BSF Study Questions John Lesson 18, Day 4: John 14:1-7

Summary of passage:  Jesus comforts his disciples by telling them he is leaving so he can prepare a place for them.  He will come back and take them with him so that the can be where he is.  Thomas (the first time he speaks in this Gospel) tells Jesus they don’t know the way.  Jesus answers with another “I am” statement:  “I am the way and the truth and the life.”  Philip, still not getting it, asks Jesus to show him the Father.  Jesus wants to hit Philip over the head, but instead says if he’s seen him, he’s seen the Father and he should know that by now.

Questions:

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus will come again and take us where he dwells in glory.  This comforts those who are in pain or who have lost a loved one or who are lost.  One day we’ll all be with the Father.

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Thomas is seeing this literally.  He thinks Jesus is traveling on a journey, not ascending to heaven.  We can’t be too hard on Thomas.  Remember we know what happens; he doesn’t.  And many are still in shock from Jesus saying he’s going to die.  It’s easy to be critical of the disciples but remember the Holy Spirit hasn’t descended yet and Jesus is still among them.  Who wants to believe Jesus is going away forever?  As far as I know, I haven’t ignored or rejected any truth.  It’s hard to ignore or reject a truth if you don’t see the truth, which for most of us, it’s hard to see our own faults.

10)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus is the only way to God.  He’s eternal life.  He’s the truth you must believe.  “The” means there’s only one way.  It’s a definite article.  An indefinite article (a or an) can refer to any way, truth, or life.  It makes all the difference.

Conclusions:  Well, it’s a good passage but all the questions are personal and once again we see a question asking what difference does it make in your life and I give my stock answer.  See End Notes for analysis.

End Notes:  The disciples had reason to be troubled. Jesus had just told them that one of them was a traitor, that all of them would deny Him, and that He would leave them that night.  All of this would trouble anyone.  Yet Jesus says don’t be troubled.  We will have trouble and tribulation in our lives but we can have an untroubled heart.  As they trusted in God so they must trust in him, Jesus, as well.  This is a command he is giving the disciples.

Jesus’ point is there is room for all.  House is better translated from the Greek as “dwelling places.”

Jesus goes out of his own accord out of love for us.  Jesus coming back is both in the sense of visiting them after death, the Holy Spirit, and the Second Coming.

Thomas is honest and asks for clarity in what Jesus means like a son would a father when he doesn’t understand something.

Jesus’ 7th “I am” statement is verse 6.  He announces he is the only way to God despite what other religions will have you believe.  Why?  Because he is God.

Fun Fact:  In the the early church, Christianity was sometimes called “the Way” because of this passage.

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BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 18, Day 4: Various Passages

Summary of passages: Various passages for the day.

Questions:

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answers:

Psalm 73:26-28:  God is the strength, refuge, and portion forever when flesh and heart fail.

Proverbs 3:11-12:  God disciplines those He loves.

Romans 5:3-4:  Suffering produces perseverance, character, hope, and love through the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:17:  Suffering allows us to share in Christ’s glory.

Philippians 3:8-9: (Read verse 10 as well)  Sharing in Christ’s suffering produces more knowledge of Christ, fellowship with him, becoming more like him, and attaining resurrection from the dead.  Giving up or losing all things results in a gain of Christ and righteousness through belief in the Savior.

Hebrews 5:8-9:  Suffering produces obedience to God and eternal salvation for believers.

When you have nothing, all you have is Him.  You rely more on God and the Holy Spirit.  You know him more and become more like Christ.  It humbles you to the point you cry out to God.  And that is what God wants–all of you.  This I’ve experienced throughout my life’s trials and tribulations and my current closeness with God.  Life is amazing when you have Him and nothing else.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  When I was in college, I had a hard time concentrating because songs kept playing over and over in my head.  I wondered where God was during this time and cried out to Him repeatedly.  However, He never left me and eventually they went away as I channeled my thoughts towards Him.  It strengthened me and I knew He never left me.  Now I know He’s always there even when we are hit with inexplicable events in our lives.

Conclusions:  God is more concerned about character rather than comfort.  Suffering is small compared to knowing Christ.  Suffering teaches us the greatest good of Christian life is not absence of pain but being Christ-like.  The important thing to take away is this:  there is a purpose in suffering.  God has a purpose.  You may not be able to see it now but through faith you will persevere and emerge stronger and more dependent on Him.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 18, Day 4: Numbers 6:22-8:26

Summary of passage:  The Lord tells Moses how to bless the Israelites.  In Numbers 7, Moses anoints and consecrates the tabernacle and its furnishings.  The leaders of the tribes brought gifts and offerings, which were given to the Levites as they needed them.  God told Moses that each day a leader is to bring an offering for the dedication of the altar.  Each leader brought silver and gold and animals.

Numbers 8:  Lamps were set up.  The Levites were purified, cleansed, and atoned for in order to be set apart as God’s.  They are to replace the firstborn and to do work at the Tent of Meeting so that no plague will strike the Israelites.  The Levite men are to work from the age of 25-50.

Questions:

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  This one is too perfect to re-word in my opinion.  The Lord bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you and receive His grace.  May He forever be watching you and give you peace.  Someone in need or struggling.  This is a great daily prayer for the family as well.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Each brought his best and it was a lot and each tribe brought the same thing.  The Levites took only what was needed to do their tasks assigned by God.  I should give my best for God’s glory and expect no recognition from man, only God.  It is about the heart, not the offering itself.

10a)  They are to do the work at the Tent of Meeting.  They have been given to the Lord in place of the firstborn who has given them to the priests (Aaron and his sons).

b)  First of all, God has the right to do whatever He wants without question from us.  To answer the question, God has taken them in place of the firstborn, which the Lord demanded in Exodus 13:2 during the Exodus from Egypt.  He gave them to Aaron and the priests to help them with the monumental task of administering atonement (think of all those sacrifices) to the Israelite people and so that no plague will strike the Israelites when they go near the sanctuary.  Basically, Aaron’s task is the most important task the Israelites perform and Aaron needed help so God provided it.

c)  Age 25-50

[Numbers 4:3, 4:23, and 4:30 says age 30 begin.  Scholars believe there was a 5 year apprenticeship.]

Conclusions:  Not for sure why we needed to re-invent the wheel on question 8.  It’s hard to mince perfection.  Furthermore, a prayer dictated to man by God is extremely rare.  Scholars say free prayers are best but in terms of a benediction, God gave us this so man wouldn’t corrupt it.  These are God’s words and saying to re-word them to me makes it seem as if they are in some way inadequate.  Aaron had to memorize these words and bless the people with them every day.  In essence, this is God himself blessing us every day with these words.  So much more in the Aaronic blessing to explore that I believe this one question does no justice (see my End Notes for more) for what God is saying to us here.

Didn’t like the tone or wording of 10b.  God can do whatever He wants whenever He wants.  It is merely for us to obey.

End Notes:  Numbers 6:  Note the first thing God wants in the Aaronic blessing is to bless us.  He wants this above all else for us.  Furthermore, we need God’s blessing or everything else we achieve is fruitless.

To have God’s face shine upon us is a blessing–because we are in Jesus and not because we have done anything to deserve Him.

Scholars say the three “Lord” ‘s used here illustrates the Trinity.

Six times the word “you” is repeated.  God’s blessings are for you and not someone else. If every one of us truly believed this, our worlds would change in miraculous ways.

The Hebrew word for peace is “shalom”, which encompasses more than the peace we think of. It is complete and total rest, happiness, satisfaction, holiness, and goodness in our life.

God’s name is written on us, marking us as His, and when God says “I will” all the powers of darkness tremble.  “I will bless them” holds for every believer in Christ.

Numbers 7:  This offering may be out of order.  This may have happened at the end of Exodus when the tabernacle was finished.

The carts given to the Levites to transport the tabernacle at this time in history were scarce. This was a huge gift and a very costly one to the Levites.  This explains why the Kohathites received no carts.  First, they were to carry them by God’s orders (Numbers 4).  Second, they had no carts to spare!  Scholars say this is so the Kohathites wouldn’t disobey God’s orders but there is a practical side that I see here as well.

The offerings brought are very generous.  This is in indication of people who rely on God to provide their needs.  Note how each tribe brought exactly the same thing.  The gift was for God, not for man to brag about how he gave more.  It is about God’s glory, not our own.

Again, the repetition serves a purpose:  all gave the same and all gave.

Moses speaks to God and hears from God.  We need leaders who do the same.  We ourselves need to do the same.

Numbers 8:  The lamps would need to be continually filled with oil to give light.  Revelation 1:20 has lamp stands as the church but Jesus is the light we need.

Leviticus 8 & 9 had the priests being dedication to the Lord.  Here we see the Levites being dedicated to the Lord.

Shaving of all the hair conveyed the idea of being re-born like a newborn babe and beginning anew.

Numbers 4:3, 4:23, and 4:30 shows that the true age of work was age 30.  Scholars believe at age 25 one began an apprenticeship for five years.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 18, Day 4: Matthew 17:14-21

Summary of passage:  After the Transfiguration, Jesus began traveling and preaching again.  A man approaches Jesus, asking for mercy on his son who has seizures and is suffering.  The disciples could not heal the boy.  Jesus, frustrated at the disciples lack of faith, chastises the crowd for its unbelief as well.  Jesus rebukes the demon and the boy is healed.

The poor disciples, still dense to Jesus and all he is, asks why they couldn’t heal the boy even though they have been granted healing powers to do so (Matthew 10).  The answer is their little faith.  With faith, they will be able to move mountains and nothing will be impossible for them.

Questions:

9a)  The father of the boy

b)  To have mercy on his son and to heal him

c)  The disciples

d)  “O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you?  How long shall I put up with you?  Bring the boy here to me.”  Then Jesus healed the boy.

e)  “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  Basically, the father didn’t believe Jesus could heal the boy especially after the ineptness of the disciples so he asked for help to believe.

f)  One word:  unbelief.  Or Lack of faith.  Whichever.

10a)  All things are possible for those who believe.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Little faith is characterized with the presence of doubt.  It’s when you say this to yourself, “Ok, God, I’m going to pray that you bring me financial success” but your very next thought is you doubt it will happen or come soon.  You don’t fully trust God to do it.

Small faith is 100% trust in God and His ability to accomplish anything you ask.  You do not doubt Him.  It is small because faith grows over time.  It always starts small and grows from there.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I need patience more than faith.  Patience I will actually accomplish my one goal in this world of creating something that will touch others.  Faith it will happen.  For I do doubt especially when I finish a book that it will go anywhere.  Faith my dreams will be realized, Lord.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Anything is possible with the Lord.  To take that in, believe it, banish all traces of doubt from my mind, and put all of my trust in Him and His ability to do great things in my life (not my ability which obviously is dismal to say the least).

Conclusions:  Great lesson.  I got more out of this than the Transfiguration study.  Not that it wasn’t good (it was).  It’s just this is what I needed to hear right now in this moment of my life.  God speaks to each of us differently and meets each of us right where we are at.

Read Mark’s version of this story (Mark 9:14-29).  Fascinating the added details and even the reason Jesus gives for the disciples inability to heal the boy.

We see one of the best prayers in all of the Bible here in my opinion given by this father with no recorded name:  “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  We all doubt.  We all sometimes lack trust in God.  We all let our egos take over and believe we can do it without Him.  When this happens, pray this verse.  Pray for God to help you overcome your unbelief.  For you to return to Him and to let Him do it.  To overcome your pride, to let go of your doubts and anxieties, and be humbled before the Creator of the Universe and to rest in Him.

To believe.

Which takes faith.  And it takes Him.  So don’t let go…

End Notes:  Notice the similarities between Jesus here descending the mountain and Moses when he came off the mountain.  Both met with God and received incredible spiritual gifts.  Both met with unbelief.  Sad the unrepentant human heart.

Note how man fails even when blessed with amazing abilities but Jesus never does.  It is good for us to fail so that we rely on Jesus.  Otherwise, why would we need a Savior?

Again, we see Jesus’ frustration at his disciples and now that his time is approaching for the cross maybe even a bit impatient at their denseness.

What matters is where our faith is placed.  Is it in God or in something else?  Small faith in God is infinitely better than little faith in nothing or even great faith in something else such as ourselves, others, our careers, etc.

And if you have small faith in Him, it will grow to produce great things.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 18, Day 4: Genesis 22:1-19

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.

An angel of the Lord stopped Abraham before he killed Isaac, saying he has proved he fears God because he didn’t withhold his son from Him.  God provided a ram instead to sacrifice.  The angel says because of Abraham’s faithfulness the Lord will bless him and make his descendants as numerous as the stars and will rule over the cities of their enemies.

All nations on earth will be blessed because of Abraham’s obedience.  Then Abraham went to Beersheba.

Questions:

8a)  Hebrews sums up Genesis 22.  Verse 9 in Genesis mirrors verse 17 in Hebrews, saying Isaac was offered as a sacrifice.  After the test, verse 17 in Genesis has an angel telling Abraham everyone will be blessed through Isaac like in verse 18 of Hebrews. Genesis 21:12 is the verse quoted in Hebrews.  Verse 12 of Genesis has God sparing Isaac like in Hebrews 19 and thus receiving him back from the dead.

b)  Because he was obeying God through faith and knew everything would be okay.  Like how we are to feel when we obey.

c)  Through Christ’s faith and obedience to the Father, he experienced the joy of reconciling man to Him and taking his place beside the Father.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Writing gives me joy and I sacrifice a lot in order to do it (mainly sleep!).  This site brings me joy despite the criticism and doubts it has brought.  I hope it’s all for Him.

9a)  According to Webster’s Dictionary, a substitute is “a person or thing that takes the place or function of another.”

b)  A ram

c)  Jesus

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Eternal gratitude, awe, and immense desire to please God and obey.

10a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The same.  Listen and obey.  I don’t think many of us would have a problem of being told to not kill our kids!

b)  God will bless him and make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.  His descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies and through his offspring all nations on earth will be blessed.

Conclusions:  I have mixed feelings on this lesson.  When I read the first question and saw Hebrews, I said, “Ah, not Hebrews…AGAIN!”  I don’t think I can glean anything else from Hebrews in terms of Abraham and his faith.  I think most of us by now have gotten the idea that Abraham was faithful.

The best idea is that we should have joy when we obey God.  And I would add peace.  A lot of people grumble or obey reluctantly and that is not what God wants.  But I think these people if they obey God enough will experience that joy.  After all, obeying God is what we were created to do.  Everything else is insignificant.

Nothing else was new here.

BSF Study Questions Lesson 18, Day 4: 1 Corinthians 5-6

Summary of passage:  Paul to the Corinthians says there is a report of sexual immorality amongst you or a man with his father’s wife of which the Corinthians are proud of!  Paul says they should be filled with grief and put the man out of fellowship the man who did this.  Paul says this is what he would have done in his judgment.  This man needed to be pushed out into the world of Satan so that his spirit will be saved on the day of the Lord.

The boasting is a sign that this immorality could spread amongst them.  (A rotten apple spoils the bunch). Act as if it is always Passover and eat the bread of sincerity and truth.  Be what you are.

Paul clarifies a previous point in a previous letter (lost to us) that he is not saying to not associate with sinners of this world.  That would be impossible.  He is saying to not associate with Christians who are sinning and know they are sinning regularly.  Committing sins repeatedly that they can turn from.

For it is a Christians’ business to judge those within the Church but not outside the Church (i.e. believers and non-believers) and expel the wicked amongst you.

1 Corinthians 6:  Paul tells the Corinthians if there is a dispute amongst believers to settle it amongst believers and not amongst the ungodly.  For saints judge the world and as a saint aren’t you competent to judge trivial cases?  You will judge angels!  The fact you have lawsuits means defeat already.  Why not be wronged instead?  (This is talking amongst believers only not amongst a believer and a non-believer).

The wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God:  adulterers, prostitutes, thieves, drunkards, slanderers, homosexuals, etc.  The Corinthians were these things but they have been sanctified by Jesus and the Spirit of God.

Paul refutes common Corinthian sayings with the body is God’s.  It does not belong to man.  It is a member of Christ himself.  Why unite Christ with a prostitute?  We need to unite ourself with the Lord instead.

Paul advises to flee from sexual immorality because this sin is against his own body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  We are not our own.  Jesus bought us with a price.  We must honor God with our bodies.

Questions:

11a)  Those who fornicate or engage in immorality should be expelled out of the church and into the world ruled by Satan.  Christians should not associate with them.

b)  Christians should appoint Christians to judge the disputes and not take it to the civil courts.  A lawsuit means you have been defeated already and Paul suggests it is better to be wronged than to sue another believer.

c)  Since we will one day reign with Christ Paul says we will one day judge the world and angels.

d)  Our bodies are God’s temple where the Holy Spirit dwells.  Therefore we should treat it just as we would an earthly temple–with reverence and respect and honor.

e)  We must flee from sexual immorality because it is a sin against our body which is God’s temple and a part of Christ himself.  Also, it is a sin that affects people in more ways than say food does.  It affects the Spirit, the mind, the soul, everything. It’s dangerous.

12)  To remember the price Christ paid for our sins.  To remember we are not our own.  We are God’s.  We live for Him not us.  To honor God in every way, including our bodies.

Conclusions:  1 Corinthians 5 was eye-opening for me in terms of judgment, which I wish BSF would have spent more time on.  See this POST for my complete thoughts as it is too long to post here.

I like the reminder we are not our own.  We are God’s.  This is something I must remind myself.  Recently, I’ve been struggling with some food issues (read post HERE) and this is a powerful reminder.  I’ve also been struggling with getting up early to exercise because truthfully I’d rather be doing my Bible Study or working on my novel.  But I also know I’m not getting any younger and I need to take care of that which God has given me.

In every way.  Spiritual is most important.  But we can’t neglect the physical either.  We have been blessed with one body that works in a way only God could design and we must treat it as our temple for Jesus sacrificed for it.  We must remember this.

This is also a great passage for this culture in terms of sexual immorality.  It reminds us just why this is so important to God.  I know a lot of people struggle with this because of our society today.  It’s a constant fight we must forever be vigilant against.