bsf acts lesson 1 day 2

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 1, Day 2: Acts 1:1-4, Luke 24:13-49

Summary of Acts 1:1-4:

Luke (the writer of Acts) tells Theophilus that he previously wrote (in the book of Luke) about Jesus’s actions and teachings up to the day he ascended to Heaven after instructing the apostles through the Holy Spirit.  Jesus gave proofs to the apostles that he was alive after he had been crucified, and Jesus continued to appear before them for 40 days, speaking about God’s kingdom.  On one occasion, Jesus instructed the apostles to not leave Jerusalem until they received the gift God has promised.

Summary of Luke 24:13-49:

Two men were walking along the road to Emmaus when Jesus appeared to them after he was crucified. The men did not recognize Jesus who then told Jesus about his own death. Jesus responded by admonishes them for not believing the prophets when they spoke of Jesus’s death.  Jesus then explains the scriptures (the OT) to them concerning himself (basically, how his life, death, and resurrection crowned centuries of God’s work). Jesus stayed with them, broke bread with them, and he was recognized. However, he disappeared after that. They told the 11 disciples all that had happened.

Jesus then appears before the disciples in Jerusalem. The apostles are frightened and Jesus asks why they don’t believe it’s him.  “Look at my hands and my feet.  It is I…” and Jesus showed his hands and feet where he had been pierced on the cross.  He ate with them and reiterated how every prophecy must be fulfilled from the Old Testament.  Then Jesus opened their minds so they could understand how he must suffer, die, and rise again; forgiveness of sins will be preached.  But first, Jesus will send them what God has promised so they must remain in Jerusalem until they have been clothed with power from on high.

Jesus led them to Bethany where he blessed the disciples and arose into Heaven.  The disciples worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem where they remained, praising God at His temple.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 1, Day 2: Acts 1:1-4, Luke 24:13-49

3) Personally. Jesus appears to his disciples and other believers and continues to teach them and put the pieces of his death together for them.

4) Part personal Question. My answer: Jesus still needed to teach his disciples, and he needed to have proof, or witnesses, that he was risen in the form of testimony. He also needed to explain about the Holy Spirit. I’d want to know when the Second Coming was, and I’d ask about everything else I don’ know!

5) Personal Question. My answer: It’s helpful to know that this life and troubles are temporary, that there is a better place awaiting — a place with God, Jesus, and no evil in the world.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 1, Day 2: Acts 1:1-4, Luke 24:13-49

Acts opens fairly simply with Luke casually talking about Jesus hanging out with the disciples after his resurrection. No big deal.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 1, Day 2: Acts 1:1-4, Luke 24:13-49

Yay! First Lesson of the Study of Acts and Letters of the Apostles. So exciting!

Acts 1:1-4:

Luke, the writer of Acts, was a physician (Colossians 4:14), a Gentile, and a devoted follower of Paul (from the text of Acts, and Colossians 4:14, Philemon 24, and 2 Timothy 4:11). That’s about all we know about him.

Theophilus (Greek meaning lover of God) is the person to whom Luke is writing the books of Acts (and the book of Luke previously) to. He could have been a Christian or a Roman official. We don’t know anything else about him, although he may have held office since Luke calls him “most excellent.”

One theory has Acts as a defense book on Paul’s behalf since Luke was with Paul in Jerusalem (Acts 21:17) and went to Rome with him (Acts 27:1).

Fun Fact:  “Ancient books were generally written on papyrus scrolls. It was practical to have a scroll about thirty-five feet in length. When it got any longer it got too bulky to carry around. This physical limitation has determined the length of many books of the Bible.” (Boice) Luke used two scrolls to tell his story, and one we call “The Gospel of Luke” and the other we call “The Book of Acts.”

Acts spans a period of about 30 years, and takes us up to about A.D. 60 or 61, with Paul in Rome waiting to appear before Caesar Nero. This same Nero began his infamous persecutions of Christians in A.D. 64.

Note how Jesus rose and spoke to the disciples with the power of the Holy Spirit.  If the glorified, resurrected Jesus needed and relied on the Holy Spirit, so should we. This will be an on-going theme throughout Acts that we need the Holy Spirit to operate as well.

The Power of the Father (or Holy Spirit) is:

  • Reliable
  • Belongs to all
  • Received by faith
  • Requires patience

Luke 24:13-49:

These 2 anonymous disciples were sad that Jesus had not redeemed Israel. Jesus appeared to set them right. They indeed were redeemed! Jesus teaches them:

  • He had to suffer
  • The cross was necessary
  • The Messiah Moses predicted

God’s word can burn on your heart like it burned on theirs.

Jesus had to ascend to heaven so that confidence would be put in the power and ministry of the Holy Spirit, not in the geographical presence of Jesus.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 1, Day 4: Romans 1:11-15

Summary of passage:  Paul tells the Romans how he has longed to see them for a while now but has been prevented from doing so as he has many commitments (as we all do!).  He wants to encourage them.

Questions:

9)  He wants to see the Romans to impart a spiritual gift of encouragement in their faith to them, but he has been prevented from doing do due to his other duties and the timing of God has not been right (the harvest time).

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Paul doesn’t forget the Romans.  He touches base with them.  He lets them know he is thinking about them and praying for them and is with them in spirit.  He tells them he is coming in God’s time.  Same with us.  We are all busy people.  But not forgetting commitments to others (and God) is important.  Trust in God to open the doors when He’s ready.

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Paul was called by God to preach to all.  He embraces it and is eager to perform his duty.  What we don’t read in Acts (Acts 26:19-23) is Paul doing exactly what God tells him to do.  He obeys unquestioningly.  I would say my attitude is similar to Paul’s.  It’s just something I do ambivalently.  I do His will.  Accept it and move on.

Conclusions:  I think it is important to honor our commitment to God and to others.  Here, in this passage, I believe it’s more of an emphasis of Paul’s to the Romans.  Acknowledge people.  Don’t keep them hanging or guessing.  Be honest and open.  Tell them why it’s not a good time right now but give them a time when it is.  I think people today appreciate forth righteousness more than flimsy excuses.

End Notes:  Note how Paul says he needs encouragement from the Romans!  This is something we often forget.  Our pastors need us to pray for them and journey alongside of them in their spiritual growth.

Paul realized he had an obligation to the Romans.  Remember in history this is the time of the Pax Romana, a time of unseen economic prosperity and growth for the first time in history.  It is in such an environment that Christianity could grow without being overwhelmed by the basic needs of mankind (like food and such).  Paul felt a duty to bring the gospel to those who enabled the gospel to spread.

Greeks here then are those who followed the Greek way of life.  Non-Greeks are the other Gentiles or barbarians in the eye of the Greeks.

Paul is ready to go–with only Christ by his side.  I’m sure Paul had a vision of sailing the calm Mediterranean, taking in the smell and sun of the sea, and landing on the coast of Italy.  Instead, he came as a shipwrecked prisoner (Acts 27-28).  However, he still fulfills God’s plan for his life.

2 Lessons to us:

1)  Pray for and encourage your pastor!

2)  Embrace God’s path, not yours.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 1, Day 4: John 1:6-8; 14-15

Summary of passage:  John the Baptist was sent from God to testify that Jesus is the light.  Jesus (the Word) became flesh.

Questions:

10a)  He was sent from God to testify that Jesus is the light so that through him all men might believe.  He was an evangelist whose life’s goal was to bring people to Jesus.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I think we are all given work to do here on earth that will shine God’s light into other’s lives.  And that looks different for everyone.  For me, I’m a writer and I try to convey God’s light through my stories.  I also pass on God to my kids and to those I meet through my actions and words.  God and the encounters He sends us are everywhere.  We just have to look.

11)  Calling Jesus the Word points to his uniqueness as the Word is what gives life from Creation on.  He’s the “One and Only”, implying Jesus is the only way to God.  He holds the glory different from humans.

Conclusions:  The take away here is to remember Jesus’ uniqueness and his special relationship to God and man.  And to remember God’s purpose is to save us.  Through Jesus.  And it’s our job to let others know about that.

End Notes:  Testifying connotes committing.  If you testify for Jesus or for someone on trial, you are committing to him.

John the Baptist had a significant following, of which John the Apostle was one until he met Jesus.  Some of John the Baptist’s followers were uncertain of Jesus.  John makes clear here that John the Baptist is not the light for those who were confused about Jesus.

“The Word became flesh” was astounding at that time in history.  To the Greeks, their gods were super-men who lived forever, not a different being entirely and certainly not logos.  To the Jews, God was an effervescent spirit.  How could he ever become as common as a man?  John speaks to both beliefs here and announces:  Jesus/God is man!

God comes to us in the flesh.  We don’t have to go out and find Him.  He is there always.

“And dwelt among us” is more properly translated as “pitched one’s tent”, directly linking to the tabernacle of Old Testament’s time where God dwelled, where the law was kept, where sacrifices were made, the center of the town, and where revelations occurred and God spoke.  God is here as our center in the flesh (Holy Spirit in our times).

“Seen” is more properly translated “beheld” and meant in Greek “to see with one’s eye” in person, in the flesh.

“Full of” is all encompassing.

“Grace and truth”.  Both together and not one without the other.  That is God.  The corresponding Hebrew translation here is often “unfailing love and faithfulness.”

Verse 15 is John the Baptist speaking.  In ancient times, if you were older than someone else, you were considered wiser.  Intelligence had no say here.  Hence, John the Baptist is making is clear that even though Jesus came after him in birth of the flesh, Jesus is the greater.  And also he’s saying Jesus did actually come before him since Jesus has always existed.

Fun Fact:  John never uses the word “grace” after the prologue (verse 14).

Another Fun Fact:  John uses the Greek word for “truth” 25 times and links it closely with Jesus who is the truth (John 14:6).

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 1, Day 3: John 1:9-13

Summary of passage:  Jesus (the light) came into the world but many did not recognize him.  Those who did receive him received the right to become children of God who were chosen by God for that purpose.

Questions:

7)  Unbelievers are Christ’s “own” who did not receive him.  Their hearts are hardened.  God choses through His infinite grace who will receive Him and who won’t.  “Own” refers to all of us and also to home.  We see this exact phrase used by John in John 19:27 when Mary was taken home.

8 )  Part personal question.  My answer:  Receive Christ and believe in him.  It has meant everything in my life.  It is His will and not mine, and He is faithful.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:

Born:  We are created for God, given life, born of God.

Not of natural descent:  We are from God and exist by His will.

Nor of human decision:  God chooses us!

Or a husband’s will:  We have no say in whom God chooses.

Born of God:  When we are chosen, we are God’s.  He lives in us.

Conclusions:  Note we skipped verses 6-8 since they reference John the Baptist.  We will examine these in Day 4 together with verses 14-5, which combine the symbolism of light.  Also note John the Baptist is NOT John the apostle who wrote this book.  Different guy entirely.

Loved the focus on how we are chosen by God for His kingdom.  So important to remember when we are sharing the gospel and when we are depressed and feel unworthy in this world.

End Notes:  Verse 9 does NOT mean every man will have saving light i.e. Jesus.  John means Jesus brings light into this world that otherwise would be darkness, which every man can see.

Membership in God’s family is by grace alone–the gift of God–never by human achievement.  We have to be open and receptive to God’s word.

Fun Fact:  The Greek word for world is used 78 times in this Gospel and 24 times in John’s letters.  It’s only used 47 times in all of Paul’s writings.

It can mean:  universe, earth, people on earth, most people, people opposed to God or the human system opposed to God’s purposes.  John emphasizes this word through repetition and uses it interchangeably between meanings.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 1, Day 2: John 1:1-5

Summary of passage:  The Word (Jesus Christ) was in existence from the beginning with God and is God.  All things are made through him and he contains life.  He shines to unbelievers who do not understand him.

Questions:

3)  1)  “In the beginning was the Word”.  The Word is Jesus.  This means he has always existed.

2)  “the Word was with God”.  Jesus is always with the Father (God).

3)  “the Word was God”.  This means Jesus and God are one and the same, referring to the Triune God where God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are One entity.

4)  Genesis 1:1:  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  Jesus has always existed so Jesus was there in the beginning and he created the heavens and the earth since he and God are one and the same.

Colossians 1:15-17:  Jesus is the image of God and was first in creation.  Jesus created all things and all things are created for him.  He is above all things and he holds all things together.

Hebrews 1:2-3:  The universe was created through Christ.  Jesus is the world’s light and the sustainer of this world (creation).  Jesus and God are equally responsible for this world, for Creation, and for its ongoing perpetuity.  They are in ultimate control of everything.

5)  We are told even thrones, powers, rulers, and authorities were created by Jesus and for Jesus.  All things on heaven and earth.  God is in control of us and our flourishing upon this earth and in heaven.  God is responsible for our life and therefore is at the center of a fulfilling life and should be the center of my fulfillment in life.

6)  Part personal question.  My answer:  Light is God/Jesus.  Darkness is Satan/devil.  Figuratively, light is also believers and darkness is unbelievers and evildoers.  Too many examples to list.  Light is all the good people do for others.  The aiding in disasters and in daily life.  Missionary work.  Even just bringing a meal to a sick neighbor.  That is light.  Darkness unfortunately is everywhere.  Terrorism.  War.  Senseless deaths and violence humans wreck upon each other.  Very, very sad.

Conclusions:  I’m SO excited to begin the study of John.  After Revelation last year, I’m looking forward to something more clear-cut, easy to understand, and Jesus’s words to us.  My kids struggled last year due to the nature of Revelation so I’m praying they love this study and look forward to BSF every week.

Good lesson on the Word and light and darkness, which is frequently used by John in this book.  If we understand nothing else in this study, understand the first line:  God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one in the same and have been since before time existed.  Life is in the belief in Jesus.  Period.

End Notes:  John deliberately opens his book with a parallel to Genesis 1:1.  There, God speaks creation into existence.  Here, God through John speaks salvation into existence by announcing Jesus’ presence in the world.  Everything is spoken.  Jesus speaks the Word of God and is the Word of God.

In Greek, word is logos.  Jews referred to God himself as “word of God.”  The ancient Greeks used the word logos as meaning turning chaos into order.  John uses the concept of word to speak to everyone:  the word is God–always has and always will be.  He lays out from the first sentence the Trinity so all can understand.

The Word created all things, meaning the Word himself is an uncreated being.  In the Word is the source of all life–physical and spiritual.  The Word is the life of all men.  Without Jesus we are dead and in darkness.  Most of us have a natural fear of darkness because of this fact.

The Greeks also used logos to mean the unspoken word as well that lingers in the mind–reason.

Life is Christ’s gift and is central to this Gospel for Christ is life (John 14:6).

Light is also Christ (John 8:12), who illuminates all spiritually–prominent in the Book of John as well.  Psalm 36:9 holds the connection to the Old Testament:  “in your light we see light.”  We see Jesus.

In verse 5, understand can also be overcome.  Essentially, darkness cannot overcome light.  The devil cannot defeat God.  The Greek word is difficult to translate here, meaning laying hold onto something to make its own.  In Genesis 1:2, the earth was dark until God called into light.  Until God decided to banish darkness with his light and gift us all with life.

Fun Fact:  The Greek word “life” is used 36 times by John while no other New Testament book uses it more than 17 times.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 1, Day 5

Summary of passages: Various passages for the day.

Questions:

11)  Jesus (duh).  Moses wrote about Jesus.  In Deuteronomy, Moses says God will provide another to be the mediator since the people asked for one.

Blog post HERE  and HERE lists all of the parallels with Moses and Jesus and as Moses led his people out of Egypt so Jesus will lead us out of this life and into another.

12a)  Part Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus promises that everything that is written in the Word will be fulfilled (Luke), that he will go and prepare a place for us and then come back to bring us with him and dwell with him (John), that Jesus will come with angels and reward each person according to what he has done (Matthew).  I have every confidence this will be fulfilled.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The book of Revelation will come true.  We will be with God.

Conclusions:  Number 12 was weak.  I found the comparisons on the blog posts for number 11 quite interesting.  God is amazing, isn’t He?

Conclusions on Lesson 1:  BSF focused on Lesson 1 on prophecy:  what is it, why is it important, and where is it in the Bible.  Prophecy is relevant to us today.  Although I’m one not to dwell on it, it’s good to know what will happen in the future.  It gives hope and meaning to our lives here on Earth.  It proves God is omnipotent and the One, True God.

I think most of us take each day as it comes because we never know if it’ll be our last.  We’re not doomsday-ers or the like.  We strive to follow God.  And He gave us the book of Revelation so we can better know Him.  As we study, ask yourself, “What does this tell me about Christ, about God, and the real meaning of history?”  A healthy perspective will make this study rewarding and life-changing.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 1, Day 2: Exodus 1:1-21

Summary of passage:  We pick up where Genesis left off.  All of Jacob’s family moves to Egypt where Joseph already is.  Their generation dies but they leave behind many who are fruitful and multiply and fill the land.  A new Pharaoh comes to power who does not know Joseph.  He is afraid that the Israelites are becoming too many and may join with his enemies to overthrow him so he makes them all slaves.

But Pharaoh’s plan backfires:  the more they are oppressed, the more they multiply.  Hence, they were oppressed more with a life of hard labor.

Plan #2 to rid Egypt of the Israelites:  Pharaoh tells the midwives of the Israelites to kill all baby boys who are born.  However, the midwives feared God more than Pharaoh and they disobey.  They tell Pharaoh that the babies are born before they arrive.  Hence, God blessed His people even more as well as the midwives.

Questions:

3)  Genesis 15 tells us that part of Egypt was part of the Promised Land.  Genesis 45 tells us that it is God’s plan to save His people during the famine that they go and live near Joseph who will provide them grain during the famine.  God says He will make them into a great nation while in Egypt.

4a)  Pharaoh feared that the Israelites would join with his enemies and fight against him and leave the country.

b)  To oppress them by making them slaves and giving them heavy labor to perform.

c)  They only multiplied and spread.

d)  Pharaoh wanted the Israelite midwives to kill every male child born.

5a)  They risked their own lives by disobeying Pharaoh but they feared God more than Pharaoh.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  If you do His will instead of others, you will be blessed and rewarded both on earth and in heaven.  Do what is right for He is always with you.

Conclusions:  Who else is glad to be back??  Great lesson.  Right off the bat things are going to get interesting.  Great beginning to one of the great stories of the Bible.  Loved how the midwives were named instead of being kept anonymous. Shows just what an important job and risk they did take by following God.  Awesome!

End Notes:  Note Pharaoh was not named, which is why the exact time frame of history is unsure here.  Contrast this with the women who were named and this is a Bible anomaly and a historical anomaly where important men were usually always named and women were insignificant.

350 years are summed up in a few verses in chapter one of Exodus and the Bible will devote most of Exodus to just a single year and focus on one man.  This emphasizes the importance of these events and this man.

In the original Hebrew language, the first word of Exodus is ‘and’.  This further notes the continuation of the book of Genesis.

As Joseph died, so did all of his privileges and special treatments.

The Hebrew verbs from Genesis 1:21,22 and repeated in Exodus for emphasis:  “fruitful, swarmed, became numerous”.

God started with one man and 4 woman (Abraham and his wives).  Now, they are a nation.

The enemies of the Egyptians at the time were the Hittites in the north.

If we remember in Genesis, a problem for the Israelites was they were surrounded by pagan people who wanted to intermarry with them.  So God brought them to Egypt, a place where they believed themselves to be a superior race and felt it beneath them to marry non-Egyptians so that they could grow into a strong nation, which would have been impossible in Canaan.  So when they were ready, God brought them to the Promised Land.  All in God’s timing.

We see the theme of suffering and persecution only growing faith in God and Christianity.  Here, the Israelites grow.  After Christ’s death, Christianity grew.

Shiphrah and Puah mean beauty and splendor.

We can see Pharaoh’s order as Satan’s attempt to eliminate the Seed of the Woman (Jesus) who will crush him. Genesis 3:15

Great example of obeying God first over the government and man when we are called to do something against God’s word (Romans 13:1-5).

The midwives may or may not have been lying with their answer to Pharaoh about why the male children still live.  This is debated by scholars.

Usually midwives were chosen because they couldn’t have children so God blessed them with children.

Key point:  God over man and He will bless you out of his goodness.