Small Group Studies

Text Week 2 Study


When we approach God’s word, a fair question is, “How do I know it is reliable?” If you have ever played the game “telephone,” you pass a message around a circle to see if the message changes when it reaches the last person; you know that this game always gets confusing! So how could a book with a message passed down over thousands of years stay true and accurate? This is the question that we are asking and answering this week. In our study today, we will talk about why Scripture is reliable and why we can stake our lives on the unshakable, reliable word of God.


What does it mean for something or someone to be reliable?


Bible Study Questions

1. Why is the reliability of the Bible a vital topic for all people to discuss?


2. Read 2 Peter 1:16-21. In what ways do fulfilled prophecies point to the reliability of Scripture?

2 Peter 1:16-21

For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.

Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts. Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.

3. Read Hebrews 4:12-13. According to these verses, how does the Bible impact our lives when we read it?

Hebrews 4:12-13

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

4. How is first-hand experience an excellent pointer to the Bible’s reliability?



5. How do fulfilled prophecy, manuscript evidence, and first-hand experience give you confidence that Scripture is reliable?

6. How have you personally experienced the reliability of Scripture in your own life? How has it taught, equipped, and corrected you?

7. How does understanding the reliability of Scripture impact the way you read and approach Scripture regularly?


Because the Bible is reliable, it is worthy of our time, attention, and affection. The question then becomes, are we devoting time to meditate on it daily? Spend some time talking with your group about your time in God’s word each week. Do you have a routine? What is going well? What needs improvement? Maybe you do not have a routine, and a few simple steps to begin a routine is a good place to start. Share all of these things with your group and hold each other accountable as you seek to make the most out of your time reading God’s word.

Going Deeper

Over the next few weeks, we are looking at several steps in studying the Bible that will help us become better students of God’s word. Last week, we looked at observation. Today, our focus is interpretation. Interpretation asks and answers the question, “What does it mean?” In other words, interpretation focuses on the meaning behind what we observe in Scripture.

The emphasis of interpretation is discernment. We take what we have observed through the interpretation process and determine what it means based on what we know about history, culture, grammatical structure, literary form, and more. So, when you have moved into the interpretation process, these are some things to be paying attention to:

History: What can we learn about the historical background of a book?
Ex: The Gospels (Matthew, Mark Luke, and John) were written at the time of the Roman captivity.

Culture: What can we learn about the cultural backgrounds of the Scripture we are reading?

Grammatical Structure? What are the subject, verbs, and modifiers?

Literary Form: How does the literary form of the verses you are reading play a part in understanding it?  

Narrative. A narrative is best described as a story. As we think about narratives, we can ask questions about characters. Who? What? When? Where? Why?

  • Example: Acts 9:1-19

Poetry. The psalms are filled with beautiful poetry.

  • Example: Psalm 3:1-8

Parable. A parable is a fictitious narrative that is always true to life.

  • Example: Luke 12:13-21

Epistles: Epistles are letters to churches or church readers.

  • Example: the book of Jude

Prophecy: A prophecy is a divine revelation from God about often revealing something about the future or conveying judgment for sins.

  • Example: Revelation 22:1-21

This list is certainly not all-inclusive, but it is a great place to start! A helpful resource to help to explore these areas in interpretation is Dr. Constable’s Bible Study Notes. These notes will be particularly helpful when exploring the historical and cultural backgrounds of the Scripture you are reading.

Guiding Principles for Interpretation: When interpreting, there are a few principles to remember.

  • Scripture always interprets Scripture.
  • When we interpret, we must be sure not to add any meaning to the Scripture that is not originally there.
  • True interpretation requires that we set aside our own agenda.
  • This helps us make sure that we do not make it say what we want it to say, but rather what God is saying through the words of Scripture.

Practice of Interpretation:

Last week, we looked at observation and practiced observing Matthew 6:25-34. Take a few minutes to review what you learned through observing these verses last week. After reviewing, let’s interpret these verses, focusing on the literary form. Next, read Matthew 6:25-34. After reading, answer the questions below. You may need to do a little bit of investigation to answer some of these questions. It may be helpful to read Matthew 4:23-5:1 as well before answering the questions. Dr. Constable’s Bible Study Notes are useful to provide background and context. If your group would like to read these Bible study notes, focus on pages 206-210.

• What is the literary form (narrative, poetry, parable, epistles, or prophecy)?
• What is happening in the scene, and who is involved?
• Where is the scene taking place?
• What things does Jesus teach those listening not to worry about? What stands out to you about these things?
• What seems to be the underlying concern of the people Jesus was talking to, based on His message to them?
• Pick one verse that summarizes Jesus’ main point in His teaching. Share this with your group.

After reading this Scripture and answering the questions above, answer the question of interpretation, “What does it mean?” What do these verses in Matthew 6:25-34 tell us? Then, look back at Matthew 6:24-34. Summarize the meaning of these verses in 1 sentence and share your summary with your group.


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Hebrews 11:1-2

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.