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Our Bible Today



Scripture: Matthew 13:1–9, 18–23; Acts 8:26–40; Galatians 5:22–23; Colossians 3:12–15

Memory verse: Matthew 13:23
"But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it."


Ask the students to think of words they might use today that may have different meanings than they used to. Explain that understanding what is being said is necessary for communication. Misunderstanding what words mean can cause problems.

Hearing God’s Word

This concept is true in understanding the Bible too. It was originally written in the Hebrew and Greek languages, along with some Aramaic. Since then, it has been “translated” or changed from one language to another many times. Today the Bible is available in many languages.

Not only has the Bible been changed from one language to another, but the words within a language have also changed meanings due to time and customs. For example, in this study is the word “sower.” Today we would probably use the word farmer instead.

Ask: “What words do you know that someone else may not understand?” (Allow response.)

Ask: “What words would you use to describe clothes that you really like? What words would you use if you did not like the clothes? Do you think someone in a different age group would understand what you mean?” (Allow responses.) You might have to translate your words for them.

The purpose of translating the Bible is to make it understandable to as many people as possible. God wants people to read and understand His Word.

Philip and the Eunuch

Look at Acts 8:26–40 to see how God helped a man understand His Word.

Philip has just finished preaching in the country of Samaria when God instructed him to go south toward Gaza. On his way Philip met an Ethiopian eunuch. This man was an important official in charge of the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. Philip noticed the eunuch was reading from a scroll. Moving closer, Philip could hear the man reading from the Book of Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” “How can I understand, unless someone explains it to me?” the eunuch answered.

Philip proceeded to help the eunuch understand the passage he was reading. This led to the eunuch’s salvation and water baptism.

Although the eunuch desired to read God’s Word, he did not understand what he was reading. He needed help to get a clear meaning. The story of the eunuch illustrates that God wants us to understand His Word. God has used people throughout history to translate the Bible into different languages so more people can understand it.

Ask: “How will understanding God’s Word help us?” (Encourage students to respond.)

Parable of the Sower

This would be a good opportunity to illustrate the importance of understanding God’s Word via modern versions. Divide the class into two or three small groups and ask them to read Matthew 13:1–9, 18–23. Supply different versions and allow them to use whatever versions they choose. Assign each group to write a part of this passage in their own words. Allow 5 to 10 minutes. At the end of this time, have them share their paraphrases.

In this parable, Jesus talked about the seed that was planted and the different results according to what became of the seed. He was comparing the seed to God’s Word and describing how people’s lives will differ according to what they do with God’s Word once they hear it. Matthew 13:19 describes the seed sown by the wayside, or path.

Ask: “What do you think would happen to seed that fell on the path?” (Allow responses.)

It probably got trampled or blew away in the wind. That seed is like the person who heard the Word, did not understand it, and allowed the enemy to steal the Word out of his heart.

The second soil was stony. This represents the person who was not grounded enough in the Word. He had not built a good foundation of reading and memorizing God’s Word, so he did not know what it said or how it applied to his life. When trouble came the seed could not survive.

Jesus then spoke of the person who allows too many activities to crowd the Word out of his life. Sometimes we get too busy to read God’s Word. When we are too busy, we do not think about memorizing verses or trying to understand what God is saying to us. Like the thorns choked out the plants in the parable, we often let our activities take the time we need to spend in God’s Word.

Lastly, the Bible describes the person who accepts the seed and uses it. “The one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Matthew 13:23).

Ask: “What are the differences in the four types of hearers?” (Allow discussion.)

Understanding is a Part of Good Soil

Our memory verse tells us God wants us to hear and understand His Word. (Repeat the verse with the students.) It is only as we understand and do the Word that we can become the person God wants us to be—more like Jesus. God, the sower, gave us His Word to be planted in our hearts. The seed of His Word will grow in us and cause us to be fruitful Christians if we allow it to. As we do our part to obey God and live for Him, He will do His part to help us. We can bear the fruit of the Spirit that will cause others to see Jesus in us. (Let the students help you review the fruit of the Spirit. Then read Colossians 3:12–15.) The way we live can be a witness for Jesus. But we can know His message to us only when we read God’s Word and work to understand it. As we memorise and “Hide His Word in our hearts,” we can build a defence against sin. Our lives will bear fruit of the Spirit as we understand God’s Word and obey it.

Helps for Understanding the Bible

Sometimes just reading the Word is not enough.

Ask: “Have you ever read the Bible but found you could not understand what you were reading? What did you do? Where did yo0u go for help? (Allow discussion.)

We should never feel embarrassed if we do not understand something in the Bible. As we found earlier in the lesson, the eunuch did not understand what he read in the Book of Isaiah, but God sent someone to help him. God has also sent us help so we can understand His message.

Ask: “Can you name some of the people God has sent?” (Allow response.)

Bible teachers, pastors and Christian parents are three examples. We can write down our questions and find answers by asking someone who can help us understand more about God’s Word. Sometimes it helps to read from more than one version of the Bible. You may find that a more recent version makes the meaning of a certain passage clearer. Then, if questions still exist, ask. If you do not ask, you may become confused or misguided about what the Bible teaches. You do not want to misunderstand something as important that God says.

The Bible was not written in English. What we have are translations, some of which contain words as we understand them today.

God is using people to translate the Bible into different versions (translations from the original language) so the things He has said to us can be understood better.

Ask: “Can you think of some of the versions of the Bible available today?” (Allow response.)

The American Bible Society and the Wycliffe Bible Translators are just two of the many groups working today to bring the Bible to many people. They translate the Bible into the languages of people who have never had the chance to read the Word. Many missionaries also are working to translate God’s Word.

God does not intend the Bible to be just another book. He wants it to be a guidebook for all generations. It is a map to show us the way to live right and know God. And if we follow it, we will have eternal life in heaven.

At times, language, and customs have changed; God has enabled men to put the Bible into languages people can understand. Even after all the changes in our way of life throughout history, His Word is still effective in touching hearts with the message of the love of Jesus.

God’s Word will never pass away. As the need arises, God will provide men and women with the ability to translate the Bible into the language of the people. This is just as true for future generations as it has been in the past and is now. Perhaps someday God will ask you to dedicate your time and talents to translating the Bible into other languages, or more modern languages, for those who need God’s Word.

Accepting God’s Word

The most important thing we need to understand from the Bible is that we need someone to save us from the punishment for our sins. God loves us and has provided a Saviour for us — Jesus. Pray with those who realise that knowing Jesus personally and reading His Word will bring changes and growth in their lives. Tell them to develop the habit of reading God’s Word and praying every day.

Receptive to the Gospel

I made no promises to the Orma, but did assure them that their need would be made known to the Christian community. This is the first time I have ever found a village, perhaps a people group, ready to move as a group to accept the Christian faith. 

They were pleased that I wanted to take pictures and it was evident the elders wanted to nurture this new, emerging relationship. We returned to the trading centre and spent the night there. The next morning, walking toward a restaurant to eat breakfast, we met one of the village elders to whom we were introduced the day before. He greeted us and we visited for a brief time. This man is a link to the village and the people's hope for the dawning of a new day over the Orma homeland.

Pray for Orma openness to the gospel

1. Messengers to find receptive individuals whom God has prepared,
2. Believers to recognize the urgency of ministering to the Orma now,
3. Orma to move as a tribe to accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour.

Prayer Promise

"I tell you, now is the time of God's favour, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2)





Memory verse: Matthew 13:23
"But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it."

1. I want to understand the Bible.
2.The Holy Spirit and mature believers can help me.
3. An English Bible is fine. A Bible in my own language would be great!

Pray for Orma openness to the gospel

Study 4 | Preach Christ/Our Bible | africaatts.org/go-teach


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