Note: In Bible Studies For Life: Senior Adult and Bible Studies For Life: KJV, this is numbered Session 10.
The Point: Suffering brings opportunities to point to Jesus.
- As senior adults experience challenges or difficulties, what are the different ways they can respond?
- When have you been harmed for doing good and how did it prepare you to share your faith about Jesus? Were you able to give a reasonable defense for your faith in the face of your suffering?
- We are all familiar with the phrase, “no pain, no gain”. Share about a time when you observed this to be true.
- Have you ever kept a secret from someone, even if it wasn’t a bad secret, (i.e. a surprise party or something they may not have wanted to hear)? How did you respond when they found out?
- What situations prompted you to consider how to do good this past week?
- What do you feel when you read the quote from Job quoted in “The Bible Meets Life”?
- What do you learn about Job’s faith in that quote?
- When have you been challenged to strengthen your faith when you saw someone else trust God fully in a terrible situation?
1 Peter 3:13-14
- What difficult circumstances in your life feel temporary? Which ones feel permanent?
- How does having a hope beyond this life help a person facing difficult circumstances today?
- Why should we view suffering for our faith as not permanent?
- What prevents you from trusting God in every circumstance?
- What is wrong with the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
- In what ways have you seen strength or growth come from suffering?
- How is suffering better understood when you think about the ‘temporary nature’ of this earth and our life?
- Have you ever suffered for your faith in Christ before? How did you feel through the process?
- Why do you think God asks us to suffer for Him? How can we do this in our everyday lives?
- It seems like suffering and faith go hand in hand in the Christian life. Has there ever been a situation that tested your faith? How did you react to it?
- Why do you think God reminds us in verse 13 about being good?
- Why should we suffer for the sake of righteousness as said in verse 14? How do you think suffering in our faith affects us?
- How are you a different person today than you were before you encountered Christ?
- How did the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection change you?
- What does it mean to be a “witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ?” Are you one? Really?
- What experience in your own life forced you to shift your focus from physical, everyday matters to something much more eternal?
- In what areas of life are you willing to endure suffering for the blessing in the future? (Think exercise, saving money, etc.)
1 Peter 3:15-16
- When have you seen a connection between suffering and hope in another person’s life? In your own life?
- How do you set apart Christ as Lord in your heart? What are practical ways you can reason about your faith?
- Why do you place your hope in Christ? Respond in a couple of sentences.
- Do you struggle to share the message of the gospel? Why? Are those fears irrational or rational?
- What are some practical ways you can share the gospel with gentleness and respect?
- Prior to being a Christian, were you ever negatively impacted by another Christian who did not share with gentleness and respect? How did that make you feel?
- What kind of hope do we have, as said in verse 15? How can you defend your faith without being argumentative or mean?
- In verse 15, how does Peter tell us to defend our faith?
How does your own testimony play a part in why you believe in God?
- When was the last time someone’s defense of their faith strengthened or challenged your own faith?
- The quote in this section comes from ____(name)____, a Christian apologist and speaker; how do you respond/are you comforted to know you’re not alone in your preparation to defend your faith?
- What resources (books, classes, people) might help you get more prepared?
- Is a lack of preparation or courage an excuse not to do what Peter says in these verses?
- What are some phrases that might help you maintain your calm when you feel the need to be defensive about your beliefs? (Consider, “I don’t know the answer,” “I wish I knew,” “I try to focus on loving God and loving people.”)
- How might God use a situation that requires us to defend our faith actually strengthen our faith?
- How are you comforted in knowing you won’t be able to follow these commands perfectly the first time you are confronted for your faith? How are you challenged?
1 Peter 4:1-2
- In what ways does faithfulness in suffering strengthen a person?
- How is it possible for someone who has suffered in the flesh to cease from sin and how does this point to Jesus?
- How has the witness of a Christian who suffered, while still keeping hope, impacted your life?
- Have you ever suffered for Christ? Do you believe you truly understand what this means?
- Look at how Peter talks about suffering in 1 Peter 4:1. What does it mean to “arm” yourself in suffering?
- As we continue to work towards having the mindset of Christ, how do you think we can turn away from those human desires, as discussed in verse 2? What is God’s desire for us when it comes to suffering?
- Do you expect suffering in your life? If you expect suffering, how might your response be different than those who expect suffering not to happen?
What failures from your past might be used by God to point others to Christ? What do you need to do to make that happen?