Do you believe that university life is about more than classes, assignments, studying and weekends? Are you interested in finding more meaning and purpose in your life? Do you enjoy listening to and sharing ideas with others? Then, please join our weekly Bible discussion group.

Campus Bible Talk meets every Monday during the school year (except during holidays and during Reading Week Breaks) at Athabasca Hall, Heritage Lounge, at 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

You may also email us anytime at

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Loving God and One Another

On Monday evening we spent some time discussing how we can love God and one another.  Jesus teaches us that the two greatest commandments are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  We love God by obeying His commandments and we love our neighbors by treating them in the same kind and respectful ways that we treat ourselves.  1 Corinthians 13, the chapter of love, teaches us what love looks like and how we can aim to have this kind of love in our lives.

The notes from our discussion are below.

February 14, 2011

Loving God and One Another

Opening question: When was the last time you said “I love you” and who was it you said it to?

There are many people we love in our lives and we love them in different ways.  We love our husband or our wife.  We love our parents.  We love our relatives, brothers, sisters, cousins, grandparents.  We love our friends.  We even love our pets.

We are going to look at “love” today from the Biblical point of view.

1.       Loving God

In Mark 12:28-34, we read: 28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”  29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”  32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.  33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

Verse 29 – the question
Which one of the commandments is the most important?

Verse 30 – the reply
Love your God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  Jesus was quoting from the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 6:5 when giving this reply.

What does it mean to love God?
Before we answer that, let’s talk about what it means to love man.  How do show our love toward all the people that we love in our lives?  How is our relationship with them?  What do we say?  What do we do?  What do we not say/do?

In John 14, verses 15 and 23-24 say:  15 “If you love me, keep my commands.

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

So, loving God meaning obeying God’s commandments.  It means learning what God wants and doing those things in our lives.  In the same way that we love our parents and other dear ones in our lives, by doing whatever is pleasing to them, we should do the same in order to show our love for God.

What does it mean to love your God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength?

2.       Loving One Another

One of the commandments of God is the one found in verse 31: Love your neighbor as yourself.

What does it mean to love yourself?  How do you love yourself?

In Luke 10 we read this story from another point of view.  Luke provides us a few details about loving one another.  The story continues in verses 29-37: 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.  31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.  35 The next day he took out two denarii[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’  36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

What does this story tells us about how to love one another today?

The man in the story, the Samaritan, did not know the man who fell in the hands of robbers.  He loved him and showed this through his actions, without expecting anything in return, without having any secret motive. 

We need to love one another because we are following a commandment of God.  And this is how the world will know that we are the followers of Jesus, if we love one another.  This is what Jesus taught his disciples in John 13:34-35: 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  In John 15:12, Jesus says: My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

3.       How to Love God and One Another

Perhaps it may be difficult to understand how to love God and how to love one another.  Paul in his writings realized that he needed to explain this and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he wrote some of the most inspiring words about how to love God and one another.  In 1 Corinthians 13, he wrote the so-called “chapter of love”:  1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.  4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

These are the guidance God gives us on how to love Him and our fellow man.


The greatest commandments in the Bible are to love our God with all heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor or to love one another as ourselves.  God will bless us with everything we need as we obey these commandments of love.

Campus Bible Talk 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Last evening, we focused on the topic of Temptations.  We looked at the story of Jesus when he was 12 years old and how He handled a situation where the temptations to disobey His parents were very real.  Then, we talked about James and how the tests and the trials of this world help us to become stronger, as we press toward the reward God has promised us.  Finally, we learned from 1 Corinthians that God will always provide us with a way out of each temptation. 

Here are the notes of our talk.

February 7, 2011


Opening question: How can kids be tempted to do wrong?

Regardless of how much we try to obey our parents, there have been times when we were growing up that we did not do the right thing and got into trouble.  Even as adults there will be occasions when we will do something that is wrong or at least be tempted to do something that is wrong.

Today we are going to look at the Bible to see how Jesus dealt with temptations as a young man, to answer also a specific question that was raised here last week.

1.         Boy Jesus in the temple

The main story comes from Luke 2:40-52: 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. 
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.  42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom.  43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.  44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends.  45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.  46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.  47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.  48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”  49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”  50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.  51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.  52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

What does it say in verse 40 and 52 about Jesus?
Verse 40
What does it mean to be filled with wisdom?
It means to have the proper understanding of things and to act appropriately in all situations, to have taken the time to study.

So, Jesus grew to become strong not just physically, but also mentality as well as spiritually, since God was with Him.

What did Jesus do in verse 51?
Submitted to or was obedient to His parents

Does that mean Jesus had the opportunity to be disobedient and to not submit?

Jesus was most likely tempted like we talked about earlier about how young people are tempted, but according to this story, Jesus was obedient to his parents and grew in favor with God for doing what was right.

Verse 47
Why were the teachers amazed at Jesus’ answers?
Because His understanding about spiritual and religious issues was beyond anything one would expect from a 12-year old.  He obviously chose to spend time studying the Scriptures even from a young age and had learned what God wanted from Him and how He could do the right things.

Verse 49
Who is the “Father” Jesus is referring to in this verse?

So, even at 12 Jesus had some understanding and wisdom about who He was and what was expected from Him.  He said that He had to be in His Father’s house, in the house of God and at that time for the Jews the Father’s house was the temple in Jerusalem.

Let us all turn to Ephesians 6:1.  What does it say here about children, what should they do?

Ephesians 6:1: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

What does verse 51 tells us about our relationship with our parents?
We should be obedient to our parents, especially in the Lord?

Verse 52
Jesus continued to grow in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.  Jesus studied and learned the Scriptures so he would not be tempted, He would know how to keep from doing wrong.

What does this verse tell us about our relationship with God and man?

We know from other verses that Jesus committed no sin during his entire life.  2 Corinthians 5:21: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.)  Even though Jesus was tempted like all men have, he was still without sin.  Hebrews 4:15: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.  While the Bible has no stories recording about Jesus being tempted before the temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4), it is safe to assume that if Jesus was like us, he was tempted throughout all his life.  Still, He did not sin and did not do anything wrong at all.

2.         Now, why are we tempted and tried?  Why do we have to face tests in our lives?

James gives a very good explanation in James 1:12-15, when he discussed the topic of temptation.  James says: 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.  13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

So, what does James says in verse 12?  Why are we tested?
The tests in our lives, like in our school, serve to show us how much we can succeed and to prove how much we have advanced in our maturity and in our knowledge.

Temptations, James continue, in verse 13, do not come from God.  We read in Matthew that the devil was the one who tempted Jesus.  According to verse 14, we are tempted by our own desires and then, after we have these desires we work upon them and we sin.  The devil would like us to do wrong things and not listen to God; therefore, he tempts us for that purpose. 

However, if we overcome the tests and the temptations, God will reward us for our determination and perseverance and He is willing to help us when we are tempted, we just need to turn to Him for help.

3.         We can overcome temptations

In 1 Corinthians 10:13, we read: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Notice that temptations and tests that happen in our lives are common to mankind.  This means that other people are tested and will be tested in the same way.  However, God, who does not tempt us, helps us to overcome these tests, by not allowing us to be tempted more than we can bear. 

And every time we are faced with a temptation or a test, remember that God provides us a way out of this test.  There is always a way out! 

The question asked last week, was why was Jesus tempted by Satan in the Wilderness, why did Satan come to Him, does that mean Jesus was not tempted before?  From our study we can see that Jesus was not caught up in the physical desires and temptations of the world because even from a child he focused and studied the Bible for answers and guidance.  He himself did not want to do wrong, so Satan actually came to Jesus in the wilderness to physically tempt Jesus and to try and get Jesus to sin.  It does not mean there were no things in Jesus’ life that were not tempting before, it is just that Jesus was able to know from the Bible how do deal with His thoughts and desires and to control them so that he never gave into temptation, if when Satan himself came and tried to cause Jesus to sin.


Jesus grew in wisdom and had a good relationship with both His earthly parents and with all man.  We are to grow just like Him in our spiritual life, in which we are just like children.  We will be faced with temptations and tests in our lives, but God always provides us for a way out or our tests.  With the help of God, we can overcome all tests and all temptations in our lives.

Campus Bible Talk 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

By What Authority? was the topic of our discussion this week.  The Bible teaches clearly that Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Jesus' birth, baptism and transfiguration were authorized by God and He is very pleased with Jesus' obedience toward Him.  If we want to please God, we need to obey His commandments, just like Jesus.

Please enjoy the notes of our discussion.

January 31, 2011

By What Authority?

Opening question: Can you name a person in authority and what do you remember the most about them?

In our lives we will meet many people in authority.  Parents have moral and legal authority over their children.  Teachers have authority in the classroom over their students and a certain level of affect over the time of the students outside the classroom.  When we start a job, our boss has authority over our workday and over our careers.

Today we are going to look at the Bible for the purpose of finding who has the authority today.  We will see a few points in Jesus life to understand him better.

1.         Jesus’ birth

The world often talks about Jesus’ birth, although the Bible does not give us the date or even the month when Jesus was born.  There are a few things about Jesus’ birth that are (included in the Bible and are important to know and that we can be sure of.

In Matthew 1:18-23 we read: 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.  19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.  20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:   23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

Jesus’ birth was a miracle, a supernatural event.  “Jesus” is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, which means “God saves.”  In verse 23, we also read that Jesus will be called Immanuel, which means “God with us.”  This is a prophecy that came from the time of Isaiah, written about 600 years before Jesus birth.  In Isaiah 7:14, we read: 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

What was the purpose for which Jesus was born?
To save the people and to show that God was with the people.

How did Jesus save the people?
In John 3:17 we read that: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Where was this authorized and by whom?
The Bible authorized it in verse 20 of Matthew Chapter 1 by God through the Angel of the Lord.

2.         Jesus’ baptism

In Matthew 3, we are going to read a few verses about Jesus’ birth.  Verses 1-2, then, 5-6 and finally

1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan.  6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.  14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”   15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.   16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

What does verse 15 says?  Why was Jesus baptized?
Since Jesus had no sin, there was nothing for Him to confess and no need to be baptized by John (as John tried to stop Jesus in the previous verse).  However, the mission of John the Baptist was given by God (and foretold by Isaiah 40:3), so Jesus wanted to fulfill every command of God.

Where was Jesus’ baptism authorized and by whom?
What does verse 17 say?
God expressed His satisfaction with Jesus and with His actions.  God is publicly stating that Jesus is His Son, that He loves Him, and that He is well pleased with Him.  This is an amazing sight to see for the people around Jesus – the heavens have parted, the Spirit comes down from the heavens like a dove and descends or lands on Jesus; and now a voice from Heaven is talking to Jesus and acknowledging His relationship to God.

If we want to please God today, we need to fulfill all His commands. 

How does this story apply to us today? 

How old was Jesus when He was baptized?  Was He an adult or a baby? 

Did He know what He was doing when He got baptized?  Did He think it was important and necessary for Him?  When we are ready should we take baptism seriously like Jesus did? 

Do you think God would be pleased with us if and when we decide to get baptized as He was with Jesus’ decision?

Whose authority would we be following if we like Jesus wanted to fulfill all righteousness and obey God?

So in conclusion, God in both cases authorized and publicly stated what His plans were and what Jesus was to follow, and Jesus obeyed.

3.         Jesus’s transformation

This is a story we read about in Luke 9: 28-36:  28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.  29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.  30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus.  31 They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.  32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.  33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)   34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.  35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”  36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.

Moses and Elijah represent all of the Law and all of the prophets.  They had died many years before so this would have been frightening and amazing to the disciples as they awoke to learn who Jesus was talking too!

They were talking with Jesus about His death “which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem” (Lk 9:31).

What authorization is being given and to whom is it being given to?
What does verse 36 says?  Who is talking here?
It is not enough for Moses and Elijah to confirm Jesus. God the Father gives the ultimate approval when He speaks from heaven.

Listen to Him!
The authority of Moses and the prophets is being removed.  God again is stating publicly to witnesses that Jesus is His Son and that God is giving Jesus the authority.  Even though He was standing next to two of the greatest men in Israel’s history, God says Jesus is even greater and all should listen to Him now.

In two different occasions, at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry on earth and close to the middle of his work, God gives His sign of approval on Jesus’ work, when He confirms that people should listen to Jesus and not to any other of the old prophets.  Today, if we want to please God, we are to listen to Jesus, on whom God is well pleased.

Jesus confirmed this very clearly at the end of his life on earth, after his resurrection and before He went to heaven.  The last verses of Matthew 28:18-20 say:  18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


Jesus has all the authority today and in order to please God we must listen to all commandments of Jesus.

Campus Bible Talk 2011