BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 4, Day 3: Romans 3:5-8

Summary of passage:  Some justify their sins by saying their sins make God more righteous and true and brings Him more glory so they don’t deserve His wrath.  This is a human argument.  God does not need mere mortals to proclaim him righteous.  The gall of mankind!  God will judge evil no matter what justification man’s limited mind comes up with.

Questions:

6)  Some justify their sins by saying their sins make God more righteous and true and brings Him more glory so they don’t deserve His wrath.  This is a human argument.  God does not need mere mortals to proclaim him righteous.  The gall of mankind!  God will judge evil no matter what justification man’s limited mind comes up with.

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  All sin is evil.  I don’t like to sin. Who does?  I try not to, I repent when I do, I accept God’s forgiveness, and I try to be better.  That is what God desires.

Conclusions:  No sin is justified.  Period.  God hates all!

End Notes:  People use this argument when their sin leads to good.  Think of Judas and Joseph.  Judas’s sin lead to Jesus saving all of us.  Joseph’s brothers’ sins lead to him saving all of Egypt during the famine and God’s people who moved to Egypt during the famine.  However, sin is sin.  It’s no credit to man what God does and God chooses to use it for good is His prerogative.

God will use the unrighteousness of man to accomplish His work and bring praise to His name – Judas’ betrayal of Jesus is a perfect example. Nevertheless, part of the way God glorifies Himself in man’s sin is by righteously judging that unrighteousness.

God judging the world refers to the End Times.

Paul was falsely reported as having given permission for all to sin so God would be given the glory.  He refutes this here.  Remember, salvation by faith in Jesus Christ was a new idea in first century AD.  Confusion would be a given as Paul clarified Jesus and what his death means to the world.

Condemnation is justified for all who would believe such a thing.

This argument by man is the peak of man’s twistedness and you can almost feel Paul’s frustration leap out at you and strike you with a 2 x 4!

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 4, Day 2: Romans 3:1-4

Summary of passage:  After having just warned the Romans that what matters is the heart and just because you are outwardly obeying doesn’t mean you have salvation, Paul comforts the Jews, saying that they are God’s chosen people and God is still faithful to them and to His promises to them.

Questions:

3a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The Jews of the day (as we discussed last lesson in Day 4 & Day 5) believed they were superior to others because they were chosen by God and they were circumcised.  They thought they could do whatever they wanted (sin-wise) and still receive salvation.  Paul explained in Romans 2 this is not the case.  I don’t have any expectations in terms of spiritual advantages.  Yes, I’ve been blessed to know God since a child, but I have no expectations because of this.

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  They were chosen by God and before Jesus guaranteed a spot in heaven.   Imagine being chosen in pagan times before people could read and write to keep God’s words and prophecies until Jesus came.  Awesome!  Having God’s word and the Bible is a huge advantage.  We are not brainwashed as to what God says.  His words are not twisted.  We can read all He expects of us and all He desires of us and all of our comforts and His promises as well.  It’s an amazing blessing!

4)  God promised Abraham to make him and his offspring into a great nation.  He will bless them and curse all who oppose him.  God gave him the land of Canaan to live on.  He promises His people abundance.  He is our life (awesome!), the reason for being, the reason for progress.  He will always be with us and be His nation.  All of these promises still hold for the Jews.

5)  You.  Free Will.  God does not tempt anyone.

Conclusions:  Jews first.  Gentiles second.  Good lesson when we get on our high horse as a Gentile.  For me, I’m just happy He chose me too!  Order does not matter!

End Notes:  In Romans 9:4 Paul will expound more on the advantages the Jewish people have.  The Jews have a duty when God entrusted them with His word (the Old Testament).  It’s a big responsibility to disseminate it, keep it, and spread it!

Paul says just because the Jews in general have rejected Jesus doesn’t mean God has abandoned them!  God never fails His people!

Verse 4:  God cannot lie.  God does not change.  What Gods says is the Truth.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 3, Day 3: Romans 5-16

Summary of passage:  When you don’t repent, you are storing up wrath on the day of judgment.  God will give to each person according to what he has done.  Eternal life, honor, peace, and glory to those who do good.  Wrath and anger, trouble and distress to evil-doers.  All will be judged.  Those who obey the law will be declared righteous on the Day of Judgment by Christ.

Questions:

6)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God’s wrath.  Good and treasures in heaven I hope.

7a) Eternal life, honor, peace, and glory to those who do good.  Wrath and anger, trouble and distress to evil-doers.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I hope goodness.

8 )  Jesus Christ.

Conclusions:  Terse answers on the personal questions.  It’s hard to judge oneself.  In my eyes and from my limited perspective, I’m doing good.  I’m sure I’m failing though in places in God’s eyes.  The questions would better be worded, “What would a friend say about your heart attitude and storing up for God?”  Or even better if we were asked to pray about what God sees in us and have Him reveal it to us.

End Notes:  Those who condemn sinners are storing up the wrath of God, not merits.  God is the only one who can grant eternal life because none of us are good all the time.  Sin stains us.

Jews are first in line for the gospel (Romans 1:16), first in line for reward (Romans 2:10), and first in line for judgment.

The word indignation comes from the idea of “boiling up,” thus having the sense of a passionate outburst. The word wrath comes from the idea of a swelling which eventually bursts, and applies more to an anger that proceeds from one’s settled nature.

Paul is emphasizing how people are saved by faith not by deeds and if one “persists in doing good” this is proof of genuine faith.

All are equal in God’s eyes.  The word translated partiality in some translations comes from two ancient Greek words put together – to receive and face. It means to judge things on the basis of externals or preconceived notions.

“All who sin apart from the law” refers to the Gentiles.  God judges according to the light available to them.  Gentiles will not be condemned for not obeying a law they did not possess.  Their judgement will be on other grounds.

Some ancient rabbis taught that God favored the Jews.  Paul refutes this.

All that matters is if you’ve obeyed the law.  Hearing the law or knowing the law is not good enough.

Paul clarifies that even if you haven’t heard the law per se, you can be condemned unless you follow the law written on your heart (law for themselves or conscience, which is the law abiding in their hearts).  By nature, man has morals.  But this is not a substitute for God’s laws.

Your conscious is your morals but everyone’s conscious is different and it can become corrupted.  You still need to follow the law to gain righteousness.  Conscious (like God) can still be ignored.

You still will be judged since all of us have a conscious.  No one escapes.  Ignorance is not an excuse.  Jesus is the judge to whom we will all be accountable.  The Jews believe God is the one who will deliver final judgement on the world.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 29, Day 5: John 21:24-25

Summary of passage:  John says this is his testimony that he recorded and Jesus did many other things he didn’t record.

Questions:

12)  John recorded these events in Jesus’ life so people will believe Jesus is the Christ, the Sone of God, and have faith in him and his name and thus receive eternal life with the Father.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My faith has grown.  My depth of love for Jesus and God have grown.  My path is clearer.  My love is stronger.

Conclusions:  Why are we being asked a question that is not in this passage at all (question 12)?  Question 13 should be in Lesson 30.  Weak ending to the study of John.

End Notes:  We have been given all we need to know.  John refers to the ongoing work or Christ throughout the centuries–so much good it could not possibly be written down.  Awesome!

John, once known as the “son of thunder” in Mark 3:17 changes as he journeys with Jesus and becomes known as the apostle of love.  Scholars speculate that as John looked back and wrote these episodes of Jesus’ life that these are the ones that convinced him Jesus was the Son of God.  As we journey with God and Jesus, we change as well.  We grow, we expand, we deepen, we love.

I hope you all have done all of this and more throughout this study.  Have a great summer break and I’ll see you all in the Fall for the Book of Romans!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 29, Day 3: John 21:15-17

Summary of passage:  Jesus asks Peter if he loves him.  Peter says of course.  Jesus tells Peter to feed his lambs, take care of his sheep, and feed his sheep.

Questions:

6)  Jesus is letting Peter know he is forgiving for denying him three times after his arrest and that he has important work for him to do.  He’s encouraging him to forgive himself, get over the past, and concentrate on the work ahead.  He’s doing this in front of the others so the others support him as well.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It seems I always have people placed in my way to teach me something the Lord is trying to get across to me.  He always knows just where I need to be or what I need to hear in order to move more towards Him.

8 )  Our past and our sins are forgiven.  Despite our faults of being human, we can still impact this world and make a difference.  In fact, we can use our shortcomings to help others who are struggling with the same sins (addiction, etc).  All is for a purpose for Him.

Conclusions:  Great example of God’s love for us.  There is no reason to wallow in self-pity over our sins when God doesn’t.  He has a plan for us and we can’t waste precious time avoiding it.

End Notes:  Jesus had already met with Peter individually on the day of His resurrection (Luke 24:34, 1 Corinthians 15:5). We can only wonder at what Jesus and Peter talked about at that first meeting. Nevertheless, it was still important for Jesus to restore Peter in the presence of the other disciples.

Peter means “rock” and Jesus does not address him as such here.  Peter hadn’t been a rock.  But he sure would become one!

Before Peter denied Jesus three times, he claimed to love Jesus more than the other disciples did (Matthew 26:33).  Jesus wanted to know if Peter still believed thus.  Of course, Jesus already knew the answer (as Peter points out in verse 17), but Jesus is asking for Peter’s self-knowledge, not his.

Some scholars say here Jesus could be asking if Peter were willing to give up fishing for him since “these” is a pronoun referring to something previous.  However, all indications are it’s the disciples he’s referring to.

Jesus uses the word “agape” when speaking of love and Peter responds with the Greek word “philio”.  Agape is the all-encompassing love and philip is brotherly love as we discussed HERE.

Most scholars agree there is a reason for the difference but most disagree as to what that reason could be.  Some think Peter was now being more reserved after his dismal denials earlier.

Jesus instructs Peter on how to act towards God’s people.  Jesus first emphasizes that the people are his.  The verb translated “take care” or “tend” has a much fuller meaning.  It means to shepherd his people.  Collect them, care for their every need, and lead them.

If Peter loved Jesus how he claimed he loved Jesus, then he would care for Jesus’ people.

Peter, abashed, knows why Jesus is asking him three times.  Three times he denied and now three times he gets to confirm.

This third question Jesus uses “philio” instead of agape.  Again, Jesus tells Peter to forget the past and move on to feeding his people.  Great stuff!

This reinstatement helped embolden Peter to become one of the early church’s most fearless spokesmen.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 28, Day 3: John 20:11-18

Summary of passage:  John and Peter depart.  Mary weeps and saw 2 angels in the tomb where Jesus’ body had been.  Jesus appears at the tomb but Mary does not recognize him until he calls her name.  Jesus orders Mary to return to the disciples and tell them what she has seen.

Questions:

6)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He called her name.  How amazing and powerful!  I’ve never noticed this before.  A name is power.  When Jesus calls your name (like when your parents do when you’re in trouble), you’d better listen.

7)  Jesus wants her to realize he is only risen and here temporarily.  That soon the Holy Spirit will descend upon her and take his place.  Not to get attached to him physically for he is leaving again.  He is headed back home to His Father.  He has important work for her to do.

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus told Mary to go and tell his brothers/disciples what she has seen.  It’s the same for us to spread the word about Jesus.  Also, Jesus tells us our work here on this side of heaven to complete and we must obey!

Conclusions:  What power in a name!  Love the focus on women again and how Jesus uses Mary to spread the word.  We are all equal in God’s eyes.

End Notes:  Mary did not yet believe in the resurrection so she weeped.  Mary was not afraid when she saw the angels.  She may not have even known they were angels (Hebrews 13:2).  They were seated at the head and feet like cherubim (Exodus 25:18-19).  She didn’t notice the burial cloths.

Matthew has one angel (Matthew 28:2).  Mark a young man (Mark 16:5).  Luke has 2 men who were angels (Luke 24:4, 23).

Mary turned possibly because she heard Jesus or the angels motioned for her to turn.  She didn’t recognize Jesus.  Perhaps he was a bit different in appearance or her tears blurred her vision.  Or perhaps Jesus intentionally blinded them to him.  A number of times he was not recognized (John 21:4, Matthew 28:17, Luke 24:16, 37)  Jesus asks her questions so she’ll push through her unbelief.  She plans to carry Jesus’ body for burial.  Likely, she is not strong enough but all she is thinking about is Jesus!

Jesus calls her by her Hebrew name.  In one word, Jesus changes a life.  She recognizes the voice of her shepherd as his sheep instantly.  Jesus told her who she was to him not who he was to her.

Spurgeon points out how in the garden the sentence of sorrow falls heavily upon a woman.  And after the resurrection the comfort and peace falls upon a woman as well.  How apropos!

The presumption of verse 17 is Mary is clinging to Jesus and does not want to let him go.  Jesus tells her he has important work for her to do (notify the disciples of his return) and that he will be around for a bit longer.

Jesus made a woman the first witness of His resurrection.  The law courts in ancient times would not recognize the testimony of a woman, but Jesus did.  This shows the historic truth of this account.  If someone fabricated this story, they would not make the first witnesses to the resurrection women, who were regarded as unreliable witnesses.

Fun Fact:  This is the first time Jesus calls his disciples “brothers.”

Jesus says “my Father and your Father” because his relationship with God is different than ours.  By nature, Jesus.  By grace, ours.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 28, Day 2: John 20:1-10

Summary of passage:  Mary Magdalene went to Jesus’ tomb and saw the stone to the entrance had been moved.  She ran and told Peter and John who came running to the tomb.  John got there first and looked in and saw no body.  Peter went in and saw the strips of linen lying there and the burial cloth, folded up separate.  John followed inside.  They left and still did not get it that Jesus had risen!

Questions:

3a)  John was the cautious one.  He had to stop and think.  Peter the reckless, impulsive, more courageous one.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m unsure I expect anything of Jesus.  I hope for things–for him to work in my life and provide me the way and the strength to do His will–but I don’t think I expect anything from him.  His death was enough for me.  I’m in bible study to draw closer to God and Jesus.  Period.

4)  John saw the strips of linen and the burial cloth folded up separate from one another.  This wouldn’t have been done by tomb robbers who would have ripped the cloth and thrown it haphazardly about.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  If Jesus doesn’t rise from the grave, none of us will rise either.  He was raised so we’d be justified before God and spend all of eternity together with Him.  Furthermore, it was in Scripture and thus the will of God.  It has made all the difference.

Conclusions:  Stock answer to “difference in life” question we’ve had many times in this study.  I think they saw and believed but still didn’t get it.  The Holy Spirit has yet to descend on them.  I believe this is where all the disciples finally get it.

End Notes:  Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus risen from the dead and spread the word.  All we know about her was she came from Magdala, a city on the Sea of Galilee and Jesus drove 7 demons from her.  Afterwards, she dedicated her life to him and helped finance his ministry.  She was there at the crucifixion and went faithfully to care for his body.  As a second class citizen in ancient times, God chose her to be the first to witness Jesus’ work fulfilled.  Imagine:  Jewish courts did not even accept women’s testimony.  Take that, mankind!

Fun Fact:  Mary Magdalene is mentioned more often than most of the other believing women, and usually first.

Jesus was crucified on a Friday (or some say Thursday).  Afterwards, the tomb was guarded (Matthew 27:62-66) until today.  Other Gospel accounts say Mary was not the only woman to go to Jesus’ tomb.  She was just the one to run back and report her findings.  The women were probably going back to finish burial rites.  She immediately thinks the body is stolen.  No one was expecting a risen Jesus!

John was humble enough not to mention his name but prideful enough to say he outran Peter!  Peter is in his mid-40-50’s and John is in his mid-20’s.  Obviously, he outran Peter.

The Greek work blepei meant “seeing clearly.”  There was no doubt what John saw.  However, he didn’t enter either presuming the body was there since he saw the wrappings or out of fear of defilement of touching a dead body.  A rich man’s tomb would have been big enough to walk into but probably with some stooping.

Peter saw (Greek theorei meaning contemplate and scrutinize) the cloths as if the body has evaporated.  Remember the linens were lathered with ointments, aloes, and spices.  They would have hardened and would have had to have been cut off the body.  Think ancient Egyptian mummies and Howard Carter and King Tut.  The point here is something inhuman was at work here.

Some scholars point to the Shroud of Turin here.  However, would God allow the wrappings to be preserved so it could be worshipped?

John then saw (the Greek word eiden meaning, “to understand, to perceive the significance of”) and then believed.  The distinctive arrangement of the burial wrappings convinced him.  Note that John believed here but Peter did not.  He would not until he met the resurrected Jesus.  John believed on faith with his eyes only.  It is obvious they did not make up a story of a resurrection to fit  preconceived understanding of Scriptural prophecy when it was written about later.

Both Peter and John know the fact Jesus rose again.  They don’t understand the meaning behind it yet.  That Jesus is the Son of the One, True God.  That he died sinless for our sins so we can rise again and be with God.  It proves the gnostics of the day wrong that God does have a plan for our bodies, which is sacred (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).