The G.I.F.T. Challenge – Session I

If your group is ready to jump into an in-depth Bible study, this 6 week study from Amy Valdez Barker might be the right choice for you.  Be sure to celebrate at the end of the 6 weeks for a job well done!



By:  Amy Valdez Barker

PhD Student, CE and Congregational Studies

Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary


A 6 Week Bible Study

The GIFT Challenge is a 2-year session that challenges us to GROW in our relationship with God.  Each week we will be meeting and sharing our thoughts and reflections about the readings that we covered during the week.  The first three sessions bring us through most of the Old Testament.


Participation in GIFT Challenge Sessions

In order to receive a Certificate of Completion, you must participate in at least five out of the six weeks of the bible study and turned in the completed and signed daily reading log.


Challenge to Serve

At the end of each six-week session participants are invited to choose a ‘SERVE’ project and complete it before the next session.  SERVE challenge projects can include donating six hours of community service through helping in children’s ministry, participating in a mission project, volunteering in a school or other non-profit organization, etc.  Discuss with leaders your challenge to SERVE project.


Faith Partner

Reading through the scriptures can sometimes be challenging.  Having a faith partner willing to read through it with you is a great gift.  Invite a friend, mentor or adult leader to take the challenge with you and read through the scriptures while your reading through them.  Share the questions with them and try to touch base with them once a week to hear about their thoughts and reflections on the Word.



Here are some questions to think about as you read the scriptures:

1)    What did the scripture say to the people in that time and place?

2)    What does the scripture say to us today?

3)    What was the challenge that the people were facing?

4)    What is the challenge or challenges that you face today?

5)    What was the grace and hope offered through the story for the biblical people?

6)    What is the grace and hope offered to us through this story?


G.I.F.T. (Grow in faith & theology) Challenge

session I (6 Week Study)


Daily Bible Readings – Genesis—Deuteronomy (The Books of the Law; the Pentateuch)


Week 1: Genesis 1–34

_____ Day 1: Genesis 1–5 (two Creation accounts, first sin; Cain and Abel; Adam–Noah genealogy)

_____ Day 2: Genesis 6–11 (Noah and the flood, Noah’s descendants and Tower of Babel)

_____ Day 3: Genesis 12–19 (Call of Abram; Lot’s captivity/rescue; covenant, (Ishmael; sign of covenant; Sodom and Gomorrah)

_____ Day 4: Genesis 20–26 (Gerar; Isaac’s birth and sacrifice; Sarah’s death, (Isaac’s marriage; Abraham’s death; Abimelech)

_____ Day 5: Genesis 27-34 (Jacob’s blessing, escape, and marriages, Jacob and Esau reunion; Dinah’s rape)


Week 2: Genesis 35–50 & Exodus 1-10

_____ Day 1: Genesis 35–41 (Esau’s  descendants; Joseph’s dreams, Onan; Joseph’s dream interpretation)

_____ Day 2: Genesis 42–48 (Joseph’s brothers’ Egypt trip; Benjamin detained, Jacob’s family Goshen settlement)

_____ Day 3: Genesis 49–50 (Jacob’s death; Joseph’s forgiveness/death)

_____ Day 4: Exodus 1–7 (Moses’ birth, exile; burning bush, Moses and Aaron with Pharaoh; first plague)

_____ Day 5: Exodus 8–10 (plagues 2–9)


Week 3: Exodus 11 – 33

_____ Day 1: Exodus 11–14 (plague 10 and Passover institution, firstborn consecration; Red Sea)

_____ Day 2: Exodus 15–19 (songs of Moses and Miriam; manna, water from rock; Jethro’s advice; Mount Sinai)

_____ Day 3: Exodus 20–23 (commandments: 10, slaves, violence, property, laws: restitution, justice, festivals)

_____ Day 4: Exodus 24–28 (Moses on the mountain; instructions for the ark, tabernacle; altar; priestly vestments)

_____ Day 5: Exodus 29–33 (ordination; offerings; incense; basin, golden calf; Moses’ intercession)


Week 4: Exodus 34 – Leviticus 18

_____ Day 1: Exodus 34–40 (new tablets; Sabbath; tabernacle requirements, Ark; tabernacle; vestments; cloud and glory)

_____ Day 2: Leviticus 1–7 (offerings: burnt, grain, well-being, sin offerings; restitution; sacrifices)

_____ Day 3: Leviticus 8–12 (ordination; priesthood of Aaron and sons, clean and unclean foods; purification of women)

_____ Day 4: Leviticus 13–15 (leprosy; bodily discharges, Day of Atonement; animal slaughter; sex)

_____ Day 5: Leviticus 16-18 (holiness, holiness of priests; holy offerings)


Week 5: Leviticus 19 – Numbers 27

_____ Day 1: Leviticus 19-27 (festivals; tabernacle/blasphemy; sabbatical year, rewards for obedience; votive offerings)

_____ Day 2: Numbers 1–8 (first census of Israel, uncleanness; Nazirities; offerings; Levites)

_____ Day 3: Numbers 9–16 (Sinai Passover; desert complaining; jealousy, Canaan spies; rebellion; invasion; revolt)

_____ Day 4: Numbers 17–20 (priests/Levites; Meribah; Aaron’s death)

_____ Day 5: Numbers 21–27 (bronze serpent; Balaam, Baal; new census)


Week 6: Numbers 28 – Deuteronomy 22

_____ Day 1: Numbers 28–33 (offerings; women’s vows, war; conquest and division of land)

_____ Day 2: Numbers 34–36 (land boundaries; Levites’ cities; female heirs)

_____ Day 3: Deuteronomy 1–7 (desert years, commandments; chosen people)

_____ Day 4: Deuteronomy 8–14 (second tablets; rewards and consequences, prescribed practices to avoid paganism)

_____ Day 5: Deuteronomy 15–22 (festivals; worship; priestly rules, laws: property, war, women, kids, sex)


Week 7: Post-Class Reading

_____ Day 1: Deuteronomy 23–26 (laws: sanitation, marriage, tithes)

_____ Day 2: Deuteronomy 27–28 (curses; blessings; warnings)

_____ Day 3: Deuteronomy 29–31 (covenant renewal; Joshua’s succession)

_____ Day 4: Deuteronomy 32–34 (song of Moses; Moses’ death)

_____ Day 5: Write down your final reflections on THE LAW – Session I.



We will be using the Lectio Divina process for reading the scriptures during the six-weeks of our study.  Here is a guide to help you as you read the scriptures.

(Read – Reflect – Respond – Rest)

READ (lectio)

Read the chapters to yourself and look for the words or phrases that catch your attention.  Write them down.  Read the paragraph with the words or phrases that caught your attention again.

REFLECT (meditatio)

As you reread the word or phrase that stood out to you, pay attention to what you are thinking and feeling when you read it.  What images come to mind?  What thoughts does it generate?  Are there any specific memories that you have?  If so, write them down.

Continue to ask God to speak to you through this word.

RESPOND (oratio)

If you find yourself wanting to reply to God, write that down, too.  Write down and reflect what God might be saying to you through the scriptures.

REST (contemplatio)

This is part of a conversation with God.  If there are questions, thoughts, concerns that this scripture provokes in you, write them down and as we come together, we’ll share what God has shared with us.  For now, rest in the knowledge that God is speaking to you.


Yes, I completed all the reading for the Session I – Gift Challenge.


______________________________________________                                    ___________________

NAME                  (Signature)                                                                                          Date



Congratulations!  You have accepted the challenge to grow in your relationship with God by reading the scriptures!  This GIFT Challenge is designed to help you read the entire bible and discover the beauty, grace and hope in the stories of the biblical times and how they continue to encourage us and invite us to be faithful to the living God who we know and understand through our Savior, Jesus Christ.


We have a few guides to help us in our time together.  This covenant will be made in order to respect one another and respect the time that participants and teachers have set apart to learn to GROW in their faith.  We ask that you join us in this group Covenant so that we all might benefit from this experience of Divine communion and study with one another.




*We promise to fully participate in this six-week study by being present in body and in spirit at the bible studies each week.


*We promise to do our best to stick with the daily reading guides and set apart time to follow through on this commitment.


*We promise to respect one another and listen to one another during the bible study discussions.  Even if we do not agree with our peers, we will do our best to agree to disagree in Christian love.


*We promise to honor and respect the privacy of one another in our sharing.  We understand that this is a safe space to share and we honor one another by not gossiping about one another or sharing with anyone what is said in confidence to the group.


*We will do all we can to model the Christian life by God’s grace and mercy.


___________________________________________________   __________________

NAME                                                                                     DATE



  Amy Valdez Barker is a long time youth minister from the North Georgia Conference. She is currently a PhD student at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary working with the Vital Congregations Project.

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