“Three Examples of ‘This Mind’ ”
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text, “Who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding grammatical and theological definitions and usages in other passages.)
1. Context: What is the main idea before (2:14) this lesson’s passage? How does it lay a foundation for these verses?
2. WS: (14-15) “Harmless, blameless, innocent, pure” are all possible translations of the Greek word akeraios. What does it mean and how does that word relate to the trio of “blameless, harmless, and without fault?”
3. ID: (14-15) How would complaining and disputing effect our attitude and spirit and keep us from becoming blameless, harmless, and without fault?
4. CR: (17) What was Paul saying about himself, when he said that he was being poured out as a drink offering? (2 Corinthians 12:15; 2 Timothy 4:6)
5. ID: What attitudes and actions do verses 19-22 tell us about Timothy that make him a good example for us? (List several attitudes or actions.) Which one made him unique?
6. ID: What attitudes and actions verses 25-30 tell us about Epaphroditus that make him a good example for us? (List several attitudes or actions.) Which one(s) made him worthy of honor?
7. ID: What is the common trait that all three of these men demonstrated that made them good illustrations of the mind of Christ (2:5)?
The WALK: What should I do?
1. Why is having the “mind of Christ” essential to being a peacemaker?
2. What keeps us of having Christ’s mind toward others like Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus did?
3. Can you think of a time you have seen a selfless person help bring peace to a stressful situation? How did it help?
4. How have you seen grumbling and arguing contribute to strife and dissention among believers?
5. What has this passage taught you that you should work on?
The Biographical Method:
Elmer Towns is Liberty University’s co-founder and dean of the school's Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. In his online book, How to Study and Teach the Bible he makes the following suggestions for a biographical Bible study.
When God chose to reveal Himself to us in Scripture, He often does it through people. More than 3,500 individual people are identified in Scripture, their stories will tell you much about God and yourself.
Usually begin by choosing secondary characters rather than major characters. To begin your study in the life of Peter, Paul, Abraham or Moses may overwhelm you with biblical material available on the subject's life and times. Herbert Lockyer advises students of biography to "begin with a person whose story is briefly told." In the event you feel you must study a major character, limit your study to a specific aspect of that character's life. Rather than examining the entire life of Moses, why not consider the record of his first forty years in Egypt.
Gather all available biblical data on the character. Find and read every verse on the person by looking him or her up in an exhaustive concordance. Also, a good topical Bible may describe the person. Don’t forget to look in a Bible dictionary or encyclopedia. When a person has more than one name (i.e., Abram/Abraham, Jacob/Israel, or Saul/Paul), be certain to check each name. The cross-reference notes in your study Bible will also be helpful as you gather biblical data that describes your subject.
- As you study the background of your subject, attempt to determine the nature of his or her childhood. A good place to begin is a consideration of the meaning of a child's name. Identify his parents, ancestors, and other relatives. Determine what influence the person(s) family had on them and why?
- Develop a “timeline” of the basic events in the person’s life.
- Identify significant turning points in someone’s life. Look for traumatic events which took place in the person's life that were likely to influence them.
- Determine the weaknesses, failures or negative lessons that are found in this person and the negative principles that should be avoided.
- Determine the main characteristics or strengths, i.e. “life-message” of the person from the passage(s) of Scripture and the principles by which they lived. Determine the positive principles that could be applied to your life
- Identify any insights this person's life might reveal concerning God and His character. Could this person be considered a type or anti-type of Christ? (Joseph is considered a type of Christ).
- Determine the conditional promises or threats that apply only to their lives, and the universal promises or threats that apply to your life.
- Identify the single most important principle illustrated in this person's life. What is his or her “life-message?” Write that principle in a one or two sentences.
For Further Study:
There are some other helpful online resources for biographical method Bible studies. One is chapter four of R. A. Torey’s book, How to Study the Bible. Peter Rhebergen also has some helpful information on the biographical method of Bible study. Appendix B of Rick Warren’s book, Bible Study Methods: Twelve Ways You Can Unlock God’s Word, part of which is available online, has some helpful questions to use in a biographical Bible study.