Faithfulness Matters Bible Study: The Patriarch, his wife, the Pharaoh and the slave

Faithfulness Matters Bible Study

The Patriarch, his wife, the Pharaoh and the slave

by Jody Stowell

‘The Glory of God is a human being fully alive’ IRENAEUS

The above quotation from the early church is one of my favourites and it seemed right to use this as the basis from which I wrote a Bible Study for the campaign Faithfulness Matters. I wanted to make sure that the campaign is understood as one which is positive and ‘for’ something, as opposed to being perceived as simply another Christian campaign with loud shrill voices. Our campaign is firmly founded on a rich biblical understanding of what it means to be fully alive human beings, human beings who are called to a faithfulness that is, firstly, modelled by God…..

I quote below the précis to the bible study:

‘[This quotation] speaks of a God who enjoys people and wants them to enjoy who they are and to ‘grow up’ into the people who God has made them to be. Anything less than a human being who has fulfilled their potential in God, is a human being ‘fallen short of the glory of God’. To be fully alive is to honour God, and is also to witness to the world, what the God revealed in Jesus is like.

The God we have revealed to us in Jesus, does not set out to constrain us, but to bring us to life, open us up: to each other and to God-self. And God does this by showing us ways of life which cause flourishing. Faithfulness is not just about sex and marriage, it is firstly a way of life that is modelled by the God who wants us to be fully alive human beings. The call to promote faithfulness and to make the bold statement that ‘faithfulness matters’, is important and necessary because faithfulness makes things flourishes people, it flourishes societies and it flourishes creation. And by definition then, unfaithfulness diminishes us.

Therefore Christians are to be working for, and being examples of, what faithfulness as a way of life looks like. Because ‘the glory of God is a human being fully alive’.

There are many scriptures which we could look at which we could use to defend a biblical stance for the importance of marriage: for example the creation stories of Genesis 1 and 2, or Jesus’ presence at the wedding of Cana in John 2, where he performed his first miracle, and which is directly mentioned in many of our Christian marriage ceremonies. Whilst these are very important texts, it might be better for us to explore a story which gives us a wider picture of faithfulness as a way of life: a way of life which God models and which human beings are called to, for their own flourishing. And so I suggest that we look at the story of Abram, Sarai and Hagar.’

Should you like to use the bible study, you will find a downloadable and printable version here.

Rev Jody Stowell is Curate of All Saints’ Harrow Weald and Editor of Fulcrum

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