Bible Study Series: The Purpose of Life

Christian Life Resources


The Purpose of Life – Part 1 (Student’s Guide)

Life has three purposes. This Bible study will address the first of those three purposes.

Read the Following Passages:

Matthew 25:1-13 – “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

2 Corinthians 6:2 – For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

Hebrews 9:27 – Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.

Mark 8:36 – What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?

Ephesians 1:13-14 – And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession — to the praise of his glory.

Romans 10:17 – Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Ephesians 6:17 – Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Discussion Questions:

1. What do the opening words of the Matthew reference (“At that time”) refer to?

2. Identify the three main character types in the story: the Bridegroom, the Five Wise Virgins, the Five Foolish Virgins.

3. Keeping in mind the words of v. 13 of the “virgins” story, look now at 2 Corinthians 6:2. What does this say about the timing to come to faith?

4. Is there such a thing as a “second chance” to come to faith? (See Hebrews reference)

5. With life holding so many opportunities of achievement and success, what does God point out as the most important?

6. How is a soul saved forever?

7. How does faith come to us?

8. What is the first of three purposes of life?

9. Discuss these questions and apply your observations to the work of your group:

What do people see as main purposes in their life?

How do we sometimes forget the main purpose in our lives?

In what way can our group hold the main purpose of faith before people?

 

The Purpose of Life – Part 1 (Leader’s Guide)

Life has three purposes. This Bible study will address the first of those three purposes.

Read the Following Passages:

Matthew 25:1-13 – “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

2 Corinthians 6:2 – For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

Hebrews 9:27 – Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.

Mark 8:36 – What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?

Ephesians 1:13-14 – And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession — to the praise of his glory.

Romans 10:17 – Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Ephesians 6:17 – Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Discussion Questions:

1. What do the opening words of the Matthew reference (“At that time”) refer to?
The end of the age (see chapter 24).

2. Identify the three main character types in the story: the Bridegroom, the Five Wise Virgins, the Five Foolish Virgins.
Christ, those who are saved, those who are not saved.

3. Keeping in mind the words of v. 13 of the “virgins” story, look now at 2 Corinthians 6:2. What does this say about the timing to come to faith?
Because we don’t know when this age or our lives will end, there is urgency that this most important element of life be met — to come to faith. NOW is the time!

4. Is there such a thing as a “second chance” to come to faith? (See Hebrews reference)
No. When life ends so is all opportunity for salvation.

5. With life holding so many opportunities of achievement and success, what does God point out as the most important?
The preservation of one’s soul.

6. How is a soul saved forever?
Through faith in Jesus Christ.

7. How does faith come to us?
God’s Word, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

8. What is the first of three purposes of life?
To come to faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior.

9. Discuss these questions and apply your observations to the work of your group:

What do people see as main purposes in their life?
How do we sometimes forget the main purpose in our lives?
In what way can our group hold the main purpose of faith before people?

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of faith we have through your word and the power of the Holy Spirit. Forgive us for letting other cares overshadow how you have met this greatest need in our life. Guide our individual and group activities so that we reflect the importance of faith so that we may be your instruments in bringing others to Christ. In his name we pray, Amen.

 

The Purpose of Life – Part 2 (Student’s Guide)

Life has three purposes. In the last Bible Study we learned that the first purpose is to come to faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. This Bible study will address the second of those purposes.

Read the Following Passages:

Ephesians 4:11-16 – It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

2 Corinthians 3:18 – And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Mark 9:23-24 – “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

Colossians 1:22-23 – But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

1 Timothy 6:11-12 – But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

2 Thessalonians 1:3-5 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.

Discussion Questions:

1. What does the Ephesians passage say about the abilities people have?

2. What does that same passage say how those abilities are to be used?

3. What does the 2 Corinthians passage say about the changes that take place in a Christian?

4. What weakness did the man in Mark’s gospel exhibit?

5. According to the Colossians’ passage, is faith a static thing?

6. How is faith described in the 1 Timothy passage?

7. What is cause for rejoicing in Christians?

8. What is a second purpose of life?

 

The Purpose of Life – Part 2 (Leader’s Guide)

Life has three purposes. In the last Bible Study we learned that the first purpose is to come to faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. This Bible study will address the second of those purposes.

Read the Following Passages:

Ephesians 4:11-16 – It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

2 Corinthians 3:18 – And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Mark 9:23-24 – “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

Colossians 1:22-23 – But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

1 Timothy 6:11-12 – But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

2 Thessalonians 1:3-5 – We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.

Discussion Questions:

1. What does the Ephesians passage say about the abilities people have?
God gives to different people different abilities.

2. What does that same passage say how those abilities are to be used?
These abilities all work toward the purpose of preparing God’s people for works of service and to help them grow up into Christ.

3. What does the 2 Corinthians passage say about the changes that take place in a Christian?
Life in Christ is a transforming process. While faith changes eternity from hell to heaven, life is a transforming process of ever-increasingly reflecting Christ. This is accomplished by growing in faith.

4. What weakness did the man in Mark’s gospel exhibit?
He believed but he also struggled with unbelief. He acknowledged that while he had saving-faith it still had growing to do.

5. According to the Colossians’ passage, is faith a static thing?
No. Faith is something that is to continue grow.

6. How is faith described in the 1 Timothy passage?
As something to be pursued and as a good fight. Once possessed it is a battle as we seek to grow in it.

7. What is cause for rejoicing in Christians?
When we see faith growing in others.

8. What is a second purpose of life?
A second purpose in life is to grow in faith.

Prayer: Dear Lord God, thank you for the gift of faith through the Holy Spirit. By it we know we are saved forever. Forgive us for failing to nurture faith through the Word and sacraments. Give us the opportunities and the desire to grow in that faith so that the devil, world and our flesh never succeed in causing us to doubt your promises. We ask all this in Jesus’ name, who saved us forever. Amen.

 

The Purpose of Life – Part 3 (Student’s Guide)

Life has three purposes. In the two previous Bible studies we learned that two purposes of life are to come to faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and to then grow in that faith. This Bible study will address the third of the three purposes of life.

Read the Following Passages:

Matthew 5:16 – In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

John 5:30 – By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

1 Peter 2:9-12 – But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 – Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

1 Corinthians 10:31 – So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

2 Timothy 4:2 – Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction.

Discussion Questions:

1. How is our life to be in this world?

2. What is the purpose of letting your light shine?

3. Is it possible for non-believers to praise God?

4. What is our role in life?

5. What is it that pleases God (1 Timothy 2:3-4)?

6. As God’s people what are we to do?

7. How are the pagans to see us?

8. What is the goal of them seeing our actions?

9. What do the Ecclesiastes, Ephesians and Corinthians passages say about our example?

10. What is the one activity we are to carry out at all times?

11. How does example setting work with Gospel preaching?

12. What is the third purpose of life?

 

The Purpose of Life – Part 3 (Leader’s Guide)

Life has three purposes. In the two previous Bible studies we learned that two purposes of life are to come to faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and to then grow in that faith. This Bible study will address the third of the three purposes of life.

Read the Following Passages:

Matthew 5:16 – In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

John 5:30 – By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

1 Peter 2:9-12 – But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 – Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

1 Corinthians 10:31 – So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

2 Timothy 4:2 – Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction.

Discussion Questions:

1. How is our life to be in this world?
We are to shine by our way of living – in contrast to the way of the world.

2. What is the purpose of letting your light shine?
To lead others to glorify God.

3. Is it possible for non-believers to praise God?
No, without faith non-believers wouldn’t bother praising God.

4. What is our role in life?
“Declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

5. What is it that pleases God (1 Timothy 2:3-4)?
God’s desire is for all to be saved.

6. As God’s people what are we to do?
Be shining examples reflecting God to a heathen world.

7. How are the pagans to see us?
In their eyes we should be different from the world.

8. What is the goal of them seeing our actions?
As with light shining in the world, the goal is again to eventually lead the pagan to praise God.

9. What do the Ecclesiastes, Ephesians and Corinthians passages say about our example?
Christians are reminded in all of their doings, even the routine things, they are to be examples which reflect God.

10. What is the one activity we are to carry out at all times?
Preach the Word.

11. How does example setting work with Gospel preaching?
We know that faith comes only by hearing the message. A bad example, acts of loveless and apathy create stumbling blocks for others. Our message of love is betrayed by our deeds of hate and lovelessness. All acts of love provide a forum for us to speak of the greatest love of all — God’s gift of the Savior.

12. What is a third purpose of life?
The third purpose of life is, after having come to faith and while growing in that faith, we are to then share that faith with others.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, forgive us for failing to share the good news we have in Jesus Christ. Forgive us for apathy and lovelessness. Instill in us a deep sense of appreciation for our salvation so that we might shine with a message of hope in this dark world. Focus our eyes on the purpose you have set before us so that we might not get wrapped up in worldly gain. Make us all your ambassadors as we seek to preach your Word and bring salvation to all people. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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