BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 5, Day 5: Matthew 5:13-16

Summary of passage:  Jesus tells his disciples (and all those people on the mountainside as well as you and me) that they are the salt of the earth but if you lose your saltiness you are no longer good for anything and will be thrown out and trampled by men.

You (believers) are the light of the world meant to be seen by others.  So let your good deeds shine so that others may praise the Father in heaven.

Questions:

9a)  In ancient times, salt was used to preserve meat and add flavor.  It was one of the valued “spices” in the spice trade along with many others that prompted the discovery of America.  It was a valuable and precious commodity of which men risked their lives for.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  As disciples of Christ, we should preserve God’s word and His teachings in the hearts and minds of others.  We should add flavor to others lives by giving them something (God) that is valuable.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not sure.  Not feeling very upbeat this morning or useful so tend to feel I haven’t made as much an impact as I could.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I interpret this question to really ask in plain English the difference between living amongst Christians and living in a non-Christian environment.  Or it could be interpreted as what’s it like living when you have lost your flavor, meaning your usefulness in this realm.

For the former, we all can answer that due to the ungodly society we live in day-in and day-out. It’s an easy life amongst Christians, not so easy amongst others who are bent on tearing us down and trampling us.

For the latter, if the flavor of Christ is missing, you lead a tasteless life.  Non-impactful.  Dull. Blah.

I don’t think BSF meant the latter interpretation because it says you are living as salt, which is a shame since the passage addresses what happens when we lose our saltiness.

Christians can lead a flavorless life when they stop living an impactful life and spreading the word.

10a)  Light illuminates the dark and also pushes the dark back.  It also exposes what is in the dark.

b)  To be the light of the world.  To bring others the light of Jesus and to bring them out of the dark.  The Matthew passage says it better so I’m unsure why we were sent to Luke’s account of these words.  We are to let our light shine before men so that they may see our good deeds and be brought to Jesus and glorify God.

11)  God must work in you His good purpose so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault as we hold onto the word of life (God’s word).

12a)  Repeat of 10b.  We are to let our light shine before men so that they may see our good deeds and be brought to Jesus and glorify God.  So others may see grace in us and thus grace in God.  We are lead visible and intentional lives for all to see.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not to hide Him.  To credit Him in public for everything in my life.  To say more often how it is all God’s grace and will working in me.  To pray that I am a light to others.  That I be cognizant of that.  That I remember I’m His.  And that I remember others are watching and judging me all the time and one never knows when I could convert someone.

Conclusions:  I felt the boat was missed on this lesson.  9d did nothing more than confuse people.  BSF took the metaphor too far in my opinion.  Did not like being sent to Luke.  As I mentioned in Lesson 1, I foresaw this as a pattern that we’d be studying the other gospels alongside Matthew since the stories are frequently repeated and I accepted this.  However, in this case, Luke wasn’t helpful.  I feel Matthew’s version is much meatier and I feel we didn’t touch on the “city on the hill” at all.  This is such a common quote amongst Christians (and non-Christians for that matter) that I felt we should have unpacked it and explained it so that we can understand it.

To me, “city on a hill” is Core Knowledge (yes, this is a throw out to you homeschoolers and educators out there), something everyone should know especially since it has been secularized and it’s meaning stripped (meaning Jesus has been taken out and man has been substituted).  And it was overlooked, bypassed if you will, for metaphors on salt.  Too many questions on salt.  Not enough on light (which is EVERYWHERE in the Bible) and a much more important study than salt.

For instance, did you know Jesus called himself “the light of the world” (John 8:12, John 9:5) as well and now he calls us that too!  Pretty cool!  I’m pretty humbled by it to be honest.  To be compared to Jesus!  Wow!  Makes my day.  It is both a compliment and a commission. Unmentioned by BSF.

Fun Fact:  This is the first time in the New Testament God is referred to as Father.

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8 comments on “BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 5, Day 5: Matthew 5:13-16

  1. Mary says:

    Please take the following to prayer. What is your point in giving your opinion and answers to the BSF questions? Isn’t the point of these questions to get us to talk to God for the answers to be revealed by his Holy Spirit which is higher than our thoughts? Don’t you want those studying to develop their own personal relationship with Him? Aren’t you are putting a stumbling block up when you lift up your self in place of the Lords precious revelations to each of us individually – keeping those who have not yet had the precious life changing experience of that for themselves (because you’ve made it is easier to get an answer here as you’ve done all the ‘work’ for them – pointing the focus to you and how well you have done)? Wouldn’t this time be better spent in prayer for those who are working on the lesson – to have that powerful personal revelation as they ask. seek and knock during their study? After all, this time we spend in study is our prayer time, it is not to have the right answer in group.
    Personally I feel you are doing a very great and grave dis service.

    • atozmom says:

      Mary,

      I have responded to this so many times that this link is prominent on my homepage. Please read in response to your qualms and please do speak for yourself. Although you may feel this is a “grave disservice”, others do not if you’d take the time to read comments from free-thinking individuals who can make up their own mind about my site.

      http://atozmomm.com/2012/09/19/ruminations-from-a-selfish-blogger/

    • ALD says:

      I have been in BSF for years and still find myself hitting a wall on some of the questions. I believe this site helps me to look at the question differently or more clearly. I can then really think and pray on the answer rather than getting frustrated at the question.

      Maybe this isn’t the help others need, but I am so thankful for it!

  2. Jane says:

    Thank you for blogging your BSF answers. Sometimes when I get stuck on a question, not sure what is being asked for or how to answer I check here to see what you answered and quite often it provides me with ideas of how to answer for myself. I would be cheating myself if I were to copy your answers word for word and if someone attending BSF is doing this, then I would have to ask them what is their point in being part of BSF?

    Your blogging is no different from us discussing our answers during the BSF discussion group time. Just as I don’t always agree with the answers shared by group members, I don’t always agree with your answers, however we are all entitled to our own thoughts/understanding/opinions (unless it goes against God’s word and then it needs correcting). Proverbs 27:17 says Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. We each learn and grown from one another, in addition, to seeking answers from God through prayer. Even when we receive answers during prayer we still need to check those answers against scripture to ensure that they did indeed come from God and are not just our own thoughts or Satan’s whisperings. Anyone reading your blog answers should also be careful to check them again scripture to ensure they are correct and this helps us to learn as well.

    In any case I hope you keep up the blogging. I too believe that BSF needs to move forward to paperless and provide both notes and questions on-line. Additionally I like your idea of on-line discussion groups and believe it would be very helpful to those who are housebound, busy at times and can’t always attend the class, as well as for people in areas where no class is available.

  3. Julia says:

    Congratulations to A to Z Mom! You wrote in your last lesson review of Lesson 5:Day 4 that you have not been “persecuted” because of your beliefs — Well, now one of your readers, Mary above, has taken you to task for your helpful ways to be salt and light to some of us that really enjoy your comments, answers,etc. that you so deligently do every week to assist us with our Christian walk. Like another blogger, Jane also mentioned above, I don’t always agree with your answers, but it gives me new insights on how to approach studying God’s Word. Let people “say what thou wilt” and you just continue blogging and giving notes and ideas on the Bible studies which we are doing! Thanks for a job well done!

  4. Tricia says:

    BSF’s format is to help us learn and grow our knowledge of the Word.

    Pray that we all learn to humble ourselves and with the help of the Holy Spirit, learn to APPLY what we are learning FROM the lessons to our daily lives.

    A to Z Mom, I personally enjoy your thoughts on your blog and read it as “another member” in our group discussions. We can always learn from one another. “Iron sharpens iron”.

    This week’s lesson on The Beatitudes; focusing on ALL the character traits of God’s people can certainly be applied here. Stay focused, my friends! (Julia, Jane, Mary, A to Z mom and to all of us studying!) Satan is unhappy about our commitment to God. Can you see and feel it? Pray Matthew 16:23, “Get behind me/us, Satan!”

    Heavenly Father,
    Please protect us as Satan begins to attack. We love you and want to honor you in all of our actions and words. Together, we will continue to study your Word and remain focused on you Lord. In you precious son’s name, Amen!

  5. Beth says:

    To me, “city on a hill” is Core Knowledge…..It is not core knowledge for me. Could you enlighten me or give a reference I could look up.
    I think the depth of a persons Biblical knowledge might determine the value of the lesson or questions. Bsf speaks to so many different levels of understanding. It has to be very difficult to pose questions that meet all levels of understanding.
    I truly benefit from your perspective. It’s evident that you are a true seeker of His Word.

  6. Deb Schrader says:

    I don’t agree with Mary above. You are helping many of us newbies. I do my own questions first and then read what you have said. It is a great help to me because you add so much more to the answers, especially pointing out other areas of the Bible to look at as we’ll as other websites to review. Keep up the good work. Your knowledge is a great asset. Thank you!

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