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Bible Study Guide for Sunday, August 22, 2021

August 16, 2021
  • 1 Kings 8:[1, 6, 10-11,] 22-30, 41-43
  • Psalm 84
  • Ephesians 6:10-20
  • John 6:56-69

There is an interesting contrast in Jesus’s tone in this week’s Gospel. He begins with a teaching that his listeners find unsettling and offensive to their sensibilities. (It can still sound rather visceral to some people today.) Even some of his own disciples don’t want anything to do with it. Despite their protests, Jesus doubles down. He emphasizes that he means what he says, his words come from the Holy Spirit, and he is the only path to God. Perhaps not surprisingly, some of those disciples walk away – but when they do, Jesus’s confidence seems to leave him as well. He wonders whether even his closest friends have found him too much to bear.

I find something similar in the selection from Ephesians this week. At first, Saint Paul’s tone is martial, encouraging, and brave. It sounds like no one could be more equipped to fight the devil and tell the good news to those around him. Yet he also asks for prayers for confidence from his readers. He needs help to summon the words to evangelize – he can’t help the need to preach the gospel, as an “ambassador in chains,” but he must ask for help to find the right words and the confidence to do it.

This loss or lack of confidence may be familiar in our own lives. I can think of times where I tried to present an image of confidence and assurance to say or do something I felt was important, but my real self-confidence under the surface was barely there. It’s comforting to see that when Jesus feels this way he is not too afraid to show it to his friends. They reassure him by telling him they have total trust that he is the Son of God, and that he will guide them like no one else can. It is that guidance that Paul relies on, as the Apostles did. We can learn through both his and Jesus’s example when we’re looking for confidence. By asking for the support of the Spirit, and being open with friends about how you’re feeling, you may find courage you didn’t know you had. – Lindy Noecker

  • What are some times in your own life where you needed extra confidence to do or say something important? Did you pray about it? Or what other supports did you look for?
  • This is not the only place in the Gospels where Jesus’s teachings are too hard for some people and they simply leave. Have you found passages in the Gospel that provoked a reaction like that yourself? What passages and why? Do you still feel that way?


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