Identity in Christ Bible Study

Our goal is to provide a practical resource for you, your small group, or your family, that can be easily implemented and applied. It is centered on the theme of each issue.
For this edition we’ve created a four-week Bible study on Christian identity. It is good to remember that any discussion of human sexuality falls under the broader umbrella of identity. Sexuality is an important part of who we are, but it is not the
only part.
Each week, read the assigned Scripture along with the devotional, and answer the reflection questions. An action step is provided for you or your small group to live out what you have been learning over the previous four weeks.


“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Gen 1:31a, emphasis mine). This is God’s declaration after creating Adam and Eve. In all of creation, only humans bear the image of God. As a master artist paints a self-portrait on canvas, so God paints us as a likeness of himself. We embody his image. God loves our bodies because he created them. They are intrinsically good, not evil. Male and female bodies were not the result of the Fall into sin, but part of God’s original design of humans. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” “knitted together in [our] mother’s womb” (Ps 139:13). Ultimately, God cared enough about our bodies to become embodied himself, taking on human flesh, and tabernacling among us (John 1:14). Through faith, he makes a way for us to one day dwell with him in heaven forever, not just our souls, but with our resurrected, glorified bodies (Phil 3:21). The scope of God’s endgame is even grander than “saving souls.” He will not rest until he has rescued us body and soul.

Reflection Questions
  1. What surprises you most about the Creation narrative in Genesis 1? 
  2. Read Psalm 139:13-16. How does David describe our bodies?
  3. What do you see when you look in the mirror? Is it hard to believe you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”? Why or why not?


Weddings nowadays are elaborate affairs. Venues must be booked months if not years in advance, food and drink carefully chosen, and seating arrangements painstakingly coordinated. In contrast to this, the very first wedding scene in Genesis 2:22-24 is strikingly simple: There is a groom, a bride, a rib, and an officiant: God. God saw Adam’s need for intimate human relationship, and he moved to meet that need. In God’s good Creation, one thing was not good: Adam was alone. So God provided a helper suitable for him (Gen 2:18). The word “helper” is used elsewhere to describe the role of God himself in relation to humans, so it carries no connotation of inferiority. The word “suitable” is also key. The idea here is that Adam and Eve were a good and proper fit, with the woman (isha, in Hebrew) literally being formed from the man (ish, in Hebrew). This is God’s original intention for marriage, sexuality, and gender. Anything less falls short of his design. Our identities are given by God, not self-determined. Everything is a gift. God gives Adam and Eve their gender, he gives them to one another in marriage, and he gives them the joy of being fruitful and multiplying. Ultimately, God gives us the gift of telling us who we are, rather than leaving us to our own devices to figure out our identities on our own.

Reflection Questions
  1. What do you observe about the marriage relationship in these verses?
  2. When in your life have you experienced loneliness? Why are human relationships such a crucial part of God’s design?
  3. How can we as a church best position ourselves to minister to those experiencing loneliness? How does the brokenness of our identities—sexual, gender, or otherwise—contribute to loneliness?


This is where it all goes south. Satan begins his temptation by planting a seed of doubt, and it snowballs from there: “Did God really say?” (v. 1, emphasis mine). Eve then misquotes God’s prohibition. God never actually said she could not touch the tree—only that she should not eat of it. This seed of doubt continues to grow until vv. 4-5, when Satan flat-out contradicts God’s Word by convincing Eve that God is holding out on her. She and Adam sin, eat the fruit, break the world, and suffer the consequences. We have been reaping the bitter harvest ever since. Sin always leads to death. It separates us from God, from the world, from one another, and—most importantly for our purposes—from ourselves. Sin puts us at odds with ourselves, introducing conflict between who we believe we are and who God says we are. This, ultimately, is why we suffer from disorders like anxiety, depression, fear, and gender dysphoria. All brokenness can be traced back to the Fall.

Reflection Questions
  1. What role do deception and doubt play in the events of Genesis 3? 
  2. What were the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin (see vv. 14-19)? 
  3. Read Romans 1:18-32. What happens when we exchange God’s truth for lies? How can sexuality or gender become an idol?

WEEK FOUR: LUKE 10: 25-37

In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus tells the story of a man beaten, stripped, and left for dead by the side of the road. A well-manicured priest fresh off of Temple duty comes along, but he is too concerned about his own ritual purity to be bothered. He’s filled his ministry quota for the day. Along comes a Levite, another vocational minister, and he too turns up his nose and passes by. Finally, a mixed-race Samaritan enters the scene and takes compassion on the man. He pours oil and wine on his wounds, gently bandages them, and transports him to a local care facility, footing the medical bill out of his own pocket. The point is clear: Jesus is our good Samaritan. He meets us where we are–bruised, beaten, and bloodied by the consequences of our sin–and he is moved with compassion. The Greek verb used in v. 33 (splagchnizomai) literally means “he was moved in his most inward parts; in his entrails.” Whenever Jesus encounters wounded sinners, he feels for them in his gut. He is moved to action, meeting us where we are—even if it’s right at the scene of the crime. He is unafraid of being polluted by our mess. He picks us up, bandages our sin-festering wounds, and pays the cost for our healing with his holy and precious blood. Unlike the priest and the Levite who found their identities elsewhere, our identity as believers is firmly grounded in Christ. We have been “joined with the Lord” and “become one spirit with him” (1 Cor 6:17). Our bodies are not our own, but have been bought with a price and are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19-20). In light of these new identities, Jesus’ exhortation at the end of the parable is crystal clear: “You go, and do likewise” (v. 37b, ESV). 

Reflection Questions
  1. Describe the priest and Levite. Where did they find their identities? What about the Samaritan?
  2. Jesus tells this parable in response to a Jewish lawyer seeking to justify himself, expanding the man’s understanding of the word “neighbor” to include people that the Israelites would have viewed as outcasts. What people are considered outcasts today?   
  3. How might Jesus be challenging you to “go and do likewise”?


The issue of identity could be boiled down to how people answer one simple question: “Who am I?” As a group, identify four families (possibly the same ones from last month’s Bible study) and write down how you think they might respond to that question. What things are important to them? Then, make it a point to learn one new thing about that particular family each week. If you’re really brave, you could do a survey to see how people respond to the question, “Who are you?” Just be prepared to give an answer of your own, prayerfully considering how you might witness as the Lord leads.

List the names here:
  1. ____________________________________
  2. ____________________________________
  3. ____________________________________
  4. ____________________________________
Rev. Luke Kjolhaug is Pastor at Elim Lutheran Church in Osakis, Minnesota.

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