Yes! Thanks mainly to COVID-19, you can now do Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) online. Leaders are trained just like for regular BSF classes by attending a Leaders meeting. A list of online groups is available online, and you can join the one that most conveniently suits your schedule. There are now over 1,000 discussion groups held solely online. God is good!
Today’s question we’ll answer is “How do you join Bible Study Fellowship?
There are a couple of ways to join Bible Study Fellowship, or BSF. You can go online and request to join a group. The link is HERE. You can search groups near you and then request to join a group all online.
You can also request to join an online BSF Group. That link is HERE. You can search by time, day, and language. This is a great option for older people and for those who prefer to meet from the comfort of their home.
Bible Study Fellowship is free, and now you can choose the way you like to study the Bible with others.
Jesus tells the parable of the hidden treasure and the pearl. He says that the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found the treasure, he hid it and then sold all he had to buy the field where the treasure lie. The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he sold everything he had to buy it.
BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 14, Day 3: Matthew 13:44-46
6a) Similarities in two tales: Both times the man sold all he had to acquire what he wanted. Something extremely valuable is discovered, desired, and purchased. Differences: the man could have kept the treasure the first time without having to sell everything he owned to acquire it.
b) That the man would give up everything he had to have what he desired.
7a) In order to have the kingdom of heaven, you must be willing to give up everything you have. Philippians 3:8 says you must be willing to lose all things to know Christ. In Colossians 2:2-3, Paul says his purpose is to that all of us have complete understanding to know the mystery of God and Christ where all wisdom and knowledge are hidden. Psalms 16:5-6 says God has assigned us our portion and cup and made our lot secure as our inheritance. Romans 8:32 says that God gave up his own Son for us and give us all things.
b) That we must be willing to give all we have to follow Christ.
8 ) It’s encouraging to know that the more you give up in Christ’s name, the more you will know him. This is sacrificing time to study the Bible, tell others about the Bible, and grow deeper in your relationship with God.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 14, Day 3: Matthew 13:44-46
It’s important to note the differences here. You must be willing to sell everything to follow Christ. However, do so smartly. For Christ, we are worth it. Is he worth it to you?
End Notes BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 14, Day 3: Matthew 13:44-46
In the parable of the hidden treasure, the man is Jesus and the field is the world. Jesus gave everything to purchase his treasure (believers). At the time, whoever owned the land would get the treasure; not the one who found it.
Consider how rare it is to find buried treasure. That shows how valuable we are to Jesus.
So we go from corruption to value added in Jesus’s parables.
In the parable of the pearl, Jesus is the buyer of the pearl, and the believer is the pearl that is so valuable to him that he would be happy to sell everything to have it. A pearl in ancient times was extremely valuable and desired. People would have instantly recognized this value. This shows you just how much Jesus values you.
Fun Fact: “Kingdom of heaven” appears more than 60 times in the Gospels.
Jesus continues on, and two men follow him, asking Jesus to have mercy on them, and they call him the Son of David. Jesus goes indoors, and the blind men come to him. He asked them if they believed he could heal them. They answered yes. Jesus touched their eyes, and they could see. He told them not to tell others, but they went out and spread the news instead.
Citizens brought a demon-possessed man to Jesus. He could not talk. Jesus drove the demon out, and the man could speak. The people were amazed by this miracle, saying this has never been seen before. But the Pharisees said it was the prince of demons who drives out demons.
BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 10, Day 5: Matthew 9:27-34
13a) They blind men called Jesus the Son of David. They asked him to have mercy on them.
b) Jesus asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” Then he touched their eyes and healed them. He asked them to tell no one of this miracle. They disobeyed.
14) Jesus came to save his people. He opened the eyes of the blind and unstopped the ears of the deaf.
15a) The miracle amazed the crowd. They said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” The Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”
b) People don’t like authority. They don’t like to submit or be told what to do. People don’t want to give up autonomy or control.
c) Honestly, I’m not around people all that much. I work from home and don’t really go anywhere so I haven’t really ever had this occur to me. But I usually ignor people and pray for them.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 10, Day 5: Matthew 9:27-34
It’s interesting to me how Jesus didn’t mind some of his miracles known, but that he asked others to be kept secret. It’s hard to fault the men for shouting their joy. Yet, this is a question of obedience. Jesus had compassion on others and healed them, but his primary mission was to bring forgiveness to sinners. He didn’t want his healings to overshadow his ministry. Plus, he knew the timeline he had for his ministry and did not want to draw undue attention to himself.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 10, Day 5: Matthew 9:27-34
There were more infirmaries in ancient times simply due to their lack of medical knowledge. No one know about germs or infections and nor did they have a cure for them.
For blind people to follow others, they have to be determined to listen. These men were.
Fun Fact: This is the first time in the Bible that Jesus is called the “Son of David.” These men knew Jesus was the messiah. They appealed to mercy.
Fun Fact: No blind person was ever healed in the Old Testament.
Again, faith healed these men, and Matthew emphasizes that point.
Jewish priests believed that they could not help the demon-possessed man becuase they believed you had to know the demon’s name in order to exorcise it. Thus, if a demon made you mute so you couldn’t say their name, you were lost. Thus, Jesus’s miracle both showed this belief was not true and showed the power of Jesus.
However, the Pharisees, so used to absolute power, dismiss and reject Jesus as having the power from Satan.
These miracles prove Jesus’s authority and his divinity as the Son of God.
Blessed are the peacemakers who will be called the sons of God. The persecuted will have the kingdom of heaven. You are blessed when you are insulted. Your reward in heaven will be great. The prophets were persecuted, too.
BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 5, Day 4: Matthew 5:9-12
12a) The one in your family who just wants everyone to get along. They are the facilitators of communication and advocates for relationships to be mended.
b) 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 tells us that since we have been reconciled to God through Christ that we can reconcile others to God and reconcile situations and people around us.
13a) People persecute us because we have God and Jesus and know where we are going. They are jealous by nature and therefore want us to be brought down. Those who do good are always targeted by man’s evil nature.
b) I wish I could say a forgiving heart, but it’s often negatively in the beginning. However, I end up praying for them and not letting me bother me because I do know where I’m going.
14) Unsure. Mostly it’s hardships of knowing what to do with my life at this moment and what path to take for him. Since I work from home, I have very little interaction with the outside world.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 5, Day 4: Matthew 5:9-12
Spoken to first century Jews, these verses are hard for us to understand. Some may be facing persecution because of their faith, but most of us are not facing persecution by death. Our persecutions are small in comparison. However, when they do occur, know the kingdom of heaven awaits.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 5, Day 4: Matthew 5:9-12
You can be a literal peacemaker in your family, or you can bring peace to others through helping them reconcile to God and accept Jesus as Savior.
Some will be persecuted because of their faith and righteousness. Other translations say to be joyful in persecution. Many Christians who were martyred were joyful, being on the cusp of meeting God. In our lives, it’s good to be joyful knowing we will meet God soon.
The world does not value the character traits in the Beatitudes. No matter. You live your truth; the rest will be damned.
The servant showered the entire family with precious and costly gifts for the dowry. The next morning Laban and Bethuel tried to delay the trip, but they left immediately on Rebekah’s acquiescence. The family blessed Rebekah and sent her on the long journey to Canaan.
Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi. He, whom we can assume had been praying for a wife as well, greets the return party, hears the tale of the servant, and marries Rebekah.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 15, Day 5: Genesis 24:52-67
13) The servant wants to hurry back so that his task can be completed and so that God’s will to make Abraham’s descendants into a great nation can be fulfilled. Rebekah, who will most likely never see her family again, agrees to go right away, knowing this is God’s will, too.
14) Personal Question. My answer: Moving a lot has cost friendships and connections, as well as a lost church family. Truly, in the grand scope of things, God has it, and it all works out in the end.
15) Personal Question. My answer: Isaac obeyed God too in knowing this was the wife He chose for him. God’s timing is not our own, and if we are patient, God does bring great things.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 15, Day 5: Genesis 24:52-67
It’s surprising that they left the decision up to Rebekah whether to leave right away since she’s a woman who in ancient times had no say.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 15, Day 5: Genesis 24:52-67
After a long journey, most of us just want to get home as soon as possible. The servant knew that Abraham was old and perhaps in ill-health, so he was hoping to get back in time in order for Abraham to know he had succeeded. Rebekah showed remarkable faith and strength to leave the only things she ever knew and to probably never see her family again to follow God’s will.
Rebekah covers herself with a veil as was customary until she was married.
We have been nothing about Isaac since his near death experience at the top of Mount Moriah. (Genesis 22:19) Presumably, he was growing strong in the Lord.
Here, in Isaac and Rebekah, we can see this as a picture of Jesus as the bridgroom and us as the people.
God chose a wife for his Son (the people)
The son died and was resurrected for them
A servant, or God’s helper, was the mediator
The bride (us) were called and cared for until the wedding day
The bride (us) were loved by the bridegroom (Jesus)
Note that this marriage was an arranged one that God arranged through prayer. Modern-day love is important, but it’s not the end-all, be-all.
Last go-around in BSF’s study of Genesis, we were asked how this passage relates to God, Jesus, and us. Here was my response: A father desires a bride for his son. Abraham for Isaac. God for us. A son was dead and then raised from the dead. Isaac and Jesus. The bride is chosen for marriage before they knew it (Ephesians 1:3-4). Rebekah and us. The bride is divinely chosen, called, and then lavished with gifts. (Revelation 19:7-8) Rebekah and us. She is entrusted to the care of the servant before she meets her bridegroom. Rebekah and us.
Note how God had a plan for Rebekah from the beginning (Ephesians 1:3-4) for His eternal purpose (Ephesians 3:10-11). She shared in the glory of the son because of her faith (John 17:22-23). She was loved. Just like the church.
Isaac and Jesus were both promised, born from a miracle, sacrificed, resurrected, and prepared a place for the bride for eternity.
Finding no one else righteous to save, the angels told Lot to take his wife and two daughters and flee. Lot did not want to go. The angels pulled him and his family away, and God showed them mercy. They told them not to look back or they would be swept away. Lot asked to flee to a small town instead, fearing he couldn’t make it to the mountains. The angels agreed.
When Lot was safe in this town called Zoar, God rained down burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah, destroying them. However, Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. Abraham saw the destruction the next morning, and God remembered Abraham and brought Lot out safely.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 12, Day 4: Genesis 19:15-29
10) Lot hesitated so the angels had to grasp his hand and pull him away. He still did not want to flee to the mountains as instructed, instead opting for a small town to rest in. Lot was so attached to his home he didn’t want to leave his nice life for an unknown life. This fear holds many of us back.
11) God’s judgement is complete and perfect, yet merciful, still giving everyone a chance to turn to Him.
12) Personal question. My answer: Good question. Unsure. Right to be right, maybe? Old life instead of new life. Clinging to security rather than risk.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 12, Day 4: Genesis 19:15-29
I love this story because it shows immediate consequences of disobeying God with Lot’s wife and oftentimes we see consequences later on down the road. Indecision and hesitancy are things we all face and have to overcome to choose God and his ways.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 12, Day 4: Genesis 19:15-29
We see the angels were the ones who saved Lot and his family. They have to be pulled out of Sodom and urged forward. Luckily, God does this for us as well.
God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because there were only 4 righteous people, rather than 10. Genesis 18
Because Lot was so ingrained in the world, it’s hard to say if he was happy being saved or not.
Yet God in His righteousness would not destroy the righteous people, so He waited until they were save to rain down sulphur.
Many Bible scholars believe the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah now lie below the Dead Sea as the map shows to show God’s complete annihilation of the cities. Sodom and Gomorrah were beautiful places (remember Lot chose them for their beauty), yet the people within, all of whom could have turned to God, were the opposite of beautiful.
Many Bible scholars believe this was a unique judgement on Lot’s wife and she did actually turn to salt. Other think she got caught up in the pyroclastic flow of the fire because she turned back. The verb in Greek connotates a looking intently, as if she paused and would not move forward.
We see Lot’s wife in Luke 17:32 where Jesus speaks of the End Times where those who try to stay in the world will lose their life and not gain eternity.
Never look back in life; look forward to God instead. So many of us lose out on so many opportunities because we hesitate. Keep moving forward.
Abraham probably is grateful he is spared and sees God is faithful.
The Lord appeared to Abraham among three visitors one day while Abraham was resting in the heat of the day. When Abraham saw these men, he hurried to greet them and bowed low, knowing one was God for he says, “my lord” while addressing them. Abraham entreats them to stay, and he washes their feet and brings food and drink for their comfort. They agree to stay.
Abraham bustles about, hurrying the preparations of bread, meat, and milk (it is God). The men ask Abraham where is Sarah. God Himself tells Abraham (again) that Sarah will have a child this time next year.
Sarah who was eavesdropping laughs, believing she is worn out. God, of course, hears Sarah and asks Abraham directly, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Then God says He will return this time next year and Sarah will have a son.
Then Sarah denies she laughed out of fear.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 18:1-15
14a) They may not have invited the men to stay, nor feed them a meal. He selected the best calf to slaughter and brought curds and milk and baked bread. They both did the work themselves instead of servants, and we sense urgency in Abraham’s doings, indicating he knew his guests were special.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Attitude and joy, mainly. I either begrudge every moment and have a miserable time, or I have a good time and feel joy.
15) The first thing they ask is where is Sarah, so their visit was to confirm to Sarah that she would have a son. God says that when He returns, Sarah will have a son.
16) Because God heard Sarah laugh and knew she had.
17) Sarah had to believe God. We must believe God. God blesses (Luke 1:45) and rewards those who have faith (Hebrews 11:6; 11) Without faith you can’t please God.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 18:1-15
I love how God includes Sarah and makes sure she understands and has faith in this culture where women did not matter. This shows God loves all equally.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 18:1-15
It is possible that Sarah never conceived earlier because she never had faith in God’s promise.
Bible scholars believe this was only 3 months since the last time God appeared because Sarah is not pregnant yet.
Here we literally see the Triune God, appearing as 3 men. So cool!
We’ve seen Mamre a lot so far in the Bible
Abraham moved here after he left Egypt and built an altar here (Genesis 13:18)
God says His promise over and over again because dumb humans need to hear it over and over again, albeit this appearance was for Sarah, not Abraham. Genesis 17:17-22
Romans 10:17: “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ”
Both knew they’d have a son only be God’s miraculous hand, which may have been why they had to wait so long because God wanted to make it clear it was a miracle.
Doubt Versus Faith
As time passes and things don’t happen in our lives as we believe they should, we doubt as we see here with Sarah and Abraham. During their childbearing years, they believed. Now, it’s hard for them to do so.
Great commentary on the tree and this passage HERE
Some scholars think Abraham and Sarah were not having sex for whatever reason so God needed to reinforce His will personally, which is why He appears here. In other words, they did not believe God (they were doubting His word) and were doing nothing to fulfill God’s will for their lives.
God heard Sarah’s laugh. We should remember God hears everything. God does not punish them for their unbelief. God is faithful to His promises despite our doubt (2 Timothy 2:13). He never abandons us like we do Him.
Hard is the same Hebrew word for wonderful in Isaiah 9:6 referring to Christ.
God talks to Abraham about Sarah’s doubt since he is the head of the household. He is responsible for her faith, or, in this case, her unbelief.
Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him. The king of Sodom came out to meet him. Then Melchizedek king of Salem (or Jerusalem) and a priest of God brought out bread and wine. He blessed Abram and Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
The king of Sodom asked Abram for his people back that had been carried away by Kedorlaomer but told Abram he could keep the goods. Abram said he has sworn to God that he will accept nothing from him so that he could not say he had made Abram rich. He will only accept what they have eaten and what the men who accompanied him want.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 9, Day 5: Genesis 14:17-24
14) Well, first off, the king of Salem is a believer in God. He brought out food and wine and blessed Abram, so Abram gave him a tenth of everything. The king of Sodom came empty-handing, asking for things back.
15) Isaiah 2:3 says that the word of the Lord will go out from Jerusalem (where Melchizedek is from). Isaiah 9:6-7 says
Hebrews 2:17-18: Jesus had to be made like his brothers (flesh and blood) so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God and to be able to make atonement for man’s sins.
Hebrews 4:14-5:10: Jesus is our great high priest who has gone through the heavens who can sympathize with our weaknesses for he has been tempted in every way just as we are–and remain without sin. Let us hold firmly to our faith, approach God with confidence so we may receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.
Every high priest is selected among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for our sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and going astray and offer sacrifices for our sins.
Priests must be called by God. Jesus was called to be a High Priest by God in the order of Melchizedek. Jesus prayed to God and he was heard because of his submission. He was obedient and made perfect for our eternal salvation for all who obey him.
Hebrews 6:18-7:28: God swore promises to us by Himself so that we may have hope and encouragement. This hope anchors our soul and enters the inner sanctuary where Jesus has entered on our behalf. Jesus is a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews Chapter 7: This Melchizedek was king of Salem (Jerusalem) and priest of the God Most High. He met and blessed Abraham and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. His name means “king of righteousness” and king of Salem means “king of peace”. He remains a priest forever without the proper lineage.
Just think how great he must have been for Abraham to give him a tenth of the plunder! The law requires the descendants of Levi to collect a tenth from the people. Melchizedek was not a Levite. One could deduce that Levi collects the tenth through Abraham because Levi (who is Abraham’s descendant) hadn’t been born yet when Melchizedek collected. Hence we have Levites paying tithes to Melchizedek, making Melchizedek greater than the Levites (or Abraham in this instance since the Levites are through Abraham). Since the lesser is blessed by the greater, Melchizedek is greater than Abraham.
Perfection could not be attained through the Levites so there was need for a priest in the order of Melchizedek (the mere fact that a priest in the order of Melchizedek shows up should be a clue that there is a need for something better than the Levites). If the priests change, then so must the law. The old law was weak and useless for it made nothing perfect and a better hope was introduced by God (Jesus!).
Through an oath Jesus became a priest and the author of a better covenant. Jesus lives forever so his priesthood is forever; therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him.
Jesus meets our needs as holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens with one sacrifice of himself who has been made perfect forever.
16a) “Creator of heaven and earth and who delivered your enemies into Abram’s hands.”
b) Personal Question. My answer: My former and present pastors. My BSF leader who prays and anyone else who prays for me. I will pray and thank God and do my best to live a Godly-life as called in thanks.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 9, Day 5: Genesis 14:17-24
A difficult passage, indeed, with Melchizedek. We spent one whole day on this last go around with BSF’s Study of Genesis, including Psalm 110:
Psalm 110: The Lord told my Lord (David’s Lord who is Jesus) to sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool. God will extend Jesus’s scepter and rule in the midst of enemies. On the day of battle your troops will be arrayed in holy majesty.
The Lord calls Jesus a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. He will crush kings on the day of his wrath, judge the nations, and heap up the dead.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 9, Day 5: Genesis 14:17-24
This Melchizedek appears out of nowhere like a genie in a bottle. He has no history, and Bible scholars know nothing about him. His name means “king of righteousness.”. We are told he was a priest and a king (which Jesus will be). This was highly unusual in the ancient world. In the future, God will forbid this. In 2 Chronicles 26:16-23, King Uzziah tries to do this, and God strikes him with leprosy.
He did worship the One, True God. Many Bible scholars note the bread and wine as symbolic of the Passover and the Lord’s Supper.
Melchizedek blessed Abram and God.
Psalm 110:4 notes that the priesthood of the Messiah is not from Aaron, but from Melchizedek.
Hebrews 7:3 describes Melchizedek as without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually. This leads Bible Scholars to think he may have been Jesus.
Other Bible Scholars speculate he was Shem, Noah’s son, Job, or an angel. All of this, even the idea of Jesus, is speculation. We’ll find out when we get to heaven.
Abram refuses the plunder because he wants all of the credit of his wealth to go to God. The rest of the kings could divide up the spoils. Abram also uses “God Most High” after our pal, Melchizedek, uses it.
At this time, wars were going on. Basically, the Babylonians attacked a group of peoples living in the Siddim Valley who had been under their control but had rebelled. The Babylonians defeated or re-conquered them and took even more territory. The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah went out to fight the Babylonians to defend their territory, but they lost. The Babylonians sacked Sodom and Gomorrah, which included Lot and his possessions since he was living in Sodom. One escaped and told Abram that his nephew had been captured. Abram, who was allied with his neighbors, called out all 318 trained men to go with him to rescue Lot. Abram launched a night attack near the city of Dan, routed them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. Abram recovered all the stolen goods, women, and others, and rescued Lot and his possessions, whom he brought back with him.
BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 9, Day 4: Genesis 14:1-16
11) It was a rebellion since for 12 years, these kings had been subject to the other kings. They fought.
12) Abram had allies to call upon and that he easily defeated a superior army and rescued his relative, Lot.
Abram is allied with his neighbors so he has diplomacy skills. He spares no expense, requiring all his trained men to fight for Lot; he has some military training (or guidance from God) for Abram divided his men and attacked.
This shows the extent of God’s blessings to Abram in terms of his wealth. Abram had his own trained army to fight for him. This is NOT cheap, especially in ancient times. Metals and weapons (shields, swords, and armor) were expensive–way more expensive than I would say 90% of the population at the time could afford in their LIFETIME.
13a) Abram was decisive. It’s hard here cause no details are truly given. He has diplomatic skills. He has fighting skills and a trained army. Unsure about the king of Sodom. Abram also knew God was with him and nothing would harm him because of God’s promises. This shows he was probably fearless.
b) Personal Question. My answer: determined, upright, do what’s right for others, lay down self for others’ needs.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 9, Day 4: Genesis 14:1-16
This is typical history at this time. People fought all the time over squabbles, land, and other things. People were subjected and rebelled. Thre is nothing different here in terms of warring peoples; it just so happens Lot was involved, so it ended up in the Bible.
End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 9, Day 4: Genesis 14:1-16
Lot was in the wrong place at the wrong time; luckily, he had powerful relatives who fought for him.
Fun Fact: This is the first use of the word “Hebrew” in the Bible. It means “passed over.” Thus, Abram “passed over” the Euphrates into the land of Canaan.
Abram was rich, indeed. An army of over 300 fighting men, all trained, would be an astronomical cost. It’s interesting that Abram has an army despite God’s promises of protection. I’d say this is what God wants; just because we have faith God will do something in our lives doesn’t mean we can just lie back and take no action towards that goal. Abram knew he’d have to fight to get Canaan. This is why he had an army.
The pursuit lasted a bit. Abram wanted to make sure the kings did not come back.