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.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 14, Day 4: Matthew 13:47-50

Summary of passage:  Jesus tells the parable of the net where he says the kingdom of heaven is like a net that catches all kinds of fish.  After the catch, the fish must be sorted and the good will be kept but the bad will be thrown in the fiery furnace at the end of the age by the angels (the fishermen).

Questions:

8a)  God’s word or law (verse 47)

b)  believers (verse 48)

c) non-believers (verses 48-50)

d)  Angels (verse 49)

e)  The good fish will be separated from the bad fish who will be thrown in a fiery furnace (verse 49-50)

9a)  Angels are harvesters and here they are the fishermen (the sorters if you will).  The weeds are burned in the fire as are the bad fish.  Both mention this will happen at the end of the age.  The angels will separate the wicked from the righteous in both.  Verse 42 & 50 are identical “they will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

b)  To convince unbelievers to believe for the picture is so gloom for them.  And as a warning to unbelievers.  As encouragement to us that one day sin will be eradicated from our world.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Believed in Jesus and witness to unbelievers.

Conclusions:  Question 9c would be more for unbelievers who don’t know their future.  This one is very clear on its meaning:  you believe or you don’t and if you don’t you burn.  Simple.

End Notes:  Jesus reveals that the world will remain divided up until the very end; that he will not bring about peace to all.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 14, Day 3: Matthew 13:44-46

Summary of passage:  Jesus told a parable comparing the kingdom of heaven to treasure hidden in a field and that once found man will sell everything to have heaven.  He also compared heaven to a merchant who sold everything he had to buy heaven.

Questions:

5a)  The treasure is God and having knowledge and wisdom of God/Jesus.  A man will sell everything he has to know God.

b)  We, humans, are God’s treasure.  So this interpretations would be God gave up everything He had/valued (namely Jesus) for us, his treasure.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I like a better because we need God; God doesn’t need us.  It’s God-centric and not man-centric.  Part b is man’s ego coming out.   Not that it’s not true (it is) but it’s just a bit egotistical and I believe Jesus meant more us giving it all up for God.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That we love God so much we should be willing to give up everything for Him and vice versa.  It’s encouraging to think that we are God’s treasure especially when we feel no more useful than dirt.

6a)  Jesus Christ or believers

b)  Jesus Christ or believers

c)  Giving up everything to follow Jesus or God sacrificing Jesus for us

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I don’t think I have any new understanding.  It merely re-inforces the idea of how precious we are to God and how God should be equally as precious to us.  How sacrifice is the ultimate form of love in action.  How we are God’s most treasured possession and how He is the same for us.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I think he wanted the double meaning of God’s love for us and our love for Him.  Plus, the message is simple so Jesus might have thought we didn’t need it interpreted and that once we had Jesus we would understand it.  Furthermore, Jesus told these before he had died on the cross so the meaning wouldn’t have been totally clear until afterwards and explaining it to his disciples who were in denial about Jesus dying would have been fruitless.  He knew we’d get it in the end.

Conclusions:  I like the treasure parables since mankind in general is very materialistic in nature, it speaks to his desire for Jesus as a treasure and God’s desire for us.  It’s a good analogy.  More straight-forward than yesterday’s.

Parable of the Hidden Treasure:  Scholars say the field represents the world and that the man is Jesus who gave all to buy us back for God.  The reason the man bought the field first is because whatever was found in the land in ancient times belonged to the owner of the land no matter who found it, which I believe is the same today on private property at least.  The treasure is us so Jesus gave up everything to buy us.

Parable of the Pearl:  Again, Jesus is the merchant and we are the pearls that Jesus sold everything to buy.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 14, Day 2: Matthew 13:31-35

Summary of passage:  Jesus told them a parable of the mustard seed and the yeast where he compared the mustard seed to heaven and although it is the smallest seed it will yield the biggest tree that birds will perch in.  He also said the kingdom of heaven is like yeast mixed into flour and worked throughout the dough.  This fulfilled prophecy in Psalm 78:2.

Questions:

3a)  The kingdom of heaven

b)  Heaven starts out small inside of you but as you grow so does heaven.  Heaven or the church will grow, sheltering humans in the process.

c)  I would bet there is a significance because all of Jesus’ words hold meaning.  I can’t imagine Jesus just throwing birds in a parable for no reason.  I would say the birds are humans who land in heaven and are sheltered by God.

4a)  Heaven is everywhere and all of heaven is mixed inside of believers.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I don’t see yeast as evil because that would be saying “the kingdom of heaven is like evil”.  I just can’t see comparing heaven to evil and I can’t see Jesus doing so ever.  The only interpretation would be that evil or corruption is spread throughout people and will threaten his kingdom.

Conclusions:  Didn’t like this lesson.  I think the parables are merely saying heaven (or evil or corruption) is everywhere in and amongst us.  These parables aren’t as impactful as others and frankly BSF didn’t do a good job in unpacking their meaning in my opinion.  I left today with the same level of understanding of these as I had before.  It was only when I did read the commentaries that I saw the other interpretation of evil.

Parable of the mustard seed:  Commentaries say the mustard seed represents the church and how it will one day grow and spread throughout the earth and provide refuge for animals.  The other interpretation is that the seed is corruption within the church and that the birds were a symbol of corruption, nesting amongst Christians.  In the previous parables, birds were the devil.  Revelation 18:2 has birds unclean and detestable.

In reality, mustard seeds are not trees but about the size of a bush so whichever interpretation you choose, the seed has grown supernaturally large.

Parable of the yeast:  Again, same basic two interpretations.  One is that yeast or Christianity will be worked throughout the world.  The second is yeast is corruption that will influence the world.  Yeast is typically a picture of sin (Exodus 12:8, 12:15-20) and hence the Jewish emphasis on unleavened bread.

End Note:  I fundamentally disagree with BSF about the use of commentaries during Bible study (always have and always will with this respect).  When I read a passage and have no idea what it is saying, I get help to know what it is saying and at that moment.  Truly, how many of us go back over the passage after lecture?  I don’t in most cases.  I read the notes and move on.  Hence, my belief one should (and definitely shouldn’t be ‘banned’ from reading commentaries) in the midst of study.  Otherwise, the moment will be lost, you won’t remember in a few days what the passage was about or what you originally thought about the passage, and you won’t have the time to re-visit it either when life keeps charging ahead.

The word scholar comes from the Greek “scole” meaning leisure, free time.  These are people who have studied the Bible for years and have a much better grasp of it than me.  I see nothing wrong with using the cumulative knowledge of generations of scholars so I can get a tiny bit more knowledge of God.  The more I know, the better of a person I am.  And whatever helps me in that respect should not be prohibited.