Book of Ruth Bible Study

When someone says "Let me tell you about my mother-in-law," we expect some kind of negative statement or humorous anecdote because the mother-in-law caricature has been a standard centerpiece of ridicule or comedy. The book of Ruth, however, tells a different story. Ruth loved her mother-in-law, Naomi. Recently widowed, Ruth begged to stay with Naomi wherever she went, even though it would mean leaving her homeland. In heartfelt words, Ruth said, "Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God" (1:16). Naomi agreed, and Ruth traveled with her to Bethlehem.

Not much is said about Naomi except that she loved and cared for Ruth. Obviously, Naomi's life was a powerful witness to the reality of God. Ruth was drawn to her - and to the God she worshiped. In the succeeding months, God led this young Moabite widow to a man named Boaz, whom she eventually married. As a result, she became the great-grandmother of David and an ancestor in the line of the Messiah. What a profound impact Naomi's life made!

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The book of Ruth is also the story of God's grace in the midst of difficult circumstances. Ruth's story occurred during the time of the judges - a period of disobedience, idolatry, and violence. Even in times of crisis and deepest despair, there are those who follow God and through whom God works. No matter how discouraging or antagonistic the world may seem, there are always people who follow God. He will use anyone who is open to Him to achieve His purposes. Ruth was a Moabite, and Boaz was descendant of Rahab, a former prostitute from Jericho. Nevertheless, their offspring continued the family line through which the Messiah came into our world.

Read this book and be encouraged. God is at work in the world, and he wants to use you. God could use you as He used Naomi, to bring family and friends to Him.

Additional Information about the Book of Ruth

PURPOSE

  • To show how three people remained strong in character and true to God even when society around them was collapsing.

AUTHOR

  • Unknown. Some think it was Samuel, but internal evidence suggests that it was written after Samuel's death.

DATE WRITTEN

  • Sometime after the period of the judges (1375 - 1050 B.C.)

SETTING

  • A dark time in Israel's history when people lived to please themselves, not God (Judges 17:6)

KEY VERSES

  • "But Ruth replied, 'Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me." (1:16 - 17)

KEY PEOPLE

  • Ruth, Naomi, Boaz

KEY PLACES

  • Moab, Bethlehem

REFERENCE: LIFE APPLICATION STUDY BIBLE

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