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OPINION

BIBLE STUDY: Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curriculum and additional resources for all age groups.
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This week's Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.

Bible Passage: 1 Peter 2:19-25

Discussion Question: What are reasons we can endure unjust suffering?

Food for Thought:

Natural disasters. Childhood cancers. Physical abuse. These unjust forms of suffering are a few of the many ways that people suffer around the world. As Christians, we are certainly not immune to these kinds of suffering. In fact, faithful Christians experience suffering because of their faithfulness. In 2 Timothy 3:12 we read that "all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." In some parts of the world, the mere belief and declaration of one's Christianity can quite literally lead to imprisonment.

Consider the plight of pastor Youcef Nadarkhani in Iran. Arrested and jailed over 1,000 days ago, Pastor Youcef is facing the death penalty for simply being a Christian. Born to Muslim parents, Nadarkhani became a Christian at 19. In the years that followed, he led a network of house churches in Iran. He was arrested in October 2009 for protesting the government which forced his children to read the Quran in school. He was charged with apostasy, the renunciation of his Muslim religion, even though Iran has no official law against renouncing one's religion.

In a 2011 hearing, Pastor Youcef was told to recant his Christianity to which he replied, "You ask me to recant. Recant means to return. What do you wish me to return to? The blasphemy that I was in before Christ?" His suffering is certainly unjust, but he presses forward knowing that his belief and faith in Christ will see him through his release or his execution. He is scheduled to appear in court again next month.

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1 Peter promises us that when we "do good and suffer, if you endure, it brings favor with God." Christ suffered for our salvation even though He committed no crime so that we can live for righteousness.

MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors, offering pertinent, practical messages that also are intended to be uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at LifeWay.com/MasterWork.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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