BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 10, Day 3: Romans 6:1-4

Summary of passage:  Paul pauses to answer any questions and to clarify:  No!  We don’t go on sinning just because grace is bigger than sin! When we’re baptized, we’re baptized into Christ and his life and death.

Questions:

6)  Believers.  We became different people when we died to sin.

7)  Water baptism is us identifying with Jesus’s death and resurrection.  It’s a spiritual death and a renewal, receiving the Holy Spirit.  Baptism depicts graphically what happens as a result of the Christian’s union with Christ, which comes with faith–through faith we are united with Christ just as through our natural birth we are united with Adam.  It gives the believer entry into the righteousness and new life in Christ through an identification with Christ himself.

8 ) Part personal Question.  My answer:  Once we accept God’s grace and gift of Jesus into our life we are born again with the Holy Spirit and therefore our relationship with sin is permanently changed. We have died to sin and cannot live any longer it it.  For the most part, I lead a guilt-free life, knowing God has forgiven all my sins.  I strive to do His will in my life.  I pray and listen and obey (I’m not perfect in this mind you).  I abhor sin.  I strive my best not to sin.  I live a life full of contentment knowing where my home is.  I try to share this with others through my example.

Conclusions:  This is an important concept to get:  As believers all of our sin is washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ.  We are given a new self (which we’ll explore in the next lesson) when we accepted Jesus and were baptized. He now lives inside all of us, setting us apart for all of eternity.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

End Notes:  [Same End Notes as YESTERDAY]  In verses 3:21-5:21 Paul explains how God has provided for our redemption and justification.  He next explains the doctrine of sanctification–the process by which believers grow to maturity in Christ and are made holy.  He treats the subject in 3 parts:  1) freedom from sin’s tyranny (ch 6)  2)  freedom from the law’s condemnation (ch 7)  3)  life in the power of the Holy Spirit (ch 8)  This will be Chapters 6:1-8:39

Throughout history, you’d be surprised who twisted these verses (and Paul’s words) to justify their wrong-doings (this is why Paul is harping on this topic).  The Russian, self-proclaimed monk Rasputin for one said “I’ll sin more to earn more forgiveness.”  If you don’t know much about Rasputin, he’s a fascinating character (albeit evil one) in history who led a bizarre life of immorality, but heavily influenced the last Imperial family of Russia.  In essence, he was a very good con man, which was unfortunate for the Royals and some scholars even say he contributed to their downfall.

Paul often used this writing technique:  He pauses in the middle of an argument to answer objections or questions that may be occurring to the reader.

Paul’s concern here is that people will misuse God’s grace and use God’s forgiveness of their sins as an excuse to continue sinning (like Rasputin did).  It’s God’s job to forgive and our job to sin, right?

This explains the early church’s emphasis on an angry God, His wrath, and the law because man has no motivation to stay the straight and narrow path.

Paul points out that when we accepted Jesus our relationship to sin has changed; therefore, we have died to sin and a life of sinning is incompatible with life.  Paul will explain this in detail but his point is clear:  Before, we were dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1); now we are dead to sin.

In New Testament Times baptism so closely followed conversion that the two were considered part of one event.  Baptism is closely associated with faith although not the means by which we enter into a faith relationship with Jesus.

The ancient Greek word for baptized means “to immerse or overwhelm something.” When a person is baptized in water, they are immersed or covered over with water. When they are baptized with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11Acts 1:5), they are “immersed” or “covered over” with the Holy Spirit. When they are baptized with suffering (Mark 10:39), they are “immersed” or “covered over” with suffering.  Here, Paul refers to being baptized – “immersed” or “covered over” – in Christ Jesus.

Being baptized with water is us identifying with Jesus’s death and resurrection.  It’s not cleansing here as Paul uses the term.  In essence, you can’t die and rise again without it changing you.  It’s akin to almost dying.  You’re changed when you have a near-death experience. We die spiritually and rise with Jesus!

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 10, Day 3: John 6:43-51

Summary of passage:  Jesus chastises the Jews for complaining and quotes Isaiah.  He further explains how he is the bread of life that will lead to eternal life and again references Moses and the Exodus.  All it takes is listening to God and belief in him.

Questions:

5)  Those who hear the Scriptures (the word of God) will come to Jesus and be saved.  They testify about Jesus.  They are spirit and life.

6)  Only Jesus has seen God.  But in a way if you’ve seen Jesus (those walking around in 1st century Israel and saw Jesus) has seen God since God is in Jesus as the Holy Trinity.  If you are a believer, you have the Holy Spirit within (God and Jesus) as a guiding light.  He is always with us, strengthening us, guiding us, and doing His will.

7a)  Physical death and spiritual death.

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  If you believe in Jesus, you will not suffer spiritual death but have everlasting life.  My response is eternal gratitude.

Conclusions:  Take away:  Jesus is the only way to eternal life.  God will lead you to him.

End Notes:  Jesus here is teaching the Jews that all who come to him are drawn by God.  Remember the Jews at this time thought eternal life was a birthright.  It all starts with God.  We don’t come to Him.  He calls us and we respond.  The Greek word “draw” is the sense of alluring.

All those who belong to God are taught by God.  All those who listen to God will come to Jesus.

Jesus again insists upon his unique relationship with the Father, being the only one to have seen Him.

No other prophet ever made such a bold claim:  believe in me and have everlasting life.  This was shocking to the people at the time.  Believe meant to trust, rely on, cling to, and love.

Another famous “I am” statement:  I am the bread of life.  Bread is necessary for physical life.  Jesus is necessary for spiritual life.

We all feed upon something:  business, pleasure, entertainment, etc.  What do you feed upon?

The metaphor of eating and drinking was common in the Jesus’ time but is so universal everyone can relate.

This is not communion here.  Jesus is the bread.  Eat of him.

Jesus says he as the bread is his flesh that he willingly gives for our life.  He is alluding to his final work on the cross.

Flesh is a strong word here meant to grab attention.  Giving of flesh is death.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 10, Day 3: Revelation 5:6-10

Summary of passage:  A Lamb (Jesus) who had been slain stands near the throne surrounded by the living creatures and elders.  He had 7 horns and 7 eyes for the 7 Spirits of God.  Jesus takes the scroll from God and the elders and creatures fall down in worship and prayers and song.  Jesus made people into a kingdom and priests to serve God and reign on earth.

Questions:

6a)  Jesus

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus was slain to pay the penalty for our sins so we can be justified before God and have eternal life.  It means everything to me.

7a)  Jesus is standing in the midst of the throne, central, for all to see.  He is not literally standing on the throne.  He is next to it and all are encircling him.  God was giving Jesus all power and all authority.

b)  Completeness or perfection.  Seven eyes represent omniscience and seven horns represent omnipotence.  Throughout the Bible eyes represent knowledge and wisdom and horns represent power.   So having 7 of them means Jesus here has perfect knowledge and complete power.  Seven spirits is fully God and fully Jesus as the Holy Spirit.  All in one as the Triune God.  7 Spirits of God (Rev 1:4).

7 Spirits as fully God could also refer to all the characteristics of God (Isaiah 11; 2 Peter 1:5-7).

Conclusions:  You may have noticed my go-to answer is “everything” (Lesson 5 Day 4).  I have given up trying to put into words what Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross means to me.  The depth, the impact, the consequences are indescribable.  The grace, the mercy, the sanctification, eternal life.  The English language (and all languages) cannot encompass this meaning.

Great lesson to a great passage.  Every word here has meaning.  How amazing this vision would have been!  Anyone else want to be a modern-day John?

End Notes:  “I saw”.  We see these words repeated over and over again by John.  It’s a reminder to us that he is reporting exactly what was revealed to him without embellishing any facts or details.

The word John used in Greek for lamb means “little lamb”.  This is the first of 29 times this word is used in Revelation, but it is only used 1 elsewhere in the New Testament (John 21:15).  The Lamb is living but has sacrificial marks on him.  Except for Revelation 13:11, all refer to Jesus as the Lamb.  Lamb seems to be a preference John had to refer to Jesus.

The Lamb is seen in Scripture as “standing” (Acts 7:56, 5:31) as here or “sitting” (Mark 16:19).

In verse 5, the elder announces a Lion and a Lamb shows up?  John was surprised.  Most people think of Lions as ferocious and kings but a Lamb in humble, gentle, and full of trust and love–exactly the qualities God wants to exhibit.

The language has Jesus as just being slain.  Before God, Jesus has always just been slain, his sacrifice for you and me fresh and new, a continual sacrifice for each new generation. In the Greek, there is no doubt. The Lamb was slain.  For Jews, the lamb was a sacrificial animal.  They would have immediately grasped the impact these analogies contain.

The horn is an ancient Jewish symbol for power and strength so 7 horns is complete or absolute strength.  The fourth beast we read in Daniel (Daniel 7:7, 20) had 10 horns.

Seven eyes of the Lord:  Zechariah 4:10 and 3:9.  See everything completely indicates absolute sovereignty.

Right hand was the dominate hand in Scripture and represents power.  Here, God is giving Jesus His power.

This is the only time we see the court fall down before Jesus.

The harp is really a zithern or kind of guitar.  This passage gave rise to the idea of angels in heaven with harps as seen in world-famous paintings.  Worship is accompanied by music like when we worship in church.

The golden bowls of incense are prayers of the saints the elders are merely holding NOT prayers for the saints or by the saints or to the saints.  We get the picture of the worth God has for the prayers of the saints.  We’ll revisit these prayers in Revelation 8:3.

“Saints” in Greek means “holy ones.”  Used 13 times in Revelation (Rev 5:8, 8:3, 4; 11:18; 13:7, 10; 14:12; 16:6; 17:6; 18:20, 24; 19:8; 20:9), this is John’s term of choice to designate those who belong to Jesus Christ throughout the ages.

New song meaning good or pleasing.  Song about man’s redemption.

We are kings and priests thanks be to our belief in Jesus.  He sanctified us and elevated us.

Chapter 6 of Revelation begins judgment by the Lamb.

Fun Historical Fact:  Roman emperors were proclaimed in Latin vere dignus, meaning “You are worthy.”  Only God is worthy.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 10, Day 3: Exodus 25:23-27:21

Summary of passage:  The Lord is still directing Moses on Mt. Sinai with regards to the tabernacle.  God told Moses to make a table and dishes of pure gold to hold the bread of the Presence on and a lampstand.  God gave Moses specific instructions on how to build the tabernacle and the curtain that would separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place (where God would dwell).  God told Moses how to build the altar for offerings and the courtyard.  There is to be lamps burning all day.

Questions:

5)  Table with the bread of the Presence:  Jesus is now the bread of life.

Golden lampstand:  The lamps are always to be burning and Jesus is the light of the world, always light, never dark, shining his light everywhere.  Note the repetition of 3’s here–pointing to the Triune God.  Jesus is the lamp, the light of the World.

Inner curtain or veil:  Upon Jesus’ death, this curtain was torn in two, ending the separation between God and man.  His blood allowed us to enter the Most Holy Place and his body (the curtain) opened a “new, living way.”

Altar of burnt offering:  Jesus was the last burnt offering man ever needed as his blood took the place of animal’s blood and cleanse us all forever. [If you keep reading the Leviticus passage given, you will glean more.  This burnt offering was the atonement offering for forgiveness of our sins.]

6a)  “Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you” on the mountain.

b)  God is a holy God and in order for us to be near him, we had to be cleansed and it had to be done right.  Everything had to be an exact representation of the heavenly reality.

Conclusions:  These sections of the Bible with listings of specifications is hard for us to read especially with units given that we no longer use.  I understand its importance; still, it doesn’t make it any easier to do these lessons.

End Notes:  Exodus 25:  The Arch of Titus has a depiction of the table from the tabernacle he rebuilt after the other one was destroyed. It closely resembles the specifications given here.  The Arch of Titus was built by his brother, Emperor Domitian, in 82 AD in Rome after his death to commemorate his victories which included the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The Arch serves as a model for the Arc of Tri0umphe in Paris today and other arches around the world.

Herod rebuilt the temple in 20-19 BC which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.  Model of Herod’s Temple HERE  This is the second temple.  The first temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC when the Israelites were enslaved.  Solomon rebuilt the temple which was then renovated by Herod and known as Herod’s temple.  There are no records of what Solomon’s temple or the First Temple looked like.

There were 12 breads of Presence kept on this table, one for each tribe of Israel.  Leviticus 24:5-9 gives more details.  It was replaced every week and only eaten by the priests.  This bread is also known as the “face of God” and was to be eaten in His presence.

We can picture the lampstand similar to the modern-day Menorah.  The almond tree was the first to bloom in the spring, representing new life.

From Revelation 4:5, the 7 lamps represent the Holy Spirit.

The light from the lamps, instead of representing Jesus, could also point to God’s presence with us (Numbers 6:25) as light in the Old Testament represented victory and life (Psalm 27:1).

A talent of pure gold was 75 pounds.

Exodus 26:  We must remember right now the tabernacle is a tent as the Israelites are moving around in the desert for 40 years.  It isn’t until they settle down that a permanent dwelling is constructed.

Note how God gives directions from the inside out–just like He builds us.

The curtain with the cherubim could only be seen from the inside just like in heaven we will see cherubim (Psalm 80:1, Isaiah 37:16, and Ezekiel 10:3).

The goats’ hair was most likely black and similar to modern-day felt.  It hid the inner layer just like heaven is hidden to us.  The lamb skins and sea cows’ skins would have been added protection for the tabernacle.  [Anyone else wonder how they got skins from sea cows?]  Result:  complete darkness except for the lamps burning bright.

The use of silver as the foundation should draw parallels to Jesus’ work.  It separated the tabernacle from the floor like Jesus separates us from sin and the rest of the world.  Silver is the payment for sin and redemption.  (See Exodus 21:32, Leviticus 5:15, 27:3, 27:6, Numbers 18:16, and Deuteronomy 22:19)

The center crossbar would be unseen just like God.

The veil was thick, impossible to see through.  Behind the Most Holy Place was only the Ark of the Covenant.  Only the high priest could go into the sacred place and only once a year.

Inside the temple we have an altar, a table, and a lamp:  prayer, fellowship, and light for understanding.

Exodus 27:  Our altar today is the cross.  Horns represented strength and power.

The courtyard was a barrier to God yet the way to approach him with only one gate–one way to God–as Jesus is today.

Scholars say bronze represents judgments since it is forged out of fire.  Note the juxtaposition of bronze and silver here in the courtyard:  redemption through Jesus who took upon our judgement.

The tabernacle was a tent, meant to be moved.  God’s point here is this:  where you go, I go and where you dwell, I dwell.  I am with you always in your troubles and despair, your victories and triumphs.

Oil represents the Holy Spirit.  It is never to go out as the Holy Spirit within us never departs. Immanuel truly.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 10, Day 3: Matthew 9:9-17

Summary of passage:  Jesus called Matthew, a tax collector, to follow him and he did.  Jesus then went and had dinner at Matthew’s house with other tax collectors and sinners.  The Pharisees saw this and asked why.  Jesus said he has come to call the sinners, not the righteous.

Jesus is asked why he does not fast.  Jesus says the time has not yet come for mourning.  After he dies, then fast.

Questions:

6a)  Levi the son of Alphaeus

b)  Matthew got up and immediately followed Jesus with not a word.  He then invited Jesus over to his house for dinner. Luke adds that Matthew left everything.  Luke says Matthew held a great banquet for Jesus at his house.

c)  Luke 9:23; Luke 14:27:  By denying himself and taking up the cross and following him.

Romans 6:2, 18:  Being free from sin and slaves to righteousness

1 Thessalonians 1:9:  Turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God

1 John 1:8-10:  Confessing our sins, we are forgiven and purified from all unrighteousness.  The truth and the Word lives within.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I try to follow His call upon my life and lead a life full of righteousness, reflecting Him to the world.  By doing God’s will in your life.  Specifically, I write, I teach, I raise children of God, I’m a wife.  I do all I believe in my heart I was put here to do for and by Him.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The Pharisees were corrupt.  It had become more about power and money instead of about God on their part.  They enriched themselves while the majority of people suffered.  They put themselves above others, believing them better than others and of a higher class and they cared little for anyone but themselves.  The Pharisees kept apart from others, deeming themselves too important to help the infirm, the poor, the helpless.

Here, Jesus is saying they are sick.  They need to show mercy to others, which is more important than the sacrifices required in the Bible.  Jesus is here for the sinners, the downtrodden, the forgotten of society and not for them who have hardened hearts.   The Pharisees are hypocrites and Jesus takes every opportunity to point that out.  They are the ones who are poor, pitiful, blind, and naked (Revelation) for they do not have Him.

8a)  Jesus

b)  That Jesus is the bridegroom, come to bring his bride (us) to God so that God may rejoice over us once more (be with Him in heaven).  To make us righteous and just before God once again (Hosea).

c)  The disciples

Note this is past tense.  If it were present tense, I would have answered “everyone” or “us”.  But since the question is looking for who Jesus was talking about in that moment, the answer must be his 12 disciples

9)  Hebrews 10:1 explains it best when the writer explains how the Old Testament law was merely a shadow of the good things to come (Jesus cleansing us forever).  The law cannot make sinners/humans perfect; only Jesus can.  Old Testament law was merely a stand-in until Jesus arrived.  It was not perfect for only Jesus was/is.

Jesus did not come to merely repair the Old Covenant; he came to replace it with something much better.  The Old Covenant (old wineskins) cannot contain his New Covenant (new wineskins).  Jesus is not a patch to the law.  He is New.

Conclusions:  We must remember Matthew is very well off in this society.  Although despised, tax collectors set their own rates which meant they often extorted people.  In ancient times, not a lot of people had any money than what it took to live for the day.  So when Matthew leaves “everything”, this everything was a lot compared to others such as James and John who had little.

Furthermore, returning as fishermen (Peter, James, and John) would have been rather easy after their service for Jesus was done.  Matthew probably gave up his career permanently.

End Notes:  Why is question 6a important?  Because we are about to learn in Matthew 10:3 that Matthew’s brother, James son of Alphaeus, is also a disciple of Jesus.  Cool how Jesus calls brothers to be his disciples.  This should show us the value God places on relatives.

I love this!  It’s easy to focus on the disciples who created the most waves and we forget about some of the others (Phillip, Bartholomew, Thaddaeus, etc).  But each played an integral role in spreading the Gospel.  Even though most of us don’t remember their names, God does.  And He remembers our names as well no matter how small of a role we play in His kingdom.

It’s a role.  And we all should be humbled we have a part at all.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 10, Day 3: Skim Genesis 6-9

Summary of passages:  Please see previous posts.

Questions:

6a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The judgment was final.  There was no going back once it began.  Once God closed the door to the ark God’s judgment had been complete. So it will be in the End Times for Jesus’s Second Coming.  No one will know when it will happen.  It will just happen.

b)  Believers are spared God’s punishment in terms of punishment.  We are judged for rewards for God has forgiven our sins.  Unbelievers are judged for punishments for their sins have not been forgiven.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am a Christian through faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit indwells my body to guide me in this life.

Conclusion:  Honestly, again, dreading the repetition.  But part b did give me a chance to clarify in my mind the Final Judgment and research the passages for this, which is important in explaining to others why they need to accept Christ.

Great, succinct answer to who is judged and when HERE

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 10, Day 3: Hebrews 3:1-6

Summary of passage:  The Hebrews writer calls brothers (believers) to fix their thoughts on Jesus who was faithful to God just as Moses was.  But Jesus is greater since he is the builder of the house (us) and not the house itself (Moses).  God built everything and Moses was a servant in God’s house.  Jesus is the son over God’s house.

Questions:

9a)  Praying, confessing sins

b)  When we are tempted, when we have fears, when we fear death, when we have sinned.

10)  According to Webster’s Dictionary, transcendental meditation is “a technique of meditation in which a mantra is changed in order to foster calm, creativity, and spiritual well-being.”  It is based on Hindu traditions.

Christian meditation, according to Wikipedia, is “a form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to get in touch with and deliberately reflect upon the revelations of God.  Christian meditation aims to heighten the personal relationship based on the love of God.”

So, Christian meditation is to get closer to God, to learn who He is, to know Him better, to learn to hear God’s voice and listen and obey Him.  The point is to focus on God.

Transcendental mediation is more about the person, you.  It’s selfish.  It’s developing brain activity so you can have clarity in your life, reduce stress, unlock creativity, and calm the mind.  It has nothing to do with God.

Hebrews 12:2:  “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning hits shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

11)  Similarities:  Both were called to do God’s work.  Both were sent to save God’s people.  Both lived extraordinary lives because of it.

Differences:  Jesus showed a perfect faithfulness in his ministry.  Moses disobeyed God and took credit for a miracle (Numbers 8-12) and was thus punished and not allowed to see the promised land.  Moses received glory from God but Jesus was transfigured and resurrected.  Moses is part of God’s house but Jesus is the creator.  Moses was never called a son by God.

Conclusions:  I had no clue what transcendental meditation was so of course I had to google it.  I don’t think this question could be answered with just knowledge in the average person’s brain.  In this case, I definitely think going outside the Bible should be allowed when asking a question that the Bible never addresses.

Also, not sure the challenge part of this.  Hebrews 12:2 does use the same expression but what clarification it offers in terms of transcendental meditation is beyond me.

In instances such as these, I wish BSF would just come out and state their opinion on the matter (which they may do in the notes and/or lecture) instead of making it a question on a topic that was irrelevant in the days of Hebrews, the Apostles, and the early Church (transcendental mediation was not invented or popularized until the 1950’s).

The question would be more relevant in comparison to meditating on other gods, Confucius, or Buddha and their teachings, all of whom existed before Jesus and were legitimate threats to the spread of Christianity in the first century AD instead of singling out a “technique” that has only recently come into existence.