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, d a B e h t , The Good lute & the Abso Session 1: Right from Wrong......... 5 .9

e................... rc u o S e h T : 2 n io s s e S Session 3:Set in Stone..................13

Session

...17 . . . . . . . . . . Gray f o s e 4:Shad

CONTRIBUTORS KNOWN is the product of a lot of creative minds sitting together—often with coffee and bagels in hand—asking the question, “What if?” We dreamed of creating a Bible study that could connect with students regardless of where they live or who they are. We dreamed of a Bible study that would not require a degree in rocket science to figure out. We dreamed of something different for students—your students. We dreamed of what you’re holding.

Lots of folks sat at the table: Mandy Crow Mike Wakefield Ryan Sanders Charles Long Pam Gibbs Sherry Spillman Bob Bunn Syble Groover Ed Crawford Paul Turner Jimmy Hester Rick Prall Jeff Pratt

KNOWN VOLUME 00

PRODUCTION AND MINISTRY TEAM PROJECT MANAGER: Mike Wakefield CONTENT EDITOR and M&M COLLECTOR: Rick Prall GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Charles Long PRODUCTION EDITOR and COFFEE TASTER: Ryan Sanders BIBLICAL & INSTRUCTIONAL SPECIALIST: Lynn H. Pryor NATIONAL STUDENT MINISTRY LEADER: Paul Turner STUDENT MINISTRY SPECIALIST: Sherry Spillman Send questions/comments to: Content Editor, KNOWN® One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234-0174, Or make comments on the Web at www.lifeway.com

MANAGEMENT PERSONNEL SENIOR DIRECTOR, STUDENT MINISTRY PUBLISHING: Jimmy Hester MANAGING DIRECTOR, STUDENT MINISTRY PUBLISHING: Jeff Pratt DIRECTOR, SUNDAY SCHOOL: David Francis DIRECTOR, STUDENT MINISTRY: Scott Stevens DIRECTOR, PUBLISHING, LIFEWAY CHURCH RESOURCES: Gary H. Hauk Printed in the United States of America KNOWN® (ISSN XXXXXXX; Item Number XXXX) is published quarterly by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234, Thom S. Rainer, President. © 2007 LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. For ordering or inquiries, visit www.lifeway.com or write LifeWay Church Resources Customer Service, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234-0113. For subscriptions or subscription address changes, e-mail subscribe@lifeway.com, fax 615.251.5818, or write to the above address. For bulk shipments mailed quarterly to one address, e-mail orderentry@lifeway.com, fax 615.251.5933, or write to the above address. We believe the Bible has God for its author; salvation for its end; and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter and that all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. The 2000 statement of The Baptist Faith and Message is our doctrinal guideline. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible® Copyright ©1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

TheGuide

First Look You are holding a prototype of a new Bible study resource from Student Ministry Publishing at LifeWay Christian Resources called KNOWN that will launch in Fall 2008. This is not the final form of KNOWN. In fact, ongoing evaluation of how this study works with students is helping to shape it into its final form. We are excited about where God is leading us in the design of this Bible study resource.

The Approach The Sunday Morning Bible Study and the Midweek Event can be used independently of each other, but they are designed to give a holistic approach to a student’s spiritual development: the midweek event builds on what the students have done in their time alone with God and what they initially studied on Sunday morning.

Leader Guide

Sunday Morning ▷ Each session has a two-page teaching outline designed to drive home one point. ▷ The strategy for student development that shapes this resource is on the inside-front cover.

Student Book

Online Resources

Sunday Morning

Midweek Event ▷ A basic one-page outline with main points and discussion questions is included. This midweek talksheet builds on and complements what was studied earlier in the week.

Midweek Event

▷ Each session has two pages of graphic information that can be used during the group study or for individual use at home. ▷ Each session includes three days of devotions for students to use for reflection during their quiet time.

Sunday Morning ▷ Additional ideas to gear the study for a specific group: guys, girls, older youth, younger youth, and so forth. ▷ Insights to help the leader understand the Scripture in light of the session’s focus.

Midweek Event ▷ A full plan for a midweek event that includes an opening activity, worship song suggestions, illustrations, and a PowerPoint presentation to support the discussion.

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Unit 1 TheOverview

The Good, the Bad, & the Absolute

Week 1 Right fromWrong There is a standard.

Week 2 The Source God set the standard.

Week 3 Set in Stone God revealed His standard in the Bible.

Week 4 Shades of Gray God gave us guidelines even when the standard is not clear.

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A defining marker for this postmodern generation is the belief that there are no absolutes. “The one absolute is that there are no absolutes.” “Who are you tell me what to believe? If you believe something to be true, then it is certainly true for you. But what gives you the right to tell me that what I believe is not true?” T he whole point of this four-week study is to lead students to discover that, despite what culture says, God has given us an absolute standard . . . and it is a standard worth following.

Bible Study ▶ THE  QUESTION Is there a standard for right and wrong? ▶ THE  POINT An absolute standard for right and wrong does exist because there is a God.

Bible Study ▶ THE  QUESTION Why does God get to set the standard? ▶ THE  POINT God sets the standard because the Creator knows what is best for His creation.

Bible Study ▶ THE  QUESTION Why should I look to the Bible to determine right and wrong? ▶ THE  POINT The Bible provides the only true standard for right and wrong.

Bible Study ▶ THE  QUESTION What do I do when the issue of right and wrong is not clear? ▶ THE  POINT Even when the Bible is not clear on an issue, we can still make good choices.

Midweek Event ▶T  HE QUESTION What are some faulty sources of truth? ▶ THE  POINT You either live by faulty sources of truth or by Truth.

Midweek Event ▶T  HE QUESTION Why should I trust God’s standard? ▶ THE  POINT God is truthful and good, so you can trust Him.

Midweek Event ▶T  HE QUESTION What role does Scripture play? ▶ THE  POINT God’s Word points out wrong and shows us how to live right.

Midweek Event ▶T  HE QUESTION Can I do whatever I want if the Bible doesn’t condemn it? ▶ THE  POINT It’s important to think about how your decisions will impact others.

TheQuestion Is there a standard for right and wrong?

ThePoint An absolute standard for right and wrong exists because there is a God.

SESSION 1

from An Absolute Standard to Guide Your Life

Ninety percent of teenagers do not believe in absolute moral truth. If there is no absolute standard, how can a student possibly know and act upon what is right? This session will help students understand that there is an absolute moral truth and that standard rests on the Word and character of God. The midweek event will reinforce the session point by focusing on the dangers of living by faulty standards.

Bible Study The Good, the Bad, & the Absolute

Session

1

THE QUESTION Is there a standard for right and wrong?

THE POINT An absolute standard for right and wrong exists because there is a God.

Right fromWrong Romans 2:14-15; Exodus 20:1-2; Hebrews 13:8; Isaiah 40:6-8

GET STARTED

1

Play the devil’s advocate by asking: Is it wrong to murder (lie, steal, commit adultery)? Why? Who says? If students say, “God says so” respond by saying, “Show me where He says that,” and “How do you know this is truth that applies to all of us?” Keep digging deeper into responses to get beyond basic churchy answers.

APPLY LIFE PRINCIPLES

3

Use the following Scriptures and bulleted teaching ideas/statements to communicate each of these life principles related to the question for this session.

here is a standard because it is A Twritten in our conscience.

INTRODUCE THE QUESTION

▷ Lead students to discuss how we know some things are

Many people do not believe there are absolutes in life. What’s wrong for one person may not be wrong for another person. If that is true, then, a person or whole society can decide that murder of certain people (like the genocide in Darfur) is not wrong.

just wrong as illustrated on page 8 in the KNOWN student book. See Activity A. ▷ Every culture, and even those who do not acknowledge God or follow Scripture, has a sense of right and wrong. See the online Insights.* ▶ How does a child know that some things are right and some things are wrong? ▶ If there is a standard written on our conscience, from where did that standard of right and wrong come? ▷ Read Romans 2:14-15. ▶ What does it mean to be “written on our hearts”? ▶ How do these verses help us understand there is an absolute standard for right and wrong?

2

TIP: Don’t feel like you have to have an answer for these three questions. They are meant simply to introduce the topic and question.

▶ Why would anybody want to live in a world where there are no rules or standards?

▶ Can society or culture decide what is right and wrong? Why? ▶  If a stranger asked you to define absolute truth how would you respond?

▷ Lead students to react to this statement: An absolute standard for right and wrong does exist.

B

There is a standard because there is a God who defines right and wrong.

▷ Read Exodus 20:1-2. ▷ God spoke and gave clear and objective commands related to what is right and wrong. His first words, “I am the Lord your God,” emphasize His sovereign lordship and right to give these commands. See the online Insights.* ▶ What is wrong with a person defining right or wrong? (Note: The next session’s emphasis will be on why God is the One who gets to set the standard.)

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▷ In Right from Wrong (Word, 1994, p. 17), Josh McDowell

▷ Direct students to review point 3 on page 9 in the KNOWN describes absolute truth as “that which is true for all people, student book and Isaiah 40:6-8. Discuss what difference it for all times, for all places. Absolute truth is truth that is makes that God’s Word remains forever. See Activity C. objective, universal, and constant.” Lead students to respond ▶ If our lives are temporary, what does that mean if we base to the KNOWN student book material. See Activity B. truth on our lives and experiences? Since God’s Word ▶ What is significant about the fact that God spoke the words of is eternal, what does that mean if we base truth on His Exodus 20:1-17? (The people knew who gave the commands.) Word? ▷ Discuss how God’s standards apply in every culture. ▶ How do these verses help us understand there is an ▶ How do these verses help us understand there is an absolute absolute standard for right and wrong? standard for right and wrong?

C

4

 od set the standard for right and G wrong, and it hasn’t changed.

WRAP IT UP

Use these ideas to drive home the point for this session. Challenge students to act upon the truth of this study during the coming week.

▷ Read Hebrews 13:8 and Isaiah 40:6-8. ▷ Jesus hasn’t changed. God’s Word hasn’t changed—it doesn’t ▷ Discuss the questions under “So What?” on page 9 of the go out of date nor lose its effectiveness or applicability. If God is the sovereign Lord over all, His commands are over all.

KNOWN student book. See Activity D.

▶ How can the truths of this session help you evaluate the “truths” promoted through media and celebrities?

Activity A

Activity C

1

There is a standard because it is written on our conscience.

THE QUESTION

Is there a standard for right & wrong?

What difference does it make?

(Rom. 2:14-15)

How do you know some things are just wrong?

The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever. (Isa. 40:6-8)

GOD has set the

2

standard for right & wrong, and it hasn’t changed.

Murder Genocide Child Abuse Rape Theft Drunk Driving Robbery

Objective

A true standard of right and wrong must be objective; that is, it must exist independently of what you or any other person thinks or feels. Otherwise, right and wrong could change from person-toperson. Your conscience is not an objective standard of right and wrong, because it does not exist independently of you, your opinions, and your feelings.

Constant

A true standard of right and wrong must be universal; that is, it must apply to all people in all places. If it did not, right and wrong may change from culture-to-culture or even from community-to-community. You may consider it wrong to abuse children, for example, but if a neighboring culture disagrees, who can say they’re wrong.

Absolute Truth Universal

A true standard of right and wrong must be constant; that is, it must be unchanging. It does not change with time. Otherwise, right and wrong might be different from generationto-generation, or even from dayto-day. In the absence of a constant standard of right and wrong, you have no hope of knowing, from one minute to the next, whether an act is right or wrong.

Why is it important to have an objective, universal, and constant source of truth as you make decisions related to right and wrong?

There is a standard because there is a God who defines right and wrong. (Ex. 20:1-2)

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“We know the truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart.”—Philosopher, Blaise Pascal

(Source: Josh McDowell, Setting You Free to Make Right Choices, LifeWay Press, 1995; pp. 20-21)

A Test for Absolute Truth

3

“When you’re eleven, you’re not that complicated . . . But as you get older, there’s so much more. You’re constantly subjected to this whole cacophony of conflicting thoughts.”—Actor, Daniel Radcliffe “I believe in God, and Heaven and Hell. If you believe in God, then you have to believe in Satan.”—Rapper, 50 Cent “Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view.”—Jedi Knight, Obi Wan Kenobi

SO WHAT? Review the verses studied in

this session. What one thing stands out most for you? What difference can this one thing make in your life this week?

THE POINT

An absolute standard for right and wrong does exist because there is a God. 0 0 9

Activity B

Activity D

*Insights are available for free online at www.lifeway.com/known. You can order the KNOWN student book at www.lifeway.com/known. 0 0 7

Midweek The Good, the Bad, & the Absolute Session

1

THE QUESTION What are some faulty sources of truth?

THE POINT You either live by faulty sources of truth or by Truth.

MIDWEEK TALKSHEET

The Truth? Proverbs 16:25; Colossians 2:8-10; John 8:32

THE BIBLE STUDY The first session Bible study explores the fact that there is a standard for right and wrong, a standard of truth that is written on our conscious by God, who defines what is right and wrong. This midweek study identifies what happens when you listen to or follow a faulty standard instead of God’s standard.

DISCUSS THESE POINTS Use the following main points, Scriptures, teaching/discussion ideas, and questions to drive home the question and the point for this session.

Faulty Source of Personal A The Opinion ▷ Read Proverbs 16:25. ▷ We think we have the capability to determine right from wrong based on our own intelligence, logic, or emotions— but personal opinion is flawed at the core. ▶ What is the problem with using emotions to make a decision? (emotions are temporary and change) ▶ Why do people depend on their emotions to determine right and wrong? ▶ When have you made a decision based on your opinion? What was the result?

B

C

The Real Source of Truth: Jesus Christ

▷ Read John 8:32. ▷ Knowing truth is possible. ▷ When we are able to live by a real source of truth, we find freedom to live the way we were designed to live. When we live by what is false, we pay the consequences. For example, when we live by the lie that sex before marriage is not wrong, then we face the consequences—emotional trauma, a damaged relationship, physical consequences (such as AIDS and STDs), and possibly a damaged reputation. Living by God’s truth frees us from those consequences. ▶ What are some other examples of the consequences, bondage, or lack of freedom we might face when we don’t live by God’s truth? ▶ How is it freedom to live in the truth found in Christ? ▶ If living by the truth leads to freedom, why do you think so many people choose not to live by truth?

WRAP IT UP

▷ Direct students to think about areas of their lives in which they may be living by their own idea of right and wrong or by the world’s philosophies. Lead them to list or call out the results of living by those choices. Allow time to reflect.

The Faulty Source of Human or Worldly Philosophy

▷ Read Colossians 2:8-10. ▶ What kinds of human philosophy do you encounter every day in TV, music, media, or the computer?

▶ What consequences might we encounter if we live by the philosophy in a recent movie? (discuss several movies)

▶ How often do you think public opinion and these human philosophies change? What does that tell you about the value or truthfulness of these views?

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A complete mid-week event including opening ideas, worship suggestions, illustrations, and a PowerPoint presentation is available at www.lifeway.com/known.

TheQuestion

Why does God get to set the standard?

ThePoint

God sets the standard because the Creator knows what is best for His creation.

SESSION 2

SESSION 2

Someone Needs to Be Absolutely in Charge

94%

of Americans believe in God.

Ninety-four percent of Americans believe in God. This session will help students recognize God as their loving Creator. As such, He knows what is best for all of us and therefore gets to set the standard—His absolute truth. The midweek event will focus on God’s goodness and trustworthiness—it’s always easier to follow the standards of someone you trust.

Bible Study The Good, the Bad, and the Absolute

Session

2

THE QUESTION Why does God get to set the standard?

THE POINT God sets the standard because the Creator knows what is best for His creation.

The Source Isaiah 45:5-12

GET STARTED

1

Prior to the session, create a list of ridiculous rules for students to follow before and during the session. Post the rules outside your teaching space and enlist two adults as monitors to make sure students see the rules before entering. Here are a few examples: 1. Only students with green eyes may sit down. 2. Y  ou must enter the room hopping on one foot and crowing like a rooster. 3. Anytime (your name) claps his or her hands, you must shout “(Your name) is an awesome teacher!” 4. Bibles with black covers must be read upside down. 5. Students with blond hair may not speak. 6. Students born out-of-state have to say a pledge of loyalty to their current state of residence.

▶ What don’t you like about the rules? Which ones would you change? Why?

▷ Allow students to make a suggested rule change, vote on it, then inform them no rules will change. State that it’s your room, your session, you’re in charge, and you make the rules. Discuss students’ response to your declaration. ▶ Is it fair for God to make all the rules? Explain.

INTRODUCE THE QUESTION

2

The point of the first session is that an absolute standard of right and wrong does exist, and it is God who has established the standard.

▶ Why does God get to set the standard? See Activity A. ▷ Direct students to list responses on page 14 in the KNOWN student book. Call for responses and record them on a large sheet of paper. Refrain from commenting on each response to allow freedom for students to express their thoughts.

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APPLY LIFE PRINCIPLES

3

Use the following Scriptures and bulleted teaching ideas/statements to communicate each of these life principles related to the question for this session.

sets the standard because He is A God holy and wholly other. ▷ Direct students to complete the “False Authorities” matching activity on page 14 in the KNOWN student book. (Answers: 1-C, 2-F, 3-E, 4-G, 5-B, 6-D, 7-A) Discuss how ancient people worshiped many gods. See Activity B. ▷ Discuss the different gods people worship today and why having several gods is a problem. See Activity C. ▷ Read Isaiah 45:5-8. Share the background and context of this passage. See the online Insights.* ▶ What does it mean to you when phrases are repeated? (Note that when something is repeated in Scripture it is done so for emphasis.) ▶ Why was it important to repeat the phrases in verses 5-6? ▷ Emphasize God is set apart from everyone and everything. Discuss how God is unique. See the online Insights.* ▷ Point out that God is supreme regardless of acknowledgement. Whether people follow His standard is irrelevant to its place as THE standard. He’s the only God and He sets the standard. ▷ Illustrations: Whether you want to acknowledge the authority of a policeman or not, he is still the authority; in baseball, the umpire sets the standard for the strike zone— if the umpire calls it a strike, it’s a strike.

B

God sets the standard because He is the Creator and we are the creation.

▷ Point out the copyright symbol on page 15 in the KNOWN student book. Direct students to explain what the symbol means. The author, designer, and creator has control over how his or her composition, work, or invention is used. Discuss how God has placed his copyright on us. See Activity D. ▷ Read Isaiah 45:9-12. Discuss the absurd interaction between the clay pot and the potter and the child and his parents. See the online Insights.* ▶ Why do we not have the right to question God’s design? ▷ Read and discuss the Henry Ford illustration on page 15 of the KNOWN student book. See Activity E. ▷ Point out that God is not a distant or uninvolved Creator. He is a loving Creator who created all things, including us, for a purpose.

Activity A

▷  Lead students to react to this statement: As Author, Owner, and Creator, God has the right to set the standard for His creation.

WRAP IT UP

4

Use these ideas to drive home the point for this session. Challenge students to act upon the truth of this study during the coming week.

▷ Direct students to consider the two questions on page 15 in the KNOWN student book. See Activity F.

▶ If God knows us best and loves us so much that the rules He gives us are designed to make our lives complete, are you willing to let go of your way and trust His ways? ▷ Challenge students to write or pray a prayer of commitment about trusting God and His ways.

Activity D

THE QUESTION

Why does God get to set the standard? Have you ever wondered why God makes all the rules and we don’t? You might view this as a no-brainer—“God gets to set the standard for one obvious reason: He’s God!” But why? What is it in God’s character that uniquely equips Him to set the standard? What is so different about God—the loving Creator?

False Authorities Match the mythological Greek gods with their areas of domain. □ Aphrodite A. Goddess of agriculture and handicrafts □ Apollo B. God of war □ Poseidon C. Goddess of love, beauty, and fertility □ Hermes D. God of the dead and the underworld □ Ares E. God of the sea □ Hades F. God of prophecy, music, and healing □ Athena G. Messenger of the gods

330 800 205 40 12 2 1

©

Million Hindu gods

Gods in Japanese Culture

Copyright refers to a body of exclusive rights that protect the works of authors, artists, computer programmers, and other stuff.

Activity F

Inventions & Inventors

C

A

God created human beings and desires His creation to worship Him.

D

Q:

How do I acknowledge God as the only God? Why don’t I submit to God?

Gods in Roman Mythology

Gods in Egyptian Mythology

Greek Olympian gods

Gods in Wicca

True & Living God

1910

Ford Model T

A Designer’s Dream In the early days of the automobile, a man’s Model-T Ford stalled in the middle of the road. He couldn’t get it started no matter how hard he cranked or adjusted things under the hood. A chauffeured limousine pulled up behind him, and a wiry, energetic man stepped out from the back seat and offered his assistance. After tinkering for a few moments, the stranger said, “Now try it.” Immediately the engine came to life. The welldressed individual then identified himself as Henry Ford.

No one understands a car better than its designer and inventor­—no one understands you better than your Designer and Creator.

I AM

the LORD, and there is no other. (Isaiah 40:6-8)

THE POINT

God sets the standard because the Creator knows what is best for His creation. 0 1 5

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Activity B

(A) airscrew (helicopter), Leonardo da Vinci, 1493; (B) iPod, Apple Inc., 2001; (C) modern helicopter; Igor Sikorsky, 1942; (D) cell phone; AT&T, 1947.

B

Activity C

Activity E

*Insights are available for free online at www.lifeway.com/known. You can order the KNOWN student book at www.lifeway.com/known. 0 1 1

Midweek The Good, the Bad, and the Absolute Session

4 2

THE QUESTION Why should I trust God’s standard?

MIDWEEK TALKSHEET

THE POINT God is truthful and good, so you can trust Him.

Psalm 100:5; Isaiah 45:18-19,22-23; John 14:6

Trusting God

THE BIBLE STUDY The second session Bible study identifies that God sets the standard for moral truth—His absolute truth. As our Creator, He knows what is best for us. God is completely unique and wholly different from any other god that may be worshiped by others. God created us and He loves us. The truth is that no one understands us better than our Designer and Creator. This midweek study will discuss why we should trust this standard that God has set for us.

DISCUSS THESE POINTS Use the following main points, Scriptures, teaching/discussion ideas, and questions to drive home the question and the point for this session.

A

B

You Can Trust God’s Standards Because He Is Good and Wants Good for You.

▶ What are some different views of God? (A doting

grandfather, a wrathful judge, distant, and so forth.)

▷ Read Psalm 100:5. ▷ Just as truth is part of God’s character, so is goodness. ▶ What are some evidences that God is good? ▶ How has God been good to you? ▶ How can you trust God’s goodness, even when your situation is not good?

WRAP IT UP

▶ What difference does it make that God’s character is truth and goodness?

You Can Trust God’s Standards Because He Speaks the Truth and Is Truth.

▶ What character trait comes to mind when you hear the name of Adolf Hitler? Mother Teresa? Paris Hilton? Danica Patrick? Brad Pitt? Michael Vick? Your pastor? ▷ People are known by their character, the essence of who they are. ▷ Read Isaiah 45:18-19,22-23. ▷ God speaks truth. He does not lie. In fact, He cannot lie because it is not in His character. ▶ If God always speaks the truth, then why do so many people misunderstand Him? ▷ Read John 14:6. ▷ Jesus is the embodiment of truth and cannot mislead anyone—Jesus is the Truth. ▶ Why do you think is it important to know that Jesus always tells the truth?

▷ It doesn’t really matter whether or not we want to accept God’s truth or His goodness. He will continue to remain consistent to His character regardless of what we do. He is God and we are His creation. ▷ Be willing to accept and follow God’s standard because of His goodness and love for you.

A complete mid-week event including opening ideas, worship suggestions, illustrations, and a PowerPoint presentation is available at www.lifeway.com/known.

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TheQuestion

Why should I look to the Bible to determine right and wrong?

ThePoint

The Bible provides the only true standard for right and wrong.

SESSION 3

The Written Record of God’s Standard

The Bible The world’s best selling book of all time. The Bible is by far the best-selling book of all time. However, compared to many of the books and magazines students enjoy, the Bible may be the least read book in their rooms. This session will help students understand that the Bible—God’s Word—is perfect, reliable, and full of wisdom. The midweek event will point out that the Bible is not just a book of rules, but provides practical guidance for daily life.

Bible Study The Good, the Bad, and the Absolute

Session

0 3

THE QUESTION Why should I look to the Bible to determine right and wrong? THE POINT The Bible provides the only true standard for right and wrong.

Set in Stone 1 Timothy 3:16; Psalm 19:7-11

GET STARTED

1

Pass around a wooden stick (or strip of paper or anything with length) and direct students to guess its actual length. Make it a contest. End the guessing by telling them the actual length. Ask: How can I know the actual length? Display a ruler or tape measure. Ask: How important are accurate measurements in building and construction? How important is an accurate standard in how to live life? What are some of the places people look to find a standard on how to live life? (This activity could also be done with a container of liquid and a measuring cup.)**

INTRODUCE THE QUESTION

2

When you were a kid, what was something you believed was true? How or when did you learn the truth? ▶ How do you determine if something is true or not? ▶ No one likes to be lied to or deceived, but determining where the truth lies can sometimes be difficult. Christians assume the Bible contains the one standard for truth, but how can we verify the truth of that statement? How can we determine if the Bible is the true standard?

APPLY LIFE PRINCIPLES

3

Use the following Scriptures and bulleted teaching ideas/statements to communicate each of these life principles related to the question for this session.

is God-breathed and has A Scripture His authority. ▷ No biblical writer presented proofs that the Bible is God’s Word; that truth is assumed throughout the Bible.

▷ Using the online Insights* and the information on page 21 in the KNOWN student book, present information about each of three –areas and ask: Does this information point toward the uniqueness of the Bible as God’s Word or not? See Activity A. See the online Insights.* 1. T he historical and archaeological accuracy of the Bible 2. T he prophecies in the Bible 3. T he diversity and unity within the Bible ▷ Read 2 Timothy 3:16. ▷ Discuss the difference between the Bible being “God breathed” (the literal meaning in v. 16) and someone who “felt inspired to write this poem.” See the online Insights.* ▷ Read Psalm 19:7-11 and highlight the following points:

B

God’s Word is complete and always right.

TIP: Don’t spend a lot of time on Focus Points B-D. Introduce them with these discussion points, but use Focus Point E to help students dig deeper.

▶ How do you think the Bible might be considered perfect? ▷ The Word of God is complete because it supplies everything we need.

▶ What words and phrases highlight the Bible as being **Precise measurements are maintained by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. (http://www.sizes.com/units/BIPM.htm) 0 1 4 KNOWN LEADER 00

perfect and always right? (vv. 7-8)

C

God’s Word is full of wisdom.

▶ What words and phrases highlight the Bible as being full of wisdom? (v. 8)

D

God’s Word is reliable.

▶ What words and phrases highlight the Bible as being reliable? (v. 7)

E

There is great reward is following God’s Word.

▷  Psalm 19:10-11. See the online Insights.* ▷ Refer to “The Bible Is . . .” on page 20 in the KNOWN

WRAP IT UP

4

For most of your students, getting them to acknowledge the uniqueness and truthfulness of the Bible as God’s Word will not be difficult. (George Barna reports that 48 percent of Americans believe that, and 88 percent of Christians believe that). The challenge will be getting them to read it . . . and follow it! ▷  Provide Bibles to students who want one or need one. Suggest ways students can read the Bible daily. See Activity C. ▷  Challenge students to read God’s Word on a daily basis. Small doses are fine. See Activity D. ▷  Point out the devotional pages (pp. 22-24) in the KNOWN student book. Direct students to read the material and act on what they read throughout the week.

student book. Review the passages and discuss how the passage is either always right, full of wisdom, or proven reliable. Lead students to discuss the verses. See Activity B. Activity B

Activity A

THE QUESTION

Why should I look to the Bible to determine right and wrong? The Bible is... Perfect Exodus 20:13-17 Why are the commands in this passage always right?

Internal Evidence: Unity ▶ 40 writers ▶ 3 continents ▶ 1500 years

▶ 3 languages ▶ 1 theme ▶ 1 message

Reliable

Full of Wisdom

Romans 10:9-13 Proverbs 11:22-25 What is the wisdom you see in this passage?

How has the promise in this passage proven to be reliable to you?

External Evidence: Prophecy

▶ 2000 Prophecies Fulfilled. Out of approximately 5000 predictions contained in the Bible concerning the future, some two thousand have already been fulfilled. The probability of that: 1 in 10 to the 200th power! ▶ High Probability Ratio. An important fact to know here is that science considers any probability greater than 1 in 10 to the 50th power as impossible. And yet the Bible prophecies have a better track record. ▶ God Inspired Writers. All that leads us to one explanation: God. The One who knows the future inspired the Bible’s writers to record these predictions. So when you stop and think about all these fulfilled prophecies, what’s not to trust? It’s impossible and highly improbable that the Bible got so many things right just by chance!

Read it. Daily Study

Character Study

Systematically reading the Bible on a daily basis is one of the most important patterns a person can establish for life. The key is not volume but consistency—just reading Scripture for a few minutes each day can make a profound impact in your life.

Examine the life of a particular character by using a Bible concordance or index to locate passages relating to the character’s story. Look for how God worked in and through each character to accomplish His will. What does the character’s life say to you about how you ought to live as a believer?

Book Study

Meditative Study

Examine one book of the Bible, closely examining a few verses at a time. Study the context and what the writer is communicating in that book. Make note of specific topics and themes. Read from several different Bible translations to help you better understand the text.

Stop and reflect upon what you are reading in Scripture. Use a journal to write down insights, challenges, convictions, and promises that God reveals to you. Study and really take time to reflect on what you are reading and how it might apply to your life. Pray (consider writing your prayers) about what you are reading.

Troy Polamalu “I’m passionate about everything I do. I’m passionate about reading the Bible, too.”

Martin Luther He challenged the authority of the papacy by emphasizing the Bible as the sole source of religious authority.

Not sure the Bible is perfect and right?

Not sure the Bible is full of wisdom?

You can’t know just how perfect and right the Bible is until you experience its wisdom. Read it, act upon something you read, and see if it doesn’t turn out to be the best course of action.

You can’t experience the wisdom in the Bible unless you’re willing to trust its reliability. Read it, focus on one piece of wisdom, trust that what you read is God’s reliable word.

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Activity C

External Evidence: History

Scripture’s reliability can be weighed by the same tests for historical accuracy applied to other ancient documents. When these tests are applied, the Bible proves to be an extremely reliable source. ▶ Homer’s famous epic, The Illiad, written around 800 B.C. We have only 643 copies and they were written about 400 years after the original. ▶ The New Testament. We have over 5,000 copies, and the earliest was copied within just about 50 years of the original! In addition, other ancient documents—both Christian and secular—confirm many events described in the Bible. And further scientific evidence comes from archaeological finds, which corroborate the historical accuracy of the Bible.

Not sure the Bible is reliable? You can’t test the Bible’s reliability unless you discover and then follow what it says. Read it, do something which has a promise attached to it, and watch God do what He promised.

THE POINT

The Bible provides the only true standard for right & wrong. 0 2 1

Activity D

*Insights are available for free online at www.lifeway.com/known. You can order the KNOWN student book at www.lifeway.com/known. 0 1 5

Midweek The Good, the Bad, and the Absolute Session

3

THE QUESTION What role does Scripture play?

THE POINT God’s Word points out wrong and shows us how to live right.

MIDWEEK TALKSHEET

Help Me Grow 2 Timothy 3:16

THE BIBLE STUDY The third session Bible study notes the authority of God’s Word—that it is unique and has characteristics that affirm it as the source of truth. The Bible is perfect, full of wisdom, and reliable. The study also explores evidences of the unique nature of the Bible. This midweek study will identify how God’s Word works to help us grow spiritually.

DISCUSS THESE POINTS Use the following main points, Scriptures, teaching/discussion ideas, and questions to drive home the question and the point for this session.

A

Scripture Teaches You Right and Wrong.

▷ Read 2 Timothy 3:16. ▷ “Teaching” in this verse is a reference to sound doctrine. ▷ Doctrine—“Teachings which are to be handed on through instruction and proclamation; a corporate expression of an authoritative interpretation of the faith.” (Holman Bible Dictionary) ▶ What are some of our doctrines? On what do we base those doctrines? How do we know they are true? ▶ Where do we encounter false doctrine today? ▷ Scripture is important because we live in a world where truth is difficult to discern.

Rebukes You When B Scripture You Do Wrong. ▷ Read 2 Timothy 3:16 again. ▶ What does it mean to rebuke someone? (to criticize someone, to disapprove, to reprimand or to scold) ▶ Is rebuking a good thing or a bad thing? ▶ How does the Scripture rebuke us? ▷ Rebuking involves pointing out sin and confronting disobedience. Point out the parallel between a loved one’s rebuke and God’s rebuke through Scripture. Both are done out of love, wanting the very best for you. 0 1 6 KNOWN LEADER 00

C

Scripture Corrects Your Mistakes and Teaches You How to Do Right.

▷ Read 2 Timothy 3:16 again. ▷ The words “correct” and “train” go hand in hand. One focuses on correcting error, while training focuses on showing a person the right way to go. ▶ How does Scripture teach us to do what is right? ▶ In what areas of your life do you need instruction from Scripture? Does Scripture only apply to certain areas? ▶ What “lessons” or teaching have you learned from Scripture?

D

You Must Choose Whether or Not You Will Listen to God’s Word Teach You What is Right or Wrong.

▶ Why do people make life choices that oppose God’s Word? ▷ The commands in God’s Word are for our good. Because God sees the big picture, He sets forth His Word and wants us to follow it because He wants us to experience good and not the consequences of the bad. ▶ Why does God not force us to follow His Word? ▶ Why is it sometimes difficult to follow God’s Word?

WRAP IT UP

▷ Challenge students to consider whether or not they are allowing God’s Word to impact their lives.

▶ Is the Bible just a book you pick up now and then, if at all, or is it truly a guide for your life?

▷ Lead students to make new commitments to read and follow God’s Word.

▷ Challenge students to use the devotional guides in the KNOWN student book each week.

A complete mid-week event including opening ideas, worship suggestions, illustrations, and a PowerPoint presentation is available at www.lifeway.com/known.

TheQuestion

What do I do when the issue of right and wrong is not clear?

ThePoint

Even when the Bible is not clear on an issue, we can still make good choices.

SESSION 1 SESSION 4

from An Absolute Standard toYou’re Guide Not YourSure Life Know What to Do When

7%

of teens base moral decisions on biblical principles. Stats related to teenage drinking, sexual activity, abortion, drug use, and other decisions teenagers make, show there’s little thought given to what the Bible teaches. This session will show students that there are clear biblical principles to help them make tough decisions. The midweek event will emphasize the need for students to consider how others will be affected by their decisions.

Bible Study The Good, the Bad, and the Absolute

Session

4

THE QUESTION What do I do when the issue of right and wrong is not clear?

THE POINT Even when the Bible is not clear on an issue, we can still make good choices.

Shades of Gray Romans 14:5-8,12-15,19-23

GET STARTED

1

Label or identify opposite sides of the room as “Agree” and “Disagree.” Lead students to agree or disagree with statements by moving to an area of the room. Read aloud, one at a time, the items listed across the bottom of pages 26-27 in KNOWN student book by stating “ is wrong.” After each statement, call on students to give a rationale for their choices. See Activity A.

INTRODUCE THE QUESTION

2

Some choices are easy. The Bible is clear on the standard. But what about those areas where Scripture is silent? How do you determine what is right and wrong in those situation? Direct students to think of gray areas about which Scripture is silent. List these on a sheet of paper or on the board. If students struggle, provide some of the following as examples. You may even want to consider issues that are particular to your region or subculture. 1. Interracial dating 2. Choosing a career 3. Dating vs. courting 4. What music to listen to 5. Which parent to live with (in a divorce) 6. Tattoos or body piercing This session will provide some helpful principles to use when Scripture doesn’t address an issue. Before proceeding, provide background information on Romans 14. See online Insights.*

TIP: When facing a decision or choice that is not discussed in Scripture, ask yourself the following questions. Again, this refers to areas in which Scripture is silent. If the Bible addresses an issue, you already have your answer! As you discuss the following questions, provide examples from your own life when appropriate. 0 1 8 KNOWN LEADER 00

APPLY LIFE PRINCIPLES

3

Use the following Scriptures and bulleted teaching ideas/statements to communicate each of these life principles related to the question for this session.

my choice honor and glorify A Will the Lord? ▷ Read Romans 14:6-8. See Activity B. ▷ Explain the references to eating meat and observing the Sabbath. See the online Insights.*

▶ What are some issues within a church that Christians might wrestle over today? (baptism, worship styles, dress)

▶ What did Paul mean when he said that Christians are

really doing things as unto the Lord? How could this attitude help a person determine the right course of action? ▶ How is this attitude—that whatever we do should honor and glorify God—different than the general attitude of our society and the media?

B

Will my choice be a hindrance to others?

▷ Read Romans 14:12-15,20-22. See Activity C. ▶ What principle is found in verses 13,20-21? ▶ What does it mean to cause someone to stumble? See the online Insights.*

▶ Look at the gray areas listed earlier in the study. How might some of these areas cause someone to struggle?

▶ How do you determine whether an issue really causes

someone to stumble versus offending someone who’s just legalistic and easily offended, even by innocent things?

C

Will my choice build others up?

▷ Read Romans 14:19. See Activity D. ▶ What principle do you see in this verse?

▶ What does it mean to edify someone? ▷ To edify means to build others up in the faith; it means to

▶ How can you know whether or not your belief is based

help someone grow closer to Christ. See the online Insights.* ▶ Does what I’m doing draw people to God?

D

on Scriptural principles or convictions—or if it is a conditioned cultural response? ▷ Write this rule of thumb on the board: When in doubt, don’t. Discuss the principle of the statement.

m I fully convinced my choice A is right?

4

WRAP IT UP Review the lyrics to the song “Grey” by BarlowGirl

▷ Read Romans 14:5,23. See Activity E. (Another Journal Entry, Word Records, 2006) on page ▶ What did Paul mean when he said, “each one should be fully 26 in the KNOWN student book. Note that the lyrics make convinced in his own mind?”

an exaggerated point; the main point of the lyrics is having

not from faith is sin.” See the online Insights.*

decisions we make. See Activity F. ▷ Instruct students to think of an individual gray area with which they’ve wrestled. Instruct them to use the questions listed to walk through the process of determining whether or not an action is right or wrong related to that gray area. ▷ Make the final point that our lives are to be lived to draw people to Christ.

▷ Discuss what Paul meant when he wrote, “everything that is God’s passion to get beyond the lies of justifying the gray area ▷ Help students understand this principle by reading the Contemporary English Version (CEV) translation of Romans 14:23, “But if you do have doubts about what you eat, you are going against your beliefs. And you know that is wrong, because anything you do against your beliefs is sin.”

Activity B

Activity C

THE QUESTION

What do I do when the issue of right and wrong is not clear?

1

2

Activity D

Decide not to put a stumbling block or pitfall in your brother’s way... By what you eat, do not destroy that one for whom Christ died. Romans 14:12-15,20-22

Will my choice be a hindrance to others?

What do you think? Base your response on Romans 14:12-15,20-22.

Will my choice honor and glorify the Lord? For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Romans 14:6-8

What do you think? Base your response on the principle in Romans 14:6-8.

Activity E

3 CHOICE Will my

build others up? So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another. Romans 14:19

Grey by BarlowGirl

Grey’s my favorite color Black and white has never been my thing I’ll take my drink lukewarm now Hot and cold is not the thing for me Absolutes are hidden I’ve buried my convictions I cannot be blind no more Numb to what I’m living for Help me stop this compromise that justifies these lies I need Your passion in this life

What do you think? Base your response on Romans 14:12-15,20-22.

[Another Journal Entry, 2006]

WRONG? ▷

Eating Meat

Steroids

Cutting

Tattoos

Copying MP3s

Exaggeration

Murder

4

Am I fully convinced my choice

IS RIGHT? Each one must be fully convinced in his own mind. Romans 14:5 Whoever doubts stands condemned... everything that is not from faith is sin. Romans 14:23 What do you think? Base your response on Romans 14:5,23.

When in doubt,

DON’T THE POINT

Even when the Bible is not clear on an issue, we can still make good choices. Cheating

Lying

Shoplifting

Sometimes it is easy to know what is wrong; sometimes it can be difficult to know. Look at the issues across the bottom of these pages. What do you think would pass God’s test as wrong? 0 2 7

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Activity A

Activity F

*Insights are available for free online at www.lifeway.com/known. You can order the KNOWN student book at www.lifeway.com/known. 0 19

Midweek The Good, the Bad, and the Absolute Session

4

THE QUESTION Can I do whatever I want if the Bible doesn’t condemn it?

MIDWEEK TALKSHEET

Decisions, Decisions

THE POINT It’s important to think about how your decisions will impact others.

1 Corinthians 10:23-24, 31–11:1

THE BIBLE STUDY The fourth session Bible study identifies four questions to ask when making a decision of right and wrong. Those questions/ principles regarding choices can be used when an issue isn’t black or white. The bottom-line: “When in doubt, don’t.” This midweek study will focus on how our decisions impact others.

DISCUSS THESE POINTS Use the following main points, Scriptures, teaching/discussion ideas, and questions to drive home the question and the point for this session.

A

It’s not just about you.

▷ Read 1 Corinthians 10:23-24. ▶ How do you seek the good of the other person? Why is that

▷ When considering whether or not to do something, ask: 1. Will what I’m doing cause somebody else to stumble? 2. Will it tempt a person to sin? 3. Does it encourage others? 4. Does it strengthen others?

D It’s about non-Christians.

▷ Read 1 Corinthians 10:32-33. ▶ The phrase “try to please everybody” means “to soften one’s heart toward.” What does this mean for a Christian?

▷ When considering whether or not something is OK to do,

ask: Will what I’m doing make people want to know Christ? Will my actions give someone a wrong idea about God?

E

It’s about following Christ’s example.

sometimes difficult?

▷ Read 1 Corinthians 11:1. ▶ What was Christ’s example? Direct students to call out

for the needs and interests of others.

ways in which Christ set an example for us to follow. (Love, selflessness, putting others before Himself, humility.) ▷ When determining whether or not a course of action is right or wrong, think of the example of Jesus. He sacrificed Himself for the needs of others. We should do no less.

▷ As Christians, it’s not just about us. We’re called to look out ▶ How does embracing this truth change the way we make decisions?

B

It’s about God.

▷ Read 1 Corinthians 10:31. ▶ When facing a choice—from getting a job to listening to music—our first question must always be, “Does this give glory to God?” Why ask this question? ▷ Sometimes the answer to the question may be unclear. Another way to ask the question is, “Does this action point back to me, or does it point to God? ▶ How will asking those questions change your decisions?

C

It’s about other Christians.

▷ Read 1 Corinthians 10:32. ▶ Why should we be careful not to offend fellow believers?

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WRAP IT UP

▷ Provide students index cards and direct them to list some decisions they are currently facing.

▷ Review the five principles. Challenge students to apply those principles to their current decisions.

▷ Allow volunteers to share how what they learned will impact their decisions.

A complete mid-week event including opening ideas, worship suggestions, illustrations, and a PowerPoint presentation is available at www.lifeway.com/known.


KNOWN Leader Guide