BSF Study Questions John Lesson 28, Day 5: John 20:24-31

Summary of passage:  Thomas who was absent the first time Jesus appeared to the disciples refused to believe Jesus had risen unless he sees Jesus.  So Jesus appears a week later in much the same manner when Thomas is present and he believes.  However, Jesus commends those who believe without seeing.

Questions:

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  He’s devoted to Jesus and follows him.  His faith is weak though when Jesus is not around.  He’s a skeptic but he questions honestly.  He was authentic:  he never pretended.  If he didn’t understand something, he said so.  If he felt discouraged, he acted like it.  I’m very much like Thomas–open book.  One who questions and doesn’t pretend “I’m good” when strangers ask when I’m not.  Once Thomas sees, his faith is 100%–never to leave again.  All in.  That’s me too.

13)  Jesus appearing before him.  He acknowledged Jesus as his Lord and God–the only disciple to do so.

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Truthfully, it hasn’t.

Conclusions:  Another weak lesson despite the fact I like Thomas.  Questioning leading to faith is the lesson here which should have been the focus of the questions instead of personalizing them.

End Notes:  “Thomas” is Aramaic and “Didymus” is Greek for twin, which could have been an epithet.  By not staying together as Jesus had said to do (John 15:17; 17:11), Thomas missed out on the first blessing of Jesus.  Hence, this recorded exchange earned Thomas the nickname “Doubting Thomas”, which is unfair to what he’ll become.  It wasn’t that he doubted; he refused to believe in the disciples’ testimony.  Thomas is slammed for this but he could be in shock still or mourning.  He was still with the disciples however.

Again, Jesus appears in the same way and says the same thing on the same day–a Sunday–evidence of the disciples gathering together on Sundays.  The doors are locked still, indicating the disciples still haven’t quite internalized the resurrection of Jesus yet.

Jesus gave Thomas what he asked for (his physical presence and proof) out of mercy and kindness.  He didn’t have to appear for Thomas’ sake but he did.  For Thomas, the implication of a risen Jesus was too great to take someone else’s word for.  Jesus orders him to stop doubting and have faith.  Despite all the previous faith Thomas had, without faith in the resurrection none of it mattered.  The same is for us.  Doubt is okay to a certain extent.  It moves us towards faith and deepens it.

Thomas quickly believes, calling Jesus Lord and God, titles Jesus does not refuse.  He calls Jesus my Lord and my God–titles of deity.  He also is not half-way in.  He’s all out (100% doubting) or all in (100% belief).  This is the high point of faith.

Fun Fact:  Thomas in fact is the only disciple that is recorded who directly addresses Jesus as God.

Scholars are divided on whether or not Thomas actually touched Jesus’ wounds.  Because Jesus points out only that Thomas has seen him that strengthens his faith, most say Thomas didn’t actually touch Jesus.  However, sight could have been what had convinced Thomas and not the physical touching.

Ironically, Jesus says those who believe without seeing are the blessed ones–that would be us!  Those who are satisfied with God’s gifts and not yearning for more.  This is another beatitude from Jesus to us.  If we demand a voice, a vision, or answers, our faith is diminished.

Some scholars say Thomas’ belief is the climax of the book of John.  Here, Jesus has conquered unbelief–more important than the miracle of sight or sorrow or sin.

Thomas’ questions led to faith because he expressed them sincerely and looked for answers.  We last see Thomas in the Bible in Acts 1:12-14 praying, waiting with the other disciples for the Holy Spirit to come.

Tradition has it Thomas went to Parthia and India to spread the Gospel.  Present-day Christians of St. Thomas of India claim spiritual descent from him and a place near Madras is called St. Thomas’s Mount.

John sums up this chapter with the whole point of the Gospels–the show the truth of Jesus’ Messiahship and to present him as the Son of God so that readers may believe in him– and to bring about faith that leads to life.

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BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 28, Day 5: Various Passages for the Day

Summary of passages:  Various passages for the day.

Questions:

10)  Matthew 28:19-20:  “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

(We had this EXACT SAME passage and question in Lesson 19 Day 3.  My answer hasn’t changed and neither has the passage.)

It challenges me to spread the word.  Duh.

John 13:31-36:  “Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you much love one another.”

It challenges me to love others.  Duh.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22:  “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt.  Test everything.  Hold on to the good.  Avoid every kind of evil.”

This challenges me to remember my blessings, be grateful for all I have, to pray more, to be happy, to remember this is the life God has granted me, to challenge what I hear as Truth and see if it lines up with the Word, to hold onto God (the good), and to avoid evil.

Hebrews 12:28:  “Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”

This challenges me to be more worshipful.  I’m wondering what acceptably means here.  I don’t like it for it’s too subjective.  Your acceptable might not be my acceptable.

1 Peter 1:13-16; 2 Peter 3:10-14:  “Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.  Be holy in all you do.”  “You ought to live holy and godly lives and look forward to a new heaven and a new earth.”

This challenges me to be more like Jesus and be holy and not be like the world around me.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Be more like Jesus.  Every day.  Love others.  Do His will more.

Similar question:  Lesson 24 Day 5

Conclusions:  We’ve had question 10 before.  My attitude is so poor as you can tell.  I hope yours isn’t as bad as mine.

Conclusions to Lesson 28:  Complete and total filler lesson.  All were personal questions except for question 8 on day 4 (the only good question in my opinion).  All were ones we’ve had before on topics beaten to death.  Weak.  Can we just finish Revelation please?

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 28, Day 5: Deuteronomy 32:44-52

Summary of passage:  After Moses sang the Song, he told the people to take his words to heart and live by them so that they will prosper in the new land.  That same day the Lord told Moses to climb Mount Nebo and view the Holy Land before his death.

Questions:

10a)  To take all of his words to heart.  Moses said to love and serve God with all of your heart and soul.  He said God would circumcise your hearts in order to love Him.  Because the heart is what matters to God.  We all will sin.  But are we truly sorry for our sin.  Do we have a heart for God?  Or do we not truly care about our actions?  God wants our hearts.  Once He has that everything else falls into place.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  When you love and serve God, God happens.  Blessings happen.  To you and to others.  Peace happens.  Fulfillment.  God’s plan happens.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God’s words are our life.  His commandments.  His will.  Without God’s word and His Holy Spirit within we have no life.  We are empty shells.  For His word is Him.

12a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is just.  Moses didn’t physically enter the Promised Land but Moses is in heaven in a much, much better land than here on Earth.  That’s what matters.  Not what happens to Moses down here.  He was probably the most faithful man to ever walk the earth.  It is not for me to judge God’s judgements.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The part of my thinking that is selfish and all about me.  The part of my thinking that is not from God but from Satan.  The thoughts that need to be of God instead of of the world.

Conclusions:  Personal Day here.  12a was redundant.  We were asked before when Moses was first judged by God whether we thought it was just punishment or not.  The only question I liked was the non-personal question (10a).  I liked how we did examine the heart for that is what matters to God.  Whether we desire Him or we are indifferent to Him.  Moses knew what God wanted and he desperately tried to impart that to the people before he left.  Again, a man after God’s own heart who spoke face to face with God.

End Notes:  Moses is to “be gathered to your people”, which was the ancient Israelites way of saying going to heaven before Christ came to allow them to go to heaven.  I’ve posted about what this means before.  You can read HERE if interested.

Others who were “gathered to their people” in the Pentateuch:  Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and Aaron.

Quick Reminder of where Israelites are:  http://www.keyway.ca/gif/nebo.gif

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 28, Day 5: Genesis 45

Summary of passage:  Joseph could no longer keep his emotions in check so he sent all of his attendants out. He made himself known to his brothers and wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him.  His brothers were terrified so Joseph beckoned them closer and told them not to be angry at themselves for it was God who had sent him ahead of them in order to save lives and preserve a remnant on earth.

He sends them back to retrieve Jacob and all of his household and items to live in Goshen where Joseph will provide for them.  Tell him about everything you have seen, all the honor Joseph has, and bring him here quickly.

He hugged Benjamin and wept and embraced all his brothers and wept and talked with them.  Pharaoh agreed to have Joseph’s family come along with all their belongings.  He will give them the best of the land.  They could leave their belongings because the best of Egypt will be theirs.

He sent the brothers along, giving Benjamin 300 shekels of silver and five sets of new clothes and giving his brothers just new clothes.  Joseph reminded them not to quarrel along the way.

Jacob agreed to go to Egypt.

Questions:

15a)  He tells them that it was God who sent him before them in order to save lives and preserve a remnant on earth.

b)  Well it’s hard to say.  No one in this chapter is singled out except Benjamin who is favored by Joseph as well (ironic in my view).  The brothers are always referred to as “they”.  That alone should show that they acted together as a cohesive whole and had to love one another.

Possibly when they were frightened they clung to each other.  They all embraced each other and cried over Joseph.  They talked together.  The “sons of Israel” (verse 21–another use of the word Israel shows faith) all went together to collect Jacob.  Joseph warned them not to quarrel as brothers do.

16)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Pray to forgive.  Pray for God’s power to forgive.  Choose to forgive.  Give it to God.

Conclusions:  The best part of Joseph’s story to me is how God used evil for good.  How he took the brothers’ actions and made Joseph prosper beyond his wildest dreams.  And how Joseph forgave his brothers and in the end ended up doing good towards those who wronged him.  God makes ALL things work together for our good (Romans 8:28) and there is no better example in all of the Bible of this than the story of Joseph.

Note how the last verse calls Jacob Israel.  The name Israel is used when Jacob is acting out of faith.  The name Jacob is used when Jacob is acting on his own.  Interesting.

Scholars say chapters 42-45 takes place over 2 years.  It seems as if it’s shorter but it’s not.  We must remember how difficult transportation was in ancient times over rough terrain on foot with nothing but donkeys to pack your belongings.  Also, we must remember the time between the first journey to Egypt and the second.  The brothers only return when they run out of grain.  That would take a bit of time to eat that up.  So Simeon sat in prison for 2 years!

Both Joseph and Jesus were sent to save God’s people.  Both were despised and betrayed by their own people.  Yet God’s will to save conquers all.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 5: 1 Peter 2:13-25

Summary of passage:  Peter says to submit ourselves to every authority instituted among men who are sent by him (God) to punish those who do wrong and commend those who do right.  And doing good will silence the ignorant.  Live as servants of God and do not use freedom as an excuse to do wrongs.  Respect everyone; love believers; fear God; honor authority.

Slaves submit yourselves to your masters whether good or bad.  It is commendable if you endure under unjust suffering because you are conscious of God to which you were called because Christ suffered for you, leaving the example.  Christ never retaliated or made threats.  Instead, he trusted God.  He died so that we may die to sin and live for righteousness.  By his wounds we have been healed.

Questions:

13)  Peter says we are to obey authority instituted among men because governments have a rightful authority from God and as long as they are not doing anything against God’s laws then we must obey.  The Jews in this time did not believe they should obey those who did not hold their beliefs.

Today I see little to no respect for authority or the government (and definitely nothing close to submission).  Everything government related we grumble and complain.  For this I cannot blame people.  Government today is nothing like government was in Peter’s time.  I would be curious to hear what the apostles would say about our government today.

14)  Because he is conscious of God and it is a calling because Christ suffered for you, leaving the example.

15)  Jesus did not retaliate or offer threats.  He entrusted himself to God and set the example that when we suffer we do so for God.

This question does not say personal so I’m assuming you is the plural form and not meant to be specific.  But I will just say I haven’t suffered unjustly as of yet to be honest.  Sure, I’ve suffered but who ever said it was supposed to be just?  Christ’s suffering wasn’t just so we shouldn’t expect our suffering to be just either.

Conclusions:  Again, I didn’t get a lot out of this.  Repetitive in the advice:  respect everyone; love believers; fear God; honor authority.  Anyone else getting tired of hearing this?

BSF questions are supposed to be where you are at and where I live there is no slavery (legally that is) so from my viewpoint it’s hard to relate to slavery and masters.  We are also a free society (to which could be argued but according to our Constitution we are free and definitely free when compared to Peter’s time) so submitting to government is hard to relate to as well since we’re not being asked to break God’s laws or being persecuted like Peter was under Roman authority.

In essence, applying this particular passage to my life (for I can’t speak for yours) is difficult.  The best part was how Christ suffered unjustly and thus we may as well and if we do we must endure for God’s sake.  This is something we all can relate to.