BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 15, Day 5: Romans 8:35-39

[Last Lesson Before the New Year!  Lesson 16 will be posted the week of January 8th, 2018]

Summary of passage:  Paul says nothing can separate us from the love of God that shines forth in Christ Jesus.  Not trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword.  Not death, life, angels, demons, time, any powers, height or depth.  In all these things we are conquerors with Christ.

Questions:

11)  To encourage us and strengthen us.  He uses a well-known verse that’s pretty dismal and despairing to tell others that Christ now allows us to overcome all evil.

12a)  All are troubles that Christ overcomes and we do as well through Christ.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Knowing God is there during my husband’s job difficulties and in my struggle to find a career path is very comforting.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  There’s way too many things that I get angry about or impatient with to list from my kids to other drivers on the road to standing in line to stupid, dopey emails.  I’ve learned a few years ago not to pay much attention to world events or worry over it cause all of that is out of my control.   Nothing can separate us from the love of God that shines forth in Christ Jesus.  Not trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword.  Not death, life, angels, demons, time, any powers, height or depth.  In all these things we are conquerors with Christ.

Conclusions:   So much more here that BSF missed in lieu of personal questions.

End Notes:  Paul’s list is to tell us that no matter what our sufferings are (persecution, famine, etc) we’ll never be separated from the love of God, which makes us conquerors, and suffering actually carries us along toward our ultimate goal:  union with God.

Nakedness meant a lack of clothes, which was a common concern in ancient times.

Sword implies execution. It is the only item on the list that Paul had not yet personally experienced (1 Corinthians 4:1115:30).

Paul’s second list is to emphasize that nothing good or evil can separate us from the love of God.

Conclusions half-way through BSF’s Study of Romans:  This lesson in particular took less time than any other so far this year.  Three weeks on Chapter 8 of Romans was too many.  Over half of the questions these days are personal ones.  Even the notes are dumbed down.  It’s very monotonous and frustrating.  Read my end notes for the lessons where I dive into the passage more.  I encourage you to use BSF as a springboard to do your own study if you are finishing days and weeks and asking yourself if you got anything out of it or not.  BSF is what it is now:  personal, friendly, and superficial.  If you want more, strive for more just like anything in life.  Don’t expect someone else (including BSF) to do it for you.  Let’s see what the next 15 weeks hold!

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 14, Day 5: Romans 8:26-27

Summary of passage:  The Holy Spirit helps us and intercedes for us on this side of heaven.

Questions:

11) Part personal Question.  My answer:

Romans 8:26-27:  The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness, intercedes for us, and guides us in prayer.

Luke 12:12:  The Holy Spirit teaches you what to say.

Acts 1:8:  The Holy Spirit brings you power and is a witness.

Acts 16:6-10; 20:22: The Holy Spirit protects you in various ways such as guiding your path and in some cases preventing you from going places and re-directing you such as in this case with Paul who was prevented from speaking in Asia (probably because it was too dangerous).  The Spirit also compels you to go places as well and warns you of dangers and hardships (Read Acts 20:23) and in Paul’s case, prison.

Ephesians 4:3-4:  Be peaceful with others (especially believers) as you all all one like God the Father.

Ephesians 6:17:  The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit (so a weapon) to defend against evil upon you.

1 Corinthians 2:12:  The Spirit imparts God’s wisdom and discernment and knowledge so that we may understand what God has freely given us as well as God’s character, Jesus, the Bible, and all things God desires us to know.

In my life, the Holy Spirit is omnipresent to guide me, protect me, move me from wrongs and nudge me to rights, and comfort me in my daily life.  The Holy Spirit offers me understanding and discernment when I pray and events happen in my life.  The Holy Spirit is power against the devil and strength and fortitude and perseverance.  The Holy Spirit is God within.  How amazing!

12a)  The key here is the definition of “intercede” which is according to Webster’s Dictionary “to intervene between parties with a view to reconciling differences; mediate.”  Intercession (the noun form of intercede) means “the act of pleading on behalf of someone else.”  God sent the Spirit to plead on behalf of us to Him.  Or God Himself (who is the Holy Spirit) helps by making intercession for us.  The Holy Spirit searches our hearts and guides our prayers according to God’s will.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus and anyone who prays for you:  pastor, friends, family, strangers, etc.  I pray chiefly for family, self, friends, kids, neighbors, and strangers and all who are lost and broken and need Jesus.

Conclusions:  Good lesson on the importance of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives, what the Spirit does for us and its importance, and how we really couldn’t function without it.  I pray quite often when I don’t know what to pray for this:  “God you know what I need, the needs of those around me, and others, please do your Will because I don’t know it.”

End Notes:  “In the same way” connects verses 25 and 26.  As hope sustains believers when they suffer, so the Holy Spirit helps them when they pray.

Verse 23 we saw us groaning.  Here it is the Holy Spirit.

Groans with words that cannot express:  This help from the Spirit may include praying with the spiritual gift of tongues (1 Corinthians 14:214-15), but it is certainly not limited to praying in an unknown language.  Paul could mean unspoken words as well.

The idea is simply of communication beyond our ability to express. The deep groanings within us cannot be articulated apart from the interceding work of the Holy Spirit.

This, of course, is the purpose of the gift of tongues – to enable us to communicate with God in a manner that is not limited to our own knowledge or ability to articulate our heart before God. The purpose of tongues is not to prove that we are “filled with the Spirit” or to prove that we are especially spiritual.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 15, Day 5: John 11:45-57

Summary of passage:  As usual, some believed in Jesus after Lazarus was raised from the dead and some didn’t.  The Sanhedrin met and were threatened by Jesus’ rise.  They would lose power and the Romans would take over.  Caiaphas, the high priest, said it is better for Jesus to die than lose the nation to Roman control.  They plotted against Jesus who moved to the desert near Ephraim with the disciples.  The next Passover came and Jesus did not appear since he would be arrested immediately if he did so (and likely put to death).

Questions:

12)  Some believed; others were threatened by him.

13a)  “What are we accomplishing?”  “The Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”  “It is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

b)  Part personal question.  My answer:  Not to lose power.  Political survival.  Be careful not to oppose God when you’re single-minded about power and driven by greed.

14)  Part personal question.  My answer:  The significance is Caiaphas took this as a literal death to save the nation of Israel whereas Jesus did this spiritually:  he died for the nation to save their souls not their lives and gather all God’s people (Jews and Gentiles) as one to Jesus.  God is good.

Conclusions:  I can’t imagine Jesus enjoying this time on earth where he has to constantly hide from the Pharisees instead of ministering to the people.  It’s a good lesson for us.  There are times in our lives when we just have to do the grunt work and times in our lives that aren’t pleasant but we must endure like Jesus.  I think a lot of people picture Jesus just doing his miracles and then dying.  They forget the day-in and day-out living that he did like we all do to get to God’s purpose.

End Notes:  The people are divided and some went to the Pharisees.  John either learned of what transpired during this meeting through Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathaea or someone who was on the council and then converted to Christianity.

Now the Sanhedrin admit he is performing miracles and is the Messiah.  So now Jesus is a threat to them and he must be stopped.

In all four Gospels, the Pharisees appear as Jesus’ principal opponents throughout his public ministry. But they lacked political power, and it is the chief priests who were prominent in the events that led to Jesus’ crucifixion.  Here both groups are associated in a meeting of the Sanhedrin.  They did not deny the reality of the miraculous signs but they did not understand their meaning, for they failed to believe.

People probably imagine the “what if” again.  What if Jesus had lived?  Would everyone believe?  Maybe.  But then we wouldn’t be saved.  There is no “what if” ing God and His will.  What happens to you is for a reason.  Period.  Move on. Don’t dwell on “what if’s” because they will never be.  You can lament them.  But you can’t change them.

“Our place” refers to the temple.  It had become an idol to the Sanhedrin, thinking of it as theirs.  It’s God. Always.

Little did the Sanhedrin know that history would take its course and the Jews would love “our place” anyways in 70 AD when the Romans did invade Jerusalem, scattering the nation, and eradicating the nation of Israel for almost 2000 years.  And this had nothing to do with Jesus.

Caiaphas was logical but not moral.  He was willing to kill an innocent man to save many.

Caiaphas was high priest for 11 years.  “That year” is to draw emphasis to the year Jesus died. God overruled what he said here.  His words were true in a way he could not imagine.

Now, the high officials are joining with the lesser officials to kill Jesus.  Lazarus’ raising was the last straw to them.

Jesus retreats again because his time had not yet come.  He was not afraid.

Now, we are about to speed up history and Jesus’ days are numbered.  John jumps to a few days before Jesus’ last Passover.  The chief priests are the Sadducees and they were often in opposition to the Sanhedrin.  Not when it came to Jesus.  Both were united against him.

Note of location of Ephraim:  Ephraim was one of the original tribes of Israel but Jesus retreated to the town of Ephraim.  Unfortunately, no one knows exactly where that is and I couldn’t find any maps.  One could suppose it was located somewhere within this region.  Map HERE

Who was Caiaphas?  He was the official high priest during the ministry and the trial of Jesus (18-36 AD). By this point in history, the high priesthood had evolved into a political office, the priests still coming from the descendants of Aaron but being generally appointed for worldly considerations.  When Pompey gained control of Judea in 63 BC, the Romans took over the authority of appointing not only the civil rulers but the high priests also, with the result that the office declined spiritually.  Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, had been high priest by appointed of the Romans from 7-14 AD.  In-between, three of his sons had succeeded him but Annas was still considered a high priest.

We shall see after Jesus’ betrayal, it was the house of Annas where he was brought and tried.  Caiaphas then took a leading role in the persecution of the early church.  Summarized from Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary by Douglas and Tenney.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 15, Day 5: Revelation 11:15-19

Summary of passage:  The seventh and final trumpet is sounded, signaling the beginning of Christ’s reign over earth forever. The 24 elders fell face down and worshiped God, praising Him for His judgments and rewards.  Again, as we’ve seen with God’s judgments, lightning, rumblings, thunder, earthquakes, and hail appears.

Questions:

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The elders bowed down and worshiped God.  I respond the same.

12)  Nations, the dead, and those still living will be judged.  Saints, those who reverence your name, and believers will be rewarded.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s given me a more eternal outlook and made me more aware of God’s plans.  It has given me hope as I know He has a plan for my life in His timing.  I’ve been able to let go of worry over the world and let God handle it.  I’ve become more focused on my immediate world and not the greater world.

Conclusions:  This is the half-way point of our study; hence, question 13.  See End Notes for explanations of symbols in this passage.

End Notes:  With the 7th trumpet, the final days are ushered in (Revelation 10:7).  What happens next will happen during the Great Tribulation, the last 3 1/2 years before Jesus reigns forever on earth.  The angel in Daniel 12:7 says the same thing. Jerusalem will fall.

The seventh seal brought forth a profound silence (Revelation 8:1); the seventh trumpet initiates joy at the inevitable resolution.

Important:  Note the omission of “the one who is to come”.  Why?  Because now He has come!

The appearance of the ark (made of acacia wood Deut 10:1-2) is a reminder how God is keeping his covenant with His people and fulfilling His promises to us.

Note how the ark of the covenant is seen in heaven, not here on earth.  They are different.  The ark represented God’s presence and favor in the Old Testament. It also represents God’s throne (note HIS covenant, not the).  The ark was lost when the Babylonians invaded in 586 BC probably destroyed when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple (2 Kings 25:8-10).  God never again dwelled physically with His people despite the temple having been rebuilt in 516 BC and expanded upon by Herod at beginning of the first century.

Instead we were given the Holy Spirit to be with us everywhere we go.

Again, lightning, rumblings, thunder, earthquakes, and hail signify God’s impending judgments on the world and His presence.  In Revelation, it always marks an important event  connected with the heavenly temple.  We saw this at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:16-19).

Conclusions to Revelation 11:  1)  We see God’s people proclaiming Him and are thus rewarded.  2)  We see God will judge His enemies.

Conclusions to Lesson 15:  If you want a more in-depth analysis of the book of Revelation, you’re gonna have to read the commentaries.  BSF seems to be avoiding asking questions that don’t have definite answers.  Heavy emphasis on personal response, being encouraged, and your thoughts and emotions from our study (there were 4 1/2 questions in this lesson alone).  Much less emphasis on understanding the symbols and the details in what exactly will happen in the Final Days.

Side Note:  Why didn’t we read Daniel 12 (which is incredibly short) when we read passages from Daniel in Lesson 8?  As our study goes further into Revelation, I’m reading more and more connections with Daniel 12.  Considering the sub-heading in my Bible of Daniel 12 is “The End Times”, I would have thought we’d read this if we were going to leave the book of Revelation which BSF has chosen to do.  Any ideas?

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 15, Day 5: Leviticus 10:8-20

Summary of passage:  God told Aaron after he was ordained to not drink before going into the tabernacle for you must be lucid in order to distinguish between the clean and unclean and teach all the Israelites the decrees.  Moses tells Aaron what he can and cannot eat of the offerings.  Moses gets angry at Aaron’s sons for not eating their portion of the sin offering, but Aaron explains that they used it for their sin offering to the Lord.

Questions:

10a)  Alcohol clouds the mind and leads people to do things they wouldn’t do if they were lucid. Ephesians says it leads to debauchery (excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures) and Romans says God is about righteousness and not revelry.  Furthermore, it clouds the judgement and part of the priests job was to determine what was clean and unclean, holy and common, and be able to teach others the decrees.  One cannot do this if they are impaired.

b)  Acts says you will be witnesses for God and Ephesians says you will speak to one another with psalms and songs and sing and make music to the Lord and be always grateful to Him for everything.  We are wholly His.

11a)  They are to take the leftovers that the Lord does not command for Himself for themselves.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Tithing.  Doing things for my spiritual mentors that demonstrate my appreciation.  Praying.  Lending a helping hand when needed.

12a)  Because Aaron was in mourning for the death of his sons, Nadab and Abihu.

b)  Hezekiah says that even if the rules are not followed to a T, may the Lord pardon the people for their hearts are pure and seeking Him and the Lord did.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To each his own.  We all have a different way of worshipping the Lord and as long as our hearts are pure, God accepts it and us.  Be open to all forms of worship for the Lord is and do not pass judgment on differences which the Lord gave each and every one of us in His infinite wisdom.  He loves it and so should we!

Conclusions:  I liked this lesson.  The wisdom of not drinking to have a clear mind.  The reminder that God accepts all and so should we.  The importance of a pure heart for Him.  Good stuff!

The only confusion was question 12 for Leviticus is not very clear here.  Aaron and his sons committed a sin by not eating the sin offering because it went directly against God’s commands.  The question was asked to the sons but Aaron answered, leading us to believe it was under Aaron’s direction that they didn’t eat the sin offering.  Aaron says he is in mourning for his other sons, which Moses accepts as a reasonable explanation. The Chronicles passage highlights God’s forgiveness since the heart is right.  The personal question of c merges parts a and b.  Aaron was worshipping the Lord in performing the sin offering, but he did it his way out of his grief.

End Notes:  Being on the heels of God’s judgment of Nadab and Abihu, this leads us to believe they may have been drunk when they offered up unauthorized fire to the Lord.  Alcohol is a depressant, a substance that alters the mind.  God wants all of us, especially when worshipping Him.

Verses 16-20 were confusing for me.  Basically, Aaron and his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, didn’t eat the sin offering that they were supposed to eat.  They normally eat it as their portion.  Here, Aaron explains to Moses that he was in mourning over the death of his others sons, Nadab and Abihu, which was allowed.  Moses was satisfied with this answer.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 15, Day 5: Matthew 14:22-36; Mark 6:45-56; John 6:14-21

Summary of passages:  Matthew 14:22-36:  After feeding the 5000, Jesus made the disciples go ahead of him in a boat while he dismissed the crowds.  Then he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.  The boat was a distance away from shore so Jesus walked on the water to get to the boat.  The disciples thought Jesus a ghost and were afraid.  Peter decides to ask the ghost to allow him to walk on water if the ghost is really Jesus.  So Peter does.  But Peter becomes afraid, loses faith, and starts sinking.  Jesus then grabs him and reprimands him for his lack of faith.

Then the disciples worshipped Jesus and declared him the Son of God.  They reached Gennesaret on the other side of the Sea of Galilee where the people recognized Jesus and brought him their sick, which he healed.

Mark 6:45-56:  Mark reveals that the disciples were straining against the oars so Jesus was about to walk by them when they were all terrified.  Jesus told them to not be afraid and he climbed in their boat.  They were amazed for they had not understood about the loaves and had hardened hearts.  All throughout the region people came and the sick were healed.

John 6:14-21: After Jesus performed the miracle of feeding 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, the people began to believe this was the Prophet sent to save them.  Thus, Jesus retreated to a mountaintop by himself so the people would not make him king.

That evening the disciples went off the mountain and set off across the lake for Capernaum.  It was dark and Jesus was still on the mountaintop.  The sea was rough and they weren’t making any progress towards shore.  Soon, they saw Jesus approach by walking on water and they were afraid.  But the disciples took Jesus in and immediately they landed on shore.

Questions:

12a)  Unsure what BSF means by “in the will of God”.  The answer is yes because we are all in the will of God no matter if we are believers or not.  God is in control of everything and everything happens due to his will to allow it to happen.  Verses referring to the storm:  Matthew 14:24, 32; Mark 6:48, 50; John 6:18, 21)

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I didn’t “learn” anything but I am reminded that God is in control; He sends storms be it sudden or not into our lives for a reason and He is there to rescue us and end the storms in our lives.  All storms pass and your storm will as well.

13a)  Peter had faith enough in Jesus to jump out onto a lake in the middle of a storm and walk on water

b)  Peter had faith until the storm got too intense and when his faith wavered he began to sink.

c)  Jesus rescues Peter despite his unbelief but then chastises him for his unbelief in the hope he will be strengthened.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s a reminder that God is always there in our troubles, right beside us, and He will rescue us at the moment we begin to drown even if our faith wavers.  All storms are temporary and this too shall pass.

14a)  The wind died down

b)  They worshipped Jesus, saying “Truly you are the Son of God.”

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It reminds me of Jesus’ compassion on all his flock.  It reminds me that God is infinite and His love is infinite and I pray every day to live that out to the best of my human ability.  Reading this of Jesus walking on water does not change my life; but God does.  With every breath I breathe, He works in and through me.  And that is life-altering.

Conclusions:  This is one of those lessons I did not enjoy because not everything I read in the Bible is life-changing in that instant or ever.  It may also not be manifest to the point I even realize it is life-altering.  It may just be a soaking up of God that adds to my reservoir of knowledge of God and my appreciation and love of Him.  I already know God is there for me.  I already know my storms will pass.  I already know who my rescuer and savior is.  Jesus’ walking on water does not “change my life”; it only adds to my life, making it more fuller and giving me a better picture of Jesus, who he is/was, and a deeper love of him.  Disappointing.

I complained yesterday about not reading John so I was eagerly looking forward to analyzing the John passage here.  Once again, disappointed for no questions even address John and the differences between the passages. I would have liked to know why they are so drastically different and why the towns are different, etc.  Why have us read John if no questions are asked on the passage?

Consequences of too many expectations, I guess.

End Notes:  The Prophet the people are referring to is found in Deuteronomy (18:15) where Moses is speaking.

Mark 6:48 has Jesus keeping his eyes on his disciples the entire time.  We are never out of God’s sight.

The disciples have been rowing for hours and still have only made it about half-way across the lake because of the storm (John 6:19).  I think this is why Jesus decides to help.  The wind is too strong.  The same in our lives. Jesus and God help when the winds become unbearable for us to bear.  Note also rowing is not easy.  Our lives are not easy and they are not meant to be easy.  Doing God’s work is hard for that tests us and grows us.  As believers, we should not expect the easy road.

God’s timing is perfect.  He appears at the precise moment we need comfort and reassurance, affirmation and just plain companionship.  He walks by our side all the days of our lives, through the calm and the storms, lifting us up and setting us down, encouraging us every step of the way, guiding us if we mis-step and re-directing us, as we do His work here on earth.

Jesus performs miracles for our benefit, not for His glory as we see vividly when he turns down the crown (John 6:15).  It is all for us.  Imagine how much greater our lives would be if we truly believed that in our heart of hearts.

Merry Christmas!!

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 15, Day 5: Genesis 17:9-27

Summary of passage:  God tells Abram and his descendants to keep his covenant and the covenant of circumcision as a sign of the covenant.  Every male that is 8 days old must be circumcised including foreigners and adopted.  This is to be an everlasting covenant. Any male who is not circumcised will be cut off from his people.

God renames Sarai “Sarah” and says he will bless her with a son and she will be the mother of nations and kings will come from her.  Abraham laughed (who would laugh at God?  Don’t think God appreciated this) and questioned God (again) since he and Sarah are so old.

God calls the son Isaac, meaning ‘he laughs’ and says He will establish His covenant with Isaac.  And He will bless Ishmael as well who will be the father of 12 rulers and will be a great nation.

But Sarah will have a child by this time next year.  Then God left.

Abraham circumcised all the males in his household, including himself who was 99 and Ishmael who was 13.

Questions:

11)  Deuteronomy 30:6:  God will circumcise our hearts so that we may love him with all our heart and soul and live.

Ezekiel 44:7:  People who are uncircumcised in heart and flesh desecrate God’s temple.

Romans 2:28-29:  Paul explains that what matters is the heart.  Circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, and not by laws.

12a)  You are circumcised when you accept with faith in Jesus and accept what he did on the cross for our sins.  For Christ took our sinful nature to the grave for us and we were raised anew with Jesus though our faith in the power of God.  We are now alive with Christ and free.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To fully trust in God and give Him the control over my life.  To listen more and truly hear Him when He speaks.  To quit holding things back from Him.  Attribute:  Faith.

13)  Verse 21 “…by this time next year.”  Abraham circumcised all males in his household as God had commanded.

Conclusions:  Admittedly, I didn’t even read the passage until question 13 where we were asked about the passage.

Faith made you part of the covenant but circumcision was an outward sign of this covenant and if you rejected it, you rejected the covenant.  Cutting away of the flesh reminds those that they should put no trust in the flesh.  Baptism is the same thing: an outward sign that your heart belongs to Jesus.

Rejecting both is not necessarily rejecting God for all we need is faith.  But when we truly believe, our actions reflect our beliefs.

Sarai means “my lady or my princess.”  Sarah means “a lady or princess” so now she is princess to the world.

Incredible that in Chapter 18 we see Sarah laughing as well at God and then she denies it! Good thing God is so merciful and gracious not to get angry about this lack of faith and stuck to His plan!

Interesting to ponder:  God blessed Ishmael because Abraham asked him to and Abraham asked him to because Abraham didn’t have faith enough to believe there would be another child.  I wonder how the world would be different today if Abraham hadn’t of asked God to bless Ishmael.

We as men have no idea how much our decisions and consequences of those decisions can affect others, do we?  Great lesson here for us all.