The following is a simple study sheet that contains a brief outline of the chapter and a few questions that focus on the text. One of the first and most important parts of good Bible study is observation. What does the text say? Until we know what the text says, it is fruitless to try to discover what it means and how it applies. Most of the questions are designed to do little more than help the reader observe the text. There may be an occasional question that asks for deeper meaning or application.
I. The Endurance of Faith (12:1-11)
A. Christian living is a race (1-2).
B. Jesus endured (3).
C. Trials have disciplinary value (4-11)
II. Exhortation to Faithfulness (12:12-17)
III. Christianity and Judaism Compared (12:18-29)
A. Judaism as Mount Sinai (18-21)
B. Christianity as Mount Zion (22-29)
- Who comprise the “great cloud of witnesses” (12:1)?
- What two things must we “lay aside” if we would run the Christian race successfully (12:1)?
- On whom must we fix our eyes as we run (12:2)?
- Though the recipients had endured persecution already, they had not faced the kind of persecution that involved what (12:4)?
- Hebrews 12:5-6 is a quotation from what Old Testament passage?
- What does a good father do to his children (12:7)?
- What is God’s purpose for disciplining us (12:10)?
- What two things should we “pursue” (12:14)?
- If we are not diligent we might fall short of something. What is it (12:15)?
- We have not come to Mount _______, but to Mount ________ (12:18, 22).
- How is the church described in 12:23?
- As members of an unshakeable kingdom, how should we act (12:28)?
In 12:9-11 the writer focuses on the analogy of discipline within the family and drives home the point that God sometimes disciplines us through trials. Just as our earthly fathers disciplined us, so does God. And since we submitted ourselves to our earthly fathers and respected them when they disciplined us, how much more shall we submit to and respect God, our heavenly Father? God disciplines us so that we can, through that instruction, become partakers of his holiness.
The discipline we receive from parents is sometimes inconsistent and imperfect, simply because it comes from imperfect people. But discipline from God is never arbitrary, and it is always in the appropriate measure. If we properly respond to God’s discipline, we will be able to bear the peaceable fruit of righteous living. Discipline is for our own good.
May God help us to develop the perspective of psalmist, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word…It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes” (Psa. 119:67, 71).