These studies do not tell you what the Bible says. The scriptures given direct you to specific topics. The questions are intended to help you focus on the study. No answers are given. You have to read and search the scriptures for the answers. We encourage you to use Bible helps such as concordances and commentaries. However, scholars and theologians often disagree on interpretation and application. The best study help comes from God. Pray. Allow yourself to be honest with your reactions, but don't jump to conclusions. It takes time to read and meditate on all the Bible says on various topics. Feel free to ask questions in your prayers. You will be amazed to discover that God does answer the sincere seeker. You will also be surprised that the Bible may not say what you might think it does on many subjects. Keep a notebook. A loose leaf one would make it possible to add thoughts and additional information as you learn more about different subjects. Welcome to an exciting search.

Print out version.  (This is 5 pages long, without the introduction and with space for answering questions.)


Bible Study Guide: 

Root of Bitterness

By Scarlett Stough

To prepare for this study, please read the Women in Christ commentary, Michal and I Samuel 18:1-28; 19:11-24; II Samuel 3:1-20; 6:1-23

Part I. Michal's Example

1. I Samuel 18:6-19 Why do you think Saul was suspicious of David? Why would he plot to have David killed by the Philistines instead of openly executing him?

2. I Samuel 18:20-25 How did Saul plan to use Michal's love for David against him?

3. I Samuel 18:18, 23-26 What do you think David's motive was in seeking a marriage with Michal? Explain why you think so?

4. I Samuel 18:22-30; 19:1-11 When David returns alive with twice the requested dowry, what effect did this have on Saul?

5. I Samuel 19:11-17 David had already escaped. Why would Michal lie to her father? What effect would this lie have on Saul's attitude toward David? What effect would it have on the relationship between Michal and David? (David would learn of it because it became a matter of public record.)

6. I Samuel 25:44; II Samuel 3:1-5; 3:6-20 What do you think these years were like for Michal? How did Phaltiel express his love for Michal? Was David treating Michal with respect that love engenders? Why do you think he wanted Michal back? Was this a righteous act? (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)

7. II Samuel 6:1-23; I Chronicles 15:29 What two sides of David's character is revealed in this account? What does Michal's heart response tell you about her relationship with God especially in contrast to David's?

8. David too often followed his natural impulses, but he learned from his mistakes; confessed them when he became aware of them; and turned from his sins to God. He put his trust in God. Michal also followed her natural impulses. What was the defining difference between David and Michal's characters? What can you learn from this tragic situation to apply to your life?

Part II Grace or Bitterness?

(The Greek word, Pikria, translated “bitter” or “bitterness” means “acridity” especially poison. From The New Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.)

1. Hebrews 12:14-17 What comes to your mind when you hear the word “bitter” or “bitterness“ applied to a person? How does “a bitter root” hinder the grace of God? What was at the heart of Esau’s failing to receive the favor of God in spite of his seeking it with tears? What can counteract this “poison?”

2. Deuteronomy 29:9-18 The writer of Hebrews alluded to this passage in his reference to “a root of bitterness” (KJV) or “bitter root” (NIV). What is the root that produces this spiritual poison?

3. Acts 8:18-24 Do you think Peter was correcting Simon for a negative emotion? (“You are full of bitterness”, NIV; “in the gall of bitterness”, KJV.) What do you think was the source of Simon’s bitterness? What sin held him captive? What advice did Peter give Simon the Sorcerer regarding his “root of bitterness?” 

4. Romans 3:9-18 What accompanies a “root of bitterness” and what is its source? Did Michal have a choice in her response to the injustices done to her? What would have been her best defense against the bitterness she allowed to grow? What is your best defense against allowing anger and malice to consume your thoughts?

5. Ephesians 4:29-32 What action can you take to be certain that you receive and give the grace of God instead of being contaminated and destroyed by bitterness? How can you help a person you may have offended experience the grace of God?

6. Ephesians 5:1-5; Luke 23:34; Matthew 5:43-48 If anyone ever had a reason to be bitter and vengeful, Jesus did. But instead, he forgave us all for our part in rejecting and killing him. What have you learned from Michal's example and these New Testament exhortations that can help you grow in grace and avoid bitterness?