BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 27, Day 3: Romans 15:4-6

Summary of passage:  The Bible was written to encourage us and give us hope.  We are to have unity amongst Christians  so that we can glorify God and Jesus.

Questions:

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Scripture teaches us how to live and gives us hope.  We meet God in Scripture.  We grow closer to God.  We become more like Jesus.  It’s an act of obedience.  I’m realized all those goals:  I’m closer to God, more like Jesus, more patient, and more elucidated on the Word.

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  A spirit of unity is when even we don’t come to the same conclusions on matters of conscience we agree to disagree in love.  I struggle with those who twist the Word of God or don’t believe in God especially when they spout violence and hate.  It’s hard to be patient and pray over them and let God handle it.

9)  We are to all work together for God’s glory despite our differences.  It’s all about Him, not our differences.  When we work together, God’s glory is amplified.  The goal of life as Paul says in Ephesians is to “attain the whole measure of the fullness of Christ”.  We do this with the help of others.  We can’t do this on our own. We were created by God for His glory.  We best glorify Him the stronger we are as a whole.

Conclusions:  Great reminder on building up our Christian brothers.  We can get so caught up in our own narrow lives we forget we are a part of something greater.  As Paul says, if one of us is suffering, we all are.  Help others and you will grow stronger.

End Notes:  [Same as Yesterday’s]  Jesus took fulfilled what was written in God’s word, allowing the Father to vindicate him.

The commandment Jesus fulfilled from Psalm 69:7-9 was written for our learning so that we might have hope, knowing we are doing what is right even when difficult.  “You” refers to God and “me” is the righteous sufferer whom Paul identifies with Christ.

Responding rightly bothers people even more.  No one can hurt God’s children.

Paul then prays for the Holy Spirit to endow this attitude onto the Romans.  Other translations here have “God of patience” instead of endurance.  In essence, Paul is saying wait on God’s plan for your life.  God’s purpose for your life takes time.

Paul encourages believers not to necessarily have the same conclusions but to agree to disagree in love (Ephesians 4:1-6; Philippians 2:1-5).

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 27, Day 3: John 19:31-37

Summary of passage: The Sabbath was the next day and the Jews did not want bodies hanging around so they asked Pilate to take the bodies down. The soldiers went around and broke the legs of the two criminals who were still alive. Jesus had already died so they did not break his legs. Instead, a Roman soldier pierced his side, fulfilling Scripture once again.

Questions:

6)  He was pierced in the side and water and blood flowed from his insides.  This proves Jesus was a man and discounts the Gnostics who say Jesus was never a man and was only a Spirit.  Jesus has to die for us physically in order to take our physical sins away.

7)  Here one lamb (Jesus) sufficed as a sacrifice for all.  There was no cooking involved or sprinkling of blood.  Jesus’ blood spilled and covered all believers’ sins.  Jesus’ bones remained intact according to Jewish tradition of the Passover lamb.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  He was pierced for our sins.  His punishment/death brought us peace with God.  Our spiritual wounds are healed by his wounds.  When Jesus rises again all will experience God’s grace and supplication and mourning of Jesus’ death as they will be cleansed of all sin and impurity.  It deepens my worship.

Conclusions:  Good lesson as we look forward to Jesus’ resurrection and just exactly what it means.  Can’t wait!

End Notes:  The day of Preparation again gives scholars problems as to the exact date of Jesus’ death. The special Sabbath was Passover. Most scholars believe the Passover meal had been eaten on Thursday. The day of Preparation was Friday. The Sabbath would be Saturday.

As we’ve discussed LAST WEEK, the bodies of those crucified would normally hang on the crosses and rot as a sign to others not to break the law. However, the Jewish leaders, concerned about ceremonial pollution on the Passover, requested the bodies removed early. Breaking the legs (known as crucifragium in Latin) would bring asphyxiation on quickly. Men had to push themselves up with their legs in order to breathe while hanging suspended by their hands. Unable to do this, they would die.

Could you imagine? You are suffering on a cross and a guy comes up and wracks you on the legs with a club? The pain! In one sense, it’s a good thing cause you’ll pain will end sooner through death but still…

Mark 15:44-45 tells us that Pontius Pilate asked for confirmation that Jesus was dead. These were seasoned Roman soldiers who knew the look of death. The customary way to confirm death on the cross was to break the legs. However, this centurion did not. Instead, he pierced Jesus, probably meant to be a death blow, and fulfilled prophecy. This could have been out of cruelty as well.

Blood and water flowed and doctors today think this proves Jesus died of a burst heart since the water would come from the watery sack that surrounds the heart known as the pericardium and possibly the heart itself. Typically, in the Old Testament, water and blood was used to cleanse the people. Spurgeon compares this to Adam and Eve who came from his side. From Jesus’ side comes the church.

John tells us he was there to testify to what he saw. Later in one of his letters (1 John 5:6–which we studied in Lesson 21) he described Jesus as He who came by water and blood. This description has puzzled many commentators, unsure if John meant the waters of baptism or the water mentioned in John 19:34.

The not breaking of the legs prophecy of Psalm 34:20, Exodus 12:46, and Numbers 9:12 was unknowingly and accidently (on man’s part) fulfilled. Nevertheless, its exact fulfillment shows the providence and guidance of God, and leads us to believe.

This piercing prophecy of Zechariah 12:10 and 13:6 was unknowingly and accidently (on man’s part) fulfilled. Nevertheless, its exact fulfillment shows the providence and guidance of God, and leads us to believe.

Zechariah also says Jesus will be looked upon, mourned, and petitioned. This is to still to come.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 27, Day 3: Revelation 21:11-21

Summary of passage:  Jerusalem shone with the glory of God.  It had 12 walls with 12 gates with 12 guardian angels.  The names of the 12 tribes were written on the gates.  The city had 12 foundations with the names of the 12 apostles on them.  The city boasted of riches, its walls, foundations, gates, and streets made of precious stones and gold.

Questions:

6a)  Gold, (12 stones for 12 foundations: jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, carnelian, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth, amethyst), and pearls.  Click HERE for precious stones of Bible explained.

b)  They are the same, each representing the 12 Tribes (Click HERE for study last year.  We breezed through this chapter but my End Notes has pictures and a discussion of the breastplate).

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The fact we have the 12 tribes and the 12 apostles inscribed in the walls and foundations shows us:  1) God’s plan for humanity coming to fruition  2)  The meeting of the Old and New Covenants AND the inclusion of both peoples under both covenants as we all walk with the Lord.

Nothing is left to chance with God.  All has meaning.  All is significant.  All leads back to Him.  Some people dismiss the Old Testament as nothing but antiquated laws and rules that don’t apply to them.  These people are sorely mistaken.  All of God’s Word is from Him for us.  We follow and obey all.  This shows God is in control and all links back to His plans for our Salvation and Jesus.

It’s important because God is important.  We need Him, all of Him, and we can’t get any closer than His Word, prayer, and Jesus.

8a)  Glory: How God will create a city for believers out of the most beautiful and durable materials around.  He wants us to have an amazing eternal life.  What to look forward to!

Security:  He has a plan and we don’t need a plan except it being God’s.

Perfect:  His word is perfect.  His reasons are perfect.  He is perfect.

Asked about attributes about God or Jesus (who are the same) in Lesson 2 Day 4, Lesson 14 Day 3, Lesson 24 Day 4)

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s comforting when I don’t know which direction to go that God does know.  He is there for me.  He is waiting for me.  When life gets tough, it doesn’t matter.  All that matters is Him.  All are important for all are God.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The opulence of the Holy City.  I never imagined it so beautiful.  Even now I can’t imagine it.  Heaven on earth.  Awesome!

Conclusions:  Liked the 12 repetition.  A ton here and we’ve barely scratched the surface.  Personal questions can be summed up like this:  Why is God important?  Answer that one and you’ll answer ALL of them from now on.

End Notes:  Some commentators believe this city will be on earth or will be suspended over earth.

The “very precious jewel” is most likely a diamond as the hardest substance on earth and one of the clearest and most beautiful.  I talked earlier about how the name diamond at this time did not exist yet (see HERE for discussion).

This is a real city as described here with walls and gates.  There can be no doubt.  These gates represent security, safety, and well-being.  No unclean may enter.  Isaiah 26:1-2 mentions this wall.  The names of the 12 tribes and apostles on the gates are as a memorial for all they did in God’s plan for humanity.

This vision also fulfills Ezekiel’s vision.  He too saw 12 gates, 12 angels, and the 12 tribes inscribed on the walls (Ezekiel 48:30-35).

Note the 12 apostles are inscribed on the foundation stones.  They brought the foundational message of Christianity–that of Jesus Christ–to the world who is the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20).

Some scholars suggest the arrangement of the gates reflects on the layout of the tribes during the Exodus (Numbers 2).

In Ezekiel’s vision he also saw an angel with a measuring rod in his hand (Ezekiel 40:3).  Ezekiel 40:5 shows this angel going around the outside of the temple area and measuring the various aspects of the temple.  The measuring of the city (and the temple in Ezekiel’s vision) is to show the security found in this city.  We saw this symbol in Revelation 11:1-2.  These vast measurements of the city show the people of God are secure and safe.  It also serves to show the size and scope of the eternal dwelling place and it’s perfect symmetry.

12,000 represents perfection and completion.  We saw this in Revelation 7 with the 144,000 sealed, 12,000 from each tribe.  The Holy of Holies was a perfect square, 20 cubics each way (1 Kings 6:20).  It is where God dwelled with His people.  God’s people here have been made perfect as well (Hebrews 12:22-24).  The Holy of Holies in Solomon’s temple was overlaid with gold as was the entire temple  (1 Kings 6:20-22).

12,000 stadia is about 1500 miles.  This is the distance from Maine to Florida.  This city is huge with plenty of room for God’s people!  It is a perfect measurement either a square or a pyramid.  The entire ground is holy.  144 cubits is about 200 miles and no one is for sure if this is the height of the wall or the width.

The emphasis on clear and glass shows God’s light will be uninhibited and shine everywhere.

In addition to the priest’s breastplates we read in Exodus 28, Isaiah mentions this as well (Isaiah 54:11–13).  Identifying the gemstones precisely is difficult since the names of changed but the idea is there:  this city is beyond our imaginings.  Since its architect is God (Hebrews 11:10) we should expect that.

It’s clear this Holy City of the New Jerusalem is magnificent, glorious, beautiful, and perfect.  All for us!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 27, Day 3: Deuteronomy 28

Summary of passage:  If the Israelites obey all of the Lord’s commands, they will be blessed in everything:  food, livestock, children, defeat of enemies, and everything they lay a hand on.  They will be His holy people.  If the Israelites disobey, they will be cursed in everything they touch, defeated by their enemies, and scattered throughout all the nations (the Diaspora).

Questions:

5)  Obey God and you will be blessed.  Disobey God and face the consequences.

6a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  “Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation.”

b)  After Joshua died, Samaria, Israel, Assyria, Babylon, and the Roman empire.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Probably all areas of my life.

Conclusions:  Granted, there was nothing new here we haven’t read already.  Moses is repeating himself.  Still, this is the first time I can remember in a long time where my answers are one-liners.  I was stumped on 6c.  Too broad.  All I know is I’m a sinner and can improve in every aspect of my walk with Him.

End Notes: The Israelites must decide if they will be cursed or blessed.  Nothing is hidden here.  If you obey and are blessed, you receive everything.  If you disobey and are cursed, you receive nothing.

The consequences of disobedience are almost overwhelming here.  This is purposeful.  Moses was trying to scare the people to obey because disobedience would not be a pretty picture.

The book of Lamentations is the grief suffered after Jerusalem is destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC.  Lamentations 4 describes the hunger and starvation that resulted in women eating their own children.  How tragic.

The total destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 72 AD was horrendous.  Starvation from the siege.  Jewish people were sold into slavery.  There was in-fighting.  Even Christians persecuted the Jews especially in the Middle Ages, mistakenly applying this passage to themselves as being God’s instrument  who should curse the Jews.  The Diaspora.

Yet, God is not done with Israel.  No other nation on earth has lasted as long.  The greats are gone:  Egypt, Rome, Greeks, Persians, Babylonians, Assyria, etc.  Only Israel still stands.  They shall always be His chosen people.  As such, we need to pray for them.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 27, Day 3: Matthew 26:57-68; 27:1-2; John 18:12-14, 19-24

Summary of passages: Matthew 26:57-68; 27:1-2: Jesus was taken before Caiaphas, the high priest and other teachers of the law and elders. Peter followed Jesus to see the outcome. They were looking for false evidence against Jesus so they could kill him but they did not find any despite the false witnesses. Two said Jesus had claimed he could destroy the temple and rebuild it in 3 days. Jesus refused to answer these charges.

Caiaphas asked him if he was the Christ, the Son of God. To this, Jesus did reply and said he would be sitting at the right hand of God and coming on clouds of heaven. Caiaphas tore his clothes and accused Jesus of blasphemy. The Sanhedrin agreed and they spit in his face and slapped him. Then they led him to Pilate.

John 18:12-14; 19-24: Jesus was arrested and brought first to Anna, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest, who was the one who wanted someone to die for the people.

Jesus, weary of being questioned, told Annas that he has always spoken openly and to ask those who heard him these tedious questions. Jesus was struck in the face for his flippant remarks and asked why for he told nothing untrue. Annas sent him to Caiaphas.

Questions:

5a) Annas

b)  Annas was Caiaphas’ father-in-law and an ex-high priest.

6a) Phase 1: The chief priests and Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus (Matthew 26:59-60) but they could not find any.

Phase 2: Two witnesses testified that Jesus had said he could destroy the temple and then have it rebuilt in 3 days. Here Jesus refused to reply. (Matthew 26:61-62)  The Sanhedrin were trying to get Jesus on a charge of trying to destroy the temple–a crime that would result in death.  However, John points out Jesus is speaking about the body (John 2:21) and by Jesus refusing to answer this, the Sanhedrin cannot prove anything.

Phase 3: Jesus was asked if he was the Son of God. He answered in the affirmative and was declared guilty of blasphemy here (even though Jesus was innocent since he is the Son of God), sentenced to death, and smacked around.  (Matthew 26:64-67)

b)  All of the chief priests and elders (the Sanhedrin) met officially to confirm the verdict from last night.  They came to the consensus to put Jesus to death and they bound him and brought him to Pilate. [Read Luke 22:66-71 for details on this trial].

7a) He quoted Daniel 7, saying in the future they would see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven.

b)  Jesus admits he is the Son of God but also says he will be the final judge when he sits at God’s right hand.  The roles will be reversed and he in the end will judge them for all of eternity.

c)  Blasphemy according to Webster’s Dictionary is “the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God; the act of claiming attributes of a deity; irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable.”  Thus, what Jesus was was true:  he is the Son of God and can therefore justly claim attributes of God and in no way be showing contempt for God.

Conclusions:  It’s like Jesus, knowing his destiny was set in motion and he was heading for death, was eager to get it over with.  He answered no questions and told them to ask others instead.  He wearied of watching the sins of man as they tried (and failed miserably) to justify killing him.

End Notes:  Annas was a previous high priest so the text can be confusing in John.  It is Annas who questions Jesus as well before Caiaphas and Annas is also still called the high priest.  Just like we call former governors of states still governors and Presidents still President, etc.  He kept his title for life.

Hence, Jesus was questioned several times that night.  By Annas.  By Caiaphas who gathered some Sanhedrin at his house.  And in Luke 22:66-71 the Sanhedrin officially assemble.

Everything about this trial broke Jewish law:  a nighttime trial, a trial during Passover, false witnesses who escaped punishment, presumption of innocence, waiting a day after a guilty verdict, etc.  This shows how desperate the high priests were to get rid of Jesus.

They ask Jesus about his threat to destroy the temple.  Jesus is silent.  John tells us Jesus was referring to his body (John 2:21).

Jesus’ silence and refusal to defend himself (although he could very well have with calling all the people he healed and others to testify to his miracles) frustrates Caiaphas to the point he called on Jesus to answer in the name of God.  Jesus did, simply, but followed by a warning:  I will be judging you in the future.

Finally, the get Jesus to admit he is the Son of God, which is blasphemy (the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God) if it had been false.

They spit in Jesus’ face and slapped him.  Imagine God’s reaction in heaven.  It had to take some might to not send angels down and wipe the Sanhedrin off the face of the earth.  As parents, I’m sure we all can relate.

Man is born God’s enemy (Romans 5:10, Colossians 1:21).  So we shouldn’t be shocked that they’d treat Jesus this way because probably in their hearts they knew Jesus was God’s Son.

Jesus protects his disciples to the end, not answering questions about them when asked.  Peter follows Jesus, determined to show he won’t be the one to deny him.  Still naive, huh Peter?

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 27, Day 3: Genesis 39

Summary of passage:  Joseph was taken to Egypt and purchased by Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard.  Because the Lord was with Joseph, he became Potiphar’s attendant and then put in charge of his household and everything in it.  Because of Joseph’s presence, the Lord blessed Potiphar and everything in his house and in his fields.

Potiphar’s wife tried to get Joseph to sleep with her but Joseph refused, saying he is to care for everything that is his master’s and he cannot sin against God committing adultery.  She tried daily and he avoided her.

One day Joseph was alone with Potiphar’s wife and she grabbed him by his cloak.  He slipped out of his cloak and ran outside.  She told her servants that he had come to her to try to sleep with her and had left his cloak behind.  She told Potiphar who put Joseph in prison.

Still, the Lord was with Joseph so Joseph was put in charge of all the prisoners and all the happenings there and had success in whatever he did.

Questions:

6a)  He refused, telling her it would be a sin against God and a wicked thing to betray his master’s trust. He avoided her the best he could.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Same.  Try to avoid whatever is causing the sin.  Pray to God for strength to overcome.

7a)  He gained experience running a household that I imagined was quite large.  He had to delegate tasks.  He had to learn about both the farming and the domestic aspects.  He then ran a prison, which probably entailed much of the same tasks but some new ones.  All throughout God was building Joseph’s trust in Him, which is the most important skill Joseph would need to lead others.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I don’t know.  Honestly.  Not sure where I’m supposed to be.

Conclusions:  Yesterday I was mixed.  Today I’m just disappointed.  There was a lot of history in this chapter that was just glossed over.  I would have liked to have seen more emphasis on how these events could only have happened because of God.  A Hebrew (foreign) slave running a household?  Never.  Running a prison?  Doubtful.

BSF usually sends us to other places in the Bible when we discuss a topic such as temptation.  This lesson they did not.  I would have liked to have read more on that.

Not all of us are called to be leaders.  We just can’t be.  Then we’d all be butting heads for decision making.  I’m just not for sure I’m being trained for leadership for God and how (or if) my present circumstances are contributing to that.