Our fun-loving, Soddo-fashion finding, beautiful group of ladies! From left to right: Jackie, Sophie, Angie, Sydney, Katie, Stephne, Ruth, me.

A few months ago, all of the women missionaries started a Bible Study together.  It has been something we have been saying would be a good idea for a long time…but in the busyness of everything else, it never happened.  Thanks to Katie for organizing us and setting a date we have been going strong for 3 months now and even finished studying the book of Philippians through the inductive Bible Study method.  It is such a blessing and it is amazing how much we needed this – how much I needed this.  What an encouraging and unifying experience to study the Bible together.  My favorite part is how diverse we all are.  We are all in different stages of life, even among those who are “peers” we are all still pretty different.  I have loved gleaning wisdom and knowledge from this diverse and lovely group of women.

We were studying Philippians, by reading a few verses throughout the week and Observing, Interpreting and Applying what we read.  Then we would get together and discuss.

Well, to our advantage our facilitator, Katie, is a teacher.  She is excellent at leading conversations and asking the right questions.  Like all good teachers, she also gives appropriate homework!  A while ago, after discussing Phil 1:5, where Paul mentions his audiences’ “participation in the gospel” we began discussing, “what is the gospel”.  We thought it would be wise for each of us to put into words what the gospel is.  It was a very rewarding challenge and I actually enjoyed the assignment.  It was fun getting together and discussing the Scriptures we used to form the gospel definition.  So here is what I came up with:

I started by outlining Bible passages that described the gospel:

1 Corinthians 15:1-4:

1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.  3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

  • Gospel
    • Which you received
    • On which you stand
    • By which you are saved
    • That Christ  died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day

1 Corinthians 15:20-22

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

  • We were in Adam
  • Now we are in Christ

Ephesians 1:4-14

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

  • Vs4 – He chose us before the creation of the world to be Holy
  • Vs5 – predestined us to adoption
  • Vs7 – we have redemption through Christ’s blood (death on the cross)
  • Vs13 – you were included in Christ when you heard the gospel of your salvation.
  • Vs13 – marked with the Holy Spirit as a promise, as a guarantee of our inheritance
  • Vs14 – an inheritance of God as God’s own possession
  • Vs14 – all to His glory

Ephesians 2:1-10

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

  • Vs1 – you were dead in sins
  • Vs3 – by nature deserving of wrath
  • Vs4 – But because of God’s great love for us
  • Vs5 – God made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions
  • Vs6 – God raised us up with Christ
  • Vs8 – for it is BY GRACE you have been saved, THROUGH FAITH and…
  • Vs8 – this is not from yourselves (it is not our grace, it is not your faith), but from God

Philippians 3:10-11

10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

  • Know the power of His resurrection
  • Participate in his sufferings
  • Become like him in death
  • Attain to the resurrection

2 Corinthians 7:10 (this one I added after the group discussion)

“For sadness as intended by God produces a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving no regret…”

  • Repent and believe that your sins are forgiven

So, after collecting the scriptures, I circled the different themes that I wanted to include in the gospel.  I came up with 6 themes:

1. God chose us

  • before the foundation of the world
  • it is not from ourselves
  • it is a gift from God

2. Sin

  • Came through Adam
  • By nature we deserve wrath
  • We were dead in sins

3. Christ died for our sins

  • Through His blood we have redemption
  • Christ paid the price
  • Our sins have been paid for by Jesus’ sacrifice
  • Through faith that brings repentance we are no longer guilty and have no debt to repay

4. Jesus was raised from the dead

  • In Christ all will be made alive

5. Holy Spirit

  • We are marked with a permanent seal of the Holy Spirit
  • We are God’s own possession

6. Resurrection

  • We have hope in the resurrection, that we too will be raised and live eternally with Christ

So that brought me to this explanation of the gospel:

Before the foundation of the world God, being Holy and righteous, knew us and chose us to be his adopted children. Sin entered all men through Adam, and by nature we are all sinners in rebellion against God.  According to the Bible, God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, came into the world and while we were still sinners Christ died for our sins and the on third day after His death, Jesus rose from the dead.  Through his death our sins are forgiven and we are seen as righteous before God, through His resurrection we have hope in the redemption of the world. God gives us faith and opens our hearts so that we may believe in God and the sacrifice of Jesus.  By God’s grace we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is a promise that we will inherit the righteousness of Christ and one day experience the resurrection from the dead, in which we daily remember with hope.