BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 14, Day 5: Matthew 13:51-58

Summary of passage:  Jesus says every teacher about heaven is like an owner of a house who brings out new treasures out of storage.  Jesus finished telling these parables and returned to Nazareth, his hometown, where he taught the people in the synagogue where they were amazed.  Yet, they didn’t believe because they knew him as a boy and his family.  They thought of him as a simple carpenter’s son.  Hence, Jesus concluded only in his hometown is he without honor so he declined to perform miracles due to their unbelief.

Questions:

10a)  As a “teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven” and his responsibility is to teach others what he has learned.

b)  The old is the wisdom and understanding you had of God before you were instructed and the new is the new knowledge and wisdom you have after having been instructed in the law or any knowledge God has revealed to you.

c)  Through pastors and preachers, studying the Bible, by God Himself when He speaks to you through prayer or otherwise.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All of the above.  Through church attendance, bible studies, the Bible itself, prayer, and God in my alone time.

e)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Impart Biblical knowledge to that person.  Quote them scripture.  Bring them to church and bible study with you.  Pray with them.  Show them God’s compassion on His people.

11)  Because they couldn’t believe a mere carpenter’s son whom they knew personally could possess such wisdom and perform such miraculous powers.  They thought him a charlatan instead.

12a)  Because of their “lack of faith” in him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The key word here is “seemed” because truly we do not know this until we get to heaven if Jesus was working in our lives or not because of unbelief.  For me, I’d say no.  Even in my darkest hours, I have cried out to God and I knew in my heart He was working even when I thought He wasn’t for sometimes not working is what we need.  But then I’ve always been a believer.  It is probably different for those who have not.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Stay close to God.  Pray.  Read His word.  Go to church even when you don’t feel close to Him.  Seek out other believers further along in their walk with Him.  Don’t isolate yourself.  Strengthen your knowledge of Him and unbelief cannot help but fall away.

Conclusions:  This was my favorite day from this lesson because of its practicality, simpleness, and encouragement.  It is our job to learn about God and then teach others (the whole premise of BSF itself).  It is also our job to strengthen our faith so that unbelief never reigns.  This we do through what I said above:  prayer, study, etc.  And when we are rejected we can have faith and encouragement because Jesus was rejected as well.

End Notes:  The disciples who now understand are now commissioned to tell others and bring truth to their lives.

There is nothing special about spiritual people in most cases.  According to societal norms, Jesus came from the lowliest of the low and was as normal as God on Earth could be.  So we too do not have to be exceptional to be doing God’s work.

It is interesting to note how unbelief can limit God.  This is due to God’s gift of Free Will.  He wants to work in our lives on a miraculous scale.  But often times, we choose to not let Him.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 14, Day 5: Genesis 15:9-21

Summary of passage: Again, Abram questions God, asking for reassurances of this promise.  God tells Abram to bring him a heifer, goat, ram, dove, and a pigeon.  Abram cut these in half (except the birds).

Abram fell asleep and the Lord revealed that Abram’s descendants will be strangers and enslaved for 400 years.  But that God would punish this nation and they will emerge with great possessions.  Abram will die in peace and at an old age.

Then the Lord appeared (many believe) in the smoke and united the pieces, making a covenant with Abram, giving his descendants this land.

Questions:

11)  God says that Abram’s descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and they will be enslaved and mistreated for 400 years (Exodus 6:1; 12:31-36; 40 and most of Exodus tells of God’s plan to free the Israelites from the Egyptians).

God will punish the nation they serve as slaves and afterward the descendants will come out with great possession.  This is shown in Exodus as God punished the Egyptians when Pharaoh refuses to release the Israelites.

In modern history, Egypt as an empire and great civilization no longer exists thanks to Alexander the Great and the Roman Emperor Octavian.  Also, the country of Israel exists today.

Abram will go to his fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age (Genesis 25:7-8).

In the fourth generation, your descendants will come back to Canaan to the land God gives them.

12a)  God as fire:  Genesis 15:17; Exodus 3:2-6 God appearing in burning bush; Exodus 13:21 God leading the Israelites at night as fire; Exodus 19:18 the Lord descending on Mt. Sinai in fire; 1 Kings 18 has Elijah answering the challenge by God coming as fire.  This is God as fire.

God used fire as a sign He accepted sacrifices:  Judges 6:21; 1 Kings 18:38; 1 Chronicles 21:26; Leviticus 9:24

God uses fire as judgment:  Genesis 19:24 when He burned Sodom and Gomorrah; Exodus 9:23; Numbers 11:1; Numbers 16:35 where God consumed people in fire.

Fire used to show God’s glory and holiness:  Daniel 7:9; Isaiah 33:13-15

God himself is a consuming fire in Deuteronomy 4:24

God the Son as light: 1 John 1:5, John 3:18-20; John 9:5; Romans 13:12

b) Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m reminded of a Greek myth that tells of how man first received fire.  It was given to them as a gift by Prometheus who was punished by Zeus because Zeus did not want man to have fire.  Prometheus was chained to a rock and forced to endure an eagle pecking at his liver for the rest of his days.

Fire is essential for living and surviving.  We have to cook our food and fire is what has been used for millenia.  Light is essential for seeing.  Otherwise we are blind.

Basically, God is essential for living since He is fire and light.  Without Him we cannot eat.  We cannot survive.  We cannot see.

Man could not exist without fire.  For the Sun itself is a ball of fire from nuclear explosions.  Furthermore, fire changes things.  Look at wood and metals.  Thus, if God is fire and fire changes things, then God changes things, namely us.

13)  Because He wants as many as possible to see the “light” and come to Him; to see His kindness and repent before it’s too late.

14a)  To the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.  This would be from modern-day Egypt to Iraq, which would include Lebanon, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, and parts of Egypt and Saudi Arabia.  The river in Egypt is most likely the Nile River.  The Hebrew word for the river used here means “large river” so probably the Nile.

b)  Under Solomon (1 Kings 8:65) and possibly under Jeroboam II (2 Kings 14:25).

Conclusions:  I loved the study of fire in the Bible and I only mentioned a tid-bit of ways fire is used.  It also symbolizes evil, the devil, greed, the Holy Spirit, etc.  Fire changes and purifies.  This I LOVE!  Since God is fire God changes and purifies!  Awesome!

I was also reminded by this SITE where I learned about fire how Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew are much more expressive languages than English and the way fire is used depends on translations and meanings.  These languages have many more meanings for some words than English does.

This is just an interesting ARTICLE on the Promised Land boundaries with maps.  However, this article is propounding a world viewpoint.

Maps of Promised Land:  This was interesting.  I found various maps of the Promised Land the Scriptures used to back up the boundaries.  Here is what I found:

http://www.zionismexplained.org/map/thepromisedland.gif  This Link specifically uses Genesis 15:18-21

http://www.differentspirit.org/articles/boundaries.php  This one shows King Solomon’s boundaries with references.

MAP of Modern Day Israel against Solomon’s Empire in 990 BC.

Another MAP of Modern-Day Israel, showing Gaza, West Bank, and Golan

End Note:  I liked this lesson because it prompted me to learn more.  I spent two days looking up references and finding all these websites.  If I hadn’t of done this, this lesson wouldn’t have had the impact it did on me.  Please see HERE for the spiel this one comment inspired.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 14, Day 5: Acts 18:1-22

Summary of passage:  Paul next journeyed to Corinth where he met a tentmaker names Aquila and his wife Pricilla whom he stayed with and helped for a time.  He preached every Sabbath in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks to accept Jesus.  Having little luck after months of preaching, Paul one day announces he is giving up, telling the Jews it will be on their heads they haven’t accepted Jesus and he will turn to the Gentiles now.

Paul did have some success, converting Titius Justus and Crispus.

The Lord then encouraged Paul in a vision:  “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.  For I am with you.”  Paul stayed for another year and a half.

The Jews tried to attack Paul by bringing charges against him in Achaia in front of Gallio.  Gallio dismissed the complaint, telling them to work out their squabbles on their own since the matter was within their (Jewish) own law.  Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, was beaten because of it.

Questions:

15)  Personal Question.  My answer:  When I am at my lowest, usually something happens to pull me up:  a comment from someone, a hug from a child, a word, something in the Bible, or a peaceful night’s rest.  God comes alongside us in unexpected ways to encourage and tell us not to be afraid; to remind us to trust in Him.  It encourages me to focus on my writing despite the chaos around me.

16a)  It seems to me he had an attitude of “I can’t be bothered with such petty squabbles.”  He was more important and had much more important things to deal with then an argument he had no interest in.  He didn’t even care Sosthenes was beaten in front of him.  He was indifferent and apathetic.  He probably thought all these people were beneath him since he was a Roman citizen and most Jews were not.

b)  Concern

Conclusions:  The scene with Paul reminds us that God is always with us even in our most trying trials.  The scene with Gallio gives us insight into Roman culture in the first century AD.  If you weren’t Roman, forget about justice.

This scene also shows how something insignificant as this scene  in Gallio’s mind (I doubted he even remembered it) could be so significant to the spread of Christianity.  Gallio (proconsul in 51-52 AD) by his actions officially gave Christianity protection by lumping it into Judaism (a recognized religion within the Roman Empire).  Gallio was the brother to the well-known philosopher Seneca.  His actions gave Paul the protection he needed in order to continue his work in Corinth.

This goes to show how sometimes consequences of our actions are unknown and could have serious ramifications.  Good lesson for everyday decisions in our own lives:  to remember we can’t always see the consequences of our decisions.

End Note:  Map showing Corinth:  http://www.apostlepaulthefilm.com/paul/journey_02.htm

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 14, Day 5 Isaiah 35:8-10

Summary of passage: A highway called the Way of Holiness will take believers into Zion.  There will be no lions to attack and they will be singing with gladness and joy.

Questions:

13a) Redeem means to buy back; to atone for or one who frees or rescues another, especially from sin.  Colossians 1:14  “redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

b) He died for our sins, paid the ultimate price in blood.

Galatians 3:13-16  “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law…He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”

Colossians 1:13-14  “He (God) has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

c) Inadequate in human words but:  grateful, happy, blessed, loved.

14a) A road of holiness only for those who accept Jesus and those on it shall be protected.

b) It motivates me to bring others along and for me to strive to walk in the way of Jesus.

Conclusions: Nice focus on Jesus for Christmas.  I’m surprised I couldn’t find more with the word redeem or redeemer so please share if you found more in the Bible.  I would have thought this would be prominent but I am assuming the Bible uses other ways to describe Jesus’s sacrifice (still working on reading the New Testament).