him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt.

Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime. Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed. So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.

Some time later, Reuben returned to get Joseph out of the cistern. When he discovered that Joseph was missing, he tore his clothes in grief. Then he went back to his brothers and lamented, “The boy is gone! What will I do now?”

3. Spend a few minutes reading through the following verses in Genesis 39-41. As you read, take note of the ups and downs Joseph faced. What stands out to you about Joseph’s behavior through it all?

o Genesis 39:6-9

o Genesis 39:12-22

o Genesis 40:8

o Genesis 41:12-14

o Genesis 41:25-32

o Genesis 41:37-40


4. Read Genesis 45:1-8. Based on these verses, what were the reasons Joseph was able to forgive his brothers?

Genesis 45:1-8

Joseph could stand it no longer. There were many people in the room, and he said to his attendants, “Out, all of you!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. Then he broke down and wept. He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace.

“I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. “Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.


1. In one word, define Joseph’s attitude and actions throughout everything he faced.

2. After reading Joseph’s story, why do you think forgiveness is necessary?

3. Who in your life do you need to forgive? Is there one step you can take this week that is a step towards forgiveness?


One of the reasons Joseph could faithfully forgive is because he saw the bigger picture of how God was working, not just his own. He recognized the ways that God was working through his difficult circumstances to bring about good. How have you seen this in your own life? Share with your group about a time when God brought good out of a very hard time. How does this give you the confidence to forgive in the middle of a difficult situation that you are facing now?

Going Deeper

Throughout Scripture, God calls His followers to forgiveness. It’s clear after reading through Scripture that forgiveness is a better way of life than unforgiveness and resentfulness. Not only this, but Scripture also teaches what the motivation is behind the forgiveness that Christ-followers are called to. Take a few moments to explore what Scripture teaches about the motivation behind forgiveness with your group.



o Read Ephesians 4:32.

o What is the motivation behind forgiving other people according to this verse?

o How would you describe Christ’s forgiveness towards you?

o What might it look like to demonstrate that same Christ-like forgiveness to the people in your life?

o Read Matthew 18:21-35.

o After reading, compare and contrast the first servant’s debt versus the second servant’s debt.

o What stands out to you about the forgiven servant’s response to being forgiven?

o What does the forgiven servant’s response to his forgiveness teach us about him?

o What angered the king in this parable?

After exploring a couple of passages of Scripture that teach about forgiveness, think of a one-sentence summary that describes what it is to motivate our forgiveness. You can write this summary down or just have it in your head if you prefer. After coming up with your summary, have everyone in the group share it. Then, pray for each other, thanking God for the forgiveness He has shown each one of you, and asking Him for the courage to show that same forgiveness to the people in your lives. 

MONTHLY MEMORY VERSE (Available for download on Sagebrush App)

You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 1 Peter 1:8