Bible study ideas
Activities for groups and individuals
Women in films
Stage 1: Make up a list
List your favorite films about family relationships. You can choose recent films or classics. If this is a group activity, you’ll want to choose films most people know.
Stage 2: Think about your list – what does it tell you?
- Have you chosen films that are realistic, showing the nitty-gritty of family life, or do you prefer films that are inspiring/uplifting?
- Do your favorites have both these qualities?
- What does this say about you and what you need in a story?
Stage 3: Choose your favourite one
- What are the central relationships in this film? Mother/daughter, father/son, lovers, friends, sisters, etc?
- Is the relationship shown in a realistic light?
- Do any of the scenes remind you of your own life or experiences?
- Or does the film express what you would like to have in your own relationships?
Stage 4: Think about your choices
- Group activity: discuss these questions, making sure everyone in the group has a chance to talk about their ideas.
- Individual activity: sit down for a few minutes and focus your mind; make a quick list of your favorites; read through the Stage 3 questions, and think about them while you do other tasks in your day.
Movies about loyalty and friendship
- Can you name the movies these photos are taken from?
- Can you see a connection, or a common idea they share with Ruth’s story?
Answers at MOVIE QUIZ ANSWERS – RUTH.
Can you think of other movies with a similar theme about love and loyalty?
Debate: Marriage: arranged, or for love?
Debate Topic: ‘that arranged marriages have a better chance of success than marriages for love’.
The debate can be as formal (with a panel of judges and an audience) or informal (around the kitchen table) as you wish.
- Divide into two groups, one to argue for the statement, one to argue against.
- Make a list of points that support your argument, and points the other side may raise.
- Decide who will speak on behalf of the group.
- Nominate a chairperson to regulate the debate. You may also have a panel of judges if this is a formal debate.
- Find out the rules for debating; make sure everyone knows these rules.
- Hold the debate.
- Listen to feedback from each person who spoke.
- Have a debriefing session where members of the team speak about the experience, with appropriate feedback and opinions.
In defense of a good woman
The story of Ruth is set in the period of the Judges before the birth of King David, when the Jewish tribes were battling for survival.
But it was almost certainly written down much later, after the exile in Babylon, when the Jewish people had returned to Jerusalem an were trying to re-establish their identity. At that crucial time the leaders of the people decreed that
- Jews could not marry foreign women
- Jewish men had to divorce foreign wives and take Jewish wives instead.
The Book of Ruth is a protest against these new laws. It describes a foreign woman (Ruth) who was not only a loyal member of a Jewish family, but an ancestress of King David, the great national hero of the Jewish people.
Read Ruth’s story in the Book of Ruth
Contrast it with the stories of other foreign women, such as
Jezebel, an autocratic queen who dominated her husband King Ahab, or
Potiphar’s Wife, a sexually promiscuous Egyptian.
Focus questions for the story of Ruth
1. What interests you most about the story?
2. In the story, who speaks and who listens? Who acts? Who gets what they want?
3. If you were in the story, which person would you want to be friends with? Which person would you avoid?
4. The narrator/editor 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? For example, why does Ruth choose not to go back to her family? Why does Orpah choose instead to leave Naomi?
5. Is the story relevant in some way to your own life, or to the modern world? Does it remind you of some aspect of your own story?
You’ll find a Step-by-step Guide to Mediations on the story of Ruth and Naomi at
- Meditation: Helping Each Other Through Life. Lessons from the story of Ruth and Naomi
- Meditation: Trust God
When You Don’t Know Where Life Is Going
Paintings of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz
Paintings of Ruth & Naomi has 20 famous paintings of the story of Ruth
Read Ruth – a love story
Go to Ruth: famous paintings.
Scroll through the paintings from first to last.
- Which part of the story of Ruth has been the most popular with artists?
- Would this have been your choice?
- Artists paint what they want to paint, but they also paint with their audience in mind. Look at the paintings again. Who is the painting directed at? Explain your reasoning.
If you have chosen something different, ask yourself why this other incident appeals to you more than the scene favored by the artists. Spend some time quietly thinking about your response.
Acting the part
- Imagine that you are one of the people mentioned in the story of Ruth.
- Assume their persona, then try answering some questions.
1. You are a woman of Bethlehem who greets Naomi and Ruth on their return.
- What is your reaction to the return of Naomi, whom you have not seen for years?
- How has she changed?
- What do you think of the new woman, a Moabite, whom Naomi has brought with her? Remember that Moabites are traditional enemies of people who live in Bethlehem.
2. You are one of the workers in the field.
- What is your opinion of your employer Boaz?
- What do you see going on between Boaz and the newly arrived foreign woman, Ruth?
- What do you think about it?
- Describe the scene, and your reaction.
3. You are one of the elders at the city gates.
You are expected to have a wise opinion on everything. You are aware of rumors about Boaz and Ruth, and you have known Boaz and Naomi for many years.
- What do you think about recent events concerning these three?
- What are your opinions about the people involved?
- Now describe the scene, and your reaction.
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