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Author, Rev. Greg Brown
The Bible Teacher's Guide: First Peter
How should Christian’s respond to suffering?
When a person wants to study about wisdom, they read Proverbs. When a person wants to study about Christ, they read the Gospels. Where should Christians go to understand how to respond to suffering? Peter writes this letter to scattered and persecuted Christians living in the Roman Empire. It was meant to both encourage and instruct them on how to live as pilgrims in a hostile society.
This message is still relevant today. With the continuing culture shift happening in nations, animosity and persecution is growing towards Christians. Over 400 Christians are martyred every day and more saints have died for the faith in the last century than all the previous combined. The words of First Peter are a message of hope, desperately needed to encourage and prepare the Church for what lies ahead. Let’s journey through Peter’s words together with the aid of the Bible Teacher’s Guide.
The Bible Teacher's Guide: Theology Proper
What is the highest good in life that anyone can pursue?
In Latin, there is a term "summum bonnum", which means “the highest good out of which all good flows.” Many pursue wisdom, social justice, wealth or strength as the highest good in life. However, none of these things compare to the benefits of knowing God. Listen to what the Lord said through the prophet Jeremiah:
“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
The highest pursuit in life is a deep and intimate knowledge of God, and it is from this intimate knowledge that every good thing flows. Love, joy, peace, perseverance, patience, forgiveness and anything else that is good flows from knowing God. Let us pursue a deeper knowledge of God together with the aid of the Bible Teacher’s Guide.
The Bible Teacher's Guide: Building Foundations for a Godly Marriage
Building Foundations for a Godly Marriage can be used as an eight-week small group study on marriage, a pre-marital or marital counseling curriculum, or simply to help one have a deeper understanding of marriage.
As a church minister, "Building Foundations" is the kind of work I have been looking for for years for pre-marital counseling and I will be using it in the future as my main source for couples looking to get married. Simple and easy to read, it comes complete with a homework guide and counseling session tools. I wish I had this 12 years ago when I started performing wedding ceremonies.
Pastor Leo Rhee, Senior Pastor of CityLight Church, Seoul Korea
The Bible Teacher's Guide: Colossians
Who is Jesus Christ? Is he enough for salvation? Should our relationship with him affect our daily lives? Paul’s letter to the Colossians answers these questions. The Colossian church was being attacked by a cult with an early form of Gnostic doctrine that challenged the deity and the sufficiency of Christ. It taught Christ was not enough for salvation and that more was needed.
Paul challenged this teaching by revealing the supremacy of Christ. Christ is the image of the invisible God and the fullness of deity dwells in him. He is the Creator, the Reconciler, the Victor, the Deliverer, the Head of the body—the church! He is the Firstborn and the Hope of Glory in the saints. Colossians teaches that our relationship to him should affect every aspect of our lives including thoughts, conversations, friendships, family, and work.
This message is still relevant today as many are attacking the deity and sufficiency of Christ, both for salvation and sanctification. Let us stand in awe of the glory of Christ, as we study Paul’s letter to the Colossians with the Bible Teacher’s Guide.
The Bible Teacher's Guide: God's Battle Plan for Purity
The battle for purity in society is raging, and unfortunately, many are captives or severely losing. David lost this battle as he committed adultery with Bathsheba. Solomon lost it as he had 1,000 wives and concubines to fulfill his lust. If we are going to win this battle, we must be strategic and disciplined. Winning is important to protect our lives, our families, our churches, and most importantly to honor our God.
How can we win the battle for purity? In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, Paul commands believers to avoid sexual immorality and to learn to control their bodies in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the Gentiles, who do not know God. It is the believers’ relationship to God that encourages them to remain pure in a world that promotes and glorifies sex. In Scripture, God gives a Battle Plan for Purity with strategies for victory against sexual temptation. Let's study it together with The Bible Teacher's Guide:
Nehemiah: Becoming a Godly Leader
Nehemiah: Becoming a Godly Leader is a fourteen week expositional study of the book of Nehemiah. It considers topics like the characteristics of a godly leader, a godly leader’s priorities, cultivating a life of celebration, characteristics of revival, how a godly leader responds to discouragement, conflict, prosperity and promotion, the tactics of the enemy, and much more. Let’s study it together with the Bible Teacher’s Guide.
“Helpful to both the laymen and the serious student, The Bible Teacher’s Guide, by Dr. Greg Brown, is outstanding!”
—Dr. Neal Weaver, President of Louisiana Baptist University
The Perfections of God: Understanding God's Characteristics
The Perfections of God is an excerpt and an adaptation from the larger work BTG Theology Proper. It is a study of God’s characteristics including his love, goodness, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, eternality, wrath, sovereignty, and much more. It can be used as a seven to fifteen-week small-group curriculum depending on how the leader chooses to divide the introduction and the fourteen characteristics.
Philippians: Pursuing Spiritual Maturity
How should we pursue spiritual maturity—becoming more like Christ? In Paul’s epistle to the Philippians, one of the dominant themes is spiritual maturity. Throughout the epistle, he encourages them to pursue unity, to be faithful in suffering, to rejoice regardless of circumstances, to live as citizens of heaven, to have the mind of Christ, and to practice many other virtues—essentially calling them to be mature. Then, in chapter 3, he specifically exhorts them to imitate his pursuit of Christlikeness (v. 17). He describes himself as a banker counting everything loss to gain Christ (v. 8) and as a runner seeking to win the prize of knowing Christ (v. 12-14). As we study Philippians, it will inspire us to new heights of spiritual maturity. Let’s study it together with the Bible Teacher’s Guide.
Characteristics of a Godly Marriage
Around fifty percent of marriages end in divorce and of those who stay married, a large number are unhappy. “Happily ever after” seems to be something only reserved for fairy tales. Even the disciples, when considering the difficulties of marriage, replied, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry” (Matt 19:10). Certainly, this is not what God had in mind when he created marriage (Gen 2:24). How are married couples supposed to experience the abundant life that God originally meant for them?
In 1 Peter 3:1-7, Peter speaks to husbands and wives about the characteristics of a godly marriage and God’s expectation for each in the union. Through this, we learn God’s perfect plan for married couples. Let consider it together with the Bible Teacher’s Guide:
* Characteristics of a Godly Marriage is an excerpt and adaptation of BTG First Peter.
Characteristics of Spirit-led Prayer
Do you ever struggle with how to pray? Do you struggle with what words to say or knowing if you’re praying exactly God’s will?
In Colossians 1:9-14, Paul prays God’s will for the Colossian church, who he had never met and who was being attacked by a dangerous cult. We are sure this prayer was God’s will and Spirit–led because God chose to include it in Scripture as an example for us. As we glean its riches, we can discern many characteristics of Spirit-led prayer which will strengthen our personal and corporate prayer life. Let’s study it together with the Bible Teacher’s Guide:
*Characteristics of a Spirit-led Prayer is an excerpt and an adaptation of BTG Colossians.
The Armor of God: Standing Firm in Spiritual Warfare
In Ephesians 6:10-20, Paul talks about the spiritual war every Christian is engaged in. When a person accepts Christ as Savior, he crosses over from the realm of darkness into the realm of light. He enters a spiritual war that includes Satan, demons, and angels battling over the souls of men. Sadly, many Christians live without any real awareness of this battle, and are therefore losing it. Satan is real! He is an enemy of God and the church. He tempts, traps, deceives, and kills, and nobody is exempt from his wrath.
How can we stand firm in spiritual warfare? Believers must know their enemy and his tactics (2 Cor 2:11) and be equipped with God’s armor. Let’s study this battle and our equipment for it with The Bible Teacher’s Guide.
Ephesians: Understanding God's Purpose for the Church
Many of the problems plaguing the church today, such as apathy, conflict, spiritual pride, and spiritual abuse, stem from a poor understanding of who the church is in Christ and God’s purpose for her. Whenever we don’t understand the purpose of something, we are prone to misuse it. No doubt the newly founded churches in Ephesus and Asia Minor struggled with a lack of understanding as well and, therefore, were plagued with many of the same issues.
Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians to help them grasp God’s great plan for the church. He calls many of these insights “mysteries”—truths not fully revealed to past generations, but now fully revealed to us. He describes the church as seated in the heavenly realms in Christ. She is one body—including both Jews and Gentiles. She is God’s temple and his masterpiece. She is the bride of Christ and a soldier fighting demonic forces. The more the church grows in her understanding of God’s great purpose for her, the more she will live it out and display his glory. Let’s study the letter of Ephesians together with The Bible Teacher’s Guide.
Abraham: Living the Life of Faith
How can we truly live a life of faith? Over 4,000 years ago, God called a man named Abraham to begin a wonderful journey of faith with him. Abraham was a pagan who worshiped idols; however, he left his home, family, and security to follow God. God called Abraham to be a centerpiece in his plan to redeem all people (Gen 12:1–3). All nations would be blessed through him, as he was the father of Israel—God’s priests—and an ancestor of Jesus—the one who gave his life to save the world (John 3:16).
Because of Abraham’s great faith, he is called the father of all who believe (Gal 3:7). Though each person’s faith journey is unique, we all encounter similar trials and tribulations, joys and victories, as Abraham did. And like him, we are called to be lights in a dark world that denies God. As we study Abraham, we learn how to faithfully live our life of faith. We cover topics like following God’s call, passing God’s test, conquering habitual sins, responding to conflict, experiencing God’s power, and much more. Let’s study Abraham’s life together with the Bible Teacher’s Guide:
Finding a Godly Mate: Biblical Principles for Singles
How can one find a godly mate? When God made Adam, he said it was not good for him to be alone and then provided him with Eve. The desire for companionship is normal and good. Yet, for most, there is both a season of singleness and a season for seeking a mate. How should one go about seeking a godly mate when it’s time? In churches, often training in this area is neglected; therefore, singles are unprepared and often greatly struggle. Too often they jump into the dating/courting process with no real guidance. Consequently, many compromise, pick up emotional and physical baggage, and miss God’s best.
Scripture says that this process can be difficult: Proverbs 20:6 says, “Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?” Proverbs 31:10 adds, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” A godly mate is like a precious jewel—very rare! How can one be found? Scripture guides us by either telling us exactly what to do or by giving us principles. In Finding a Godly Mate, the Genesis 24 narrative of the search for Isaac’s future wife, Rebekah, is exposited and principles for singles are abundantly gathered. Let’s study it together with the Bible Teacher’s Guide.
First Timothy: Becoming a Good Minister of Christ Jesus
How can we become good ministers of Christ Jesus? In 1 Timothy, Paul writes his protégé Timothy, who is overseeing the church in Ephesus, to encourage him to complete the work God called him to (1 Tim 1:18-19). False teachers had infiltrated the congregation, church members were looking down on Timothy because of his youth, and Timothy was frequently sick with stomach ailments. There were many obstacles to discourage and make him want to quit. Throughout the letter, Paul encourages Timothy to be faithful (1 Tim 4:14-16, 6:11-12), instructs him on how the church of the living God should be run (1 Tim 3:15), and on how to be a good minister of Christ Jesus (1 Tim 4:6).
Although 1 Timothy is often called a pastoral epistle, it doesn’t just speak to pastors. It speaks to all of us, because we’re all called to ministry. It instructs us on issues like combatting false teaching (Ch. 1), prayer and worship (Ch. 2), church organization (Ch. 3), the minister’s life and doctrine (Ch. 4), the mercy ministry of the church (Ch. 5), and the believer’s relationship with money (Ch. 6), among other things. It also encourages us to complete our God-given tasks, amidst various obstacles (cf. 1 Tim 1:18-19, 4:12). As we read it, we are challenged, like Timothy, to become good ministers of Christ Jesus, at a time when the church desperately needs them. Let’s study it together with The Bible Teacher’s Guide:
The Beatitudes: Growing in Kingdom Character
How can we grow in kingdom character?
When Christ came into the world, he preached the kingdom of heaven (Matt 4:17). He taught that not only was the kingdom something future but a present reality, as the kingdom of heaven was in their midst (Lk 17:21). The kingdom consists of all those who profess Christ as Lord—though all who profess are not truly saved (cf. Matt 7:21-23, 13:36-43). In Matthew 5:3-10, Christ introduces the character of those who are truly part of his kingdom. They are the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. They are the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted for righteousness. These character traits are affectionately called the Beatitudes, as each one begins with “Blessed” and finishes with a promise of God. If these characteristics are not in our lives, at least imperfectly, we are not truly part of Christ’s kingdom.
However, the Beatitudes not only represent the nature of kingdom citizens, they also represent the aspirations of them. Only Christ perfectly modeled these characteristics, but each kingdom citizen should constantly aim to grow in them. As we consider the Beatitudes, they will both affirm if we have truly entered God’s kingdom and also challenge us to grow in these kingdom characteristics. Let’s study them together with The Bible Teacher’s Guide.
Equipping Small Group Leaders: A Concise Church Leadership Training
God does big things through small groups: He heals, unifies, encourages, and equips. Christ trained his twelve apostles in a small group. Paul and Barnabas were called to international missions while participating in a small group (Acts 13:1-3). Essentially, all believers owe something to those initial small groups, and many of us have experienced great blessing through contemporary ones. God does big things through small groups, and that’s why we participate in them and aim to lead them.
In this study, we will look at the WHY of small group leadership. Why should we participate in and lead them? We will consider the WHAT of small group leadership, as we look at types of small groups, their elements, and their focus. We will look at the WHO of small group leadership, as we consider qualities of good small group leaders. Finally, we will look at the HOW of small group leadership, as we consider the skills of a leader, the basic order of a small group gathering, and a sample Bible study lesson. Let’s learn more about excelling at this strategic ministry together with The Bible Teacher’s Guide.
Second Timothy: Guarding the Good Deposit
The year was AD 67; persecution was rampant and false teachers saturated the church. Many believers no longer desired to hear sound doctrine and, therefore, heaped up teachers to simply itch their ears (2 Tim 4:2-4). Timothy, a pastor in the church of Ephesus, most likely, was discouraged (1:7, 2:1). With some of his last words, Paul writes from prison to encourage his disciple, Timothy, to complete his ministry (4:5). He commands him to be like a good soldier (2:3-4), a victorious athlete (2:5), and a hardworking farmer (2:6). Above all, Timothy needed to stay faithful to Scripture: he was to guard it (1:14) and teach it to others (2:2, 4:1). God’s Word was to be his chief priority.
Our times are not much different. Persecution towards Christians continues to grow, and many, from within the faith community, twist Scripture to fit the rapidly changing culture. Just like Timothy, we need to hear the apostle’s charge to guard the Good Deposit with the help of the Holy Spirit (1:14). As you consider Paul’s final letter, may our Lord sharpen, refresh, and encourage you for the task at hand and may you be found approved unto God (2:15).
Jacob: Being Transformed by Amazing Grace
Among all the biblical heroes, Jacob’s story is peculiar. In many ways, he is more like a villain. He manipulates his brother, deceives his father and father-in-law, and raises up ruthless children who murder the men of a village and sell their own brother into slavery. However, with Jacob, we learn that God can redeem and change the worst of sinners—people like us. We are all part of God’s redemption story, in which he transforms people from Jacobs to Israels—from sinners to saints. As God layers grace upon us and our failures, he transforms us into people he can use greatly to bless the world. Let’s study God’s gracious work in Jacob, so we can better recognize and respond to God’s amazing grace and help others do the same. Thank you, Lord! Amen!
Whenever You Pray: Praying Like Jesus Taught
How should we pray? In Christ’s famous Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7), where he teaches about the citizens of his kingdom and their character, he spends considerable time on prayer. The clear implication is that Christ expects his followers to be devoted to prayer. They won’t pray like hypocrites—with vain, heartless petitions that seek to manipulate God and impress others (Matt 6:5). They will pray because they are consumed with God: his name, kingdom, will, and people (Matt 6:9-13).
Unfortunately, many followers of Christ struggle with prayer. For example, after being taught about prayer in the Sermon on the Mount, the disciples later approached Christ, asking him to teach them how to pray again (Lk 11:1-4). This means they still struggled with praying and being disciplined in it. This is often true for us. In Whenever You Pray, we revisit Christ’s instructions on prayer in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 6:5-18), so we can learn how to pray properly, overcome our struggles with it, and build God’s earthly kingdom through it. Lord, teach and empower us to pray. In your name, we pray. Amen.
The Sermon on the Mount
What is the Sermon on the Mount? In Matthew 5-7, Christ climbs a mountain with his disciples and from there gives his most famous sermon. He starts by describing those who are members of his heavenly kingdom (Matt 5:3-10). They are the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, those who hunger for righteousness, the merciful, etc. Those who are truly heavenly citizens don’t just have a profession of faith but experience a faith that changes their life and character—they are new creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17).
Christ warns those listening to his sermon of potential deception—if their righteousness was not greater than the Pharisees and teachers of the law, they would not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:20). The Pharisees simply had a legalistic, external religion that had not changed their inner character. They were deceived, and sadly, many religious people are deceived today. Like the Pharisees, they perform their acts of righteousness to be seen and honored by others, instead of to be seen and honored by God (Matt 6:1-8, 16-18). Throughout Christ’s sermon, he describes the righteousness of his kingdom citizens. They must practice honesty instead of deception (Matt 5:33-36), forgiveness instead of vengeance (Matt 5:21-26, 6:14), purity instead of lust (Matt 5:27-30), simplicity instead of indulgence (Matt 6:19-24), prayerfulness instead of worry (Matt 6:9-13, 25-34), and much, much more.
Christ concludes his sermon by warning those listening that not everybody who calls Christ, “Lord” will enter the kingdom, but only those who do the will of the Father (Matt 7:21-23). Many will simply listen and not act on Christ’s words, and they will be exposed at the final judgment (Matt 7:26-27). Therefore, we must study Christ’s words to affirm that we have entered God’s kingdom, to live according to its precepts, and to usher in its final form through diligent prayer (Matt 6:10, Rev 21-22). Lord, let your kingdom be fully formed in us and in our world. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!
Joseph: Trusting in God's Sovereignty and Goodness
Two of the greatest truths that Scripture teaches are that God is both sovereign—in control of all events—and good—righteous and benevolent in his character and all he does. This means that even though bad things happen and evil people and forces exist, God’s good plan will prevail in the end. In fact, Scripture says God accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will (Eph 1:11), and that he works all things for the good of those who love the Lord (Rom 8:28). God oversees and overrules random events, routine circumstances, good works, and even evil to ultimately accomplish what is good, which includes blessing his people and glorifying his name.
This is clearly seen in the story of Joseph. Born into a polygamous and divided family, his older brothers hated Joseph and sold him into slavery. While a slave in Egypt, he was falsely accused of sexually assaulting his master’s wife and consequently thrown into prison. After interpreting Pharaoh’s prophetic dreams and providing wise counsel concerning them, Joseph was promoted from a prisoner to Egypt’s governor in a single day. As governor, God used him to save Egypt, the infant nation of Israel, and other nations during a seven-year worldwide famine. Though evil happened to Joseph, God used it to train Joseph, bless him and others, and glorify God’s name. God’s plan is to do the same through us (Eph 2:10, cf. Jer 29:11). However, to not short-circuit or delay God’s plan, we must trust and remain faithful to him throughout the process. Are you trusting him—regardless of your current circumstances, any evil deeds you’ve committed, or evil deeds that have been done to you? Reflecting on God’s sovereignty and goodness in Joseph’s story will help you trust and obey God more (cf. Heb 12:1). Let’s study these truths together with the Bible Teacher’s Guide.