BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 30: Review Questions for Book of Matthew

As always, the last lesson in BSF is a review lesson and a reflection on what you have learned throughout the year at BSF.  I will not be posting my answers as they are all personal questions, but I will leave you with some of my final thoughts for the year.

I learned Jesus had to rise from the grave so that we could.  I learned how everything Jesus did was for us.  The connection between the Old and New Testaments was strengthened in my mind as I gained a deeper understanding of prophecy and especially how it relates to Jesus.

I learned how God briefly turned His back on Jesus at the cross but Jesus never turned his back on God.  Important for us to do as well when we think God has abandoned us.

I gained a much deeper understanding of the disciples.  Before, I thought little of them to be quite honest and what I did think of them was idealized.  Now, I know they were just like you and me–common folk who were flawed but with a good heart–who yearned to understand and follow Jesus even when they failed.  But they never gave up.  And in the end, they fulfilled God’s purpose for their lives here on Earth.

I learned the key to healing is having faith.  Those who had faith in Jesus were healed.  Those who didn’t, were not.  Unseen faith is the key to heaven.

I learned everything Jesus did had a purpose.  He wasn’t just indiscriminately walking here on Earth.  Every footfall was planned from the beginning of time.

Jesus himself became more real to me.  I saw him more as a human who had the same emotions and problems as we do here on earth.  He had to be God and man at the same time–I would imagine not easy to do.  He formed close connections with those close to him and felt pain when they failed him or betrayed him.  He had expectations that were let down.  He had burdens to carry that we could never imagine.  Yet his courage gives me strength.  For if Jesus could bear the sins of the world, then I can bear whatever little problem is going on in my life.

My favorite story/lesson was John the Baptist’s beheading for I saw just how easy it is to sway young people to do horrible acts because of their ignorance.  This is important for me to remember as I raise my kids in this Fallen world where at every turn they are bombarded with images of how they should be or how they should act and messages of how premarital sex is okay and smoking marijuana is healthy.

You can never fail when you study the Bible for God is with you and He never fails.  He speaks to you right where you are even if you’ve heard these very familiar tales a hundred times.  Overall, I loved the study of Matthew.  I’ve never really had the opportunity to study Jesus in depth and now I feel confident in speaking about his time here on earth with others.  Studying the Bible makes it more accessible and real and the life lessons are ones we need to hear over and over again in order to live them out.

I am, however, looking forward to the break where I have much writing planned (2 re-writes and a non-fiction book to begin), which I believe is my calling here on Earth.  Naturally, I am excited to begin!

I thank all of you for joining me in this study.  You have enriched it infinite-fold with your comments and presence.  I look forward to next year with Moses (or Revelation for some of you). God bless and have a rejuvenating break!

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BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 30, Day 5: Genesis 49:28-33

Summary of passage:  Jacob gave each son the appropriate blessing.  He requests to be buried in the same tomb as Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Leah.  Then he died.

Questions:

13)  He requests to be buried in the Promised Land where God brought him and his people.

14)  Acts 20:35:  Through hard work and helping the weak and giving you will be blessed.

Romans 4:7-8:  Must have faith in Jesus Christ to be blessed and have all sins forgiven and not counted against him.

Ephesians 1:3: Believe in Christ and you will be blessed with every spiritual blessing

Titus 2:13:  If we say not to ungodliness and worldly passions and live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives and wait on Jesus then we will be redeemed from all wickedness and purified.  [Please read the entire sentence and not just the middle as suggested by BSF--verses 12-14 for a deeper meaning].

James 1:12:  “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he had stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

1 Peter 3:9:  “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

Revelation 1:3:  “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it.”  I would expand this to say blessed are those who live by God’s word and instill it in your heart for all time.

Conclusions:  Not sure why this passage is singled out as significant except for maybe question 13 which to me is intuitive.  Will continue to believe this lesson was too drawn out as exhibited by question 14, which had nothing to do with Jacob’s death.

James 1:12 is a great memory verse.  My goal for the week!

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 30, Day 4: Genesis 49:22-27

Summary of passage:  Joseph is a fruitful vine that overflows.  Enemies attack but Joseph remains steady because of God who blesses him.  His blessings rest on him, the “prince among his brothers”.

Benjamin devours and plunders.

Questions:

10)  Joseph is a fruitful vine:  Joseph prospered in Potiphar’s house (Genesis 39:2). Joseph prospers in jail (Genesis 39:21).  God elevates Joseph to second in command in Egypt (Genesis 41:41).

Archers attack him:  His brothers sold him into slavery (Genesis 37).  Potiphar’s wife falsely accuses Joseph (Genesis 39:14).

He remains steady because God helps him:  He is falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife but God is with him (Genesis 39:21, 23).

11)  The Lord blesses his land with dew from heaven, the deep waters, and the sun and the moon, the choicest gifts of the mountains, the fruitfulness of the hills, the best gifts of earth and God’s favor.  He will gore the nations.

12)  God shields Benjamin all day and God loves him and can rest secure in Him.

Conclusions:  Will echo yesterday’s sentiments:  didn’t like this lesson either.  I’ll leave it at that.

End Notes:  The idea of verses 24-25 is that God’s hands are on Joseph’s hands, helping him to hold his bow steady and defeat his enemies.  Just as God’s hands are on our hands as well.  Even when we don’t know it.

The tribe of Benjamin was known for its fierceness (devours and plunders).  See Judges 19 & 20.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 30, Day 3: Genesis 49:8-21

Summary of passage:  Judah’s brothers will praise him and bow down to him.  The scepter will not leave Judah’s hand until it comes to whom it belongs and obedience is his (reference to Jesus).  His (Jesus) robes will be washed in blood, his eyes darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.

Zebulun will live by the seashore and become a haven for ships.  Issachar will submit to forced labor.  Dan will provide justice for his people.  Gad will be attacked but he will attack back.  Asher will have rich food.  Naphtali is free.

Questions:

5)  “Your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you.  You are a lion’s cub; you return from the prey…like a lioness who dares to rouse him?”

“The scepter will not depart form Judah nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.”

6a)  The obedience of the nations is his.  His colt is the choicest branch.  His robes will be washed in blood.  His eyes will be darker than wine.  His teeth whiter than milk.

b)  Revelation 5:5 “The Lion of the tribe of Judah has triumphed.”

c)  Personal question that has nothing to do with this passage.  My answer:  He is my Lord and Savior.  I am unworthy.  He is ruler over all and in control of all things.

7)  Zebulun lay by the sea and the lake along the Jordan.  It settled between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea so Zebulun could see both seas.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Issachar was the third largest tribe (Numbers 26).  Hence, they were often targets for the enemy.  Eventually, they were put into servitude.

9)  Two possibilities:  Samson (Judges 13) or Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:26-33).  Some scholars believe the “serpent by the roadside” might even be referring to the Antichrist coming from the tribe of Dan (Daniel 11:37; Jeremiah 8:16).  Of course, we are not sure who Jacob is referring to here.

Conclusions:  Didn’t like this lesson.  Feel like Genesis 49 is being drawn out for filler purposes.

Most people would not know the answer to these questions unless they used a commentary (which is what I did).  This is what irks me about BSF.  They ask these questions that only someone intimately familiar with the Bible (which is not me) would know and then they tell us not to use outside sources.  Ridiculous.  And borderline hypocritical to me.  Don’t ask if 95 % of us will miss it.  It only creates doubts about the level of our faith and whether or not we should know this.  It does nothing for our understanding of the Bible UNLESS we do use outside sources.

Map of 12 Tribes Showing Zebulun’s Location:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:12_Tribes_of_Israel_Map.svg

End Note:  “He will tether his donkey to a vine” emphasizes the richness of Judah’s land as well.  They were wine growers.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 30, Day 2: Genesis 49:1-7

Summary of passage:  Jacob calls his sons together to bless them and tell them their future before he dies.  He tells Reuben he will no longer excel because of his defilement of his father’s bed.  Simeon and Levi will be scattered in Israel.  They will no longer be leaders as punishment for the slaughter at Shechem.

Questions:

3a)  “You are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power.”  “You will no longer excel.”

b)  Matthew says if your eyes are bad then your whole body is full of darkness–basically saying one bad deed or body part corrupts the whole body.  James says if you doubt the Lord when you ask then you will not receive.  Because of Reuben’s one act, he has corrupted himself and therefore his inheritance.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s the old saying:  it takes 1000 praises to make up for one bad comment.  Same here.  It only takes one sin to completely change your life or corrupt yourself.  Some are extreme like drunk driving and killing people.  Some are not so extreme but life altering like teen pregnancy.

Some sins like greed or stealing may not seem so big but are in God’s eyes.  I’m sure Reuben didn’t think sleeping with his father concubine, Bilpah, was a big deal.  The Bible only devotes one verse to it (Genesis 35:22).  But that one verse was enough.  We cannot hide from God our sins no matter how small we might believe them to be.

We must constantly strive to be like Jesus or the devil will win.  I must have control over my heart and mind and fill it with God and the Truth; otherwise, evil will invade and cause irreparable damage around me.  We must guard against the world and focus on our home–heaven.  All it takes is one act.

4a)  “I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.”

b)  Slaughtering Shechem

c)  The Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord and to stand before the Lord to minister and to pronounce blessings in his name.  They have no inheritance because the Lord is their inheritance.  [So Deuteronomy reveals the why. Their inheritance they have lost has been replaced by God Himself.  So God had a plan for Levi.]

The Levites are the priests who watch over God’s word and guards the covenant and who teaches the law to the Israelites.

Exodus 32:26-29 gives us another reason why God elevated the Levites:  They were faithful during the golden calf debacle.  Hence, they became a blessing and received the Lord as their inheritance (Joshua 13:33).

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The comfort I receive is Romans 8:28–that all things work together for my good.  God takes the sin and uses it to help others.

Conclusions:  Another nice, short lesson.  I used quotes for some of the answers.  I liked the emphasis on consequences for our sins.  Nowadays, there are no consequences for our kids it seems.  Parents bail them out every time they are in trouble.  Kids don’t move out of their parents’ house until their late 20’s or even 30’s.  Excuses abound for unruly behavior.

Yet the example of the Levites is encouraging.  No matter what you did in the past, there is hope.  God in His grace saves, forgives, and elevates us despite our downfalls.

I need this encouragement.  It’s good to know hope exists when at times it seems to not be so.

God sees all.  Our good and our bad.  My prayer is that there is more good than bad in my life for Him to see.

Fun Fact:  This is the first prophecy in the Bible pronounced by a man.  The first real prophecy that is clear.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 30, Day 5: Jude

Summary of passage:  Jude writes in warning, concerned about the faith as it is under attack by certain, godless men who have slipped in among them and who deny Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  Jude reminds them that the Lord destroyed those who didn’t believe after the Exodus; He imprisoned angels who abandoned their home; He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for sexual immorality.

These men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand.  They pollute their own bodies, reject authority, and slander celestial beings.  Woe to them!  They are selfish (Cain), greedy (Balaam), and rebellious (Korah).  These men are blemishes and shameless.

Enoch warned of these men.  They are grumblers, faultfinders, follow their own evil desires, boasters, and flatters.  The apostles prophesied of these men as well.

So build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.  Keep yourself in God’s love as you wait for eternal life.  Be merciful to doubters; save others from the fire; show mercy to others.

Glory be to God forever!

Questions:

11)  Jude is writing to urge others to contend for the faith and to beware of certain men (false teachers) who are slipping in amongst them and trying to lead them astray.

Peter writes as a reminder to stimulate his readers to wholesome thinking and to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the commands given by God through the apostles.  To warn them that scoffers (false teachers) will come and try to place doubt in your mind about the Lord but you must remember to have patience for the End Times for God’s time is not human time and He is patient with man, allowing everyone time to come to repentance.  God created the world and He will judge it as well.

The reasons are the same and Jude quotes almost word for word Peter’s letter at times.

12)  The Lord delivered His people out of Egypt but later destroyed those who didn’t believe (lack of faith and trust in God).

Angels who abandoned their positions of authority and their own home the Lord now keeps chained for judgement day.  The sin was some kind of sexual sin (harking back to Genesis 6:1-2) as indicated by the words “in a similar way” in verse 7.

Sodom and Gomorrah sinned with sexual immorality and perversion.

13a)  They pollute their own bodies, reject authority, and slander celestial beings and speak abusively against whatever they don’t understand, selfishness of Cain, greed of Balaam, and rebelliousness of Korah, and good for nothing.

b)  Blackest darkness (hell); forever

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I see verse 16 everywhere in every facet of life.  Pure selfishness motivated by greed and self-aggrandizement, pure and simple.  Those who do not have God.  I can speak the Truth in these people’s lives and pray for them.

15a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Family members for all of these and others whom I encounter.  Shine the light of Jesus into their lives the best I can.

b)  Try to save those whom I see heading down the wrong path by revealing Jesus to them.

c) Do not judge for they do not know.  Try to impart knowledge to them.  Pray.  Forgive those in our lives whom we don’t want to (who amongst us doesn’t have one of those people in our lives?) and love them as our neighbor.

All of these:  pray and give my knowledge.  Model a Godly life.  Then allow God to do the rest.

Conclusions:  It seems the redundancy in these passages continues.  Remember in grade school where your teacher constantly said, “Don’t copy off of others!  Don’t cheat!  Do your own work!”  Jude must have missed that message.  Despite echoing Peter’s second letter (and ignoring his grade school teachers-ha!), this was a great synopsis of false teachers and the danger they pose.

The last question I thought could have been just one question and not broken up into a, b, and c for my answers are the same.  a and c are virtually the same (and they should be because we should not treat believers and unbelievers differently.  We are called to show mercy to all).  For “God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation” (Acts 10:34-35); hence, the Gentiles (those who are non-Jewish (me)) were accepted into the Body of Christ.

I liked Jude’s encouraging words the best “Build yourself up in faith, pray in the Holy Spirit, and keep yourself in God’s love.”

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 30, Day 4: 2 Peter 3

Summary of passage:  Peter lists his purposes for his second letter:  stimulate you to wholesome thinking and to recall the prophets’ words and the commands by God through the apostles.

In the last days (End Times) scoffers will come and question God and His timing.  But do not forget with God as day is like a thousand years.  He is giving everyone time to come to repentance, showing patience with you.

But when the Day of the Lord comes it will come like a thief.  Everything will be destroyed and laid bare.  Thus, you ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.  A new heaven and earth will come, the home of righteousness.

Be spotless, blameless, and at peace with him.  Be on guard so you will not fall.  Grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.

Questions:

9a)  As a reminder to stimulate his readers to wholesome thinking and to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the commands given by God through the apostles.  To warn them that scoffers (false teachers) will come and try to place doubt in your mind about the Lord but you must remember to have patience for the End Times for God’s time is not human time and He is patient with man, allowing everyone time to come to repentance.  God created the world and He will judge it as well.

b)  We all need to remember and be encouraged towards wholesome thinking and to remember the past and God’s commands.   Remembering God’s omnipotence and His timing helps Christians in every aspect of their lives here on Earth.  Everyone is out to make a quick buck and will scam you quicker than you can blink.  We must always be wary about false teachers and compare it to God’s word prayerfully to discern its truth.

10a)  Verses 11-13:  Live holy and godly lives and look forward to a new heaven and earth, the home of righteousness

Verse 14:  Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him.

Verses 15-16:  Have patience and strive to understand the apostle’s teaching and the Bible so at not to be deceived

Verses 17-18:  Be on your guard so you will not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.  Grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All of the above really.  Educating myself.  Trying to lead a holy life and be at peace.  Have patience for what is to come.  Be on my guard from evil.

Conclusions:  This chapter is a great summarization of our whole study:  have patience on the Lord, be holy and lead a holy life, be on guard against the enemy, grow in your knowledge of Jesus, strive for wholesome thinking, remember God’s omnipotence and timing, and remember the past.