Please print this section if you would like to study the Book of 1 Samuel with a group of people. You will find these questions on the Internet at www.usefulbible.com
Read chapter 1, then discuss these questions:
(1) How did Godís people carry out their religion at the time of Elkanah? Where did they go to worship (give honour to God), and why? Who were the leaders of religion? Discuss the importance of sacrifices (the animals that they offered to God), prayers and vows (promises to God). What does the passage say about how people carried out each of these things?
(2) Read some of the rules for people called Nazirites in Numbers 6:1-8. Compare Hannahís experience with the experiences of the other two women who gave their sons to God as Nazirites. Those women were Samsonís mother in Judges chapter 13, and Elizabeth in Luke chapter 1.
(3) Discuss how Hannahís attitudes changed through 1 Samuel chapter 1. Why was she so desperate to have a son? Why did she promise to give her son to God in verse 11? What effect did Eliís words in verse 17 have on her, and why? How do her words in verses 26-28 show complete trust in God?
(4) What does this chapter teach about prayer?
Read chapter 2, then discuss these questions:
(1) The first message from God here is Hannahís prayer in verses 1-10. Compare it with Maryís song in Luke 1:46-55. What do these passages teach about how God rules the world? What future plan does God have for the world? How do his present actions show what he will do in the future? What was God doing at the time of Hannah, and at the time of Mary?
(2) Compare the behaviour of Eliís sons with Samuelís behaviour. Why does the Bible consider the actions of Eliís sons to be so wicked? What was Eliís opinion about this matter?
(3) Why did God choose Eliís family to be priests? Why did God remove their authority to be Israelís priests? How should the people who serve God behave?
Read chapter 3, then discuss these questions:
(1) Discuss how Samuelís experience as Eliís servant helped him to learn how to serve God. Why was it difficult for Samuel to realise that God was speaking to him? What advice did Eli give to Samuel?
(2) How do we hear Godís message today? In what ways should our attitudes be similar to Samuelís attitudes? Explain what Jesus said about the need to obey Godís word in Matthew 7:24-27. Compare this with Mark 3:31-35 and James 1:22-27.
(3) Compare the message that God gave to Samuel in verses 11-14 with 1 Samuel 2:27-36. What was Eliís reaction to that message? Compare his reaction with Ahabís reaction to a similar message in 1 Kings 21:27-29. Was Eli right not to pray against these troubles?
Read chapter 4, then discuss these questions:
(1) What are the right attitudes for a person who prays for Godís help? Compare the actions of Israelís people in 1 Samuel 7:3-10 with the decision of Israelís leaders in 1 Samuel 4:3. Why is it wrong if people try to force God to help them?
(2) Read more about the ark in Exodus 25:10-22. What was the proper place for the ark? What did God say that he would do there?
(3) Discuss the words of Philistiaís soldiers in verses 7-9. What correct facts did they know about Israelís God? What wrong ideas did they have?
(4) ĎThe glory (greatness) has left Israelí (verses 21-22). Discuss how true these words were. Had God left Israel - or did he still have a plan for Israel? Discuss Godís plan in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.
Read chapter 5, then discuss these questions:
(1) What is Godís opinion of images of false gods? Read Deuteronomy 5:1-10; Isaiah 44:9-20 and John 14:6. What do those passages teach us about false gods?
(2) Read Hebrews 10:29 and 1 Corinthians 6:19. What things does God consider holy today? What must we do in order to show proper respect to them?
(3) Read Psalm 19:1-6; Acts 17:26-31 and Romans 1:20. What evidence has God provided so that all people can know about his greatness? How did God show the people in Philistia that they had offended against the real God? Show how Philistiaís troubles became worse during the chapter. Read 1 Samuel 7:3. What should the people in Philistia have done when they recognised Godís anger against them? What did they actually do?
Read chapter 6, then discuss these questions:
(1) Read 1 Samuel 5:1-5 and 1 Samuel 31:10. What kind of religion did people follow in Philistia? What was their opinion about Israelís God? Read Deuteronomy 18:9-14. What is Godís opinion about these kinds of religion? In your opinion, why did the people in Philistia continue to serve false gods even after these events?
(2) Read Exodus 7:1-14 and Hebrews 3:7-12. What does the Bible mean by a Ďhard heartí? What kind of attitude is it describing? Read Ezekiel 36:26. What does God want to do for a person with a Ďhard heartí?
(3) Read about some other people who died because of their unholy actions towards Godís holy things: Leviticus 10:1-2; 2 Samuel 6:6-7; Acts 5:1-11. What is the right reaction when we read about such events? How should the fact that God is holy affect our lives? How can we respect God properly?
Read chapter 7, then discuss these questions:
(1) What does 1 Samuel 7:3-4 tell us about the religion of Israelís people at this time? What did Samuel advise them to do, and why? Compare this with Gideonís actions in Judges 6:25-32.
(2) Discuss how hard it would be for the people to follow Samuelís advice. How would it change their religion, their hopes and their beliefs? Many of these images would have been expensive. Discuss what Jesus taught about our attitude towards valuable things in Matthew 13:44-46.
(3) Discuss Samuelís experience of prayer in this chapter. Compare it with Mosesí experience in Exodus 17:8-16. What do Luke 18:1-8 and James 5:16-18 teach about prayer?
(4) How was Samuelís leadership of Israel similar to the judges in the Book of Judges? What did Samuel achieve during his years as Israelís judge?
Read chapter 8, then discuss these questions:
(1) Who ruled Israel before the nation had a king? In what ways did God want Israel to be different from all the other nations? Read Genesis 12:2-3. Why did God choose Israel to be his special people?
(2) Read 1 Samuel 12:12 and 1 Samuel 11:11. Why did Israelís people demand a king? What did they expect their king to achieve? Was it wrong for them to want a king?
(3) Read Proverbs chapter 2. What benefits can we gain from good advice? In what circumstances should we ask for advice? What should we do if we dislike advice? How can we check whether advice is correct or not?
(4) Compare Samuelís words in 1 Samuel 8:10-18 with what actually happened in Israel. Read 1 Kings 12:1-14.
Read chapter 9, then discuss these questions:
(1) Why did Saul decide to visit Samuel? What did he expect Samuel to do?
(2) What was the real reason why God had arranged for Saul to meet Samuel? What had God told Samuel about Saul? What was Godís plan for Saulís life?
(3) Prepare a list of Samuelís words and actions which would have surprised Saul. Show how the purpose of those words and actions was to give honour to Saul as Israelís future king.
(4) This meal was one of a series of meals in 1 Samuel where the meat came from a sacrifice (a gift to God). Compare this meal with the ones in 1 Samuel 1:3-5 and 1 Samuel 16:1-13.
(5) Discuss how much Samuel depended on God in the selection of Israelís king. What evidence of that is there in this chapter? Discuss how greatly we need to depend on God for help in the decisions of our lives. How can we do that?
Read chapter 10, then discuss these questions:
(1) Discuss the purpose of the ceremony called the anointing in verse 1. What can we learn about this from the anointing of David (16:13), Aaron the priest (Psalm 133), and Christ (Acts 10:38)?
(2) Read 1 Samuel 11:6, 1 Samuel 16:13-14 and Psalm 51:11. How important was it for the Holy Spirit to be active in Saulís life?
(3) What does this chapter show about how people praised God at this time?
(4) Find out about the incident at Gilgal, which Samuel refers to in verse 8. Read 1 Samuel 13:1-15.
(5) Read Proverbs 16:33. How did God show Israelís people that he had selected Saul? Compare this with Acts 1:15-26.
(6) Discuss the rules for Israelís king in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. Do any of those rules surprise you?
Read chapter 11, then discuss these questions:
(1) Read 1 Samuel 2:1-10. How did Hannah say that God would rescue his people from strong and cruel enemies? How did he do that in this incident? How does God save (rescue) his people today, and how will he do it in the future?
(2) Why did nobody expect that Saul would be able to rescue Jabesh? Why were they wrong? Who gave Saul the power to rescue Israel?
(3) Prepare a list of each of the references to God in this chapter. How did God bring success against Ammon? How had God established Saulís rule over Israel?
(4) Read about how Israelís people were afraid of Nahash (12:12). Were they right to be afraid? Read about how God protects his people (Psalm 91). How can we trust God more?
Read chapter 12, then discuss these questions:
(1) Who were Israelís judges (in the Book of Judges), and what work did God give them to do? Which judges does this chapter mention, and what did each of them achieve?
(2) What evidence did Samuel give that Israelís people had not been loyal to God in the past? What evidence was there that they were still not loyal to him? Why were they wrong to demand a king? What did Samuel tell them that they must do now?
(3) Discuss Samuelís qualities as a leader. Why is it especially important for leaders to behave properly? What did Samuel promise to do after he had retired from his public work as Israelís judge?
Read chapter 13, then discuss these questions:
(1) Read the command that God gave to Saul in 1 Samuel 10:8. How did Saul not obey that command, and why? What caused him to be so afraid?
(2) Compare 1 Samuel 13:9-13 with 1 Samuel 9:6-10. What evidence is there that Saul was trying to pay God for his help? Is it ever possible to do that? Read 1 Samuel 15:22 and Micah 6:6-8. How should we behave when we need Godís help?
(3) Compare Saulís attitudes in chapter 13 with his attitudes in chapter 11. In each chapter, what was he depending on to give him success? Why had his attitudes changed?
(4) Read again Samuelís words in verses 13 and 14. What kind of government did God want to rule his people? What kind of king did God want? Compare your answer with the government and the king that Hannah spoke about in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.
Read chapter 14, then discuss these questions:
(1) Compare the description of Saulís army in verse 2 with his enemyís army in 1 Samuel 13:5. Why do you think that Saul did not run away? What would have happened if Saul had run away?
(2) How do Jonathanís words in verse 6 show faith (active belief and trust in God)? How did Jonathan test that his faith was real? Compare Jonathanís attitudes during this battle with Saulís attitudes.
(3) What instruction did Saul give in order to force his men to fight hard? Why did Jonathan disagree with Saulís instruction?
(4) Read Leviticus 17:10. What did Saul do so that his men would not offend against Godís law?
(5) Read Exodus 20:12. What duties does an adult have towards his parents? Compare your answer with Mark 7:9-13. Why, then, did Israelís men rescue Jonathan from punishment?
Read chapter 15, then discuss these questions:
(1) Read Deuteronomy 25:17-19. Why may God wait for several hundred years before he carries out a judgement? Compare your answer with Genesis 15:16 and 2 Peter 3:7-9.
(2) How did Saul not obey Godís command? What excuses did Saul give? What did he want to do with the animals?
(3) What do Samuelís words in verses 22 and 23 mean? Why is it more important to obey God than to give gifts to him? Why do many people only want to give God their gifts, and not their lives?
(4) In verses 26-28, why did God remove Saulís authority to rule Israel?
(5) Discuss the description of Godís character in verse 29. Compare that verse with James 1:17 and Hebrews 13:8. What is your reaction to the fact that God does not change? Also, discuss Exodus 34:6-7, which describes Godís perfect character.
Read chapter 16, then discuss these questions:
(1) Read about some other occasions when God chose the younger members of families and not their more important brothers. See Genesis 21:1-12; Genesis 25:21-34 and Genesis 37:1-11. How does this teach the lesson in 1 Samuel 2:7-8? Why does God often choose people who are not important?
(2) Discuss Godís words in verse 7. What matters most about a person in Godís opinion? How does that differ from the opinions that most people have?
(3) Read verses 13-14. How important was the Holy Spirit in Davidís life and in Saulís life? Read Galatians 3:1-5 and Romans 8:9-11. Why is the Holy Spirit important for Christians?
(4) What evidence is there in chapter 16 that David served God loyally?
Read chapter 17, then discuss these questions:
(1) Read verse 26. What did David believe about the relationship between Israel and God? Why, therefore, was he not afraid of Goliath?
(2) Compare Eliabís reaction in verse 28 with the reaction of Josephís brothers to his dreams, in Genesis 37:19-20.
(3) Read verses 34-37. What had David learnt from his experiences when he looked after the sheep? How did he believe that he could defeat such a strong enemy? Show how he was trusting God, and not his own strength or skill.
(4) Which verse shows that Goliath was trusting his gods, and not merely his own strength, for the fight against David?
(5) Read verses 45-47. Prepare a list of the things that David expected God to do in the battle. What would the events of that day prove?
(6) Which of the statements in 1 Samuel 2:1-10 did Davidís success against Goliath prove?
Read chapter 18, then discuss these questions:
(1) Show how, in each part of this chapter, Saulís attitudes towards David became worse.
(2) Show how, in each part of this chapter, David became more successful and important. What was God doing in Davidís life?
(3) In each part of the chapter, how did the opinions of Israelís people towards David develop? What was Saulís reaction to this?
(4) Explain how we should deal with jealous, angry and fearful feelings. Show how Saul did not deal with these feelings in a right or proper manner.
Read chapter 19, then discuss these questions:
(1) What reasons did Jonathan give why Saul should not kill David? Read Proverbs 15:1-9. Discuss how Jonathanís words showed true wisdom. Why do people so often choose to follow their emotions and not to accept wise advice? Why did Saul do that after he had promised not to kill David?
(2) If a person does not deal with his wrong emotions, they may soon cause him to make wicked plans. Show how this happened to Saul in this chapter.
(3) What lies did Michal tell in this chapter? Why did she tell lies? Is it necessary for someone who trusts God to tell lies in a desperate situation? Is there another way to deal with such dangers? Read Luke 21:12-15.
(4) Discuss how often God protected David in this chapter. What different methods did God use to protect him?
(5) What evidence is there in this chapter that God was still working in Saulís life? What should Saul have done in order to return to God? What must we do if we have offended God by our behaviour?
Read chapter 20, then discuss these questions:
(1) Read 1 Samuel 18:1-4 and 1 Samuel 23:16-18. Discuss the kind of love that Jonathan showed as Davidís friend. What covenants (serious promises) did they make to each other?
(2) Who did Saul believe would become king after his death? What was his reaction to that? Who did Jonathan believe would become king then? What was Jonathanís opinion about that?
(3) Discuss why David and Jonathan considered it necessary to be loyal to each other, to their king, and to God. What evidence is there of those loyal attitudes in this chapter?
(4) How important did David and Jonathan consider their relationship to God to be in this situation?
Read chapter 21, then discuss these questions:
(1) How had Nob become an important town for the purposes of religion? What sacred objects were there and what ceremonies did the priests carry out there? Why was Nob less important than Shiloh had been? Discuss the events in chapters 2 to 4 which caused these changes.
(2) Read the rules about the sacred bread in Leviticus 24:5-9. Why did David not have the right to eat it? Why did the priest give it to him? Compare your answer with Mark 2:23-28. What lesson did Jesus teach about this incident?
(3) What evidence is there in this chapter that David was not yet trusting God completely? How would David have behaved differently if he was trusting God completely? Can you recognise any evidence in your own life that you are not trusting God completely?
(4) Read Psalm 34 which David wrote after the incident in verses 10-15. What lessons had he learnt?
Read chapter 22, then discuss these questions:
(1) What kind of people supported David at Adullam? What kind of people were opposing him? Read Psalm 57, which David probably wrote at this time.
(2) What different methods did Saul use to control people? Read Mark 10:42-45 then discuss those methods. What should be a Christianís attitude to the use of such methods? Also, read Romans 13:1-10.
(3) Of what crime did Saul accuse David? Whom else did Saul accuse of that crime? What evidence is there in this chapter that Saul had no proper reason to hate David?
(4) Explain how Doegís actions were even more cruel than Saul had ordered.
(5) Does it surprise you that David accepted the blame for the deaths of the priests? What does that fact show about Davidís character?
Read chapter 23, then discuss these questions:
(1) Discuss why we should pray for God to guide us. How was God directing David in this chapter? Discuss some of the occasions when God guided Christians in the Book of Acts (for example, Acts 8:26-31; Acts 9:10-17 and Acts 13:1-3). Read Psalm 23:1-3.
(2) How did Jonathan help David? How can we encourage our friends to be strong in their relationship with God?
(3) Why did Jonathan want David to be Israelís next king? Why did Jonathan believe that David would be king?
(4) Why did Saul bless the people called Ziphites in the name of God? Discuss what Deuteronomy 5:11 says about that. Read Davidís description of the Ziphites in Psalm 54.
(5) In verses 26-29, what evidence is there that God saved David from Saul?
Read chapter 24, then discuss these questions:
(1) Some people do not consider it wrong to carry out an evil deed if the result will be something good. What was Davidís opinion about that idea? Read verse 13.
(2) In verses 6 and 10, what reason did David give why he would not attack Saul? Why did David consider the ceremony called the anointing to be so important? What kind of relationship still existed between Saul and God?
(3) Read Matthew 5:38-48. How did Jesus say that Christians should deal with their enemies? Compare your answer with how David acted in this chapter.
Read chapter 25, then discuss these questions:
(1) Whose responsibility was it to pay Davidís men for their work as guards? Why did David believe that he ought to attack Nabal and his servants? Whose rights was David trying to defend?
(2) Read 1 Corinthians 9:7-10. What does the Bible teach about a workerís right to receive wages? Why then was David wrong to act as he did?
(3) Discuss the difference between Davidís attitude towards Saul (1 Samuel chapter 24) and his attitude towards Nabal. Whom was David trusting to deal with Saul? How did Abigail urge him to have a similar attitude towards Nabal?
(4) What did Abigail believe that God would do in the future for David? Read about how other people believed the same thing: Samuel (16:1-13), Israelís women (18:7), Jonathan (23:17), Davidís men (24:4) and Saul (24:20). Show how Abigail expressed Godís promises to David more clearly than any of them.
Read chapter 26, then discuss these questions:
(1) Explain how Abishai intended to make David king. Why did David consider that plan to be evil and wrong?
(2) What punishment did David consider that Saul deserved for his evil deeds? How did David think that Saul might receive that punishment? Why did David consider that God - and not David himself - should act against Saul?
(3) Discuss the connection between Israelís people, their land, and God. Read how God gave that land to them in Genesis 15:18-20; Genesis 28:13-15 and Numbers 33:50-54. Why did David not want to leave Israel?
(4) In verse 21, Saul confessed his evil deeds, but he did not return to God. Discuss why people do that.
Read chapter 27, then discuss these questions:
(1) Read some of the previous references to Gath in the Book of 1 Samuel (5:6-10; 17:4; 21:10-15). What religion did people follow in Philistia? Why did David think that he would be safer there?
(2) Read some of the references to the robbers who lived in the desert south of Israel and Philistia (15:2; 15:33; 30:1-2). How did the actions of Davidís men against those robbers benefit Israelís people? How did Philistiaís people benefit? Why did David not want King Achish to know about these activities?
(3) Read 2 Samuel 15:18-21. Why do you think that so many people from Gath became loyal to David?
(4) Why did King Achish want Israelís people to hate David? What in fact was the attitude of Israelís people to David at this time? Read 1 Samuel 30:26.
(5) Read 1 Chronicles 12:1-22, which describes some of Davidís group of 600 men.
Read chapter 28, then discuss these questions:
(1) Read Deuteronomy 18:9-14; 1 Corinthians 10:20 and Revelation 22:14-15. Why does the Bible warn so strongly against witchcraft? What other activities do these verses warn us against?
(2) Discuss how Saulís attitude towards witchcraft changed in verses 3 to 7. What caused that change?
(3) Why did God not answer Saulís prayers in verse 6? Read Isaiah 59:1-3.
(4) Where do Hebrews 12:22-24 and Luke 16:22-26 say that the spirits of Godís people are after death? Where did the woman say that Samuelís spirit came from?
(5) Read John 8:44 and 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12. Why does the devil tell lies? What is the effect of those lies on people who refuse to serve God? What was the effect of this experience on Saul?
Read chapter 29, then discuss these questions:
(1) Read 1 Samuel 27:8-11. What did David do to support Israelís people while he lived in Philistia? Read 1 Samuel 24:6-13. Did David want to fight against Israel or against Saul? Why, then, did he try to join Philistiaís army? Read Romans 13:1-7. What is the right attitude for us to have towards the rulers of the countries where we live?
(2) For what reason did Philistiaís commanders refuse to allow David to fight? Do you think that, in fact, God was directing Davidís actions? Compare this incident with the way that God stopped Davidís attack on Nabal (25:30-34).
(3) Discuss Achishís description of Davidís character (verses 6-9). Does it agree with our knowledge about David from elsewhere in the Book of 1 Samuel? Find some Bible passages about the kind of character that Godís people should have (for example, Psalm 15; Ephesians 4:22-32; 2 Peter 1:5-7).
Read chapter 30, then discuss these questions:
(1) Explain why so many of Davidís men were too tired to fight the robbers. What had happened to Davidís men during the last few days?
(2) Why were there so many robbers in that region? From whom were they stealing? Read how Saul (15:1-9) and David (27:8-11) had previously attacked groups of robbers there.
(3) Discuss why David decided to reward all his men after the battle. What does that show us about Davidís character? Does God act in a similar manner? Read Matthew 20:1-16. What lesson was Jesus teaching in that passage? In what ways were Davidís attitudes similar to the fatherís attitudes in Luke 15:11-32?
Read chapter 31, then discuss these questions:
(1) Read about Davidís reaction to Saulís death (2 Samuel 1:11-12). Also, read the sad song that he wrote (2 Samuel 1:17-27). What is the right reaction for us to have when an enemy suffers? Read Matthew 5:43-48.
(2) How did Philistiaís army express their happiness at the death of Saul? How did they give honour for their success to their (false) gods?
(3) Read 1 Samuel 11:1-11. Why did the inhabitants of Jabesh consider it so important to bury Saulís body properly? Read Davidís message to them in 2 Samuel 2:4-7.
(4) Saulís death happened near the place that the Book of Revelation calls Armageddon. Read Revelation 16:16. Then read 1 Samuel 2:1-10. The defeat of wicked rulers is necessary to establish the rule of the king whom God has chosen. Who was that king at the end of 1 Samuel? Who is the king whom God has chosen in the Book of Revelation? Read Revelation 22:16.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.