Learning for LIFE Introduction

An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” (Proverbs 18:15)

Thank you for the privilege to share with you Learning for LIFE Bible Studies. These Bible Studies are for your Liberation, Inspiration, Fortification and Edification. The purpose of these studies is to simply share my journey through the Bible, the insights I’ve gleaned, the revelations that have been given to me, as well as the impact God’s story has had on re-writing my story.

I’m not a theologian. I haven’t been to seminary. I don’t have advanced degrees in Hebrew or Greek. I’m not a pastor. I’m not perfect nor have I “arrived.” But what I am is God’s simple servant, willing to be used by Him. I am responding, “speak Lord, your servant is listening (I Samuel 3:10)” and willing to obey Your call (Isaiah 6:8). I am surrendering my will and my way to the Lord (Luke 9:23); following where He leads; and sharing the gospel message as I have received it (Luke 22:32). While I may not be much by way of a Biblical scholar, I do know the One who has redeemed me, liberated me, transformed me, and has given me new life!

These studies recognize that God is the Breath of LIFE (Genesis 2:7) that sustains us; the Bread of LIFE (John 6:35) that nourishes us; the light of LIFE (John 8:12) that illuminates us; the Path of LIFE (Psalms 16:11) that guides us; the Words of LIFE (Proverbs 15:4, 18:21) that encourage, comfort, discipline, and transform us and the springs of LIFE (Proverbs 4:2) that overflow from us.

These studies of the Book of LIFE (Psalm 119:50, Philippians 4:3) are designed to breathe LIFE and rejoicing back into the hearts of women of color, our families, our communities and our churches (Psalm 119:111) as we experience LIFE in abundance (John 10:10) right here, right now and in the eternal LIFE (John 3:16, Romans 6:23) to come. I invite you to choose LIFE (Deuteronomy 30:19) this day!

The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it. ~Thomas S. Monson

The LIFE Bible studies are a quest for:

  • Knowing God more intimately
  • Understanding Biblical and historical truth in relation to Africa and African descendants
  • Understanding Our IdentityAs Christians, who we are in Christ
    As a woman living in the 21st century
    As descendants of Africa throughout the Bible and history
  • Identifying Biblical principles that shape and support the restoration of ourselves as women of color, our families, our communities and our churchesThe purpose of the LIFE Bible studies is to share with users the Biblical understanding of God’s plan and purposes that I have obtained (and still obtaining) in relation to my Blackness and womanhood. These studies will seek to arrive at the heart of the Bible for women of color through a lens of the spiritual, political, social, military and economic contributions of Africa and descendants of Africa in the Biblical story of salvation. These Biblical truths will serve as a guide for the renewal, redefining, and rebuilding of women of color, our families, our communities and our churches.The LIFE Bible studies will serve as a catalyst for women of color to 1) break free from the shackles of a misinterpreted and oppressive, Eurocentric interpretation of the Bible; 2) embrace Biblical truth through a lens of Africa/Africans; and 3) redefine and live what it means to be women characterized by being true worshippers, Jesus-followers, and gospel messengers in an authentic, Afrocentric way.This study will begin from the position that the Word of God is true.
    For Christians, the Bible is the very Word of God and serves as the foundation of our faith. The Bible is a breathing, living, powerful (II Timothy 3:16-17), timeless, compelling and relevant (Hebrews 13:8, II Peter 1:3), inspired Word of God (II Peter 1:21) with the ability to penetrate the heart (Hebrews 4:12) and transform lives (2 Corinthians 5:17). The Bible is the ultimate judge of our beliefs, thinking, and actions guiding us as to how we are to live until the return of Christ (Isaiah 59:21).

    The Bible wasn’t written by one author, at one specified time, in a particular order. It was written over a period of decades, by varying individuals inspired by God from a position of the author’s cultural, social, political, and personal lenses. The Bible should be seen as an intertwining of the sacred and secular history into one powerful and awesome story of salvation (Felder, The African American Guide to the Bible). And while penned over two centuries ago, we can learn from our past and perhaps even identify some of those ways to which we should return (Jeremiah 6:16).

    The LIFE Bible Studies will take the Bible at its Word and will serve as the primary source for examination and study. For the purposes of this Biblical exploration, we will use the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible while relying on the Hebrew interpretation of key words or concepts as presented in the KJV, in order to bring the original text to life (John 1:14, II Corinthians 3:3, James 1:22). Historical documents or occurrences or supporting commentaries may be used to support the Biblical findings, but will not be used in place of the Bible.

Scriptural Support

Revelation 21:5, Titus 1:9 – God’s Word is faithful – they will never change or let you down

Jeremiah 20:9, 23:29 – God’s word is like a fire in the bone

Hebrews 4:12 – The Word of God is a discerner of thoughts

Proverbs 27:6 – the Word of God is a friend and the word may sometimes wound us, but it does so for our own good

John 3:19-20 – The Word of God is our faith light which has come into the world not to condemn but to save us but if we love darkness rather than light, then we reject and hate the light or fire of the word

The Writers and Editors

The writers and editors are a compilation of Protestant, Evangelical Christians who represent a variety of denominations, who love the Lord and believe that there is liberty in God’s Word. Our writers include pastors, theologians, evangelists, historians, Christian counselors and psychologists, educators, seminary students, and laypersons steeped in the study of God’s Word. The writers and editors of the LIFE curriculum believe that:

  1. The Bible, comprised of the Old and New Testaments, is the inspired and authoritative Word of God (Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16- 17).
  2. God is Creator of all (Deuteronomy 6:4; Colossians 1:16) and manifests Himself in three distinct Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14), yet is one in being, essence, and glory (John 10:30).
  3. Humanity came into existence by direct creation of the Godhead and that humanity is uniquely made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27).
  4. Salvation is a gift from God, through faith, in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  5. Jesus will return for those who hold to the testimony of Jesus, keep His commandments, walk in all His ways, and love and serve Himwith all their heart and soul, as they love their neighbors as themselves (Deuteronomy 10:12-13, Revelation 12:17, Matthew 5:17).
  6. Water baptism by immersion serves as a testimony to one’s belief and acceptance of Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, andthe Lord’s Supper as a remembrance of Christ’s death and shed blood (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42, 18:8; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
  7. The Great Commission to be disciples and to make disciples as well as to preach the gospel message to all the world are the primarymissions of the Church (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:19-20).

Divine guidance through prayer and fasting has been sought prior to the development of the LIFE Biblical Studies to ensure that we “resent ourselves as approved by God” (2 Timothy 2:14). Additionally, each story being told as well as all information provided has been thoroughly researched, analyzed, and “fact checked” and edited for clarity, accuracy, consistency as well as reviewed to safeguard Biblical integrity as well as the theological and historical accuracy of the content. The writers and editors have been intentional to ensure that the “Word of truth” is rightly handled” (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV).

Where little detail has been provided with respect to a particular person or experience, we relied on other Biblical stories in order to give context in addition to the use of historical facts to provide greater detail. Each story told is done so with the larger overarching goal of salvation serving as the backdrop.

What To Expect Within Each Study

As previously stated, the purpose of the LIFE Bible studies is to share the Biblical understanding of God’s plan and purposes that I have obtained (and am still obtaining) in relation to my Blackness and womanhood. These studies will seek to arrive at the heart of the Bible for women of color through a lens of the spiritual, political, social, military and economic contributions of Africa and descendants of Africa in the Biblical story of salvation. Each study begins with an excerpt from God’s story, followed by insights gleaned from His story in relation to My story, as well as guidance for how to understand, re-write and/or share your story.

To get the most benefit from this journey, I recommend the following:

  • Read God’s Story first. Allow His Word to speak to you.
  • Read My Story and reflect on the discussion questions via a journal (Read more about the benefits of journaling in the Resource Section ofthe website).
  • Be prepared to commit to memory one Bible verse a week. The Bible says “Let the words of Christ dwell in us richly” (Colossians 3:16) andDeuteronomy 6:4-9 tells us to bind the word of God in our hearts and the word of God will transform your life (Romans 12:2). (For moretips on delving deeper into scripture and on memorizing Bible texts, see the Resource Section of the website).
  • Let the selected songs for the study fill you as you commit to living the principle being addressed.
  • Pray daily that God will reveal a greater understanding of His word.
  • Share your experience, your questions, your thoughts, etc. with me and other women committed to this journey via the comment sectionof the blog or on other social media venues such as Twitter and Facebook.
  • Pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17). Ask God to guide your journey as you commit to a life surrendered to Him.

A Prayer For Revelation, Discernment, And Wisdom

Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3

As you embark on this journey, we encourage you to spend time in prayer, asking God to prepare your hearts so that you might be receptive of His divine revelation. Pray this prayer as we examine God’s Word together.

God, my Provider, You have faithfully provided Your protection, comfort, and guidance to me and my people throughout the years and I just want to say thank You. Now, I’m asking that Your Holy Spirit guide me in all truth as I begin to study Your Word. Help me take to heart all the truths that are contained in Your Word. Cause the obscure and confusing things to become clear. Give me deeper levels of insight and application in my daily living. Let this insight and understanding of Your Word multiply my hunger, thirst and delight for Your Spirit and Your Word in the deepest places of my soul. Bless me with the courage and strength that I need to heed Your Word and to follow it faithfully. In the

most holy and precious name of Jesus I pray, AMEN.