BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 22, Day 2: Romans 12:3

Summary of passage:  Don’t be high and mighty and prideful.  Remember it is only in God’s grace that we are saved.

Questions:

3)  The grace given him by God.  So his audience knows he speaks with authority and his words are from God, not himself.  Hence, we should take him seriously.

4)  “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.”  We become prideful.  Think all we accomplish is because of how great we are when it’s because of how great God is.

5)  Being humble is a work in progress.  Small steps count.  Don’t judge yourself too harshly as you work to overcome human nature.  Same with others.  They are a work in progress as well and are at different places in their walk with God.  Grant others grace as they work towards overcoming pride.  Forgive them.  Encourage them in their walk as you yourself need encouragement as well.

6)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  So you don’t think you’re better than others when we’re all the same.  Always approach others with grace and forgiveness.  Like Jesus would do.  Be slow to anger and slow to react and quick to forgive and quick to encourage.

Conclusions:  Good emphasis on relating to others.  It’s so hard to approach others as Jesus would without man’s human nature of judging to interfere.  Small steps will get you there!  Same with seeing ourselves as we truly are not as some fluffed up image we carry in our mind.

End Notes:  Paul will soon speak in Verse 4 about how we should exercise spiritual gifts in the body of Christ, but a warning about humility is in order, given the inordinate pride that often arises from those who regard themselves as spiritually gifted.  Just being spiritually gifted does not equate to spiritual maturity.

Paul urges us to see the truth of ourselves and live in the light of it.  If we do, it will be impossible to live a prideful life.  We should see ourselves in light of God’s gift of saving faith with no basis for ourselves being superior.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 22, Day 2: John 16:5-11

Summary of passage:  Jesus explains the Counselor (Holy Spirit) will come to them once he is gone, which is for their good.  The Spirit will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

Questions:

3a)  Because only then can the Holy Spirit come to guide them and indwell and convict the world of sin, expose righteousness, and judge the devil.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  In person.  Then I would know without a doubt my life would be Christ led.  I think I would have less doubts.  But there are advantages and disadvantages either way.  In reality, we have the Holy Spirit only so growing that is the key.

4)  Sin:  The Holy Spirit shines light in the darkness, exposing the evil.  With the Holy Spirit, one lives by the truth and by the light, which can be plainly seen to unbelievers.  The Holy Spirit cleanses unbelievers to  live a sanctified life.

Righteousness:  Sins pollute us and make us feel unclean and prideful.  The humble are exalted and those who admit they are sinners.  Those who keep the law and God’s commands become conscious of sin, repent, and therefore righteous before God.

Judgment:  God judges sinners but those who confess in faith are sanctified before God. The devil blocks unbelievers from seeing the light.  Through faith, grace, and mercy, we became alive in Christ and obedient to God.

Conclusions:  Back to John after 1 John is such a relief.  Much smaller chunks of the word to intake and digest.

End Notes: Peter had asked this question earlier (John 13:36) and Thomas asked a similar question (John 15:5). Peter was diverted immediately and he made no real attempt to find out where Jesus was going.  He had been concerned with the thought of parting with Jesus, not with that of the Master’s destination. He was only thinking of what it meant for himself for Jesus to leave.  Grief had distracted them.

Jesus does not say why the Holy Spirit would not come until after his departure.

Nevertheless (But in the NIV) is one of the great words of the Bible, meaning despite all of that.   “It tell you the truth” is to emphasize Jesus’ words.

The Holy Spirit will be better for believers than his physical presence–Jesus could now be with every believer every moment of the day.  Our belief is greater since we can’t see Jesus.  We understand Jesus better.  We obviously are closer to him.

Sin is the truth about man, righteousness is the truth about God, judgment is the inevitable combination of these two truths.  Apart from sin’s convicting work, people can never see themselves as sinners.

“Convict” in the Greek means to expose, refute, and convince.  The Holy Spirit would bring the truth and a realization of man’s shame and hopelessness without God in their lives.

Sin is unbelief, the rejection of God and His Son, which the Holy Spirit reveals.  Jesus was righteousness which the Holy Spirit reveals.  The Holy Spirit reveals that Satan will be judged.  The Holy Spirit works in the world and in hearts to reveal these truths to all.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 22, Day 2: Revelation 17:1-2

Summary of passage:  An angle beckons John to come and see the prostitute who committed adultery with the kings of the earth and intoxicated the inhabitants of the earth as well.

Questions:

3a)  “The punishment of the great prostitute”

b)  All of earth’s inhabitants including the kings of the earth

4)  Idolatry

5a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not sure what BSF is going for here.  The definition of the word “appeal” according to Webster’s Dictionary is “the power of arousing a sympathetic response; attraction.”  No one immediately comes to mind.  I like certain politicians and celebrities and heads of state etc because they are personable.  Does that mean I agree with them or support them 100%?  No.  But sympathy?  Yes.  A very basic human emotion.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Any attraction of the world.  Desire for material objects and a nice life I’d say.  It’s not even that I want more.  It’s more I’d like to be secure in my future and in the present. Not sure that is taking away from God however.

Conclusions:  Question 5 is out of place.  Big time.  I don’t think the prostitute was a public figure so why this analogy was chosen I’m not sure.  The question could have been more effective if it asked who in your life appeals to you.  I would say more people have those close to them or acquaintances they admire more so than public figures–basically unknowns.  Has no relevance to the passage whatsoever.

End Notes:  Revelation 17 & 18 will be about the fall of Babylon which represents the world system and its judgment which reaches its climax during the Great Tribulation.

In the Old Testament Babylon was associated with evil since it was the nation of Babylon that conquered the Jews and shipped them off.  In John’s day, Babylon is Rome and the Roman Empire.  In the End Times, it will be the entire world.

Babylon is the essence of all evil.  Since Genesis 11 when the Tower of Babel was built, Babylon is the great prostitute here.

Since its one of the angels from the bowl judgments we just witnessed in Revelation 16 we can conclude this takes place during the Great Tribulation as well.

Some scholars say Babylon represents 3 systems:  1)  Religious system (Revelation 17)  2)  World system (Revelation 18)  3)  A literal city (Revelation 18).

Some scholars say the woman is Rome and the beast is the Roman Empire.  I prefer the entire world view.

Punishment is rendered judgment in other Bible translations.  There is no doubt here:  the prostitute or Babylon or the world will face judgment and punishment.  She represents idolatry (Jeremiah 3:6-9; Ezekiel 16:30; Hosea 4:11-12).  The Old Testament refers to many wicked cities as prostitutes such as Ninevah (Nahum 3:4), Tyre (Isaiah 23:16-17), and Jerusalem (Ezekiel 16:15) due to their immoralities.

History of Babylonian Religion:  The religion of Babylon was founded by the wife of Nimrod, Noah’s great grandson according to legend.  She was a high priestess who claimed she gave birth to a son conceived by a miracle.  This son, named Baal, was considered a savior and he also was killed and brought back to life according to Babylonian belief.  All of this predates Christianity.

Revelation 17:15 tells us the waters the prostitute sits on are “peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages”.  False religion.

Revelation 14:8 mirrors Revelation 17:2:  “Fallen is Babylon gate Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”

The kings and inhabitants were drunk on idolatry.  Worshipping false gods instead of the One, True God.  This has nothing to do with marriage because the kings and the inhabitants are considered pagans since they are worshipping false gods and pagans don’t marry their gods.

In conclusion, the great prostitute leads people away from God as we’ve seen throughout history and will continue to see until the Second Coming.

Fun Fact:  Babylon is mentioned 287 times in Scripture, more than any other city except Jerusalem.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 22, Day 2: Numbers 20:1-13

Summary of passage:  After 38 years of wandering, Miriam died (scholars date this as the first month of the 40th year of wandering).  Again, grumbling by the Israelites against Moses and Aaron because there is no water.  Same complaints about food, etc.  Moses and Aaron feel down at the Tent of Meeting.  The glory of the Lord appeared and told Moses to speak to a rock with his staff and water would appear.  Moses struck the rock twice with his staff and water rushed out.  However, God rebukes Moses and Aaron for his lack of faith and sentences them to die before the Promised Land is reached as well.

Questions:

3)  It is merely mentioned in passing.  Acts of honor or mourning are not mentioned and life seems to move on quickly after her death.  It shows how the older generation is dying and meeting God’s judgment upon them.

4a)  As soon as there’s trouble or life becomes difficult or something doesn’t go their way, the Israelites blame Moses and Aaron.  The people had already faced such an obstacle and God provided.  So why not trust God now?

b)  It’s hard to say here without a tone of voice.  They could be exaggerating but thirst is a powerful motivator and not having water (and we’re not told for how long) can drive people insane.

5)  The Lord provides for the Israelites physical needs (food, water, etc) as He always does. He angers over their lack of faith and punishes accordingly.  Although both are sins (grumbling), the magnitude appears to differ in God’s eyes.  Hunger and thirst can cloud the mind and desperation sets in.  Lack of faith is a heart issue–one much more serious.

Conclusions:  I wonder what this would have looked like if the Israelites, instead of grumbling, had cried out to God every time.  What a testament that would have been!

No shocker for the rebuke of Aaron.  But Moses?  Scripture is vague here (I wonder if Moses was too embarrassed to write it down) but we know it must have been a grave sin for God to rebuke Moses as such.  Some scholars say Moses didn’t follow directions here.  I notice Moses taking credit for the miracle when he says “we” instead of God.  I can’t imagine Moses’s heartache after all this time and all his faithfulness.  It would drive me close to insanity.

End Notes:  The Israelites are back at Kadesh (see MAP and MAP) where they first told God “no” about entering the Promised Land (Numbers 13:26-28).

Miriam’s death here is important; it showed the Israelites He was serious about everyone dying before entering the Promised Land.  She’s the first of Moses’s family to suffer for their collective sins.  Although Miriam had great moments of faith (Exodus 2:4-8; 15:20-21), one major sin marked her for life.  We see this today in the downfall of politicians or celebrities.  Great lesson for us:  no one is exempt from God’s judgment.

Timeline:  This is the beginning of the last year of wandering.  It appears the Israelites camped at Kadesh here for 3-4 months (based off of Numbers 33:38) perhaps because of Miriam’s death.  Aaron will die four months later.  The bible doesn’t tell a lot of what happened in this 38 years.  Presumably, nothing of consequence as the Israelites merely lived out God’s judgment.

Here we see a new generation of unbelievers as the old generation is dying.

Moses also was not commanded to speak to the nation nor to rebuke there.  Here, we see Moses as we’ve never seen him before–utter contempt for the people he has so often saved from destruction.  We also see pride when he says “we” as if God were not enough.  Moses’s heart had twisted and God obviously didn’t like what He saw.

Moses disobeyed God by striking the rock.  I can just imagine his frustration at the people boiling over.  However, in his anger, he makes a fatal mistake–literally.

Yet God is so gracious and so good and so loving He provides for His people despite their sins.

Moses did not believe God.  He probably remembered back in Exodus 17 where he had to strike the rock.

The punishment was strict.  But as we all know, those who know God are called to a higher standard. Can you imagine the standard Moses had to live up to?  A lot of pressure.  Yet because he was so close to God and a leader, his punishment reflects God’s expectations of those who know Him.  Great lesson for us as well.

Moses’s sin was small compared to the Israelites’ sins.  Yet not in God’s eyes.  God says in Deuteronomy 32:51 that Moses “broke faith” with Him and “did not uphold my [God’s] holiness amongst the Israelites.”  A warning to us all–what we consider as a small sin can be huge to God.

Moses pleads with God to let him go over to the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 3:23-27) and when God says no, Moses blames the people.  Poor, poor Moses.  He has seen time and time again of God reversing His initial punishment, not ridding the land of the Israelites and not giving Miriam leprosy that he thinks for sure God will relent and reverse His position.  But God does not.  Our hearts bleed for him; yet, God remains good and gracious and kind and judging.  His ways, not ours.

The picture of Moses reflecting Jesus here is now tainted.  Moses struck twice; Jesus only once.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 22, Day 2: Matthew 21:18-22

Summary of passage:  The next day as Jesus was traveling back to Jerusalem from Bethany, he was hungry.  Jesus saw a fig tree without fruit and commanded it to never bear fruit again.  The tree withered.  The disciples wondered why the tree withered so quickly.  Jesus said if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.  You can even move a mountain to the sea.

Questions:

3a)  “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” (Mark 11:14).  “May you never bear fruit again!” (Matthew 21:19)

b)  The tree withered.

c)  The religious hypocrites appeared healthy (with leaves) but upon close examination bore no fruit.  Their heart was twisted and unhealthy and they brought no one closer to God.

4a)  He encouraged them to have faith and not to doubt for if you have faith a mountain will throw itself in the sea at your command.  With faith all your prayers will be answered.  Mark adds to believe you have already received whatever you asked for in prayer.  It is about having the right heart and not about appearances.  It is about pleasing God and not man.  You will bear fruit with faith.

b)  As you pray, you must have a repentant, pure heart that is not holding grudges or grievances against others.  Forgive so God may forgive you.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jobs for my husband.  Guidance on which path to take.  God’s will for my life.  Fired from my job that was standing in the way of God’s path for my life.  I am currently praying God moves the monumental mountain of publishing.  I am praying for faith and patience and trust in this respect since rejection is everywhere.

Conclusions:  Again, sent immediately to another passage.  Mark should have been included in the required reading for this day if that were the case.  Good lesson on trusting God to move mountains for you so you can traverse His path.  Straightforward lesson on prayer and faith.

End Notes:  This is the second of Jesus’ two recorded destructive miracles (the other being the pigs that Jesus put demons into in Matthew 8:30-32) and both are not against mankind.

Fig trees typically do not bear leaves without fruit as BSF told us.  Hence, this is a sign of all show and unfruitfulness as the questions draw us to the parallel between the religious hypocrites and Israel in general.  God wants us to be fruitful and not just go through the motions in our lives.

Note Jesus is speaking to his disciples here or followers of him.  This message is for believers.  Have faith and you will have it.  Unbelievers this does not apply.

Note Jesus is hungry.  I love when we see the human side of Jesus!

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 22, Day 2: Genesis 27:1-25

Summary of passage:  Isaac, now old and blind, asks Esau to hunt him some wild game and prepare him a meal at which he will give him his blessing.  Rebekah overheard Isaac tell Esau this so she told Jacob to go and bring her some young goats to prepare for him so that Jacob can go and receive Isaac’s blessing.  Jacob wonders though if Isaac touches him what to do because Esau is hairy and he is not.  His mother said not to worry.

Rebekah prepared the food and then dressed up Jacob in Esau’s clothes.  She covered his hands and neck with goatskins and sent him in to Isaac.  Jacob says he is Esau and bids his father to eat.  Isaac wonders how he found the game so quickly.  Jacob says the Lord granted him success.

Isaac suspects a trick and asks to touch Jacob.  He knows Jacob’s voice but falls for the goatskin trick.  Isaac blessed Jacob but is still unsure if he is Esau or not.  Jacob lies again, saying he is.  Isaac ate of the game.

Questions:

3)  Isaac planned to bless Esau and give him the birthright, which defied God’s plan which He revealed to Rebekah before Esau was even born (Genesis 25:23).  God intended Joseph to have the “older serve the younger.”

4a)  In this passage only, Jacob and Rebekah conspire to gain the blessing by having Jacob pretend to be Esau.  Jacob dressed up in goatskin to simulate Esau’s hair.  He wore Esau’s clothes.  Rebekah cooked a meal for Isaac.  Jacob lied to Isaac about his identity.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Don’t lie or deceive or white lie.  Numerous times I have posted about not lying to your kids so they will trust you in the big things.  HERE and HERE if interested.  Have an open relationship.  Have God at the center.  For if God is the center, love and honesty reign.

5a)  She did everything in her power to have Jacob receive the blessing as God intended.  And it worked.

b)  They were deceptive and involved lies and tricks.  Rebekah would have been better served if she had confronted Isaac about his intentions and told him to pray to God to ask for the truth.

c)  Same as above.  White lies.  Or lies.  Cheating people.  Deceiving people.

Conclusions:  Not happy AT ALL about this filler lesson.  I thought we had milked this passage already and here it shows up again?  Seriously?  Enough with the review.  In my opinion, nothing is learned in this lesson we didn’t already know.  We knew God’s plan.  We knew the deceptions Jacob and Rebekah do.  And we know the deceptions Christians (as all people-not just Christians) do today.  Wasted lesson in my opinion.

My time is valuable.  There’s so much in this world I don’t have time for.  And redundant study of a passage is something I don’t have patience for.  A year-long bible study in this society is a huge commitment.  And if indeed this lesson is just to stretch it out I have qualms with that.  I’d rather end a week earlier.  I have no problems being done in April.

In my class, you can tell people are dropping out.  Not as many women are coming nor kids.  This happens every year at the end of the study from my observations.  And maybe lessons like this is part of the reason why.  Something BSF should consider as they are analyzing attendance and growth numbers.