I recently taught a workshop in two developing nations entitled, “Knowing God” which is the first of four in Timothy Two Project International’s Growing in Grace series for indigenous pastors and ministry leaders.
Small group discussion is one of the priorities of our teaching method. During each of the twenty-one lessons in the workshops, we take time to discuss participants’ questions and to develop culturally relevant illustrations and responses for each topic. Below is a sampling of the many questions raised by participants under the various topics during these two workshops. Note that some questions do not necessarily pertain to the particular topic, but apparently came to mind during that discussion.
My purpose in this article is not to to answer or debate the stated questions, but to illustrate for the reader the need for biblical and theological training among ministry leaders in developing nations whose access to such training is severely limited by distance and/or finances. This is the need that the ministry of Timothy Two seeks to meet. More info at TimothyTwo.org.
On Knowing God
- Can we know about God also by the image of God in us?
God Is (Being)
- How do we explain that we won’t get old in eternity?
- Did those who went to heaven without dying (Elijah/Enoch) do so because they were sinless? Did Christ have to die for them?
- What is the biblical evidence that people gained immortality?
God Exists in Three Persons
- Would it be more correct to say that God exists or subsists in three persons?
- Did people speak of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the OT (Old Testament)?
- Are the three persons of the Trinity sometimes one person or always three?
- Some people say Jesus is not God, why?
- Referring to the verse “no man can come to the Father except through me” seems to prove that Jesus is not God. Does it?
- In Acts 2 it says the Holy Spirit is a power, and if a power, can we pray to the Spirit as we pray to the Father and the Son? Prove this in the Bible.
- Compare angels to the Holy Spirit.
- Where does the Scripture say that we should worship the Holy Spirit as God?
- May I pray to the Holy Spirit?
- Are the three persons of the Trinity the same or different, and does God work as the Holy Spirit sometimes, as Jesus other times?
God is Infinite
- In the OT it seems that they believed God was only one person, e.g. Deut. 6:4, “Hear O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one.” Did the Son have to come to convince them that there are three persons?
- Is it okay to pray to the three Persons according to their roles?
- Is Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 5 an example of the Father’s greater authority than that of Jesus’ authority?
- Is the authority of the Father greater than that of the other two persons of the Godhead?
- Is everything that happens in the world God’s will or not God’s will?
- How could Jesus “hold all things together” (Col. 1:17) while hanging on the cross, lying dead in the tomb, etc.?
- How can you explain God’s infinity through nature?
God is Eternal
- Regarding things that perish versus things that are eternal, are we eternal?
- When we talk about predestination, are we included in eternity?
- Some people think that creation has no beginning and therefore believe that God does not need to exist. How do you respond?
- Is immortality the same as eternity?
God is Unchanging
- Regarding 1 Sam. 15.29 “God is not a man who changes his mind” and 1 Sam 15:34 “the Lord regretted he had made Saul,” did God change his mind?
- If God doesn’t change, why does it seem that his plan for us is always changing?
- How does God direct our lives?
- If God is unchangeable, how can he be sorry or change his mind?
- What’s the difference between plan and destiny?
- Regarding Eph. 1:4, is every person called?
God is All-Powerful
- Why doesn’t God do certain things he is able to do, such as prevent suffering, etc.?
- Why does God want to glorify himself?
- It’s hard to understand Ps. 115:3, “God does whatever he pleases.” Help us understand.
God is Self-Sufficient
- If God doesn’t need anything to exist, why should we glorify his name?
God is All-Knowing
- What does 1 John 3:20 “God is greater than our sin” mean?
- How can God know everything?
- Why didn’t God prevent Lazarus from spending four days in the tomb?
God is All-Present
- Who came up with the idea of pantheism?
- Can God be present in hell?
- What about what we call “the silence of God” when he seems to withdraw his presence; what is happening?
- Did God know Adam and Eve would eat the fruit?
- Did God know we would suffer as a result?
- If God is omnipresent, can he enter everywhere?
- Is God present in voodoo?
- If we confess our sins, will God forgive immediately?
- Explain the work of Christ in the OT (Old Testament) and the NT (New Testament)?
- Explain how God loves us but doesn’t need us?
- Explain the incarnation of Jesus.
- Does our sin have importance in the glory of Jesus?
- If Adam and Eve hadn’t sinned would Jesus still have received glory?
- Does our sin glorify Jesus now?
- Do all sins have the same punishment/consequences?
- Though God “forgets” our sins, are the consequences still there?
- Paul said in Romans 7, “…when I want to do well, I do badly.” How can we resist evil?
- Will my affections change if I am saved?
- How does God’s determination of my destiny correlate with my responsibility to repent?
God is Sovereign
- Can God’s plan change?
- How does God act as a sovereign when he answers our prayers?
- Is Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane an example for us or a command to us?
- Do I have personal responsibility if I don’t share the gospel?
- What does Proverbs 18:1 mean when it refers to the power of the tongue, “death and life is in the power of the tongue?”
- Since God can do everything, why if I am sick and don’t go to the hospital might I die?
- In Daniel 4:35, what is the army of heaven?
- Are angels spirits?
- May we pray to angels?
- Why does God let his children fall into the trap of temptation?
- If God is sovereign, why did he not prevent certain problems in the world?
- Why, if God planned for us to enjoy fellowship with him in heaven, did he let Adam and Eve eat and die?
God is All-Wise
- Is God wise because he knows everything, or does he know everything because he is wise?
- Can we get wisdom from God instantaneously?
- Was the first act of wisdom in the lives of believers that of receiving Christ?
- God gave to Solomon great wisdom. How can we get great wisdom?
God is Good
- What’s the difference between God’s goodness toward unbelievers and believers?
- Is God being unfair by giving saving grace to some and not to others?
- Some churches teach that the mercy of God is not eternal, that it won’t be needed in heaven – is it?
- How is God’s wrath good?
- Regarding the rich man and Lazarus, what does the bible mean when it says “a great chasm has been fixed” between heaven and hell?
- How can we avoid pride because of our position as God’s children?
- If God is good, why does he let his children suffer while the wicked do not?
- Is God the same in rich and poor countries?
- Why does God allow the church to have so many difficulties in organizing His work, and why don’t we have more money to do that work?
- What’s your advice as we train others for specific works?
- What would you advise us to do when we take the gospel message to extremely poor people? It would seem they aren’t going to hear our message if they are thinking more about their empty bellies.
God is Loving
- In Rom. 8:28, does the word “called” mean the same thing as “chosen” in other places?
- Does God love all people the same?
- How can we love sinners, especially those that seem to be the “worst” kinds of sinners?
- Does God love all people in the same way?
- How can we define the love of God as God as we see in 1 John 4:9?
- Is the love of God for us an infinite love?
- If are the three kinds of love in the Bible (eros, fileo, agape), can we express all three of these?
- Must we love our neighbors as ourselves in everything?
God is Gracious
- Many people in other cultures have died without knowledge of the gospel, how does God hold them responsible?
- In our songbooks, we hear that the grace of God is free. Is it?
- Is grace a gift or do we have to work for it by receiving it?
- Why does Jesus not convert the heart of everyone?
- Are those who are saved chosen by God, and those not saved not chosen? Prove this in the Bible.
God is Jealous
- If God can pour out his wrath, why can’t I be angry? If God can be jealous, why can’t I be jealous?
- How can a man avoid being jealous of his wife’s attention to her work or to other people?
- How should we handle jealousy between members of the congregation?
- Does God judge people (in cults like Jehovah’s Witnesses) who use the name Yahweh/Jehovah in vain?
- What are examples of idols?
- If someone is not faithful to his wife, can he be faithful to God?
- What about a man who merely visits many churches and does not attend one particular church on a regular basis, is he faithful?
- When you have different doctrines/denominations, is that ok?
God is Just
- It seems that salvation was more difficult in the OT because God said to Satan in the book of Job, “there is none like him (Job) in the earth.” Was it?
- Why does God give people the opportunity to repent but the fallen angels don’t have the same opportunity?
- How will we judge angels?
- Who gives faith for salvation; where does it come from?
- If God is just, in what way do the consequences of “the sins of the fathers” pass down to their children generation after generation (Exo 34:7)?
- If we walk rightly before God, will that benefit our children? Even if they stray?
- What happens to children who die between birth and age 7?
- Does God decide or know what is going to happen in the future?
God is True
- Paul said, “God is faithful even when we are faithless.” It seems that Paul’s teaching is different from that of the other apostles? Can we trust Paul’s words?
God is Holy
- Am I holy “by” or “in” Christ?
- Is God’s holiness a warning for us?
- On the last day, how will we be judged?
- How can we be holy?
- We are to be holy, but if we do wrong will we become unholy?
- If we don’t respect holy places, will we suffer consequences?
- What should we do to stay living in holiness?
- If I’m a Christian, may I live in a bad neighborhood or region where they don’t know Jesus?
- How can I stay faithful?
- How can I overcome the gap between the modern world and the ancient world when trying to interpret the Bible?
- To convince someone the truth of a verse when another verse seems to contradict it, should we stay on that verse or go to another?
- What does the word “anointed” mean?
- How can you understand the Bible better: through prayer, singing, or listening to people speak/teach?
- How can I decide which pastor has the correct interpretation of a verse?
- Concerning the apparent contradictions in the Bible, how did God inspire the various people/writers in different situations?
More information about our work with Timothy Two.