live it now
bible study
spiritual journey
column 1 - spiritual disciplines 1
column 2 - spiritual disciplines 2
getting started articles
back to growth tracks index
starting points
building blocks
making it real
growing strong
exploring christianity
discover the nlt
tyndale bible lines
devotional sign-up
discover the nlt

Read FAQs, your favorite verses, preview the NLT bibles, and learn about the scholars.

bible finder

Find the Bible you need by
selecting a category below.

scripture search

Search the NLT by
reference or keyword

meet the scholars

Learn about the scholars behind
the New Living Translation

meet the scholars
bible study
The Unexpected Gift view printer friendly page
Whether they are stuffed in a huge box with a big red bow, wrapped in shiny paper in a tiny package, or delivered by mail in an envelope, gifts are wonderful to receive. Whatever the occasion, we enthusiastically tear through the wrappings to find out what’s inside. We expect to receive gifts on birthdays, at Christmas, and on special occasions like graduations and anniversaries. But receiving a totally unexpected gift—that’s a real bonus. Here’s great news: You are eligible to receive the greatest, most unexpected gift ever.

What Is the Gift?
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Q1. According to this verse, what is God’s attitude toward the world?

Q2. What has God done to show this attitude?

Q3. What does a person have to do to receive eternal life?

“And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth” (John 17:3).

Q4. How does someone have eternal life according to this verse?

God loves you so much that he sent his Son, Jesus, to the earth to save you. Through Jesus, you can receive eternal life and have a relationship with the Creator of the universe.
That’s the greatest gift ever given to anyone in all history.

Why Do We Need It?
So what’s the big deal about this gift? Good question. In a word, the answer is sin. Here are some statements about sin:

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23).

“Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God” (1 John 3:4).

“Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it” (James 4:17).

Q5. According to these verses, who sins?

Q6. How would you define sin based on these verses?

Q7. What things in your life would count as sin?

According to the Bible, everyone who is breathing sins. Sin includes lying, stealing, and murdering, but it also includes what we say, think, or do that goes against what God commands. So everyone sins every day.

“It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore” (Isaiah 59:2).

Q8. What does sin do according to this verse?

Q9. What kind of relationship do we have with God because of sin?

Because God is perfect, he can’t allow sin in his presence. So unless something happens to change our situation, we’re lost, cut off, doomed.

Q10. What indications have you seen in your life that you are separated from God?

There is only one solution:

“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6).

“Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

Q11. How does a person come to the Father, according to John 14:6?

Q12. What did Jesus claim about himself in this verse?

Q13. According to 1 Peter 3:18, how did Christ overcome sin’s effects?

Q14. What was the goal of Christ’s death?

Q15. What happened to Christ after he died?

Only through Jesus, God’s unexpected and perfect gift, can we have a relationship with the holy God. By offering himself as the perfect sacrifice, Jesus paid the penalty for our sin on the cross.

Q16. What is your reaction to being offered this gift?

So How Do We Get This Gift?
To receive this gift, you just need to accept it. You do that by taking these three important steps:

1) “Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19).

Q17. What does this verse tell us to do in order to have our sins removed?

Repentance means telling God you are sorry for doing, saying, or thinking whatever is not pleasing to him.

2) “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are” (Romans 3:22).

Q18. How are we made right with God?

Q19. Who is able to take this step?

To take this step, pray and thank God for sending his Son to die on the cross in your place, taking the penalty for your sins.

3) “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

Q20. What does this verse tell us that people must do to become God’s children?

Taking this step means committing yourself to God, asking him to come into your life and take control.

Q21. What is your response to God’s unexpected gift?

Q22. If you are hesitant to receive it, who can you talk to about your concerns?

What’s Next?
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him” (1 John 3:1).

Q23. According to this verse, if you have accepted this gift, what is your new relationship to God?

After you’ve accepted God’s unexpected gift, here’s what to do next. These steps will help your relationship with God grow deeper.

1) Tell someone! Tell a parent, a youth pastor, or a friend about your gift and how you received it. This person should be someone who can help you along this exciting new faith journey.

2) Begin reading God’s Word (the Bible). This will help you learn more about God and his plan for you. Several reading plans are included in the back of this Bible to help you get started.

3) Talk daily to God through prayer. There is no issue too big or too small for God to handle. Bring all your concerns to him in prayer, and he will listen. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6).

4) Finally, celebrate! You have just received a gift that will never fade, break down, or wear out; it’s a gift that will last forever. “So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God” (Romans 5:11).

This study is adapted from the Jesus Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2002), available everywhere books are sold.

return to bible studies index
return to Spiritual Journey index

“Using the New Living Translation in sermon preparation helps to generate ‘aha’s! from the congregation. Where there may be obscurity, it can help turn the light on in the hearts and minds of listeners.”

Arthur Jackson
Judson Baptist Church
Oak Park, Illinois

read more endorsements
There are no polls at this time
visit tyndale.com
privacy policy trademarks contact information