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4 Comfortable Words

“4 Comfortable Words” – 4 Studies in Cranmer’s Words of Gospel Assurance

Thomas Cranmer was Archbishop of Canterbury during the early tumultuous years of the English Reformation. A brilliant scholar and vastly well-read academic, Cranmer wrote the Book of Common Prayer (first published in 1549 and later revised) to lay down a form for services in churches in England. The BCP is filled with the words of Scripture; The Word of God accounts for more than half of the order for corporate worship.

In the communion service, after God’s people have heard the words of assurance reminding them of the forgiveness of sin and rebellion through the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus, four brief passages of comfort and assurance are read out. These words offer comfort, not in the modern sense of ease and relaxation, but by stirring us up to press on in the Christian life, assured of forgiveness, even though we’ve ignored God and thrown off his pattern for life. Such is the power and wonder of the gospel of Jesus!


Sample from this study guide:

Study 2: “Gave”    John 3:16

  1. What’s the best or most memorable gift you’ve ever received?
  2. What are some of the ways that people think they can be in a right relationship with God?
  3. What truth do you find hardest to believe?

Read John 2:23 – 3:16

  1. John often uses imagery of “night” (v 2) to picture people in spiritual darkness (ie 9:4, 11:10, 13:30). What, then, is the significance of the timing of this encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus?
  2. How do the last verses of chapter 2 help us understand Nicodemus’ approach to Jesus?
  3. How does the means of relationship with God that Jesus explains in verse 16 differ to what people often expect?
  4. What would you say are the key elements of the statement in verse 16?

Read Numbers 21:4 – 9

  1. How did the bronze snake save people?
  2. In what ways is Jesus’ death on the cross a parallel and fulfilment of the lifting up of the bronze snake?
  3. What does Jesus’ death achieve that the bronze snake could not?
  4. What does it mean to believe in Jesus?
    Is there a minimum amount of belief required?
    Are there certain aspects that must be believed?

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