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.

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

Summary of passage:  A warning against false teachers who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, bringing destruction upon themselves.  These teachers will exploit you out of greed and bring the truth into disrepute.  Many will follow them but they will face destruction.

God did not spare angels, the ancient world of Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah so He won’t spare these ungodly teachers. The Lord will rescue righteous men like He did for Lot and punish the unrighteous.

These men are bold, arrogant, slander celestial beings, and blaspheme and they will perish.  They will be paid back.  They entice people by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature and they promise freedom.  It would have been better for them not to have known the Lord than to have known Him and turned their backs on him.

Questions:

6a)  Bar-Jesus (Acts 13:6-12) whom Barnabas and Saul/Paul met in Paphos.  Paul temporarily blinded him with the power of the Holy Spirit.  They are ultimately proven false by God for they cannot stand against His Truth.  “For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.”  Romans 16:18

b)  They will bring swift destruction and condemnation on themselves

7)  Angels sent to hell (Jude 1:6; Revelation 20:1-2); Flooded the world (Genesis 7-8); condemned Sodom and Gomorrah and saved Lot (Genesis 19; Jude 1:7)

8a)  By appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error (believers escaping from unbelievers) and promising them freedom.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  What Peter recommends in 2 Peter 1:5-8:  strengthen my faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.  Pray.  Read the Bible.  Learn from other believers.  Seek support.  Act.

Conclusions:  As a born skeptic (one who doesn’t believe anything is free in this life and if it sounds too good to be true it is), I would like to think it would be hard for me to be duped.  But the devil is crafty and knows all of our weaknesses.  That’s why it’s important to always be alert and watch out for the prowling lion (1 Peter 5:8; 1 Corinthians 16:13) and have on God’s armor (Ephesians 6).  Be prepared to fight for the Truth and help others to do so as well.

The writer obviously despised false teachers by how he goes and on how vile they are and how they will pay in the end.  They must have been doing great damage in his times.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 30, Day 2: 2 Peter 1

Summary of passage:  Peter (the most widely-accepted author of this book) tells the readers of this letter that God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him.  By His great glory and goodness He has given us great and precious promises so that we can be with Him (the promise of sanctification and eternal life).

Therefore, we must strengthen our faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love in this world in order to be effective and productive in knowing Jesus.  If we do these things (our calling and election), we will never fall and we will be welcomed into the eternal kingdom.

Peter promises to remind them of these things always as he is close to death.  He was an eyewitness to Christ’s majesty and stood on the mount as God himself declared Jesus as His son.  Plus, the words of the prophets confirm Christ as their words were from God.

Questions:

3)  Eternal life given to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ

4)  A Christian must add to his/her faith:  goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.  If you possess these qualities you will be effective and productive in knowing Him.  Make your calling and election sure (verse 10) by doing the above.

5a)  Peter was an eyewitness to Jesus and heard God declare that Jesus was His son.  And the prophets confirmed the truth who spoke from God’s will not their own (i.e. spoke God’s words, given to them by God).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  By the way I live my life.  When I speak, I am sure.  I hope it radiates from me and my belief shines through.  And my knowledge of Bible and Scripture (which needs to be strengthened).

Conclusions:  I need to work on all of the aforementioned truths and callings of a Christian’s life:  faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness, and love.  I think I’m weak in all aspects (which probably explains my falls). Great reminder of what we should be doing in this world.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 29, Day 5: 1 Peter 5

Summary of passage:  Peter advises the elders to be shepherds of God’s flock, serving as overseers, and being examples to them.  You will receive a crown of glory for their service.

Young men be submissive to elders and be humble to all.  Give God your worries.  Be self-controlled and alert for the enemy.  Resist him and stand firm in faith and after you have suffered God will restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.

Questions:

14a)  A fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings, and one who will share in the glory to be revealed

b)  In these times where Christians were being persecuted, it was important to have an encourager, someone to lead by example and guide those who were new to the faith and at times afraid of proclaiming it.  These converts needed someone to show them how to lead the Christian life and to correct them and pick them up when they stumbled.  It’s the same for today.  We are all infants in our faith, growing, and we need support and guidance from elders.

c)  Crown of glory (eternal life)

15)  Respect their advice, treat them with respect, learn from them and their walk, and seek them out with questions of faith or advice on life.

16)  Resist him and stand firm in the faith, staying self-controlled and alert always.

17)  God will restore you, make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Conclusions:  More repetition.  And it all seems intuitive but I think this message is important for the younger generation to hear.  Respect your elders (the leaders) and submit to them.  They are much more knowledgeable than you are.  Today one would be hard pressed to find stellar examples of respect or submission in the secular world. Short, concise, sweet, and pithy advice.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 29, Day 4: 1 Peter 4

Summary of passage:  Peter tells us that Christ suffered in this body so we should be prepared to suffer as well since it means we will be done with sin, resulting in living for the will of God and not for this earthly life.  You spent time doing pagan things and now they abuse you.  But they will be judged in the end.

Be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.  Love each other deeply.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Use your gifts to serve others.  If you speak, speak the words of God.  Serve through God’s strength so that He may be praised.

Rejoice in your suffering since you are participating in the sufferings of Christ.  If you are insulted because of Christ, you are blessed.  Praise God that you bear His name in your suffering.  Commit yourselves to God and do good.

Questions:

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Again, I hate to harp on this but BSF keeps asking:  I haven’t suffered physically at all.  No one has beaten me, flogged me, ostracized me, or condemned me, especially based on my beliefs (probably afraid they’d get sued if they did).  That being said, I have experienced God’s tests and how He takes away when we went through bankruptcy and we lost everything.  In this instance, I realized material things are just that.  There’s always another house or car.  But what matters is family and God.  If I have both, then I’m good.

9)  Pagans will have to give account for their actions and behavior (as we all do) because God judges both the living (those with the Holy Spirit) and the dead (those without the Holy Spirit).

10a)  Speaking the very words of God

b)  It is possible because Christ did so and if Christ did so, then we (with the power of the Holy Spirit) can do so as well.

2 Peter 1:3:  “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”  He has given us everything we need in order to do so.

c)  Love is also an act of will.  This is what many couples do not understand and what leads to divorce.  Love isn’t a feeling (and definitely not the one of first love).  You choose to love your husband even when….(fill in the blank).  It’s the same with others.  You choose to love others even when….(they fall, they sin, they hurt you, they are imperfect as we all are, etc). Christ loved all.  We must love all.  We must override our feelings and choose to do so.

11)  You will be rewarded when his glory is revealed, you are blessed with the Spirit of glory and God upon you, you suffer in His name.

12)  To pave the way for Christ’s return by purifying them and giving them time to be refined like silver and tested like gold.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Perseverance.  Patience.  Faith and trust in Him.

Conclusions:  I almost choked on verse 8.  Love?  Seriously?  Come on, Peter.  We get it.  But I liked BSF’s take on it so I did get something out of it after all, pointing out how we must choose to love and not love by feeling.  If we relied just on emotion, no one would love anyone.

My favorite (if you haven’t guessed) was verse 10.  Yes, another repetition of Paul’s but one I need to hear constantly in order to keep the faith in my novel.  I have been gifted to serve others and I must follow through on that gift.  That is the hard part when every day I ask myself, “Is this worth it?”

I like the idea of being purified for I tend to think of myself as pyrite instead of gold. Good stuff!

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 29, Day 3: 1 Peter 3:8-22

Summary of passage:  Peter tells his listeners/readers to live in harmony with one another, be sympathetic, compassionate, and humble, and love each other as brothers. Do not repay an insult with an insult but with blessing for that is what we are called to do.  For Psalms says if you want good days and the eyes and ears (attention) of the Lord you must keep your tongue and yourself from evil and live righteously.

You are blessed if you suffer for good.  Set Christ apart in your heart.  Always be prepared to credit Christ for the hope you have in gentleness and respect (basically give no reason to support slander against you).  Better to suffer for doing good than evil.

Christ died to bring you to God.  He preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed God in the days of Noah and saved eight through water, the same water that now saves you through Christ’s resurrection.

Questions:

5a)  Live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic; love as brothers; be compassionate and humble; do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult (revenge basically) but with blessing.  I need all to tell you the truth.

b)  If you repay evil or insult with blessing as you were called to do, you will see good days and the eyes of the Lord will be upon you and he will listen to your prayers.

6)  Respond humbly for you are blessed for your suffering.  Stand firm in your knowledge that you are set apart and keep Christ as your Lord.  And remember this suffering is God’s will.

7)  I think the spirits in prison were demonic spirits, fallen angels if you will, whom Jesus visited (the reason why is not given) after his crucifixion but before his first resurrection to the disciples.  Genesis 6:1-2, the sons of God is a common terms in the Old Testament for angels.  Peter mentions this as an encouragement to the readers of his letter as an example of Christ’s triumph over evil in this world.

Conclusions:  Peter and Paul must have been good friends because this passage, again, echoes Paul’s teachings. Remember in the study of Isaiah how it all seemed like gloom and doom and every week it seemed like God’s people were disobeying and being punished?  Here in the study of Acts it’s the opposite:  it’s all advice (and the same advice in many cases) on how to live.

So instead of being told how bad we are we are being told how to live.  At times, it seems as if my mother were talking to me.  “Now, honey, don’t insult others when they insult you.  Be strong in who you are as a person.  Have compassion on that person and some sympathy.  You don’t know what they’ve been through in life.”

And we roll our eyes but in the end the repetitiveness of the Truth seeps down into our core and we do become compassionate, sympathetic, and humble human beings who love each other as brothers.

God knows us, doesn’t He?

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 29, Day 2: 1 Peter 3:1-7

Summary of passage:  Peter tells wives to submit to husbands in the same manner Christ submitted to God’s will so that the husband may be converted by her behavior and how she leads her life.  Women’s beauty should not come from outward adornment but from within, which never fades and is of greater worth in God’s eyes.  Sarah submitted and was beautiful as she put her hope in God.  Do what is right and never fear.

Husbands be considerate and respect your wives who are weaker and heirs to God’s gracious gift of life so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Questions:

3a)  In the same way Christ was submissive as Peter talked about in 1 Peter 2:21-25:  submissive to authority (God and government).

b)  So that if their husbands do not believe, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives. At this time in history, many women were being converted to Christianity before their husbands and the women wanted to know if they should leave their husband and how they should behave now that Christ was their head.

c)  No.  It means if you rely on outward beauty (such as braiding hair and wearing jewelry) for your beauty instead of allowing your beauty to come from the inside.  The source of beauty is from the heart.

Again, in these times, many women dyed their hair (much like today) and wigs were popular. Women would spend hours having slaves do their hair as certain hair styles were very popular back then (much like today).  It was important to be “cool” even in Ancient Times, meaning to be fashionable and trendy.

Other translations of this verse use the word merely.  If you read it this way, it makes perfect sense.

4)  Physically women are weaker.  God made us that way.  Husbands needed to be stronger to toil long hours in the field doing manual labor.  Women, on the other hand, stayed in the home where she needed much less brute strength generally.  Husbands should respect their wives because they are heirs with them of the gracious gift of life or part of God’s chosen people as well, equal spiritually.

Conclusions:  This echoes Paul’s words to the Ephesians (Ephesians 5:22-33) with the same message of submitting because God is our head.  I liked how Peter brings out not to fall into the trap of relying on physical beauty as so many women of today (and then) did. Great reminder and teaching (especially to our younger generation) of God’s truth and not the world’s lie that the heart is what matters to God, not the latest fashion trends.