Reformer Martin Luther used the word “vocation” or “calling” to refer to all aspects of human life. We are called to respond to God not just in our personal relationship with God but in our relationships with family and friends, in our work, and in our communities. This four-part Bible study will explore stories from both the Old and New Testament. As we reflect on how our biblical forebears heard and responded to God’s call, we will gain insight into how God is calling us—and how God may be calling others through us.
Session 1: Hearing God’s Call
This session focuses on men and women in the Old Testament. Some of them heard and recognized God’s call clearly. Others struggled to realize that it was God who was calling them or exactly what God was calling them to do. What can we learn from their stories?
Session 2: The Call of Jesus
This session focuses on Jesus’ calling of the disciples, on Jesus’ call to Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus, and on Jesus’ call to all Christians to take up the cross and follow. As Christians, how do we see ourselves in these stories today? How do we respond to the call of Jesus?
Session 3: Called to Serve
Jesus is clear that one of the central ways we respond to God’s call is by serving others. When we serve others, we are recognizing Christ present in their need. When we serve others, they see Christ visible in our loving service. This session engages scriptural texts that help us focus on the questions, “Who is my neighbor, and what does my neighbor need?”
Session 4: Calling Networks
The title of this Bible study, “We Are Called!” reminds us that calling is not something private or individualistic. Our callings are always interwoven with our relationships and our communities. This session focuses on how we support others in hearing and responding to God’s call.
About the author
The Rev. Kathryn A. Kleinhans, Ph.D., serves as dean of Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.