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Ruth Bible Study – Chapter 1

Ruth Bible Study

Hey lovelies!

I am so excited to start Bible Study Mondays!

After seeking the Lord, I really felt lead to kick off Bible Study Mondays with the book of Ruth.

We are going to study the book of Ruth for the next 4 weeks and this week we begin with Chapter 1.

The story of Ruth resonates so deeply with me. It’s a story of loss, hope and redemption. As I worked through this first chapter the Holy Spirit did some major work in my heart!

So grab a cup of coffee (or tea) and lets dig deep into the first chapter of Ruth.

Pin for later…

Bible Sudy Ruth

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Ruth Bible Study – Chapter 1

Who?

The book of Ruth is the story of Ruth and Naomi. Ruth was the grandmother of King David. Naomi was wife to Elimelech and mother to two sons; Mahlon and Chilion. Their family left Jerusalem during a time of famine to live in Moab.

Author:

It is thought to be written by Samuel, the last judge of Israel and the person who anointed King David. It is one of only two books to be named after a woman.

Time:

The book of Ruth takes place during the time of the judges. This was a time when there was no leader.

"In those days, there was no king in Israel, everyone did what was right in his eyes"
Judges 21:25

This may sound like a time of complete anarchy, but in those days most Jewish people where dedicated to the Torah and used it as a moral compass.

Place:

The story of Ruth takes place in two cities, Moab and Bethlehem.

To get from Moab to Bethlehem Ruth and Naomi would have travelled 1814.2 miles and crossed the Jordan River.

Woman sitting on sand dune

Highlights of Chapter 1

  • Elimelech and Naomi move their family from Bethlehem to Moab during a time of famine.
  • Elimelech dies.
  • Naomi’s sons marry foreign women, Orpah and Ruth.
  • Naomi’s sons then die as well.
  • Naomi decides to travel back home to Bethlehem. Orpah and Ruth accompany her part of the way.
  • Out of love, Naomi encourages her daughter-in-laws to return to their mothers homes.
  • Orpah and Ruth are brokenhearted.
  • Orpah leaves and returns to her family.
  • Ruth out of love and loyalty chooses to stay with Naomi.
  • Ruth pledges her loyalty to Naomi and her God.
  • Naomi and Ruth travel back together to Bethlehem
  • Naomi is so grief stricken that her friends do not recognize her.
  • She changes her name from Naomi which means “pleasant”, to Mara, which means ‘Bitter”.
  • Their return to Bethlehem coincides with the beginning of the barley harvest.
Woman walking on beach with hair down.

Lessons from Chapter 1

Naomi

Naomi and her family left Bethlehem, their people and their way of life in a time of famine to pursue a livelihood in Moab. They took their lives into their own hands and chose not to trust God with their well being.

It took losing her husband and her sons for her to turn back to God and to return home to Bethlehem.

* We cannot expect to prosper when we are walking outside of Gods will.

Naomi was deeply loved by her daughter-in-laws, and she in turn loved them dearly. ( verses 8-9) They had been good wives to her sons and good daughters to her. 

They accompanied her part of the way home before she urged them to turn back. She was returning to Bethlehem to rely on her family for support and she was fearful because she had nothing to offer them; no stability of marriage. So she encouraged them to return to their mothers’ homes. 

Naomi believed that God was punishing her and because of the deep love she had for her daughter-in-laws she didn’t want them to suffer too. And so Naomi sends them away with a blessing.

Ruth and Orpah were grief stricken at the thought of leaving Naomi. Naomi had won their hearts and their devotion even though they worshipped different gods. 

Gods Gift of Provision

God graciously lifted the famine in Israel and Naomi was able to return home to Bethlehem.

The mercy of God is always more evident when we have gone through a ‘famine’ season. If we never knew famine, if we constantly lived in season of ‘plenty’, then we would never fully appreciate Gods mercy, favour and blessings in our lives.

“earth is embittered to us that Heaven may be endeared”
Matthew Henry

Ruth pledges her love and her loyalty to Naomi and Naomi’s God. 

In this famous passage of scripture Ruth makes this incredible pledges to Naomi.

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and 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.”
Ruth 1:16-17

*When we become Christians we turn from who we once were and we pledge our lives and our love to Jesus.

This means:

1. We take the Lord as our God. We choose him forever.

2. When we take God as our God, we accept His people as our people. This means that no matter who they are, what they have done, or how they may differ from us, they are now our people too.

"We love because he first loved us."
1 John 4:19

3. Our lives belong to God. We go where God will have us go and we stay where He will have us stay. Even though we may face hardship or uncomfortable times.

Woman in hat and flowing red dress walking on sand dune

God promises to use our pain and suffering for His good and His glory.

Naomi’s circumstances had made her feel like life was against her. She was so grief stricken and broken that her friends and family couldn’t recognize her. She said:

“the Lord has dealt bitterly against me. I went away full but I have come back empty”

Yet everything was ultimately working for good. God used the famine, Naomi’s move to Moab, the death of her sons and their disobedience in marrying foreign women to include Ruth in the lineage of Christ.

When we are empty, God is able to use that space to fill us with more of him; His attributes and righteousness.

When we are empty the Lord is able redirect us to his will and purpose for our lives.

When we are empty we are able to recognize that he is the one who sustains us, gives us strength and redeems us.

Ruth insisted that even in death, she would remain alongside Naomi. As Christians we have that same assurance.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39
Ruth Bible Study

Hope

Ruth chapter 1 concludes by transitioning the reader from a place of hopelessness to a place of HOPE. It says:

‘and they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.’

God loves us. He does not leave us in a place of hopelessness. He promises us:

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor, a lifetime. Weeping may stay overnight, but there is joy in the morning.
Psalm 30:5

Thank you for exploring Ruth chapter 1 with me this week. I hope that you were encouraged and inspired to study God’s Word. If you are looking for Bible study tools you might be interested in this post here.

I cannot wait to explore the next 3 chapters with you!

How has the first chapter of Ruth spoken to you?

love, Kerry

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Bible study Ruth

For this Ruth Bible Study I used as reference:

  • The Matthew Henry Bible Commentary
  • My ESV Bible

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4 Comments

  1. Ah Kerry this is one of my favourite books in Bible. I love it.

    Chapter 1 has always spoke to me in the following ways :

    1. Taking ownership of your faith

    2. Baton being passed to Ruth – she now became the encourager. She took over leadership authority from Noami

    3. Matured in her faith – left her gods

    4. Chose Kingdom culture over worldly culture

    5. Reminds of the friendship Covenant David had with Jonathan

    1. Kerry says:

      Its one of my favorites too 🙂 I love how the book of Ruth invites us to recognize how God can be involved (or at work) in the small details of our lives.

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