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

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

Questions:

6)  Faith by definition according to Webster’s Dictionary is “allegiance to duty or a person; belief and trust in and loyalty to God.”  Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines faith as “a true commitment of self to God, an unwavering trust in his promises, and a persistent fidelity and obedience.”

Today a lot of people have loose definitions of faith.  They say they have faith until the bad times hit and then God is thrown under the bus.  I also think people have half-hearted faith.  They lie to themselves or others when asked.  They don’t have faith in anything.  They wander through their lives, looking for something besides God.  If only they realized He is right here.  Always and forever.

7a)  Faith is believing in the unseen and taking God’s word at face value.  Faith is blind obedience.  Faith is stepping forward even though you cannot see the ground in front of you.  Faith is relinquishing control to God and believing He will keep His promises.  It’s believing the Bible as God-breathed.  It’s undeniable love.  Abel offered God a better sacrifice than his brother, Cain.  Noah built an ark and brought 2 of every animal inside.  Abraham moved an incredible distance for Ancient Times and became a father.  He offered Isaac as a sacrifice.  Joseph predicted the Exodus.  God’s people followed Moses to the Promised Land (despite hiccups along the way).  The prophets spoke God’s words despite dangers.  Rahab hid the spies.  The walls of Jericho fell.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Quit my banking job.  But I’m still not convinced I’m on the right path.  I’m restless and when I get restless I know it’s God trying to correct my path.

Conclusions:  Study of Hebrews 11 day and faith.

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.

Fun Fact:  The New Testament draws all of its examples of faith from the lives of Old Testament believers and Paul rests his doctrine of faith on Habbakkah 2:4 in Romans 1:17.  Please see my collorary post on Paul’s Doctrine of Faith HERE.

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 6, Day 3: John 4:35-38

Summary of passage:  Jesus tells a parable to explain what he means by his food is doing the will of God and finishing his work.  Jesus’ disciples will reap the reward of his work:  eternal life.  The reaper works now for a harvest later when in truth his harvest is now since the work is the reward.

Questions:

5)  The harvest is all of the people the disciples are trying to reach to come to Jesus.  The reapers are the workers (disciples) for the harvest (people).  The harvest is now, not in 4 months.  Wages is the reward (eternal life).  Receptive hearts of the Samaritans are the fields and the crop.  The sower is Jesus in this case, spreading the gospel to the Samaritan woman who spread it further.

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God’s Kingdom is immediate.  We can have it now and not spend our entire lives waiting to get to heaven.  There is a heaven here on earth:  it’s with Jesus as the Holy Spirit inside of us.  If we listen close enough, the rewards are endless.

Conclusions:  A difficult proverb for us westerners today since most of us have never worked in a field before.  This ties in nicely with Lesson 1.  It is God’s work and grace, not ours, that we are saved.  We do none of the work.  It is all God.

End Notes:  The common amount of time from sowing the seeds until harvest is about 4 months.  The seed has already sprung up in the hearts of the people.  Traditionally, “ripe” is translated as “white”.  Grain seeds, when ripe, turn from green to a yellow to a white color, which indicates it’s time to harvest.

Scholars use this time frame to date this to the beginning of December since Christ has just come from Passover and flipping over the money lender’s tables.

1 Corinthians 3:6-9 uses a similar field analogy with the emphasis on God making things grow.

Growing together urges unity.  All share in the joy of the crop.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 6, Day 3: Revelation 3:11-13

Summary of passage:  Jesus is coming soon to never leave again.  Those who overcome shall have written upon him God’s name, the new Jerusalem, and Jesus’ new name.

Questions:

7a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Hold onto what you have.  Jesus and hope.

b)  Faith, righteousness, life (eternal), victory.

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He will make believers into pillars in the temple of my God.  Means God will reign here on earth (or in the temple of my God–in God’s kingdom if we die before the Second Coming).  Never again will he (us) leave it–meaning we will have eternal life, reigning forever with God either in heaven or here on earth.

I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.  Means all those saved will be marked with the Holy Spirit (God’s name), given a new name in Christ, and dwell in the New Jerusalem.

I will be a new person in Him and with Him always.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is in control.  He has it.  One day it will come to pass. I am His.  He is mine.  Even when the immediacy is slow and overbearing, I know in my heart I’ll have it one day.

Conclusions:  Personal Question day it seems.  I enjoyed the whole image of the pillar (see End Notes). It’s such an iconic image, which fits perfectly with Jesus.  I can only hope to stand as strong as a temple pillar.

End Notes:  “Soon” here means when it comes, it will be quick.  NOT it is coming in the immediate future.

Remember the ancient Romans and Greeks invented the pillar–the tall stone columns that support the building, mostly temples.  Every important building and temple had pillars.  Often when we see pictures of ancient ruins, what is the only thing still standing?  Pillars.  They symbolized strength, stability, and beauty.

Jesus here is saying, “Even when the world around you is crumbling, stand strong like a pillar. Stand with me.”

Philadelphia had a lot of earthquakes.  Often the people would flee the city and then come back to it once the tremors stopped.  We are to stand strong in the Lord and never flee.

Pillars were often inscribed in the ancient world much like plaques today.  It was a great honor and privilege.  The fact God would inscribe us is so beyond it’s insane.

Picture of Roman Temples with Pillars HERE and HERE

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 6, Day 3: Exodus 12:31-13:16

Summary of passage:  During the night Pharaoh finally told the Egyptians to leave as the Egyptians were afraid they would all die.  Pharaoh also asks to be blessed by God.  So they were given clothing, silver, and gold and journeyed on foot.  They numbered 600,000 men, along with the women, children, livestock, and others.  They were in Egypt for 430 years.

The Lord said no uncircumcised males may partake of the Passover.  It must be eaten inside with no bones broken.

Exodus 13:  God ordered every firstborn male be consecrated to him, including the animals (this would later be replaced with the Levites in Numbers).  This day must forever be commemorated with a festival and with no bread with leaven in it for the generations to come and is to be told to every generation and remembered.  Every firstborn and sacrifice will be a sign of this remembrance.

Questions:

5a)  It would devastate it.

b)  When He struck down all the firstborn in Egypt (Passover).

c)  Israel is God’s firstborn son.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  By following God’s purpose for my life.  Living a godly life.  Doing what Jesus would do.  Repenting.  Asking for forgiveness for others.  Praying.  Faith.

6)  “The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.”

7)  Non-Israelites did go with the Israelites (verse 38) and God had to make sure they believed in Him and accepted His sacrifice for their sins.  It’s just like taking communion or the Eucharist today.  It has meaning and you must accept Him in order to be cleansed just like with Jesus.

Conclusions:  Try not to gloss over this section although it’s easy to do especially after yesterday which was a doozy. It is repetitive, yes, of what happened in Exodus 12 but it’s important enough to be repeated.  Note the emphasis of how God keeps stressing over and over the importance of remembering this day and what it means to His people.  The importance of passing this on to the next generations.  The importance of obeying these ordinances forever.

We must remember the Passover in the OT is the equivalent of Jesus dying on the cross–it was that important.  It accomplished the same thing–cleansing us of our sins.  Hence, the importance of it in these passages.

I love how Pharaoh says “Go but bless me too!”.  It’s still about him, yes.  But we see he has finally accepted that God is the One, True God.  He learned the hard way.  I pray we don’t learn that way.

End Notes:  Pharaoh was finally broken when his son died.  God does whatever it takes for His will.  Always justly.

We see the importance of the unleavened bread for the Israelites had to leave NOW.

Succoth means shelters to this may not be the town of Succoth.  There was probably was an air of celebration after the haste and the people were probably over the moon.

The number 600,000 has been debated.  Some say this was about 2 million people in total who left Egypt.  Regardless, it was a lot of people to be moving all at once out of the country.

Note the magnitude of God:  to the exact day of 430 years did the Israelites leave.

If you were part of God’s people, you had to celebrate the Passover.  If you wanted in,  you had to be circumcised and celebrate Passover.

God also required the dedication of the firstborn to Him because God always requires our best and the firstborn was considered the best in Ancient Times.

Phylactery boxes began with these instructions of which priests corrupted back in Jesus’ day.  This passage is not meant to be literal.

This is the simpliest and easiest Map of Exodus I could find with Rameses and Succoth clearly marked:  http://dedicatedchristfollower.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/exodus-map.gif

Fun Fact:  “Out of Egypt” occurs 56 times from this passage in the Bible.  Important, wouldn’t you say?

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 6, Day 3: Matthew 5:21-26; 1 John 2:7-11, 3:10-24

Summary of passages:  Matthew 5:21-26:  Jesus says if you murder you will be judged.  And if you are angry with your brother you will be judged.  Jesus says to reconcile with your brother first and then offer a gift at the altar.  Then settle matters with your enemy before you end up in court.

1 John 2:7-11, 3:10-24:  You are not in the light if you hate your brother.  If you hate your brother, you are in the darkness.  You are a child of God if you do what is right and if you love your brother.  Thus, love your brother even though the world may hate you because of it.  If you do not love, you remain in death and will have no eternal life.

Since Jesus laid down his life for us, we ought to do the same for our brothers.  We must love with actions and truth, helping those in need.  We must believe in Christ and love one another so that we live in him and he in us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Questions:

5a)  Deuteronomy 5:17

b)  Jews applied it literally to anyone who physically murdered someone.  Here, Jesus says we commit murder when we do not love.  We also commit murder when we do so in our hearts.  When we are so angry towards someone, we do things to hurt them over and over again.  Thus, we need to love our brothers.

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  1 John 3:15:  Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer and thus will not receive eternal life.  This shows us just how powerful Jesus’ command is to love one another.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We should reach out to those whom we have differences with in order to reconcile those differences.  Do not grievances or anger fester.

8 )  The overarching theme is forgiveness and reconciliation.  Your disagreements imprison you.  You are a slave to hatred, contempt, anger, and bitterness that your whole life is affected to the point you are doing no good for His kingdom.  Your life becomes jaded and you are no longer able to perform God’s purpose for your life here on earth.

Talk to those whom you have differences with before it gets to the point where a judge must decide because in the end this will only cost you more.  Think of divorce settlements that go to arbitration.  Anytime you let someone else have control you give up something.  Take it upon yourselves to forgive and reconcile with people before it’s too late.  It may cost you more than money like a relationship as well.

Matthew 5:7:  “Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.”

Conclusions:  Great emphasis on the importance of love and forgiveness in our lives.  1 Corinthians 13:13:  “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these if love.”  The bible repeatedly talks about loving others (especially the New Testament) and it’s so easy not to in this world full of self-seekers out for themselves.

If you don’t love others, you might as well be murdering them.  That is my interpretation at least.  Nurture, forgive, and reconcile.  For life is too short to hold grudges and be a Scrooge.  Engage with others and you shall be rewarded.

End Note:  As we embark upon Jesus’ teachings, try to keep in mind Jesus is not against Moses here.  Jesus is against the Pharisees and scribes and their interpretations and limitations they placed on the law.  He is, in essence, re-establishing the law as God meant it; not as man has meant it.

We must remember that 99% of the population of the ancient world could not read.  All they knew was what they were told by the priests and they had to take that as God’s word.  Thus, the possibility for corruption was rampant here.  Hence, Jesus is now teaching them himself what God’s word truly says.  (If you are reading Killing Jesus, this is explained in much the same way on page 157).

Raca, again, another word lost in translation.  Here, it really means the attitude behind the word.  Where you are so angry at someone you despise them and wish them dead.  My study bible describes it as contempt.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 6, Day 3: Acts 13:1-14a

Summary of passage:  Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen, and Saul were teaching in Antioch.  Then the Holy Spirit told Barnabas and Paul to leave on a journey.  So they went to Salamis and Cyprus with John Mark (Barnabas’ cousin) as a helper.  At Paphos in Cyprus they met a false prophet named Bar-Jesus who worked for Sergius Paulus.  Sergius wanted to hear what Barnabas and Saul had to say but Bar-Jesus (otherwise known as Elymas) opposed them.

Saul cursed Elymas, saying he was a child of the devil and temporarily blinded him.  Naturally, Sergius believed in Jesus after witnessing this.

From here, Paul sailed to Perga in Pamphylia where John left.  Then they went on to Pisidian Antioch.

Questions:

5a)  The Holy Spirit told them what to do and who was to do it

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Just what the early church members did:  pray and worship and let the Holy Spirit guide me in all facets of my life including church work.

6a)  Barnabas and Saul were the leaders in Acts 13:7.  BSF may say it was just Barnabas but every time in Acts 13 I see them mentioned together (13:2, 7) and the pronoun they is used repeatedly.  In 13:13, it switches to “Paul and his companions” so here I would say Paul since he is singled out by himself.

b)  Paul was the one who called Elymas out and blinded him.  God gave Paul this power and His authority, not Barnabas, and we can assume other incidents occurred to mark Paul as God’s chosen leader.

7a) At Pamphylia

b)  Probably a disagreement or a quarrel.  Why do most people leave?  “Irreconcilable differences”

c)  Paul’s trust

d)  Jerusalem

e)  Yes and no.  Barnabas and Paul fought over it (never good), ultimately resulting in them going their separate ways (Acts 15:36-40).  But this could be a good thing as well because with Paul and Barnabas split, they touched more people that way and spread the word faster.  However, eventually Mark and Paul reconciled as we see from the passages listed.  My study bible says Mark is thought to have accompanied Peter to Rome where Mark and Peter wrote the Book of Mark.  Fascinating stuff to see how one starts out and then grows to write part of a best-seller!  All with God’s help!

f)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Maybe.  If you consider this blog a Christian work and some in the past have accused me of changing BSF’s spirit.  But here it still is.  Hopefully helping others.

8 )  I like this map:  http://www.foundationsforfreedom.net/Article/Bible/NT/Acts/Acts_Map_1-2_Journeys.gif

The colors are bold and the route traced.  Just google “Paul’s First Missionary Journey” for many, many more maps.

I’ll leave the scale work to you all.  We all know travel was not easy back then.  It was dangerous and hard work and took a long time, especially by foot.

Conclusions:  Finally, map work not as an End Note!  Yeah!!!

Here, we see God’s plan unfolding before our eyes as He hand picks His chosen men to do His work.  We also see how human differences can serve God’s purposes as a quarrel leads to more and more people coming to Jesus.

Everything in life serves God’s purposes and He can use the bad and turn it into good.