Bible study and readings

Lent Studies: Forgiveness 


Week 1: The Man Who Ran


Luke 15:11-20

  • Why do you think Jesus told parables? What meaning do they have for us today?

  • Why do you think Jesus chose to tell this audience (Pharisees, Teachers of the law, tax collectors and sinners) the story of the Prodigal son?

  • Do you have any sympathy for the son in the story? Is his repentance genuine? Does it matter?

Luke 15:20-32

  • Does the second son have a point, is there such a thing as too much forgiveness?

  • Why is forgiveness so hard?





Week 2: The Woman in the Dust


John 8:2-6

  • If you were in Jesus’ position, how would you want to respond to the Pharisees?

  • Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Do you agree?

  • What are the main differences between justice and revenge? In what circumstances would you choose one above the other?

John 8:6-11

  • Why does Jesus’ challenge to let the person without sin cast the first stone have such a powerful impact?

  • How easy is it for us to see the plank in our own eyes?

  • Do justice, mercy and forgiveness always have the same effect? Is one more important than the other?


Week 3: The Man with Three Thousand Camels


Job 1:1-22

  • Job suffers because God and Satan have a bet. How fair is that?

  • When faced with terrible wrong, can anger be helpful?

  • Is shame a good punishment for a crime?

Job 38:12 - 39:12

  • Have you ever had anger that it was hard to let go of? How did you resolve it?... Is it still there?

  • What do you do when you are angry with God?

  • Can God’s words to Job help us to make sense of the injustices in the world?


Week 4: The Boy in the Well


Genesis 37:18-28

  • What must Joseph have thought of his brothers when he was sold into slavery?

  • Do you agree with the idea that there has to be the possibility of punishment for forgiveness to have meaning?

Genesis 45:1-7

  • Joseph seems to veer between punishment and forgiveness in relation to his brothers. Why do you think he ultimately chooses forgiveness?

  • Looking back at the passage, is there another emotion that over-rides both punishment and forgiveness as Joseph spends time with his brothers? What is it? Why do you think this happens?

  • What can stop us from forgiving people who hurt us?


Week 5: The Man who hears the Rooster


Matthew 26:69-75

  • How much sympathy do you have for Peter when he denies Jesus? What might have happened if he’d been honest?

  • It has been said, “We are all moments in other people’s lives.” Do you agree? Are there times when people have affected you in ways of which they are unaware?

  • Having denied Jesus, how do you think Peter must have felt as he saw Jesus being led out to the cross to be put to death?

John 21:1-19

  • When Peter heard it was Jesus on the lakeshore, he jumped into the water to reach him quickly – why do you think this was?

  • Jesus reinstates or redeems Peter, three times for the three denials. How would Peter feel knowing that Jesus had held him to account for his actions?

  • Do you agree that we have to hold each other to account? How easy is it to do that?


Week 6: Let it End Here


Luke 23:27-38

  • What do you think about Jesus’ words in v34? Whom do you think they are aimed at in particular? Is there a wider audience for these words?

  • Jesus forgives from a place of vulnerability. Is that possible for us to do? 

  • Do Jesus’ words in v34 offer us hope that forgiveness is possible, whatever the circumstances? Or not?

Luke 23:44-49

Isaiah 53:2-12

  • Does knowing that Jesus suffered, help us to forgive others?

  • What does the act of forgiveness do for us – think carefully!

  • What does life feel like after you have been forgiven?

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