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Lecture Syllabus - BB-04 - Stewardship In Scripture

by Bruce Barkhauer

The primary objective of this lecture is for students to engage the biblical witness and its broad perspective of the concept of stewardship.  Participants in the class will develop an understanding that stewardship is about more than money.  The successful student will be able to articulate stewardship as a spiritual discipline and point to passages that elucidate concepts of creation care, Sabbath observation, self-care, gospel care, and the management of resources. 

There are four video sessions in this course.  Students are expected to watch each video. In addition, it is suggested that class participants purchase and read Giving to God: The Bible's Good News about Living a Generous Life by Mark Allan Powell.

Session One - "Stewardship In Scripture"

Watch the Session One video and read chapters 1-2 of Powell

Points to reflect upon in your study:

  • Address the biblical concept of “enough” (abundance) versus the common cultural understanding of “scarcity”.  What difference does this make?
  • Compare and contrast “dominion” as exploitation of creation versus ruling in the earth as God rules in the cosmos.
  • Comment on Sabbath as an expression of trust in God’s provision.
  • How is self-care an act of stewardship?
  • How are stewardship and evangelism related?
  • Comment on the idea that your checkbook is a theological document.

Session Two - "Stewardship In Scripture"

Watch the Session Two video and read chapters 3-4 of Powell

Points to reflect upon in your study:

  • Comment on the inherent risk of idolatry associated with wealth.
  • Is Jesus realistic in suggesting that we should not be anxious about the basic necessities in life?  Why or why not?
  • How does money forge a partnership between the Corinthians and the saints in Jerusalem?
  • According to Paul, what is our motivation for giving?
  • What difference does it make to understand the tithe as an act of worship and celebration versus a legal responsibility? 
  • Why do you suppose, that in addition to the tithe, there are prescriptions for making additional offerings and gifts to the poor?  How are these gifts different from the gift of the tithe? 

Session Three - "Stewardship In Scripture"

Watch the Session Three video and read chapters 5-6 of Powell

Points to reflect upon in your study:

  • Compare and contrast the stories of Barnabas and Ananias and Sapphira?  Do you believe that stewardship is a matter of life and death?  Why or why not?
  • What is the difference between a “give to get” theology of stewardship and a “give because you have already received” theology of stewardship?  How does the difference impact the giver?
  • Comment on the generosity of Jesus and its relationship to the abundance of God?
  • How does the faithful practice of stewardship impact the world around us?

Session Four - "Stewardship In Scripture"

Watch the Session Four video and read chapter 7 of Powell

Points to reflect upon in your study:

  • Comment on the relationship between stewardship and transformation
  • Luke tells us that the early church had “all things in common”.  How do you understand what “all things is common” means and is that a realistic expectation in your congregation?
  • How do you plan to change the nature of the conversation about stewardship in your congregation?
  • How can we recover a sense of joy around giving?
  • Comment on the statement “Giving is not optional”.