BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 28, Day 2: Romans 15:14-16

Summary of passage:  Paul says he believes the Jews are full of goodness and competent to instruct each other.  He is writing to remind them of God’s word and as a minister to the Gentiles to bring them the Good News so that they too may be sanctified by God.

Questions:

3)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  “Full of goodness, complete in knowledge, and competent to instruct one another.”  I will encourage them with my presence, be a listening ear, offer up advice when needed, and support them in their dreams and God’s desire for their lives.

4)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We all need reminders of God’s Word, how to live, and what God desires for our lives especially in today’s society because it’s so easy to get caught up in the lies of Satan and the evils of this world.  Paul is reminding the Jews that he is preaching to them as a reminder and he has confidence in them to follow God’s Word.  He is also preaching for the sake of the Gentiles as well.

5)  Paul says his priestly duty is “to proclaim the gospel of God so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

In the Old Testament, the priest was our intermediary to God.  He was the only one who could approach God and cleanse the Jews of their sins.  Then Jesus came and became our high priest, our intermediary, eliminating the need for a formal priest to intercede for us.

According to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, “the term is applied primarily to those authorized to perform the rites of the Israelite religion, but it can also be used with reference to pagan priests.

The formal priesthood in Israel began with the time of Exodus.  In the patriarchal times the heads of families offered sacrifices and intercessory prayers and performed general religious functions, but there seems to have been no specialization and no separate priestly office.  God appoints Aaron the tribe of the Levites to be the priests for the people in Exodus 28-29 and Leviticus 8.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the one and only New Covenant priest, described in detail in Hebrews.  Traditionally, Christ has three offices:  prophet, priest, and king.  With Christ’s death, the atonement was finishes, essentially eliminating the traditional role of priest. Now, priests are teachers, not atoners.  When Christ gave up his life on the cross, the atonement was finished once and for all with absolutely nothing more for God or man to add to it.  We are saved!

Conclusions:  Loved reading about the history of the priesthood in my Bible Dictionary!  Love knowing Christ once again is the end all.  Praise God for His almighty goodness to us sinners!

End Notes:  Paul’s whole point of writing the book of Romans is encouragement as he says in this passage.  He is also writing proclaiming the Gentiles as an offering to God as well.

Romans 15:16 is filled with the language of priesthood. Paul says he serves as a “ministering priest” of Jesus Christ presenting the gospel as a “priestly service” so Gentile converts would be an acceptable sacrifice to God.

Scholar Murry explains:  “When Paul defines his ministry as ministering the gospel of God the apostle uses a word occurring nowhere else in the New Testament which may properly be rendered ‘acting as a priest.’ So the ministry of the gospel is conceived of after the pattern of priestly offering.”

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 28, Day 2: John 20:1-10

Summary of passage:  Mary Magdalene went to Jesus’ tomb and saw the stone to the entrance had been moved.  She ran and told Peter and John who came running to the tomb.  John got there first and looked in and saw no body.  Peter went in and saw the strips of linen lying there and the burial cloth, folded up separate.  John followed inside.  They left and still did not get it that Jesus had risen!

Questions:

3a)  John was the cautious one.  He had to stop and think.  Peter the reckless, impulsive, more courageous one.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m unsure I expect anything of Jesus.  I hope for things–for him to work in my life and provide me the way and the strength to do His will–but I don’t think I expect anything from him.  His death was enough for me.  I’m in bible study to draw closer to God and Jesus.  Period.

4)  John saw the strips of linen and the burial cloth folded up separate from one another.  This wouldn’t have been done by tomb robbers who would have ripped the cloth and thrown it haphazardly about.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  If Jesus doesn’t rise from the grave, none of us will rise either.  He was raised so we’d be justified before God and spend all of eternity together with Him.  Furthermore, it was in Scripture and thus the will of God.  It has made all the difference.

Conclusions:  Stock answer to “difference in life” question we’ve had many times in this study.  I think they saw and believed but still didn’t get it.  The Holy Spirit has yet to descend on them.  I believe this is where all the disciples finally get it.

End Notes:  Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus risen from the dead and spread the word.  All we know about her was she came from Magdala, a city on the Sea of Galilee and Jesus drove 7 demons from her.  Afterwards, she dedicated her life to him and helped finance his ministry.  She was there at the crucifixion and went faithfully to care for his body.  As a second class citizen in ancient times, God chose her to be the first to witness Jesus’ work fulfilled.  Imagine:  Jewish courts did not even accept women’s testimony.  Take that, mankind!

Fun Fact:  Mary Magdalene is mentioned more often than most of the other believing women, and usually first.

Jesus was crucified on a Friday (or some say Thursday).  Afterwards, the tomb was guarded (Matthew 27:62-66) until today.  Other Gospel accounts say Mary was not the only woman to go to Jesus’ tomb.  She was just the one to run back and report her findings.  The women were probably going back to finish burial rites.  She immediately thinks the body is stolen.  No one was expecting a risen Jesus!

John was humble enough not to mention his name but prideful enough to say he outran Peter!  Peter is in his mid-40-50’s and John is in his mid-20’s.  Obviously, he outran Peter.

The Greek work blepei meant “seeing clearly.”  There was no doubt what John saw.  However, he didn’t enter either presuming the body was there since he saw the wrappings or out of fear of defilement of touching a dead body.  A rich man’s tomb would have been big enough to walk into but probably with some stooping.

Peter saw (Greek theorei meaning contemplate and scrutinize) the cloths as if the body has evaporated.  Remember the linens were lathered with ointments, aloes, and spices.  They would have hardened and would have had to have been cut off the body.  Think ancient Egyptian mummies and Howard Carter and King Tut.  The point here is something inhuman was at work here.

Some scholars point to the Shroud of Turin here.  However, would God allow the wrappings to be preserved so it could be worshipped?

John then saw (the Greek word eiden meaning, “to understand, to perceive the significance of”) and then believed.  The distinctive arrangement of the burial wrappings convinced him.  Note that John believed here but Peter did not.  He would not until he met the resurrected Jesus.  John believed on faith with his eyes only.  It is obvious they did not make up a story of a resurrection to fit  preconceived understanding of Scriptural prophecy when it was written about later.

Both Peter and John know the fact Jesus rose again.  They don’t understand the meaning behind it yet.  That Jesus is the Son of the One, True God.  That he died sinless for our sins so we can rise again and be with God.  It proves the gnostics of the day wrong that God does have a plan for our bodies, which is sacred (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 28, Day 2: Various Passages for the Day

Summary of passages:  Various passages for the day.

Questions:

3)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Angels, God, Jesus, clouds, harmony of animals and people, paradise, a garden like what I imagine Eden to be, no tears, love, loved ones who’ve passed.  How Revelation describes the New Jerusalem:  streets of gold, walls of jewels, gates of pearls, a river running through, trees with fruit, etc.  Culture portrays it similarly.  Since we don’t know what heaven will be like, it could be accurate unless it goes against what the Bible says heaven is like.

4)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  John 14:1-4:  Jesus says there are many rooms in his Father’s house and he’ll be there.  God loves me enough to prepare a place for me.

1 Corinthians 13:12:  When we see Jesus fully, we’ll have an intimate relationship with God.  Now we see but a poor reflection and we’ll see face to face and know God fully.  I’ll spend all of eternity gazing on God and His glory.

Revelation 21:1-5:  There will be a Holy City, a new Jerusalem where all shall dwell along with God.  There will be no death, mourning, crying, tears, or pain.  Heaven will be amazing.

Conclusions:  The lesson before the last one and it’s a filler.  Can we just finish Revelation please?

End Notes:  1 Corinthians 13:12 is the best here.  In ancient times, mirrors were of poor quality and most people did not even own one.  Most people had no idea what they looked like except in a pool of standing water.  The city of Corinth was famous for producing some of the best quality bronze mirrors of the time. Still, they were of poor quality compared to today’s.

Face-to-face in the Bible means free and open fellowship.  This is how Moses’ relationship is described with God (Exodus 33:11).  We won’t need the Holy Spirit anymore.  We’ll have Jesus instead.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 28, Day 2: Deuteronomy 31:1-29

Summary of passage:  Moses, at 120 years old, tells the people Joshua will be their new leader and the Lord will go before them and destroy their enemies. He tells the people to not be afraid for God will never forsake them.  Moses wrote down the law, placed it beside the ark of the covenant, and commanded the people to read it every 7 years so all will know it.

The Lord appeared to Moses and Joshua in a cloud over the Tabernacle and told them that the people would turn from Him and worship other gods.  When the people did this, God would turn His back on His people.  He taught Moses a song to teach the people so they would know why God turned on them.  Moses warned the people of the evil they would do and consequences of the Lord’s anger against them.

Questions:

3a)  He commanded the people to be strong and courageous and not to be afraid or terrified because the Lord goes with them and will never abandon them (the promise).

b)  Joshua had some big shoes to fill so I’m sure leading the people was daunting, challenging, and scary. God wanted to make sure Joshua knew he could do it because He Himself was with him and would never leave him.  God Himself would defeat His enemies, and Joshua had nothing to fear.  He was chosen by God for this task like Moses.  Confidence is what Joshua needed–in himself and in the Lord.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s comforting.  When no one else is there, God is.  He knows my pain, my heartache, my struggles, my passions, my frustrations, my joys, my sorrows, my victories, my failures.  And He shares them.  He works them for His purposes.  And I just need Him and faith.

4a)  God commanded Moses to write down the law and keep it in a safe place and once every 7 years for the law to be read to all the people so they would know God’s laws.  It was a resource for the Levites, who were the spiritual leaders, so they could look back and learn God’s laws as well and teach it accordingly.

b)  It would serve as a warning so the faithful would be aware of what was to come and perhaps spot the temptation and turn away before they sinned.  Perhaps they could warn others and turn them away as well.

Conclusions:  Love how God appeared to Joshua personally to commission him and reassure him that he could do this monumental task and that God would be his strength and his rock.  God’s care for us is unfathomable!  I like how everyone from young to old was gathered to hear the law once every 7 years.  I wonder how many of us read God’s word every 7 years.  Can you imagine our society if we did?

End Notes:  The people needed to know God was with them.  All most of them had ever known was Moses.  The people needed to know God was bigger than one man and God was enough.

God does His work through people–God’s work is the giving of the Promised Land and Joshua would be the one God would use to accomplish His work.

What a blessing Moses is to Joshua!  He encouraged him in his walk.  How many of us have wise counselors to encourage us to do the great things God has in store for us?

The first recorded reading of God’s law to the people is in Nehemiah 8:1-8.  It is recorded three more times in the Bible of the law being read to the people (Joshua 8:30; 2 Chronicles 17:7; 2 Chronicles 34:30).  Between these readings are hundreds of years.  Certainly, the law could have been read and not recorded but scholars say that the fact the reading of the law is recorded with so many years in-between was because it was such a rare event.  Can you imagine how history would be different if the people had obeyed and read the law–like today if we did as well?

Deuteronomy 32 is the song Moses wrote down for God’s people.

Here we see the completion of the first five books of the Bible (also known as the Pentateuch which means five scrolls in Greek or the Torah in the Jewish tradition) in verse 24 written by Moses.  It is assumed by scholars that the last three books of Deuteronomy were written by Joshua (or by a scribe he appointed) to record the end of Moses’ life.

Note how the Ten Commandments is inside the ark but the first five books of the bible is beside the ark. I see this as so it’s readily available to the priests for teaching purposes.

God’s word is also a witness against us.  We often think of the Bible as our helper, which it is. It is also our condemner as well when we don’t read it, don’t follow it, and don’t obey.  For it is right before us and we choose to turn the other way.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 28, Day 2: Matthew 27:32-50

Summary of passage:  Simon from Cyrene carried Jesus’ cross for him as Jesus was too weak.  They went to Golgotha where Jesus was offered wine to drink which he refused.  They crucified him and divided up his clothes.  They kept watch over him and his crime (king of the Jews) was placed over his head.  Two robbers were crucified with him.  Passer-bys hurled insults at him, telling Jesus to come down from the cross with his powers and if he were the Son of God, they would believe him then.  The robbers insulted Jesus as well.

Jesus cried to God, asking why he has been forsaken.  The observers thought he was calling Elijah.  Then Jesus cried once more and died.

Questions:

3a)  Leviticus 4:12, 21:  The end of sin and burnt offerings.

Leviticus 4:28-29; 5:5:  The end of sin offerings and atonement by a priest.

Deuteronomy 21:22-23:  No one who is cursed any more who accept Jesus as their atonement sacrifice.

2 Corinthians 5:21:  Jesus took our sins so we are now righteous before God.

Hebrews 13:11-13:  Jesus’ blood made us holy

1 Peter 1:18-19:  Jesus’ blood redeemed us.

1 Peter 2:24:  Jesus bore our sins on the cross so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness.  By his wounds we have been healed.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All say the same thing essentially:  Jesus died for us and our sins so we can be with God.  This is unfathomable in its magnitude and comforting that I am saved even though I don’t deserve it.

4a)  This is difficult to conjecture without knowing whether Simon was a Jew, a believing Jew in Jesus, or a Roman or pagan.  He saw the people mocking Jesus and spitting on him.  He saw the anger towards Jesus.  He saw how Jesus was the walking dead, taking his last steps on this earth.  He saw Jesus’ blood everywhere from his wounds.  Hopefully, he felt sympathy for Jesus and thought how cruel people and the Romans are.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Truthfully, it doesn’t do anything for me.  Again, not enough information to say anything about Alexander and Rufus.  Were they good people or bad?  Does it matter?  We can’t honestly make a connection between Jesus’ death and Simon’s sons.  It would only be a conjecture.  And I myself prefer facts.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  How evil, indifferent, selfish, and callous man truly is.  How we all killed Jesus.  How we are all undeserving of the aftermath.  How without God we’d just be common animals living off of instincts.  With Jesus, there is hope.  Without Jesus, there is death.

Conclusions:  Disappointed to say the least in this lesson.  Nothing concrete.  Too much personal application.  Too much conjecture.  I weary of looking up verses that say the same thing.  Would have liked questions such as:  Why was Jesus’ clothes divided up?  What does it mean to mix wine with gall?  Why did Pilate put “King of the Jews” above Jesus?  Did Pilate himself believe Jesus to be King of the Jews?  Why did the people think Jesus was calling Elijah?  Why would they offer him wine vinegar?  Here, I would have liked to compare the other passages as well on Jesus’ crucifixion.

End Notes:  Jesus’ march to the place of crucifixion would have been horrendous and excruciatingly painful. The march served as a warning to others about what happened to those who committed crimes against Rome.  Typically, a Roman on horseback would have led the way, shouting out the crimes of those condemned.  They would have taken the longest route possible so that as many as possible could see (since there was no TV back then).

The victim was forced to carry the crossbar, usually naked, and usually tied to it.  This weighed any where from 75-125 pounds.  The place of crucifixion would be a popular thoroughfare so as many as possible would witness this scene in Jesus’ case Golgotha (known as Calvary in Latin).  This is a low hill outside of Jerusalem.

Crucifixion is an excruciating death (in fact our word excruciating means “of or out of the cross”).  Last week, I mentioned this site which has great photos of the crossbeam, the cross, the process of crucifixion, and the medical reasons behind death.  Four Roman soldiers were appointed to do the process who were skilled in the proper techniques.  View HERE

Bill O’Reilly’s book, Killing Jesus, describes crucifixion in amazing detail as well as all of Jesus’ life.

Roman citizens could not be crucified unless upon order of the emperor himself.  Romans considered themselves above such a heinous act.  That should give you some clue how horrendous crucifixion is.

Knowing exactly what Jesus endured can only deepen our love for our Savior.  Please take the time to learn more.

Much is made by BSF about Simon of Cyrene.  Cyrene is in Northern Africa and scholars believe he was probably in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, making him a Jew.  However, he could have been a trader or merchant as well.  He was definitely forced to bear the cross, probably unwillingly since who would want to carry a heavy beam for a stranger and feel the crowds’ anger.

Map of Cyrene in Libya:  http://www.combinedops.com/PHOTOS%20GENERAL/Eastmed%20Map.jpg

Golgotha, meaning Place of the Skulls, was the traditional place to crucify victims.  As dead bodies are considered ceremonially unclean, this took place outside of the city.

The wine mixed with gall was a pain-numbing, mind-numbing drink so the victims wouldn’t suffer quite so much.  It would be similar to drinking alcohol before amputation in the nineteenth century or local anesthesia today.  In Mark, this drink is outright declined.  Jesus chose to suffer completely for us.

The Roman soldiers, upon completion of the process, staying to make sure the victim died and no one rescued them.  In the past, some people did survive after being left for dead on the cross.

Jesus shows us how we can endure scorn:  silently and with love.

The sixth hour to the ninth hour was from noon to about 3 pm in Roman time.  An unusual darkness clouded the land. I imagine this as God’s sorrow and his wrath upon man.  Mark 15 tells us Jesus hung on the cross for about 6 hours.

Significance of Jesus’ cries:  Jesus quotes Psalm 22:1.  Right before death, Jesus experiences the taking upon of our sins and God looks upon Christ as if he is a sinner.  He feels God’s wrath upon man.  Jesus feels a partial separation from God.  In this moment, Jesus is grieved and cries out to God and asks why.  This is the only time in the Bible it is recorded that Jesus DOES NOT call God “Father”.

Paul makes it clear God never abandoned Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:19).  But Jesus did experience sin and hate.  God laid our sins upon Jesus and he bore it.  And that is why he cried out.  God had briefly turned His face.

Note it’s the spiritual suffering that made Jesus cry out.  The physical suffering of his body he was silent. But he couldn’t take the brief moment of turning away of God.  I’m sure the angels in heaven were singing Jesus’ name.

Us stupid humans misunderstood Jesus and thought he was calling upon Elijah.  Will we ever understand?

Jesus was conscious to the end (most crucifixion victims lost consciousness or were too exhausted to speak) and was able to say a final word as John 19:30 tells us “It is finished”.  This is one word in Greek.

We must remember Jesus voluntarily died for our sins (“he gave up his spirit).  His life was not taken from him as ours is.  Jesus could never die unless he chose to die for it is sin that kills us.  He chose to bear our sins and forfeit his life.

Some say Jesus died of a broken heart.  I would say it broke but then was perfected by God in heaven!

In John 19 the priests throw a fit over the sign which read “King of the Jews”.  They protested to Pilate who said “What I have written, I have written.”  Sad how a pagan believes in Jesus and supposedly the closest men to God refuse.

I like Luke 23 who records some of Jesus’ final words and how some of these final words are spoken to women.  Luke also has my favorite quote from Jesus’ death “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).  We are forgiven despite our ignorance and stupidity.  Very, very comforting.

Fun Fact:  One-third of all 4 Gospels are devoted to Jesus’ final week of life in Jerusalem.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 28, Day 2: Genesis 41

Summary of passage:  Two years after Joseph interpreted the cupbearer and the baker’s dreams, Pharaoh had a dream where 7 cows emerged from the Nile River that were fat and then 7 gaunt cows emerged from the Nile and ate up the fat cows.  He had a second dream where 7 heads of healthy grain grew on a stalk.  After them 7 thin grains sprouted and ate up the healthy grains.

No one could interpret Pharaoh’s dreams.  At this point the cupbearer finally remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh how he had successfully interpreted their dreams. Pharaoh sent for Joseph and after cleaning up, he was presented to him.

Pharaoh told Joseph he had heard he could interpret dreams.  Joseph immediately said he couldn’t but God could.

Pharaoh repeated his dreams to Joseph who told Pharaoh that God had revealed to him what He was about to do.  The 7 good cows and the 7 good grains represent 7 years and the 7 lean cows and 7 worthless grain are 7 years as well.  They represent 7 years of good crops and then 7 years of famine.  God gave Pharaoh the dreams for the matter has been firmly decided by God and it will happen soon.

Joseph told Pharaoh to look for a discerning and wise man to be in charge of the land of Egypt.  Take a fifth of Egypt’s harvest during the good years and store up the grain for the bad years so that the country will not be ruined by the famine.

Pharaoh appoints Joseph as this man who is discerning and wise and Godly to be second in command of Egypt and in charge of all the land.  He gives Joseph his ring, dresses him in fine linen and gives him a gold chain.  He rode in Pharaoh’s chariot as his second-in-command to announce it to the people.

No one will lift hand or foot without Joseph’s word.  He gives him the Egyptian name of Zaphenath-Paneah and an Egyptian wife named Asenath.

Joseph was 30 years old when this happened.  Joseph traveled all over Egypt, collecting the grain that was so much Joseph stopped keeping records.

Joseph had 2 sons named Manasseh (forget) and Ephraim (fruitful).

The 7 years of famine began but Egypt had food and Joseph opened the warehouses and distributed the food.  The famine was severe in all the world so many foreigners came to Egypt to buy grain as well.

Questions:

3)  Christ made himself nothing, served others selfishly, became obedient to God’s will and death.  Joseph served Potiphar and the jail.  He was nothing in their eyes, a Hebrew slave.  He acted selflessly by refusing to sleep with Potiphar’s wife and take any advantage of his master.  He gave God the credit for it all.  He interpreted the dreams of the cupbearer and the baker according to God’s will and noticed they were down.  He asked to interpret.  He showed compassion.

4)  He noticed the cupbearer and the baker were sad and asked them why.  Then he interpreted their dreams, asking only that they remember him.  Eventually, the cupbearer did remember Joseph and recommended him to Pharaoh to interpret his dreams.

5)  That the thin cows ate up the fat cows but did not change their appearance (verse 21).  They were still thin.

6)  Even before he interpreted the dreams, Joseph told Pharaoh that he could not interpret the dreams but God could and He will give Pharaoh the answer he is seeking (verse 16).  Throughout the interpretation, Joseph says repeatedly that God has revealed His will to Pharaoh (verse 25, 28) and that God has firmly decided the matter (verse 32).

Conclusions:  Didn’t like the Philippians verses (which we’ve looked at before in this study).  Felt it didn’t add anything and that this passage is rich enough.  The verses were too limiting.  Christ and Joseph have dozens of similarities but we are restricted to only a few mentioned in Philippians.  Would have liked to have seen a general question so we could come up with our own.

The best part is watching Joseph give God ALL the credit, which is rare these days.  No one hardly ever mentions God even when they are talking let alone giving Him the glory for everything in their lives (I would say Tim Tebow is the best known exception to this). It’s refreshing to see and gives us a great, great example to live up to.

When God’s timing is right, events happen quickly.  Joseph’s whole life changes in a matter of hours and he is now the second most powerful man in the known world.  God uses the times when we imagine nothing is happening in our lives to prepare us for these moments when EVERYTHING happens.

Compare this Joseph with 17 year-old Joseph who comes running blindly to his brothers about a dream he has had.  He never mentions God when he is bragging about these dreams.  Here, it is all God–from God, by God, and for God.

Gifts and talent take time to develop as does character.  Here, we can see the difference between these two Josephs.

Fun Fact:  This is the first mention in the Bible of the Holy Spirit being in a man.