BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 18, Day 2: Romans 10:14-15

Summary of passage:  Paul says how awesome are those who spread the Good News so that others may hear and believe.


3)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Someone preaches to others about Christ, they listen, and then they believe and call upon the Lord.  I grew up in the church so my memories are vague.  I’ve always believed in Christ but I’m sure someone had to tell me about the Lord and I listened and then believed and call/called upon Him.

4)  The Good News is that Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead, justifying us before God, and granting us eternal life.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To share the Good News with all through my life and through giving God the credit in my life and through flat-out sharing who Christ is.

Conclusions:  All questions we’ve answered before.

End Notes:  Paul rightly observes that it all goes back to the preaching of the gospel, and preachers must be sent – both by God and the Christian community at large.

God could have chosen any means for the message of salvation to come, such as angelic messengers or directly working without a human preacher.  God’s “normal” way of bringing people to Jesus Christ is through the preaching of the gospel.

The feet speak of activity, motion, and progress, and those who are active and moving in the work of preaching the gospel have beautiful feet.

This is joyful cheer of those who are spreading the Good News.  It should bring us great joy when we spread the Gospel as well!!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 18, Day 2: John 13:31-35

Summary of passage:  Once Judas leaves, Jesus’ death is cemented.  He declares now the Son of Man and God are glorified.  He tells his disciples they cannot go with him.  He commands them to love one another as he has loved them.


3)  He speaks of being glorified by his death and resurrection and the results:  all those who believe in him will go to heaven with the Father.  Many today think if people idolize you or you did something big you will gain fame and fortune.  In reality, no one cares.  All that really matters is the glory we will receive in heaven from knowing and believing in Christ.

4a)  Jesus tells them to love one another as he has loved them.  This is different than love one as you’d love yourself because the love of Jesus is infinitely more.  Also, this is directed to loving the disciples.  We extrapolate this to loving fellow Christians.  Difference is explained in the End Notes.

b)  John 15:9-12:  If you love one another as God and Jesus love you, you will remain in Jesus’ love and have complete joy.

1 John 2:9-11:  If you hate, you live in the darkness and do not know where you are going because you are blinded.  If you love your brother, you live in the light and nothing will make you stumble.

1 John 3:16-18:  Jesus loved us enough to die for us and so must we love others.  We must have pity on those in need.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My immediate family.

Conclusions:  I liked 4b the best.  John’s further explanations of the love of Jesus help to give us concrete ideas to know more what the love of Christ looks like.

End Notes:  The cross in Roman times meant humiliation, condemnation, and death.  Jesus here is pointing out it means glory for him.  By dying, we see the heart of Jesus and his love.  We know him.  By knowing him, he is glorified.

Fun Fact:  Jesus says “glory” 5 times here in 2 verses.

Fun Fact:  This is the only place in the Gospels Jesus calls his disciples “little children” or “my children”.  This is in the sense of how we are all God’s children.

Note how Judas is absent during these most intimate words of Jesus.  These words are for those with God’s heart.

The Greek word for “new” here means freshness.  The command is not new (in fact it’s been around since Moses.  See Leviticus 19:18) as in just invented but is seen in a different, fresh way.

Spurgeon points out the difference between this command and the one in Mark 12:31 BSF had us read:  “We are to love our neighbor as ourselves, but we are to love our fellow-Christians as, Christ loved us, and that is far more than we love ourselves.”

Jesus is defining love from his example, not as we humans often view it.

Jesus said that love is now the distinguishing mark of his disciples and of all of Christ’s followers.  It wasn’t that love for the outside world was not important or relevant, but it wasn’t first. There are other measures of discipleship, but they come after this mark.

Our standard is now Christ’s love for us.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 18, Day 2: Genesis 3; Romans 8:18-22

Summary of passages:  Genesis 3:  The serpent tricks Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit which God had said not to eat from because if they did, they would die.  He tells her she will be like God.  She falls for it, gives some to Adam, committing the first sin in the world.  God comes along, sees his creation hiding from Him, and curses the serpent and man.  She will have pain in childbirth and be under Adam.  He will toil the land and both shall die.

Romans 8:18-22:  Verse 17:  “We share in his (Christ’s) sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”  We wait in eager expectation to be liberated from decay and brought into freedom.


3)  Because we are all sinners and with sin comes suffering.  And because Christ suffered.  Romans 8:17 says we suffer because Christ suffered and so we may have some of Christ’s glory.  Had this question in Lesson 12, Day 4 Question 11a.  Very similar question in Lesson 4, Day 5 Question 15.

4)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We had this question (Lesson 11, Day 2, Question 5).  Bankruptcy.  Depended on Him to bring us through.  He has.  Prayed.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This passage reminds us to look beyond our present circumstances to our future home in heaven where we will be saints with crowns on our heads, forever worshiping God, surrounded by His glory.  Past suffering is for our good.  It strengthens us and increases our faith and makes us more like Christ.  (Excellent post HERE with reasons for suffering.  Very succinct with all the Bible passages).

Conclusions:  Please see the link above.  Guaranteed you’ll find a reason for suffering you’d never thought of before.  Not sure why we needed to read Genesis especially since we spend a week on Genesis 3 in the study of Genesis.  We all know sin entered the world through Adam and Eve.  And Romans was missing Verse 17 which says what verses 18-22 was trying to say in a more understandable way.

End Notes:  Genesis 3 (Taken from my previous study):  Note that God instructed Adam to not partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Then God created Eve. Eve must have been told by Adam but she was not instructed by God. Hence, she was chosen by the serpent to tempt as she was the weaker link. We don’t know what Adam said to Eve but Adam was standing right there. He knew it was wrong. Eve disobeyed God and Adam.

Also, if Adam had been chosen to eat first, Eve might have had an out by saying she was only obeying her husband, the head of the household. Hence, God allowed Eve to be tested first.

Eve doesn’t even seem to know the name of the tree and exactly what God said since she uses the word “touch” instead of “eat” as God did. This is not an excuse. But it does fall upon Adam to communicate to her God’s commands.

Eve was truly deceived by the devil; Adam sinned in full knowledge of what God had said. (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 1 Timothy 2:14).

I was always told it was Eve’s fault man sinned. But upon close examination Adam bears most of the burden. He was right there (Genesis 3:6) the entire time. At any moment either one could have ran from the serpent. But neither did. It just shows how powerful and cunning the devil truly is. And what we must fight against daily.

If Adam and Eve could be tricked and disobey–those who actually walked with God–then we must be extra vigilant and strong in the Word in order to resist.

God addresses Adam first as the head and one could argue it is Adam who bears the brunt of the responsibility for the sin since Adam is the head of woman. Interesting since in popular culture you always hear how it was Eve’s fault.

We see here that God never abandoned us, even when we sinned. He always had Jesus planned to save us. It’s hard to comprehend: why would God create us if He knew we would Fall? Only God can answer that. He must think we are worthy in some way. Sometimes I wish I believed but a piece of that worthiness.

I had never thought of us being born with a wariness to Satan before. So we’re born with a natural rebelliousness towards God but a natural distrust of Satan. Again, we must choose. Naturally, we gravitate towards serving ourselves (like children). But we learn to choose and no choice in life is more important. The outcome of our life depends upon this choice.

Romans 8:18-22:  Note how the glory is already in us.  It is just waiting to be revealed. Cool to think about!!

All of creation is awaiting the Second Coming.  Isaiah 11:6-9 is the famous passage where the lion will lie down with the lamb.  What a picture of the future heaven!

End, End Note:  Day 4 of this lesson asks us specifically to look at Romans 8:17.  It’s appropriate here as well.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 18, Day 2: Numbers 1-4

Introductory Note:  Leviticus dealt exclusively with the Laws given to Moses.  Exodus happens in one year.  Leviticus in one month.  Numbers in 38 years!  Numbers opens with the people still at Mount Sinai, preparing to continue their journey to the Promised Land.

We will be taking a much more in-depth (and hopefully relaxed!) approach to the study of Numbers, taking a full 8 weeks or 2 months to read through it and digest and study it.  The reading should not be quite so overwhelming as in the study of Leviticus.

Summary of passage:  Numbers 1:  God spoke to Moses at the Tabernacle two years after the Israelites left Egypt.  He directs Moses to take a census of the people, divided up into their Tribes.  They also counted those who were eligible to serve in Israel’s army.  The Levites were not included in the census or the draft as they were God’s chosen to care for the Tabernacle.

Numbers 2:  God directs the Israelites to camp around the Tent of Meeting within his own tribe with the Levites and the Tent of Meeting in the center.

Numbers 3:  God gives directions for the tribe of the Levites.  They are to forever care for the Tent of Meeting and the tabernacle.  God has chosen them in place of the firstborn and told Moses to count them.  Each descendant of a son has a different task and items they must care for.  There were more sons than Levite sons (273 more) so the 273 had to be redeemed with 5 shekels for each one and given to Aaron and his sons.

Numbers 4:  God told Moses to specifically take census of the Kohathites of the tribe of Levi who are to care for the most holy things.  The Gershonites of the tribe of Levi are to carry the curtains of the tabernacles.  The merriness are to carry the frames of the tabernacle.  They were counted as well.


3a)  To take inventory of the men eligible to serve in the army.

b)  They are God’s chosen to are of the tabernacle and all of its furnishings.

c)  603,550

d)  2 million

e)  God promised Abraham to make his descendants as numerous as the stars.  He promised to give them the Promised Land and to defeat their enemies.  Having a large army goes a long way towards that.

4a) The Tent of Meeting or the tabernacle

b)  This would be a huge reminder that God (who dwelled in the Tent of Meeting) is to be the center of their lives.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God mostly except when I fall into selfishness.  I hope my family and friends would agree with me.

5a)  Three.  Eleazar and Ithamar and Aaron (the high priest)

b)  The tribe of Levi.  “They are to perform duties for him (Aaron) and for the whole community by doing the work of the Tabernacle.  They are to take care of the furnishings.”

c)  At the foot of Mount Sinai when the Israelites had made the golden calf.  They were set apart because they repented at the foot of Mount Sinai and answered Moses call when he asked for those who “is for the Lord to come to him.”  They did as Moses commanded.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That each had a role to play and an assigned task and all contributed to the care of God’s tabernacle and the worship of God in the process.  We all have a role to play; the trick is figuring out that role in your church.

Conclusions:  Good lesson as we see God continue to prepare the Israelites for what they will face ahead (enemies) and what they will do once they arrive in the Promised Land (worship Him).

It’s important for us to take inventory as well–see where we are at in our walk with God and make plans to grow with Him.  God was preparing His people for what was to come as He does us.

Everyone had a role to play in God’s plan.  No one is left out.  Each role is dependent on the others doing their roles as well.  Good passage for us when we question God’s role for us–He does have a plan for each and every one of us.

End Notes:  Numbers 1:  Note how the count is done by families.  From the beginning God emphasized the importance of family.

There are still 12 Tribes of Israel as Joseph was given a double inheritance (Genesis 48:5-6) by Jacob even though the tribe of Levi was exempt as the keepers of the tabernacle.

Note Nahshon (verse 7) is the same as the one in Matthew 1:4–Jesus’ line.

In Numbers 26 at the end of this time in the desert, this census is repeated and the number of men is almost the same.  We’ll see why as we study the book of Numbers.

Numbers 2:  Before the tents were pitched randomly.  Here, God changes all that.

Judah, the tribe of Jesus, is first and closest to the tabernacle on the east.  Their standard (flag) is said to be a lion.  Reuben is closest on the south with their standard said to be a man.  Ephraim was first on the west side, their standard said to be a calf.  Dan was first on the north side, their standard being an eagle.  The Levites in the middle the closest to the tabernacle.  This was the marching order as well.

These are the animals that surround God’s throne in Revelation 4:7.

God is a God of order.  Nothing is arbitrary.  Everything is planned even if we don’t see it.

Numbers 3:  Confusion point:  Only descendants of Aaron could be priests.  There were other Levites who were not descended from Aaron.  We see in this chapter they were assigned other roles in relation to the tabernacle, but they could never become priests.  These Levites were the support that allowed Aaron and his sons to minister to the Israelites–just like in a church today.

Levi’s three sons:  Gershon, Kohath, and Merari are the heads of the Levite tribe.

Aaron and Moses camped on the east side of the tabernacle, closest to the entrance.

There is a discrepancy here in this chapter in the number of Levites, which scholars attribute to a translation error.

The number of firstborns is low; hence, scholars think this is the number of firstborns born since leaving Egypt.

Numbers 4:  Only those between the ages of 30 and 50 did the actual work in the sanctuary. This was considered the prime of a man’s life and God wanted the best.

Aaron and the priests had to pack the furniture itself since it was considered holy before the Kohathites could transport  it.  This is why the ark and things were transported with poles since it was forbidden for non-priests to touch these items.  Eleazar was appointed by God to be in charge of the furnishings of the tabernacle as the now eldest son of Aaron.

Ithamar supervises the coverings of the tabernacle, which is the responsibility of the Gershonites.

Fun Fact:  The Hebrew title of Numbers is “In the Wilderness” as it covers the time the Israelites are In the Wilderness.

Fun Fact:  “The Lord spoke to Moses” is repeated in Numbers over 150 times in 20 different ways.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 18, Day 2: Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-10; Luke 9:28-36

Summary of passages:  Matthew 17:1-8:  Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him up on a mountain where he was transfigured before them.  Moses and Elijah appeared, talking with Jesus.  Peter offered to build each a shelter.  God enveloped them in a cloud and said “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.  Listen to him!”  The disciples were terrified.  Moses and Elijah had disappeared.  Only Jesus remained.

Mark 9:2-10:  Same exact story except here BSF has us reading what happens next (which they don’t in Matthew) and we learn that Jesus tells the disciples not to speak of what they have seen on the mountain until he rises from the dead, an expression which baffles the disciples.

Luke 9:28-36:  Same story except Luke says it was 8 days and not 6 days and does not use the word “transfigured”.  Instead, he says how Jesus’ face changed.  Jesus, Moses, and Elijah spoke of Jesus’ departure.  Peter seems to be confused.


3a)  A mountainside

b)  Jesus, Peter, John (the brother of James), James, God, Elijah, Moses

c)  He had been teaching his disciples about his death for the people and saying how some of them won’t face death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.

4a)  Jesus was a ball of light and his clothes were the purest white.  He dazzled and sparkled and was probably a most incredible sight.

b)  Peter saw firsthand the majesty of Jesus and God.  He received honor and glory in that moment in the cloud.

c)  Both.  Why else bring the disciples if it was just for Jesus?  The disciples needed to see it as much as Jesus needed to experience it.

5)  Matthew 24:30; 26:62-64:  In the future at the Second Coming, we will all get to see Jesus in his power and glory coming on the clouds in the sky.  He will sit at God’s right hand.

John 1:14:  John says how he has seen Christ’s glory who came from the grace and truth of the Father.

John 17:1-5:  Jesus asks to be glorified in his presence with the glory he had before the world began. I am assuming to become a man then Jesus wasn’t in all of his glory until the transfiguration.

Acts 26:13-14:  Paul recounts how Jesus appeared to him in a light from heaven that was brighter than the sun.

Philippians 2:9-10:  God exalted Jesus to the highest place (like in the Transfiguration) and gave him the name that is above every name so that every knee shall bow.

Revelation 1:13-17:  Jesus is white and his face was shining like the sun in all of its brilliance.  He was dressed in white and his eyes were blazing.

Conclusions and End Notes:  There is a TON here and I will do my best to explain it.

Transfiguration means “a change in form or appearance.”  The term is used specifically in the Bible here to only mean this one occasion.  It was an actual physical change as we read.  It was from the inner soul though and not dropped from heaven.  The radiance had always been there just now it is shining forth, taking on characteristics of the resurrected body.

Why now did the transfiguration occur?  For both Jesus and the disciples.  For Jesus he was encouraged for he was about to go to the cross.  For the disciples it confirmed the necessity of the cross and Jesus’ death.  Here the suffering is linked with the glory.

Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary by J.D. Douglas and Merrill C Tenney says this:  “It was the crowning with glory of the perfect human life of Jesus, God’s stamp of approval on his sinless humanity.  This established his fitness to be our sinbearer on the cross and an entry for Jesus into the glory in which he would reign–a manifestation of the king coming into his kingdom (Matthew 16:28).”

Scholars believe this fulfills Jesus’ prediction in Matthew 16:28 right before this that some of them will see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.  Luke calls this in 9:27 “the kingdom of God”.

Why only John, James, and Peter?  Well, we’ll never know but scholars say either to keep the word from getting out since Jesus tells them to tell no one or because these three needed to be watched.  I would say he chose these 3 out of God’s grace to witness such a moment.

The discrepancy in days is a matter of translation details again.  The Greek word means “about a week” so it was translated as 6 in Matthew and Mark and 8 days in Luke.

Again, the Greek verb for “transfigure” suggests a change in the inmost nature.  Scholars believe Jesus hid his glory until this moment.

Also, we can’t read this chapter without remembering what happened just before.  Scholars say this must fulfill Jesus’s words in 16:28.  When the apostles wrote, it wasn’t broken up in chapters and verse.  This only occurred beginning in the 16th century, a full 1500 years after these words were first written.

Why Moses and Elijah?  Scholars say because Moses embodies the Law as the first great lawgiver and Elijah represents prophecy as the first great prophet.  The Old Testament meeting the New Testament so to speak.

Some say Moses represents those who have died and are going or will go to heaven (Jude 9) and Elijah represents those who won’t face death at the Second Coming but will go to heaven as well (2 Kings 2:11).

Note Elijah and Moses only talk with Jesus, not the apostles.

It is pointed out by Mark and Luke that Peter has no idea what he is saying.  Would you?  You just saw Christ in all his glory.  I’d be dumbfounded as well.  It probably would have been best for Peter to remain silent but as we saw when Jesus walked on water, that wasn’t him.

Yet the effect of Peter’s words put Jesus as equal with Moses and Elijah which as that time was important.  As we all know, he is above them but back then the Jewish people revered Moses and Elijah as right under God.

The cloud is the same as in the Old Testament when God speaks.  This is to shield man who cannot see God’s glory.

Here, God interrupts Peter and rebukes him [can you imagine?  being rebuked not only by Jesus but by God himself?  I’m pretty sure I would have soiled my pants!  Poor Peter!  Not something I want to be remembered for.] once again, saying that Jesus is above Moses and Elijah, above the Law and the Prophets.

Note that God uses the Word here:  Psalm 2:7; Isaiah 42:1; Deuteronomy 18:15.  It’s so cool how God is the Word and has been since the beginning and that is all that is needed.

God says to listen to Jesus.  It’s all about Jesus.

The disciples fell in fear at God’s voice once again.  We are to be in awe of Him and have a healthy fear.

The disciples needed the reassurance of who Jesus was (the Messiah) right after Jesus told them of his forthcoming sufferings for their sake.

Only Jesus remained.  He is sufficient.  He is enough.  He is all we need now.  We have no need of Moses and Elijah.  Jesus is enough.

Fun Fact:  This was the only time Jesus appeared different than a normal human being. He had none of the glory usually associated with God (Exodus 40:34).

Fun Fact:  The title “Son of Man” is used about 90 times in the Gospels for Jesus.  It was first used in Daniel 7:13, which introduced the Messiah who would rule all of history.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 18, Day 2: Genesis 22:1-10

Summary of passage:  God calls Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac as a burnt offering in the mountains of Moriah. So Abraham faithfully takes Isaac to where God calls him, bounds his son, and prepares to kill him.  On the journey, Abraham tells Isaac that God will provide the burnt offering.


3a)  God tests everyone but I think God had to be sure Abraham trusted Him after all the wishy-washyness from before.  Abraham does not trust God to provide for him so he flees to Egypt.  He sleeps with his maidservant to have an heir.  And he laughs at God when God says Sarah will have a son.

God has to be sure Abraham finally has faith and trust in Him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We never know what we will do in a situation until it arises.  We say we will give it all up to follow Jesus but when the time comes, do we?  We say we would lay down our life for another but would we if the situation actually presents itself?

Thus, tests are necessary to grow our faith.  Here, God had to be sure of Abraham’s heart and this was the ultimate test.

4a)  Verse 2  “Take your son, your only son, whom you love”

b)  Verse 1:  Abraham says “Here I am” when called by God.  Remember Adam and Eve hid from God in the garden when called.  Abraham never questions (at least that is recorded like when he did for Sodom).  The very next day (verse 3) early in the morning Abraham sets out for where God said to go.  He follows God’s instructions exactly.  He answers Isaac with faith, saying God will provide the sacrifice in verse 8.  He has the knife, ready to strike, when the angel stops him (verse 10).

5a)  Obeying His voice pleases God more than burnt offerings.  This verse doesn’t say what kinds He rejects for He didn’t reject burnt offerings in the Old Testament; He, in fact, required them.  So not sure about what He rejects except maybe the opposite of obeying:  disobeying Him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He is asking me to have faith in what my husband is doing with his job.  Personally, not sure.  I got a lot going on right now and my novel has been put on the back-burner once again.  My heart is just not in it right now.  Not sure if that’s God or the devil.  Also, I am really struggling to exercise.  And I haven’t been sleeping really well either.

So I’m trying to support my husband in his job search.  I’m still trying to figure out my novel thing for I still feel it’s God’s work somewhere in there.  And just continue writing in general.

Conclusions:  Great emphasis on testing for we are all tested and most of the time none of us like it because it’s hard.  But everything works together for our good and we must walk through the fire and grow with Him.  Never easy to do.

No one is exempt.  Even though we think people are such as rich people or celebrities we know they are all tested as well just in different ways.  Thankfully, we aren’t asked to sacrifice our kids like Abraham was because that’s one I’m not sure I’d pass.  But each of our tests are just as significant and meaningful and important to God.  We would do well to remember that.

Abraham is trusting even when he doesn’t understand or doesn’t feel like it.  It’s about faith and obeying God and doing it, not how we feel about it.

Abraham believes God will raise his son from the dead once killed.  He is prepared to kill him but he knows anything is possible with God.

It is thought Isaac is in his thirties at this time and he hasn’t had any kids yet.  Isaac is just as trusting in God because he willingly lied down on the altar.  He could have overpowered his elderly father and ran but he didn’t.  He was just as faithful as Abraham here.

This is the difference between trusting in the promise versus trusting in the Promiser (God).  If we trust the Promiser, then the promise will be taken care of.

Map of Moriah:

This same mountain where Abraham takes Isaac later becomes Jerusalem, the place where God provides His only son as a sacrifice for all.

Fun Facts:  This is the first mention of love in the Bible and significantly it’s between a father and son, foreshadowing God’s love for His son.

This is also the first use of the word “worship” in terms of worshipping God.  The Hebrew word here means “to bow down”.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 18, Day 2: 1 Corinthians 1-2

Summary of passage:  Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians:  Paul thanks God for them because through Jesus the Corinthians have been enriched in every way.  They do not lack any spiritual gifts and so will be blameless before the Lord.  However, there are divisions in the church as some are following certain church leaders (Apollos, Peter, and even Paul) instead of Christ.  Paul explains he is merely preaching what Christ did not what anyone else did.  Christ died for their sins not any of these other leaders.

The message of the cross is the power of God.  Christ is the power and wisdom of God.  Man is foolish for man did not know God (which God allowed).  The foolishness of God (which is non-existent) is wider than man’s wisdom.  The weakness of God (which is non-existent) is stronger than man’s strength.  God is that much higher than man.

God chose those deemed foolish by human standards (we’re all foolish in comparison to God) to shame the wise and the weak to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly so that no one will boast before him.  It is because of God that we are in Jesus who had become for us wisdom from God.  So if you boast boast in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 2:  Paul says he came to the people in weakness and fear.  Paul’s message of wise and persuasive words were from the Spirit’s power so your faith could rest on God’s power.

Now, they speak of God’s secret wisdom (Jesus).  One that has been destined since before time began.  God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.  No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God so we have received the Spirit of God so that we man understand God’s gift (Jesus and grace).  This is the message Paul speaks.

The man without the Spirit does not understand things that come from the Spirit of God. The spiritual man is not subject to man’s judgments.  But we have the mind of Christ.


3a)  Utmost confidence.  They have been called to be holy, enriched through Jesus in every way–in speaking and knowledge–with every spiritual gift.  They will remain strong to the end and blameless.

b)  Quarrels and divisions amongst them.  Some are following particular disciples (Paul, Peter, Apollos, etc) instead of Jesus.

c)  Christ ultimately but following Christ.  Accepting and living by and of the Holy Spirit, which encompasses the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-26:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Here, peace especially.

Note:  Passage reference should be Galatians 5:22-26, not Galatians 6:22-26 which doesn’t exist.

4a)  The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom.  God has made foolish man’s wisdom when man did not know Him.  God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise–to prove they were foolish.  The Spirit–or God–that indwells in man is what makes him wise.  Otherwise, he’s a fool.

b)  Through the Holy Spirit that indwells man.

c)  Paul came in weakness and fear with much trembling but God gave him the message in wise and persuasive words.  We can only understand God through God’s Spirit so He gives us words taught by the Spirit.

5a)  Pride can blind a man–even a man who has the Spirit within.  Just because we have the Spirit doesn’t mean the Spirit always speaks.  Man and his free will can and often does usurp God and God’s wisdom.  Man boasts before God and that is why God chose the lowly.  But even the lowly is at danger of boasting.

When man gets on his high horse and pontificates that he knows better than God, then divisions arise.  Paul argues that Christ is not divided.  The message (God’s word) is the same.  It does not change.  It is man’s interpretation of God’s words that causes divisions.  But if we (man) allow the Spirit to speak spiritual truths then unity can and will occur.

b)  If we truly understand the message of the cross and the power of salvation through it; that we all have a new life (one born out of Jesus), then divisions should not exist.  Unity should prevail since this is the ultimate message of God and His word.  If we live like Jesus, the pettiness of these squabbles should be apparent.

Alas, they are not.  We take for granted what Jesus has done for us on the cross and we do let pride hinder God’s wisdom, which makes man act foolish.

Conclusions:  Great eye-opening lesson on God’s wisdom versus man’s.  We often think we are wise when so often we are foolish because we are not acting out of the Spirit.  We are blind to the Spirit within due to pride and every other fault/sin of mankind.

Since I was recently church-shopping again I noticed just how many different denominations are out there nowadays.  Most of the beliefs were similar but everyone tweaked it just a bit.  I like this message of unity.  The overarching message is this:  Christ died for our sins.  If you accept Christ, you will be like Christ with an indwelt Holy Spirit and you will be saved. Everything else (all the other variances on the Bible) is a very distant second.

If we can remember the main message and act out of the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, discord and divisions should never exist within the Church.  Of course, this is not reality.  But it’s what Paul’s trying to plead here.

Map of Corinth:  Shows just how strategic Corinth was in relation to the Roman World.

Corinth was second only to Rome with a population of 700,000 in Paul’s time and it was known as a town of sinners much like Las Vegas is today.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 18, Day 2 Isaiah 41:1-4; 44:28-45:1, Ezra 1:1-4

Summary of passages:  Isaiah 41:1-4:  God is speaking to all nations to be silent before Him as they come together and have a chat.  God asks who has stirred up one from the east and called him into righteous service?  Who has done this (handed nations over, subdued kings, turns people to dust by the sword and chaff by the bow, pursues people and moves them) since the beginning of time?  “I, the Lord..I am he,” God answers.

Isaiah 44:28-45:1:  The Lord calls Cyrus (king of Persia) his shepherd and Cyrus will accomplish what the Lord pleases, which is rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple and subduing nations, stripping kings, and opening doors that God chooses.

Ezra 1:1-4:  The Lord commands Cyrus, king of Persia, (unbeknownst to Cyrus) to proclaim:  The Lord has given me all the kingdoms of earth and appointed him to rebuild the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem.  Anyone of God’s people may go to Jerusalem and accomplish this task.  And other nations (peoples) are to provide Judah with silver, gold, livestock, goods, or whatever else they require for this task.


3) Who has called up one from the east (either Abraham or Cyrus, the king of Persia) to serve God righteously?  Who has done all of this (subdued kings, routed nations, turned to dust and chaff, and pursued and secured) throughout all the generations since the beginning of time?  “I, the Lord, the first and last–I am he.”

4a) Either Abraham or Cyrus

b) Abraham is the patriarch of Jewish people and the father of the faith.  Scholars believe this may be in reference to him because he is most righteous.  Isaiah 41:22  “Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome.”  Abraham is referencing the “first” in verse 41:4

Cyrus was the king of Persia (directly East of Judah) who defeated the Babylonians and captured Babylon in 539 BC.  Hence, he fulfills that prophecy that Babylon will be punished.  Then, as we read in Ezra, Cyrus allowed God’s exiled people to return to Jerusalem, rebuild the temple of God, and commanded other countries to contribute resources for this project.  Hence, Cyrus fulfills this prophecy of the return of God’s people as well.

I think Cyrus here is whom Isaiah is speaking of.  Cyrus better fits the time period that Isaiah is prophesizing about and he would be more relevant to the people Isaiah is speaking to.  In Ezra, God does move Cyrus’s heart, which made him righteous in relation to God’s chosen people.

But I included Abraham here since everywhere I read this passage, I found his name in addition to Cyrus’s.

5a) God

b) Cyrus, Sennacherib–Persians, Assyrians, Babylonians.  Civil War, Hitler, American Revolution.  All the major battles, you can see God’s hand at work.  In all of history’s mysteries, you know that is God at work. My favorite, the one hardest to explain to my kids: the Dinosaurs.  Why can’t we figure out why they died? Perhaps because God did it.  Snapped his fingers and that was that.  Time for man, His history to begin.

c) God is faithful to his people and will use nations and rulers for His purposes to enact His will.  We belong to Him.

d) When we see God predict the future and it comes true time after time, it strengthens our belief and awe in God.  We know God is controlling present history like He did the past history and we can feel secure and trust in Him.  No other religion has such prophecies fulfilled.  History is tangible.  Most don’t dispute it–recent times at least.  Logically, one cannot dispute God’s word when He knew the history before it occurred.  God is the writer of history.

Conclusions:  Yeah!  More history.  So,we’ve gone from the Assyrians to the Babylonians and now to the Persians.  For me, this is a very weak area in my history knowledge so it’s great to learn all this stuff.

God again is emphasizing that He is the one and only God and He is the one in charge.  He is the unseen hand in history and therefore in all of our lives.  So trust in Him and His word for your future.

End Notes:  In Ezra, Cyrus issues his proclamation “in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.”  This can be found in Jeremiah 29:10-14:  “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place…from captivity…and places where I have banished you…from which I carried you into exile.”

Jeremiah was a prophet who lived after Isaiah, which makes sense since the book of Jeremiah is after the book of Isaiah.  He began his ministry about 60 years after Isaiah’s death. Like Isaiah, he warned the Babylonians were coming for Jerusalem but he was hated for his message and not having the ear of the King (Isaiah had Hezekiah), Jeremiah suffered much.  God even told him not to marry since God knew the future hardship he’d have to endure to follow Him.  Jeremiah also referenced the coming Messiah. Jeremiah lived after Jerusalem fell, which is recorded in the book of Lamentations, believed to have been written by him.  Hence, Jeremiah is known as the Weeping Prophet mainly due to his feelings expressed in Lamentations and the compassion with which he writes.