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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 16, Day 2: Matthew 15:1-9 With Mark’s Parallel Account in Mark 7:1-13


The Pharisees and teachers of the law come to Jesus and ask him why his disciples break the Old Testatment law of washing their hands before they eat. Jesus countered, asking them why they break the command of God for the sake of their traditions. He uses an example of honoring your mother and father. He calls them hypocrites and tells them Isaiah was right when he prophesied about them, saying their hearts are not God’s and they worship in vain as their rules are taught by men.


The Pharisees and the teachers of the law came from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They say the disciples were eating food with “unclean” or unwashed hands. Jewish people ceremonially wash their hands before they eat in the tradition of their elders. They asked Jesus why the disciples weren’t following the tradition of the elders.

Jesus replies that Isaiah was right in saying that they do not follow God, but instead follow the traditions of man. Jesus points out they make their own rules, setting aside God’s law, saying they teach that they don’t need to help their father and mother if they’ve received help elsewhere.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 16, Day 2: Matthew 15:1-9 With Mark’s Parallel Account in Mark 7:1-13

3a) The Pharisees ask Jesus why his disciples break the Old Testatment law of washing their hands before they eat and eat with unclean hands.

b) Jesus answered their question by pointing out how they have given up following God’s law for the sake of following their traditions instead.

4) Exodus 20:12: Honor your father and mother.

Mark 7:11-13: The Pharisees apparently don’t honor their father and mother

Ephesians 6:1-3: Honor your father and mother and obey them.

He exposed how the Pharisees did not promote honoring your father and mother.

5a) Jesus’s primary message to the Pharisees and teachers was that they set aside God’s law for their own law, putting themselves above God.

b) Good question. I try not to be a hypocrite, but I know I am in some respects. I can be very selfish, but I admit when I am. I try to do what is right and good in all respects.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 16, Day 2: Matthew 15:1-9 With Mark’s Parallel Account in Mark 7:1-13

I love how Jesus just doesn’t even bother to answer the Pharisees directly because their question is so trivial. In the grand scheme of things, who cares about washing your hands? Jesus came to wash hearts with God, not hands.

Great read if you are struggling!

End Notes BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 16, Day 2: Matthew 15:1-9 With Mark’s Parallel Account in Mark 7:1-13

Matthew 15:1-9

We see the Pharisees travel all the way from Jerusalem (about 70 miles) to Galilee in order to check out Jesus.

The Pharisees admit this is a tradition, not a law. So why bother asking? It’s trivial when compared to Jesus’s work.

The teachers of the law were condemning people for not following tradition, not the law. Over the years, the religious leaders had extended God’s law to many rituals that were meant for show and that they used to leverage their power. However, these rituals only blocked people them from God essentially.

Honor your mother and father speaks to helping them when they are in need. Apparently, by declaring resources dedicated to God, you could withhold them from your parents.

Jesus quotes Isaiah who points out that you can outwardly be close to God, but inwardly be far away.

Mark 7:1-13

It is plain from the Pharisees that they are just out to get Jesus and trap him. They truly don’t care about the good he is doing for others. They used their traditions to try to trap Jesus instead of God’s word.

In Old Testament times, there was the written law and the oral law. The oral law was the interpretation of the written law, and many put the oral law above the written law.

The washing of hands before eating was taken very seriously by most Jews, and it was a very elaborate ceremony. They would pour water over their hands and cleanse the palm. They believed unclean food was like eating excrement. The Pharisees were concerned about losing power, and nothing else.

Note how many traditions seem good, but in the end, turn bad.

Uncleanliness is not the food itself, but the disobeying of God instead.

The Pharisees were too concerned with the trivial, which is why Jesus labels them hypocrites. This kept people from drawing near to God.

They were putting their word equal with God’s and promoting it as God’s.

If possessions were labeled as dedicated to God (Corban), they could not be used for any other matter, including helping your parents.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 2: Genesis 25:1-18

Summary of Genesis 25:1-18:

Abraham took another wife named Keturah and had more kids. He left everything he owned to Isaac but gave gifts to his other sons and sent them away to the land of the east. Abraham lived 175 years and was buried with Sarah in the cave he bought from the Hittites by Isaac and Ishmael. God blessed Isaac who settled near Beer Lahai Roi.

Ishmael had 12 sons who became 12 tribal rulers. He lived to be 137 years old. His descendants settled near Egypt from Havilah to Shur as you go towards Asshur. They lived in hostility towards their brothers.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 2: Genesis 25:1-18

3) Abraham sent all of his other sons away from Isaac, making it clear who would inherit his lands. He gave gifts to the rest of his sons.

4) God blessed his son Isaac. God told Abraham in Genesis 15:15 that he would go to his fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. Genesis 21:11-13 says God will make Isaac into a nation. Genesis 24:7 says that a wife will be got for Isaac so that he can have sons and his descendents will inherit the land.

5) Personal Question. My answer: I learn that God keeps His promises no matter how much we sin or mess up. That God is faithful and repeats His promises to us. That God is good. And that despite our failures, His plans never alter.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 2: Genesis 25:1-18

I was surprised to see Abraham marry again. I don’t remember this the last time I read Genesis. It seems like his other kids are told to go away, which is why I’m wondering why even marry again, knowing Isaac is the promised one beside for companionship. It just seems terrible to be Abraham’s other sons, second always to God’s promised one.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 2: Genesis 25:1-18

In total, Abraham had 8 sons, and it’s very easy to forget this since the six by his second wife, Keturah, are hardly mentioned. However, these sons would from tribes of their own, perhaps the most famous in the Bible being the Midianites from Midian.

Some scholars use this passage to say it was Sarah that was the one with fertility problems. I disagree. God can open and close wombs as He chooses. His plan was to test Abraham and Sarah’s faith so He closed Sarah’s womb, not anything else.

We see God’s work be passed on from generation to generation as we read about Abraham’s death.

Fun Fact: Abraham is mentioned 70 times by the writers of the New Testament, the most out of any other OT person except Moses.

Fun Fact: We see here for the first time “breathed his last” to refer to death and “gathered to his people” to mean joining loved ones in heaven

We see that Ishmael continued to receive God’s blessing as well. The Old Testament usually lists the non-messianic line first and then the messianic line last, which we see here in Ishmael’s listing.

Beer Lahai Roi in the Bible: Click HERE

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BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 16, Day 2: Genesis 18:1-15

Summary of passage:  The Lord appeared to Abraham among three visitors one day while Abraham was resting in the heat of the day.  When Abraham saw these men, he hurried to greet them and bowed low, knowing one was God for he says, “my lord” while addressing them.

Abraham entreats them to stay and he washes their feet and brings food and drink for their comfort.

They agree to stay.

So Abraham bustles about, hurrying the preparations.  The men ask Abraham where is Sarah.  God Himself tells Abraham (again) that Sarah will have a child this time next year.

Sarah who was eavesdropping laughs (stupid move), believing she is worn out.  God asks Abraham directly, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  Then God says He will return this time next year and Sarah will have a son.

Then Sarah denies she laughed when confronted (again, stupid).  For God knows our hearts.


3)  Verses 10 & 14; Genesis 17:21

4a)  In 19:1, 2 angels appeared to destroy Sodom.  So here I’d say two men were angels and one was the Lord himself.  Verse 18:1 says “appeared” as if out of thin air.  It specifically says “The Lord appeared” so God was one of them.  But it was God in the form of Jesus Christ because John 1:18 & 1 Timothy 6:16 says that no one has ever seen God Himself.

b)  He bowed low to the ground, offered them water and food, and washed their feet.

5a)  She was afraid and Sarah only thought she was too old.  She never spoke the words out loud.  Only God knows our thoughts.

b)  Hebrews says, Yes, Sarah did believe and seems to say she wouldn’t have conceived if she hadn’t.  Perhaps this is why it took so long for her to conceive.  She doubted and she doubted and until finally her heart turned.  God was testing her.

c)  She had to believe that what the Lord said He would do, He would do.  Believe in your heart.

6)  You have to believe nothing is impossible with God.  That He will allow a virgin to conceive (Luke 1:37-8).  That He will make us new as if we were born again once we believe (John 3:4-5).  Jesus explains to his disciples that all things are possible with God, even a camel passing through the eye of a needle and all can have salvation with faith (Mark 10:24-27).  God will allow a 90 year-old woman, Sarah, to conceive for nothing is too hard for the Lord (Genesis 18:14).

Conclusions:  Great lesson for me!  If you have any doubt in your heart, God will not come through.  It seems to me Sarah doubted and doubted and God repeated and repeated until finally she believed. And she was scared to believe.  But she did.  And I bet that very day she conceived.

God holds up His end of the deal.  He says, “Look, it’s this simple:  believe.”  And man says, “Give me a second to think this through.”

God says ok, for He has all the time in the world.  We, on the other hand, only have limited time to accomplish His purposes.

It’s hard for us but not God.  Yet we think it’s God holding us back when it’s really us–due to our unbelief.

Powerful lesson!

End Notes:  God again, less than 3 months later, comes IN PERSON and REPEATS His promise to Abraham.  Why?

1)  God repeats His promises over and over again because dumb man NEEDS to hear it–to strengthen his faith.  Romans 10:17:  “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ”.  Or God Himself in the personage of Christ if you are so lucky to receive such a message.

2)  Some scholars think Abraham and Sarah were not having sex for whatever reason so God needed to reinforce His will personally.  In other words, they did not believe God (they were doubting His word) and were doing nothing to fulfill God’s will for their lives.

Also to note:  God read Sarah’s heart.  Even though she didn’t laugh out loud, God heard her.  God knows our heart as well and we should live as if He hears our every thought.

Even though Sarah and Abraham both laughed at God and His promises, God did not respond in anger nor did He punish their unbelief.  He remained (and remains) faithful to them and to us.  He never abandons us like we do Him.

God never changes despite the whims of man.  He loves us always and forever.

Note in verse 13:  “The Lord said to Abraham”.  God correctly addresses Abraham about his wife’s unbelief and about her reaction for Abraham is the head of the family and is therefore responsible for his wife’s belief (and in this case, unbelief).