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.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Last evening we talked about Persistence.  The two parables of The Persistent Widow and The Friend at Midnight, from Luke 18 and Luke 11 were the main text of our study.  We saw how persistence works and we learned that we should be persistence in our prayers and in doing good works in our lives.  God will answer our prayers and will provide for our needs; therefore, we should continue to ask Him in prayer to bless us and not become weary in doing good.

These are the notes of our discussion. 

March 21, 2011


Opening question: What is something you have achieved, which has taken a lot of persistence?
Many things in life, especially important ones, require a lot of determination and persistence.  Time, effort, energies and often money are all requirements for achieving success in whatever you are trying to accomplish.
What does the Bible say about persistence?  Today, we are going to look at a couple of stories from the Bible which illustrate the importance of being persistent and learning and applying the word of God.

1.         The Persistent Widow
In the book of Luke 18, verses 1-8: 1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.  2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.  3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’  4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think,  5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”  6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says.  7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?  8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
According to these verses, what does Jesus say about persistence?
The purpose of this parable is explained in verse 1, “that Jesus’ disciples should always pray and not give up.
What does it mean to give up?  What happens when you give up?
In verse 2, we see that the judge was not a God-fearing man.  But, still this man realized that he had to give the woman justice if for nothing else so that she would leave him alone.  So, in her case persistence paid off.
What did the woman want?  What was her need?
She realized what she needed, justice, and she was not shy about working in order to fulfill the need and get what she needed.
What does it mean to be persistent in prayer?
Why do people give up praying and seeking God?
The same is true with us, because as we read in verses 7-8, God will bring justice to Christians, his chosen ones.  He will pay attention to their prayers and will give them what they need.

2.         The Friend at Midnight
Again in Luke, this time in chapter 11, verses 5-8, we read:  5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread;  6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’  7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’  8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
What did this friend want?
The friend knew he needed three loaves of bread to feed his other friend.  And he knew where to get them and was persistent about it.  Or as the verse 8 says, “shameless audacity.”
Have you ever refused something a friend asked you, only to change your mind and give in to their requests?
Persistence shows us that the request is not based upon an impulse, a spur of the moment, but that the man or the woman that is asking for something truly thinks and believes that it is needed and is willing to ask over and over again.
What are the reasons that we need to be persistent in prayer?
Persistence helps us understand and express what we truly need.  If we determine that something is not worth having in our life, we will stop pursuing it and move on to something else, or, if we are not persistent, we will stop praying to God about it. 

3.         Persistence Pays Off
Jesus told us that God listens to our prayers and that He will answer with those things that we truly need.  In Matthew 7:7-11, Jesus says: 7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Persistence is not something that we should do when praying, but also when we are acting upon the beliefs that we have.  There are many teachings in the New Testament about the importance of continuing and persisting in good works, serving people and teaching them about the Word of God.
Our final verses come from Galatians 6:9-10: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
We should never stop doing good to all people.

Persistence is very important in many aspects of our life.  We need to be persistence in searching the Word of God, in learning it to find its meaning for our life, in praying to God about what we need and in doing good to everyone in our lives.

Campus Bible Talk 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Names of Jesus

The Bible lists many names and titles for Jesus and this was the topic of our discussion last evening.  We look at the name "Jesus" and "Christ" and their meanings 2,000 years ago and the meaning they still hold for us today.  Some of the titles of Jesus, such as "Son of God", "the Savior", and "the Vine" were also discussed.  We learned that the characteristics and the qualities of Jesus shown through this names and that we need to be connected with Jesus, "the Vine", so that we can bear much fruit. 

Please find below the notes of our discussion.

March 7, 2011

The Names of Jesus

Opening question: What is your middle name, if you have one, or what is a nickname that people may have called you or call you?
While it is not very common today, in the past names meant something specific.  It could something the man was going to become or showed one of their characteristics.  In the Bible, many names have specific meanings.  For example, Abraham means “father of many nations” and truly Abraham through the blessings of God became the father of nations. 
Today, we are going to look at the name of Jesus and what is their meaning for us.

1.         The name Jesus
In the book of Matthew 1:21-22, we first read about Jesus birth.  These verses say: 21 She [Mary] 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”).
According to these verses, what does the name Jesus mean?
Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name “Joshua”, which means “God saves”.  So, every time that Jesus walked around and whenever people called him they would be reminded that God was saving them through this person.  We have seen in other lessons how God saved people from their sins through his sacrifice, by dying for the sins of men.
In verse 23, we also read that Jesus was also called “Immanuel”, which means “God with us.”  So, the characteristic of Jesus were that He was both saving people from their sins and was the incarnation of God or the physical presence of God in the form of a man with the other people on earth.
What do these names mean for us today?
What does it show or mean to “save” someone or “to be” with someone?
It shows that you care and that you are doing something good, using your time and your energies to do and to be with this someone in your life.  Jesus was doing exactly that, He was showing his care and his love toward the people by being with them and attending to their needs.

2.         Jesus the Christ or Jesus the Messiah
Many times in the Bible we find the name Jesus followed by Christ or Messiah.  In John 1:41, we read: 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). Also, in Acts 2:38, we read: 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In both these occasions, Christ or Messiah is not Jesus last name.  “Christ” is the Greek term for the Hebrew term “Messiah”.  Both words mean “the anointed one.”  This term in the time of Jesus meant the person that God had chosen to lead the nation or the King.  The anointment of the King would be comparable to the coronation of the King today.  So, when Jesus is called “Christ” or “Messiah” the meaning is Jesus the King or Jesus, the chosen one from God to be King.
What does it mean to us today that Jesus is our King?  What is the relationship of the King and his people?
The King has certain responsibilities toward his people.  The King is protected to defend his people from foreign and domestic enemies and the King is expected to provide order, peace and prosperity.  In return, the people are expected to obey the commandments of the king and to honor and respect him.
How does Jesus, our King provide protection, peace and prosperity for us today?
How do we provide obedience, honor and respect for Jesus, our King today?

3.         Many Other Names and Titles of Jesus
In the Bible, both the Old and the New Testament, Jesus is called with many other names and titles.  Some people have calculated that over 700 names and titles describe the character and the person of Jesus.  Some of the most important names and titles include the following:
A.   Jesus the only Son of GodJohn 3:16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This shows the relationship between Jesus and God and the qualities that God has are also those that Jesus has.
B.   Jesus is the SaviorLuke 2:11 - Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
This shows that Jesus purpose for coming on earth was to save people from their sins.
C.   Jesus is the VineJohn 15:5 - “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
This shows that we need to have the same relationship with Jesus and the branches have with a tree, to be always connected to it, in order to receive the food and the life we need.

There are many names in the Bible that describe Jesus and his qualities.  The name “Jesus” means “God saves” and this tells us that through Jesus, God has provided a way to save the people.  “Christ” or “Messiah” means “the anointed one” or “the King” and this tells us that Jesus is our King, whom we need to obey, honor and respect.  And finally, we need to be connected to Jesus the vine, so that we can allow Jesus, the Son of God, to also be our Savior.

Campus Bible Talk 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


We discussed the topic of Heaven last evening.  While men have created their own version and image of Heaven, the Bible tells us a few truths about what Heaven will be like.  We looked at the Bible and found out that Heaven is a place Jesus is preparing for Christians and He will come back to take all Christians there.  Heaven is a place without sorrow, tears and pain.  We also discussed the fact that Christians will live with Jesus and God not just for a short or long period of time, but they will live forever in Heaven.

The notes from our discussion are as follows.

March 7, 2011


Opening question: What extremely wonderful place have you visited recently?
There are many places on earth that men has made beautiful, with flowers, beaches, ski hills, hotels, swimming pools and other structures.  However, nothing that man can do completes with what the Heaven that God created.
What does the Bible say about Heaven?
1.         Heaven is a place Jesus has prepared for us
When people try to paint or describe a picture of heaven, they usually use familiar terms that bring to mind peace, joy, happiness.  They may be little children playing around in a beautiful field, with rainbows in the skies and green fields and waterfalls or rivers in the background, great landscapes. 
The Bible describes Heaven in terms that we can all understand.
In John 14, Jesus is talking to his disciples about Heaven.  In verses 1-7 we read:  1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”  5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”   6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
What do these verses teach us?
Jesus said in verse 3 that He will prepare a place for us and we will be with Him and God (since this is God’s house that Jesus is referring to).  So, in Heaven we are going to be with Jesus.  Through His sacrifice Jesus made possible for us to be able to get to Heaven, because we have the opportunity to be cleansed of all sin.
In verse 6-7, Jesus is saying that the way to go to Heaven is through Him.  So, in order to make it to Heaven, we need to follow Jesus and his instruction. 
Also, in Jesus we see God, we see his identical image, what God is, what characteristics he has (like love, peace, patient, kind, gentle, etc.)
These verses also teach us that Heaven will be a place of fellowship.  All people who follow Jesus and trust in Him all their lives will be in that place and be with Jesus and with God.
2.         Heaven is a place of joy, happiness, and of no trouble and sorrow
Heaven is a place of joy.  No more death or crying or pain.  In Revelation 21:1-4, the Apostle John tells us about the vision he saw of the Heaven: 1. Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
What do these verses teach us?
In verse 3, we read that in Heaven, God will live with the people and we will not be separated from Him anymore.  This means that we will need to be pure and holy, because God is pure and holy.  Here is where Jesus’ sacrifice comes into play, because if we follow Jesus our sins have been forgiven and God considers us as if we had not sinned.  Now we are considered pure and sanctified, so we can be with God.
In verse 4, we read that there will be no sorrows, no crying and no pain in Heaven.  Everyone will be happy and joyful in Heaven.  What a wonderful place to be just for that. 
Further in the same chapter, John describes Heaven as make of precious jewels and stones, where even streets are made of gold.  These terms convey to us the idea of beauty and perfection and truly in heaven everything will be great and perfect, like no other place that man can build.
What are we going to do in Heaven?
Well, we are going to be with God, so one of the things we are going to do is to continue to worship God as we have done with our lives.  Some people have described our life on earth as training for our life in Heaven.  If we are able to study and learn about God, accept Him as the Lord of our lives and try to do our best to live daily for Him and to serve Him, then, when we graduate to Heaven we will continue to worship him. 
Revelation 15:4 tells us about this:  Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
3.         Heaven will be forever
Perhaps the best thing about heaven is that it will last forever, for eternity.  Our minds cannot completely comprehend the concept of eternity, because everything we know, except for God, has a beginning and an end.  But in heaven, we will be there forever.
Jesus himself confirmed this in more than one occasion.  In John 5:24, He said: “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. And in John 6:40, Jesus says again: 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
Heaven is truly a wonderful place and we should do everything we can in order to ensure that we make it there.  By following the teachings of Jesus and by doing the will of the Father, as we learn more about what He wants us to do, we can get closer and closer to this perfect place waiting for us.

Campus Bible Talk 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Forgiveness was the topic of our discussion last Monday.  We looked at the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35) for lessons on how God forgives our sins and how we should forgive the people that wrong us.  We studied the process of forgiveness and the steps that are necessary for a complete and true restoration of the lost relationships among people as a result of conflicts or disagreements. 

Please find below the notes from this discussion.

February 28, 2011


Opening question: Tell of a time when you forgave or when you felt the need to ask for forgiveness?

No matter how hard we try to do the right things in our lives, there are times where we do not succeed.  There are times when we do the wrong things and we hurt the other people around us.  In such moments, we have to ask for forgiveness, for a second chance to make things right.

What does the Bible have to say on the topic of forgiveness?

1.         We serve a forgiving God

Let us go to the Gospel according to Matthew and read one of the stories that Jesus told his apostles.  It is found in Matthew 18:21-35:

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 

“Seventy-seven times” or “seven times seventy” means a great number, meaning without end, an infinite number.  Jesus is trying to teach his followers that they are to love one another and to forgive one another, since they are all sinners and they all, sooner or later, will sin and wrong one another.

In order for the apostles and for us to understand better this concept, Jesus uses a parable, or a story to illustrate his message.  Let us continue reading:

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him.  25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.  26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’  27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.  28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.  29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’  30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.  31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.  32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.  33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’   34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.  35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

In verse 24 we see the first servant, who owed his master a large amount of money.  Ten thousand bags of gold or “talents” as other versions may have, is around a million dollars in our money today.  This means an extremely large amount of money that for most people it would be impossible to make, let alone repay someone else.  But the master showed mercy and forgave this servant all his debts, as we read in verse 27.

The servant, however, found one of his fellow servants, verse 28 tells us, who owned him a hundred silver coins, which is about twenty dollars.  A very small amount that has an almost inconsiderate value.  Something that you can live without.  But this servant did not show mercy on the other servant, but threw him in jail.

The master then become enraged and settle the account with the first servant, treating him in the same way.

What does this story teaches us?  Who is the master in this story?  Who does the first servant represent?  What about the second servant?

The master in this story is God.  The first servant is each and every one of us, who has been forgiven of all our sins, a great debt that we could not pay ourselves.  We should not be like the first servant and show no mercy toward the people around us.  In the same way that God showed mercy to us and is able to forgive our sins, in the same way we should forgive the wrongdoings of other people.

2.         We forgive because God forgave us

In Matthew 6:9, Jesus is teaching his followers how to pray.  He says:

9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  11 Give us today our daily bread.  12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’  14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Why is forgiveness important?

What will happen if we do not forgive other people?

Jesus says it clearly again that if we do not forgive others, our Father will not forgive us.

3.         Forgiveness is a process

Most often when we have a fight with someone or when we feel that someone has done something wrong against us, we tend not to want to see or be around that person for a while.  This is helpful in the short term; however, for the long run this situation needs to be addressed, for any relationship we had to be restored.

In Luke 17:3-4, Jesus talks about the steps in which the forgiveness process should take place.  He says: 3 So watch yourselves.  “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.  4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

According to this verse, what is the responsibility of a Christian when someone sins or does something wrong against you?

How are we to rebuke?  2 Timothy 4:2:  Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

Paul tells us that this rebuking needs to take place with great patience and careful instruction.  Because the purpose here is to restore the relationship and once again have what is lost.

What does it mean to repent?
To repent means to turn away from your old ways, to stop doing what you have done in the past.  Repentance is important so that forgiveness can be complete.  No matter how many times people have committed wrong acts against us, we are expected to forgive them, just as God forgave our sins.


We serve a loving and forgiving God.  He wants us to do the right things in our lives and He is always willing to forgive us if we truly repent and try to do our best to make things right.  We should do the same with regard to the people around us, forgiving them and moving forward to restore our good relationships with them.

Campus Bible Talk 2011