BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 28, Day 3: Romans 15:17-21

Summary of passage:  Paul once again explains his delay in coming to the Roman church:  he has been busy fulfilling his calling of missionary to the Gentiles and taking the gospel of Christ to places it has not been heard so that “those who have not heard will understand.”  He only speaks through the power of the Holy Spirit and what the Holy Spirit lays on his heart to speak.

Questions:

6)  Paul glories in serving God through spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Our culture glories on self-satisfaction and laziness.

7)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Christ.  Most of the time I don’t.  I’m very aware that I am powerless in this world and all is through Him so I try to give Him all the credit, even in my thoughts and mind.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Paul’s calling was to proclaim Jesus to the Gentiles.  We all have different callings.  I’m trying to spread the word of God through the way I live my life, those I touch, the words you are reading right now, my books and novels, my conversations with friends and family and strangers, etc.  In your little world, in your job, in your family is where the difference is made.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Similar to number 8.  This blog, my other blogs, my work, my kids, friends, family, strangers, words, actions, deeds, volunteer opportunities, etc.  Little things and places in this world that mean a lot.

Conclusions:  Paul reiterates his calling here so BSF is asking us ours as well.  Don’t get caught up in trying to make such a difference in this world.  Most of us lead lives of ordinariness.  But in that ordinariness extraordinary things happen.  We just don’t perceive it because we are bombarded with stories of extraordinary people.  You are extraordinary as well.  Believe it.  Receive it.  Act on it.

End Notes:  Bible Scholar Morris explains Paul’s words here: “Paul will glory only in what Christ has done through him. He is sure that Christ has done great things through him, and he is glad that he can draw attention to those things. But he is not trying to attract adulation. It is what Christ has done that is his theme.”

Paul makes sure to point out it is the Holy Spirit who guides him and his ministry to others everywhere.

Notice how Paul mentions the Triune God in this passage:  God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Paul wanted to preach to new places.  He’s not saying to NOT preach to where the Gospel has been taken.  He is merely speaking of his particular calling, which he backs up with the Old Testament passage.  Again, this is his calling.  What is yours?

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 28, Day 3: John 20:11-18

Summary of passage:  John and Peter depart.  Mary weeps and saw 2 angels in the tomb where Jesus’ body had been.  Jesus appears at the tomb but Mary does not recognize him until he calls her name.  Jesus orders Mary to return to the disciples and tell them what she has seen.

Questions:

6)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He called her name.  How amazing and powerful!  I’ve never noticed this before.  A name is power.  When Jesus calls your name (like when your parents do when you’re in trouble), you’d better listen.

7)  Jesus wants her to realize he is only risen and here temporarily.  That soon the Holy Spirit will descend upon her and take his place.  Not to get attached to him physically for he is leaving again.  He is headed back home to His Father.  He has important work for her to do.

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus told Mary to go and tell his brothers/disciples what she has seen.  It’s the same for us to spread the word about Jesus.  Also, Jesus tells us our work here on this side of heaven to complete and we must obey!

Conclusions:  What power in a name!  Love the focus on women again and how Jesus uses Mary to spread the word.  We are all equal in God’s eyes.

End Notes:  Mary did not yet believe in the resurrection so she weeped.  Mary was not afraid when she saw the angels.  She may not have even known they were angels (Hebrews 13:2).  They were seated at the head and feet like cherubim (Exodus 25:18-19).  She didn’t notice the burial cloths.

Matthew has one angel (Matthew 28:2).  Mark a young man (Mark 16:5).  Luke has 2 men who were angels (Luke 24:4, 23).

Mary turned possibly because she heard Jesus or the angels motioned for her to turn.  She didn’t recognize Jesus.  Perhaps he was a bit different in appearance or her tears blurred her vision.  Or perhaps Jesus intentionally blinded them to him.  A number of times he was not recognized (John 21:4, Matthew 28:17, Luke 24:16, 37)  Jesus asks her questions so she’ll push through her unbelief.  She plans to carry Jesus’ body for burial.  Likely, she is not strong enough but all she is thinking about is Jesus!

Jesus calls her by her Hebrew name.  In one word, Jesus changes a life.  She recognizes the voice of her shepherd as his sheep instantly.  Jesus told her who she was to him not who he was to her.

Spurgeon points out how in the garden the sentence of sorrow falls heavily upon a woman.  And after the resurrection the comfort and peace falls upon a woman as well.  How apropos!

The presumption of verse 17 is Mary is clinging to Jesus and does not want to let him go.  Jesus tells her he has important work for her to do (notify the disciples of his return) and that he will be around for a bit longer.

Jesus made a woman the first witness of His resurrection.  The law courts in ancient times would not recognize the testimony of a woman, but Jesus did.  This shows the historic truth of this account.  If someone fabricated this story, they would not make the first witnesses to the resurrection women, who were regarded as unreliable witnesses.

Fun Fact:  This is the first time Jesus calls his disciples “brothers.”

Jesus says “my Father and your Father” because his relationship with God is different than ours.  By nature, Jesus.  By grace, ours.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 28, Day 3: Various Passages for the Day

Summary of passages:  Various passages for the day.

Questions:

5)  Part-personal Questions.  My answers:  Fallen.  Bible describes it as cursed and sin made it so.  Paul adds in Romans a world of suffering, decaying, and groaning.

6a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m assuming “this contrast” refers to the state of earth versus the state of heaven.  I look forward to the next life, but I don’t long for it.  I have work here yet to do and until that’s done I focus on God’s will for me here on earth.  It’s such a short time.  Eternity is not going anywhere.  But my earthly life is and I will be sad for all of eternity if I don’t accomplish God’s purpose for me here.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Like I said above, I focus on God’s will for my life here to bring me contentment (Ephesians 2:10).  Serve others.  Teach others.  My kids first about God’s love.  And whoever else God brings to my path.  If I live consciously for God, He’ll take care of the rest.

Conclusions:  Anyone want to explain to me how this all relates to the book of Revelation?  This lesson was bad and repetitive (how many times have we been asked about bringing others to Christ?)  This has definitely been the most evangelical of BSF’s studies so far that I’ve done.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 28, Day 3: Deuteronomy 31:30-32:14

Summary of passage:  Moses spoke his song to the people.  Moses proclaims God’s greatness and the people’s sins.  Remember the days of old and what God has done for His people.  He cared for them and nourished them.  He alone.

Questions:

5)  Let his words fall like rain, descend like dew, shower new grass, and abundant rain on tender plants.

6a)  God is first in his life.  It’s the first thing he talks about is how great is the Lord, how faithful and just and perfect.  He talks of God’s character with very intimate words.  His love for God is obvious.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  By speaking of all of the blessings upon me and not complaining.

7a)  Even when the people acted corruptly and foolishly, God cared for His people, giving them the land, bringing them through the desert, shielding them and guarding them, and letting them take flight while watching over them to make sure they didn’t fall.  He fed them with the fruit of the fields, nourished them with honey and gave them labs and goats and rams and wheat and drink.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Lessened my fear of my husband’s job being lost.  Blessed me with a free gym membership.  Given me more time to write.  Things are winding down (school and BSF) so I will have more time to write.  I thank Him in prayer, living out my life like Jesus, and doing His will as much as possible.

Conclusions:  Love the prayer model of proclaiming who God is, what He’s done for us, and who He is. Good stuff!

End Notes:  Moses asks for attention from Israel and all of creation, praising God for who He is and what He has done.  He calls attention to the Israelites’ sin, and speaking of God’s love and grace, he hopes to call the people back.

Fun Fact:  This is the first time God is called “the Rock” in Scripture.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 28, Day 3: Matthew 27:34-50; Mark 15:22-24; John 19:23-30

Summary of passages:  Matthew 27:34-50:  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.

Mark 15:22-24:  Jesus was taken to Golgotha.  He was offered wine mixed with myrrh but refused.  They crucified him and the soldiers divided up his clothes through casting lots.

John 19:23-30:  The four soldiers who crucified Jesus divided up his clothes, leaving him with just the undergarment, which fulfilled Psalm 22:18.  Jesus’s mother, his aunt, Mary’s sister, Mary, and Mary Magdalene were near the cross.  Jesus saw his mother and said he was her son and told the disciple she was his mother as well.  The disciple then took Mary into him home.

Jesus was thirsty on the cross so a sponge soaked in wine vinegar was offered to him.  He drank, said “It is finished” and gave up his spirit.

Questions:

5)  The sedative drink was supposed to dull the pain and the mind.  Jesus wanted to be fully present when he took on the sins of the world.  After hanging on the cross for 6 hours in the hot sun, Jesus had no ability to speak.  His mouth would have been completely parched.  He asked for a drink so he’d have the ability to pronounce to the world “It is finished”

6a)  His clothes was divided up among the four soldiers who crucified him.

b)  We are all born naked.  Naked is the natural state.  It is also the state of innocence.  Children run around naked because they don’t have any inhibitions that it’s socially unacceptable.  It is also the state of purity when Adam and Eve were in the Garden before the Fall.  After our physical death, we will be arrayed in garments of salvation and righteousness.  Man’s clothes do not hide his sins.  They are filthy rags to God.  It is the clothes that God gives us that matters.  Thus, Christ was disrobed as he returned to His father.  So shall us all be.

Conclusions:  Short day which is nice after yesterday’s lesson.  I find it fascinating man’s obsession with the outward appearance and obsession with clothes throughout time since God does not care and unless it’s a garment of righteousness it’s filth in His eyes.  Oh, how much wiser we’d be if we had God’s eyes.

End Notes:  Exodus 28:31-32 tells us that the High Priest wore a seamless garment.  Everything has significance in God’s word and as we continue to study, we see more and more of the connections of the Old Testament and the New Testament and we should all have a deeper awe of our Lord and King.

Jesus gave up his life for us.  “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.  This command I received from my Father.” John 10:17-18

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 28, Day 3: 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:

7)  Verse 16:  Learn to give God the credit for everything

Verse 25:  Learn that God reveals Himself in dreams at times.

Verse 28:  God reveals the future in dreams at times.

Verse 32:  Everything happens because of God.  God does everything, controls everything.

Verse 38:  The Spirit of God is seen in people.  It dwells in people and shines forth.

Verse 39:  God blesses those who follow Him; who give Him the credit; who speak His truth.  He reveals Himself to those who are seeking.

Verses 51 & 52:  Joseph gives his children names that glorify God so Joseph will remember what God has done for him.  God made him forget his trouble and be fruitful in the land.  He honored God with these names.

8a)  The dreams are the same.  Both reveal what God is about to do.  The 7 good cows and the 7 good heads of grain represent 7 years.  The 7 lean cows and the 7 worthless heads of grain represent 7 years.  The 7 years stand for 7 years of abundance and 7 years of famine. The famine will be so severe that the 7 years of abundance will be forgotten.  God will do this soon and that is why there are 2 dreams.

b)  Look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land.  Let Pharaoh appoint commissions to take a fifth of the harvest during the 7 years of abundance.  Then they should collect all the food and store it for the years of famine.  This food is to be held for the years of famine so that Egypt may survive.

9)  “You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders.  Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” Verse 40.  “I hereby put you in charge of the whole of Egypt.  Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger.  He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.  He made him ride in the chariot as his second-in-command…He put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt (verses 41-43).

“I am Pharaoh but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all of Egypt.  He gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah (Verses 44-5).  “Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.'” (verse 55)

10a)  He advises Pharaoh on what to do–showing utter confidence in God and God’s plan of putting him there. He is honest and does his job without bribes or abusing his power. He seems to lead an ordinary family life without letting power or money go to his head.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That God was the center of his life–not success. Joseph never wavered from God.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To give God all the credit for successes in life and to keep Him at the center no matter what may come your way.

Conclusions:  Questions 8 & 9 was just utter tediousness.  I might as well have typed out the whole passage.

Everyone in my family is looking forward to Joseph and he is our favorite.  Why?  Well, he’s got a great story, right?  He gets abandoned by his family, thrown into slavery, falsely accused and thrown in prison, and then is redeemed and rises to be the second most powerful man in the known world.  Great story for the movies, right, but this one is real.

But it’s more than just the story.  After studying all the patriarchs who all had serious character flaws and sins we meet Joseph who somehow manages to lead a God-centered life HIS ENTIRE LIFE.  There are no major sins he commits.  He is guilty of boasting in his youth–minor compared to the rest of them.

He is the example we all should follow.  How to roll with the punches, crediting God in the good and the bad, and doing God’s work your entire life.  He inspires us and gives us hope, showing us that it is possible to commit your life completely and totally to God despite man’s sinful nature and propensity to selfishness and self-rule.  I CAN do this despite all of my sins.  I can do this and win–win for God, by God, and through God.

The parallels to Christ are uncanny.  Sacrificing everything to save your people. Suffering. Being exalted in the end.

Yet Joseph was human.  Like you and me.  And if he could do it, then so can I.