“While he was still a long way off, his father saw him.” – Luke 15:20
Theme: God, Our Father
Scripture: Luke 15:11-32; Psalm 68:5-6
Opening (10-15 min)
The nickname committee called! People have so overused traditional father names like “papa,” “daddy,” and “pops,” that the world has almost run out. What are some brand-new nicknames people could use for their fathers during this unexpected shortage? Give an “elevator pitch” for your best idea.
For Extra Fun
If you have access to paper and pencils, you could also have group members write out their answers to question 1 Hangman-style, with blanks in place of letters for others to guess. This will make the Bible Talk feel something like a game, which can be a non-threatening way to help participants relax and begin to open u with each other.
The Bible repeatedly describes God as a father. Why is that significant?
Have group members read Luke 15:11-32
What’s the first thing that strikes you about the father in this parable? Explain.
The father in this passage is an obvious representation of God the Father–and this story was told by Jesus, God’s son. What secrets about the nature of Father God do you see Jesus revealing here?
Some say that the father in this parable is passive, permissive, and absent from his son’s life–and that God the Father is the same in real life. Do you agree or disagree? Defend your answer.
Which is more significant: (a) that the father let the son leave, or (b) that the father welcomed the son back? Explain.
According to Jewish custom at the time, by asking for his inheritance early the son in this parable was delivering a terribly harsh insult to his father. He was basically saying, “Dad, I wish you were dead already.”
Have group members read Psalm 68:5-6
What’s the first thing that strikes you about the Father in this passage? Explain?
In what ways does the Father in Psalm 68:5-6 resemble the father in Luke 15:11-32? And why is that important?
Bring it Home
Think about your life currently. How do you need God to be your Father today?
What are ways that you can “come home” to your heavenly Father this week?
Bible Talk Tips
Encourage each group member to be specific in the way they answer “Bring it Home” questions. Also, instruct people to wait a minute or two in silence before answering. This will give them an opportunity to think through their responses a bit before having to talk.
Consider the option of having group members share their “Bring it Home” answers to a partner instead of with the whole group. This might be especially helpful if your group doesn’t know each other well.