Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pay It Forward Bible Study

If you are a fan of the film PAY IT FORWARD, this is a Bible study I made for that movie. Free, here online. Each movie section corresponds to Bible passages and sets of questions. Just watch the film section marked, and do the Bible study afterwards.

“Pay It Forward” Bible Study

00:00:01- 00:29:43

Luke 10:25-37
25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?”27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Reflect on this quote: “call it generosity between two strangers”.

How does Chris (the reporter) respond to the gift of the jag? Why does he respond this way?

How would you feel in this situation?

Do you think we are too cynical in this world? Why or why not?

Do you find it surprising that some people left the Samaritan by the side of the road? Why or why  not?

What does this tell us about human nature, and about kindness?

How did Chris respond to the gift he received?

What do you think of the way the man in the hospital helped the little girl?

What kind of person is that man, in your eyes?

What kind of people were the Samaritans to the Jews?

How is the African-American man in the film like the Samaritan in the parable?

What can we learn from this?

John 17:6-19
“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.16 They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

What is Trevor’s school like?

What kind of teacher is Eugene?

What do you think of his teaching style?

What does ‘the world’ mean to you?

Why doesn’t Jesus want His disciples ‘taken out of the world’?

What do you think Jesus means when He talks about ‘the world’ here?

What does he say about ‘the world’?

What do you think of this?

What is the point that Eugene is making about the world’s expectations of his students?

What parts of the world bother you most?

How do we act as agents of change in the world?

Reflect upon this quote by Alfred North Whitehead in light of Eugene’s conversation on possibility: “God confronts what is actual in the world with what is possible for it.”

What do you think of Trevor letting Jerry into his house?

What do you think Jesus sends us into ‘the world’ to do?

What does it mean to say that all Jesus has is ours, and all God has is Jesus’?

Malachi 4:5-6
Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse.

What are your early impressions of Arlene and her relationship with Trevor?

What do you think of the way Arlene treats Eugene regarding Trevor’s assignment?

How about Eugene’s response to her?

Is it fair to ask someone to do something they are incapable of?

How could having God as a foundation help this household?

00:29:44- 00:59:13

Hebrews 11:1-7
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and “he was not found, because God had taken him.” For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith

What do you think of Jerry saying he’ll take help ‘even from a kid’?

What is Trevor’s plan to change the world? What do you think of it?

Do you think that Trevor’s idea is utopian? Why or why not?

What do you think of utopian ideas?

Do you agree that Trevor’s plan requires faith?

How does Trevor’s plan exemplify the definition of faith given in the Hebrews passage?

Do you think he is right to have the kind of faith he does?

The Hebrews passage gives examples of people having faith in God. How did God also have faith in these people?

How do you think God has put his faith in you?

Ecclesiastes 2:18-26
18 I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me 19 —and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? 23 For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.
24 There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God; 25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26 For to the one who pleases him God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy; but to the sinner he gives the work of gathering and heaping, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a chasing after wind.

Do you think that Trevor’s help of Jerry is wasted? Why or why not?

Why does Ecclesiastes feel like his actions of wisdom and saving are meaningless?

Do you agree with him? Why or why not?

How do we deal with the fact that the effort we use to help people may not do any good? How do we keep this from making us feel meaningless?

What kind of world does Ecclesiastes think we live in?

Do you think the world ‘sucks’? Why or why not?

Can we measure our success as Christians by the results of our actions in the world? Why or why not?

What gives our actions meaning?

Why do you think Trevor decides to make Eugene his next project?

Do you think what Trevor is doing here is right? Why or why not?

How does the dinner between Arlene and Eugene go?

What is it about the fight that escalates into Arlene hitting Trevor?

Who is at fault here and why?

Matthew 18:21-22
 Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church[g] sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

Where do we see the theme of forgiveness in the film?

When have their been times when you’ve had trouble forgiving?

Do you believe Arlene when she makes her plea to Trevor in the Bus station?

What is the proper response to someone who is in Arlene’s situation?

How has Trevor’s challenge affected Sydney? What do you think of Sydney getting locked up so he can help other people?

What do you think of Sydney taking credit at first for the idea?

Do you think a relationship between Eugene and Arlene is a good idea? Why or why not?

00:59:14- 01:34:21

Luke 19:11-27
11 As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. 12 So he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return. 13 He summoned ten of his slaves, and gave them ten pounds,[a] and said to them, ‘Do business with these until I come back.’ 14 But the citizens of his country hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to rule over us.’ 15 When he returned, having received royal power, he ordered these slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned so that he might find out what they had gained by trading.16 The first came forward and said, ‘Lord, your pound has made ten more pounds.’ 17 He said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you have been trustworthy in a very small thing, take charge of ten cities.’ 18 Then the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your pound has made five pounds.’ 19 He said to him, ‘And you, rule over five cities.’ 20 Then the other came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your pound. I wrapped it up in a piece of cloth, 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to him, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked slave! You knew, did you, that I was a harsh man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow?23 Why then did you not put my money into the bank? Then when I returned, I could have collected it with interest.’ 24 He said to the bystanders, ‘Take the pound from him and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ 25 (And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten pounds!’) 26 ‘I tell you, to all those who have, more will be given; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and slaughter them in my presence.’”

Why does Arlene feel so uncomfortable in this relationship with Eugene? What do you think of this?

Why has this story attracted Chris so?

Why does Eugene think ‘words are all he has’?

What do you think about where Eugene and Arlene’s relationship has gone?

What do they have in common?

What is the sin that caused the unfaithful servant to be killed?

Why do you think fear is looked at as such a sin here?

How does fear separate us from God? From other people?

Matthew 7:6
Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you.

1 Kings 19:11-18
He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before theLord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but theLord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” 15 Then the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram.16 Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. 17 Whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall kill; and whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall kill. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

What do you think of the Old Lady paying it forward by helping a thief?

What does she mean by saying that Sydney isn’t ‘good enough to touch it’?

What does it mean to ‘cast your pearls before swine’?

How do we know when we are supposed to tell people of the good things we know, and when we are ‘casting pearls before swine’?

Why did Sydney say about why he decided to pay it forward?

How do we deal with our seeming helplessness in the world? What do we do in the face of great moral failure?

Why doesn’t Trevor think he’s changed the world? Has he?

What does Elijah think about the prophets of Israel? What does he think about his situation in the world?

What does God reveal to Elijah in this moment? What is all of this about?

Do you think the good in the world is often hidden from us? Why is this?

What do you think of what happens on the bridge?

How does Jerry finally reach the woman?

Proverbs 26:11
Like a dog that returns to its vomit
    is a fool who reverts to his folly.

What is it like when Trevor’s dad finally returns?

What do you think of the proverbs passage?

How does his situation with Arlene differ from Arlene’s situation with Trevor?

How do we know when we are supposed to forgive and forget and when we are dealing with someone who is wallowing in their own crapulence?

What do you think of Eugene’s story?


John 21:15-19
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Why is Trevor so forgiving of his mother this time around?

Do you think Eugene should forgive Arlene? Why or why not?

Why does Trevor think this is what Eugene needs to do?

What kind of message does Jesus have for Peter after His resurrection?

What kind of life is this? What kind of life is it where we ‘are taken where we do not want to go’?

What are the costs of discipleship?

Why, then would anyone undertake it?

Do you think that it is important to do those things that are difficult just because they are difficult? Why or why not?

What do we learn about Arlene from the Old Woman’s story?

What is that moment like when Arlene forgives her mother?

John 12:20-26
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

What is it like when Chris finally meets Trevor and Arlene?

What do you think of what Trevor says on camera?

What does Trevor identify as the main problem with the world?

What do you think of this?

Why do you think the writers had Trevor get killed at the end?

How do you feel about this storytelling decision?

What is the aftereffect of his death?

What does Jesus mean when He talks of the wheat falling to the ground and growing again?

How do we model in our own life Jesus death and glorification?

No comments:

Post a Comment