BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 7, Day 5: Romans 4:16-25

Summary of passage:  The promise of justification by faith is through faith and grace and is guaranteed to all who are of the law and who are of Abraham’s faith.  Abraham is our father though God’s promise to make him a great nation.  He believed God’s promise to give him and Sarah a son when they were both in their nineties.  He was strengthened in his faith and gave God the glory.  Thus, he was credited as righteous.  We are credited as well if we believe in God who raised Jesus from the dead for our sins and our justification.

Questions:

11)  Abraham’s faith did not weaken despite God’s promise that seemed to him impossible of having children.  Because of this his faith grew.  Abraham’s offspring in essence is anyone who believes in Christ.  “Those who are of the faith of Abraham” and “those who are of the law.”

12)  He knew the situation was impossible but Abraham had faith God would do as He said.  Because of this his faith was strengthened.

13)  Personal Question. My answer:  Two things:  my husband is currently in-between jobs so having faith through this transition.  Secondly, I believe I’m on the wrong path again for where God wants me.  Relying on Him to get me through this time until I have the opportunity to do another about-face and find Him again.

Conclusions:  Was anyone else thinking how Paul conveniently left out Hagar and how Abraham’s faith did waver in terms of God’s promise to provide him with kids when it wasn’t happening fast enough for him?

Anyways, Paul’s point is emphasized.  God credits us righteous through faith.  There is nothing man can do or can ever do to earn sanctification.  Nothing.  God in his love and mercy and grace gives it to us.  It’s that easy.  Say “Yes, Lord!” and it’s yours!

End Notes:  Technically speaking, we are saved by God’s grace not our faith.  Faith is the means to earn God’s grace but it is HIM who does it all!

Salvation is of faith.  Of grace through faith.  Nothing you can ever do will get you to God.  It’s all Him!

Think on it:  if it were works or keeping the law, none of us would make it.  We are all sinners.  Hence, our need for a Savior and grace.

Paul is emphasizing again how we are all Abraham’s children if we have Abraham’s faith and thus are all saved by God as such.

God calls us righteous (things) even though we’re not.  He calls the dead (us in sin) to life like He did with Sarah’s womb.

Abraham hoped and believed.  Just because God does it all doesn’t mean we do nothing.  We obey.  Obedience is faith in action.  We do everything with trust and reliance on God.  As we take steps and obey works results. God’s works.

God will bless us in proportion to our faith.  Hence, we attend BSF and bible study–to grow our faith.  The stronger we are, the more God will bless us, the more we shall bless others, the more works of God we will accomplish here on Earth.

When Abraham’s faith did not waver in God and God’s promise to him, God gave him a son.  It wavered with Hagar.   Do you have faith God will do as He says He will do?

The promise to Abraham is a promise to us as well.  Abraham is an example for us to follow.

For clarification sake:  you must believe that Jesus died for your sins on the cross and that he rose from the dead as we shall too in order to be saved.  Period.  You can’t believe in a Jesus who lived a good life or who is a deity.  You must believe in the cross.

The resurrection proves God’s acceptance of what Jesus did on the cross.  He died for our sins.  God accepts Jesus’s sacrifice.  Jesus rises again.  We are justified.

The ancient Greek word translated delivered (paradidomi) was used of casting people into prison or delivering them to justice. “Here it speaks of the judicial act of God the Father delivering God the Son to the justice that required the payment of the penalty for human sin.” (Wuest)

Verse 25 is the cusp of the gospel.  If death had held Jesus, he would have failed.  Since Jesus was raised from death, his sacrifice sufficed, God set his seal upon it by raising him up.” (Lenski)

Salvation is by grace through faith.  The gospel is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, and Abraham – justified through faith – is our pattern.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 7, Day 4: Romans 4:9-15

Summary of passage:  In essence, Paul says it does not matter if you are circumcised or when.  All that matters is you accept Christ.  Then and only then will you be credited as righteous by God.  The law does not matter; only faith.

Questions:

9)  Abraham was 99 when God gave him the sign of the covenant of circumcision.  He was 86 when he had Ishmael.  He had been in Canaan 10 years since he was declared righteous.  So it was 23 years between credited as righteous and circumcision.  Galatians tells us it was 430 years after this that the Law was given.  Paul argues that circumcision does not matter because Abraham was declared righteous BEFORE he was circumcised.  So fast-forward to first century AD and circumcision still is not required to be credited as righteous by God.

10a)  Most of the time people become complacent and fall into sin if that’s their excuse for sin.  God’s measure of righteousness is faith in Jesus Christ, which leads to becoming more like Jesus.  Obedience has value since we must be obedient to God and to His word.  Depends on the sign as well.  However, it’s when you only depend on the sign or obedience for your salvation that you’re in trouble.  Paul says ultimately none of that matters:  only Jesus matters.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m righteous (and this is a dumb question) because I accept Jesus as my Savior. We spent all of last week on how we are righteous through faith and now all of this week.  It’s simple:  if you accept Jesus died as your Savior through faith, you are credited as righteous.  If you don’t, then you’re not righteous.

End Notes:  In Chapter 4, Paul is trying to make a theological point:  all that matters is faith.  He starts with Abraham who lived hundreds of years before Moses and the coming of the Old Testament law.  Abraham pleased God how we do:  through faith.  The Old Testament law was never meant to bridge the gap between God and people. Only Jesus can do that.  The point of the law was to show people/us our need for a Savior (Christ) and redemption. The law showed us that need.

Paul’s point is because circumcision is not a requirement to be counted as righteous then the Gentiles can be counted as righteous as well.  He uses Abraham to prove this point because Abraham was counted as righteous with God in the Bible 14 years BEFORE he was circumcised.

For the Jews of the day, many of them were convinced you had to be circumcised before you could be counted as righteous.  This is whom Paul is addressing.  They also believed Jews only could call Abraham their father.  Again, Paul says no.  Abraham is the father of all those who believe.

All of God’s promises to Abraham were given before the Law.  Hence, they had to be based on faith.  The problem with the law is man is unable to keep it (hence, Jesus Christ, and a reason for God’s wrath).  And hence, faith only.

Transgressions (or an act that goes against a law) come down to trust and love and the heart.  You can sin without breaking a law or transgressing.  What matters to God is are we breaking trust and love with Him.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 29, Day 4: John 21:18-23

Summary of passage:  Jesus says Peter will go places where he doesn’t want to go when he follows him and he’ll be martyred.  Peter goes off with Jesus with John following with Jesus indicating John will live a long time.

Questions:

9)  Peter would go places he didn’t want to go and he’d be martyred (specifically crucified) and John would live a long time.

10)  He gives each enough information to continue on their path.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am trying to follow him by quitting my job, teaching my kids, and doing His work in my life not mine.

Conclusions:  Very weak.

End Notes:  “I tell you the truth” means pay attention.  Most of us in our younger days did what we wanted to do.  Jesus is saying as he gets older, he’ll do what Jesus wants him to do.  Jesus tells him it will be his death by a cross that will glorify God.

On one hand, this should have terrified Peter (remember he denied Jesus to save his own skin).  Yet on the other hand, Jesus says you will have faith at the end.  How encouraging!

Scholars say in about 34 years, Peter would face this death and he would so embrace it that he’d ask to be crucified head down, deeming himself unworthy to go in the same manner as his Lord.

The verb is “keep on following” all the days of Peter’s life just as Jesus called him to do years before in Matthew 4:18-19.

Peter, not wishing to answer, deflects the attention from himself to John (as most of us would do).

Jesus lets Peter know that his destiny for John is completely different than his.  We also see how easy it is for others to misconstrue God’s word as the rumor spread that Jesus said John would live forever.  John makes sure to correct this misconception.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 25, Day 5: John 19:13-17

Summary of passage:  So Pilate brings Jesus out, placing him on the judgment seat, and the people demand he die so Pilate reneges. Jesus carries his cross to Golgotha.

Questions:

12)  God’s judgment is just; Pilate’s is unjust.

13)  God’s people are to sacrifice a lamb to commemorate God’s judgment on the Egyptians and their gods and their rescue out of Egypt.  Jesus will take away the sin of the world as the Sacrificial Lamb.  It will be the ultimate judgment on unbelievers and the ultimate salvation and justification with God.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  There are no words.  Worshipful.  In awe.  Eternally grateful.

Conclusions:  I think there is so much more to this we could have dived into.

End Notes:  Pilate caves to political pressure.  He sits Jesus on the judgment seat who is about to judge all of mankind.  The Lamb of God is ready for sacrifice on Passover. Pilate is the one actually on trial. He refuses to free an innocent man and condemns him to death based on the crowd.

Mark and John disagree on the time here. It is possible it’s a copyist error or John may have been using Roman time, which means Jesus was before Pilate at 6 am and crucified at 9 am.

Again, it was Roman custom to carry the crosspiece to the place of execution.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 24, Day 4: John 18:13-27

Summary of passage:  Jesus was arrested and taken to Annas, Caiaphas’ father-in-law. Peter and John followed Jesus. John went with Jesus while Peter waited outside. When asked by a little girl if he was one of the disciples, Peter denies Jesus for the first time.

Annas questions Jesus who is struck by a soldier. He’s shipped off to Caiaphas. Meanwhile, Peter denies Jesus a second and third time. A rooster crows.

Questions:

9)  He just starts questioning Jesus, blatantly disregarding Jewish law and trying to get Jesus to incriminate himself.  He feels he is above the law.  He allows Jesus to be struck.  He doesn’t care about human dignity or abuse. He ships him off to Caiaphas when he’s done with him with not a care in the world about what will happen to Jesus.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He always maintains his composure.  He throws the law into both Caiaphas’ face and the unknown official who struck him.  He protects his disciples by refusing to mention them.  He doesn’t panic.  He submits but always letting his captors know they are in the wrong.

Conclusions:  We all know this trial won’t be fair and it starts here from the beginning.  Jewish law states witnesses must be called forth first, beginning with the defense.  The Talmud states, “Criminal processes can neither commence nor terminate, but during the course of the day. If the person be acquitted, the sentence may be pronounced during that day; but, if he be condemned, the sentence cannot be pronounced till the next day. But no kind of judgment is to be executed, either on the eve of the Sabbath, or the eve of any festival.”  It’s the dead of night here.  People corrupted by power known no bounds and care not for law and order.

End Notes:  Annas was the power behind the throne in Jerusalem. He himself had been High Priest from AD 6 to 15. Four of his sons had also held the high priesthood and Caiaphas was his son-in-law. His name meant “Yahweh is gracious”. He is still called the high priest in Acts 4:6 when Peter and John are arrested.

One reason John reminds us of what Caiaphas said in John 11:49-52 is to show that the judgment against Jesus was already decided. It would not be a fair trial. He would die for the people.

John who had the connections is the reason they had access to the high priest’s house and the reason we know what went on there.

A mere girl scares Peter enough to deny Christ and then he tries to blend into the crowd and shrink himself by standing around a fire with others. How tragic!

Annas means merciful. Ironic.

Jesus was not going to throw his disciples under the bus. He never mentions them. He asks for evidence in asking for others to testify to his words. This should have been the first step Annas should have taken for one accused of crimes. But there would be no fairness here for Jesus. He was a threat that had to be annihilated.

The first blow is laid upon Jesus be an unnamed official. Jesus calls the man out and having no answer, Annas sends Jesus on, still bound.

Luke 22:61 indicates that Peter could see Jesus and see him being slapped. No doubt his fear increased and he lied twice more. John is also present and Peter lied in front of John. The same question is asked in the same way, using the negative. The questioners expected the answer “No”, not expecting a follower of Jesus amongst them. The questioner is identified differently in all Gospels (Matthew 26:71; Mark 14:69; Luke 22:58).

John would know Malchus’ relative and a relative would be eager to know if this was the man who cut off his relative’s ear. Matthew 26:74 tells us Peter cursed this denial. He was adamant and he was a coward.

The rooster crowing fulfilled what Jesus said in John 13:38, and would have immediately reminded Peter of the prediction Jesus made in the upper room. And I would imagine shame would have flooded Peter.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 17, Day 4: John 13:18-30; Psalm 41:9

Summary of passages:  John 13:18-30:  Jesus says he knows the hearts of all he has chosen and whoever whoever accepts those in his name (such as the disciples) accepts Jesus and thus accepts God.  Jesus knows Judas will betray him and he indicates this by giving him bread.  Judas takes it and Jesus tells him to betray him quickly and Judas leaves.  The disciples (clueless as ever) don’t understand.

Psalm 41:9:  Even friends betray one another.

Questions:

7)  We know that what the Bible says and what God says and what Jesus says is true.  We know we are to suffer to grow closer to Him.  We know we suffer because we are sinners.  But we also know we are forgiven in Christ, which gives us hope to grow through the painful circumstances and endure to the end.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Satan can infect anyone.

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  In one word:  dark.  He does not believe in Jesus or Jesus’ message.  He has believed the lies of Satan and let personal gain take over.  He has been blinded to the light and darkness reigns.

Conclusions:  Unsure here.  Something is missing here that I’m not unpacking and the questions aren’t jogging anything.  As always, read the end notes, which did unlock this passage for me.

End Notes:  John 13:18-30:  Jesus is predicting his betrayal for the other disciples’ sake.  He doesn’t want their faith to waver in him.  Hence, he’s telling him he knew all along Judas would betray him.  And Jesus is pointing out rejecting him as the one God sent is rejecting God.

Jesus loves Judas and thus is moved (and probably hurt) by the impending betrayal.  By telling all he knows about the betrayal, this shows Jesus is the one in control, not Satan or Judas.

The other disciples are confused because up to this point Judas has been one of them, doing everything and going through the motions of faith like so many do today.  They may have even thought Jesus was speaking of an unintended betrayal.

Peter, curious as always, asks John to ask Jesus whom he is speaking to.  One can imagine that in Peter’s mind, he’s gonna be the superhero here and stop the betrayal before it happens.  This also indicates to scholars that Peter is not sitting next to Jesus or he would have asked him himself.

FUN FACT:  This is the first of 4 times John refers to himself as “the one Jesus loved”.  The 4 are:

· Here in the upper room (John 13:23)

· At the cross of Jesus (John 19:26)

· At the empty tomb (John 20:2)

· With the risen Jesus at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:20)

All of these are connected with the cross and all indicate that John did not boast of this egotistically but out of the love of Jesus.

SPOILER ALERT FOR ART FANS:  The famous paintings you see of the Last Supper are all false (like this one HERE and HERE).  At a special or ceremonial meal like this they would lay on their stomachs around a U-shaped table, leaning on their left elbow and eating with their right hand their head towards the table, much like the Romans did at the time.  It seems that from John’s position next to Jesus, he could lean back and be close enough to speak quietly to Jesus and still be heard.  Bear in mind most of the artwork we associate with the Last Supper was painted 1000 years after the fact.  Times change and man for the most part had transitioned to eating sitting up at tables.  Hence, the depiction.

Picture this:  On each side of Jesus sat a disciple.  Spurgeon says it best:  “One of them was John the divine, and the other was Judas the devil. One of them was the seer of the Apocalypse, the other was the son of perdition.”

Another scholar, Morris, says this:  “The place of honor was to the left of, and thus slightly behind the principal person. The second place was to his right, and the guest there would have his head on the breast of the host. Plainly this was the position occupied by the beloved disciple.

The normal posture at a table was sitting, as rabbinical sources indicate; reclining was the posture reserved for special meals, such as parties, wedding feasts, etc.

Giving of dipped bread is like a toast today.  It was a special honor.  Jesus is still showing love to Judas even at the last hour.  Like he will to many of us at the Second Coming.  Jesus is showing how to love your enemies to the last and even offering Judas one last chance to repent.

Judas is in the place of honor and Jesus could speak to him without being overheard.  Also, scholars speculate that only John heard Jesus indicate Judas as the betrayer, being on Jesus’ other side.  Peter is the man of action, the superhero, and the one to defend Jesus with gusto and bravado and sometimes without thinking (like we’ll see in the Garden).  John did nothing to stop Judas from leaving and we are not told why.  He could have been shocked or he could have trusted Jesus to have it all under control.  We don’t know.  All we are told is “no one understood Jesus”.

FUN FACT:  This is the only time John uses the name Satan in his Gospel.

Judas rejects Jesus’ final act of love and Satan then completely takes over.  It’s a choice of Free Will.  And Judas will pay the ultimate price.

With the words “do quickly” Jesus is indicating he’s the one in control.  He would die as he directed, not as his opponents determined.

The disciples just thought Judas, as the one in charge of the money, had left to pay the bill or give alms to the poor.  Note how even though Jesus and them had little money they still gave what they could.  It’s not the amount you give but the heart that matters.

No one is immune from the devil.  Judas was one of the 12.  He lived with Jesus.  He listened to Jesus.  He watched Jesus perform miracle after miracle.  He was one of the best and still he was lost.  Man needs more than an example and good teaching.  It’s a turn of the heart.  If that doesn’t happen, there is no hope.

Psalm 41:9:  This is David lamenting how he was betrayed by good friends.  Two of which we know are his own son Absalom (2 Samuel 15) and by a trusted adviser named Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15:12 and 15:31).

This has the sense of an unexpected attack or someone taking advantage of someone.  In ancient times, if you take bread with someone you should be forever grateful.  If you then lift your heal agains them, it’s great betrayal.  It’s like the saying “don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

Jesus left off the words “whom I trusted” because Jesus did not trust Judas.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 12, Day 4: John 8:31-59

Summary of passage:  Jesus explains to the Jews that sinners are a slave to sin.  Only the Son can set them free.  The Jews insisted they were Abraham’s children; however, Jesus tells them if they were, they wouldn’t be rejecting him right now and they would love him.  Instead, their father is the devil who is a murderer and a liar.  If they belonged to God, they would hear what God says.

The Jews wonder if Jesus is a demon-possessed Samaritan.  Jesus rebukes them again, saying he is the way to eternal life.  Again, the Jews do not understand his words and say Abraham died and so did the prophets so how can he live.  Jesus says he was in existence before Abraham.  The Jews attempted to stone him, but he slipped away.

Questions:

9a)  Freedom from sin.  By holding to his teachings and knowing the truth (he is God’s Son).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Freedom from sin.  Freedom from guilt.  Freedom to fail and be forgiven.

10a)  Abraham.  The devil.  God is the ultimate Father, which the Jews say as well; however, their actions and words and deeds (trying to stone Jesus and not believing him) show they are of the devil and sinners.  Furthermore, remember the Jews are all descended from Abraham, which guarantees them eternal life (before Jesus).  Now that Jesus is on the scene he’s the only way to heaven, be it Gentile or Jew.  Jesus is speaking of spiritual father here.  If God were their spiritual father, they wouldn’t reject him.  They do; so they are of this world and the devil.  Huge difference between God’s children and the devil’s.

b)  When the devil lied to Eve about the tree of knowledge.  We are all born sinners and under sin until we accept Jesus as our Savior and his blood cleanses us completely of sin.  Some scholars say the first sin was the killing of Abel but most would argue for Eve’s initiation of sin into this world.

c)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  By accepting Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins.  I was lucky:  I was chosen from early childhood to be a believer.  I don’t worry much.  I trust in Him.  I live my life.  I follow His voice.  It’s not been easy, but it’s easier day by day.

Conclusions:  Long passage which my summary condenses.  Jesus basically says those who believed themselves to be saved based solely on their heritage are not and are actually of the devil.  He calls them out, points out how he is in fact God, and they try to kill him for it–a heart act from the devil.  Freedom from sin is found only in Christ.  The alternative is the devil.  End of story.

End Notes:  Many did believe in Jesus so he is speaking to those who have the beginnings of faith but still have doubts.

Abide (hold to my teaching) means welcoming it, being at home with it, and living it.  When you do this, THEN you will be Jesus’ disciple and you will know the TRUTH and be set free.

The religious leaders don’t even consider Jesus’ words and ask more on how to be free.  Despite the facts the Jews have been in bondage on and off for 2000 years and Rome now controlled them, they say they are free already–because of Abraham.

“Sin” in this passage indicates habitual sin.  There is no escape from slavery to sin since it is within.

They are physically Abraham’s descendants but not spiritually.  Jesus knows their hearts and the Word (him) has no place there for him.

Again, they question where Jesus came from.  Jesus says bluntly, “You cannot love God or call him your Father without loving me and accepting me.”  It’s impossible.  The Jews found it incredibly hard to wrap their minds around the idea of the Trinity as we do today.

The ability to hear God’s word is a gift none of us should take for granted.

Instead, the leaders are spiritual children of the devil, indicated by their desire to kill him.  The devil lies.  They rejected Jesus because he spoke the Truth.

Jesus asks them to name one sin of his.  They cannot.  Instead, they just called him names!  They had nothing left to accuse him of and with each word of Jesus’ more and more believe him instead of them!

Jesus tells all the secret:  Accept the Word and receive eternal life!  Again, blasphemy from anyone but God’s Son.  Keep here mean continue and abide in it.

“See” is an intense word in Greek meaning long, steady vision.

Once more trying to trap Jesus, they try to get him to say something offensive by asking him again who he is.

Jesus again says he knows God and claims he is greater than Abraham who also acknowledged this fact.

Fifty was the age a priest retired.  The Jews are merely saying you are too young to have known/seen Abraham.

Jesus responds with the 3rd “I Am” statement (John 8:24, 8:28).  The ancient Greek phrase is ego emi, which is  the same term used in to describe the Voice from the burning bush.  Jesus used a clear divine title belonging to Yahweh alone (Exodus 3:13-14, Deuteronomy 32:39, Isaiah 43:10) and was interpreted as such by Jesus’ listeners (John 8:58-59).  I AM was recognized by the Jews as a title of deity.

Finally, the religious leaders understood as demonstrated by the stones.  They knew he was claiming to be God.  They saw it as blasphemy.  These stones would have been in the temple as it was still being constructed in some areas.  Jesus escaped, probably mixing himself with the people in the temple but he could have vanished miraculously.  We are not told.