BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 14, Day 3: Romans 8:19-22

Summary of passage:  All of creation (everything outside of man like earth and the animals) awaits Jesus’s Second Coming (the liberation of the bondage man created with the First Sin and the glorious freedom promised).

Questions:

6)  Creation is everything outside of man like the earth and the animals.

7)  Everything is subject to death (the plants and animals).

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus’s Second Coming.  No where does this passage talk about “proper creation care”, “idolizing nature”, or “trusting in people’s efforts to renew the planet” which wasn’t a concern 2000 years ago when Paul wrote these words.  This question does not make sense to me (so if it does to you, please leave a comment) and in my opinion has nothing to do with this passage.  In my life, I have little time to worry about renewing the planet or the few who idolize nature.  Frankly, it’s none of my concern.  I have way too much going on in my own little world to worry about others and their problems.

Conclusions:  I have no clue how BSF got question 8 from this passage besides out of nowhere.  Paul is simply saying everything will be renewed when Christ comes again.  Period.  None of this other stuff.  Baffled to say the least.  The rest of the questions on this lesson as well don’t make much sense.  Worst Lesson of this study so far for me.

End Notes:  Isaiah 11:6-9 describes what will happen in that day as the lion lays with the lamb.

Was subjected to frustration refers to Genesis 3:17-19 and God subjects creation in hope refers to Genesis 3:15.

The physical universe is not destined for destruction (annihilation) but for renewal.  Living things will no longer be subject to death and decay as they are today under the Fallen World.  I think this is BSF’s intended point in Question 8 is to get us to come to this conclusion (basically not to believe the doomsdayers who say the world is going to end–it’s not) but the way BSF went about it was convoluted, befuddled, and confounding.

Advertisements

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 14, Day 3: John 10:1-13 & Ezekiel 34:1-16; 30-31

Summary of passages:  John 10:1-13:Jesus uses the metaphor of a shepherd and his sheep to explain himself and believers. The only way into the pen is through him (the gate). The one who enters through the gate is the leader (Jesus). The sheep (believers) follow him and only him and know his voice. They will not follow a stranger. They flee from strangers.

Jesus explains he is the gate and whoever enters through him will be saved and have life.  The thief comes to steal and kill.  Jesus explains he is the good shepherd.  He knows his sheep and they know him. A hired hand cares nothing for his sheep.  He runs when a wolf attacks.

Ezekiel 34:1-16; 30-31:  Ezekiel prophesies that the shepherds of the Lord (here the rulers as well as the priests) have not taken care of their sheep.  They have not healed the wounded or brought back the strays.  So they were scattered and became food for wild animals.  Because God’s sheep has no shepherd He is against them and He will look for His sheep and care for them and bring them to Him.  God declares His people His sheep and He is their Lord.

Questions:

5a)  The false shepherds in Ezekiel do not care for their sheep.  They take everything from the sheep (curds, wool, and meat).  They do not heal the wounded or the sick.  They do not bring back the strays.  They rule the sheep harshly and brutally.  So they were scattered and eaten by wild animals.  The false shepherds in John come to steal, kill, and destroy.  The hired hand abandons the flock and allows it to be scattered.  He runs away and cares nothing for the sheep.

b)  He will search for His sheep and look after them.  He will rescue them from the places they were scattered.  He will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries and bring them into their own land.  He will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.  He will tend them in a good pasture and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land.  They will lie down there and graze in rich pasture.  He will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak.  He will shepherd with justice.  They will know He is their Lord and they are His sheep.

6)  Those who believe in him as the Son of God and Savior will have eternal life.

7a)  Personal Question.  My answers:  Be armed with the armor of God:  His word, His promises, a personal relationship with the Son, prayer, strong faith, the Holy Spirit, the belt of Truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:10-20).  Know God’s/Jesus’ voice and follow it.  Know Him!

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am so blessed I don’t know where to begin.  My life, my family, my ease, my freedoms, my relationship with Jesus and God, eternal life, everything.  In this season of thanksgiving, I feel very thankful.

Conclusions:  Great to read God as shepherd and Jesus as shepherd.  Reinforces the Trinity and how God cares for His people.

End Notes: John 10:1-13:  So right after Jesus healed the blind man and the religious leaders threw a fit cause it was on the Sabbath and didn’t believe Jesus did it, Jesus talks about actually caring for people instead of caring more for legalities and rules.

In OT times and ancient Near Eastern culture, the shepherd symbolized the royal caretaker of God’s people. God himself was called the “Shepherd of Israel” (Psalm 80:1, 23:1; Isaiah 40:10-11; Ezekiel 34:11-16, Zechariah 10:2) and he had given great responsibility to the leaders (shepherds) of Israel, which they failed to respect. God denounced these false shepherds (Isaiah 56:9-12; Ezekiel 34) and promised to provide the true Shepherd, the Messiah, to care for the sheep (Ezekiel 34:23).

“I tell you the truth” is common in John’s Gospel and indicates a solemn assertion about Jesus and/or his ministry.

Political and spiritual leaders were often called shepherds in the ancient world (Isaiah 56:11, Jeremiah 31:5). Jesus explained that not everyone among the sheep is a true shepherd; some are like thieves and robbers. One way to tell the difference is how they gain entry among the sheep.

The idea is that there is a door (a gate), a proper way to gain entry. Not everyone who stands among the sheep comes that way. Some climb up some other way.

The religious leaders Jesus is speaking about gained their place among God’s people (the sheep) through personal and political connections, ambition, manipulation, and corruption.

A true shepherd comes through love, calling, care, and sacrificial service.

God wants His people to be led, fed, and protected by those who come in love.

The watchman knows the true shepherd. Towns of that time would have a watchman who watched over all the people’s sheep at night.

A shepherd knows all of his sheep and they know him. A shepherd may even name the sheep and the sheep may even know their name. He calls them and they follow.

According to Adam Clarke, there are 6 marks of a true shepherd in these verses:

· He has a proper entrance into the ministry

· He sees the Holy Spirit open his way as a doorkeeper to God’s sheep

· He sees that the sheep respond to his voice in teaching and leadership

· He is well acquainted with his flock

· He leads the flock and does not drive them or lord it over them

· He goes before the sheep as an example

In sheep pens of the time, there was only one entrance or gate.  Shepherds would sleep in front of the gate at night to protect the sheep.  Hence, the shepherd is the gate.

“All who came before” are the religious leaders Jesus spoke of in John 8:43:47–those whose father is the devil.

Jesus’ followers did not listen to the thieves and robbers.

“Come in and go out” is the common O.T. expression to denote the free activity of daily life. Jeremiah 37:4, Psalm 121:8, Deuteronomy 28:6.

“Abundant” in the Greek denotes a surplus.  Abundant life is a contented life.  It’s not an easy life or comfortable life but one of peace in Jesus.

“I am the Good Shepherd”  (Another I am statement–the 4th of 7 that are unique to John’s Gospel and point to Jesus’ unique, divine identity and purpose) is clear to the Jews–He is the one to care for them.

“Lays down his life” is perpetually.  Jesus is always giving us life.

In sum, the Good Shepherd: gives his life, knows his sheep, and is known by his sheep. This analogy applies to church leaders and pastors today.

Ezekiel 34:1-16, 30-31:  God promises the removal of the false shepherds and the promise of the Good Shepherd (Jesus).  The shepherds here are more rulers and their officials than the priests.  Remember David was the first ruler and he was shepherd.  This is deliberate.  To call a king a shepherd was common in the East at this time.  The disciples were fishermen whose job was to catch fish (men) for God.

Fun Fact:  The image of God as a shepherd begins with Jacob (Genesis 48:15) and end with Revelation 7:17.  Ezekiel developed the image of God as shepherd in more detail than any other author in the Bible.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 14, Day 3: Revelation 8:6-13

Summary of passage:  The first 4 trumpets.

The 1st angel sounded his trumpet, unleashing hail and fire mixed with blood upon the earth. One third of the trees and earth was burned up and all the green grass burned.

The 2nd angel sounded his trumpet, unleashing a mountain on fire into the seas. One third of the sea turned to blood, one-third of the sea creatures died, and one-third of the ships were destroyed.

The 3rd angel sounded his trumpet, unleashing a burning star (named Wormwood or Bitterness), which fell from the sky onto a third of the rivers and springs, turning the waters bitter and killing people who drank the water.

The 4th angel sounded his trumpet, striking one-third of the sun, moon, and stars, turning them dark, eliminating one-third of the day and night.

Then an eagle flew over the earth, calling out to the inhabitants warnings that the last three angels were about to sound their trumpets.

Questions:

6)  First Trumpet: unleashes hail and fire mixed with blood upon the earth. One third of the trees and earth was burned up and all the green grass burned.

Second Trumpet:  unleashes a mountain on fire into the seas. One third of the sea turned to blood, one-third of the sea creatures died, and one-third of the ships were destroyed.

Third Trumpet:  unleashes a burning star (named Wormwood or Bitterness), which fell from the sky onto a third of the rivers and springs, turning the waters bitter and killing people who drank the water.

Fourth Trumpet:  strikes one-third of the sun, moon, and stars, turning them dark, eliminating one-third of the day and night.

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer: God shows mercy by only striking 1/3 of the resources. These are partial judgments (Zechariah 13:8-9).  God is warning people to turn to Him before it’s too late, offering up another undeserved chance at repentance.  This shows me God’s love and compassion and mercy and grace for and to mankind.  Awesome!

8a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Love, compassion, mercy, grace.  We see His omnipotence, His total control over everything.  We see His goodness.  We see His judgments and justness in punishing sin.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Profound gratitude.  Depth of love for Him.  My desire to do His will instead of mine grows more each day, pushing a bit more selfishness away.  Worship in awe and wonder.

Conclusions:  8 repeated 7 and made it personal.  In the immediate sense, my worship of God has not changed.  As I take in and absorb the book of Revelation and learn more about God’s goodness and grace my worship should become more meaningful and deeper.

Number of times asked in this study how our worship is affected:  Total of 7:  Once in Lessons 2, 3 & 10, Twice in Lessons 9 & now twice in this lesson.

End Notes:  Same as yesterday’s.  See HERE.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 14, Day 3: Leviticus 2-7

Summary of passage:  Leviticus 2 describes the procedure for bringing a grain offering to the Lord.  Leviticus 3 describes the procedure for bringing the fellowship offering to the Lord.  Leviticus 4 describes the procedure for bringing the sin offering to the Lord.

Leviticus 5 lists various specific reasons people can sin either knowingly or unknowingly and once he becomes aware of his sin, he is considered guilty and must make atonement for his sin.

Leviticus 6 continues the list of Leviticus 5 with the same consequences and then repeats much of Leviticus 1-4.  Leviticus 7 repeats Leviticus 3 & 5 and describes the priestly portions.

Questions:

6)  The Grain Offering:  The grain offering was to be of fine flour with oil and incense poured on it and taken to Aaron’s sons.  Aaron’s sons would burn a portion of this and keep a portion for themselves.  It’s purpose was for the Lord as an expression of thanks for all He has provided.  Note this offering was the only one prepared at home and then brought.

The Fellowship Offering (or Peace Offering):  An animal without defect to the Lord was offered. The person is to lay his hand on the animal and slaughter it.  Aaron’s sons will sprinkle the blood on the altar.  Aaron’s sons will burn the fat to the Lord.  It’s purpose was to honor the Lord and represent peace and fellowship with Him and brings the person closer to Him.  The meat was shared–the priest received a portion and the person ate the rest as a fellowship meal with God.

The Sin Offering:  A young bull without defect was offered.  He is to lay his hand on the animal and slaughter it.  The blood will be sprinkled by Aaron’s son on the altar and on the ground.  The fat will be burned for the Lord. The rest of the bull must be taken outside the camp and burned on a wood fire.  This purpose was to atone for any sin done unintentionally or anything done that is forbidden by the Lord’s commands.

Leviticus 5 gives specific occasions for a sin offering as well:  not telling the truth or standing for the truth, becoming ceremonially unclean, or swearing a false oath (not keeping a promise is another way to think of this).

The Guilt Offering:  A ram without defect is to be offered.  It is to be slaughtered and its blood sprinkled  on the altar.  Its fat is to be burned but some can be eaten by a male in the priest’s family.  The person must also make restitution and bring one-fifth of the value of what was damaged to the priest. The purpose was to make restitution and atonement for what the person has failed to do in violation of the Lord’s holy things and sins committed unintentionally.

7a)  The definition of atonement according to Webster’s Dictionary is “reconciliation; reparation for an offense or injury.”

b)  Jesus made atonement for all of our sin through faith in his blood.  The sacrifices here tell a similar story.  The blood covered up the Israelites’ sins in God’s eyes.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Romans says offer your body.  Ephesians says to live a life of love.  Philippians says money if you read around it.  Hebrews the better verse is 16 which says to do good, share with others, and praise Him.  I try to sacrifice my wants and desires for others and live a Godly-life.  I try to give generously and praise Him and offer up my body as a holy temple.  I know I fall short.  But I pray to be closer every day.

Conclusions:  Ugh!  This was boring to say the least so in my summaries I tried to sum it up.  I am not looking forward to Leviticus.  After the excitement of Exodus, Leviticus is like the arrival home after an intense adventure.  Question 7c added insult to injury with MORE reading.  Good thing our break is coming cause we’ll need it!

I would recommend reading the Notes and attending the lectures as much as possible in order to glean more out of these chapters because it will be too easy to dismiss these as antiquated and not get anything out of it with just a cursory read or study.

End Notes:  Leviticus 2:  The ancient Jew thought of the word “leaven” as we would think of the word “sin.”  It could corrupt.  Honey was a common sacrifice to pagan deities and God did not want to be associated with the pagan gods.  Also, note how leaven and honey are additives.  God does not want additives.  He wants us pure as we are.

Salt represented this purity.  It preserves just as is.  It was also costly.  We will see salt again in Numbers.

Leviticus 3:  The fat is considered to be the best portion of the animal.  Hence, it was the part of the animal burned and offered to God.

“The entire fat tail closest to the backbone” is where the best meat of the animal lies.

The fat (our best) and the blood (our life) belonged to God.

Scholars say the eating of fat and blood was prohibited to keep the Israelites healthy and free from disease and parasites.

Leviticus 4:  The sin offering was for those who believed in God and sinned.  It wasn’t for those whose hearts were hard and didn’t care if they sinned or not.  It was for God’s people who were truly sorry, repented, and needed cleansing.

Note the priest had to atone for his sin with the same sacrifice as that of the whole community (verses 13-14).  This shows the priests were held to a higher standard and also was a forerunner of what Christ would do for us.

Note with the sin offering none could be kept unless it was for the priest from another individual. Hence, you couldn’t bring the offering because you wanted some of the meat.  It was fully to atone for sins and be right with the Lord.

The only difference between the offering for the ruler and the people was the ruler’s offering had to be male.

Leviticus 5:  God obligated anyone who knew the truth to tell it.  All were responsible for keeping each accountable to His laws.

Confession of guilt and making amends still applies today.  Ignorance is no excuse for sinning.  It is your responsibility to know the laws (just like today) and follow them.  Otherwise, face the consequences.

Leviticus 6:  Sinning against a neighbor required restitution as well.  Get right with God and others.  Commit a crime against someone else and you committed it against God as well.  But God promises all sin will be covered here no matter what it is.

The burnt offering burned for a long time on the altar.  Priests could have a portion of the grain offering and the sin offering if it wasn’t for the whole community.

Leviticus 7:  Peace or fellowship offerings were voluntary as a way to be closer with God.  The meat did have to be eaten within three days.  To eat of it the person had to be clean–to be with God, you must be clean.

Interesting facts:  Why don’t the Jews then make sacrifices still today?  They substitute good works instead of sacrifices and believe this is sufficient to be right with God.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 14, Day 3: Matthew 13:44-46

Summary of passage:  Jesus told a parable comparing the kingdom of heaven to treasure hidden in a field and that once found man will sell everything to have heaven.  He also compared heaven to a merchant who sold everything he had to buy heaven.

Questions:

5a)  The treasure is God and having knowledge and wisdom of God/Jesus.  A man will sell everything he has to know God.

b)  We, humans, are God’s treasure.  So this interpretations would be God gave up everything He had/valued (namely Jesus) for us, his treasure.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I like a better because we need God; God doesn’t need us.  It’s God-centric and not man-centric.  Part b is man’s ego coming out.   Not that it’s not true (it is) but it’s just a bit egotistical and I believe Jesus meant more us giving it all up for God.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That we love God so much we should be willing to give up everything for Him and vice versa.  It’s encouraging to think that we are God’s treasure especially when we feel no more useful than dirt.

6a)  Jesus Christ or believers

b)  Jesus Christ or believers

c)  Giving up everything to follow Jesus or God sacrificing Jesus for us

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I don’t think I have any new understanding.  It merely re-inforces the idea of how precious we are to God and how God should be equally as precious to us.  How sacrifice is the ultimate form of love in action.  How we are God’s most treasured possession and how He is the same for us.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I think he wanted the double meaning of God’s love for us and our love for Him.  Plus, the message is simple so Jesus might have thought we didn’t need it interpreted and that once we had Jesus we would understand it.  Furthermore, Jesus told these before he had died on the cross so the meaning wouldn’t have been totally clear until afterwards and explaining it to his disciples who were in denial about Jesus dying would have been fruitless.  He knew we’d get it in the end.

Conclusions:  I like the treasure parables since mankind in general is very materialistic in nature, it speaks to his desire for Jesus as a treasure and God’s desire for us.  It’s a good analogy.  More straight-forward than yesterday’s.

Parable of the Hidden Treasure:  Scholars say the field represents the world and that the man is Jesus who gave all to buy us back for God.  The reason the man bought the field first is because whatever was found in the land in ancient times belonged to the owner of the land no matter who found it, which I believe is the same today on private property at least.  The treasure is us so Jesus gave up everything to buy us.

Parable of the Pearl:  Again, Jesus is the merchant and we are the pearls that Jesus sold everything to buy.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 14, Day 3: Genesis 15:1-11

Summary of passage:  Abram received the word of the Lord in a vision:  Do not be afraid for I am your shield and your very great reward.

Abram questions God as to where is this promised heir.  God assures Abram he will have a son from his own body and his offspring will be as numerous as the stars in the heavens. God also reiterates to Abram that He brought him from Ur to give him this land.

Again, Abram questions God, asking for reassurances of this promise.  God tells Abram to bring him a heifer, goat, ram, dove, and a pigeon.  Abram cut these in half (except the birds).  As Abram awaits God’s arrival, birds of prey come to feed on the carcasses so Abram drives them away.

Questions:

5a)  In 12:7 the Lord tells Abram He will give this land to Abram’s offspring.  In 15:2-3, Abram asks God where is this promised offspring because without one his servant will be his heir.

b)  God clarifies to Abram that indeed he will have an heir from his own body and tells Abram that one day his offspring will be as numerous as the stars.  God reiterates again that He is the Lord who will give this land to Abram. (Don’t you just want to hit Abram over the head here?  God probably does!)

6)  That Abram knew (and rejoiced) that Jesus would come, that this day (the day Jesus is walking the earth) would come, and Jesus would be the promised Messiah.  And Abraham was glad!  This shows that Abram had faith in God’s words and believed in the promised Messiah!

7a)  Righteousness is by faith alone–always has been and always will be.  If you believe the Lord and believe in Him you are righteous.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Faith is believing in what you cannot see and righteousness is being right with God through faith in Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross.  In believing Jesus is your Savior, you are wiped clean of sin and only when we are free of sin can we be with God and stand before Him–hence, we are “righteous” or right before Him.

c)  He finally believed he would have a son when God told him (again) and he finally believed his descendants would possess the land as God made a covenant (again) with him.

Some might say Abram made a covenant with the Lord when he cut the animals and God passed between them.  I would say no because in verse 18 we are told “the Lord made a covenant with Abram”.  Abram didn’t do anything but receive.  It’s a covenant God made alone with man out of His infinite love and grace for us piddly humans.  God even told Abram to go and get the animals.  It wasn’t even Abram’s idea!

Hence Abram didn’t “do” anything with regards to this covenant to prove his faith.  He merely received.

Conclusions:  This shows that even Abram, a man scholars would argue is the epitome of faith in the Bible, needed reassurance and signs from God in his life.  This applies to us as well.  God helps us even when we don’t know it.  He is there always even when we push Him away.  He picks us up and gives us a push in the right direction (His, NOT ours).

This also shows that it’s okay to question God.  For we, as humans, cannot understand Him and His ways.  It’s okay to ask Him for more clarification, for a sign, for confirmation, for direction, and for help.  Abram wasn’t for sure if the promised seed would be natural born or an adoptee so he asked God for clarification.  Abram wasn’t sure if he would possess the Promised Land and God told him he wouldn’t but his descendants would.

Throughout the Bible, prophets and others have questioned God and He has always answered.

He still answers.  And all we must do is have faith He will.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 14, Day 3: Acts 16:11-40

Summary of passage:  In Philippi, a Roman colony in Greece, Paul and the gang met with a group of women on the Sabbath outside the city (this tells us there was not a synagogue there at this time).  Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, was converted and baptized along with others and invited them to stay at her home.

A demon-possessed slave girl began to follow the group around until Paul was so troubled he commanded the spirit out of her.  The girl’s owners who no longer could make money off of her, seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the magistrates, accusing them of violating Roman customs.  They were stripped, beaten, and thrown in jail.

In jail, whilst singing, an earthquake happened that threw open the prison doors.  The jailer was distraught; but seeing the miracle he and his family became converts and were baptized.

Paul and Silas were then released.  However, Paul announced his Roman citizenship, striking fear in the magistrates, who then tried to appease them.  The group said good-bye to Lydia and the other converts, offering encouragement, and left.

Questions:

7)  Women who had gathered at the place of prayer.  They accepted Jesus as their savior and were baptized in his name.

8a)  They were preaching the word of God when a slave girl who could predict the future began following them.  Paul got so fed up he commanded the evil spirit out of the girl.  That got the attention of the slave girls owners, who dragged Paul and Silas before the magistrates, accusing them of advocating unlawful practices for Romans.  They were stripped and beaten and thrown into jail.

Paul and Silas began singing prayers and an earthquake threw the doors of the prison open.  The jailer and his family was then converted, baptized and saved by Paul and Silas and they were eventually set free.

b)  The jailer and his family were saved for eternity.  Lydia and the other women were saved as well.  Lydia was the first European convert to Christianity so the seed was planted which would spread to convert thousands more.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s hard to say.  I just don’t know if I’ve touched anyone to be honest outside of my family circle.  Definitely nothing as dramatic as Paul’s experiences.

10)  As a Roman citizen, you were afforded many rights.  You were at the top of the caste system so to speak.  Paul wanted the magistrates to know who they were dealing with.  As Roman citizens both Paul and Silas were treated inexcusably.  There could have been repercussions on the magistrates of Philippi for their actions.  By Paul revealing himself the magistrates probably were fearful and would be sure not to cause them trouble next time they were in the city.

This also afforded them the time to meet again with their converts (Lydia and company) without being thrown out of the town.

Conclusions:  Great example of the hardships of converting in the early church and what we should be thankful for.  Also, I think converting Lydia and a group of women helped to put women on equal footing with men, showing them that women are just as important in God’s eyes as men are.  Every soul counts.

Philippi was a Roman province full of Gentiles and not many Jews as indicated by no synagogue.  Philippi was named after Philip, King of Macedonia, Alexander the Great’s father, when he conquered the city when it was a part of the Greek city-state of Thrace in 358 BC.  (I didn’t know this and found it interesting!  I like knowing where the names of things come from.)

End Note:  Map of Journey from yesterday:  http://www.apostlepaulthefilm.com/paul/journey_02.htm