Bible Readings for April 25 – May 1

Mark 15

Why do you think Jesus responded to Pilate’s question by simply saying: “You have said so”? How do you think you would have responded if you found yourself in that situation?

How do you think Simon of Cyrene was affected by his role in Jesus’ crucifixion? Why do you think Mark (as well as other gospel writers) chooses to mention Simon?

Why did it take courage for Joseph to request the body of Jesus?

Mark 16

We often begin Easter Sunday in full joy and celebration. How does this mood compare to what we see demonstrated by Mary, Mary, and Salome? How can we remember not only the joy of the resurrection, but also the fear his followers had immediately after his death?

What reasons did the women have to be afraid?

If we assume the gospel of Mark ended with verse 8, do you think this was intentional and if so, why would Mark have ended his story here?

1 Thessalonians 1

Who are people in your life that you give thanks for their “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of home”?

In what ways have you seen God’s message demonstrated in you with power and conviction?

How can you be such a person of faith that you are imitated by others?

1 Thessalonians 2

Describe a time when you have had to be bold in your proclamation of the gospel. In what ways did you encounter conflict as a result of your boldness? Did this conflict cause you to consider not being bold?

What sort of life must you live to demonstrate a “motherly affection” for the people you are trying to reach for Jesus? Would you say you often have this sort of attitude? Why or why not?

1 Thessalonians 3

Has there ever been a time when you were worried sick over the spiritual health of someone? How did you respond to this worry?

Pray this prayer for someone today: “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as I do for you.”

Bible Readings for April 11-17

Mark 5

Why do you think people were afraid to see the healed demoniac sitting calmly in his right mind? How do we typically respond to a demonstration of the power of God?

How desperate was the woman who touched Jesus’ cloak? What do you think you would have done if you had been in a similar situation and why?

What power or authority does Jesus NOT have? In what ways should our lives be different knowing the power he has?

Mark 6

Why do you think the people of Nazareth went so quickly from amazement at Jesus’ teaching to taking offense at what he was saying? How do you respond to Jesus’ teaching?

What would have been going through your mind if Jesus sent you out with nothing for your journey except the clothes on your back?

What does it tell you about Jesus that he had compassion on the crowd hearing him teach? And that he feed them?

Mark 7

What traditions might we hold that cause us to focus more on the tradition than on honoring God? How can we focus more on honoring Him?

Why do you think Jesus spends so much time telling people not to tell others about the healing and miracles he was doing?

Mark 8

Why do people want signs from God even in the midst of all of the great things Jesus is doing? How have you seen Jesus’ actions at work in your own life?

Do you think Peter knew what he was saying when he said that Jesus was the Christ? What does it mean to you that Jesus was not just a man, but was actually the Christ, the Messiah?

Mark 9

In what ways are you listening to Jesus? How do you make an effort to hear him better?

Do you think you would have understood Jesus’ saying he was going to be killed if you had been one of his disciples? Why do you think this is the case?

Why do we care so much about being the greatest … at almost everything!? In what ways do you seek to serve others instead of trying to be the greatest?

Bible Readings for April 4-10

2 Peter 3

In what ways might it be easy for us to assume that the promise of Christ’s return might have been overlooked? What reminder do you hold on to in order to not forget Christ’s coming return?

How does the slowness of Christ’s return and the desire of God to see people come to repentance motivate you to help people find faith in Jesus?

What are you looking forward to most about God’s promise of a new heaven and a new earth?

Mark 1

As you read through Mark 1, what is different about the start of this gospel in comparison to the other three? Why do you think this is the case?

Are you surprised at the first recorded words of Jesus here? What might you have expected if not these words? How would you have started your public ministry if you were in Jesus’ shoes?

Why do you think Jesus—the Son of God—felt compelled to go off to a solitary place and pray? How can you schedule more time for solitude and prayer in your life?

Mark 2

What sort of relationship do you think the paralytic had with the four men carrying him? Why do you think this is the case? How does this compare to the relationships you have with others?

Three (at least) of the stories in this chapter involve the Pharisees. Why do you sense the Pharisees were so focused on rule-keeping and maintaining holiness versus Jesus’ desire to call to him those who were lost? Which of these categories would you say you fit into?

Mark 3

The story of the man with the withered hand is the only place in the gospels where we are specifically told that Jesus was angry. What’s it take to make Jesus angry? How does this compare to what makes you angry and what might need to change in your life based on this reflection?

We often talk about belonging to the “family of God.” What does Jesus say it takes to be a part of his family? How “family” are you and how can you be even more so that way?

Mark 4

In what ways have you felt like each of the four different soils Jesus describes in this parable? What are you doing to try to be as healthy a soil as possible?

How is it that Jesus could sleep in the middle of this storm?

Why do you think “do not fear” is one of if not the most often used command Jesus tells others? How has knowing Jesus reduced fear in your life?

Bible Readings for March 28-April 3

1 Peter 3

Why is the respect and love husbands and wives show each other so important for the life of believers, but also unbelievers? How have you seen this to be true?

What things are you doing to cultivate the inner beauty of your heart?

Although it seems difficult to do, how can you bless those who act out of evil motives toward you?

What is the reason for the hope you have in Jesus Christ? How can you share that hope with someone today?

1 Peter 4

How do you live self-controlled and sober-minded lives in preparation for the end, which Peter says is near?

In what ways can you demonstrate earnest love for others?

Do you remember to glorify God in everything you do? How can you do this better?

1 Peter 5

What does it look like to be subject to the elders?

What anxieties are you dealing with today? How can you give them to God, who cares for you?

2 Peter 1

Do you ever feel ineffective and unfruitful in your faith? How might focusing on virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love help those feelings?

How can you in turn help others remember and think more about these qualities?

2 Peter 2

Do you think Peter would identify false prophets in our world today? Who would these people be and what would be the focus of their message?

How comfortable are we reading about God’s punishment on those who do not follow him? Why is God’s punishment an important part of his judgment and even his grace?

Bible Readings for March 21-27

Colossians 2

Using practical and easy steps, describe a life that walks in Christ Jesus, rooted and built in him, established in faith, and abounding in thanksgiving.

When you think of Jesus, how often do you think of his being the fullness of deity, the fullness of God? What might help you think of this more often?

Colossians 3

What advice would you give someone seeking to set their minds on things above? How would you tell them to successfully accomplish this?

Read through Paul’s list of earthly things versus his list of spiritual things. How can you consistently focus on the latter, while avoiding the former?

Colossians 4

How can you be about keeping steadfast in prayer?

Is your speech always gracious, seasoned with salt? Why or why not?

1 Peter 1

What hope have experienced in living for Jesus?

What does it mean to prepare your mind for action?

In what ways does it seem impossible to be holy like God is holy? What do you think Peter means by this statement?

1 Peter 2

Malice. Deceit. Hypocrisy. Envy. Slander. All of these things are way too common among God’s people. Why do you think this is the case and what can we do about it?

How is your life different knowing you have been chosen and set apart by God?

What does it mean to be an exile? Why is Peter’s description of God’s people here so appropriate, especially today?

 

Prayer for the week: “Lord, help us to make our minds ready for action and may we hope fully in the grace that comes from you through Jesus Christ.”

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.

Bible Readings for March 14-20

Philippians 1

For whom do you thank God when you remember them?

Paul writes that his arrest actually served to help spread the gospel of Christ. How do you think you would react to being imprisoned for your faith?

How can a struggle or challenge you are going through help spread the good news of Christ?

How can you live your life in such a way that it is “worthy of the gospel of Christ”? What specific actions or attitudes might this include?

Philippians 2

In what ways do you remember to live your life for others, without an attitude of “selfish ambition?”

How easy or difficult do you find it to have the same mindset of Christ? Why do you think this is the case?

Why is it easier to grumble or complain than it is to put others before yourself?

Philippians 3

What causes you to rejoice? What about rejoicing in the Lord?

What sort of things might someone be willing to give up to fully know Christ Jesus? How does this compare to Paul’s statement that he would give up everything to know Christ?

What keeps you focused on the goal of Jesus Christ and pushing forward toward that goal versus always dwelling on what’s behind you?

Philippians 4

Why do you think Eudia and Synthyche were having trouble getting along? How does this disagreement impact the message of this entire letter?

We often hear Philippians 4.13 used in a variety of situations where we need strength or power to overcome some challenge, which is not really the context of how Paul uses this passage. What do you sense Paul is saying in this verse/paragraph? Why is this important to know?

Colossians 1

We find here the third or fourth intercessory prayer—prayers on the behalf of others—of Paul’s so far in this year’s readings. What stands out to you in these prayers, especially the one here? How do these prayers compare to what we typically consider intercessory prayers?

How important for following God is knowing Jesus, given that the “fullness of God” dwelt in Jesus?

How hard do we work to present people “mature in Christ”? How can we work harder to do this?

 

Prayer for the week: “Lord, may we be people who speak boldly in your name.”

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.

Bible Readings for March 7-13

Ephesians 2

Would you say you once felt “dead in trespasses and sin?” Why can this passage be difficult to embrace, especially for those who grew up in a Christian family or environment?

How have you felt God make you alive again? What examples can you share of God turning graves into gardens, mourning into dancing?

If we have been saved by grace through faith and NOT from our own doing, why do we try so hard to not mess up?

Ephesians 3

How shocking was it for the Jews to discover that the Gentiles were also heirs of God? Is there any similar circumstances you can think of today or is that just so “beyond,” it can never be repeated?

Pray Paul’s prayer of verses 14-19 for someone today.

What is the most amazing, unbelievable thing God could do for you? How does it feel to know that as big as you can imagine, God can still do better than that?

Ephesians 4

How have you tried to live with humility, gentleness, patience, and eagerness to maintain the unity of the Spirit?

At times—OK, maybe often—Christians are not known for their unity. What is it that causes Christians to not be unified? How can we both live in and demonstrate unity better?

How do you work to build up the body of Christ?

Ephesians 5

How crazy does it seem that we should imitate God? How can we do this?

Have you made the most of today? Why or why not?

How do the specific roles you participate in on any given day affect how you follow Jesus? List your roles and then determine the most important way you can live for Jesus in that role. Now, go and actually live that out.

Ephesians 6

How do you get your strength and protection from God?

Which part of God’s armor do you most gravitate towards? Why?

Pray today that you and others you know will speak God’s word boldly.

 

Prayer for the week: “Lord, may we be people who speak boldly in your name.”

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.

Bible Readings for February 28-March 6

Romans 13

Why do some people find it a challenge to submit to governing authorities? How does Christian beliefs—either yours or the governing authority’s—help or hinder this desire to submit?

Do you act as if you believe that God has instituted those in authority? In what ways?

How does loving others fulfill the law?

Romans 14

How well do you accept the weak? The strong? Why is this the case?

How might some be guilty of causing others to stumble?

Romans 15

What specific action might be considered “bearing with the weak?” In what ways do you act like this?

What has Christ accomplished through you to win others to him?

Romans 16

Why do you think Paul wrote this list of names to conclude this letter?

Ephesians 1

Verses 3-14 are one sentence in the original Greek. Summarize this “sentence” in your own words.

How has your life changed by being adopted as a child of God?

Who do you remember in prayers of thanksgiving and why? Have you told them this lately?

What does it mean for you faith that Christ is the head of the church?

Prayer for the week: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1.18-21, NIV)

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.

Bible Readings for February 21-27

Romans 8

If there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, why are there so many Christians who fear they are going to miss out on eternal life due to sin in their life?

What does it mean to walk by the Spirit and not by flesh? What examples can you give from your life that demonstrates this?

What are ways you remind yourself that the present sufferings you face cannot compare to the future glory that is to be revealed?

If God is for you, who can be against you?

Romans 9

Would it be difficult for you to say you wish you could be cut off from Christ for the sake of your kin or family? Why or why not?

Romans 10

How have you seen the truth of the following verse: “Everyone who believes in [Christ] will not be put to shame”?

In what ways are you the “beautiful feet” that share the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ?

Romans 11

Why do you think Paul was concerned to show God’s love not only for the Jews—Paul’s own people—but for the Gentiles, as well?

Romans 12

What does “present your bodies as living sacrifices” look like for followers of Jesus today?

What specific actions do you take not to be conformed to the pattern of this world?

What gifts have you been given by God and how are you using them for the body of Christ?

Prayer for the week: “Lord, may we always offer ourselves to you as living sacrifices, loving others, rejoicing in hope, and in constant prayer to you.”

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.

Bible Readings for February 14-20

Romans 3

While we know that Paul as quoting the Old Testament when he writes “none is righteous,” what is your initial thinking as you read it? Do you agree? Disagree? Why?

How does the fact that “all have sinned” but “are justified by grace” affect what it means to live a life following God?

Romans 4

From what you know about the story of Abraham, how easy was it for him to have faith that the promise of God would come through Abraham’s offspring? What does this tell you about God’s promises?

Describe a time that you have “hoped against hope” for a promise of God. How did you waiting ultimately play out?

Romans 5

How has being justified through faith given you peace with God?

Is there anything else that is more certain that our hope in God? Why do we at times not act like this is the case?

What is your reaction to knowing that Christ died for the ungodly, that while we were sinners, Christ dies for us?

Romans 6

If you have died to sin, why do you continue to live in it?

Romans 7

Do you ever feel like the person Paul describes here, doing the very things you do not want to do? Why is it so easy for this to be a reality in our lives?

Who rescues you from this sort of life? How?

Prayer for the week: “God, we give you praise for sending your son to die for us, even though we were sinners. May we live in the faithfulness of him.”

Get a full 2021 Reading List HERE.