A Bible study series for high school and teen age kids, inspired by and largely adapted from IBLP materials

Series Introduction

Have you seen this [The Big Picture Story Bible]?

What is the message of this book?  The Bible tells the story of history of God’s work with many episodes.

What are the pictures for?  To illustrate key events that occur in the episodes.

Why do people take pictures at events?  To remind them of the experience.  What is the relationship between a picture and a story?  A picture is like a snapshot that reminds us of the story surrounding the experience or incident.

In order to tell the whole story of life and history, God divides it into parts and uses word-pictures.  Notice the story that comes to mind with the following words: creation; fall; flood.  What other biblical terms come to mind that encapsulate a story [say it right out]?  Redemption; Babel; manna

None of these individual lessons are sufficient to tell the complete story.  They are parts within the overall story.  Today, let’s look at a single word-picture in the New Testament and see if we can tease out the story behind the picture.

Who volunteers to assist by manning the chalk board?  This involves helping give the lesson by creatively writing, listing, illustrating, and taking class responses.

Chap.1 - The Devil’s Place

PREPARATION: bring several different Bible translations and ask students to read the verses from them.

Turn to Eph.4.  Will someone read verses 26 and 27 in the ESV?

Notice the word “opportunity.”  Who has a different translation?  What version and what word does it use?  Anyone have an NIV?  KJV?

Here are some of the ways this word has been [or could be] translated: opportunity (ESV; NASV; RSV; RBV); chance (Williams); chance to work (Beck); leave room (Weymouth); loop-hole (NEB); occasion for acting (Wuest); [foot-in-the-door; opening]; foothold (NIV; Phillips); mighty foothold (NLB); [beachhead; ground]; place (KJV; NKJV; 1901 ASV; Youngs); room (Darby); control (Worldwide ENT); a way to defeat you (New Century).

The actual Greek word used here means a section of territory, a parcel of land.  So for this lesson, we’ll use the New King James.

What is the passage about?  You’re angry about something and the devil is attacking by tempting you to nurse your anger, to hold on to that anger until it turns into a spiritual problem like bitterness, resentment, or hatred.  The enemy of your soul is attempting to gain access to your life through feeding the flames of your anger.

What is the snapshot in v.27?  Picture your soul as a country that is being attacked by forces invading from the sea through naval bombardment of your shoreline defenses.  What are the weapons Satan uses?  Deception; cunning lies; false innuendoes; subtle accusations; truth twisted and misused.  What are your defenses?  Eph.6 has a snapshot about gearing-up for spiritual battle against the devil’s wiles (schemes) that begins with the belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness (v.14).  Where is this battle being fought?  In your thoughts.  Name someone in the Bible who was attacked in this way.  Eve [see Short Course – Temptation]

·        Though this is the extent of this word-picture in this passage, the rest of the story is implied by it and supported by the New Testament.

What is the enemy’s first objective?  To establish a beachhead on your shore.  How does he do that?  By getting you to give-in to the temptations that accompany his lies and sin.  This is how we give up ground to the devil.  Now where is the battle?  In your actions.

Once Satan has control of a small area of your turf, what is his next objective?  To press inland where he can establish a fortified position (fort; stronghold) to serve as a base of operations within our own territory from which to continue assaulting our faith.  Now where is the battlefield?  Your habits.

What are some of the results of Satan’s assaults carried out from his base of operations within our soul?  Anxiety; doubts; fears; depression; shame; envy; insecurity; lust; arrogance; self-rejection; jealousy; anger; rationalizing; etc.

What are some of the physical consequences that may result from the devil’s forays from his stronghold?  High blood pressure; insomnia; allergies; back pain; etc.

We have identified fronts at which the battle with the devil occurs as thoughts, actions, and habits.  Answering the following two questions truthfully will help you to evaluate yourself with respect to the devil’s influence: - write the number of fronts on which you are presently being engaged.  ____  Have you committed wrongdoing that your parents are not aware of?  _____

What possible action can you take to recover the surrendered ground?  Return to the Lord and take the following steps of repentance:

1. Think beyond the reasons for your anger and stop blaming the circumstances or people who caused it.  Trace the anger back to the initial sins and wrong attitudes that produced guilt and tension in the first place making it difficult for you to cope with the irritations and inequities of life.  These are the trespasses we must confess to God and make right with anyone else we have offended.  Only then will we be able to put away all anger, wrath, and malice and be enabled to show kindness and forgive one another (Eph.4:31-32).  Be specific because God promises "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 Jn.1:9

2. The transfer of one’s moral guilt to Christ and the penalty exacted upon Him so He suffered the consequences of it is the only way God can forgive anyone’s sins.  When we return to Him in repentance, He will keep His promise to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Claim the sufficiency of the death of Christ for the sins that gave ground to Satan.

3. Ask your heavenly Father to take back that ground and give you wisdom to tear down the false impressions Satan has constructed on it [introduced into your thinking] that you might be freed from discouragement, fear, and doubt to live in the freedom of His love, peace, and joy.  God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.  Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you… Jas.4:6-8

Is allowing anger to foment bitterness or hatred the only way the devil can gain a foothold in your life?  No, the passage in Eph.4 draws other word-pictures to show the kinds of things we can do to let him in.

Let’s look at the larger picture in Eph.4 together.

17This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20But you have not so learned Christ, 21if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

25Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27nor give place to the devil. 28Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (NKJV:)

17So this I say and solemnly testify in [the name of] the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the heathen (the Gentiles) do in their perverseness [in the folly, vanity, and emptiness of their souls and the futility] of their minds. 18Their moral understanding is darkened and their reasoning is beclouded. [They are] alienated (estranged, self-banished) from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the ignorance (the want of knowledge and perception, the willful blindness) that is deep-seated in them, due to their hardness of heart [to the insensitiveness of their moral nature]. 19In their spiritual apathy they have become callous and past feeling and reckless and have abandoned themselves [become a prey] to unbridled sensuality, eager and greedy to indulge in every form of impurity [that their depraved desires may suggest and demand].
20But you did not so learn Christ! 21Assuming that you have really heard Him and been taught by Him, as
[all] Truth is in Jesus [embodied and personified in Him], 22Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion;  23And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude],  24And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God's image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.

 25Therefore, rejecting all falsity and being done now with it, let everyone express the truth with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and members one of another.  26When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down.  27Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].  28Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need.  29Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God's favor) to those who hear it.  30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God's own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin).  31Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).  32And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you. (Amplified Bible)


FURTHER STUDY: How does Eph.4:28 fit in with those verses that precede it?  It is an example of a sin habit that is overcome by the steps of repentance that are then reinforced by engaging in a new-life pattern and purpose [focus] (v.22-24).

How do Paul's words to Timothy relate to our discussion?  "I...sent you out to battle for the right armed only with your faith and a clear conscience.  Some, alas, have laid these simple weapons contemptuously aside, and as far as their faith is concerned, have run their ships on the rocks." (1 Tim.1:18-19, Phillips)

This lesson and notes is entitled Snapshots – The Stories Behind the Pictures, Chap.1 is on my website at  It’s there in case you miss a class or want to review the material or interact with it further.  If you have questions or would like to discuss something, my e-mail is and phone ***-****.