No matter what the Bible study topics being studied, a large group study can be very impactful for everyone involved.
Church and community groups benefit greatly from studying together because a large group study allows everyone to focus on the same topic, which then fosters good conversation and frequently deepens relationships.
There are many Bible study topics for large group study. Some groups study personal finances, marriage improvement, parenting, missions, and apologetics (defending your faith). Two essential and engaging topics of study we have noted are food and sex. Indeed, these two Bible study topics are not new as they have been primary throughout history.
Notice in the following passage of Scripture the connection between these two Bible study topics (food and sex), how they can enslave men and women, and what the solution is:
"You say, "I am allowed to do anything"—but not everything is good for you. And even though "I am allowed to do anything," I must not become a slave to anything. 13 You say, "Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food." (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can't say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. 14 And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead... Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:12-14,19-20 (NLT)
Here the apostle Paul is responding to arguments that the Corinthian church members were using. The Corinthians were taking Christian liberty too far, saying, "I am allowed to do anything." By the subjects Paul addresses, the "anything" the Corinthians were saying they were allowed to do involved food and sex. Mistakenly, they felt the freedom to indulge every craving of their flesh in both of these areas.
Paul does two critical things in this passage: he asks the Corinthians to consider how both food and sex can be enslaving, and then he preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ to them. We can see from this text that the gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to free those enslaved by food or sex, or anything else.
First, in response to the Corinthians' statement that they could do anything, Paul says, "I must not become a slave to anything." The Christian life is one of freedom from slavery (or what the world calls "addiction"), not freedom to be enslaved by the lusts of our flesh. So, Paul reminds them that both food and sex can lead to slavery, or sinful bondage, that is, to being mastered by them.
But Jesus Christ died on the cross to free us from serving our flesh and to release us from bondage to base lusts. So, we dishonor Him and His death and resurrection if we allow ourselves to be mastered by anything. We must not be slaves to food or sex or anything else.
Indeed, this is exactly where Paul takes the Corinthians next. Having reminded them that we must not be enslaved to anything, he gives them the reason why: "You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Paul is calling the Corinthians to turn and face the cross, examine what happened there, and to find freedom from fleshly living. He is calling them to look at Jesus stretched out in agony, see His blood flow from where nails were pounded into His flesh, and to see that what Jesus is doing there is making a purchase! By dying on the cross, Jesus is paying the price to own the Corinthians, and all believers, freeing us from sin’s penalty and power, so that we belong completely to Him now.
There is an illustration of this in the Old Testament book of Hosea. A man by the name of Hosea was married to a woman named Gomer, who was impure and defiled, having left Hosea to sleep with other men as a prostitute. Nevertheless, God instructed Hosea to go and get her, retake her to be his wife, and live with her in love. Here is how he did it:
"So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. 3 Then I told her, "You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you." Hosea 3:2-3 (NIV)
Hosea purchased his wife back, took her to himself in love, and they committed to mutual fidelity to one another. God said this story was an illustration of how the nation of Israel had prostituted themselves out to other nations and their idols, but God loved them so much He would repurchase them and love them again.
As you look at the cross right now, do you see that Jesus Christ has purchased you? Do you see the high price He paid for you out of love? It was not with silver and barley but with His body and blood! In His purchase of you, Jesus breathed His last breath and gave up His Spirit for you. Jesus' love for you is not only sacrificial, but it is also eternal, merciful, gracious, immeasurable, and transforming.
Earlier, Paul had said, "And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead" (1 Corinthians 6:14). All people will indeed be raised from the dead physically, but it is also true spiritually. When we are enslaved to food or sex, or anything else, we need to be raised up and out of that bondage. We need resurrection power, Holy Spirit power. We need to be set free from slavery to food or sex, even as Jesus was set free from the grave on the third day!
If you were in Jerusalem two thousand years ago at the tomb of Jesus, you would see a dead man come back to life, exit His tomb in a glorified body. You would see the supernatural power it took to raise Him and set Him free from the grave. It is this same power the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God give as we see and believe the message of the crucified/risen Christ!
Yes, the gospel of Jesus Christ imparts power to us in our weakness. "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6). This passage teaches us that when in bondage to sin and powerless, we did not need to change our behavior or clean up our act to merit God's love. No, when we were powerless to do anything, God did everything. Jesus died for us, thereby forgiving us completely and removing the death sentence from us and setting us free.
Oh, friend, we were once powerless, but not anymore! We have power now! And how do we get this power? "Christ died for the ungodly." The death of Jesus that removed our sin also removes our weakness and bondage to sin. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive power (Acts 1:8).
And this resurrection power is precisely the power the gospel gives to all who believe and embrace it. Notice the comparison between the power that raised Jesus from the dead and the power that believers have now:
"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 1:18-20 (NIV)
What does it take to be free from the power of food and sex? A greater power! The power of the cross! The power of Jesus' resurrection! The power of the Holy Spirit!
If you decide to address these two Bible study topics in your large and small group studies, you will be hitting two of the most significant methods of slavery that humans face today. And if you address both of these issues from the standpoint of the gospel, as did the Apostle Paul, you can expect liberating power to come to those in your groups who study these Bible study topics. This transforming power comes to the heart first and then to the life. It sets captives free.
Setting Captives Free Publishing addresses slavery to food and sex head-on, and does so through the power of the cross. We do so with sensitivity to the guilt and shame associated with these Bible Study topics. We have created material (workbooks and leader's guides) for use in large and small groups that seek to impart supernatural power, by focusing on the cross, to change hearts and lives.
We do not use the old worn-out "addiction-recovery" methods where people are left "in recovery" for the rest of their lives. The Bible teaches resurrection power that sets captives free! For the truth is, we must not become slaves to anything, must not be mastered by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12), but if we have become so, then we need miraculous power, gospel power, transformative power to set us free!
Here is our material with which to start large groups about these Bible study topics. The leader's guides provide suggested teaching and worship songs for the large group and then questions to guide small group interaction, followed by a summary teaching for the large group.
We have some great options for leaders to start their own small groups! Click on either image below to learn more.
Check back often, as we are continuing to develop new studies to help you to hold successful small and large group studies. Some upcoming Bible study topics we hope to offer are depression, anger, unforgiveness, and substance abuse (drugs and alcohol).