BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 4, Day 2: Romans 3:1-4

Summary of passage:  After having just warned the Romans that what matters is the heart and just because you are outwardly obeying doesn’t mean you have salvation, Paul comforts the Jews, saying that they are God’s chosen people and God is still faithful to them and to His promises to them.

Questions:

3a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  The Jews of the day (as we discussed last lesson in Day 4 & Day 5) believed they were superior to others because they were chosen by God and they were circumcised.  They thought they could do whatever they wanted (sin-wise) and still receive salvation.  Paul explained in Romans 2 this is not the case.  I don’t have any expectations in terms of spiritual advantages.  Yes, I’ve been blessed to know God since a child, but I have no expectations because of this.

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  They were chosen by God and before Jesus guaranteed a spot in heaven.   Imagine being chosen in pagan times before people could read and write to keep God’s words and prophecies until Jesus came.  Awesome!  Having God’s word and the Bible is a huge advantage.  We are not brainwashed as to what God says.  His words are not twisted.  We can read all He expects of us and all He desires of us and all of our comforts and His promises as well.  It’s an amazing blessing!

4)  God promised Abraham to make him and his offspring into a great nation.  He will bless them and curse all who oppose him.  God gave him the land of Canaan to live on.  He promises His people abundance.  He is our life (awesome!), the reason for being, the reason for progress.  He will always be with us and be His nation.  All of these promises still hold for the Jews.

5)  You.  Free Will.  God does not tempt anyone.

Conclusions:  Jews first.  Gentiles second.  Good lesson when we get on our high horse as a Gentile.  For me, I’m just happy He chose me too!  Order does not matter!

End Notes:  In Romans 9:4 Paul will expound more on the advantages the Jewish people have.  The Jews have a duty when God entrusted them with His word (the Old Testament).  It’s a big responsibility to disseminate it, keep it, and spread it!

Paul says just because the Jews in general have rejected Jesus doesn’t mean God has abandoned them!  God never fails His people!

Verse 4:  God cannot lie.  God does not change.  What Gods says is the Truth.

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 23, Day 2: John 17:1-5

Summary of passage:  Beautiful prayer of Jesus to his Father, saying the time has come to glorify Him through himself, defining eternal life as knowing God and himself, Jesus Christ.  Tearful!

Questions:

3)  The definition of glorify according to Webster’s Dictionary is:  “to make glorious by bestowing honor, praise, or admiration; to elevate to celestial glory; to light up brilliantly; to represent as glorious : extol; to cause to be or seem to be better than the actual condition; to give glory to (as in worship)”

Jesus asks God to glorify him so that He Himself would be glorified.

Glory according to Webster’s Dictionary is:  ” praise, honor, or distinction extended by common consent : renown; worshipful praise, honor, and thanksgiving; giving glory to God”.

It is time to give glory to God by bringing His plan to fruition and saving mankind for Himself.

4a)  Knowing about Jesus doesn’t mean you believe in Him.  Most people in the developed world know about Jesus.  Only those saved know who Jesus is and what he has done for them as sinners and be saved.  I know about Communism.  That doesn’t make me a communist.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  There have been signs recently in my life that time is of the essence and I need to get back to His path and quit dinkering around and being diverted by frivolous desires of my heart.  It is all about Him and I need to get on it!

5)  Before Jesus’ death, he had existed, taking a background to God.  After he was sent to die for mankind, God the Father elevated him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above all names.  All will bow in heaven and on earth before him and confess him as Lord and Savior.  He sits at God’s right hand in heaven.  God created the universe through Jesus.  He is heir to all things.  Jesus represents God’s being and radiates God’s glory.  His role in this world was amplified for humans.  Jesus was always there and important.  God just chose not to reveal this to mankind.

Conclusions:  I had missed that God made the universe through his Son!  Awesome how there are always new revelations to discover in His word.  Beautiful prayer to God.  Great questions about completing God’s work for us.

End Notes:  Commentators call this the greatest recorded prayer in the Bible.

Fun Fact:   This is the only long, continuous prayer of Jesus recorded in the Gospels.  It is sometimes called his High Priestly Prayer.

We see the nature and heart of Jesus.  This echoes the Lord’s prayer and we see what it’s like to have equals revere one another.  Amazing!

We see the customs of the time:  Jesus prayed with his eyes open towards heaven, very different from us bowing our heads today.

Jesus’ work being done on earth except to die, he prays.  Great lesson for us!  He will never again perform miracles or instruct his disciples.  He prays.  This is a victory prayer.

Note the words: Father . . . Your Son . . . Your Son . . . You. This is a prayer deep and rich with relationship. Jesus prayed with a full and deep sense of the familial relationship and the natural hierarchy or order that exists between God the Father and God the Son.  There is no Lord mentioned here.

This is often translated as “the hour has come”, which in my mind is better.  To Jesus, it is but one hour to suffer to him.  Great lesson for us who are stuck in the trenches of life’s tribulations.  It is but an hour before we will be glorified or our trials will appease.  Remember that!

Jesus is concerned for God’s glory only here.  It is the cross that brings glory to God and to Jesus.  If this doesn’t happen, then all if for naught.  God is glorified in His wisdom and power over evil.

All of our prayers need to have the desire to glorify God in them.  Are we looking for promotion so we can do God’s work?  Is it His desire or yours?

Verses 2-3:  Jesus has authority over all people (another claim to deity).  This is comforting to us as we evangelize cause Jesus is in control, not us.  With this authority, comes the authority to grant eternal life.  Jesus is God’s gift to us.  However, we are God’s gift to Jesus.  God gave Jesus US!  Powerful!

Everything Jesus did glorified the Father.  Jesus saw his work on the cross as finished.  Similarly, God sees the work in us as finished.  We just have to do it.

Jesus asks for the same glory God has.  Jesus relinquished some of this glory to accomplish his task. He asks for its return, confirming his preexistence and equality with the Father as One being.  This happens at Christ’s resurrection and exaltation at God’s right hand.

Fun Fact:  “World” occurs 18 times in this one prayer.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 19, Day 2: John 14:15-20

Summary of passage:  Obey Jesus out of love for him.  The Father will send us the Spirit of Truth (Holy Spirit) to be with us and in us and we will live.

Questions:

3)  He says distinctly in verse 20 “I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” (through the Holy Spirit).  Jesus explains the Holy Spirit as a Counselor God will send to be in you and he will be of the same kind.

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus says the Holy Spirit lives with you and will be in you and that the disciples will know him.  “On that day” meaning Pentecost when the Holy Spirit is given to believers is when the relationship will change.  I have the Holy Spirit.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That I will live because Jesus lives.  It’s great comfort to know I’ll be in heaven with the Father.

Conclusions:  Some days I feel as if I’m not much help and this is one of those days.  The questions were broad so it’s hard to narrow it down.

End Notes:  This is the first in a series of important passages about the Holy Spirit since Jesus has not mentioned it before.

Love is not just an emotion or a feeling.  Jesus says love is an action, doing, keeping his commandments.  This shows you love him.  Love, like faith, cannot be separated from obedience.  You don’t have to enter a convent and give up everything.  It’s simple.

Here is the 2nd Assurance:  Jesus will ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to help believers.

“Counselor” is the ancient Greek word parakletos.  The idea is someone called to help someone else or it could be an advisor, a legal defender, a mediator, or an intercessor.  It’s often translated as “Comforter” which comes from the Old English and Latin.

The devil is the accuser.  Hence, “Helper” for the Holy Spirit.

“Another” means in the same kind.  So the Counselor is in the same kind as Jesus and the Father and hence, the Trinity.  Besides Jesus in essence.

The Holy Spirit will not be temporary–he will be with us “forever.”

The Spirit is characterized by truth in essence and action.  He brings people to the truth of God.  All three persons of the Trinity are linked with truth.  The world takes no notice of the Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit was already with the disciples (Jesus) but it would be in them (John 20:22).  Acts 1:8 tells us the disciples will receive power when they receive the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit eliminates the distance between Jesus and ourselves.

Jesus’ 3rd assurance:  He will not leave them as orphans, but will come to them.  To the Hebrews, the disciples of a particular teacher called him father; his scholars were called his children, and, on his death, the disciples were considered orphans.

Jesus repeats this promise from 14:3 and fulfills it when he rises again after the cross.

Because Jesus lives is the only reason we still live.  The Holy Spirit allows us a union with God here on earth.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 14, Day 2: John 10:1-6

Summary of passage:  Jesus uses the metaphor of a shepherd and his sheep to explain himself and believers.  The only way into the pen is through him (the gate).  The one who enters through the gate is the leader (Jesus).  The sheep (believers) follow him and only him and know his voice.  They will not follow a stranger.  They flee from strangers.

Questions:

3a)  The thieves are unbelievers or evil people or imposters or those who are spiritually blind like the Pharisees from Chapter 9.  The true shepherd is Jesus.  The true shepherd’s sheep are believers are those who believe in and follow Jesus as Lord and Savior.

b)  All people fit in one of these categories.  They either believe in him (the sheep) or they don’t (the thieves and robbers).

4a)  The sheep know the shepherd’s voice and they follow only the shepherd.  They are not deceived by others and they flee from the false shepherds.  The sheep depend on the shepherd for their lives–to feed them and care for them.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I got a full-time job to help my family.  I’m listening to Jesus to know  how long to stay in that role.  I’m continuing his work for me.  I’m raising my kids.  I’m trying to be a good wife and mother and employee.  I’m trying to return to regular church attendance as well.

Conclusions:  This is one of my favorite analogies of Jesus and believers.  They didn’t understand at the time, but they will.  It’s a consolation to all of us who don’t understand God’s will at the time but we follow anyways.  One day it will be clear to us–even if that day is on the other side of heaven.

End Notes:  So right after Jesus healed the blind man and the religious leaders threw a fit cause it was on the Sabbath and didn’t believe Jesus did it, Jesus talks about actually caring for people instead of caring more for legalities and rules.

In OT times and ancient Near Eastern culture, the shepherd symbolized the royal caretaker of God’s people.  God himself was called the “Shepherd of Israel” (Psalm 80:1, 23:1; Isaiah 40:10-11; Ezekiel 34:11-16, Zechariah 10:2) and he had given great responsibility to the leaders (shepherds) of Israel, which they failed to respect.  God denounced these false shepherds (Isaiah 56:9-12; Ezekiel 34) and promised to provide the true Shepherd, the Messiah, to care for the sheep (Ezekiel 34:23).

“I tell you the truth” is common in John’s Gospel and indicates a solemn assertion about Jesus and/or his ministry.

Political and spiritual leaders were often called shepherds in the ancient world (Isaiah 56:11, Jeremiah 31:5).  Jesus explained that not everyone among the sheep is a true shepherd; some are like thieves and robbers.  One way to tell the difference is how they gain entry among the sheep.

The idea is that there is a door (a gate), a proper way to gain entry. Not everyone who stands among the sheep comes that way.  Some climb up some other way.

The religious leaders Jesus is speaking about gained their place among God’s people (the sheep) through personal and political connections, ambition, manipulation, and corruption.

A true shepherd comes through love, calling, care, and sacrificial service.

God wants His people to be led, fed, and protected by those who come in love.

The watchman knows the true shepherd.  Towns of that time would have a watchman who watched over all the people’s sheep at night.

A shepherd knows all of his sheep and they know him.  A shepherd may even name the sheep and the sheep may even know their name.  He calls them and they follow.

According to Adam Clarke, there are 6 marks of a true shepherd in these verses:

· He has a proper entrance into the ministry

· He sees the Holy Spirit open his way as a doorkeeper to God’s sheep

· He sees that the sheep respond to his voice in teaching and leadership

· He is well acquainted with his flock

· He leads the flock and does not drive them or lord it over them

· He goes before the sheep as an example

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 12, Day 3: John 8:12-30

Summary of passage:  Jesus announces he is the light of the world and whoever follows him will have the light of life.  The Pharisees say he cannot testify for himself.  Jesus says he can (well, duh, he’s God!). Jesus judges righteously.  The Father also testifies for him.  Jesus says again he is going away and they cannot come because they do not know him and thus will die in their sins.  Jesus says when he dies, then they will understand that he is from the Father and does his will.

Questions:

6a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  Jesus says he knows where he came from and where he’s going.  He judges justly and the Father is his witness.  Jesus is the One (along with God).  Without him/Him, I am nothing.

b)  He testifies for himself as does the Father.  Jesus needs no one to testify for him.

7a)  Jesus is sinless and will not die in sin.  He is from heaven and if no one believes in him, they will die in sin and dwell in hell forever.

b)  God never leaves Jesus and Jesus only does what pleases God.  They are the epitome of a Father/Son relationship–so close they are inseparable.  Because Jesus is God, if you know Jesus you know God.  The Father is known through the Son and to know the one is to know the other.

8 )  Dying on the cross and being resurrected.  It is what gives believers eternal life.  It’s Jesus purpose from God.  It’s all God’s plan.  It’s the ultimate fulfillment of God’s plan here on earth.  It is the supreme example of doing the will of the Father.  It is our salvation.  Period

Conclusions:  It’s plain as day:  know the Son, know the Father.  Don’t know the Son, don’t know the Father.  It’s the difference between life and death.  Permanently.  Some will see this; some won’t.  Light versus dark.  Which shall win?

End Notes:  Assuming the placement of the woman caught in adultery is correct, Jesus was interrupted teaching at the temple and now he begins again.

Light is an important symbol in the Old Testament.  God is light and we are light as followers of Jesus.  At the Feast of Tabernacles, candles were lit to remember the pillar of light that lighted the way for the Israelites during the Exodus.  Darkness is Satan and sin.

The 2nd of Jesus’ 7 “I am” statements.

Jesus makes 2 points:  1) He is qualified to bear testimony for himself; whereas the Pharisees were not.  He knew both his origin and destination; again, the Pharisees did not.  They were blinded and could not see Jesus’ light.  He judged righteously; the Pharisees did not.  Furthermore, only Jesus (and God) are truly qualified to bear witness to who he is.  He is God after all.  He is absolutely secure in who he is.  Shouldn’t we all be?

2)  His testimony is not unsupported.  The Father is with him.  So he and the Father are the two witnesses required by law.  Jesus believed he was enough.  But, catering to us stupid humans, he provided another witness:  God himself.

The Pharisees couldn’t prove one way or another if Jesus was the Messiah.  So they hoped to intimidate him and discredit him.  They bring up his birth to try to suggest it wasn’t a miracle but a scandal.  Jesus then points out how they don’t know him or God.

John makes it clear the Word (Jesus) was with God and was God and revealed God.  The Father is known through the Son and to know the one is to know the other.

Jesus is still on the temple–a very public place–declaring himself God and the Pharisees fools.

Jesus knew the Pharisees were going to hell and said so.  They tried to twist his words into making it seem as if Jesus was saying he was going to kill himself.  According to Jewish law, the depths of Hades was where those who committed suicide dwelled.

It makes sense:  If you follow Jesus here on earth, you follow him to heaven.  If you don’t follow him here on earth, you don’t follow him to heaven and you end up in hell.

Jesus tells them they have a limited time to turn.  We are all born in sin.  If you don’t deal with sin on this side of heaven, you will dwell in sin forever.

The Pharisees intent is malicious.  They kept asking Jesus who he was, hoping to get an answer to use again him.  With the right heart, Jesus will answer our questions of who he is gladly.  And the results will be amazing.

Jesus has no new answers for them.  There’s only so many human ways to say the same thing.  And they still didn’t understand and would not–for the darkness blinded them.

“Lifted up” here refers to the cross, not exalted or anything.  The Pharisees do not challenge Jesus here.  It is evident that God is with him and will not abandon him and he’s doing the Father’s will.

Many believed Jesus who heard him speak despite the opposition of the religious leaders.  I can imagine looking upon Jesus would convince most.  His heart would be transparent and it would be evident he was God.  He walked the talk unlike the Pharisees.  He had no sin.  He was perfect.  And many believed it to be so.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 10, Day 3: John 6:43-51

Summary of passage:  Jesus chastises the Jews for complaining and quotes Isaiah.  He further explains how he is the bread of life that will lead to eternal life and again references Moses and the Exodus.  All it takes is listening to God and belief in him.

Questions:

5)  Those who hear the Scriptures (the word of God) will come to Jesus and be saved.  They testify about Jesus.  They are spirit and life.

6)  Only Jesus has seen God.  But in a way if you’ve seen Jesus (those walking around in 1st century Israel and saw Jesus) has seen God since God is in Jesus as the Holy Trinity.  If you are a believer, you have the Holy Spirit within (God and Jesus) as a guiding light.  He is always with us, strengthening us, guiding us, and doing His will.

7a)  Physical death and spiritual death.

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  If you believe in Jesus, you will not suffer spiritual death but have everlasting life.  My response is eternal gratitude.

Conclusions:  Take away:  Jesus is the only way to eternal life.  God will lead you to him.

End Notes:  Jesus here is teaching the Jews that all who come to him are drawn by God.  Remember the Jews at this time thought eternal life was a birthright.  It all starts with God.  We don’t come to Him.  He calls us and we respond.  The Greek word “draw” is the sense of alluring.

All those who belong to God are taught by God.  All those who listen to God will come to Jesus.

Jesus again insists upon his unique relationship with the Father, being the only one to have seen Him.

No other prophet ever made such a bold claim:  believe in me and have everlasting life.  This was shocking to the people at the time.  Believe meant to trust, rely on, cling to, and love.

Another famous “I am” statement:  I am the bread of life.  Bread is necessary for physical life.  Jesus is necessary for spiritual life.

We all feed upon something:  business, pleasure, entertainment, etc.  What do you feed upon?

The metaphor of eating and drinking was common in the Jesus’ time but is so universal everyone can relate.

This is not communion here.  Jesus is the bread.  Eat of him.

Jesus says he as the bread is his flesh that he willingly gives for our life.  He is alluding to his final work on the cross.

Flesh is a strong word here meant to grab attention.  Giving of flesh is death.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 4, Day 4: John 3:16-21

Summary of passage:  God loved us so much He sent His one and only Son to die for our sins.  Whoever believes in Jesus shall have eternal life.  If you don’t believe in Jesus as God’s Son, then you are condemned.  Those who live by the truth (that Jesus is God’s Son) live in the light and work because of God.

Questions:

10)  John 3:16:  Whoever doesn’t believe in Jesus, shall perish.

John 3:17-19:  Whoever doesn’t believe in Jesus is condemned.

John 3:36:  Whoever rejects Jesus will not see life and will have God’s wrath on him forever.

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9:  Whoever doesn’t obey Jesus shall be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of His power.

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Whoever believes in Jesus is not condemned and has eternal life.  As I said in my Conclusions YESTERDAY, it’s simple:  I focus on knowing I’m saved, that I’m His, that He is with me and all else falls into place despite my humanness.  He does it, not me.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God makes coming to Him as easy as possible.  A simple choice:  to believe in Jesus or not.  Yet, as John the Apostle states, men love darkness and are attracted to evil so this choice is not as easy as it seems.  It gives me greater understanding and a new perspective to the struggle of those choosing Jesus or evil.

Conclusions:  I love the focus on simplicity here.  As perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible, it would be easy to delve too deep into this.  Instead, BSF focuses on exactly what it says:  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  The End.  The crux of Christianity in 26 words.  Amazing!

End Notes:  God loved the world.  All of us, including the Gentiles, not just God’s chosen people.  Jesus sets the record straight.

Morrison suggested that there are three centers of love:

· God so loved the world (John 3:16)

· Christ also loved the church (Ephesians 5:25)

· The Son of God, who loved me (Galatians 2:20)

God gave.  What we are all called to do:  give to others and back to God.

Nicodemus might have been reminded of Abraham’s offering of Isaac with these words.

Believe means to trust, rely, and cling to.  This is the only requirement of the world.

God gives us eternal life–His intent is to save us–eternally–forever.

Seven Wonders of John 3:16:

  1. God–Authority
  2. World–Motive
  3. Son–Gift
  4. Whoever–Welcome
  5. Believes–Escape
  6. Not perish–Deliverance
  7. Have everlasting life–Possession

“So” means “in this way”.  “World” is all people on earth.  Jesus is the Son.  “Believes” is continuing belief and convictions.

God’s purpose is to save.

John does not address those before Jesus.  He focuses on those who deliberately reject him.  Romans 1 & 2 addresses this issue and it’s best understood in terms of light:  rejecting light or accepting light.

It is all on our shoulders whether we accept Jesus or not.  God presents; we decide.

We tend to think of evil as the worst sins:  murder, rape, violence, etc.  But love of one’s own life and doing it your way instead of God’s and ignoring Him is the same.  It’s either all of God or none.  Period.