So Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated, Baruch wrote on it all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And many similar words were added to them.
Notes to the Leader: Billy Graham once said that each person will face two critical decisions in life: (a) Will they accept Christ as their personal savior? and (b) Is the Bible really God’s words to mankind? It is the second of these two questions that is addressed by this study. You will be asking the members of your study group to discuss, think about and decide whether to be selective, choosing those parts of Scripture that suit their ideals or to embrace each word as God’s own.
Think back over Christmas’ past, birthdays, anniversaries, any gift-giving occasion, or any other time when you were given something that you found precious and still have in your possession. Consider bringing them into the class and share these items along with their stories.
What was it about these items that sets them apart from the many “things” we have been given only to be discarded at some later date?
In our household, most of the items considered of value have been handed down as special family treasures. Books about family heritage, a porcelain figurine, a piece of jewelry belonging to someone we loved. I have an old wooden Craftsman machinists tool box that belonged to my father. To most it would be of little value but to me, it defines who my father was and frames a lifetime of memories for me. We often define the true value of an object to the source, history or prior owner.
Using a similar thought process and assuming this discussion is about those who profess to be a Christian, ask the next question.
What is it that makes the Bible a history book for some, a mountain to be climbed for the intellectual, or the very power to direct one’s life by and to live by for others?
One’s opinion of the . If we are those who believe that somehow, man has captured and interpreted his own wisdom through the ages, Scripture is no doubt just an interesting book. However, to some, Scriptures are Words directly from God Himself. Value, therefore, is closely tied to our opinion of the . You can tell a Christian’s true colors by the value they place on God’s Holy Words.
Section One: God’s Written Words
Have someone in your group read Jeremiah 36:1-3.
God, through the Holy Spirit, has the power to pass His wisdom and counsel on to people directly. That, of course, is how the very Words of God were formed into what is called Scriptures today. So why do we need God’s Words in writing?
- God knew that we are a multi-media society. 2,500 years ago, verbal and written communications were both very necessary. Today, we have TV, radio, newspapers, churches, Bible studies, books, the Internet, music on CDs, computer software, etc. all capable of enhancing our understanding of God’s Words.
What is the purpose behind so many different media with respect to God’s Words?
- God used the written word as another warning to the people of Israel. Jeremiah was removing excuses by providing his prophecies both verbally and in writing.
With all of the types of media we have access to today, do you think mankind can claim any excuses for not knowing the content of God’s Word?
- Hardly. All of mankind, especially those of us blessed with resources, has no good excuse for not knowing the Holy Words of our God.
Have someone in your group read Jeremiah 36:4-7.
The mere existence of the scroll would guarantee nothing. What two key elements was Jeremiah hoping to accomplish by his documenting of the prophecies?
- Jeremiah intended for his scroll to be read in the temple. God’s Words do nothing if they are not read.
- Jeremiah intended for his people to repent. Lives must change through hearing and obeying God’s Words.
Have someone in your group read Jeremiah 36:8-15.
Notes: Gemariah’s father Shaphan, had been King Josiah’s secretary, the official who read the Law to the king when it had been found 17 years before (see 2 Kings 22:3-10). A reading from Gemariah’s chamber may have reminded the people about the reading his father had once done. The historic site may have prompted listeners to recognize Jeremiah’s words as coming from God. Baruch read the scroll.
Was the message written in the scroll any less important because Baruch read it rather than Jeremiah?
- Of course not. God’s Word is God’s Word.
What are the mistakes today’s Christians make with regard to hearing God’s Word?
- We place too much emphasis on the quality of the presentation and presenter than God’s very Words.
- Without some prior knowledge of Scripture, the message is easily misunderstood or falls on deaf ears.
Section Two: To Deny the Word of God
Have someone in your group read Jeremiah 36:16-26.
What are the ways that people today try to, “Burn up the Bible?”
- Intellectualize its message to cover up Scripture’s call for repentance.
- Claiming it has errors, therefore, ignoring all of Scripture.
- Just plain ignoring God’s Words.
Read 2 Kings 22:11 to your group.
How would you contrast Josiah’s response to hearing the Word with Jehoiakim’s response?
- Revival followed repentance of King Josiah
- Judgement followed Jehoiakim’s disregard for God’s Word
Have someone in your group read Jeremiah 36-27-32.
What are the good and bad consequences of defending and sharing God’s Word?
- There are times that this world of ours conjures up hatred and causes great pain for telling the truth.
- There is always a consequence from God for ignoring His Words.
- There is the promise from God of His protection, not from pain but from destruction.
- There is the reward of an eternal relationship with our God.
Notes: King Jehoiakim’s son, Jehaichin spent a short three months awaiting his coronation but was removed; and no son or descendant of his was ever permitted to reign as king thereafter on the throne of David.
Section Three: To Be Imprisoned for Telling the Truth
Have someone in your group read Jeremiah 37:1-21. Jeremiah was imprisoned but retained his message that the Babylonians would be back.
Now read Jeremiah 38:1-3 to your group. This is a short story about running your kingdom through opinion polls. However, the noted point is that when the opinions are not of the king’s liking, then the king disavowed them.
Why did Jeremiah hold so steadfast to his message? Was he a traitor as the king’s officials stated?
- Truth is truth. Jeremiah did not change his opinion to help his government. He knew God’s Will, God’s message, and held firm in that conviction.
What current events can you find in our own country and society that have similar tones?
- Because our economy is typically good (self-centered view of things), our nation is not particularly interested in truth, honesty, integrity, honor, or any other Godly trait in it’s leaders. We are often called to be forgiving (by either political leadership or the media), to look above such traits because every thing is still OK.
Have someone in your group read Jeremiah 38:4-9.
How would you describe Jeremiah’s punishment and his predicament? What was his mood?
Read Lamentations 3:53-54 for the answer. Even the great prophet Jeremiah could get depressed. The cistern was to be a horrible, suffering death.
Have someone in your group read Jeremiah 38:10-13.
What would be the significance of Jeremiah’s removal from the cistern coming at the hands of someone like Ebed-melech?
- One would have thought that a Jew would have stepped forward first.
What did Ebed-melech show us?
- One person with compassion can make a difference.
Section Four: Ruling by Fear
Have someone in your group read Jeremiah 38:14-28.
Notes: Zedekiah once more asked Jeremiah for advice. When told to surrender, Zedekiah ignored Jeremiah again.
Today, we have people who do the same thing but to the Bible. What is it?
- Selective Scripture. I am not talking here about the non-Christians. It is the Christian community that is selective.
Can you believe in just part of the Bible?
- You can but the part you don’t believe in may very well be the part that you need most in your life to know God and seek his saving Grace. No Christian should ever think that growth means mastering the “picking and choosing” of Scriptures so that one’s life is pleasing and comfortable.
What evidence should there be that one’s life is based upon the “FULL ACCEPTANCE” of the Bible?
- Constant change directed by the Holy Spirit. It is called “Sanctification.”
Bible Truth Being Taught
Submission is the proper response to God’s Word, while selection is the outcome of sinfulness.
To underscore the choices we have between showing respect versus contempt for our God’s Word.