Bible Study based on the UCC Statement of Faith

This is set up to be 8 or 9 weeks, meeting 1-2 hours per week. I created this many years ago for a congregation that was unsure of its beliefs and its UCC identity. It’s more of an outline than anything else. I tend to invite a lot of conversation and discussion when I lead Bible studies which allows the group to go where it needs to go. If you find this helpful, feel free to use and adapt it as is best for your setting.

Week One: 

Open with prayer

  • Overview of the history and formation of the UCC.
  • Highlights of social justice activites from The Amistad days to more recent events.
  • Brief talk about our polity and the structure of the Conference.
  • The goal of the next 8 weeks of Bible Study is to help answer the questions of why be UCC from a theological perspective.
  • Along the way, we will always seek to answer the “So what?” question in terms of what this means for us as a congregation and as individuals following Christ.
  • What other questions are folks wanting addressed?

Conclude with the reading of the Statement of Faith

Week Two:

Open with prayer

We believe in God, the Eternal Spirit, who is made known to us in Jesus our brother, and to whose deeds we testify:
God calls the worlds into being, creates humankind in the divine image, and sets before us the ways of life and death.

Read and discuss the following scripture passages:

John 1:1-14                 What does this passage tell us about who God is? Who Jesus is? Who we are?

Genesis 1:1-31            What does this story of creation tell us about God? About creation? About humanity?

Genesis 2:1-23            The second creation story. What does this story tell us about God, creation, humanity?

  • If there is time, you can also look at Genesis 3 and the “Fall Story.”
  • Based on these stories and our own experiences, what would we add or change about these opening lines to the Statement of Faith?
  • What does it mean that God “sets before us the ways of life and death? Does this mean what you thought it did or something different?

Conclude with reading The Statement of Faith

Week 3:

Open with prayer

God seeks in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin.

Read and discuss the following scripture:

John 3:1-21     What does this story of Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus tell us about God? Jesus? Ourselves?

Romans 8        This passage contains a lot. Spend some time discussing what it says about sin and what it says about God’s capacity for love.

  • When we think about God’s love for us as it is described in these passages, what does it mean for us? What should it mean for us?
  • Would you add or change anything in this part of the Statement of Faith?
  • Where do you see evidence of God’s life in the UCC, in this church, in your life?

Conclude with reading the Statement of Faith

Week 4:

Open with prayer

God judges all humanity and all nations by that will of righteousness declared through prophets and apostles.

Read and discuss the following passages:

Mark 12:1-34        Have a discussion about what righteousness is and is not. How does this passage inform
us about God’s judgement and what it might mean to be righteous?

Micah 6:1-16  Is there anything in this passage that applies to us today? In this passage what is righteous
and what is judged negatively?

  • Do we believe that God judges humanity? If there is judgement, where does the love of Christ come in?
  • Do we live righteously as a church? As individuals? Where is the evidence?
  • What would you add or change in this part of the Statement of Faith?

Conclude with reading the Statement of Faith

Week 5:

Open with prayer

In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Lord, God has come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the whole creation to its Creator.

Read and discuss the following scripture passages:

Galatians 3:1-29         The church in Galatia struggled with what it meant to be Christian. How is their
struggle similar to our own? What part of being a follower of Christ is the most difficult? What part is easiest?
John 10                       There’s a lot in this passage. Discuss what it says about who Jesus is and what he intended to do for us. What does this mean for us today?

  • What does it mean to say the Jesus conquered sin and death? Do we live as if we are part of a creation reconciled to its Creator? What gets in the way?
  • In what ways do we show our belief that Jesus has conquered sin and death? Is there more we can do?
  • How would you change or what would you add to this part of the Statement of Faith?

Conclude by reading the Statement of Faith.

Week 6:

Open with prayer

God bestows upon us the Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races.

Read and discuss the following passages:

John 14           Jesus offered comfort to his disciples in this passage. What does it say to us about who Jesus is? Who the Holy Spirit is? Does it say anything about being bound in covenant?

Acts 2:1-39     This is the tradition reading for Pentecost. What does this say about the power of the Holy Spirit? What does this tell us about who is faithful?

  • Who or what is the Holy Spirit?
  • Where do we see the Holy Spirit at work in the world today? In our church? In our lives?
  • How does the Spirit bind us together in covenant with other faithful people?

Conclude by reading the Statement of Faith

Week 7:

Open with prayer

God calls us into the church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be servants in the service of the whole human family, to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil, to share in Christ’s baptism and eat at his table, to join him in his passion and victory.

Read and discuss the following scripture passages:

John 15           What does this passage tell us about being disciples of Christ? What are the costs? What are the joys?

Romans 12      What does this passage tell us about being the church? How are we to serve one another and the whole of humanity?

  • Do we spend much time thinking about being disciples of Christ? What gets in the way?
  • How do we serve one another and our community in this church?
  • Where is there evidence, by word or action, of our proclaiming the gospel?
  • Who is welcome to eat at Christ’s table in our midst?
  • What would you add to or change about this part of the Statement of Faith?

Conclude by reading the Statement of Faith

Week 8:

Open with prayer

God promises to all who trust in the gospel forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, the presence of the Holy Spirit in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in that kingdom which has no end.

Read and discuss the following scripture passages:

Matthew 11:28-30      Jesus spoke these words of invitation after condemning whole cities for their
power hungry way of being. How do we respond to these words today? Is there comfort? Hope? Disbelief? What do these few verses say about who Jesus is and how he views us?

 
Isaiah 43:1-13             What does this passage say about forgiveness? grace? courage?

 
John 4:1-26                 What does this passage tell us about eternal life? Is it believable? Is it something we want? 

  • Do we live as though we believe in forgiveness and grace?
  • Where have you experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit in trial? in rejoicing?
  • What does eternal life in Christ mean for you?
  • Do we as a church embody these things?
  • What would you change about or add to this part of the Statement of Faith?

Close with reading the Statement of Faith

Week 9:

Open with prayer

Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto God. Amen.

Summary of the previous weeks

Unaddressed questions?

Based on these weeks of study, what does it mean to be UCC? How do we show our beliefs? What do we do well? What could we do better?

If we were to write a statement of faith for this congregation, what would be similar to the UCC statement, what might be different?

Where do we go from here? What kind of study would you like next? What questions came from this study that you would like to explore?

Conclude with one last reading of the Statement of Faith

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