Key scripture: “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35 (NIV)
You will need: various types of breads (a filled roll, fairy bread, wholegrain bread, a honey sandwich (crusts cut off, in small triangles/squares), a gourmet loaf, old dry toast), Bibles, printed copies of the ‘Soul Food’ cards including enough blank cards for a few per person.
Notes: This study uses the Hook, Book, Look, Took model (a variation on the Hook, Look, Book, Took approach). Some questions have been adapted from “The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups”. Questions are shown in italics.
Hook: Bread for Life
Display the different types of bread, and ask them to discuss with the person next to them: If you could eat only one of these foods for a whole day what would it be?
After they have had time to share with each other, then ask: If you could eat only one of these foods for the rest of your life what would it be?
Finally, ask for anyone whose answers to these two questions differed, to explain to the group why their answers changed.
Book: The Bread of Life
Read John 6:25-40
Look: Jesus is essential for life
If you have a large group, you may like to break into small groups for the following questions. These questions have bee adapted from “The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups”.
- Why are the people still looking for Jesus?
- Why do people today look for him today?
- How does Jesus’ response show a difference between his interests and theirs?
- How should they work for the food that leads to eternal life? (verse 29)
- What does the crowd ask Jesus to do so that they can believe in him? What do they really want? (verse 30)
- How does Jesus use their interest in food to illustrate what he wants them to understand?
- In what ways could Jesus be like ‘bread’? What kind of hunger could the ‘bread of life’ satisfy?
- Who and what is Jesus referring to when he says “Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness”? (verse 31) See Exodus 16
- What are some similarities between manna and the ‘bread of life’? What are some differences?
Took: How am I fed by Jesus?
What is the ‘bread’ that you need to live? What draws you closer to Jesus?
Give each person a few blank cards and invite them to write down what is their ‘soul food’ – ie what feeds them spiritually. Invite them to share these either with the whole group or in small groups.
Read out the ‘Soul Food’ cards (leaving out any that have already been mentioned by the group). Lay all the cards out on the ground or pin to a wall where everyone can see them.
Point out the various types of bread from the beginning.
Which of these breads best reflects your daily spiritual diet right now, and why? (e.g. It feels boring and stale like dry toast; or it is like a filled roll because there are so many different things that ‘feed’ me, such as church, daily devotions etc)
What would your ‘diet’ look like for you to be adequately fed and nourished by Jesus?
You might like to get the to write a daily or weekly ‘meal plan’ by scheduling certain soul food items throughout the day/week – e.g. daily quiet times, accountability/mentoring meeting, journalling time, church… Encourage them to action their ‘meal plan’ in the weeks ahead.
As an alternative, simply invite them to choose one Soul Food card which they can take away and try in the week ahead.