Posts tagged Bible Study
Resource Review: Jen Wilkin's 1 Peter Study

It's our pleasure to welcome back our friend Elise Herzing to the blog this week to review 1 Peter: A Living Hope in Christ by Jen Wilkin. To see Elise's review of Kelly Minter's 1,2,3 John study, click here.

Peter wrote his first letter in a time of great turmoil for the young Christian church. Many Christians were undergoing persecution at the hands of the Roman Emperor, Nero. Peter, Jesus’ tempestuous apostle, addresses the church at large in this epistle on how Christians are to live in a place that is not our home, specifically to those undergoing suffering. He instructs Christians on how to submit to the authorities in our lives, how we are to set examples of love for one another and how our eyes must not be fixed on the temporary, but on the eternal. Jen Wilkin tackles this challenging letter by walking us through her deep-dwelling and enriching method for Bible study.

 

The Skinny: First things first, Jen explains how you are to use the study and why. If any of you have read her book, Women of the Word, she condenses much of that information in the introduction of this study. I would recommend that you read this intro as it is useful in your day-to-day approach! Jen breaks the study into 9 sessions. I met with my group each week to go through one session. For each week of the study, there is a corresponding video, which is optional and we chose not to utilize.

The study had a rhythm for each week with these components:

  • a brief intro to the passage we would be studying
  • a read through of 1 Peter in its entirety
  • big picture questions and others focused in on that week’s passage
  • instruction to paraphrase that portion of Scripture in your own words
  • group discussion questions gleaned from that week’s study
  • a space for any additional notes

 

What I Loved:  Jen throws us in the deep end of the 1 Peter pool, but not without the floaties of additional resources and Scripture. Don’t let that scare you, though: anyone can use this study! Jen is a big proponent of driven learning. You will get out of this study what you put in. There is no hand-holding you to the Spiritual truths; that would defy the very purpose of Jen’s method of study. She provides you with the guidance you need to find God’s truth on your own or in the group discussion. And I love that. I could use this study as what it was: A RESOURCE with Scripture being the sole focus! I must warn y’all that there is no flowery language or personal stories that somehow apply to the Scripture. It is just a book of paper with questions for you to fill with your own ink. For example, each day gives you questions based on the passage, word definitions to look up, cross-references to find, and parallels to draw. I also LOVED that Jen include the whole book of 1 Peter at the back of the book to mark up as you studied.

 

What I Didn't Love: Since our group didn’t use the video sessions, there were a couple of instances when the questions correlating to the video felt incomplete. Additionally, my note-loving heart and hand missed the more spacious areas to answer the questions, especially when it came to sections where we wrote down definitions and related verses. Also, throughout the course of the study Jen would have us highlight words in 1 Peter in different colors and then go through and record how many times those specific words occurred. This may be more impactful for a visual learner, but for me it became more of a busy-work exercise. Finally, You will get out of this study what you put in. You’ll notice that I included this as one of the things that I loved about this study, which I do! But it also was a struggle for me to be self-disciplined enough to put in the daily work I needed to richly dwell in this book. The weeks where I put in the time to learn were much more impactful to me than the weeks where I hastily scribbled out answers the night before our group meeting. It was a challenge. It wasn’t always fun. I didn’t always love it. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

 

My Profound Truth: Y’all. There are so many profound truths in 1 Peter that it was hard for me to pick one. All of them link together with Peter’s themes of living as exiles with the hope of eternity. 1 Peter 2:21-25 sums up the purpose of the book by discussing how we are called to submit to others, even if suffering is involved. Why? Christ submitted and suffered for us so that we may receive our eternal inheritance: salvation! This inheritance makes any temporary suffering we face bearable because we ourselves are not temporary. Our bodies may be earthly, but our souls are eternal. We have better things to look forward to. When we keep in mind that this earthly life is just a shadow, we are free to live as God intended: without fear, giving all praise and glory to Him, filled with love for one another. But part of that life of freedom means becoming examples of the one who submitted himself to the will of God and died for us all. If Jesus is called to submit, suffer, and die, then so are we. It’s a hard truth, but a chain-breaking one. What do we have to be afraid of? Our inheritance is set! Our salvation is secure! Nothing on this earth can touch the promise that God has given us. That is good news!  We can rejoice in the midst of suffering because we are being made more like Christ! Amen, amen, amen!

 

If you want to feel the chains of fear break off and learn what living as a Christ-follower and an exile looks like, I highly recommend this study. It will push you to seek out truth. The good news is you don’t have to study alone. Find a group of women, hold each other accountable and have grace with each other. God desires us to seek him out, and if that is your desire then this is a study for you.


Elise wants to live in a world where you can eat as much pizza as you want without concerns about your waistline. When she's not guzzling tea, you can find her reveling in God's nature or watching exorbitant amounts of Gilmore Girls. One of her favorite Scriptures is Ephesians 5:8-10: "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord." Explore her other favorite Scriptures and get to know her on Instagram at @eliseherzing.

Resource Review: Kelly Minter's 'What Love Is'

It's our pleasure to welcome Elise Herzing to the blog this week to share her thoughts on Kelly Minter's study of 1,2,3 John.

1, 2, and 3rd John are three little books tucked away somewhere at the back of the Bible between the instructional Hebrews and the apocalyptic Revelation. With these two most imposing books in the New Testament serving as the very thick bread in the 1-3 John sandwich, it is very easy for the filling of 1-3 John to be overlooked. But these three little books are rich and full and bursting at the seams with lessons about God's love for us and how we are to love others. Even though they are small, great and flavorful things come in small packages. 

Kelly Minter's "The Living Room Series" is designed to bring women together in a comfortable environment to bring about honest and genuine conversation. It's meant to be hosted in your living room, around a table or in a local coffee shop. Not only is the series packed full of God's truths, there are also some tasty recipes included. What Love Is: The Letters of 1, 2, 3, John is just one of many in her series. 

The Skinny: I began this study with a group of women who were in my house church at the time. We had just finished a study about abiding in God and were looking for a new study to go through together. A poll was sent out between a Kelly Minter study, a Beth Moore study, and a book of the Bible. Kelly Minter won the majority vote and through process of elimination, this study was selected. We met on a monthly basis to work our way through the six sessions of the study. For each week of the study, there was a corresponding video session, which is optional but our group decided to utilize. The video sessions, while wonderful and full of biblical truth, are not necessary to go through the study. Each week focuses on a section of 1, 2 or 3 John and has a series of personal questions throughout the week as well as questions for the group.

What I Loved: I loved how this study focused on biblical truth throughout every week. Each week, Kelly pointed out several theological truths from the passage we were studying in order to create "John's Theological Soup" with ingredients such as "The new command to love is loving like Jesus loved" from 1 John 2:7-8 and "Every believer in Christ is a child of God and is born of God" from 1 John 3:1,9. These truths straight from Scripture reminds us of our identity as Christians as well as who God is and who Jesus is. In addition to these truths, the study has margins set aside for all you note-takers, scriptural cross-references as well as original Greek translations and definitions for commonly repeated and emphasized words and phrases.

I also loved the way Kelly made the study feel like you were having a conversation with another sister in Christ in her living room. It was as if you were holding a cup of tea with lots of blankets around you, talking about the love that God has for you and how He wants to display His love for others through us. And the fact that she included some of her family recipes throughout the study definitely helped make me feel right at home.

What I Didn't Love: Although I loved this study, I did not love how it held your hand through the majority of the sessions. There was not a whole lot of room for you to discover these truths for yourself based purely in Scripture; as Kelly walked through most of the Scripture with her own personal thought process and experiences. While it is helpful to have her perspective on what 1-3 John has to say, it didn't help me with creating and processing through the Scripture in my personal quiet times. There was constantly someone else's voice and perspective in my times with the Word. However, if you have better self-control than I do, this shouldn't pose an issue.


"No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another,
God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." 
1 John 4:12

My Profound Truth: One of the biggest mind-melts for me in this study was in Session 4, Day 3, focusing on 1 John 4:7-14, particularly verse 12: "No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." The whole book of 1 John is building up to this idea that God is perfect and powerful; and that he sent his perfect son to die for those he loved (by the way, that's us!!!), but that his love is not complete until we love one another. And this God IS LOVE. This powerful, perfect God who IS LOVE: His love isn't made complete until we love one another as He loved us; which is completely, sacrificial and selflessly. When we love one another, WE can see God!! We see Him in acts of service, in gifts, and in time spent with one another, in the mundane and the tremendous. We see him in sudsy dishes and in walks with friends. We can see God when we love others, and when we are loved in return. Wow. How huge is that?! It was "rock my world" huge and it completely changed my perspective on acts of service and loving others well.

If you are interested in learning more about the GINORMOUS love that God has for you and how we are to share that love with others, pick up this study!! But whether or not you pick up this particular study, I would encourage you to study through 1-3 John regardless. It is chock-full of deep, spiritual truths and is encouraging for the Christian woman in all walks of life. 


Elise wants to live in a world where you can eat as much pizza as you want without concerns about your waistline. When she's not guzzling tea, you can find her reveling in God's nature or watching exorbitant amounts of Gilmore Girls. One of her favorite Scriptures is Ephesians 5:8-10: "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord." Explore her other favorite Scriptures and get to know her on Instagram at @eliseherzing.