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A deeper dive into our current series, Ruth.

Updated Weekly


Week 1 (October 8):   Ruth 1:1-14a

When Blessing Begins with Brokenness


  1. Begin by reading Ruth 1:1-5. During which biblical time period does Ruth take place?  What are some of the places mentioned?  Look at Judges 2:6-19;21:25 and Genesis 19, Numbers 25:1-5 & Deuteronomy 23:3-6. What stands out to you about the culture during this time and how Moabites were probably viewed by the Jews?
  2. In many ways, the book of Ruth is really Naomi’s story, whom many recent biblical scholars compare to Job. Look at Ruth 1 and Job 1:13-2:13, 6:1-10. Do you think it’s a fair comparison between Naomi and Job?  Why or why not?  Does framing the book of Ruth as a ‘Job story’ help make it more relatable to the suffering you see in the world or even in your own life?
  3. Where do you see the Lord mentioned specifically in Ruth 1:1-14? How do you think Naomi views God? At this point do you see the Lord working overtly in the story or in more hidden ways? How do you think this might relate to the idea of God’s sovereignty or his ultimate rule over all people, places and circumstances?


Here are some things to think and pray more about in the week ahead:

·      As we begin this journey into the book of Ruth, there are number of great resources that can help you dive deeper into its text and themes.  We will provide more in the weeks to come, but here are some to get you started:

§  The Book of Ruth Video study on Right Now Media: Bianca Juarez Olthoff (If you need a free subscription to RNM go here.)

§  Finding God in the Margins: The book of Ruth: Carolyn Custis James

§  Short video overview of the Book of Ruth: The Bible Project

§  Discovering the Gospel in Ruth: A short video by Tim Keller

§  The Gospel Coalition Podcast on key themes in Ruth: Christopher Ash

§  A Walk Through the Book of Ruth Discussion Guide: Walk thru the Bible Ministries

§  Ruth: Loss, Love & Legacy: A bible study by Kelly Minter


·      Ruth was written in a completely different time and culture than our own, and it would be easy to find the story of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz completely unrelatable and irrelevant to our lives.  But God has inspired all scripture to teach us and train us in the right way to live (2 Timothy 3:16).  Think this week on ways you can relate to the culture and characters in the book of Ruth:

  • What similarities do you notice between our world and their world (politically, culturally, religiously)?
  • How has loss and hardship in your own life shaped how you view God?


 Week 2 (October 15) : Ruth 1:14-22 

“The Presence of Goodness in Grief”

Even in the times of trials and setbacks, there can still be amazing expressions of hope and devotion. Through Ruth, Naomi experienced faithfulness in the midst of tragedy. Life’s tragedies can cause us to isolate ourselves, convinced we are abandoned by God. Yet He expresses His devotion to us…at times directly through the faithfulness of others!

  1. As Naomi begins her journey home to Bethlehem, her daughter-in-law Orpah weeps, affectionately saying goodbye, and chooses to remain in Moab. Consider Orpah’s decision. What factors influence decisions in your daily life? Have you ever chosen a path pragmatically without considering the potential spiritual impacts? What were the consequences?


  1. In verses 16-18, Ruth declares her loyalty and intention to stay with Naomi until death separates them. Sometimes these verses are read at weddings to poetically describe the depths of a lifelong commitment. “Your people will be my people, and your God my God,” Ruth says, rejecting her pagan culture and spirituality, to embrace Naomi’s lifestyle of faith in the one true God, Jehovah. What are the costs of this decision? What might have influenced her choice? Do any of your commitments echo Ruth’s depth of devotion?


  1. Naomi and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem, verses 19-22, creating a stir as people in town barely recognize Naomi, someone they used to know. While her name means “lovely or pleasant,” she tells them to call her Mara, or bitter. What experiences have culminated in Naomi’s changed appearance, her view of herself, her view of God? What emotions lie beneath her words?


Something to consider and do in the week ahead:

In this section, we see Ruth’s decision to embark on a life of faith in God, and Naomi’s crisis of belief as she struggles to continue her life of faith in God. Do your experiences right now resonate with either one of these women?

  • If you find yourself beginning your journey with Jesus, check out this opportunity to learn more about habits and practices of the faith that will help you grow in your relationship with Him. You can find out more about CORE HABITS at
  • If you’re experiencing a crisis of belief: Here’s an article that might help: or check out Scriptures, particularly in the Psalms, like Psalm 10:1-11 or the words of Jesus in John 16:33 or Matthew 11:28-30 or the apostle Peter’s teaching in 1 Peter 5:6-7.
  • Whether you are just beginning as a Jesus follower or have hit a time of doubt and crisis, it’s important to reach out to a trusted friend, the Forest Hill counseling center or a pastor. Telling someone about your new commitment to Christ or finding a safe place to admit your struggle is the place for growth and healing to begin. If you want someone to follow up with you and talk through your new faith or your struggles, fill out this prayer request form and we’ll follow-up.

Week 3 (October 22) : Ruth 2:1-13

“Diligence in Difficulty”

During adversity, when we are disoriented with grief, confusion, or depression, sometimes the next step is one of diligence to the next simple thing we can do. Rather than passively waiting for the miraculous, Ruth simply “goes to work”. That decision launches her into involvement in the larger work of God in her and through her life.

  1. Although Naomi and Ruth face an uphill battle to provide for themselves in Bethlehem, Ruth willingly gets to work, seeking a field where she can glean grain. Gleaning is first mentioned in the Bible in Leviticus 19:9, where God commands the Israelites to allow the poor to follow behind reapers and pick up what’s left behind, as a provision for anyone who has little or no means to support themselves. What does this command reveal about the heart and character of God? How might you extend mercy, kindness and generosity this week?
  1. In these verses, we’re introduced to someone new, a relative of Naomi named Boaz. What do we learn about him and his social standing? What do his behavior and words reveal about his character? Notice the conversation between Boaz and Ruth in verses 8-13. What does Boaz offer and why? How does Ruth respond?
  2. Beginning a new chapter of her life in Bethlehem, Ruth’s old identity follows her. Notice in Ruth 1:22, 2:2, 2:6 and 2:10, where she’s described as a Moabitess or foreigner. Second Corinthians 5:17 says in Christ we’re a new creation; the old passed away, the new has come. Is there an aspect of who you used to be that you need to let go of in order to embrace your new identity in Jesus?


Something to consider and do in the week ahead:

As we consider this part of Ruth, some might see fortunate “coincidences”. Others would call it providence. Providence is God’s activity in wisdom and love, where He cares for and directs all things. Where in your own life have you observed an interplay of human decisions and divine providence?

Spend some time this week thanking God for His providential care in your life.

Week 4 (October 29) : Ruth 2:13-23

“When Bitterness Meets Breakthrough”

Experiencing simple acts of kindness and generosity is often how people who are overwhelmed by life’s harsh realities discover hope to move forward being less burdened and more fulfilled. This doesn’t mean that all of their difficulties are resolved.  Instead, they  begin to sense that they are seen by God as His provision demonstrates His grace and breaks through their bitterness.


  1. The Hebrew word “hesed” is an important word in the Bible and a key word in the book of Ruth. This week, we see it when Naomi says to Ruth, “He has not stopped showing his kindness (hesed) to the living and the dead” (Ruth 2:20). The translation “kindness” doesn’t begin to show the full meaning of this robust Hebrew word. Watch this short Bible Project video on the word hesed or read this short definition and learn more and see where else you find hesed in the book of Ruth and throughout the BibleHow would you describe hesed?  Where have you experienced hesed in your life from God or others?


  1. Read Ruth 2:20 again. Who do you think Naomi is referring to when she says ‘he’ has not stopped showing kindness (hesed)? Why do you think the scripture leaves this ambiguous?  How has Naomi’s perspective on her life has changed since she first arrived in Bethlehem (Ruth 1:19-20)?  Who helped change her perspective?


  1. The book of Ruth is both a small story of single family and a larger story of who God is and how He works in the world. Look back at Ruth 1 and 2. How have you seen Ruth represent people who are not yet part of God’s family?  How have you seen Boaz represent God?

Something to consider and do in the week ahead:

  • You could be a “Boaz” in someone else’s life. Providing practical help to someone who is overwhelmed by the challenges of life can help them realize that they are seen and loved by God. Here are some simple ways to give practically with some of our outreach partners:
    • Congregations for Kids and their “CareNow” networks provides food, clothing and other immediate needs to children, families and young adults in the child welfare system. You can find out more and meet a need here:
    • Project 658 supports refugee and other at-risk families in the Charlotte area, and you can provide food bags and meet other practical needs of those families. Learn more here:
    • Defend the Fatherless of York County provides a clothing closet, frozen meals, groceries and other needs to support local foster and adoptive families. You can donate and learn more here:

Week 6 (November 12) : Ruth 3:1-18 

“Participation with Anticipation”

The rhythm of pursuing God involves a blend of taking definitive action steps and waiting for next steps, and also having a willingness to embrace God’s will both in the action and the waiting. This part of Ruth and Boaz’s story reminds us that while in are not in control of outcomes, we are responsible for being receptive and responsive to God’s direction as He fulfills the mystery of His will in, for, and through us.


  1. The cultural differences between today and the Ancient Near East in 1100 BC can make this part of Ruth hard to understand. There is debate among scholars on what Naomi’s instructions to Ruth could have meant and how dishonorably things could have gone. However, there is no debate about Ruth’s bravery or her honorable actions towards Naomi and Boaz.  How do you think Ruth felt in this situation? How do you see her demonstrating boldness and humility? 


  1. Naomi describes Boaz as a ‘relative’ in Ruth 3:2, but Ruth calls him a Kinsman-Redeemer (Ruth 3:9). Read Ruth 3:6-13, then look at Deuteronomy 25:5-9. Describe a Kinsman-Redeemer. Who benefits most from a marriage between Ruth and Boaz—Naomi, Ruth or Boaz? How does the use of different word for their relationship to Boaz show that each woman could have different reasons to propose the marriage? What do you learn about them from this difference?


  1. In Ruth 3:11, Boaz calls Ruth, “a worthy or virtuous woman”. The Hebrew word he uses is “hayil” which means strong, powerful, valiant, mighty and able, and it’s often used to describe an army.  Why would Boaz use this word to describe Ruth? How have you seen Ruth act as a woman of “hayil” thus far in the story?

Something to consider and do in the week ahead:

  • Ruth is a bold risk-taker who demonstrates faith in a God that she is just starting to follow (Ruth 1:16). Consider the connection between faith and risk.  When have you taken a foolish risk that was not an act of faith? On the other hand, can you have faith if you don’t risk anything?   Where is a place in your life where you need to demonstrate faith by taking a risk even if the outcome isn’t guaranteed?
  • Ruth is an example to all of us—men and women—of obedience, humility, strength and courage. What qualities of Ruth do you most see in yourself?  Now think of someone else that you see these characteristics in, perhaps a family member, co-worker or close friend.  Send them a text or write them a note telling them the way you see God at work in and through them.

Week 7 (November 19) : Ruth 4:1-12

“The Risk of Righteousness”


This section of Ruth describes a cultural practice of redemption. If a relative fell onto hard times as Naomi had, a male relative had the privilege or responsibility to act on behalf of the relative in need. This kinsman-redeemer could “buy back” what his relative was forced to sell.

With a desire to act on behalf of Ruth and Naomi, Boaz promptly gathers the elders at the city gate, as was required by the law. Fear might have led him to secretly undermine the closer kinsman and privately strike a deal with Naomi, but he doesn’t. Instead he trusts God, acting honestly and honorably, openly and fairly.


  1. What do Boaz’s actions show about his attitude toward God and his laws? Are you ever tempted to cut corners or act unethically?


  1. Read Ruth 4:3-6. Why did the first relative decide to back out and not redeem Naomi and Elimelech’s land? Why was Boaz willing? How are you using your resources to enrich the lives of others?


  1. Boaz not only redeems the land, but wants Ruth as his wife. What do the witnesses wish for this new couple (Ruth 4:11-12)? Think on the realities of Ruth’s life—she is a foreigner and a widow who never had children. Why are the blessings that the witnesses give so remarkable? What does this tell you about the story God is writing in the book of Ruth?

Something to consider and do in the week ahead:

  • There are many similarities between the Kinsman Redeemer in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament. This week, take some time to read Leviticus 25:25-28 and think on the similarities between the requirements for a redeemer in the Old Testament and who Jesus is and what he did.  Here are some things to consider:
    • In the Law of Moses, redemption required:
      • near kinship
      • ability or resources to redeem
      • willingness
      • full payment to complete the transaction. The Hebrew term for redeemer designates one who delivers or rescues (Exodus 6:6; Leviticus 25:25).
    • Jesus is:
      • Our brother (Hebrews 2:11, 17)
      • He redeems us out of our great need and inability to satisfy God’s holy requirements on our own
      • He willingly redeems us. (2 Cor. 8:9; Hebrews 1:2-3; Mark 10:45)
      • His atoning sacrifice on the cross is fully adequate to buy us out of slavery to sin and provide for our inheritance.
    • This is Thanksgiving week, a time designated for gratitude. Take some time to consider the price of your own spiritual redemption. Maybe journal a note of praise and thanks to God or spend some time singing worship songs, like this one.


  • Consider inviting a neighbor or co-worker or someone who is new to the area to your Thanksgiving meal. Extending kindness to someone else is a great way to remember our rescue and deliverance from spiritual poverty through Jesus, our kinsman-redeemer.

Week 8 (November 26) : Ruth 4:13-22; Matthew 1:1,17 

“Blessings Beyond Brokenness”


There is great cause for celebration and wonder at how God can transform the tragedies of life to produce blessings far greater than the brokenness. Even more, those blessing can have impact far beyond the lives of the broken. So we can endure our trials with hope in God’s redeeming grace and power. The end of Boaz and Ruth’s story is the beginning of a new chapter of God’s continuing story of redemption through the great king of Israel, David, but ultimately to the supreme King of Kings, Jesus!


  1. Boaz and Ruth marry and she conceives a child. As the women of the town gather to celebrate, who do they give credit for the blessing of this baby boy? What is one thing God has done in your life that you can celebrate and share with someone this week?


  1. The spotlight shines on Naomi in Ruth 4:14-16. She is now part of a family once again, with a baby in her lap. In what ways does this change Naomi’s life? How does this moment connect back to chapter 1, where we first meet Naomi, who’d seemingly lost everything?


  1. The baby boy is named Obed, which means “one who serves”. The story closes with the astonishing news that Obed was the grandfather of King David, the greatest King of Israel. The book of Ruth shows us how in the midst of one obscure family’s broken story, God is always working behind the scenes to continue His redemptive story for all humanity. In what ways might God want to use your life and actions to impact future generations for his redemptive purposes?


  1. In the New Testament, Matthew 1:1, 5-6, 17, we see the events of Ruth connect with the coming of the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, the ultimate Redeemer of Israel and the whole world. His lineage includes Rahab, a gentile prostitute, and Ruth, a pagan Moabite. What does this say about God’s heart for all nations and all kinds of people?

 Something to consider and do in the week ahead:

  • In this passage, Ruth is tenderly acknowledged as loving Naomi and being worth more to her than seven sons. Think how much each of these women–one older, one younger– benefited from relationship with one another. God did not intend for us to follow Him alone. How are you building relationships with others that build up your faith?


  • Think back over the last two months. What big ideas will you take away from this series on Ruth? What’s one way your thoughts about God or the circumstances of your life have changed?

Consider this summation of Ruth by pastor John Piper, “God wants to show that He overcomes massive obstacles to bring about His merciful ends. That may be very practical for you. It may be the most important thing you’ll take away from this. The book of Ruth exists to show that God, in His inscrutable governance of the world and His sovereignty, is always at work in my darkest hours, able to overcome the most difficult obstacles, and bring me to worship the Son of David, Jesus Christ, and grow forever in my capacity to see His immeasurable glories.”