TEXT: 2 Peter 1:4-11
The students will be able to name the attributes studied this quarter. They will be able to define each, and tell why it is important to the development of Christian character.
The Christian attributes we have studied during this quarter are expected to be a part of every Christian’s life and character. Some of these are ours upon being born again. Others are to be added as we grow in grace, or are worked out in our lives as we live in obedience and in submission to Christ. In considering Christian attributes, it is essential that we remember: The greatest of these is love.
In the course of this quarter, we have delved into the meanings of a number of Christian attributes. We have discovered that individually they are important facets of Christian character. We began the series with lessons on humility, forgiveness, and obedience. However, for the purpose of this overview, we will focus on the subjects mentioned in our text in Peter.
- Considering the key verse, why are the attributes mentioned in our text so important?
Response: If we have made these Christian graces a part of our lives so that they are in us and abound, the promise is that we “shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- What does it mean to be barren and unfruitful?
Response: Discuss some of the aspects of being barren or unfruitful that come to mind: without life, unattractive, non-productive. We often consider a fruit-bearing Christian as one who is a soul-winner and actively engaged in the work of the Lord. Lead your students in discussing whether there is any value or worth in Christianity which is not fruit-bearing.
- Why was faith the first attribute that Peter mentioned—the one to which he admonishes us to add the others?
Response: Allow time for students to give their answers. The students will probably arrive at the conclusion that faith is an indispensable element of Christianity (Hebrews 11:6). Additional thoughts that may be presented are: it is through faith that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8), and faith is a fundamental piece of the Christian’s armor (Ephesians 6:16).
- The definition of virtue, as used when the King James version of the Bible was translated, includes “courage and spiritual fortitude.” Why would Peter have felt it necessary to add this characteristic after one has established his faith through an experience of salvation?
Response: Your students may come up with a variety of thoughts in response to this question. They may bring out that one is sure to face tests and trials once they have received salvation. It would also be good to focus on the necessity of taking a stand to let others know of your faith. Many have found severe opposition to the declaration of their faith. Courage is necessary for one to profess his faith before unbelievers, and in times of persecution. It is the strength without which the believer cannot retain his integrity or defend his benefits.
- Peter admonishes the Christian to add “knowledge.” What is one way this knowledge is acquired? See John 5:39 and Romans 15:4. How does it apply to Christian growth?
Response: A person must search the Scriptures and learn what is written in them. As we learn God’s requirements and instructions regarding how to live a godly life, and then follow through in obedience, we will grow and mature as Christians.
- One who gets too involved in study can be on dangerous ground (Ecclesiastes 12:12). How can “temperance” in our lives be of value? Cite some possible dangers in carrying the studying or gaining of knowledge to an extreme.
Response: No doubt discussion will be generated as your students explain their answers to this question. Temperance, or self-control (moderation) must be added in order to achieve a proper balance. Every sense must be kept under proper restraint. The word temperance implies “self-discipline,” which is rarely a painless process. In reference to the second part of the question, your students should see that perhaps acquiring a great deal of knowledge in the field of science could cause them to question the truths of the Bible. There have been cases where one has even attended a religious school and found a difference in doctrinal teachings that has lessened his faith.
- We read in James 1:4, “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” In what way might temperance and patience be connected?
Response: Temperance is self-control, but it may become intolerant. When severe self-control takes over, we may become impatient with anyone we feel does not do as we do. An important function of the development of patience is the refining and purging process it performs as we learn to leave with the Lord situations we cannot understand. Through this process He then is able to remove the dross from our lives. Fiery trials will work patience, and when we have true patience, that is when godliness begins to shine forth.
- How can we, as mere human beings, possess and demonstrate godliness? Name some of the qualities of this attribute.
Response: Your students’ answers may include piety toward God; a deep, reverential, religious fear; not only worshiping God with every “outward” act, but adoring, loving, and magnifying Him in the heart. There is no shortcut to godliness. We must be careful in exercising patience so that we do not drift into excessive tolerance, indifference or apathy. Godliness is all-important. Through godliness the Christian character really begins to blossom. (When a person is saved, they have a measure of all these qualities; the seed is planted but it must be nurtured in order to grow.)
- The term “brotherly kindness” implies the exhibiting of love toward our brother. How would you differentiate this from the “charity” which is mentioned in verse 7 of our text as the final ingredient in Peter’s formula?
Response: Brotherly kindness, the love of God’s family, exhibits the strongest attachment to Christ’s flock, feeling each as a member of one’s own body. Charity is love for the souls of the whole human race, even our persecutors. It would seem clear that no one can imitate or simulate this quality of love or closeness to his brothers in Christ. It can only radiate from the heart of one who has first added and cultivated the prerequisites, the beautiful qualities as laid out by the Apostle Peter in this text.
- When followed completely, how does the formula given in our text produce a fruit-bearing Christian? What is it about these particular qualities, when well-balanced within a life, that makes them an influence on others?
Response: The Apostle Paul infers in the conclusion of the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians that love (charity) is the greatest force we can experience. If we have prayerfully added to our faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and the quality of love described in that chapter—true love for all mankind— the difference in our lives will be distinct. The impact such a life can have on the lives of those he comes into contact with in a sinful, troubled world, will be forceful and effective.
- To what extent are the instructions of this lesson optional?
Response: To the same extent that the ensuring of our eternal destiny in Heaven is optional, just so is the responsibility we have in developing our Christian character. As a summation for this lesson and quarter it might be valuable to refer to verse 10 of our text: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”
Bring a number of banners cut from construction paper. Using the subject words from this quarter, write on each banner, “Faith is _______________,” “Humility is,______________” etc. Allow your students to select a banner and complete the phrase in their own words, using a heavy marker pen. Decorate one wall of your classroom with the banners.
On cards or pieces of colored paper, write the subjects covered this quarter. On a second set, print brief definitions for each word. Shuffle the two sets and have your students match the words with the definitions.
Provide each student with a sheet of grid paper. Explain that as you review the quarter they will each make an acrostic for each of the words or subjects studied. Starting with the word “humility,” have them write the word in the squares of the grid wherever they wish. Discuss what humility is and pose some hypothetical examples. Let your students fill in words that help describe humility. Move on to review the next word. You may wish to provide a set of multicolored fine-line marking pens for the students to write with, to make the completed acrostics more colorful. They could use one color for the key word, and another color for the descriptive words. To assist any students who may have difficulty spelling the word, write each one on a chalkboard as it is discussed.
Tell your class that you are going to test their listening and remembering abilities. Explain that you will briefly review the stories and concepts studied throughout the quarter. However, on occasion you will make a false statement. If they hear you say something wrong, they should clap their hands. The first one to clap may explain what was wrong and then take a token or marker from a pile. At the end of the review session, the person with the most markers should receive a small prize or treat. (Note: If you make a false statement that is not caught, be sure you correct it yourself.)
Write out the key verses from this quarter. Write the key words from each verse on separate three-by-five-inch cards and clip each set of words together. Underline those key words on your master sheet of verses. Mix up the cards for one verse and lay them out on a table, words down. Divide the class into two teams. Have one student from each team start. Ask them to announce how many words they will need to see to “Name That Verse.” For example, they may say, “I can name that verse in two words.” They then pick two cards off the table and read them aloud. If they can recite the verse from those two words they get twenty points for their team. If not, they may continue drawing cards, one at a time, until they can recite it or give up, but they will lose five points for each additional card they must draw. So if it takes three cards, they will receive fifteen points if they recite; four cards, ten points; and so on. Alternate members from each team and keep score. Rotate the verses as each one is recited.