BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 2, Day 3: Romans 1:21-23

Summary of passage:  Despite knowing God (in Creation and in their hearts and mind), mankind became foolish and gave up the glory given to them by God and instead worshiped false gods.

Questions:

6)  Through Free Will and denying who God is.  They did not glorify Him nor did they thank Him.

7a)  “Their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” and they “became fools.”  Any consequence is appropriate and God can and will express His wrath in different forms.  Why would God reward those who reject Him in any way?  You can’t be wise if you deny God.  Part of His judgement against unbelievers is to suffer the damage sin causes.  You deserve no mercy when you reject Him.

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He has sent His son, Jesus Christ, and whoever believes in Jesus has light within.  In Genesis 1:3, God made light and separated it from the darkness that was over the surface of the deep.  From the beginning, God planned and gave light to mankind.  Jesus tells us in Matthew to let our light and good deeds shine before men.  Do what Jesus would do with respect to others.  Praise God.  Walk in His ways.  Give Him all the credit.  All will see through you the power of God.

8 )  Humanity exchanged wisdom for foolishness and the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man, birds, animals, and reptiles.  Mankind becomes hardened to others.  Love is pushed out.  Evil reigns.  For instance, I recently read about how young men videotaped another young man drowning.  They laughed in the background and didn’t help or even call 911.  How sick is that?  That’s evil.  Pure evil in this world.  All because man has forsaken God and his mind is useless.  Worshiping false gods leads to emptiness and a desire by man to fill it–with evil thoughts and deeds.  Without God, there is no right and wrong.  Without right and wrong, it’s every man for himself and chaos reigns.  Just like Satan desires.

Conclusions:  Great emphasis on the peril of mankind without God.  A Godless life is dark and black and unrewarding and destitute.  People deal with this in different ways:  violence against self (suicide), violence against others (rape, murder, assault), waging war on strangers or kids or animals or the weak or the poor or the downtrodden.  Those without God lead an empty life no matter how materially successful they are.  If you don’t work for God, your life is sad.  Very, very sad.

End Notes:  Knowledge of God is useless–by itself.  Every person on this planet past and present has “known” God.  You must glorify Him and thank Him, the God of the Bible.  An attitude of gratitude will change your life and the lives of those around you.

We must also be on guard to worship the God of the Bible, not the god of our mind’s creation.  Constantly be on guard for society and other influences to change in your mind whom you know God to be.

Knowledge leads to worship and gratitude.

As soon as man rejects God in Jesus, he becomes foolish.  Once foolish, he’ll believe any lie Satan says.  It is only when we turn back to God and stay with Him does wisdom return.  Sound familiar in our lives when we stray from Him?

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 2, Day 2: Romans 1:18-20

Summary of passage:  God is angry at those who suppress the truth about Him.  Since the creation of the world God has been known so there is no excuse to deny Him.

Questions:

3)  According to Webster’s Dictionary, wrath means “strong vengeful anger or indignation; retributory punishment for an offense or a crime; divine chastisement.”

Man is suppressing the truth of God through wickedness.

4a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  All of creation is amazing.  Only an omnipotent being could design a world where everything fits together and has a purpose–from ants to eagles to mankind.  Nature always instills an appreciation for what God has done for me, a gratitude, and a desire to go deeper with Him.  When speaking with unbelievers, this verse is a go-to.  All you have to say is “Look around.  How do you explain what you see?”

b)  We can’t learn who God is completely.  We can’t learn his wrath at sin.  His purpose for mankind in His Son, Jesus.  We can’t see his justice.  We learn this through the Bible, prayer, and study of Him and who He is and His Son is.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  According to Webster’s Dictionary, suppress means “to put down by authority or force; subdue; to keep from public knowledge; to inhibit the growth or development of.”  I’m unsure of this question as I don’t think I’m suppressing any truth about God or Jesus.  This would be a question more for unbelievers unsure if God is God.

Conclusions:  This is one of my favorite passages in all the Bible.  I hate excuses and this is the ultimate excuse.  If you don’t see God in nature and all around you, you still go to Hell if you don’t believe in Him.  The whole created world reveals Him.  I blogged about this a long time ago HERE  God is angry all the time when man is evil and denies Him.

End Notes:  God’s anger/wrath is righteous anger.  It is not man’s anger which is motivated out of jealousy and selfishness.  It is the greatest peril facing mankind.

Great definition of wrath by Murray:  “Wrath is the holy revulsion of God’s being against that which is the contradiction of his holiness.”

Paul speaks of salvation in this letter.  But what are we saved from?  Many things but most importantly the wrath of God which we rightly deserve.  His goal is to show the absolute necessity of God’s plan of salvation for mankind.  We all sin and we all need God’s righteousness.  We’ll see the Gentiles (Romans 1:18-32), the Jews (Romans 2:1-3:8), and everyone (Romans 3:9-20).

Godlessness is man’s offenses against God.  Wickedness refers to the sins of man against man.

Every truth revealed to man by God has been fought against, disregarded, and deliberately obscured.  He reveals His wrath.  It’s not limited to the end-time judgment of the wicked.  Here we see God abandon the wicked to their sins.

Besides creation, God has planted within the heart and mind of every individual the spark of Himself.  It is when we reject Him when we know He’s there that leads to no excuses.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 2, Day 3: John 1:29-36

Summary of passage:  John points out Jesus as the Son of God since he saw the Spirit come done and remain on Jesus.

Questions:

6a)  Jesus’ baptism allows the Holy Spirit to live inside of someone and gives them the saving waters of God.  John’s baptism is only to cleanse the soul and prepare to receive Jesus.  John cleanses.  Jesus bestows.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Everything.  I walk with Jesus and in his ways–not in mine.  I work for him, not me.  It’s all about him.

7a)  The lamb was a sin offering for the Jesus people, a sacrifice they must make on the altar to atone for their sins.  Isaiah says how lambs are led to the slaughter.  In calling Jesus the Lamb of God, John the Baptist is saying Jesus is the sacrifice that must be made to atone for their sins.  The difference is this is final.  No more sacrifices will have to be made.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s a vivid image on the meekness of Jesus and the sacrifice he bore for our sins.  It makes me more worshipful.

Conclusions:  I will probably be saying “everything” a lot this year to personal questions because Jesus is our everything.

End Notes:  Here we’ve skipped ahead.  Most scholars believe this passage is after John baptized Jesus (since that’s when the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus: Matthew 3:13-17) and after the 40 days of temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13; Mark 1:12-13).  Jesus came back to see John the Baptist in his work.

John could have described Jesus as any thing here:  the king, the conqueror, the Savior, the mighty, the great, etc.  Instead, he chooses the Lamb.  How powerful!  Jesus as the sacrifice–the whole reason we are saved and how we get to God.  Remember that.

Fun Fact:  “Lamb of God” is found in the Bible only twice:  here and in verse 36.

This whole sentence is perhaps the most concise description of Jesus in the Bible and the most important:  “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”.  John sees Jesus first, calls him by his role, and tells us what Jesus does for us.

Note how many times we’ve seen the lamb in the Old Testament:  The lamb slain before the foundation of the world, the animal slain in the Garden of Eden to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness, the lamb provided to Abraham in place of Isaac, the Passover lamb, and the guilt offerings required by God to cleanse Israel of its sins.

Taking away is bearing.

Note it’s sin (singular), not sins (plural).  All of humanity’s sin is bore by Jesus.

Jesus was before John like he was before all of us:  since the beginning of time.  Remember, John the Baptist is older than Jesus so he’s speaking of eternal existence here.

The Greek word for “man” here connotes head of household, Jesus’ superiority over man and women.

Jesus already had the Holy Spirit.  It was merely made visible by God to John so he could witness to the people.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 2, Day 2: John 1:19-28

Summary of passage:  John the Baptist was questions by the Levites (Jewish priests) about his identity near Bethany.  He says he is not the Christ repeatedly.  He denies being Elijah and the Prophet.  He’s the announcer and precursor to Christ, and he says he’s unworthy to untie Christ’s sandals.

Questions:

3)

1)  “Then who are you?  Are you Elijah?”  Answer:  “I am not.”

2)  “Are you the Prophet?”  Answer:  “No.”

3)  “Who are you?”  4)  “”What do you say about yourself?”  Answer:  “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.'”.

5)  “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”  Answer:  “I baptize with water but among you stands one you do not know.  He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

4a)  In Malachi 4:5-6, Elijah was predicted to return before the Day of the Lord (which we learned last year in Revelation is the Second Coming of Christ).  In Deuteronomy 18:15-19, God promised another Prophet would come in due time.  So the Levites here are trying to figure out if John the Baptist is this promised return of Elijah or the Prophet.

b)  He says he’s the one sent to reveal the Christ and tell the people to prepare for his arrival that Isaiah predicted in his book.  The one who shall make straight the highway path to God.

5)   Personal Question.  My answer:  He’s humble and gives Christ all the credit.  I can remember this for all the blessings in my life and take no credit for them.  They are all HIS.

Conclusions:  We gain insight into John the Baptist’s character here.  He knows his purpose in life and in all humility he goes about his business singularly focused.  A great example to us of a witness for Christ.

End Notes:  This is John’s testimony for Jesus.

“The Jews” here do not refer to the Jewish people as a whole.  John uses it to denote the religious establishment and this is the first time in the gospels this is seen.  Specifically, they are sent here to look into the activities of an unauthorized leader.

The Levites as most of you know were descendants of Levi who were the priests of God’s people.

Fun Fact:  The Greek word for “Jews” occurs about 70 times in this Gospel.

Note John doesn’t say exactly who he is:  “Well, I’m Jesus’s cousin, the son of the priest Zechariah” etc.  Instead, he focuses on his mission:  to prepare and cleanse (hence baptisms) the way for Jesus.

Elijah did not die (2 Kings 2:11) and thus believed he would return to earth to announce the end times.  John is repeatedly asked if he is the Messiah and he gets more and more terse with each denial.  Like we do when repeatedly asked a question.

The Messiah means “the Anointed One”.  In the Old Testament anointing was a sign of being set apart.  Here, the people are seeking “the One”.

Baptisms grew out of the Old Testament tradition of ceremonial washings.  In the first century AD, baptisms with water were only for Gentiles converting to Judaism.  So if Jews agreed to be baptized they are openly repenting of their sins.

Untying thongs of sandals was the duty of slaves and a duty which disciples did not do for masters. John is saying he’s not worthy of even this duty.  He is lower than a slave.

Bethany is just outside of Jerusalem on the banks of the Jordan River.  See map HERE

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 2, Day 4: Exodus 2:15-22

Summary of passage:  Pharaoh tried to kill Moses for killing the Egyptian but Moses fled to Midian instead.  He rested by a well where a Midian priest had come with his seven daughters to water his flock.  Some shepherds came and hogged in but Moses drove them away so the girls could water their flock.

The girls returned to their father, Reuel and told him what happened.  He told them to invite this Egyptian to dinner.  Reuel gave Moses his daughter, Zipporah, to Moses as a wife.  She had a son whom Moses named Gershom, meaning “alien”.

Questions:

8 )  Presumably because he met a woman and got married.

9a)  He didn’t feel at home.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  When we moved to North Dakota.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I learned to be happy there but never content.  I fit in (kind of).  I endured.

d)  Letting him grow older and wiser.  Living as an Israelite also gives Moses credibility with the people and proves to them he is willing to give up all his advantages in life to help them.

Conclusions:  Like yesterday, not very meaty questions and not sure why this needed to be two days worth.

End Notes:  I’m sure Moses felt defeated and deflated, sure he was doing God’s work only to be rejected.  Little did he know he just needed more preparation.

Why did Moses go to Midian in the first place?  Moses was now a fugitive on the run and if indeed the Pharaoh during this time was Rameses II (whom scholars say was the most likely candidate), then during this time Egypt had an agreement with the Hittites in the north to return any fugitives caught (like our extradition treaties we have with some nations).  Hence, Moses fled to Midian where he would be safe from extradition.

Did Moses marry an infidel?  Odds are highly unlikely.  Since Reuel was a priest, he was most likely a descendent of Abraham through Keturah (Genesis 25:1-2) and worshipped the One, True God.  Hence, God brought Moses to this family specifically.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 2, Day 5: Psalm 91 & Review Matthew 2

Summary of passages:  Psalm 91:  He who dwells with God, rests with God.  He is my refuge and my fortress.  He will save you from death.  He will shelter you.  His faithfulness will be your shield.  You will not fear.  A thousand may die beside you but you will be spared as you will see the punishment of the wicked.

If God is your dwelling and refuge, no harm will befall you.  His angels will guard you in all ways.  You will trample evil.  All because you love God and acknowledge Him.  God will answer you and be with you in times of trouble.

Matthew 2:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Magi (or Three Wise Men) came to Jerusalem to inquire where the king of the Jews was born at so they may worship him.  King Herod was disturbed by this news.  He asked all the chief priest’s where the Messiah was to be born and they responded with the words of the prophet Micah:  In Bethlehem in Judah.

Herod called the Magi to him secretly and asked them for the exact time of the appearance of the star.  He then sent them to Bethlehem to search for the child and then to report back to him so that he too may go and worship the child.

The wise men leave Herod and continue their journey in search of Christ, using the star as their guide.  They arrived at Jesus’s house and bowed down and worshipped him.  They gave the child gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh.  Then they returned home a different way to avoid Herod.

An angel of the Lord warns Joseph to flee Bethlehem for Egypt because Herod is going to try to kill the child.  So Mary, Joseph, and Jesus stayed in Egypt until Herod died, returning to fulfill another prophecy in Hosea 11:1.

When Herod realizes the magi have escaped him, he orders all boys in Bethlehem under the age of two killed, fulfilling Jeremiah’s prophecy in Jeremiah 31:15.

Once Herod died, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to return to Israel with Mary and Jesus.  Joseph obeyed but settled in a town called Nazareth in Galilee out of fear of Archelaus who was reigning in Judea. This fulfilled what the prophets said that Jesus would be a Nazarene.

Questions:

10a)  God was faithful to all in Matthew 2 because they loved God and acknowledged God and obeyed Him.  The Magi were protected from Herod because of God.  Joseph and his family was saved from evil because of God.

b)  Those who accept God, love God, and acknowledge God.  Verse 1:  “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High”  Verse 9:  “If you make the Most High your dwelling”  Verse 14:  “Because he loves me”, meaning those who love God.  and “he acknowledges my name”.  Verse 15:  “He will call upon me”.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All ways (at least I hope and pray I do).  I trust God to lead me to what He wants me to do with my life.  I pray for my husband’s job to provide for us.  I pray for guidance in all things from leading me to the right dog to the right home–the big and the small (well, not so small in the case of my dog) things all require God’s guidance.

11a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Those who obey God when called (the Magi, Joseph, Mary) are rewarded and protected (the Magi from Herod and Joseph from Herod) and provided for and guided to where they need to be (Joseph to Nazareth).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Many throughout childhood as He has led me all over the world into some pretty dodgy circumstances.  I feel primarily my role has been in the home (remember I said I led a sheltered life on Day 3) and He has protected me in that sense through obedience to Him.  And as I now feel I am called elsewhere, out in the world, I feel He will protect me as I continue to shine His light wherever I go.

Conclusions:  Great day of review of the lesson through one of the most powerful Psalms.  If you love God and accept Him, then no harm will befall you.  Plain and simple.

As I was typing this, one of my cats jumped onto my lap.   Just like God cares for us, we care for His creatures (recall the study of Genesis)–even the unwanted ones like my cat who was a rescue.  Pets never question where their next meal will come from, where they will move next or if they will be loved the next day.  They have faith they will have a home, have food, and have you to take care of them.  And they love you unconditionally for it.  Similarly, so we must have the same simple faith in God and His ability and desire to care for us in all of our needs.  If we love Him unconditionally.