BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 25, Day 2: Romans 13:8-10 with Romans 12:9-21; 1 Corinthians 13:1-8

Summary of passages:  Romans 13:8-10:  Love others and you will fulfill the law.  Love your neighbor as yourself.

Romans 12:9-21:  Paul offers sage words for living:  Love others.  Honor others above yourselves.  Always serve God.  Be joyful, patience, and faithful.  Share with those who are in need.  Practice hospitality.Bless your enemies.  Be happy with others and sad with others.  Be humble and mindful of others.  Do what is right.  Don’t seek retribution.  Be at peace with all.  Let God handle judgment/revenge.  Be kind to your enemies.  Overcome evil with good.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8:  Everything is meaningless (faith, generosity, speaking in tongues, etc) without love.  Love is patient, kind, protects, trusts, perseveres, and never fails.  It does not envy, boast, be prideful, envious or rude.  It keeps no record of wrongs, it’s not easily angered, and it’s not self-seeking.  Love rejoices in truth and does not delight in evil.


3) To love is the one debt that is never paid off.  No matter how much people have loved, they are under obligation to keep on loving. Because out of our selfishness we hurt others instead of love.  Our nature is sin, not love.  We cannot love one another perfectly.  It’s impossible.  Only Jesus can.  Hence, our perpetual need for Christ in our lives.

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Legalistic is when you do things because they are the law.  It’s strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit.  It’s when you put the law above all else including mercy, compassion, and moral values.  Loving obedience is following the law but with the heart.  Paul says here to let love lead the way with grace and mercy at the forefront.  We see this when even though people break laws they are not punished out of mercy and compassion.  Personally, I do lean towards legalistic.  I like laws and like others to follow them.  However, mercy and grace have a place.  It’s a balance we all need.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Others in general.  It reveals how selfish I truly am.  I’m not in denial of this.  I pray about it and make small steps daily towards the kind of love Jesus is/shows/gives.

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The fulfillment of the law is perfect obedience to God and since love is the greatest commandment and the ultimate test it would fulfill God’s desire for us.  Love is the greatest gift (besides His Son) God has given us.  Imagine how our lives would be if we approached every person, every problem, every sin, everything out of love.  We would be compassionate, generous, forthright, and amazing people like Jesus.

Conclusions:  1 Corinthians 13:1-8 is one of the most famous Bible verses and one of my favorites.  It sums up love beautifully and perfectly.  Paul was definitely a gifted and God-led writer.  I love how BSF brings up the fact we are to love with a heart of grace and mercy and not be such a stickler when it comes to the law.  Remember Jesus came to replace the law which wasn’t working and was imperfect with his perfection.  What did Jesus bring?  Love.  Great stuff here!

End NotesRomans 13:8-10:  The only debt we are to hold (both to others and to God) is to love another.  No, this isn’t against borrowing money as Jesus permitted borrowing in Matthew 5:42.  This is just referencing love.

Paul echoes Jesus’ words as recorded in Matthew 22:36-40. This is one of the two commands upon which hang all the Law and the Prophets.

Love your neighbor means to love the people you actually meet with and deal with every day. It is easy for us to love in the theoretical and the abstract, but God demands that we love real people.

Spurgeon says about this passage:  “No man can compass the ends of life by drawing a little line around himself upon the ground. No man can fulfill his calling as a Christian by seeking the welfare of his wife and family only, for these are only a sort of greater self.”

Love is the fulfillment of the law: It is easy to do all the right religious “things” but to neglect love. Our love is the true measure of our obedience to God.

Mosaic law:  Both moral and social responsibilities.

Romans 12:9-21:  (Taken from Lesson 23 Days 3, 4 & 5)

Other translations say:  “Let love be without hypocrisy”.  This isn’t real love at all.  However, I firmly believe in “fake it till you make it.”  Some people are hard to love, but treating them with dignity and respect can grow into love.

We are to hate evil AND cling to what is good.  Most of time we pick only one to do.

Be affectionate and genuine to one another.

This is simply a call for good manners, right?  A lot of kids nowadays have no manners at all.

We are also called to work hard.

“Spiritual fervor” can be translated as “boiling.”

The call to hope in the Bible usually has in mind the call to our ultimate home with Jesus.  Everything we do must be with an eye towards heaven.  Difficult times and troubles do not excuse us to abandon our hope and love and prayer.  Just because we’re having a bad day doesn’t mean you should make others have a bad day.  Always cling to Jesus and what he offers.  It’s a cause for joy (1 Peter 1:3-9).

Leon Morris explains patient as: “denotes not a passive putting up with things, but an active, steadfast endurance.”  Enduring triumphantly which is necessary for Christians because affliction is our inevitable experience (John 16:33; 2 Timothy 3:12)  Tribulation/affliction: “denotes not some minor pinprick, but deep and serious trouble.”

“Faithful in prayer”:  One must not only pray in hard times, but also maintain communion with God through prayer at all times (Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).

God’s people is sometimes translated as “saints”, which all believers are.  The idea here is practice what you preach. Put into action what you believe.  The ancient Greek word for hospitality is literally translated “love for strangers.” In addition, “given” (translated for us as practice) is a strong word, sometimes translated “persecute” (as in Romans 12:14).  The idea is to “pursue” people you don’t know with hospitality.  This is love in action, not just feelings.

We are not to hate anyone, even our persecutors.  Matthew 5:46For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? Persecution can be from inside the church as well.  Jesus told us the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service (John 16:2).  Inquisition anyone?  Holocaust?

Be considerate of the feelings of others instead of waiting on them to be considerate towards you.

Conceited here is pride again.  Other translations say “Do not be wise in your own opinion”, which is thinking you are always right.  Again, reminders from Paul to step outside of ourselves and see others before ourselves.

Matthew 5:38-45. We are to love our enemies and treat well those who treat us badly.

Note Paul’s caveat:  If it is possible.  It may not always be possible since we cannot control others.  But he says do your part.

If you trust God, then you know it’s not necessary to avenge.  God will handle it.

Do good to your enemies.  “Heaping burning coals on his head” most likely refers to a “burning conviction” that our kindness places on our enemy.  It may bring about his repentance.  Or, some think it refers to the practice of lending coals from a fire to help a neighbor start their own – an appreciated act of kindness.

Either way we see that we can destroy our enemy by making him our friend.

Great read on God’s vengeance and the heaping coals HERE

1 Corinthians 13:1-8:   The Corinthians were enamored with spiritual gifts, particularly the gift of tongues. Paul reminds them even the gift of tongues is meaningless without love.  It is nothing but empty noise.

The ancient Greek word translated tongues has the simple idea of “languages” in some places (Acts 2:11 and Revelation 5:9). This has led some to say the gift of tongues is simply the ability to communicate the gospel in other languages, or it is the capability of learning languages quickly. But the way tongues is used here shows it can, and usually does, refer to a supernatural language by which a believer communicates to God. There is no other way to understand the reference to tongues of angels.

In Paul’s day, many Jews believed angels had their own language, and by the Spirit, one could speak it. The reference to tongues of angels shows that though the genuine gift of tongues is a legitimate language, it may not be a “living” human language, or may not be a human language at all. Apparently, there are angelic languages men can speak by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Poole has a fascinating comment, suggesting that the tongues of angels answer to how God may speak to us in a non-verbal way: “Angels have no tongues, nor make any articulate audible sounds, by which they understand one another; but yet there is certainly a society or intercourse among angels, which could not be upheld without some way amongst them to communicate their minds and wills to each other. How this is we cannot tell: some of the schoolmen say, it is by way of impression: that way God, indeed, communicates his mind sometimes to his people, making secret impressions of his will upon their minds and understandings.”

Prophecy, knowledge, and faith to do miracles are likewise irrelevant apart from love. Paul, quoting the idea of Jesus, refers to faith which could remove mountains (Matthew 17:20).   Yet even with this kind of faith we are nothing without love.

Excellent commentary on legalism HERE

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 25, Day 2: John 18:28-32

Summary of passage:  Jesus was taken to Pontius Pilate’s house and addressed outside so his Jewish captors could remain clean.  They took him there to be tried under Roman law because Roman law allowed executions.


3)  They would become unclean if they entered Pilate’s palace and they wanted to eat the Passover meal.  More concerned about food than the life of a man.  Hypocrites.

4)  Jewish law does not allow executions but Roman law does.  Pilate tried to have the Jews try him.  He will be crucified and flogged.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m not one for excuses and I try to do what is right.

Conclusions:  We’re marching along with Jesus to his death and are seeing everything people will do to kill him–doing things they normally wouldn’t do probably.  The sad thing is man hasn’t changed.

End Notes:  John leaves out how Jesus was first presented before the council recorded in Matthew 26:57-68 and the official, daylight meeting of the Sanhedrin in Luke 22:66.  Thus, the Jews have condemned Jesus to death and now need the Romans to carry it out.

The palace or praetorium was likely at the Roman Fortress Antonia, where Pilate held court and conducted public business.  It was the commander’s headquarters.  The word is better translated judgment hall.  Palace is a misnomer.

We see the hypocrisy here as the Jews refused to break relatively small commands regarding ceremonial defilement, but broke much greater commands in rejecting God’s Messiah and condemning an innocent man to death.  The law stated they couldn’t come into contact with unclean Gentiles or enter an unclean home with leaven.

“Eat the Passover”:  This statement introduces a controversy, namely this – was the Last Supper a Passover meal, and was Jesus crucified on the Passover or the day following? This statement in John 18:28 seems to indicate that Passover was the coming day, the day Jesus would be crucified and that the Last Supper was the day before Passover. Yet several passages seem to indicate that the Last Supper was a Passover meal (Matthew 26:18, Mark 14:12, 14:16, Luke 22:15). The best solution to this difficult chronological problem seems to be that Jesus was crucified on the Passover, and the meal they had the night before was as Passover meal, held after sunset (the start of the day in Jewish reckoning). We can speculate that Passover lambs were sacrificed on both days, a necessity due to the massive number of lambs sacrificed in Jerusalem at the temple on Passover (later described by Josephus as being more than 200,000).–Taken from

It was early, perhaps before 6 am and we see Pilate’s irritation.  The religious leaders did not expect objections from Pilate.  He was a ruthless man, known for his corruption, his acts of insolence, his rapine, his habit of insulting people, his cruelty, his continual murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never-ending gratuitous and most grievous inhumanity.  The Jews are evasive cause they know the charges are trumped up and false.  Luke 23:2 does have a more specific answer.

Josephus tells us, that it was not lawful to hold a court of judgment in capital cases, without the consent of the Procurator.  Besides, Jewish law allowed for death by stoning.  Only the Romans could crucify.

The Jews were the ones who wanted Jesus dead.  He wasn’t really on the radar as an enemy of Rome.  The Jews were the ones who made him so.  Tragic.

Who was Pontius Pilate?  Pilate was the Roman procurator or regional ruler for Judea at the time of Jesus’ death from 26-36 AD.  His early life is unknown and most of what we know before Jesus is speculation like how he came to be governor.  Some say it was punishment.  Others say it was political connections.  Governors were mainly in charge of tax and financial matters but because Judea was so difficult and troublesome a province the governor there answered directly to the emperor and had authority over judicial matters as well.

Most governors hated being posted to so distant a post but Pilate seems to enjoy it.  He was cruel to them as he tried to force Rome upon them.  Pilate was in Jeruasalem to keep the peace during Passover.  He was staying at Herod’s Palace near the temple.  He didn’t want to offend the Jews nor condemn an innocent man so he kept trying to get Jesus set free.  Eventually, he succumbed to politics and sentenced Jesus to death.

Judea was a source of turmoil as the Jews hated Rome.  He didn’t want to deal with Jesus and tried sending him to Herod instead.  He asked, “What is truth?” and didn’t see truth right in front of him.

He condemned Jesus to be rid of him and keep the peace between Rome and the Jews.  Pilate would be out of power a few years later for massacring Samaritans and after that he disappears from history with only unsubstantiated claims he killed himself.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 25, Day 2: Revelation 20:1-3

Summary of passage:  An angel bound Satan in chains and threw him into the Abyss (hell) for 1000 years after which time he will be set free for a short time.


3a)  An angel coming down from heaven with the key to the Abyss.

b)  1000 years and then he’d be set free for a short time.

4)  God is the one who has power over Satan and controls him and limits his actions.

5a)  John says how Satan corrupts people to carry out his desires.  Satan is a murderer and a liar.  2 Corinthians says how Satan has blinded unbelievers so they can’t see the light.  1 Peter says to be alert because Satan prowls around looking to devour people.  In essence, Satan is always lurking, ready to snatch us if we’re not grounded in God.

Note:  We looked up these same verses in Lesson 16 Day 2 Question 4 with almost the exact same question with regards to God’s protection over the pregnant woman.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We’ve had this question many times before.  I know God wins so I have the utmost confidence I am doing His work.

Conclusions:  I like the emphasis on how Satan’s power is limited and we must keep that in mind when bad things happen in this world.  God is the one in control and Satan is under His thumb.  There is a TON here so please keep reading for more insights.

End Notes:  These last 3 chapters of Revelation reflects many of the subjects and themes of the first 3 chapters of Genesis.

This is an unidentified angel.  Thus, it is not Michael, Gabriel, or Jesus.  This speaks volumes to the importance of the devil.  He’s dealt with by you and me.  He holds a key which symbolizes authority and power over the Abyss, presumably given by Jesus since he’s the one in possession of the key (Revelation 1:18).  Chains represent imprisonment and binding.

Note the angel is “coming down” from heaven and Satan is on the earth.  Again, Satan serves God’s purposes.  God is high above, in control.  He conquers Satan, not us.

Jude 6 tells us fallen angels are bound with everlasting chains, awaiting judgment for the great Day.

We first saw the Abyss in Revelation 9:1-3 when either Satan or an angel (good or evil) was given the key and he opens it and releases locusts into the world as part of the Trumpet Judgments.

Satan is bound up and is unable to “deceive the nations anymore.”  This DOES NOT MEAN he’s not deceiving individual humans.  1 Peter 5:8 tells us Satan will continue to deceive us until Christ returns.  In all of Revelation, the Dragon or Satan has been raising up nations to war against Christ and deceive the world.  Daniel 2:44 says the nations or kingdoms will end and this is what we are witnessing here.  Isaiah 14:15 predicts this as well.

Any temptation to sin during the Millennium must come from within those people who are born after the kingdom begins. It’s assumed that all of Satan’s demons or fallen angels are also imprisoned at this time (Isaiah 24:21-23).

God’s word is our most powerful weapon since Satan can no longer deceive the nations with his lies.  Counter lies with Truth.  Always.

Explanation of the Millennium or 1000 years:  Millennium is straight out of Latin:  “mille” means a thousand and “annum” means a year.  It is used 6 times by John in the book of Revelation.  There are many different views of this Millennial period and if it is literal or not.  Here are some arguments made:

Postmillennialists believe the church will bring about a time of peace and prosperity before Christ returns in this age through the preaching of the gospel.  This was a popular 19th century view.  This period will end with Christ returns, the dead are resurrected and final judgment is administered.

Premillennialists believe Christ will return to earth and reign for 1000 years which will be a time of peace and prosperity before the millennial earth.  Satan will be bound up during this time before his final revolt when he is set free.  This is the predominate view of today supported by Psalm 72, Isaiah 2:2-4, Isaiah 11:4-9, Jeremiah 23:5-6, Luke 1:32-33, Matthew 5:18, Luke 19:12-27, among many, many other passages.  Scholars here point to more than 400 verses in more than 20 different passages in the Old Testament which deal with this time when Jesus Christ will rule and reign personally over planet earth.

This view has people left on earth after the rapture and the Great Tribulation who will face judgment (Matthew 25:31-46) and be deemed worthy to enter Jesus’ Millennial kingdom or be sent to Hell for all of eternity.

Amillennialists believe this time period is not literal; it is figurative, a spiritual reign.  Christ is reigning right now in heaven not on earth.  This was the predominant view since Augustine and held by the early Roman Catholic church right up until the Reformation.

What do we know about the Millennium?  Israel will be the leading nation on earth (Isaiah 2:1-3, Ezekiel 17:22-24).  Jesus will reign  (Isaiah 2:1-5; 9:7; Zechariah 14:9) with no war  (Isaiah 2:1-5). King David will rule over Israel (Isaiah 55:3-5, Jeremiah 30:4-11, Ezekiel 34:23-31, Ezekiel 37:21-28, Hosea 3:5).  Israel will be blessed (Amos 9:11-15; Isaiah 62:2-3) and the temple will be restored (Ezekiel 40-48, Ezekiel 37:26-28, Amos 9:11, Ezekiel 20:39-44).  Saints will have jobs Luke 19:11-27, Revelation 20:4-6, Revelation 2:26-28; 3:12,22, 1 Corinthians 6:2-3). God will be number one (Zechariah 13:1-9).  There will be no sickness nor disease (Isaiah 29:18).

It is also the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 12:2-3) and David (2 Samuel 7:16) will be fulfilled (Luke 1:31-33; Romans 11:15, 29)

How long is the 1000 years?  No one knows.  Many see these numbers as symbolic and they point to the fact most of Revelation’s numbers are symbolic in nature.  In early Christian writings 1000 years was used figuratively for the eternal blessing of the redeemed.  However, it could be a literal 1000 years where Jesus reigns victoriously and shows a world without Satan and the absolute holiness of God.

In Sum:  Satan will be bound and there will be peace for 1000 years before he is released for “a short time” to do evil once again.  Is this the time of Jesus’ reign on earth? You decide.

Note Satan’s 4 names in verse 2:

1)  Dragon  The persecutor of Christ and his people (Revelation 12:17)

2)  Ancient serpent  (Genesis 3:13)  the one in the garden.

3)  Devil  Slanderer or accuser (Revelation 12:10)

4)  Satan  Adversary.  Enemy of God, God’s people, and God’s creation.

We’ve read this before in Lesson 16:  Revelation 12:9:  “The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.”

Fun Fact:  1000 is 10 to the third power.

What’s important here?  Regardless of the 1000 years interpretation, Jesus will return and Jesus will establish his kingdom here on earth.  The rest is all speculation and ultimately not important.  Jesus is coming!  That’s all we need to know!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 25, Day 2: Numbers 26:1-27:11

Summary of passage:  Numbers 26:  Another census was ordered by God of the men who were over 20 years of age by family.  Reuben numbered 43, 730.  Simeon numbered 22,200 including the line of Korah which didn’t die out.  Gad numbered 40,500.  Judah numbered 76,500.  Issachar numbered 64,300.  Zebulun numbered 60,500.  Manasseh numbered 52,700.  Ephraim numbered 32,500.  Benjamin numbered 45,600.  Dan numbered 64,400.  Asher numbered 53,400.  Naphtali numbered 45,400.  Total number of men:  601,730.

God ordered that each inheritance of land was to be distributed by lot and according to numbers so larger clans would get more land and smaller clans smaller plots.

The Levites numbered 23,000 but were counted separately because they would receive no inheritance of land since they were the priests.

All those counted had previously not been counted in the Desert of Sinai for they all died except for Caleb and Joshua.

Numbers 27:  Zelophehad’s daughters approached Moses and Eleazar and asked for their father’s inheritance since he had died and had left no sons as an heir.  Moses brought the case to the Lord who established a lasting ordinance which said if there are no sons, then the property goes to the daughters or the nearest living male relative.


3a)  They were last counted in the Desert of Sinai about a year after they left Egypt.  So it’s been 38 years.

b)  In the first census there were 603,550.  In the second census there were 601,730.  A difference of only 1820 men.

c)  All had died–603,548–except two men–Caleb and Joshua.

d)  For the same reasons the first census was taken:  First, because God said to do it.  Second, to find out how many men they had able to fight for the Promised Land.

4)  They had courage to approach Moses and Eleazar as women in this culture.  But they believed they were right in having property for their families, which God agreed as well.  They understood God would provide for them and they asked in faith.  However, greater faith is shown here in that they asked God BEFORE they had reached the Promised Land about land they did not yet possess.

This shows they believed God’s words that they would inherit the land–something which we have seen time and time again with the Israelites that they didn’t have faith enough to take the Promised Land.  The new generation has grown in faith, haven’t they?  And God uses women here to tell us so!  Awesome!

Conclusions:  Fascinating how the numbers are almost identical.  God had completely replaced his people with the next generation like the human body replaces every cell every few years.  I wonder what Caleb and Joshua were thinking as the only “old guys” to make it.  How humbling!

Great story to include of the girls asking for their rightful inheritance.  Note how they stood as one–something we women need to do more of instead of fighting against each other. God is so just and merciful and loving of all His people–men and women alike.  Great example of stepping out in faith and asking God for what you believe is your right and in instances where God has told you is your right.

Loved this lesson.  We see God’s will and love everywhere and no more clearer here–in the numbers of the people and in his care for the daughters of Zelophehad (an obscure guy who was probably overlooked by his cohorts but not by God who cares for all His people equally).  God rewards faithfulness and it is displayed prominently in Numbers 26 & 27.  God is good!

End Notes:  Numbers 26:  Reuben’s tribe lost 2,770 men since the first census (6%).  Note that Dathan and Abiram came from here.  Scholars speculate that part of Dathan’s and Abiram’s resentment towards Moses was because Moses was descended from a younger son, Levi.  Both Dathan and Abiram were from Reuben, the first-born from Jacob.  They were a warning sign.

Differences in Population by Tribe in 38 years:

Reuben lost 2,770 (6%).

Simeon lost 37,100 men (63%).

Gad lost 5,150 (11%).

Judah gained 1,900 (3%).

Issachar gained 9,900 (18%).

Zebulun gained 3,100 (5%).

Manasseh gained 20,500 (64%).

Ephraim lost 8,000 (20%).

Benjamin gained 10,200 (29%).

Dan gained 1,700 (3%).

Asher gained 11,900 (29%).

Naphtali lost 8,000 (15%).

Total:  A loss of 1,820 or a .3% decline.

Analysis of the numbers:  This is fascinating.  Most populations grow over time.  However, note the Israelites stayed the same.  They were wandering around the desert, doing nothing, accomplishing nothing, waiting.  They were stagnant.  Nothing produced.  No further advancement in society or civilization.  God was probably very, very sad.

[Side Note:  I’m sure all you mathematicians LOVED this lesson!!]

Yet hope is seen:  The tribes who undoubtedly grew in faith, grew in numbers.  The tribes who undoubtedly sinned and grew away from God lost numbers.  God rewards the faithful and punishes the unfaithful.

Don’t forget God ordered the Levites not to receive any property in Numbers 18:20 because their inheritance (God Himself) is much greater.

Numbers 27:  Daughters did receive a dowry when married so they weren’t completely forgotten before this new law instituted by God.

Note what Moses did:  Sought God for the answer.  A great example for us.

We will see Zelophehad’s daughters again in Numbers 36 because this rule now posed a problem when the daughters married.  Numbers 36 lays out for laws for this situation given once again by God Himself.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 25, Day 2: Matthew 25:1-13

Summary of passage:  In the parable of the Ten Virgins, Jesus tells the story of 10 young virgin women who grabbed lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five were prepared by bringing extra oil and five weren’t.  The five who didn’t bring extra oil went back to town to buy more and while they were gone, the bridegroom arrived.  They went into the wedding banquet with him.  The late-comers, the 5 who went back to town, were not allowed in because the door had already been barred shut.


3a)  They were all virgins.  They all had lamps they took out to meet the bridegroom.  They all waited for the bridegroom and all fell asleep doing so.  All woke up at the same time and trimmed their lamps.

b)  The wise virgins are believers who have accepted Jesus into their hearts.  The foolish ones are generally all non-believers but specifically those who have heard of Jesus but haven’t committed to him.

4a)  Matthew 7:13-14:  We must walk down the narrow, small road and enter the gate that leads to life that only a few find.

Matthew 7:24-27:  We must put into practice Jesus’ words because then we will be like a house with a firm foundation that no storm can topple.

Matthew 24:4-5, 42, 44:  Watch out for Christ for no one knows when he will come.  Watch out for those pretending to be Christ.

John 1:12:  Believe in Christ and you will become a child of God, born of God.

1 Thessalonians 5:4-8:  Be alert and self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet so we can receive salvation through Jesus and live together with him.  Encourage one another and build each other up.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24:  Christ will allow us to be blameless at his coming and will give us peace and sanctification.

[I liked 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 better:  Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, test everything, hold on to the good, avoid evil, heed prophecy, have a fire within your Spirit.  Great stuff!]

b)  John 3:5-8:  You must have the Holy Spirit (accept Jesus) within to enter the kingdom of God.  When you accept Jesus, you are born again with the Spirit.

Romans 8:9:  If you have the Spirit, you belong to Christ and are controlled by the Spirit and not controlled by a sinful nature.

Ephesians 1:13-14:  Once you accept Jesus, you are marked with a seal of the Holy Spirit which guarantees our inheritance in God’s kingdom as His possession until we are redeemed at the Second Coming.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  These passages tell us that Jesus knows us and he calls us.  We are alive by the Holy Spirit and His children.  I am assured that with Jesus I will be at the wedding banquet on time!

Conclusions:  Very straight-forward parable about being prepared for Jesus.  Accept him now or you may not be at the wedding banquet.  Lots of verses today (and tomorrow) to look up so allow extra time to answer these.

Map of Mount of Olives:  As you can see, it’s in between Bethany where Jesus is staying and Jerusalem where Jesus is headed each day.

End Notes:  This chapter is a continuation of the Olivet Discourse.  Jesus is still speaking to his disciples on the Mount of Olives.  He is continuing the theme from Matthew 24 to be ready for his return.  He uses an example that every Jew would have understood 2000 years ago (which we don’t necessarily get).

It was Jewish tradition that after the betrothal, the marriage would take place and the groom would come for his bride at an unexpected time.  The brides’ maids who were usually about 10 in number would go out and meet him with lamps and bring him to his bride.

Breaking tradition, Jesus’ analogy has him as the bridegroom.  In the Old Testament, God had always been described as the bridegroom (Isaiah 54:4-5; 62:5; Jeremiah 2:2; Hosea 1-3, and many more).

Even though the brides’ maids slept, they were prepared.  And when the call went out in the middle of the night (an unexpected time), they answered.

If oil does indeed represent the Holy Spirit, then the truth is that without the Holy Spirit, you are not ready for Jesus.

We should be constantly re-filling ourselves with the Holy Spirit else we enter a period of lackadaisical living–unmotivated, purposeless, passionless, laziness, and unproductive overall.  This is my prayer today:  to fill me up more so I may overcome this period in my life.

The penalty is too severe if we are not prepared–eternal life without Jesus in Hell.  Are you willing to pay it?

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 25, Day 2: Genesis 34:1-12

Summary of passage:  Dinah was visiting her friends in town when Shechem, the son of Hamor, saw her and raped her.  He loved her and spoke tenderly to her and asked his father to get her for his wife.

So Shechem’s father came to discuss the situation with Jacob and Jacob and his sons were distressed over what happened.  Hamor asked for Dinah to marry his son along with suggesting they all intermarry and settle amongst them.  Hamor said he’d pay whatever bride price was asked.


3)  No.  First, it seems against God’s plan of having him settle in Bethel (Genesis 31:13). He is committing the same sin as Lot–settling near a pagan city with his young kids who are open to influence.

4a)  Yes.  She should have been forbidden to visit the women of the land alone and unprotected.  We must remember this is ancient times where women had no rights and were often treated as animals.   A woman alone could be taken by any man with no consequences.

b)  Lists God’s will of having His people separate from the world and to touch no unclean thing or be yoked to ungodly spouses.  Jacob should have made an effort to stay separate from the pagan Canaanites but he didn’t.

c)  No.  No apology.  Nothing.  But in that culture, Shechem committed no crime.

d)  They seem to treat their women with more respect and they have influence in their lives.  Jacob calls Rachel and Leah to him and asks them BEFORE he flees from Laban and takes away their father’s livestock (Genesis 31).  Abraham drives out Hagar and Ishmael because of Sarah’s wishes, not his own (Genesis 21:10; 16:6).  Rebekah schemed to have Jacob receive the blessing (Genesis 27), which was God’s desires.  God revealed to Rebekah (Genesis 25:23) His will, and not Jacob.

5)  Verses 9-10 is the devil at work.  Hamor is tempting them to intermarry with the Canaanites and adopt their ways and culture and their gods.  Although a ruse for their violent plans, Jacob’s sons suggested they become “one people” (verse 16), something which must have saddened God’s heart greatly.

Conclusions:  This passage, as sad as it is, speaks volumes of ancient culture.  It shows how women were merely objects to be possessed with no rights and how men could slaughter an entire village and get away with it with no repercussions whatsoever. Lawlessness, sinfulness, deceit–all in need of God and an order to life.

Even the whole idea of a bride price where women were bought and sold based on whims (and more likely a desire for power and alliances or what-have-you) which lasted up until modern history (and still happens in some cultures today) is very disheartening and sad.

I know that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob showed a higher respect for women but it was no where near today’s levels or what it should have been.  Just look at Leah and Rachel–a fight that destroyed the family all based on the pressure to bear sons (which was the primary goal of women).  Very sad.

It’s very hard for us to understand what it must have been like 4000 years ago for Dinah or Rachel or Leah or any woman.

It reminds me to be grateful I do live in today’s society where I am able to type these words for all to read.  Where my daughters can do whatever they dream of (as well as me). Where I have the freedom to marry whom I choose and not have kids if I choose. Where I can walk around without fear of what may happen to me.  Where if I am violated, the perpetrator will be punished lawfully.

Where I am a person, made in God’s image, and just as precious as any man.  And not just in God’s eyes.  But in society’s eyes as well.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 25, Day 2: Ephesians 6:10-13

Summary of passage:  Paul concludes with a powerful message:  be strong in the Lord and His power.  Put on the full armor of God so we can withstand the devil’s schemes (which are endless).  Our struggle is a spiritual one, not one made of flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, and powers of the dark world and the evil spiritual forces.

When the day of evil comes we must be armored and ready so that we are the still standing after the assault.


3a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Be strong in your faith and trust in the Lord.  Believe in His mighty power.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Pray all the time.  Pray when you think to pray. Make it a habit.  Read God’s word.  Commit it to memory to use as a weapon against our enemy (ies).  It all comes back to faith.  Believe God has power in your life.  Trust in Him. And give Him control.  He will do the rest.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  With my husband’s job.  I’m just giving it to God.  I tried to take control but nothing is happening so God can deal with it.

4)  Genesis 3:1-5:  The serpent made Eve doubt God.  He made her question her faith and trust in Him by questioning God’s word.

2 Samuel 11:1-4:  The devil used a beautiful woman to make David fall.  Lust.  To which David could not refuse.

Daniel 4:28-30, 37:  The devil used pride in accomplishments to fall Nebuchadnezzar.  God made him crazy, humbling him, so in the end Nebuchadnezzar realized God’s power and the fallacy of pride.

Matthew 4:1-11:  The devil tempted Jesus by questioning his identity (Son of God) and even using God’s words and by offering him all the riches of the world.  Jesus used God’s word to vanquish him.

5)  God is greater than the devil.  After all it was God who threw the devil out of heaven and exiled him to Hell.  The devil’s sole purpose in life is to win souls to his side.  He wants to see all of us fall just like he did.  The devil will never cease in this quest to destroy us.  Everyone is subject to his temptations (even Jesus) and we must be ready to defend ourselves if we are to win.  The devil knows our weaknesses and will use everything he has to bring us down.  It’s up to us to use everything we have to remain standing (verse 13).

Conclusions:  I liked looking at all the famous temptations in the Bible.  As I become more comfortable with the Bible I begin to learn more each and every time I revisit these passages.  Lesson of passage is simply be strong in the Lord or the devil will get you.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 25, Day 2 Isaiah 54

Summary of passage:  Sing, O barren woman (those who have never borne a child) because there are more children of desolate woman than otherwise  (you are not alone in your shame).  Enlarge your tent for you will spread out (God will prosper you) and your descendants will dispossess nations and settle desolate cities.

Do not be afraid nor fear disgrace for you will not suffer nor be humiliated.  You will forget the shame of your youth (exile) and remember no more the reproach of widowhood (shameful back then).  The Maker is your husband, the Lord Almighty, Holy One, Redeemer.  He will be there when you are rejected, deserted, or distressed in spirit.

God says in anger I hid my face from you but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you.  I have sworn not to be angry with you nor rebuke you again.  His unfailing love for us will not be shaken nor will his covenant of peace be removed.

The Lord will build you (Israel) with precious stones and strength your walls and battlements.  He will teach all of our sons and they will have peace.  He will establish us in righteousness and remove terror and tyranny.  Those who attack you will surrender to you.

I created you and the destroyer.  Therefore, no weapon will prevail nor any tongue will accuse you.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord.


3)  A barren woman (one who has never borne a child) who can now sing because now there are more children of desolate woman than of married woman (those who are unfortunate and shamed from the exile), a deserted wife or a young married one who has been rejected (God will rescue Israel from shame as widowhood brought back then and be as a husband–a greater husband than an earthly husband can be), and an afflicted city lashed by storms and not comforted (to those who feel beaten, afflicted, and uncomforted God promises riches and strength).

4)  54:1-3:  Israel will be released from the shame, embarrassment, and humiliation of captivity and exile (like a barren woman felt in Isaiah’s time) because there are more desolate children than happy children.  God will prosper Israel–they will have to enlarge their tents and spread out–both in number of descendants and in prosperity.  The descendants will dispossess nations and settle in desolate cities.

54:4-10:  Do not be afraid nor fear disgrace; Israel will not suffer shame or humiliation like a widow felt. For God is Israel’s husband, the Holy One, the Redeemer and He will call Israel back to their lands and be all things to His people.  The people felt abandoned and angry but God will bring them back with kindness and compassion.  God swears not to be angry with them or rebuke them again.  His unfailing love for Israel will not be shaken nor his covenant of peace be removed.

54:11-17:  God will build His people with riches (those who feel afflicted, lashed, and uncomforted).  All Israel’s sons will be taught by the Lord and will have peace.  Israel will be established in righteousness, tyranny will be far away, terror be removed, and fear vanquished.  Those who attack you will surrender to you.  No weapon forged against the Lord’s servants nor any tongue that accuses them shall prevail as God made both man and the destroyer.  Nothing will defeat His people.

Revelation 21:10, 18-21:  In the New Jerusalem the city will be built of pure gold and precious stones.  It will be made new and be indestructible to the Devil.

5a)  God will never be angry nor rebuke Israel again.  He will never remove his unfailing love nor his covenant of peace.  He will remove the people’s shame, embarrassment and humiliation and replace it with strength and riches.  He is our husband, the Holy One, the Redeemer.  God is all things to us and for us.  He will establish us in righteousness.  No weapon nor tongue forged will come against His people.  He will defeat all enemies (including the Devil) since He created all things.  He showers us with compassion, prosperity, and everlasting kindness.  God is faithful to His promises and to His people.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord.

What does God not reveal in this passage?  Does it get any better than His words here?

b) I see a change in attitude from the previous chapters of Isaiah where God was so angry at His people He sent them into exile.  But given the fact He plans to reconcile all of His people (this is looking at it from God’s point of view before He sent Jesus), how can He remain mad at His people?  It’s like a parent when after their kid accidentally burned the house down (extreme example of misbehavior), the parent forgives and his or her love does not vanish for the child.

In Isaiah 52:13-53:12, God is describing His servant whom He sent to save man from his sins.  This is the greatest act God has and ever will done for man (by sacrificing His son for our sins so we can be with God).  This is the greatest act of love for all of mankind.  In Isaiah 54, God is outpouring His love and compassion on His people, promising to be as a husband to them, to prosper them, and to vanquish those who come against His people.

So, considering how God was so angry for disobedience He exiled His people to Him revealing His biggest act of love yet (Jesus’s death for His people) only shows to me how much God loved Israel at the time and now and how He can’t stay angry at them long (just like I can’t with my kids and their puppy-dog eyes).

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God’s promise to never be angry nor rebuke His people again gives me great hope, especially when I fail as a human in the course of my life.  That no matter what I do God is there and He loves me even if I sin over and over again.  God will protect me against all things (human and the Devil) and no tongue nor weapon will prevail.  God will be my husband.  As a woman, this one is profound for me.  I usually think of God as a father, not as a husband, which is completely different.  I loved this.  God will be with me as one as my husband is.  Profound and requires deeper pondering.

Conclusions:  Does BSF get any better than this?  Powerful lesson.  Great words from God through Isaiah.

Many times in my earthly marriage (past and occasionally in the present) I do feel distressed in spirit.  Now, I have comfort that God can fill those voids that my husband can’t.  I can see God in a new way that I just didn’t before.

I initially misunderstood question 5b.  The question is not as clear as it should be.  I think BSF is asking this, “Considering God’s reconciliation through His son Jesus (Isaiah 52:13-53:12), why would God have such a drastic change in attitude toward His people in light of the previous chapters where God warned and warned His people and in the end had to resort to punishment and judgment? This is how I’m interpreting the question.

But the underlying message is the same regardless:  God loves us so much He sent His son and promises to protect us always.  God punished his people and exiled them out of His incredible love.  He sent His son our of the same love.

After all the gloom and doom of the many months we endured of Isaiah telling us how horrible we all are, this passage was a breath of fresh air.  Despite all the bad man does and will do, God still loves us.  Always has.  Always will.  Even if we don’t feel that love or we think He had hidden his face from us.

I am grateful for Enduring Word for explaining this passage so I can understand it: