Free Bible Study Guides

Series 1 - The Bible and You: Practical Answers—Real Hope

Hi, friends! Welcome to "The Bible and You: Practical Answers, Real Hope"—a Bible study series that points out practical answers to the challenges you face today and offers real hope for your future, right from the most authoritative book ever written on practical living: the Bible.

This first lesson looks at specific ways the Bible can help you today with the issues that worry and discourage you. The Bible is the world's most valuable book on human relations because the Author is also our Creator. He understands people perfectly and always has our best interests in mind! Join us in exploring what God tells us in the Bible about how to make your life work—and work right! And remember, we would love to hear from you and serve you in any way we can.

Lesson 1: How Can the Bible Help Me?

Bible Study - How Can the Bible Help Me?Wouldn't it be great if there was a practical, helpful, trustworthy place to get real answers to the worrisome challenges you face every day? There is! Here's how you can access it and get the help you need now and always.

Have you ever felt like this?

"I weep with grief… Arrogant people have made up lies about me… I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, exhausted with waiting… I have suffered much… My life constantly hangs in the balance… Powerful people harass me without cause" (Psalm 119:28, 69, 83, 107, 109, 161, New Living Translation).

We have all felt some of these strong emotions at times. Perhaps right now you are going through a trial that is sapping your strength and draining your hope.

Through all of the challenges listed in Psalm 119, the person who wrote this biblical song found strength, encouragement and real help from the words and laws of God recorded in the Holy Bible. And you can as well!

"Your decrees please me; they give me wise advice… Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles… Your law is more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver!... I will never forget your commandments, for you have used them to restore my joy and health… Your commands make me wiser than my enemies…

"Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path… You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my only source of hope… Those who love your law have great peace and do not stumble" (Psalm 119:24, 50, 72, 93, 98, 105, 114, 165, NLT).

Share Your Story


What Does the Bible Say About Solving Your Problems?

Your story is unique. You have unique challenges, talents, worries and opportunities.

The Bible has practical help and real hope for you!

It wasn't just written for "other people"—like people trying to be more religious, people who love to read books or whatever. It was written for teens in Texas, single moms in Sao Paulo, grandparents in Georgia, prisoners in Paris—everyone!

How could we even begin to show in this first lesson all the practical benefits that will help you with your unique circumstances—today? We plan dozens of specific lessons that will address everything from addiction to worry, from parenting to loneliness, from relationship problems to financial problems.

But in this first lesson we want to set a foundation, to give you a taste of the practical benefits of the Bible—today and forever.


Real Hope: God Cares About You!

Let's start with something it seems like everyone longs for—hope! What does the Bible offer as an antidote to the depressing hopelessness spreading around the world today?

At one of the darkest times in the history of Judah, what was God's message through His prophet Jeremiah?

Lamentations 3:22-25
Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I hope in Him!" The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.

The prophet Jeremiah wrote the poetic book of Lamentations to lament the fall of Jerusalem, the city where God's temple was. Even in the midst of destruction, Jeremiah recorded these inspiring words of solid hope. "Hope is not a wishful thought, but a confident expectation in the Lord" (Nelson Study Bible comment on Lamentations 3:24).

Is the Bible designed to give us hope?

Romans 15:4
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

Here we learn that one wonderful purpose of the Holy Scriptures—the Bible—is to help us learn endurance and give us encouragement so we can have hope!

Romans 15:13
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible gives us hope because the "God of hope" recorded it for us. When things seem hopeless in the storms of this "present evil age" (Galatians 1:4), God gives hope that serves as a steady anchor (Hebrews 6:19).

What makes hope possible?

Romans 5:3-5
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

The love of God shows Christians that even troubles work for our ultimate good.

Romans 5:6-8
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Even before we turn to God and turn away from doing things that go against God's laws (what the Bible calls sin), God loves us! Jesus Christ took the death penalty we have earned and paid it Himself!

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

When we love God in return, He can make everything, even the difficult times, work out for our eternal good. Many people have memorized this encouraging scripture to help them in their trials.

Romans 8:31
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

When God—the Creator of everything—is for us, all enemies are powerless to stop Him from blessing us!

Does God understand our problems?

Hebrews 4:14-16
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Jesus Christ experienced the pains and sorrows of human life and the temptations to do wrong. He understands and sympathizes. God has given us the priceless privilege of being able to come boldly before Him in prayer in all our many times of need!


Benefits of the Bible: Some Practical Examples

What are some of the benefits of God's way of life?

Psalm 103:2-6
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.

God forgives us and wipes away the burden of guilt in a way no self-help program or psychiatrist could ever do—a priceless benefit! God's power to heal our minds and bodies, to satisfy our needs, to protect us, to strengthen us—these are things people spend their fortunes on and their lives searching for. But God fulfills them as no one else can. And He looks out for the underdog, the oppressed and people in every kind of crisis as no human has the power to do. The rest of this inspiring Psalm contains many other benefits.

Where can we turn for practical answers?

Proverbs 2:6-8, 15-16
For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints...
Whose ways are crooked, and who are devious in their paths; to deliver you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words...

One biblical book full of common sense advice is the book of Proverbs. Applying God's wisdom will protect us like a shield—like a force field to deflect people and problems that would otherwise deceive, seduce or hurt us. Think of all the sorrows that could be prevented! Think of the benefits of avoiding financial scams, sexually transmitted diseases, premarital pregnancies, poverty and heartache.

Proverbs 3:5-6, 16-18
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths...
Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her.

Without God, we are lost, but He gives us direction and meaning in life. Whatever He sees as best for us He will give us, including riches, honor, long and pleasant lives, peace and happiness!

Does the Bible give keys to happier relationships—even with enemies?

Proverbs 15:1
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

King Solomon, who God blessed with exceptional wisdom, gave tips for getting along with others. The natural tendency when someone speaks harshly to us is to respond in kind. But Solomon points out that this only escalates the conflict. Thinking before we speak and choosing a nonconfrontational tone can help calm the situation.

Proverbs 16:7
When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

An incredible benefit of pleasing God is to have peace even with our enemies!

Romans 12:17-21
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The apostle Paul also provides tips for getting along with problem people. Feeding an enemy may not be an intuitive response, but perhaps that is part of the reason it may surprise and disarm him or her. Overcoming evil with good is a powerful human relations principle given to us by our loving Creator.

If the Bible's tips work even with enemies, imagine what they can do for friends and family! We plan to cover relationship issues much more in other lessons, but in the meantime check out our helpful booklets Making Life Work and Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension for some specific tips to improve your relationships.

Does the Bible give helpful advice for job success?

Proverbs 6:6-11
Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep—so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.

Proverbs 10:4
He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

Solomon uses the colorful analogy of the industrious ant as an object lesson in success. Employers look for diligent workers who go above and beyond, improve their skills and work hard whether the boss is looking or not. These are the workers who are most in demand and thus have security on the job. (See "Finding Success in Your Job and Career.")

Does the Bible give principles that lead to financial security?

Proverbs 22:7
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Our buy-now, pay-later society has forgotten this principle, but avoiding debt and paying back what we already owe is a key to security.

Proverbs 27:12, 23-27
A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished...
Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds; for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations. When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself, and the herbs of the mountains are gathered in, the lambs will provide your clothing, and the goats the price of a field; you shall have enough goats' milk for your food, for the food of your household, and the nourishment of your maidservants.

Being alert to threats and opportunities is a key to wise planning. Conservative budgeting and planning can avoid countless pitfalls and provide for sustained and secure growth. Many more helpful tips can be found in our free booklet Managing Your Finances.

The Bible is full of so many more practical principles that offer help and hope in every challenge we face. God's way works today in "the life that now is," and His plan offers incredible promises for our potential in the life "which is to come"—the everlasting life He offers us as His children (see 1 Timothy 4:8; John 3:16; 1 John 3:1)! We hope this sampling of godly wisdom from God's instruction book has whetted your appetite for more! We will cover much more on this in future lessons.


Apply Now

What is your most challenging, worrisome problem? Listen to what God says: "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:6-7). God cares and He wants you to throw all your cares on His broad shoulders to carry! Take your problems, especially that biggest problem, to Him right now in prayer. This is the vital first step.

Turning our problems over to God doesn't mean we won't have to do the hard studying, counseling, decision making, etc. (We'll cover these in future lessons.) But knowing that the most powerful being in the universe cares and will help can take a huge load off our minds.

Let us know if we can help you with biblical support and encouragement. God cares and we care!

Next Lesson: How Can I Find Things in the Bible?

Questions about this lesson? Feedback about this lesson?

Related Resources:

Making Life Work

Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension

Managing Your Finances

Do You Choose Happiness?

What's the Answer to a Better Life?

Finding Success in Your Job and Career

Breaking Free From Addictions

The Church: Help for Greater Growth