BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 27, Day 5: Romans 15:13

Summary of passage:  Paul prays that God fills them with joy and peace as they trust in Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Questions:

13)  Trust gives us the faith we need in order to hope.  Without trust, hope is empty as we truly don’t believe it will come to pass.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  If we don’t trust, we have no hope.  God grants us both and is good for doing so.  At the end of the day, hope is all that gets me by sometimes.  I hope in God and trust in Him to do as He says He will.  As I see Him fulfill His promises, my faith grows as does my trust and hope.  It’s a beautiful cycle I never want to end!

15)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Everyone.

Conclusions:  Trust and hope are really broad topics and are tightly intertwined.  The more you trust, the more hope you have and the more faith is strengthened.

End Notes:   The prayer and blessing concluding the section is appropriate. As God fills us with the blessings of His joy and peace in believing, we are equipped to live in this common bond of unity God calls us to.

Throughout the Bible, hope is considered a desirable attribute of human life.  Hope is a gift of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament and includes trust, confidence, and refuge in the God of hope.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 27, Day 4: Romans 15:7-13

Summary of passage:  Paul is still urging unity and urging the Roman Jews to accept the Gentiles, which were always in God’s plan to believe in Him and Jesus which Paul backs up with Old Testament passages.  This will glorify God and is the reason Christ came.  Paul prays that God fills them with joy and peace as they trust in Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Questions:

10)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  It brings praise to God.  It humbles me because none of us deserve acceptance, but if God can do it, I am inspired to as well.

11)  2 Samuel 22:50; Psalm 18:49; Deuteronomy 32:43; Psalm 117:1; Isaiah 11:10.  Everyone (including the Gentiles) will praise God and were all meant to praise Him as part of his plan for humanity.

12a)  It confirms to the Jews that the Gentiles were always part of God’s plan.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God wants all of us despite our differences.  So must we.  Most of our differences are petty.  Have a unity of Spirit.  It’s all for Him.

Conclusions:  Paul brings in the Old Testament to confirm his urgings that the Gentiles are to be accepted as God’s children since they are a part of God’s plan.  In essence, it all comes down to love.  Jesus’s command to love one another as yourself (Matthew 22:39).

End Notes:  We are to give others the grace God has given us fallen humans.  Acceptance and love.  Christ covered our faults and welcomed us; in the same way we do to others.

15:9:  From the beginning, God’s redemptive work in and for Israel had in view the redemption of the Gentiles (Genesis 12:2-3).  They would both see God’s mighty and gracious acts for his people and hear the praises of God’s people as they celebrated what God had done for them (a common theme in Psalms).  Thus they would come to know the true God and glorify him for his mercy.  God greatest and climactic act for Israel’s salvation was the sending of the Messiah to fulfill the promises made to the patriarchs and so to gather in the great harvest of the Gentiles.

We are to unite in Jesus over the common ground of praise to God.  As God blesses us, so we are equipped to live in unity with others.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 27, Day 2: Romans 15:1-6

Summary of passage:  We need to subjugate our needs to others’ needs.  The Bible was written to encourage us and give us hope.  We are to have unity amongst Christians  so that we can glorify God and Jesus.

Questions:

3)  We are to subjugate our need to others’ needs.  We are to have unity amongst Christians in order to glorify the Father and Jesus.  We are privileged to have the Bible to guide us and teach us.  We are strong and should bear with the failings of the weak and bear the weak up.  We are to lead by example as Jesus did.

4)  People pleasing is where we do things or tasks so that others are happy, which includes things we probably shouldn’t be doing.  Pleasing your neighbor is doing something that the neighbor needs doing and sincerely helping him do it.  It’s making others stronger through your help.  These are things that make the neighbor a better person and more confident and hopefully more Godly.  The difference is the intent behind the act and the results.

5)  The big one is where Jesus gave up his life for us.  The results are eternal salvation for believers.  Everything Jesus did was for others:  healing, feeding the 5000, teaching, serving, etc.  He is our greatest example.

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Selfish.  Greedy.  At times evil and corrupt.  Closed-minded.  Ultimately, miserable.  I can be very selfish.  Greedy.  Evil.  Definitely.  The difference is I fight against that with God’s and the Holy Spirit’s help and I hope I’m making progress, but oftentimes I don’t think so.

Conclusions:  I love the strong versus weak analogy.  I tend to think of myself as strong and I’m very impatient with those who aren’t.  This isn’t necessarily physical.  It’s emotional and mental as well.  This is a great reminder for me to see others with God’s grace.  I also love Paul’s reminder about unity with other Christians (BSF will explore this on Day 3).  I have drifted away from weekly church attendance (other than BSF) and I know I need a church home.  Desperately so.  Perhaps this will “kick me in the butt” to do something about it!

End Notes:  Paul says to use your strength to serve your brothers, not just yourself.  “Bear with” really means “bearing up” your brother i.e. holding him up.  This advice goes against the “me” society today.  Paul says if you build up others you will build yourself up in the process.

Paul gives the same advice in Philippians 2:3-4.  Put others first.  The goal is to make the weak strong.

We are to build each other up; not tear each other down.

Jesus is the ultimate example of one who did not please Himself, but put others first. Paul’s classic development of this idea is in Philippians 2:5-11.

Jesus took fulfilled what was written in God’s word, allowing the Father to vindicate him.

The commandment Jesus fulfilled from Psalm 69:7-9 was written for our learning so that we might have hope, knowing we are doing what is right even when difficult.  “You” refers to God and “me” is the righteous sufferer whom Paul identifies with Christ.

Responding rightly bothers people even more.  No one can hurt God’s children.

Paul then prays for the Holy Spirit to endow this attitude onto the Romans.  Other translations here have “God of patience” instead of endurance.  In essence, Paul is saying wait on God’s plan for your life.  God’s purpose for your life takes time.

Paul encourages believers not to necessarily have the same conclusions but to agree to disagree in love (Ephesians 4:1-6; Philippians 2:1-5).

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 27, Day 5: John 19:38-42

Summary of passage: Joseph of Arimathea, a secret follower of Jesus, asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. Along with Nicodemus, the two of them prepared Jesus’ body for burial by wrapping it in strips of linen. Jesus was laid in a nearby tomb.

Questions:

12)  Jesus was not abandoned nor did his body decay.  Jesus was wrapped in linen, his body rubbed with spices, myrrh and aloes that were expensive.  He died with wicked men.  He conquered death and sin to overcome the devil.

13)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Because Jesus was buried when he died so were we so that we may rise again.  Jesus was raised from the dead as we will be as well.  To be honest, it doesn’t impact my daily life.  I prefer to mediate on his resurrection rather than the details of his burial.

Conclusions:  I’d never asked myself before why we bury the dead.  Why not burn them?  Different cultures treat their dead differently so I decided to google.  Fascinating.  Some of what I discovered is in the End Notes.

End Notes:  God used these men to protect the body of Jesus. Jewish custom was to bury the body before sundown and the start of the Sabbath. All indications are that Joseph and Nicodemus did this work themselves instead of slaves. This must have been difficult to remove the bloody body of Jesus from a hanging cross. These 2 men who were religious leaders must have known they were fulfilling prophecy. Can you imagine being in their place? How awesome!

“One of the customs of the Jews in preparing a body for burial is the requirement to remove all foreign matter from the body and to carefully wash it. Joseph and Nicodemus examined His entire body and found broken pieces of thorn all over the head. They saw His bloody, matted hair; the terrible bruising of the face, the areas of beard pulled out, the dry and cracked lips. They turned the body over to see His shoulders and arms are riddled with splinters; each one was removed with care. The back, from the shoulders down, was a bloody open wound from the terrible scourging suffered before the crucifixion. His hands and feet were smashed and bloodied. On the front – just beneath the rib cage – there was a gaping wound made from the spear thrust that confirmed His death.” Taken from Enduring Word.com. Can you imagine?

Jesus could have risen right then. But instead he hung dead on the cross. God’s perfect plan.

The burial of Jesus is so important it’s considered one of the essential components of the gospel itself (1 Corinthians 15:3-4):

· The burial fulfilled the Scripture of Isaiah 53:9 says, “And they made His grave with the wicked”; so that meant the Messiah would be buried in a grave – and He was

· The burial fulfilled the promise, the prediction of Jesus. Jesus said that He, like Jonah, would be buried away for three days (Matthew 12:40), and so it had to be fulfilled

· The burial demonstrated that Jesus was truly dead; it was proof of the glory of the coming resurrection.

· The burial was important because burial spices and preparations protected His holy body from decay; as it was said in Psalm 16:10: You will not allow Your Holy One to see decay

· The burial pushed both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus to proclaim their relationship with Jesus in public

· The burial and the days of Jesus in the tomb tested the faith and devotion of the disciples; it made them die a certain kind of death for those days they knew Jesus lay in the tomb

· The burial and the days of Jesus in the tomb proved Jesus defeated not only sin, but also death. The burial and the empty tomb show that Jesus conquered sin and death

· The days in the tomb were important because there was important work for Jesus to do during that time in the tomb. 1 Peter 3:18-20 tells us that Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison; though there isn’t as much explanation on all this as we would like to have, it seems that as the body of Jesus lay lifeless in the tomb, His Spirit went to Hades, the abode of the dead. There He led the faithful dead to heaven, in light of His then-completed work on the cross. He also preached a message of judgment and coming condemnation to the evil spirits that were imprisoned in the depths

· The burial shows he was buried with us, in the humiliation of utter humanness. We are buried with Him – spiritually by faith, ceremonially by baptism. He identified with us; we by faith identify with Him. [Again, summarized from enduring word.com]

The myrrh and aloes were an extravagant amount of money.

Matthew 27:60 tells us that this tomb belonged to Joseph of Arimathea himself. A rich man like Joseph would probably have a tomb that was carved into solid rock; this tomb was in a garden near the place of crucifixion.

A typical tomb of this type had a small entrance and perhaps one or more compartments where bodies were laid out after being somewhat mummified with spices, ointments, and linen strips. Customarily, the Jews left these bodies alone for a few years until they decayed down to the bones, then the bones were placed in a small stone box known as an ossuary (picture HERE.) The ossuary remained in the tomb with the remains of other family members.

The door to the tomb was typically made of a heavy, circular shaped stone, running in a groove and settled down into a channel, so it could not be moved except by several strong men. This was done to ensure that no one would disturb the remains.

Adam fell in a Garden. And so we are redeemed in one.

Spurgeon points out that the tomb was empty so no one could say Jesus’ body had touched the bones of a prophet and so sprung to life. Every detail recorded was super important to the Jewish people at that time too all would know–Yes, He is King!

So why do we bury the dead?  Evidence shows since the beginning of time the dead have been buried mainly to show respect to the dead.  Wikipedia has a great article HERE on the history.  I think it’s inherent to mankind.  It’s like the search for God.  Something inside all of us leads us to do what we do like instinct in animals.  Abraham purchased a cave and even God laid Moses to rest (article HERE) in Deuteronomy 34:6.  Christian burial link HERE  Fascinating study if you’re interested.  It’s always good to question tradition.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 27, Day 3: Revelation 21:11-21

Summary of passage:  Jerusalem shone with the glory of God.  It had 12 walls with 12 gates with 12 guardian angels.  The names of the 12 tribes were written on the gates.  The city had 12 foundations with the names of the 12 apostles on them.  The city boasted of riches, its walls, foundations, gates, and streets made of precious stones and gold.

Questions:

6a)  Gold, (12 stones for 12 foundations: jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, carnelian, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth, amethyst), and pearls.  Click HERE for precious stones of Bible explained.

b)  They are the same, each representing the 12 Tribes (Click HERE for study last year.  We breezed through this chapter but my End Notes has pictures and a discussion of the breastplate).

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The fact we have the 12 tribes and the 12 apostles inscribed in the walls and foundations shows us:  1) God’s plan for humanity coming to fruition  2)  The meeting of the Old and New Covenants AND the inclusion of both peoples under both covenants as we all walk with the Lord.

Nothing is left to chance with God.  All has meaning.  All is significant.  All leads back to Him.  Some people dismiss the Old Testament as nothing but antiquated laws and rules that don’t apply to them.  These people are sorely mistaken.  All of God’s Word is from Him for us.  We follow and obey all.  This shows God is in control and all links back to His plans for our Salvation and Jesus.

It’s important because God is important.  We need Him, all of Him, and we can’t get any closer than His Word, prayer, and Jesus.

8a)  Glory: How God will create a city for believers out of the most beautiful and durable materials around.  He wants us to have an amazing eternal life.  What to look forward to!

Security:  He has a plan and we don’t need a plan except it being God’s.

Perfect:  His word is perfect.  His reasons are perfect.  He is perfect.

Asked about attributes about God or Jesus (who are the same) in Lesson 2 Day 4, Lesson 14 Day 3, Lesson 24 Day 4)

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s comforting when I don’t know which direction to go that God does know.  He is there for me.  He is waiting for me.  When life gets tough, it doesn’t matter.  All that matters is Him.  All are important for all are God.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The opulence of the Holy City.  I never imagined it so beautiful.  Even now I can’t imagine it.  Heaven on earth.  Awesome!

Conclusions:  Liked the 12 repetition.  A ton here and we’ve barely scratched the surface.  Personal questions can be summed up like this:  Why is God important?  Answer that one and you’ll answer ALL of them from now on.

End Notes:  Some commentators believe this city will be on earth or will be suspended over earth.

The “very precious jewel” is most likely a diamond as the hardest substance on earth and one of the clearest and most beautiful.  I talked earlier about how the name diamond at this time did not exist yet (see HERE for discussion).

This is a real city as described here with walls and gates.  There can be no doubt.  These gates represent security, safety, and well-being.  No unclean may enter.  Isaiah 26:1-2 mentions this wall.  The names of the 12 tribes and apostles on the gates are as a memorial for all they did in God’s plan for humanity.

This vision also fulfills Ezekiel’s vision.  He too saw 12 gates, 12 angels, and the 12 tribes inscribed on the walls (Ezekiel 48:30-35).

Note the 12 apostles are inscribed on the foundation stones.  They brought the foundational message of Christianity–that of Jesus Christ–to the world who is the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20).

Some scholars suggest the arrangement of the gates reflects on the layout of the tribes during the Exodus (Numbers 2).

In Ezekiel’s vision he also saw an angel with a measuring rod in his hand (Ezekiel 40:3).  Ezekiel 40:5 shows this angel going around the outside of the temple area and measuring the various aspects of the temple.  The measuring of the city (and the temple in Ezekiel’s vision) is to show the security found in this city.  We saw this symbol in Revelation 11:1-2.  These vast measurements of the city show the people of God are secure and safe.  It also serves to show the size and scope of the eternal dwelling place and it’s perfect symmetry.

12,000 represents perfection and completion.  We saw this in Revelation 7 with the 144,000 sealed, 12,000 from each tribe.  The Holy of Holies was a perfect square, 20 cubics each way (1 Kings 6:20).  It is where God dwelled with His people.  God’s people here have been made perfect as well (Hebrews 12:22-24).  The Holy of Holies in Solomon’s temple was overlaid with gold as was the entire temple  (1 Kings 6:20-22).

12,000 stadia is about 1500 miles.  This is the distance from Maine to Florida.  This city is huge with plenty of room for God’s people!  It is a perfect measurement either a square or a pyramid.  The entire ground is holy.  144 cubits is about 200 miles and no one is for sure if this is the height of the wall or the width.

The emphasis on clear and glass shows God’s light will be uninhibited and shine everywhere.

In addition to the priest’s breastplates we read in Exodus 28, Isaiah mentions this as well (Isaiah 54:11–13).  Identifying the gemstones precisely is difficult since the names of changed but the idea is there:  this city is beyond our imaginings.  Since its architect is God (Hebrews 11:10) we should expect that.

It’s clear this Holy City of the New Jerusalem is magnificent, glorious, beautiful, and perfect.  All for us!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 27, Day 5: Deuteronomy 30

Summary of passage:  If God’s people turn back to Him, He will bless them and gather them together and prosper them and curse their enemies.  God only desires love and obedience.

Questions:

10a)  “Take his commands to heart” that is obey Him and love Him.

b)  Circumcise them.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That God is always just one step away, one prayer away, one repentance away.  He is waiting to pick us up when we fall and He never tires of this no matter how many times we sin.  It is a great comfort because I sin all the time so knowing God loves me anyways gives me the faith to keep pursuing Him.

11a)  A choice of life or death

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Life.  Through believe in Jesus Christ, you will have eternal life.

12)  If you read all of Galatians 3, you will see the whole answer here.  Paul’s argument is this:  Abraham who lived before the law was given merely believed in God and was considered righteous.  Then the law was given (and Paul says the reason the law was given was to lead the people to Christ.  Verse 19 has the answer:  The purpose of the law was added because of transgressions until the Seed (Jesus) had come.)  The law’s purpose was to show people that it is impossible to gain God’s acceptance and be with Him on our own–that we need a Savior to do it for us.  But once Jesus stepped foot on this planet, God required faith in Jesus who took our transgressions upon himself.

Therefore, the law was to show us our inadequacies and just how much we truly need God and a Savior.

The people needed the Law because Jesus hadn’t come yet.  They needed a way to be with God and the Old Covenant was it.  The problem:  as we’ve seen this year, the people were never cleansed enough to be with God.  The system of blood sacrifice was not enough.  The people needed to see that and to live that out.  It was to prepare people for the Truth and make them desperate for a Savior.

Conclusions:  LOVED the last question.  Perfect!  Sums up our whole study.

End Notes:  The modern state of Israel is the fulfillment of God’s promise here to regather His people that have been scattered for centuries all over the world.  Scholars say this promise was not fulfilled after their Babylonian exile because the Israelites were still being ruled over.  Now, the modern state of Israel is larger, stronger, and richer than any other time in history.  Israel needs our prayers.

However, Israel today is a secular society despite its Jewish heritage.  Only the ancient Israelites had a true theocracy.  Hence, this prophecy is only partially filled.  Furthermore, most Jews do not accept Jesus, which in essence is a rejection of God.  But God is faithful and He will keep His promise in these verses.

Ezekiel 37 says that first the Jews will gather together and then God will put His spirit in them.  God is not done with His people yet.

Under the Old Covenant, the Israelites had to obey the law, offer sacrifices, and believe in its power to atone and to understand another would come.  Under the New Covenant, we only have to believe in Jesus as the Savior; we don’t have to do anything.  How full of grace is our God!

We see God pleading with His people through Moses to choose Him.  We can see God pleading with His people through Jesus to believe in him.  We see God telling His people to love Him, listen to Him, and hold on to Him.  He is our life.

God makes it simple:  understand (mouth), believe (heart), and obey His word.  Paul says the same thing when he quotes this passage in Romans 10:6-10:  Confess Jesus is your Lord and believe in your heart he is the Savior.  And you will be saved.  Period.