Chapter 5—The suffering, death and Burial of Jesus Christ
1. Discuss how both believers and unbelievers agree on this part of the creed. Then discuss how we differ on the meaning of this part of the creed.
2. Ask why the Creed leaves out all the teachings of Jesus and skips from His birth to His death… and what that means about using both the Creeds and the Bible in our training.
3. Discuss the limitations of establishing “Muslim nations” or “Christian nations” as it relates to history and theology. To what extent are we in the world and not of it? How has the view of a Christian’s role in nationalism changed through history and today? Consider using the “Christ and Culture” rubric of Richard Niebuhr in this study
4. Using Thomas Aquinas that on the cross Jesus reminded us of all the virtues he taught make an oral list of the virtues illustrated by Jesus in His death. (p80)
5. What wonderful thoughts come to us by knowing that Jesus really died?
6. Discuss the original meaning of “descended into hell” and the later meaning that came to be associated with these original words. Do you (the student) prefer either of these? Glance at an encyclopedia (or the Wikipedia entry) on “Harrowing of Hell.” Read the verses in 1 Peter (3:19–20; 4:6) and discuss their meaning. Which interpretation (as a student) do you prefer? Why?
7. Have the group read the “What about us” ending to this chapter to themselves as a closing meditation, or have someone prepared to read it aloud for the group. Consider closing by having someone read the prayer at the end for the group, or praying their own prayer based on the response we have to this part of Christian beliefs.
I invite you to post your own ideas on this chapter by adding a comment to this post to help other leaders. -- Keith Drury