Study Guide
by David Chadwell

Lesson 1  |  Lesson 2  |  Lesson 3  |  Lesson 4  |  Lesson 5  |  Lesson 6
Lesson 7  |  Lesson 8  |  Lesson 9  |  Lesson 10  |  Lesson 11

Lesson One

We will examine the contrast between God's approach to Old Testament Israel and His approach to New Testament Christians. God's covenant with Israel and God's covenant with the world are distinctly different. The fundamental nature of God's approach in these two covenants is distinctly different. If we see that contrast, we will see an essential reality in the Christian's relationship with God. We easily can reduce life in Christ to an oversimplified emphasis on obedience to commands. Obedience to God is essential. If we understand the contrast, obedience becomes a "stepping stone" to spiritual maturity. In that maturity we establish the relationship with God that He always wanted with people.

The background of early Israel

Genesis 46:28-34: Israel's arrival in Egypt as honored guests.

  1. When Jacob and his extended family moved to Egypt, where did they move from (verse 31)?
    Where did they move to (verse 28)?

  2. What early situation predicted potential problems between the descendants of Jacob and the Egyptians (verses 31-34)?

Israel's departure from Egypt: four hundred and thirty years passed from the arrival of Jacob and his family in Genesis 46 and the departure of their descendants under Moses' leadership (Exodus 12:40).

Exodus 1: pre-departure conditions for Israel as slaves in Egypt.

  1. Why did conditions for Israel change in Egypt (1:8-10)?

  2. What did the Egyptians do to keep Israelites under careful control (1:11)?

  3. What affect did this oppression have on Israelite population (1:12)? How did this fact affect the Egyptians' feelings toward the Israelites?

  4. How did the Egyptians respond to their fears produced by Israel's growth (1:13,14)?

  5. How did Egypt try to control the population of Israel (1:15-22)?

  6. The slavery become so severe that Israel did what (2:23)?

  7. How did this affect God (2:24,25)?

Exodus 19 and 20: liberated Israel.

  1. What reminder did God give Israel (19:3,4)?

  2. What promise did God make to Israel (19:5,6)?

  3. As God began to organize this multitude of slaves into a nation, what was the first thing God did at Sinai (chapter 20)?

When Israel left Egypt, they had no written scripture, no legal code from God. Scripture does not indicate that in the period of Egyptian slavery Israelites had prophets, priests, or worship instructions (beyond the sacrificial practices of their forefathers). While they had little communication from God in this period, they lived in daily contact with Egypt's extensive idolatry. The situation: God sought to control and direct people who had been enslaved for generations. They had little knowledge of Him and extensive knowledge of idolatry. Their lives and practices needed to be completely restructured. God began that process through law. A primary objective of law is to control and modify behavior.

The background of early Christianity and the early church

  1. When Christianity began, only what people were first taught and converted to Christ according to Acts 1-7?

  2. Did these people possess written scripture from God?

  3. Had God sent prophets to these people?

  4. Did these people have a high priest, priests, a temple, and worship instructions?

  5. Did these people have God's moral and ethical teachings to form and direct their lives, their hearts, and their minds?

  6. Were these people taught the scripture on a weekly basis?

  7. List all the contrasts that occur to you between the Israelites in Exodus and the Israelites in Acts.

In beginning Israel, the objective was to bring a people who knew little about God under God's control. In beginning Christianity, the objective was to focus people who knew much about God on God's eternal purposes. God began Israel as a nation by giving laws. God did not begin Christians as the church by giving laws.

David Chadwell

God's Contrasting Approaches Study Guide (lesson 1)
Wednesday evening Bible class, Spring Quarter 1999
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Copyright © 1999
Permission is granted to freely copy and distribute with text unchanged, including author's name.
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