"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
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REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE is prepared for those who have completed BECOMING DISCIPLES THROUGH BIBLE STUDY. Resident in the title is the driving idea in this study--the connection between memory and identity as the people of God. The word You in the title is meant to be heard both in its singular form (the individual) and in its plural form (the community). We are a community of memory. Participants in this thirty-two-week study will read the major and minor Old Testament prophets, with the exception of Daniel, and will read the thirteen letters traditionally attributed to Paul. To establish the historical context in which the prophets spoke for God, daily reading assignments also draw on the books of Deuteronomy through Chronicles. Study of the prophets will follow their historical sequence rather than their biblical sequence. The dating of Paul’s letters influences the sequence of their study.
Several themes weave their way through the study: the call to remember, the call to repentance, the need for renewed vision (eyes to see, ears to hear), and the place of community. REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE concentrates on the Old Testament prophets and the letters of Paul. The prophets and Paul are continually calling hearers and readers back to their God and to a sense of who they are as a people “set apart.” The prophets and the community cannot be separated. The prophets spoke for God, out of the community, and to the community. Paul’s experience of the risen Lord, his relationship to the community he addressed, his Jewish traditions, and the Greco-Roman culture of his day merged in his writing of the letters. Paul used the language of his culture to carry the message that arose out of his roots in the Hebrew Scriptures and Judaism.
The Context Portfolio
DISCIPLE: REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE has a component unique to this study: The Context Portfolio. The Context Portfolio is a set of maps and charts prepared especially for this study of the prophets and Paul’s letters. It provides the setting or surrounding circumstances in which an event occurs. Items in the portfolio situate the prophets and Paul’s writings historically and geographically. Suggestions in the Teacher Helps and study manual will guide its use and stimulate individual interest. Items in the portfolio are designed for easy display and handling in and by the group.
The Context Portfolio is not an optional component and is intended for use in the group meetings. Each study group needs weekly access to The Context Portfolio.