Rachel – Bible study activities
Deception – it’s everywhere
The story of Rachel is permeated with deception. Virtually everyone in the story is deceitful or deceived, at one point or another.
Make a list of some of the ways that deception occurs in the modern world – for example
- in the media which favors one point of view, politician or brand name
- in the reporting of news
- in advertising in all forms of the media
- in our personal lives: big lies, little lies
- or in any other forms you can think of.
Is it alright to tell a lie for a good cause?
Does it matter? Why, why not?
Give examples and discuss the impact this has on your life and world.
Making the best of a bad deal
Can you name these movies?
What are the main ideas behind these movies?
Can you see a connection with Rachel’s story?
Focus questions for the story of Rachel
2. In the story, who speaks and who listens? Who acts? Who gets what they want? If you were in the story, which person would you want to be friends with? Which person would you want to avoid?
3. What is God’s interaction with the main characters? What does this tell you about the narrator’s image of God? Do you agree with this image?
4. What is happening on either side of the story, in the chapters before and after it? Does this help you understand what is happening?
5. The narrator has chosen to tell some things and leave other things out. What has been left out of the story that you would like to know?
6. Are these types of people still present in the world? Does it remind you of some aspect of your own story?
Deciding what’s important
Jacob is prepared to work for seven years to get Rachel as his wife. She is prepared to wait seven years for him.
- Have there been things in your life that were so important that you were prepared to make great sacrifices to get/achieve them?
- Were they worth the wait and effort?
- What have been the most important people/things/events in your life?
- Were there things you thought were important that turned out to be a disappointment?
- Make lists of these items, and compare the items with someone else’s – or just spend some quiet time thinking about it by yourself.
Write Rachel’s biography
The story of Rachel and Jacob is the most famous love story in the Bible.
Rachel herself became a byword for womanly beauty, loyalty and steadfast love. We know quite a lot about her, but intriguingly there is much that must be imagined. For example
- What happened to her on the wedding night, when Jacob made love to her sister Leah?
- Did she have suspicions beforehand?
- What were her feelings towards Leah?
- How much did she and Jacob plan events when they escaped?
- Did she ever have doubts about Jacob, or was she privy to his thoughts all the time?
- What was it like for him when she died?
We can’t know the answers to these questions for certain, but we can have opinions.
Write a short biography of Rachel, or at least an outline of her life (see Bible Text: Rachel for help with this).
- Collect your data
- Organise it into time sequence or subject matter
- Match a Bible text to each time sequence or subject
- Read these texts carefully, noting the nuances of the passage and jotting down questions as you go
- Write character outlines for each person
- Divide Rachel’s life into separate sections
- Write a list of questions for each section
- Answer the questions, making each answer a paragraph or set of paragraphs; you must have grounds for arguing your point if it is contentious
- Read your responses from start to finish, to make sure you have the correct sequence of events and to spot any important bits you might have missed
- Polish your material by editing out unnecessary words or phrases
Congratulations. You’ve written Rachel’s biography.
In depth study of one person’s story
Choose one of the people in Rachel’s story and develop a visual presentation about them for your Bible Study Group.
The presentation should include
- a supporting picture/painting of each person
- a map of Israel showing the cities and areas where the story took place.
You may use other websites to support your ideas.
In your presentation, answer the following questions:
1. What are the main events of the person’s life?
2. What were their main qualities? What made them stand out from the crowd?
3. What obstacles did they face? Did they overcome them, or go with the flow?
4. Which part of their story appeals to you most? Why?
Include short quotations from the Bible texts to illustrate the points you are making.