BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 1, Day 2: Matthew 1:1-17

Summary of passage:  A listing of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham.  There were 14 generations in all from Abraham to David and 14 from David to the exile in Babylon and then 14 more to Christ.

Questions:

3a)  Tamar married Er, Judah’s firstborn son; but Er was put to death by the Lord because he was wicked.  By law, Tamar was given to Er’s brother, Onan, in order to bear children.  However, Onan refused to have children with her so he was put to death as well.

Judah was afraid his final son, Shelah, would die as well so he sent Tamar away.  Tamar, tired of waiting and understanding she’d never have Shelah, tricked Judah into sleeping with her.  She became pregnant and bore twins, Perez and Zerah–Perez being an ancestor of Jesus.

Rahab–After Moses died, Joshua was hand-picked by God to lead His people into the Promised Land and in order to do so, they had to defeat those already living there. Joshua sends two spies to scout the land before they attack.  They end up staying with Rahab, a prostitute and a Gentile.  The King of Jericho tells Rahab to send the spies to him.  She told the King that the spies had left the city when in fact she had hidden them in her roof.  In return, Rahab asks that she and her family be spared from God’s wrath.  She helped the spies escape and told them where to hide.  In the end, Rahab and her family were the only ones spared when Joshua conquered Jericho.

Ruth–Ruth was a Moabite woman (a Gentile) who had married a man from Bethlehem, a Jew, who had traveled to Moab along with his mother during a famine.  He died and Naomi, the mother, desired to return to her homeland.  She freed her daughters-in-law to return to their people but Ruth refused, her love so strong for Naomi, saying she goes where Naomi goes.

So they return to Bethlehem where Ruth meets Boaz, a distant relative of Naomi’s.  Ruth works in Boaz’s fields, collecting the leftover grain from the harvest in order to care for Naomi.  This garners the attention of Boaz who ultimately takes her as his wife.

“Wife of Uriah”–  Better known as Bathsheba, she is coveted by King David who commits adultery with her and she then conceives.  Hoping to cover-up the affair, David calls Uriah the Hittite home who out of duty does not sleep with Bathsheba.  Therefore, David puts Uriah up front in battle and he is killed, leaving him free to marry Bathsheba.  There’s only one problem:  God knows David’s sin and God is not happy.  Thus, God punishes David by killing the child.  David worships the Lord despite his hardship and the Lord grants him another child, Solomon.

Mary–The Virgin Mother of Jesus whom God chose to bear His son.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It show’s God’s ability to work with all sorts of people–and to work through sin.  There is no criteria one must meet in order to be chosen by God and do His works.  Jesus was not from a pure aristocratic line.  Also, it shows God’s love of all of His people, including women, who were at this time considered mere objects and property.  Some Jewish men at that time prayed to God every day and thanked Him that they were not born a woman.

By using Gentiles and woman in Jesus’ line, we see that the New Covenant is meant for all.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Firstly, Rahab for she risked her life to save strangers–all because they followed God.  Secondly, Ruth who left her homeland for hardship to stay by Naomi’s side.  Thirdly, Tamar albeit she used deceit, she was following God’s law at the time and calling Judah out.  Bathsheba and Mary I would say no.  David took Bathsheba.  I don’t think she had much of a choice in the matter.  Mary accepted, also accepting God’s will.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I believe I’m called to teach so I applied for teaching jobs.

4a)  The prophets foretold that the Messiah would be a king and therefore Jesus must come from kings as kingship is usually hereditary.  It validates Jesus as the Messiah so he wouldn’t be considered just some charlatan or imposter.

The Messiah would come from the line of Abraham:  Genesis 22:17-18:  “Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed.”  Genesis 12:3 says the same.

2 Samuel 7:16:  God’s promise to David: “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.”

2 Samuel 7:12-13:  God’s promise to David”  “…I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom.  He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

Isaiah 9:7  “He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom…from that time on and forever.”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus must come from God’s people (the Jews).  Genesis 3:15 God says to the devil “And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”  It’s important to establish who Jesus is and what his job is here on earth.

To convince the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah.  Jesus had to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies or they would never believe.

Conclusions:  Great start to the year!  Challenging questions which establish the importance of Jesus.  I liked reading about the women.  It’s a great refresher and also some of the best stories in the Bible.

The Jewish people of Jesus’ time looked to the Old Testament for their Messiah and in the Old Testament the prophets foretold how the people would recognize the Messiah when he arrived.  Known as the Messianic prophecies, there are 44 specific things to look for.   This website had a complete list of prophecies from the Old Testament and their fulfillment in the New:

http://christianity.about.com/od/biblefactsandlists/a/Prophecies-Jesus.htm

End Note:  Matthew’s list is not the complete genealogy.  There are glaring people left out, namely Jehoiakim (2 Chronicles 36:5-8), who was such a wicked king of Israel that God promised through Jeremiah that a descendant of his would not sit on the throne (Jeremiah 36:30-31).  This posed a problem and this is where Luke’s genealogy comes into play.  Jehoiakim is a relative of Joseph but since Jesus was not a blood son of Joseph the curse does not apply to him.

Mary’s line, the true blood line of Jesus, goes through a different son of David namely Nathan (Luke 3:31), thus exempting Jesus from Johoiakim’s curse.

Why did Matthew leave out people in his listing?  Scholars say it was typical of Jewish custom to skip generations in their recordings.  Also, it was easier to memorize with 14, 14, 14.  Matthew’s goal may have been to get the most important (in his view) listed and skip the rest.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 1, Day 2: Genesis 1

Introductory Note:  Hey all!  It’s great to be back.  Just some information up front. The answers will be found under BSF Genesis on the side bar.  It might take a couple of weeks for it to show up since the side bar is determined by popularity so be patient! Until then, you can use the search in the side bar or scroll down to find the answers.

Summary of passage:  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was formless and void but the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

1st Day:  God made light and He saw it was good.  He separated light from dark.  He called light “day” and dark “night.”

2nd Day:  God separated the waters to create sky.

3rd Day:  He let the dry ground appear, which He named “land” and the gathered waters he called “seas”.  Then the land produced vegetation–all of which God saw was good.

4th Day:  God made the sun, moon, and stars to be used as signs to mark the seasons, days, and years; to give light on the earth; to govern the day and the night; and to separate light from darkness.  God saw that it was good.

5th Day:  God created the great creatures of the sea as well as every winged bird.  He blessed them to multiply and fill the earth.  He saw it was good.

6th Day:  God created living creatures on the land and all the wild animals and He saw it was good.  He made man in His own image to rule over all the earth and its creatures.  God blessed them and told them to be fruitful and rule.  He gave man every green plant for food and everything that has the breath of life in it.  God saw that it was very good.

Questions:

3a)  God is the subject of most sentences followed by an action verb (said, saw, created, called, made, set, blessed).  It’s all about God.  His name is used 30 times in Chapter 1.  He’s the center.  Nothing happens in this chapter without Him.  It’s true now.  He’s the center and nothing happens in this world without Him.

b)  The word let is very common in English.  I sense no pompousness here or a great booming voice–just God casually (yet purposefully) creating all.  Let means “to cause to or make” according to Webster’s Dictionary.  God is causing or making all.

Another meaning of let in Webster’s Dictionary is the imperative (command) form here, meaning to introduce a request or proposal.  It’s a command yet it’s gentle.

“It was so” means everything God spoke was.  He is omnipotent and Chapter 1 of Genesis shows this clearly.

4)  He saw that all He had made was very good (verse 31)

5a)  Jeremiah 10:12:  God made everything by His power, wisdom, and understanding

Acts 17:24-25:  God made the world and is therefore Lord and He does not need anything because He’s the ultimate (and the first) giver.

Romans 1:18-20:  Since God is the Creator His eternal and divine qualities are in everything.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This is a stupid question.  Why doesn’t BSF just come out and say the word “evolution” instead of tip-toeing around it?  Obviously, if you are a believer, then you believe in the Creation and not in Evolution.  It’s the first words of the Bible.  This alone speaks to its significance.

Conclusions:  I felt silly summarizing Genesis 1, the most popular and probably well-known chapter in the entire Bible. But I had never listed out each individual day before so I learned the sequence of Creation.

I think we must be careful not to get too comfortable with this study.  Most of us know the stories in Genesis like the back of our hand.  But do we know the significance of the stories?

I know I don’t.  This is why I am doing this study.

Some fun facts I already learned:  The Bible would not make much sense without the book of Genesis.  Almost every fundamental doctrine begins here:  sin, redemption, the power of God, the purpose of Jesus Christ, and justification.

Moses is believed to have written the book of Genesis (Luke 24:27, 44).

Genesis is quoted in the New Testament over 150 times.

I pray everyone has a deep and meaningful study in the book of Genesis and that perhaps you glean something here.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 1, Day 2: Acts 1:1-4; Luke 24:25-27, 36-53

Summary of passage:  Acts 1:1-4:  Luke (the writer of Acts) tells Theophilus that he previously wrote (in the book of Luke) about Jesus’s actions and teachings up to the day he ascended to Heaven after instructing the apostles through the Holy Spirit.  Jesus gave proofs to the apostles that he was alive after he had been crucified and Jesus continued to appear before them for 40 days, speaking about God’s kingdom.  On one occasion, Jesus instructed the apostles to not leave Jerusalem until they received the gift God has promised.

Luke 24:25-27:  Jesus, speaking to two men he had joined on the road to Emmaus, admonishes them for not believing the prophets when they spoke of Jesus’s death.  Jesus then explains the scriptures (the OT) to them concerning himself (basically, how his life, death, and resurrection crowned centuries of God’s work).

Luke 24:36-53:  Jesus appears before the disciples in Jerusalem. The apostles are frightened and Jesus asks why they don’t believe it’s him.  “Look at my hands and my feet.  It is I…” and Jesus showed his hands and feet where he had been pierced on the cross.  He ate with them and reiterated how every prophecy must be fulfilled from the Old Testament.  Then Jesus opened their minds so they could understand how he must suffer, die, and rise again; forgiveness of sins will be preached.  But first, Jesus will send them what God has promised so they must remain in Jerusalem until they have been clothed with power from on high.

Jesus led them to Bethany where he blessed the disciples and arose into Heaven.  The disciples worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem where they remained, praising God at His temple.

Questions:

3a)  Verse 2: He gave instructions through the Holy Spirit.  Verse 3:  He appeared to them over a period of 40 days and spoke about the Kingdom of God.  Verse 27 & 45:  He explained the Scriptures to them.  Verse 50:  He bless them and Verse 49 said wait to leave Jerusalem until clothed with power from on high

b)  The Bible gives us instructions on how to live.  God “speaks” to us and we receive the Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus in our hearts.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  When we accept Jesus we endeavor to become more like Him.  He lives within us and we are therefore better people.  I read God’s word and Jesus’s words and teachings and try to incorporate them as much into my life as possible.

4)  The huge, heavy stone was rolled away and Jesus’s body was missing.  Jesus appears to 2 of his followers on the road to Emmaus, explaining the Scripture to them and eating dinner with them.  He appears to Simon and to his disciples and commissions them.  Jesus appears to his disciples twice in 2 weeks, the second time with Thomas present.  Then Jesus appears a third time by the Sea of Tiberias to his disciples and multiplies their catch.  He eats with them again.

5)  To demonstrate to His followers He truly was alive and to teach His disciples and prepare them for sharing the Good News. To give them the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 2:1-4).

Conclusions:  What I learned?  Details I hadn’t really taken to heart:  Jesus stayed 40 days with his disciples after his resurrection.  How significant the number 40 was:  Moses was on the Mount for 40 days to receive the Law (Exodus 24:18); 40 days Jesus was tempted by the Devil (Matthew 4:2); 40 days of Jonah (Jonah 3:4); 40 days of Elijah (1 Kings 19:8).

I thought how important teaching the disciples must have been to God and Jesus–to make sure they get it, get Him–and be able to convey that to all of humanity.

The importance of God demonstrating His power.  The significance of Jesus’s death.  Very impactful lesson.

End Note:  Theophilus (Greek meaning lover of God) is the person to whom Luke is writing the books of Acts (and the book of Luke previously) to.  Be careful reading this because my first go-around, I thought his former book was called Theophilus. Nothing else is known about who exactly Theophilus is.

Since Theophilus means “lover of God” I’d like to think Luke is speaking and writing to me and all those who love God.

The following link gives a detailed background and introduction to the book of Acts.  Great info:

http://guzik.biblecommenter.com/commentaries/4401.htm