Before using this discussion guide, the reader should be aware of several assumptions made by the author. First, I assume this study guide will be used in close connection with the Adult Sabbath School Study Guide prepared and copyrighted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. This quarter, the primary contributors to the adult Sabbath School lessons were the directors of the SDA Global Mission Centers. There are currently six centers, each of them organized to direct the Adventist work among the major non-Christian people groups that exist in our world today. At the time when the lesson was written, the directors were Petras Bahadur, Richard Elofer, Kleber Gonçalves, Clifmond Shameerudeen, Doug Venn, Amy Whitsett, and Greg Whitsett. Assisting them in the writing of the Adult Sabbath School Study Guide were Gary Krause, Homer Trecartin, and Jeff Scoggins. For more information on the Adventist Global Study Centers please go to www.GlobalMissionCenters.org.
Sabbath School teachers should take note of the Adult Sabbath School Study Guide because it provides background information and fleshes out what is missing in this “Good Word” guide. I have borrowed freely (and will also quote) from this resource—particularly the discussion questions. Readers of this discussion guide will notice those parallels. At the same time, I will not merely reformat and rehash what is available in the Lesson Quarterly. Careful readers will note these distinct differences.
Finally, I assume that those using this guide will carefully read the applicable biblical material. Questions posed in this study guide may not make sense unless one has already grappled with the biblical passages being discussed. Hopefully, readers will also have access to one or two Bible commentaries dealing with the relevant biblical material.
In writing a study guide such as this, I will attempt to emulate the teaching style of Jesus of Mark 8. In this crucial passage in Mark, Jesus does very little explaining. Instead, he asks questions. In fact, in Mark 8:17-29 (NIV), Jesus asks nine consecutive questions.
Because of this, readers will quickly see that this study guide is primarily a collection of questions. Some may seem simplistic, some tangential, and some even dangerous. As best you can, however, look carefully at the biblical material and reflect on the questions provided. Then, ask your own questions. Be wary of pat answers that come too easily and seem too obvious. At the same time, avoid thinking that nothing is certain. Ultimately, I hope that honest, prayerful questions will lead us to insight, to truth, and to a renewed sense of our calling to carry the good news to every kindred, nation, tongue and people. May God guide us in this sacred task.