These Bible Study Briefs are deliberately informal. They are structured so that they can be considered in a short twenty-minute session or become the basis for an hour-long discussion.
The studies are intended to provide you with accessible, usable, and brief Bible studies on topics that touch on the peculiar needs, problems, and dilemmas that confront Christians in the legal profession.
No formal leader is required. After reading the brief scriptural passage (perhaps with a couple of different translations available in the group to add nuances of meaning), use the questions as prods for discussion. Please add your own questions, because the concerns and interests of each study group are different.
Some discussion "Do's":
- Do resist the temptation to make Bible study a mere intellectual inquiry or to parade your finely tuned analytical skills.
- Do provoke each other into finding concrete ways to apply and incorporate scriptural insights into your lives.
- Do commit yourselves to encouraging each other to stick to these commitments through friendship and prayer.
We're grateful to the Christian Legal Society for sharing these Bible Study Briefs with us.
Paul, a skilled lawyer and consummate briefwriter (ever studied Galatians or Romans as “legal” argumentation?), occasionally uses his personal story to support his points. In this passage he makes an unusual argumentative use of his impressive pre-conversion lawyer’s resume. Consider this passage as you prepare your resumes and start to compile credentials with which you will dazzle interviewers during the job-hunt season.
- The first of this passage is a diatribe against coerced circumcision of converts. Does it have implications that go beyond its historical context? How would you characterize Paul’s style in verses 2-3?
- Paul reveals his impressive resume. What would that resume look like in today’s terms?
- In three places, Paul uses marketplace terminology (“profit/loss”) to make comparisons with his resume. Describe these comparisons and the attitude toward the priorities they represent.
- Does Paul mean to use his credentials to support his argument against circumcision (verse 4) or as a pile of “refuse” (the Greek word is vulgar and literally means “crap”) to be discarded?
- What does your resume say? What do you think the “value” of your resume is? (Define “value” any and every way you like.) Be candid about the practical necessities of setting forth one’s qualifications in the legal job market.
- Compare Philippians 2:5-11 with the first passage. Any connections?
- Do you keep a “religious resume”?
- Can a Christian be a credential-monger? What (and how) do you draw the line?
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