The Word Centered Family
Passage: Deuteronomy 6:4–6:9
Community Group Questions: Family Matters - Deut. 6:4-9 - "The Word Centered Family"
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Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9 aloud as a group, and then work through the following discussion questions:
- Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is classically known as “the Shema.” Shema is the Hebrew word which means “to hear,” and it is the first word in this passage. The book of Deuteronomy is a grand sermon delivered by Moses to the people of Israel as they approached the promised land. Chapter 6:4-9 is like the “punchline” of Moses’ sermon, the most essential part. Why are these verses so important in what they reveal about God and what it means to relate to him?
- The religious leaders asked Jesus to tell them which of God’s commands was the greatest. Jesus’ reply is a quote from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (read Mark 12:28-30)! Why would Jesus see this command as the most essential commandment in all the Bible? In your opinion, can we really keep the greatest commandment on our own? If not, how does Jesus give us the power to keep it? (Especially considering his work on the cross, and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit).
- The word “heart” in verses 5-6 refers to the center of one’s thinking, affections, and will. Verse 5 tells us to love the Lord with all our “heart.” Verse 6 tells us to do this by putting God’s “words” on our “heart.” What’s the relationship between internalizing God’s words, and loving him more? What does it look like in everyday life to internalize God’s words?
- Human relationships require communication. We can only know someone’s inner heart by listening to their words. In a similar way, how do the words of God help us know his very heart?
- In verse 7, Moses tells the people to talk about God’s words and commands with their children. They should repeat God’s words over and over again. They should talk about God’s words when they come in to their home and when they go out along the way, when they lie down and when they get up! It’s a vivid picture of family members speaking of God’s words all the time, on the go, and as they go. What ways have you put this idea into practice in your own family’s life? How do you hope to grow in speaking about God’s words more often in the flow of everyday life?
- In verses 8-9, Moses instructs the people to bind God’s words on their hands and forehead, and to chisel them on their doorposts and write them on the city gates. The Jewish people, through the centuries, have applied these verses literally (placing scrolls of the Shema inside of boxes, and tying them on the forehead and hand, and mounting them on the side of their doors). Assuming these commands are meant to be symbolic, how do you think these verses apply for us today? What does it look like to “publicly display” our commitment to God’s words as individuals? As a family? As a church community? How is this similar to wearing your favorite team’s jersey, or flying a flag off your front porch? Furthermore, what is the difference between pridefully flaunting our Christian faith, and winsomely displaying our commitment to Christ so that others can know him too?
- Looking at this passage as a whole, what would it look like to be a “Word-centered family” in your context? How can the community group help you live out this vision?
Prayer suggestion: Pray for the families in the community group, and for the families in our larger church. Pray that we would maintain a passionate love for God, and pray that we would keep God’s Word at the center of all that we do. Also, pray for some families who don’t yet know Christ. Pray that our witness in their lives would be compelling and faithful.