BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 6, Day 2: Romans 3:27-28

Summary of passage:  A man is justified by faith, not the law.

Questions:

3)  They boast about how they are such great Christians by following God’s laws, going to church, volunteering at church, helping others, you name it.  Because boasting is all about you, not God.  Boasting according to Webster’s Dictionary is “bragging, a cause for pride, to puff oneself up in speech.”

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  By following the law instead of having Jesus like Paul says.  They excuse sins by saying they have Jesus.  The classic one:  others do it.  Neither for me really.  I don’t justify myself because none of us can.  It’s only mercy and grace and faith that saves me.  I know this so I don’t bother otherwise.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  It becomes about them and not God.  This is most apparent when we are judging others.  We all must keep in mind we are sinners and are only righteous through Jesus and God’s grace.

Conclusions:  Nit-picking this passage to the extreme, and I don’t think we need two days on it (today and tomorrow).  Just believe and live like Jesus.  Period.

End Notes:  We cannot boast of anything we do for saving grace.  That is all God.  All it takes if faith, not boasting.

Martin Luther said, “Sola Fide”.  Latin for Only Faith.  That is all that is required.

James did not argue against this fact.  He was describing how works prove to others the saving faith of God for Christians are expected by God to do and be more.

Fun Fact:  When Martin Luther translated this passage, he added “alone” after “by faith”, which although was not in the original Greek (and has been taken out of modern versions of the Bible) accurately reflects this passage.

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 6, Day 2: John 4:31-34

Summary of passage:  The disciples, concerned about Jesus, asked him to eat something.  He replied how he has food to eat they know nothing about.  Mystified, they still insisted he eat.  Jesus explained he sustains himself by doing God’s work and finishing it.

Questions:

3a)  “Doing the will of God and finishing God’s work” i.e. dying for our sins and saving the world by faith and grace.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I find great satisfaction in knowing I’m doing God’s work on this planet.  Raising my kids, being a dutiful wife, writing for Him, working for Him, etc.  It’s what sustains me when the times are hard and motivates me when I have no will.

c)  Come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior.

4a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s easy in this world dominated by instant satisfaction to get lost in tasks that waste your time.  I have to stay focused and ask myself every day:  Is this for God or is it for me?  How does what I’m doing propel Him forward?  Is this meeting His goals?

b)  Love God.  Love others.  Spread the Good News and teach them to obey God.  Pray.  Give to the needy.  Do not worry.  Seek Him always.  Store treasures in heaven, not here.  Testify for Jesus.  Finish God’s work for my life.

Conclusions:  This passage is one where you want to hit the disciples over the head and say, “Don’t you get it?!  It’s Jesus, the Son of God, sent to die for our sins!”  We know that of course, but they didn’t.  This explains just how radical the idea is to the people of that time:  God sent his Son to die for us?  But why?  And that, my friend, is what the whole Bible tries to explain.

End Notes:  The disciples were rightly concerned about Jesus’ health.  He just finished a long walk from Judea.  His body needed sustenance.  Jesus’ point was there’s more to life than physical needs:  spiritual needs that bread alone won’t satisfy.  Jesus is saying, “My strength and nourishment is God.”

Jesus points out what’s most important here:  God’s will, not the fine details of serving others, etc.  Only doing God’s will will satisfy the human soul.  Period.  It refreshes weary souls like Jesus’.  Man’s own desires are lackluster in comparison.

John frequently records how Jesus depends on the Father and is doing His will (3:34; 5:30; 6:38; 8:26; 9:4; 10:37-8; 12:50; 14:31; 15:10; 17:4)

Notice the AND.  Doing the will of God and finishing it.  Remember Jesus’ last words?  “It is finished.” (John 19:30)  Once we can utter these words as well, heaven will come.  Great stuff!

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 6, Day 2: Revelation 3:7-10

Summary of passage:  Jesus is speaking to the church of Philadelphia, telling them he has placed an open door before them and he knows their deeds and those who are liars will come and fall at their feet and he will also keep them from the hour of trial (most likely the Great Tribulation) that is going to come upon the earth.

Questions:

3a)  They have kept his word and have not denied his name.

b)  Persecution especially from those claiming to be Jews (non-Christian Jews)

4a)  Holy:  Jesus is God, Yahweh (Lev.11:44; John 17:3; Isaiah 40:25; 43:15).

True:  Jesus is real, genuine.  Not a false prophet or god.

Holds the key of David:  Jesus is the judger who holds the power to open and shut the gates to heaven and hell, essentially granting or denying access to God.

b)  The entrance into heaven or hell.  Access to God, His kingdom, and eternal life.  In John 10:7 & 9 Jesus says he is the gate which leads to salvation.

5)  The Jews in Philadelphia who are persecuting Christians. (See Historical Note Below).

6a)  Obviously, the complete opposite.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Proclaim His name.  Never give in.  Never deny where my strength lies.

Conclusions:  Was expecting a question on the “hour of trial”.  The Great Tribulation is an overarching theme of Revelation and an important one for Christians.  I am curious as to how BSF will handle this discussion.

End Notes:  As most of us know, Philadelphia is two Greek words meaning “brotherly love.”  It was founded for the sole purpose of spreading Greek culture to Asia and was named after its founder whose nickname was philadelphos.  It was a beautiful city, full of temples and forums and statues and sat on the thoroughfare to Asia.  It also suffered numerous earthquakes.  Cool posts HERE and HERE

This is the second church Jesus found nothing to chastise the members about (the other being Smyrna). He praises them.

The “open door that no one can shut” has two interpretations.  The first is that Christ holds the key to God and salvation and only belief in himself can open and close that door.  This is the more popular belief since Isaiah 22:22 used this metaphor and Revelation is so heavily influenced by the Old Testament.

The second refers to evangelism (1 Corinthians 16:9, 2 Corinthians 2:12, and Colossians 4:3).  Just like Philadelphia was founded to spread Greek culture, Jesus wants the Christians here to spread His word.

Another secondary sense more literal here is the ability to enter God’s kingdom as it seems from this wording that the Christians were forbidden to enter the Jewish synagogue.

Only Jesus can shut the door; he alone decides who is worthy and who isn’t.

Note how a little strength in Him is all you need.

Nothing negative is said about the church of Philadelphia.  Jesus is completely pleased with them. They evangelize, have strength in him, and are faithful.  This is the key to heaven.

Unbelievers will fall down and acknowledge Jesus is lord, not the people here (See 1 Corinthians 14:24-25).

“Synagogue of Satan” is seen here as in the church at Smyrna.  Seems the same Jewish persecutors are here as well.

Love is the best way to turn enemies.

BSF does not ask about “the hour of trial” which most scholars agree refers to the Great Tribulation. As I’ve explained BEFORE, the Great Tribulation is the time period where unbelievers will be judged by Christ.  Some, however, think it could refer to upcoming persecution by the Romans.

“Those who live on the earth” is used 9 times in the Book of Revelation and refers to unbelievers not in Christ.  As Christians we are not of this earth.  Our home is in heaven (Colossians 3:3; Ephesians 2:6).

Does this passage promise we won’t experience the Tribulation or we will be protected during it? Both sides of the argument say it supports them.

The argument hinges on the word “persevere”.  Believers are commanded to persevere, supporting those who say Christians will be here during the Great Tribulation.  Those who believe Christians will not be here say Jesus promises to keep us from the hour of trial and use Matthew 24:21 and Revelation chapters 6, 8-9, 16 to support this as well.

However, persevere is in the past tense, lending the sense that Christians will not be here since they have already persevered and now will be rewarded for it.  Scholars say the first century took this literally and they would be kept from the Tribulation.

Remember: those tested are NOT Christians (Philippians 3:20).  So hold on to Jesus!

Historical Note:  As we see in Acts 2, the first Christians were Jewish converts.  It wouldn’t be for a bit before Paul ministers to the Gentiles.  Both Jews and Christians were claiming to be God’s chosen people. The Jews have been since Abraham–millennia.  Now, there’s a new group in town, claiming the same thing.  Both sets probably attended the same synagogue together so tensions would be high.

Non-Christian Jews were horrible to their relatives at times, calling them usurpers, liars, and faced persecution.

Hence, John’s encouragement to the church, saying “No, Jesus holds the Key of David–the way to God.”

John is saying that the Jews are no longer the people of God as a nation since they have rejected their Messiah (Matthew 21:33-43).  The new Israel is the Christians, the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16).

Revelation 3:9 underscores the fact that the Jews will finally acknowledge (fall down) their Savior and the largely gentile church as the people of God.  In that time, “All Israel (the Israeli people as a whole) will be saved” (Romans 11:26).  This is a mark of the End Times and what Jesus is waiting for–the Jews to turn to him–before the End of Times.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 6, Day 2: Exodus 11:1-12:30

Summary of passage:  The Lord says He will bring one more plague upon Egypt and then Pharaoh will finally relent and let His people go.  Tell the Israelites to ask for gold and silver as I (God) have made them favorably disposed to help you.  So Moses tells Pharaoh that God will kill every firstborn son in Egypt and every firstborn calf as well.  There will be mourning as never seen before.  No harm will come to the Israelites.  Then everyone will demand us to leave and we will leave.  Moses, angry, leaves Pharaoh.

[In Chapter 10 of Exodus we see how Pharaoh banishes Moses from his court because Moses won’t compromise on the Exodus.  It seems as if no time has elapsed here and God speaks to Moses in this moment before he leaves Pharaoh for the last time so Moses can warn Pharaoh.  Scholars say Moses just threw in here what God had said to him previously.  Thus, we are unsure of the time frame here in terms of when God spoke to Moses.  We can say though that Exodus 10 and Exodus 11:4 is in the same moment.]

Chapter 12:  God gives Moses and Aaron clear instructions for the Passover, which is where God does not harm the Israelites but instead takes the firstborn of every Egyptian and animal.  Each Israelite household is to take a lamb without defect and raise it for 14 days.  Then at twilight all the lambs must be slaughtered.  They must take the blood and mark their doorways with it, which will serve as the sign for me (God) to pass over and not bring the plague.  Roast the meat over fire and make haste and be prepared to exit Egypt.

This is to become the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which entailed eating no yeast for a week and doing no work except preparing food.  Moses summoned the elders of Israel, gave them the Lord’s instructions, and they obeyed and worshipped.

Everything happened as the Lord said and there was one one house in Egypt without someone dead.

Questions:

3a)  This will be the last plague and Pharaoh will let His people go and he will drive them out completely from Egypt.

b)  Verses 4-8:  “This is what the Lord says:  ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt.  Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.  There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt–worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.  But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any man or animal.’  Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.  All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’  After that I will leave.”

c)  Moses does not give Pharaoh time to respond, so angry is he with Pharaoh’s obstinance.  We can assume since God sent the plague that Pharaoh acted the same way as he has consistently acted–flippant, defiant, and refusing to release God’s people.

4a)  Verses 2-11:  Each Israelite household is to take a lamb without defect and raise it for 14 days. Then at twilight all the lambs must be slaughtered. They must take the blood and mark their doorways with it, which will serve as the sign for God to pass over and not bring the plague. Roast the meat over fire, along with bitter herbs and bread made without yeast, and make haste and be prepared to exit Egypt.

b)  Verse 13:  “…when I see the blood, I will pass over you.”  Moses tells the elders in verse 27 “It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.”  It is the day to be remembered as the fulfillment of God’s promises to His people.

c)  Jesus rescued us (His people) from sin and he had to be sacrificed to do so just like the Passover lambs who had to be sacrificed to save and mark God’s people.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Yes.

Conclusions:  I had never noticed before how Moses never left Pharaoh and how God spoke directly to Moses so Moses could give Pharaoh the final warning.  God keeps His promise from Exodus 4:12 “I will help you speak and will teach you what to say”. I wonder how this occurred.  Did Moses pause and listen to God and then repeat God?  Or did Moses just open his mouth and God spoke through Moses?  I think it would be pretty cool if God’s words just came from my mouth, wouldn’t you?

I also had never noticed how God killed the firstborn cattle and animals in Egypt as well.  God already stuck down the livestock in the Plague of the Livestock (Exodus 9) so I’m wondering how much time is actually taken place between these plagues?  Obviously enough time for the cattle and the animals to re-populate themselves if God is going to strike them down again.

I also like how we see the first commandment in full on play here and just how jealous God is.  “I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt.  I am the Lord.”  Love this!!  God is going to show Pharaoh once more just how stupid his gods are and how mighty the One, True God is!  I love it! This shows God’s justness and it helps me to see man’s need for justice as well and that we are right to seek justice and dole out consequences from those who harm us as God pronounced judgment on the Egyptians.  As long as the path is not crossed into revenge I believe is God’s example here.

Since we are made in God’s image, we are like Him as well.  And seeing God punish the Egyptians for their sins gives me a new perspective on justice.

End Notes:  This is the fulfillment of God’s word (Exodus 4:21-3).  The Egyptians gave the Israelites silver and gold to get rid of them.  The Israelites saw this as payment for past wages.  These riches were later used to adorn the temple.

Why the firstborn?  As punishment for Egypt not letting God’s firstborn (Israel) go.  There were no exemptions.

Pharaoh would take the fall for this one; there would be no one else to place the blame

The first 9 plagues dealt with nature.  Here, this is against man.

For the fourth time we are told that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 9:12, 10:20, 10:27, and 11:10). Yet God never hardened Pharaoh’s heart until he first hardened it against the Lord and His people (Exodus 7:13, 7:22, 8:15, 8:19, 8:32, and 9:7).

Christians today do not usually celebrate the Passover.  It has been incorporated into the taking of the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist.  The idea is still there–relying on God whom rescued His people.  Only for Christians, the ultimate rescue was Jesus.

God starts the calendar over with this event.

The lamb (or goat in Hebrew–either one) was to live with them so that the sacrifice would be meaningful and mourned.

Lamb killed at twilight.  Jesus at the last hour. (1 John 2:11).

Presumably this blood would remain as a sign for the Israelites to remember this day.

All of the lamb was to be consumed just like we are to take and feed upon all of Jesus and not just some.

Leaven is seen as a picture of sin.  Hence, God’s people needed to begin anew without sin.

The herb hyssop has seen throughout the Bible with blood.  Presumably, it helped it stick. We will see hyssop again in our study this year.

The Passover is the Old Testament’s equal to the cross.  It was what cleansed God’s people to be with Him before Jesus was sent.

The Israelites obeyed as we are to do.  We are not told if any disobeyed or if any Egyptians obeyed.

This final plague was against Osiris, the giver of life to the Egyptians and against Pharaoh himself who thought he was a god.

Interesting read on who exactly was the Pharaoh during this time:  http://www.biblewitness.org/pharaoh.htm

Even more detail with all kinds of charts and reasonings–for those who desire more in depth analysis:

http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-exodus-date-1440bc.htm

Short answer:  Thutmose III during Exodus is the most likely candidate.

Fun Fact:  This is the first use of the word that would become our word for church.  Here it is translated as community.  It describes Israel collectively as a religious body.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 6, Day 2: Matthew 5:17-20

Summary of passage:  Jesus says he has come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.  Nothing will disappear from the law until everything is accomplished.  If you break any of these command, you will be called least in the kingdom of heaven but if you practice and teach these commands you will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Questions:

3a)  That you cannot disregard the teachings of the Old Testament just because he is here and fulfilling it.  You still must obey the commandments.  (Reflects my post HERE again, doesn’t it?).  Jesus did not come to negate or destroy the word of God He had given to His people and the prophets.  He came to fulfill it.  Thus, through fulfilling it, the old laws had to be re-interpreted.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The same as Jesus’.  The Old Testament exists for our knowledge; so we learn from our mistakes.  It records the history of God’s people (our history) and gives us laws to follow.

c)  God.  The New Testament.  The Holy Spirit.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It is alive always.  Through prayer and study, it becomes ingrained in your heart and mind and propagates in your life.

4a)  The perfect righteousness of Jesus:  Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:20-22).  Romans 10:4 establishes Jesus as the end of the law for those who believe in him.  Old Covenant replaced with New Covenant (2 Corinthians 3:11 and Ephesians 2:15).

b)  Sacrifices:  Male without blemish (Leviticus 1:3 and Hebrews 4:15), offered continually (Exodus 29:38-39 and Hebrews 9:28; 10:8-11), to make atonement (Leviticus 1:4 and Hebrews 9:12)

c)  The prophecies of the Old Testament:  Just like we studied, he was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), he was Immanuel, God with us (Isaiah 4:6), he performed miracles (Isaiah 35), he suffered for our sins (Isaiah 53), he established his kingdom during Roman times (Daniel 2:44).

Conclusions:  Question 4 was a doozy when we’re told to use the entire Bible.  Unsure what to think about this lesson or what BSF was trying to convey about the Old Testament versus the New Testament.  I’ll be anxious to hear the lecture on this one and read the notes.

I believe the point is this:  Jesus was the only one who could fulfill the Old Testament and all the laws because he was perfect.  Try as the Pharisees might, they were never perfect (Isaiah 64:6) and thus no one could stand before God as righteous.  We had to have Jesus to cleanse us and justify us before we could “enter the kingdom of heaven” and be with God.

And I believe that is Jesus’ point.  Everything in the Old Testament is true and should be obeyed.  Just now, Jesus will fulfill it and change some of the legalistic interpretations.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 6, Day 2: Genesis 4:25-26 with Psalm 34

Summary of passages:  Genesis 4:25-26:  Adam and Eve had another son named Seth.  Seth had a son named Enosh.  At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord.

Psalm 34:  David says he will extol the Lord at all times so the afflicted may hear and rejoice.  He sought the Lord who answered him and delivered him from all his fears. Those who look to Him are radiant and never in shame.  The Lord heard the poor man call and He saved him out of all his troubles.

Blessed are those who take refuge in Him.  Fear the Lord and you will lack nothing.  Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.  Do good; seek peace and pursue it.

The Lord’s ears are attentive to the righteous’ cry.  He delivers them from all his troubles.  He protects him.  He is against those who do evil.

He redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who take refuge in Him.

Questions:

3a)  Well, the only possible answer is men began to call on the name of the Lord.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Bring all my troubles to God.  Pray.  Continually talk about God.  Shine His light into society through my actions.

4a)  If you seek the Lord, He answers you and delivers you from all your fears.  Those who seek Him lack no good thing.  The Lord hears those who cry out and He delivers them from all their troubles.  His ears are attentive to your cry.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That the Lord hears me and delivers me from ALL my troubles.  Knowing I can bring every little thing to Him gives me peace of mind.

Conclusions:  Not a fan of this lesson either especially 3b.  It’s a stretch.  Now I’m assuming we’re only talking about Genesis and NOT Psalm here because it’s a 3b and question 4 discusses Psalm.  Could be wrong here though.

Calling on the Lord, to me, is a personal thing.  It’s when I’m on my knees, pouring my heart out.  It’s not in a grocery store where people think I’m a freak.  Yes, showing my family how to call on Him is very important.  Influencing society?  Not quite sure except to tell others how you rely on Him.

You have to walk that fine line where people don’t think you are a freak.

Just my take again.  Could have missed the point completely.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 6, Day 2: 2 Corinthians 11:23-12:12

Summary of passage:  Paul is answering his critics who are jealous and trying to discredit him.  He says he is a servant of Christ and more.  He was worked harder, been in prison, flogged, and exposed to death again and again.  From the Jews he has been flogged five times.  He was beaten with rods three times, stoned, shipwrecked, and drifted at sea.  He has been constantly running from danger: bandits, rivers, Jews, Gentiles–everywhere he is wanted.

He has been sleep deprived, hungry, thirsty, cold and naked.  Plus, he is concerned for the church.  Yet he does not feel weak.  Yet he boasts of his weaknesses not strengths.  Paul has endured all of this for Christ, which the other false apostles have not.  God knows he is telling the truth.

He knows a Christian (Paul is speaking of himself here) who has been to paradise and heard things he cannot tell (Paul had a vision basically).  Yet Paul will not boast over these revelations like some are and God has given him a thorn in his flesh that torments him and reminds him God is bigger.  God’s grace is sufficient and His power lies in weaknesses.  Being dependent on God makes Paul (and us) stronger in the end than our weaknesses.

Questions:

3)  Been in prison, flogged, on the verge of death (Verse 23); 5 times he’s been given 39 lashes (24); 3 times beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, drifted at sea (25); in danger from rivers, bandits, Jews, Gentiles–everyone (26); been hungry, thirsty, cold, naked (27).

4a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God and His grace is greater than any physical suffering here on Earth.  Suffering is nothing when compared to God’s gift to us.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Be more grateful for all my blessings which far outweigh my “sufferings”.  Everything is for God’s glory

c)  He reluctantly “boasted” over all he suffered for Christ and he recognizes that in his weaknesses he is strong.  Others probably thought their lot in life not so bad when compared to Paul’s.  Paul does a great job of illustrating his life:  even with all of these things that have happened to him he is still here–living, breathing–and doing God’s work.  And God is the one who has enabled all of this.

Conclusions:  Paul’s life is a great illustration of what the early Christians endured so almost 2000 years later we can worship in peace.  We have life easy in comparison.  We’re not flogged, stoned, or beaten with rods (nor can we be legally).  Not everyone is against us because of our faith.  We are not a minority fighting against a majority who want to kill us.

If you have nothing else to be grateful for today, be grateful for our freedom of religion and worship as granted in the First Amendment in the Constitution.