Bible Study of the Week
Welcome to The Power of Your Story. This study is designed to explore the Christian life through the lens of story. Each of the seven sessions is oriented around a classic element in screenwriting. If you enjoy watching movies, you’ll love considering your own life through the same storytelling principles. By engaging the biblical narrative and joining the conversations, you will discover how your story, the biblical story, and God’s story all come together in one beautiful masterpiece.
In every great story, there is a moment when we learn the main character’s past and understand how it motivates him or her. This revelation is called the backstory. A backstory is often disclosed through action in the plot, and its purpose is to deepen the story at hand. As we discover a character’s history, all the bits and pieces of the story we have already seen come into sharper focus and take on new significance. By understanding the past, we can better see the present and the future.
Session 1: Backstory
Everyone has a backstory. Our families of origin, past experiences, and successes and failures all dramatically affect the way we see the world. They color the way we feel about ourselves and even influence the way we see God. This makes it complicated when our backstories are filled with pain. God wants to bring new life out of every place of pain in our lives, but we have to work with him in that process. This work can begin when we take a fearless look at our own backstories. We must acknowledge the things we have done and that we have left undone. Then we must face the pain and regrets we carry and consider whether we are willing to trade them for the good God has for us. Are you willing to trust God with your backstory this week?
Watch the first session of the The Power of Your Story, then join other participants in a conversation in our comments section below.
Studying the Story: The Life of David, Part 1
1 Samuel 16:1–13 details the time when Samuel anointed David as the new king of Israel. Samuel was God’s prophet and therefore had the authority to carry out this anointing on behalf of Yahweh.
Read the passage 1 Samuel 16:1–13 and consider the following questions:
1. Summarize the story in your own words.
2. Is there anything in the text to indicate that David was an unexpected choice for the new king?
3. Are there any details of the story that seem curious to you and make you wonder if there is a backstory to them?
Now read 1 Samuel 8:1–21 and answer the following:
1. Why did the leaders of Israel want a king?
2. Was that a good or bad thing in God’s eyes? What did God say the king would do?
3. Reread the 1 Samuel 16 story. What nuances are revealed now that you know some of the backstory?
Study Questions/ Community Reflections
1. Go around the group (if you’re meeting in a group) and have everyone share their name and one story (from any medium—novel, TV, film, stage play, etc.) that they love to hear over and over.
2. Summarize the video’s concept of backstory in your own words.
3. How can your backstory be a blessing? How can it be a curse? What do you think makes that difference?
4. Do you think there is a purpose to everything that happens in our lives? Why or why not?
5. Is it easy or difficult to recognize the ways that your backstory affects how you see yourself?
6. Do you think it’s true that your backstory affects how you see God? Do you recognize any of the ways this is or is not true in your life and faith?
7. Pete says that when it comes to the hurt in your backstory, “If you don’t . . . find a place to transform (your) pain, you are just going to transfer (your) pain.” What do you think he means? Do you agree? If so, where have you seen examples of this?
8. Who knows your backstory? Are there any parts of your backstory that are difficult to be honest about? Are there any parts that you are trying to hide from yourself, others, or God?
9. What connections to do you find between your backstory and David’s backstory? Have you ever heard God call you to serve him in the middle of a complicated situation? What does God’s selection of the smallest and youngest of Jesse’s sons say about what God values? Does that sound like good news or bad news to you?
10. Have you ever been like the people of Israel and chased after something everyone else had, even though you were warned it was going to be bad for you?
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If you’re just joining us for FaithGateway.com’s Bible Study of the Week, we invite you to get a journal and start recording your answers to our weekly study questions. Or, you may want to record your responses in an electronic format. We would love to hear your responses to any of the questions above in the comments section below! To continue the next six sessions of The Power of Your Story DVD Bible Study, visit our website to learn more about the Study Guides and DVDs.