Read the Bible For Life Online Bible Study Week 1

By September 22, 2013Read the Bible For Life


Read the Bible For Life online Bible study continues this week with a discussion of week one from the workbook by George Guthrie. We are learning about the value of reading God’s Word and also different Bible translations. This week you will read week TWO in your workbook and join a small group discussion via Facebook. Welcome to online Bible study!

Cultural Context and the Bible- From a Missionary Mom (written by Stasia Nielsen)

I had never fully appreciated nor understood the importance of knowing about cultural differences until our mission trip to Thailand years ago.  There were so many things to learn and I naively thought that I was prepared for it all.  However, our sweet guide carefully and patiently helped us through each of the traditions and customs that we needed to understand so that our time would be as free from difficulties as possible.  Without her help we would have encountered and even created problems that would have hindered what we were hoping to accomplish while we were there.

Once while exchanging currency, a coin slipped from my grip as I was counting out the odd looking money in my hand.  As it rolled across the floor,  I ran after it trying to stop it by stomping on it with my foot.  Our little Thai guide immediately stopped me and then stooping to the pavement she collected the coin.  She quietly pointed to the image of the King on the face of the coin.  I did not understand the significance and urgency of her actions until we arrived back at our host home. She carefully explained that Thai people (most are Buddhists) believe that the feet are the dirtiest part of the human body and that the head is the highest place of honor.  With that in mind, if you put your foot on money you are essentially showing extreme disrespect to the King by stepping on the image of his head.  This was an offense punishable by law at the time.

A few days later we were traveling on a bus through Bangkok.  The bus jerked and jolted us about. As the bus came to a stop, one of the girls on our team was consequently thrown from the back of the bus as she attempted to disembark.  Her fall was broken by a young Buddhist monk waiting on the sidewalk.  Her umbrella had become entangled in the antaravasaka, the interior part of the distinctive saffron colored robe that the monk wore.  As she desperately tugged to retrieve her umbrella, he furiously called to his companions for aide.  Our dear guide stepped in between them both, begging pardon in the monk’s native tongue while at the same time motioning to the shaken girl to turn and leave.  Her knowledge and grace helped us out of a very dangerous situation.  Apparently, the consequence of touching a woman for a Buddhist monk shamefully involved a month long ceremonial cleansing.

During this trip, we went to many meetings in nearby homes.  She explained to us that we must never allow our heads to be higher than those who were older than us within a room.  By keeping our heads lower than our elders, we would be showing them the proper customary respect.  She also reminded us that we must not point the soles of our feet towards anyone.  When we entered any home, we would have to remember all of the important things our precious guide had instructed us to do.  We were treated with love and respect for honoring the customs of those we came to serve and bless.

Just as the knowledge of their customs helped us while we lived in Thailand, a proper understanding of cultural context will help us navigate through the Word of God.  As a matter of fact, unless we endeavor to understand the complete context in which the Bible was written, we will fail to grasp the true meaning of what the Lord is trying to say to us through it.  How grateful we can be not only for our Ever-Present Guide, but also for the availability of the resource tools we need to help us to understand the rich meaning within each passage.

As we continue our study of Read the Bible For Life, endeavor to find quality resource tools to help in your personal study of the Word of God.  Such tools may include a good study Bible, a Bible dictionary or handbook, and a commentary.  Keep in mind that the Bible was written over a period of approximately 1600 years by over 40 authors.   There is no reason for us to stumble about with uncertainty if we come into our study times fully prepared for a rich time of learning.  Finally, always pray and meditate over each passage as you study it.

“Context is the circumstances that form the setting for a passage of Scripture by which that passage of Scripture can be rightly understood.”   George H Guthrie

Stasia Nielsen

Stasia Nielsen

To read more articles about the work we are doing in the missionary field please visit



Assignment For The Week

  • Read WEEK TWO in your Read the Bible For Life workbook
  • Download the Answers to the Viewer Guide when you click here
  • Optional: Listen to the Read The Bible For Life podcasts or watch the video for week three
  • If you are still waiting for your book to arrive, download week one from the workbook when you click here

Small Group Questions from page 28 in the Read the Bible For Life workbook (Post your answers here or share them in a small group this week)

  1. Describe someone you know who is passionate about God’s Word. What observable evidence expresses their delight in the Bible?
  2.  What are the life space and heart space issues in your life now (see page 15 ). What adjustments would it take for you to give consistent, daily time (at least 15 to 20 minutes a day) to God’s Word?
  3. What translation of the Bible do you prefer? Why?
  4. Describe a situation where you applied a specific scripture verse to your life. How did God’s truth affect the outcome of the situation?


Author WBC

Find online bible studies for women at the Womens Bible Cafe. It’s also a place where you can meet other Christian women from around the world and fellowship together. If you’re unable to a attend a church small group bible study then the Bible Study Cafe is just right for you! Look under “Current Studies” to see what we’re reading. Bring your book and let’s study the Word together.

More posts by WBC

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • KC says:

    1. My friend Desiree is passionate about God’s word. She is energetic, positive and giving. Her delight in the Bible is evident through her commitment to serving the Lord through Good Acts, as well as her devotion to going to services.

    2. I have enough life space (time) but not enough heart space (willingness to spend time) studying God’s word. I seem to find other things that I would rather do, and push studying the Bible to the bottom of my daily priorities, so that I will sometimes skip it. In order to give consistent daily time, I would need to change my attitude, and pray for help in doing so, to recognize the importance of daily reflection and study of the Word.

    3. I prefer the most understandable/easy-to-read version.

    4. Last week, I tried to apply a scripture by posting it on a sticky note in my bathroom to remind me of it; it was asking the Lord to let us follow him and not seek selfish gains. It helped prevent me from committing sin in several instances where I had been tempted to do so.

  • Anne says:

    1) my friend Haidie. Observable evidence face lights up when she talks about Gods word. Sends me encouraging verses via text.
    2) I love the Word of God and I miss it if I don’t do at least 30minutes a day. Life space and heart space demanding job emotionally need that time to chill with Jesus and get His perspective.
    3) the Message – I love how it is written in today’s language and brings the words to life
    4). Praying using scripture and seeing change in my life

  • Carolyn Wall says:

    Answers to Number 2/Get up keep tv off, don’t let distractions get in way, get up by 5:30AM, (I’m a morning person)have basket of Bible tools ready and coffee, and pray OK, lets Roll, Lord! I also start out with a Lighter devotional Jesus Calling–and look up verses-gets me ready for deeper stuff–study!! Number 4/When we were looking to adopt–the Lord gave me the verse–Genesis 18:14, Nothing is too HARD for the Lord!!It carried us thru all the dark experiences in the 14 months “fighting the Battles” to get Christopher in our home—the Lord had said—Nothing is too hard for Me, I’m going to give you Christopher!Praise Him–when I had no strength left-that Word of Life carried me!!

  • Rose Dickie says:

    1. I can think of a co-worker that has that peaceful aura around her. I don’t know if she gets it from reading the bible but I sure would like to have a little of it. Also I think my priest has a very good grasp of the meaning of the bible and can explain it in a way that we can understand.
    2. My life space for reading the bible is probably around 20 minutes a day. I really would like to read more, especially at night before I go to bed, even if it is for 10 minutes.
    3..My favorite translation of the bible is the New American bible because that is the one scripture is read from at Mass. I also like the Jerusalem Bible because of its awesome footnotes.
    3. I like the scripture that tells us not to judge each other. I try very hard every day not to do that but I add a prayer “God, place a guard at the gate of my mouth” to help me.

  • Diane Ivey says:

    1- My sister Gerry. She is always helping others even though she can’t afford it. She always find’s to share Jesus.
    2- Family problems, finances, Illness. I have gotten up early and read my Bible for about 6 years now.
    3- KJV It is what I grew up with. I think it is closest to the Hebrew Bible.
    4- When my granddaughter disappeared for 6 months.Mt 17:20 – If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “move from here to there” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

  • Carolyn Wall says:

    1/My friend in Maryland I visit yearly Carol, every time I visit I go to her prayer group and how she prays and quotes naturally scripture as she prays from the heart shows to me her Love for the Word and Jesus WHO is the Word! 3/I prefer The Amplified, even though it it “wordy”. it is the translating of the Greek and Hebrew I like together, and further explains the Word and context to me, and the Word comes alive and it makes it more interesting. Joyce Meyer is the first one who told me about The Amplified so I ordered it from her and love it!The next one I like is The New Living Translation, I like how its worded in there also! I will answer the rest of questions later, as I think about the answers and ponder my brain more, thanks, Carolyn

  • Marion Norris says:

    I prefer the KJV but in the amplified version because it really makes the scriptures a lot clearer for me!

  • I reall don’t know how to join this situation.Hi my name is Trish from salisbury north carolina.I am not sure what i am suppossed to do.I can’t order the workbook till oct 1st..What do i do and how do i go about things?
    Blessings Trish

  • Mala White says:

    Describe someone you know who is passionate about God’s Word. What observable evidence expresses their delight in the Bible?

    *My pastor of course! His weekly message conveys his desire to love the word and share it to his church and the community.

     What are the life space and heart space issues in your life now (see page 15 ). What adjustments would it take for you to give consistent, daily time (at least 15 to 20 minutes a day) to God’s Word?
    *sounds kind of cliche’ … “Just do it!” Making time for ANYTHING needs the attitude of I’m just gonna do it. Regardless of what’s in front of me.

    What translation of the Bible do you prefer? Why?

    * NIV its a bit easier to understand for me. The message is also a very easy reading bible.

    Describe a situation where you applied a specific scripture verse to your life. How did God’s truth affect the outcome of the situation?

  • Cindy Webster says:

    Very well written, Stasia! Thank you for sharing.

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