BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 19, Day 4: Romans 11:11-24

Summary of passage:  Salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous.  Israel can still be saved.  Israel’s unbelief has paved the way for the Gentiles.  However, Israel can still come to faith and the Gentiles must not boast over their salvation because they too can still fall.  Therefore, be kind for God can still cut off the Gentiles.

Questions:

8 )  Paul says because the Israelites have stumbled in their belief that Jesus is the Messiah, God has granted this opportunity to come to Him to the Gentiles in the hopes it will make Israel jealous and more Israelites will come to faith in Christ.  The good is that now all have been invited to sit at the hand of God through His Son, Jesus.  Before, only the Jews were chosen to receive God’s Word.  Now all may come.

9)  Paul is warning the Gentiles to not boast over their inclusion in God’s plan and over their faith and the Jews’ unbelief for God (being God) can cut off the Gentiles like He did the Jews.  In essence, Paul is warning don’t boast and instead be grateful and humble over your inclusion.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Kindness is all of my blessings.  Sternness is when my blessings are taken from me temporary in order to grow, which in the end is a kindness as well.  The results are I have grown as a person and become more Christ-like and less me-like as I realize all things are from God.  It is all about Him.  I am more grateful than ever.

Conclusions:  It’s taken me up to this lesson to realize every day now has a personal question.  Love the grafting analogy and it would have been crystal-clear to the farmers of first century AD.  They would immediately have understood Paul’s point of bringing in the Gentiles at the expense and support of the Jews.

End Notes:  Israel stumbled, but did not fall.  They are still in God’s plan!  The Gospel only went out to the Gentiles after the Jews rejected it (Acts 13:4618:5-628:25-28).  Israel’s stumble was riches for the Gentiles for it gave them more opportunity to hear the Gospel.  The Gentiles were supposed to show the Jews how awesome a Christian life was, make them jealous, and have more come to Christ.  Instead, throughout history, they have more often than not persecuted the Jews for their beliefs when it fact it was because of the Jews that they themselves enjoyed salvation.

Part of the dough made from the first of the harvested grain (firstfruits) was offered to the Lord (Numbers 15:17-21).  This consecrated the whole batch (the Jewish people). Not all the Jews are righteous (i.e. saved) but that God will be true to his promises concerning them.  Paul saw a future for Israel.

Roots–patriarchs

Branches–Jewish people.

The salvation of Gentile Christians is dependent on the Jews.

Some commentators see the firstfruits as the first Christians, who were Jewish. Their conversion was something holy and good for the church. After all, each of the apostles and most of the human authors of Scripture were Jewish. If the conversion of this firstfruit was good for the Gentiles, how much better will it be when the complete harvest is brought in!  However, many commentators take the firstfruit here as the patriarchs.

Botanists and orchard growers commonly use grafting to improve their stock of flowers and fruit.  Usually they graft a weaker, cultivated branch onto a wild but sturdy root stock.  Paul admits that, contrary to nature, God has grafted the wild branches (Gentiles) onto the cultivated roots (Jews)–a reverse technique sometimes used to reinvigorate an olive tree.

It is only by God’s grace that they can be grafted into the “tree” of God – the “root” of which is Israel.

Paul reminds the Gentiles that the root supports the branches – not the other way around.  Any Gentile standing in the “tree” of God is there by faith only, not by works or merits. If Gentiles are unbelieving, they will be “cut off” just as much as unbelieving Israel was.

Any adequate doctrine of God must include both kindness and sternness.  When we ignore his kindness, God seems a ruthless tyrant.  When we ignore his sternness, God seems a doting father.

We must continually abide in God’s goodness (also expressed in John 15:1-8.)  Paul warns of pride.  The Jews are not cut off permanently. There is hope for all.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 19, Day 4: John 14:20-26

Summary of passage:  On the day of Pentecost, the disciples will realize Jesus is still with them through the Holy Spirit.  Whoever obeys God’s commands loves God and will be loved by God and Jesus. The Holy Spirit will teach you all things and will remind you of everything Jesus has said.

Questions:

9)  Pentecost

10)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  That they will be loved by the Father and by Jesus and Jesus will show himself to those who love him.  It gives me confidence that no matter what I do I am loved.

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The Holy Spirit will be with us, will teach us all things, and will remind us of everything Jesus has said.  We will know him.  I am most grateful for the teaching and he reminding.  Otherwise, I’d be like everyone else.

Conclusions:  Better day.  Very straightforward, simple questions we all need to think about.

End Notes:  “On that day” is Pentecost according to scholars–the day the Spirit will indwell believers, allowing us a union with God here on earth.

Jesus says the world won’t see him so Judas naturally wonders why not and how will he do this.

Judas is called ‘Judas of James’ in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13 or brother of James or son of James. He seems to be identical with the Thaddaeus of Matthew 10:3 and Mark 3:18. Some of the apostles were known by more than one name.

We know in John 13:30 that Judas Iscariot is not there, but these words are added by John to make it clear since he is now a traitor.

Jesus repeats himself again to Judas, emphasizing love, obedience, and union with the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit. He repeats his 2nd assurance, emphasizing how God will send the Spirit in the Son’s name–the Trinity.

God the Father sends God the Holy Spirit at the request of God the Son. Beautiful! Both are involved in the sending.

Love for Christ and keeping his commands cannot be separated.  The love of the Father cannot be separated from that of the Son.

Their work will continue through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is a general promise to us today if we listen carefully enough but specifically to the disciples who were commissioned to spread the Word, establish the early church, and to write the Word for all of us (the Bible).

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 19, Day 4: Revelation 14:6-13

Summary of passage: John sees 3 angels. The first proclaims the eternal gospel to the earth and says to turn to God because the judgment has come. The second says how Babylon has fallen. The third warns that whoever worships the beast or bears his mark will have God’s fury, be tormented with burning sulfur, and have no rest. God says blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.

Questions:

9a)  The mark of the beast appears on those who have chosen to worship Satan instead of God.  They may prosper here but for eternity they will drink from the cup of wrath which Jesus did for believers and be tormented for eternity day and night by burning sulfur.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I touched on this last lesson about how I wish more churches would discuss the consequences of choosing Satan over God.  Unbelievers face a grim, dismal, and undesirable future in hell. It is not a pretty picture.  Fully understanding what unbelievers face (and we’ll see more details later on in Revelation and talk more about this) does make me more concerned especially about family members and loved ones who don’t believe.  Yet at the same time, knowing we all have a choice, there are no excuses for not knowing Him, lends me little compassion at times especially when I read about indiscriminate killings and abuse.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God encourages the saints (those who accept Christ during the Great Tribulation) to be steadfast during the judgments and remain faithful and their deeds will be remembered in heaven.  Same goes for us–our deeds will follow us to heaven.  What we do here matters.

Conclusions:  Good lesson.  I like the emphasis on what happens to those who don’t believe.  Very important since like I said a lot of churches these days focus on “kind, loving, and accepting Jesus” and ignore the wrath of God.

End Notes:  See YESTERDAY’S notes.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 19, Day 4: Numbers 12:1-3

Summary of passage:  Miriam and Aaron, Moses’ siblings, wonder if God has only spoken through him and if God has spoken through them as well.  They talk about Moses’ wife.  God heard them.

Questions:

8a)  Miriam helped save Moses’ life.  Once his mom placed him in the basket and set him afloat (Exodus 2), Miriam watched over the baby until it was found.  She’s the one who suggested to Pharaoh’s daughter if she should get a Hebrew wet nurse for the baby.

Miriam becomes a prophetess (Exodus 15:20) and lead the women in a song of praise to the Lord after their harrowing escape from Egypt.  She’s a leader of the Israelites as well.

b)  Moses’ Cushite wife.  She is jealous and probably looks down on foreigners and believes herself superior.

9a)  He says nothing.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Anger.

Conclusions:  Again we study just the first three verses of the chapter like Day 2.  Short and sweet. We see jealousy here on full display and probably a yearning for power and prestige among the people.  A universal human emotion that gets us all at times.

End Notes:  Scholars believe Miriam is the leader here.  In the Greek, a feminine singular verb is used here.  Also, her name before Aaron’s indicate she is foremost here.  Furthermore, she is one singled out for punishment by the Lord (Numbers 12:10).

Exodus 2:16-22 says that Moses’ wife is from Midian.  This is a contradiction in the Bible and scholars can only guess here.  Was this a possible second wife of Moses’?  Was Zipporah originally from Cush?  Was Zipporah’s family from Cush originally and then they moved to Midian?  All are possible.

Cush is modern-day Ethiopia so Moses’ wife would have had dark skin and would have stood out amongst the olive-complexion of the Israelites.

The real reason God is upset here is that Miriam and Aaron attack Moses’ spiritual authority. This is where God draws the line and says that Moses is special.

God hears everything always.

Since Moses wrote these words, did he call himself the humblest man on earth?  That would be pride, the opposite of humbleness.  Scholars think these words were added later possibly by Joshua who knew Moses so well.

Scholars question the translation of “humble” here.  The origins of the word suggest “meekness” or “afflicted” and elsewhere in the Bible, it is translated as such.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 19, Day 4: Matthew 18:15-20

Summary of passage:  If a believer sins against you, go to that person first to try and resolve your differences.  If he will not listen, bring some other believers along.  If he still resists, take it to the church and then to other legal means if the differences remain.

If many believers ask for the same thing, it will be done by God as He is with them when they are together.

Questions:

9a)  If one person suffers, every person suffers because of it since we are all part of a whole.

b)  If a believer sins against you, go to that person first to try and resolve your differences.  If he will not listen, bring some other believers along.  If he still resists, take it to the church and then to other legal means if the differences remain.

10a)  Tolerance and forgiveness.  We should be filled with grief and comfort them.

b)  To bring them back to Christ.  To restore them gently.

11a)  Binding and loosing means exercising judgment on conduct–either being bound to the law or loose (unbound) to the law.  Here we are talking about sin as well.  So if both parties have a heart for God whatever they agree to do or forgive will be honored in heaven as it was agreed upon on earth.  See HERE for more details.  In essence, churches do have the authority to discipline if it is done in with the right heart: God’s.

b)  The source is God and He is the ultimate authority for when you come together to bind or loose properly in His name, He is there among you, leading and guiding you to the proper conclusion.

Conclusions:  I can’t stand it when we’re told to read a passage (in this case Matthew 18:15-20) and then the first question immediately sends us somewhere else and asks a question on that passage.  Then we aren’t studying Matthew; instead, we are studying 1 Corinthians.  It drives me nuts!  I just have this great passage of Matthew in my head and now I have to leave it to linger and go some place else!  Just don’t call it the study of Matthew then.

I wish BSF would have touched upon verse 19 and it’s context as it applies to individuals in terms of the power of asking for prayer from others (even if it’s just a couple).  How we don’t have to worship in a “mega-church” to have God with us.  How we can meet as a family even and pray in His name and it will be done.  How the most important thing is that we meet in Jesus’ name and call upon His authority in our lives.  How He hears the cries of His lost sheep and He goes and brings them back.  To me, this is more powerful than understanding where the authority of the church comes from in the Bible.

End Notes:  We talked about binding and loosing in Lesson 17 Day 4.  Binding and loosing were legal terms in use in the Jewish law in first century AD that all Jews understood.  You were either “bound” or “loose” with regards to Jewish law.  To bind was to be subjugated to the law; to be put under it or to prohibit something.  To loose was to allow something under the law; to permit it.  Here, Christ is extending these legal Jewish terms and laws to his church as well with the caveat that he (Jesus) is the one granting the authority.

This passage as a whole is a warning against gossiping.  Either go directly to that person for a grievance or forgive them and let it go.  We must be willing to help resolve a dispute among others.  This is not interference in an argument but rather a mediation effort.  If the unrepentant one still refuses, then the church is allowed to place the offender outside the body of Christ as a pagan would be.  For God’s power among many of His believers is strong.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 19, Day 4: Genesis 24:29-67

Summary of passage:  Rebekah ran home and told all what had transpired.  Laban, Rebekah’s brother, ran out to the servant to bring him to their house.  So the servant, his men, and his camels were brought to Rebekah’s house and provided for.  The servant told them his story, how he came there seeking a wife for Abraham’s son, and how Rebekah had been the girl to answer his prayer to God.

Laban and Bethuel agreed that this was God’s will so they let Rebekah go.  The servant showered them with precious and costly gifts for the dowry.  The next morning Laban and Bethuel tried to delay the trip but they left immediately on Rebekah’s acquiescence.  The family blessed Rebekah and sent her on the long journey to Canaan.

Isaac whom we can assume had been praying for a wife as well greets the return party, hears the tale of the servant, and marries Rebekah.

Questions:

9a)  Deuteronomy says to not intermarry with unbelievers for they will turn you away from God to other gods and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and destroy you.  Paul says in Corinthians not to be yoked to unbelievers for they have nothing in common. Paul here was probably talking about the false teachers.  This verse has been extrapolated to the marriage realm but note Paul does not say marriage nor is he speaking about marriage prior to or after this passage.  See my post HERE with regards to this same question.

b)  Verse 50 when Laban and Bethuel acknowledge the servant as from the Lord and give him Rebekah “as the Lord has directed” in verse 51.

10a)  He faithfully told the story to Rebekah’s family about how Rebekah had passed God’s test.  When the family agreed to give Rebekah to him, the servant “bowed down to the ground before the Lord” (verse 52).  He says that “the Lord has granted success to my journey” in verse 56.  Everywhere you turn in this passage, the servant acknowledges God and gives Him all the credit.

b)  Isaiah 48:11 is God talking and He says (if you read verse 10 as well) that He tests us for His own glory.  Not sure how that speaks about attitudes of the people unless you assume the people God directs understand this.

1 Corinthians tells us God chooses the lowly ones so that they have nothing to boast about except for Him.  We should boast in Him.  Give Him the glory.  So we should humble ourselves and when we achieve it is because of God alone.  He chose us.

11a)  He gave Rebekah a gold nose ring, two gold bracelets, gold and silver jewelry, and articles of clothing.  He gave costly gifts to her brother and mother.

b)  Rebekah hears the story of how she was chosen from the servant (verses 34-49) and God is everywhere in the story.  Laban and Bethuel agree “this is from the Lord” (verse 50) and willingly give her to the servant.  The servant gave a huge dowry (verse 53), which gave credibility to the servant’s story.  He came prepared to bring home God’s chosen wife for Isaac.  The servant was eager to leave (verse 56)–to fulfill God’s purpose.

c)  A father desires a bride for his son.  Abraham for Isaac.  God for us.  A son was dead and then raised from the dead.  Isaac and Jesus.  The bride is chosen for marriage before they knew it (Ephesians 1:3-4).  Rebekah and us.  The bride is divinely chosen, called, and then lavished with gifts. (Revelation 19:7-8)  Rebekah and us.  She is entrusted to the care of the servant before she meets her bridegroom.  Rebekah and us.

Conclusions:  The best part of this story is the heart of the servant.  I would wager he was probably treated well by Abraham but servants in ancient times had extremely rough lives and had no social status nor class.  They were nothing in the eyes of many.  So the willingness of this servant to serve his master is a great picture of how we are to serve the Lord.  Everything is credited to God.  The servant is merely the instrument in God’s work.

This is how we should approach life.  God uses us to accomplish His purposes but so often our pride negates this or gets in the way.

Love the parallel to Jesus’s life in the questions.  He served his Father for us.  Incredible to ponder how we were chosen, brought, and loved by Jesus to God like Rebekah to Isaac.  Great stuff!

I’m not sure why we have the question 9a.  It does pertain to this lesson but I can’t say which way BSF is leaning.  If you read my post HERE, you will see a huge debate we had on my blog.  The only thing I wanted to add was the reference to Deuteronomy we had to look up.  This reference to me is null and void today since it is under the Old Covenant that Jesus shattered with his death.  So in terms of marriage today, I believe this doesn’t apply.  Marriage to Rebekah, yes.  Today.  no.

I’m saying this question is only in reference to Rebekah and it is here in order for us to understand the lengths Abraham took to find Isaac a wife and why (because God outlawed it).  Any extrapolation to today’s time should be done with caution.

Interesting reads I found:  Simple read of the church as the Bride of Christ:

http://www.gotquestions.org/bride-of-Christ.html

Great commentary on all of Chapter 24:  http://bible.org/seriespage/how-find-godly-wife-genesis-241-67