Bible Mini-Study: Real Hope, Practical Answers!

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Bible Mini-Study

Real Hope, Practical Answers!

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The Bible is the world's most valuable book on human relations because the Author is also our Creator. Join us in exploring what God tells us in the Bible about how to make your life work—and work right!

How can the Bible help me?

Wouldn't it be great if there was a practical, helpful, trustworthy place to get real answers to the worrisome challenges you face every day? There is! Here's how you can access it and get the help you need now and always.

Have you ever felt like this? "I weep with grief...Arrogant people have made up lies about me...I have suffered much...My life constantly hangs in the balance...Powerful people harass me without cause" (Psalms 119:28 Psalms 119:28My soul melts for heaviness: strengthen you me according to your word.
American King James Version×
, 69, 107, 109, 161, New Living Translation).

We've all felt some of these strong emotions at times. Perhaps even now you're going through a trial that is sapping your strength and draining your hope. Through all of the challenges listed in Psalm 119, the person who wrote this biblical song found strength, encouragement and real help from the words and laws of God recorded in the Holy Bible. And you can as well!

"Your decrees please me; they give me wise advice...Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles...Your law is more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver!...Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path...You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my only source of hope...Those who love your law have great peace and do not stumble" (Psalms 119:24 Psalms 119:24Your testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.
American King James Version×
, 50, 72, 105, 114, 165, NLT).

What does the Bible say about solving your problems?

We all have unique challenges, talents, worries and opportunities. But the Bible has practical help and real hope for you! It wasn't just written for "other people"—those trying to be more religious, those who love to read books or whatever. It was written for teens in Texas, single moms in Sao Paulo, grandparents in Greece, prisoners in Paris—everyone!

Obviously in this small space we can't begin to show all the Bible's practical benefits for your unique circumstances. But we can set a foundation and give you a taste of its practical benefits for today and forever.

Real hope: God cares about you!

Let's start with something it seems everyone longs for—hope! What does the Bible offer as an antidote to the depressing hopelessness spreading around the world today?

At one of the darkest times in the history of Judah, what was God's message through His prophet Jeremiah?

"Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I hope in Him!' The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him" (Lamentations 3:22-25 Lamentations 3:22-25 [22] It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. [23] They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness. [24] The LORD is my portion, said my soul; therefore will I hope in him. [25] The LORD is good to them that wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.
American King James Version×
).

The prophet Jeremiah wrote the poetic book of Lamentations in mourning over the fall of Jerusalem, the city where God's temple was. It was in the midst of terrible destruction that Jeremiah recorded these inspiring words of solid hope. Such hope is not merely wishful thinking, but a confident expectation that God will do what He has promised.

Is the Bible designed to give us hope?

"For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Romans 15:4 Romans 15:4For whatever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
American King James Version×
).

Here we learn that part of the purpose of the Holy Scriptures—the Bible—is to help us develop endurance and give us encouragement so we can have hope!

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13 Romans 15:13Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×
).

The Bible gives us hope because the "God of hope" recorded it for us. When things seem hopeless in the storms of this "present evil age" (Galatians 1:4 Galatians 1:4Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
American King James Version×
), God gives hope that serves as a steady anchor (Hebrews 6:19 Hebrews 6:19Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil;
American King James Version×
).

What makes hope possible?

"And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us" (Romans 5:3-5 Romans 5:3-5 [3] And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; [4] And patience, experience; and experience, hope: [5] And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.
American King James Version×
, New Revised Standard Version).

The love of God shows Christians that even troubles work for our ultimate good.

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
American King James Version×
).

When we love God in return, He can make everything, even the difficult times, work out for our eternal good. Many people have memorized this encouraging scripture to help them in their trials.

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31 Romans 8:31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
American King James Version×
).

When God—the Creator of everything—is for us, all enemies are powerless to stop Him from blessing us!

Does God understand our problems?

"Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:14-16 Hebrews 4:14-16 [14] Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. [15] For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. [16] Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
American King James Version×
).

Jesus Christ experienced the pains and sorrows of human life and the temptations to do wrong. He understands and sympathizes. God has given us the priceless privilege of being able to come boldly before Him in prayer in all our many times of need!

Benefits of the Bible: practical examples

What are some of the benefits of God's way of life?

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed" (Psalms 103:2-6 Psalms 103:2-6 [2] Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: [3] Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases; [4] Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies; [5] Who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. [6] The LORD executes righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
American King James Version×
).

God forgives us and wipes away the burden of guilt in a way no self-help program or psychiatrist ever could—a priceless benefit! God's power to heal our minds and bodies, to satisfy our needs, to protect us, to strengthen us—these are things people spend their fortunes on and their lives searching for. But God fulfills them as no one else can. And He looks out for the underdog, the oppressed and those in every kind of crisis as no human being has the power to do. The rest of this inspiring psalm contains many other benefits.

Where can we turn for practical answers?

"For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints" (Proverbs 2:6-8 Proverbs 2:6-8 [6] For the LORD gives wisdom: out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding. [7] He lays up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. [8] He keeps the paths of judgment, and preserves the way of his saints.
American King James Version×
).

One biblical book full of commonsense advice is the book of Proverbs. It was written and compiled by Israel's King Solomon, whom God blessed with exceptional wisdom. Applying God's wisdom will protect us like a shield—like a force field to deflect people and problems that would otherwise deceive, seduce or hurt us. Think of all the sorrows that could be prevented! Think of the benefits of avoiding financial scams, sexually transmitted diseases, premarital pregnancies, poverty and heartache!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6 Proverbs 3:5-6 [5] Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. [6] In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.
American King James Version×
).

Without God we are lost, but life with Him has direction and meaning. Whatever He sees as best for us He will give us, including prosperity, honor, health, peace and happiness!

Does the Bible give keys to happier relationships with others?

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1 Proverbs 15:1A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
American King James Version×
).

The natural tendency when someone speaks harshly to us is to respond in kind. But Solomon here points out that this only escalates the conflict. Thinking before we speak and choosing a nonconfrontational tone can help calm the situation.

"Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men...'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink' ... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:17-21 Romans 12:17-21 [17] Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. [18] If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men. [19] Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place to wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, said the Lord. [20] Therefore if your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head. [21] Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
American King James Version×
).

The apostle Paul also provides tips for getting along with problem people, here quoting from Proverbs. Feeding an enemy may not be an intuitive response, but perhaps that is part of the reason it may surprise and disarm him or her. Overcoming evil with good is a powerful human relations principle given to us by our loving Creator. Check out our helpful booklets Making Life Work and Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension for specific tips to improve your relationships.

Does the Bible give helpful advice for job success?

"Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep—so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man" (Proverbs 6:6-11 Proverbs 6:6-11 [6] Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: [7] Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, [8] Provides her meat in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. [9] How long will you sleep, O sluggard? when will you arise out of your sleep? [10] Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: [11] So shall your poverty come as one that travels, and your want as an armed man.
American King James Version×
).

"He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich" (Proverbs 10:4 Proverbs 10:4He becomes poor that deals with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
American King James Version×
).

Solomon uses the colorful analogy of the industrious ant as a lesson in success. Employers look for diligent workers who go above and beyond, improve their skills and work hard whether the boss is looking or not. These are the workers who are most in demand and thus have greater security on the job.

Does the Bible give principles that lead to financial security?

"The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7 Proverbs 22:7The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
American King James Version×
).

Our "buy now, pay later" society has forgotten this principle, but avoiding debt and paying back what we already owe is a key to security.

"A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished... Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds; for riches are not forever..." (Proverbs 27:12 Proverbs 27:12A prudent man foresees the evil, and hides himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.
American King James Version×
, 23-24).

Being alert to threats and opportunities is a key to wise planning. Conservative budgeting and planning can avoid countless pitfalls and best lead to sustained and secure growth. Many more helpful tips can be found in our free booklet Managing Your Finances.

The Bible is full of practical principles that offer help and hope in every challenge we face. God's way works today in "the life that now is," and His plan offers incredible promises for our potential in the life "which is to come"—the everlasting life He offers us as His children (see 1 Timothy 4:8 1 Timothy 4:8For bodily exercise profits little: but godliness is profitable to all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
American King James Version×
; John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×
; 1 John 3:1 1 John 3:1Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not.
American King James Version×
)! We hope this sampling of godly wisdom from God's instruction book has whetted your appetite for more! We will cover more on this in future articles and studies.

Apply what you've learned

What is your most challenging, worrisome problem? Listen to what God says: "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:6-7 1 Peter 5:6-7 [6] Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: [7] Casting all your care on him; for he cares for you.
American King James Version×
). God cares, and He wants you to throw all your cares on His broad shoulders to carry! Take your problems, especially that biggest problem, to Him in prayer. That's the vital first step.

Turning our problems over to God doesn't mean we won't have to do the hard studying, counseling, decision making, etc. But knowing that the most powerful being in the universe cares and will help us takes a huge load off our minds!