BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 4, Day 4: Romans 3:9-18

Summary of passage:  Paul says we are all sinners and no one is righteous, quoting from the Old Testament.


8a)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  No one understands God.  No one seeks Him.  All turn away and become worthless.  No one does good.  Their throats are open graves, their tongues full of deceit, and they speak poison.  They curse and are bitter.  They are swift to shed blood.  They bring ruin and misery.  They do not know peace.  They do not fear God.  We all have sin in our lives and are surrounded by sinners.  People are mean.  They fall away from God.  Wars.  Flippant attitude towards God and sinning.  Personally, sticking to God’s path is the hardest and dealing with my own sin.

b)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Tongues are full of deceit.  The poison of vipers is on their lips.  Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.  The tongue can corrupt the whole person.  It is full of evil and poison.  Speak more words of encouragement and praise.  There’s enough complaining and tearing down in this world.

9)  No one fears God.  Well, Paul quotes from the Old Testament here and he is living in New Testament times.  Regardless, man’s nature doesn’t change with time.  He is a sinner and is prone to turn away from God and not fear Him. God thus judges and punishes as we see all throughout the Old and New Testament.  So will it be until the Second Coming.

10)  Think before you act.  Repent.  Ask for forgiveness.  Put others first.  Follow God’s laws.  Worship Him.  Treat God and Jesus with the respect they deserve.  Both lie in your heart and you do everything in your power to keep them there.

Conclusions:  Paul again is emphasizing how we are all the same no matter what our backgrounds. God treats us equally.  He takes it further here by saying we are all sinners and listing ways in which we sin.  He wraps up with how no one fears God when we should.  Good lesson on keeping us all humble.  Least we get on our high horses, read Romans.

End Notes:  Again, Paul says all are under sin and deserve condemnation (Jews, pagans, Gentiles, everyone).

“Under sin” literally means sold under sin or a slave to sin. We are all born in sin.

Paul then quotes the Old Testament (mainly Psalm and Isaiah) as proof of our sinhood.  Paul uses parts of the body to emphasize our complete helplessness to save ourselves.  Adam before the Fall wasn’t even righteous.  He was merely innocent.  The throat, tongue, lips, mouth, feet, and eyes are filled with sin and rebellion against God.

God calls all of us.  On our own we would not seek out Him.

We sin because we do not have the proper respect (or fear) of God.

Side Note:  If you were to look up these verses, you would find Paul does not quote them verbatim.  There are several reasons for this:

  1.  New Testament authors sometimes gave the general sense and not a direct quote.
  2. Quotation marks were not used in ancient Greek.
  3. Citations were often taken from the pre-Christian Greek translation (the Septuagint) of the Hebrew OT because Greek readers were not familiar with the Hebrew Bible.
  4. Sometimes this was done on purpose by the NT writer in order to drive home his point.  Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the writer would enlarge, abbreviate or adapt an OT passage or combine them.

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.


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.

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.


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.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 4, Day 3: John 3:9-17

Summary of passage:  Jesus chastises Nicodemus for not understanding his meaning of regeneration.  He explains again, saying “No one has ever gone into heaven except…everyone who believes in the Son of Man may have eternal life.”  Out of God’s love, He sent his one and only Son so that all may have eternal life.


6)  I talked about this extensively YESTERDAY.  Most Jews at the time are seeking a Savior to usher in a new world where Jews are rulers here on earth.  But Jesus is ushering in a new life, where all are rulers in heaven.  Furthermore, Jews at the time believed they were automatically accepted into heaven by birthright.  They didn’t have to do anything.

Nicodemus’ confusion can further be explained by the Jewish belief of the terms of the New Covenant at that time: 1) Israel would be gathered together 2) God’s people would be spiritually transformed 3) A Messiah would rule over Israel and the whole world. Jews believed the first two had already been fulfilled. They are only seeking the Messiah to rule the world, not someone promising new life.

Also, we know how corrupt the Sanhedrin had become at this time.  Jesus chastises them many times in his ministry for twisting God’s word and taking bribes.  Like today, just because someone is in a position of authority doesn’t mean they know anything or they act responsibly.  We must always be vigilant.

God revealed to Ezekiel the coming of the Holy Spirit.  But that was hundreds of years before Jesus and the Holy Spirit did not descend until Pentecost after Jesus’ death.  I think this concept would have been incredibly hard to understand amidst all the ordinances and cleansing sacrifices the Jews had to do prior to Jesus.  Thus, in my opinion, he shouldn’t have grasped Jesus’ teaching.  This is the first time in his new ministry Jesus has said point blank:  “To get to the kingdom of God, you gotta go through me and be born again.”

7a)  John the Baptist, John the Apostle, Peter, Andrew, Philip, Nathanael.

b)  They did not accept who Jesus was.

8 )  In Numbers, the Lord told Moses to put a snake on a pole, have the people look upon it, and live.  The people were being bitten by poisonous snakes and dying because they spoke against God on their way to the Promised Land.  Here, God is saying, “Have faith in the snake I place on the pole and you shall live.”  Now, in John, God is saying, “Have faith in my Son and you shall live forever!”  God is/was providing a way of escape that requires only simple faith.

9a)  To be “saved” means to be among those chosen to enter heaven and forever dwell with God.  One must merely have faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and accept him as the eternal sacrifice for our sins.  It’s that simple.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The fact it’s so simple causes me to praise God for His infinite and unintelligible grace to us.  It’s truly amazing.

Conclusions:  Great lesson causing us to dive into just how confused God’s people were when Jesus arrived on the scene.  Most Jews had huge passages of Scripture memorized due to the mere fact they didn’t have it written down like we do; yet, still, they did not understand God’s word.  This is encouraging for me when I don’t understand God’s word and His plan for my life.  But if I focus on the stuff I do understand, on how Jesus is my Savior and if i have him I have everything, then I’ll be alright.  God will be with me and guide me and I don’t have to understand everything because God does.  All I have to do is live with God’s heart.

End Notes:  Most commentaries I read on this passage say Nicodemus should have been familiar with the new birth concept in the Old Testament enough to know exactly what Jesus was speaking of and not be stumped.  Since we are unsure exactly how important Nicodemus was, I’ll stand with my original analysis.  Based on mankind’s unchanging nature of selfishness and indifference towards others, Nicodemus believed what he wanted to about the Word.  Same as today.  People cut and paste the Bible like it’s a scrapbook.  It’s not.  It’s the whole picture of God and Jesus.  And right now we need ALL of God and ALL of Jesus in our lives.  Not just pieces.

You can just see how much Jesus wants to hit Nicodemus over the head so he’ll understand.  But he doesn’t.  He’s patient and kind and keeps explaining until we get it.  Like he does today.

Jesus has first-hand knowledge of heaven so he can speak of it.  Here, we are reminded of John 1:1:  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

“No one has ever gone into heaven” could be phrased as “no man knows the mysteries of the kingdom of God.”   (Deuteronomy 30:12; Psalm 73:17; Proverbs 30:4; Romans 11:34)

Serpents are often symbols of evil in the Bible (Genesis 3:1-5 and Revelation 12:9).  However, Moses’ serpent in Numbers 21 was made of bronze, which is a metal associated with judgment in the Bible since  bronze is made with fire, a picture of judgment.

So, a bronze serpent does speak of sin, but of sin judged.  In the same way Jesus, who knew no sin became sin for us on the cross, and our sin was judged in Him.  A bronze serpent is a picture of sin judged and dealt with.

We would have wanted to diminish our sense of sin, and put the image of a man up on the pole. Our image of man might represent “both good and bad” in man. But a serpent is more apparently sinful, and shows us our true nature and true need of salvation.

In addition, if the serpent lay horizontally on the vertical pole, it is easy to see how this also was a visual representation of the cross. However, many traditions show the serpent being wrapped around the pole, and this is the source for the ancient figure of healing and medicine – a serpent, wrapped around a pole.  See picture HERE

In Numbers 21:4-9, the people were saved not by doing anything, but by simply looking to the bronze serpent.  They had to trust that something as seemingly foolish as looking at such a thing would be sufficient to save them.  Surely, some did not have faith and paid the ultimate price.

Isaiah 45:22: “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”  It’s that simple–salvation.

The verb “lifted up” is used in Jesus’ crucifixion (John 12:32) and ascension (Acts 2:33).  Jesus suffered and was exalted in saving grace.

Analysis of verses 16 & 17 will be tomorrow’s lesson.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 4, Day 2: John 3:1-8

Summary of passage:  Nicodemus, a Pharisee on the Jewish ruling council, comes to Jesus in the middle of the night to find out more about him.  Jesus tells him he must be born again to see the kingdom of God.  Nicodemus takes this literally.  Jesus explains you must be born of the Spirit and of water.


3a)  Nicodemus is questioning Jesus further on who he is.  Jesus responds with the essence of life with God:  to be with God you must be born again of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, and accept his (Jesus’) future death.

b)  First off, he doesn’t understand.  He takes Jesus’ words literally.  Partly because of the Jewish faith that being born Jewish would guarantee a place in heaven.  He might even think Jesus is speaking of merely doing right instead of wrong–changing one’s ways so to speak.  He has been blinded to the truth.  But he’s trying to understand and keeps asking for clarity.  He’s persistent.  Determined.  Eager.  See End Notes for more.

4)  Flesh is man kind empty, devoid of the Holy Spirit.  Be careful with the given verse of John 6:51-56.  Jesus here is talking about his flesh after he has given it as a living sacrifice for mankind.  In our context, he is talking of man’s flesh without him.

5a)  That person is dead.  Dead in sin, following the transgressions of the world.  New birth is essential if you want to live forever.  Period.

b)  Yes.  Yes.  See definition of regeneration below.

Conclusions:  A weighty and important passage.  Here Jesus explains exactly how to get to heaven and essentially him.  It’s all God.  It’s accepting Jesus as your Savior.  It’s being born again with the Holy Spirit and living for God.  This is known as regeneration which is “the spiritual change wrought in people’s hearts by an act of God in which their inherent sinful nature is changed and by which they are enabled to respond to God in faith.”  (Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary by Merrill and Tenney).  God initiates the change through the Holy Spirit, releasing that person from change, and thus enabling them a new life in Christ, voluntarily turning to God in fellowship.  As long as people are in sin, they cannot believe in God.

End Notes:  We can assume Nicodemus was one of those impressed by what they saw Jesus doing at the Passover Feast in John 2:23.  He was educated as a member of the ruling priests (the Sanhedrin).  As a Pharisee, he was committed to a certain set of beliefs.  No doubt he was influential.  His name is Greek meaning “conqueror over the people.”

Why did Nicodemus come to Jesus at night?  Maybe he was afraid of being seen by others.  Maybe he wanted time to speak to Jesus uninterrupted.  Maybe he was just shy.  Maybe curious.  Or maybe from conviction.  Most certainly though led by God.

Scholars are unsure who “we” is in verse 2.  It could be generic such as “It is known”.  It could be Nicodemus is referring to the Sanhedrin, the ruling Jewish rabbi.  Or it could be he’s using the royal we to refer to himself.

False prophets can also do false signs which surely Nicodemus is aware of but he still says and evidently believes God is with Jesus if he’s doing these signs.

Jews believed by just being born Jewish they were assured a place in the Kingdom of God.  Jesus here is saying now that is no longer the case.  You must believe in him to make it into heaven.

Some Jewish leaders taught that Abraham stood at the gates of hell just to make sure none of his descendants accidentally went there.

Remember most Jews at the time are seeking a Savior to usher in a new world where Jews are rulers here on earth.  But Jesus is ushering in a new life, where all are rulers in heaven.

“Born again” is literally in the Greek “born from above.”  To have new life.  After Jesus spoke of new birth here, we see it all over the New Testament.

We cannot birth ourselves.  This is something that must be done to us.  We accept Jesus but he does the rest.

Nicodemus’ confusion can further be explained by the Jewish belief of the terms of the New Covenant at that time:  1)  Israel would be gathered together  2)  God’s people would be spiritually transformed  3)  A Messiah would rule over Israel and the whole world.  Jews believed the first two had already been fulfilled.  They are only seeking the Messiah to rule the world, not someone promising new life.

What does “born of water” mean?  Some believe baptism but there’s nothing in the Old Testament to back this claim.  Some think physical birth.  Some think the Word since Ephesians 5:26 says the Word is water.  Some think the Holy Spirit since it’s called the living waters (John 7:38-39).  Some say cleansing water or purification as in Ezekiel 36:25-28.  Whatever Jesus was referring to, Nicodemus should have known (John 3:10).

Jesus establishes with these words salvation by God’s grace alone.  It is not something man could ever do on his own.  Be born again is God and God alone.

The idea with the wind is you don’t have to understand wind to experience it’s effects.  The same with the Spirit.  You don’t have to understand it or how it works but you can experience a life with the Spirit.  Understanding comes later.

We will see Nicodemus twice more in John and in the Bible where he only appears in this book.  At the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:25-52) Nicodemus says perhaps they shouldn’t kill Jesus without a fair trial and then after Jesus’ death Nicodemus provides a rich store of spices for Jesus’ embalmment and assists in Jesus’ burial (John 19:38-42).  He then vanishes from Scripture, leaving us unsure whether he ever confessed to faith in Jesus.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 4, Day 5: Matthew 4:12-25

Summary of passage:  When John the Baptist had been put in prison, Jesus returned to Galilee.  He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum, which fulfilled Isaiah 9: 1,2.

Jesus called Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew to follow him.  Then he called James and John.  Jesus traveled throughout Galilee, teaching the good news and healing people.  News about him spread and people brought him man sick to heal.  Large crowds followed him.


8a)  Isaiah 9:1-2:  Jesus visited the land of Zebulun and Naphtali and Galilee.  He was the light to those living in the shadow of death.

Isaiah 11:1-3:  Jesus will come from the line of Jesse and the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him, a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel, power, fear of the Lord and he will judge with righteousness.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus is definitely the light in my otherwise dark world.  I know I am judged by righteousness and I am saved eternally.  I can go to him for wisdom, understanding, and counsel whenever I need him.

9a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It was immediate.  One command was all it took to obey Jesus.

b)  He will make them fishers of men.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Fishers of men is disciples so they would learn from Jesus first-hand as they followed him in his ministry and then go and “fish” out others to convert.  I believe I am learning every day to follow Jesus and be like him and as I do I gain the knowledge I need to speak the good news to others.

10a)  Repent, turn to God, and accept Jesus for the kingdom of God is near.

b)  John the Baptist was preaching the same thing of repentance, only saying that Jesus was coming as well.  When Jesus arrived, he brought the power of the Holy Spirit and the ability to grant people eternal life.

c)  Accept me (Jesus) and have eternal salvation.

11a)  Jesus has come to save you from you sins and offer you a way to God once again.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  In Isaiah 35:10, we learn we will have everlasting joy and sorrow will flee away.  Jesus came to save us all and to heal the sick and the broken-hearted who desperately need him.  If we accept him, nothing can defeat us (including the devil) for Jesus is our guiding light in this dark world.

Conclusions:  Wasn’t feeling this lesson.  Not sure why.  It seemed to be the same idea and thought and question just worded differently.  We spent a lot of time in Isaiah looking at the prophecy of Jesus.

My favorite part was how the disciples immediately followed Jesus.  They didn’t say,”Hold on, Jesus.  I gotta go home and get a few things and make sure my house is in order.”  No.  They dropped what they were doing and followed him without question.  Great example for us when we are called to do His work.

Extras:  Great explanation of the phrase “fishers of men” HERE

Map showing Capernaum and Nazareth HERE

Map showing Zebulun and Naphtali HERE

Explanations:  Matthew leaves out some of Jesus’ first ministries that is recorded in the first four chapters of John.  Jesus left Nazareth because they did not believe in him (Luke 4:16-30) and chose Capernaum instead.  Galilee at this time is a highly-populated, very productive and economically viable state with very fertile land with a lot of Gentiles.

The Greek word for preach means a herald’s proclamation from a king.  Jesus was the herald for God.

Jesus had actually met these men previously (John 1:35-42 & Luke 5:3) but this was the first time he called them to follow him.

Fun Fact:  This is the first time demon-possessed is mentioned in the New Testament.  With the exception of Saul, it seems to be much more common in the New Testament than the Old Testament.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 4, Day 4: Matthew 4:1-11

Summary of passage:  Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.  He fasted for 40 days and nights and the tempter told him to turn stones to bread.  Jesus said he only needed the word of God to live.  The tempter took him to the highest point of the temple and told him to jump.  Jesus said not to test God.

The devil offered him to rule the world if he only would worship him.  Jesus told him to go away for only God deserves to be worshipped.  Angels came to him afterwards.


6a)  Satan suggested that Jesus perform a miracle to satisfy his human need to eat by turning stones to bread (verse 3).   Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 to resist.

Satan suggested that Jesus test God’s word by jumping from the temple and having the angels catch him (verse 6).  Jesus quoted Psalm 91:11-12 to resist.

Satan appealed to human pride by telling Jesus he could have all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor if he’d bow and worship him (verse 8-9).  Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:13 to resist.

b)  Satan appealed to the needs of the flesh in terms of eating.  Jesus says all we need for bread is God’s word.

Jumping off the roof of the temple would be a sensational act, one that would attract huge amounts of attention.  Further, this would test God, something we are never to do.  This was the test of pride.

The third temptation was an attempt to get Jesus to skip the cross and have all the kingdoms of the world, which Jesus gained anyways when he died for us.  And Satan wanted Jesus to worship him.  Jesus gained the world as we will as well when we die and are granted eternal life without giving into earthly, material desires.

c)  God’s word should be more precious to us than bread.  We need Him more than we need to eat.  Jesus was also being tested to use his gifts from God for selfish purposes.  We face this all the time especially in the media and with celebrities.  We see those with enormous talent fall flat and waste God’s gift that could have been used to advance His kingdom as they fall further and further into sin and the ways of this world.  Jesus would not perform a miracle just because he could.

How many times have we asked God for a miraculous sign only to come up empty-handed?  That’s not to say we can’t ask for miracles in our lives.  But we can’t ask for miracles just for the sake of a miracle that has no purpose.  This is an attempt to seek approval from not only God but also from others.  God has given us his greatest act of external love we need to see–Jesus on the cross.  We should demand nothing else from God.

How many times have we worshipped false idols instead of the One, True God?  Here, the devil is a false-idol, desperate for your attention.  The devil will offer us our deepest desires if we only turn away from God.  Any material, earthly thing we want, the devil will grant us if we sin enough.  Literature is filled with allusions of selling our soul to the devil for such things as eternal life, gold, etc.  Stories such as Dante’s Divine Comedy, King Midas, The Chronicles of Narnia come to mind.

The devil will promise us the world if we worship him.  Jesus says defiantly “No!”

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We will not be tempted beyond what we can bear and every temptation has a way out.  God closes doors on paths He doesn’t want us to take.  My temptations are daily to sin in small ways but they are big to me.  Yet, I know I have a way out.  Often to not say discouraging words or to be kind instead of mean to others.  To offer help when all I want to do is walk away.  To give of my time which I am very selfish about.  To put others first.  To care more than I’d like to.

In essence, that I can overcome my human nature to be more like Jesus.

7a)  Angels came and attended Jesus (scholars says this means brought him food).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  There is no guilt when we resist temptation.  In fact, we are strengthened.  We become a bit more like Jesus and it shows to all.  I just feel better about myself as a whole when I deny the flesh and the lies and seek His truth instead–when I do do what Jesus would do.

Conclusions:  Through temptation number 3, we learn that Satan does have authority and dominion over this world. It was originally given to Adam (Genesis 1:28-30) but he gave it to Satan when he let him into the world.  2 Corinthians 4:4 reminds us that the devil if only of this age, not of heaven.

There is not a better example in the Bible of overcoming temptation that Jesus’ example.  Great study and analysis of pulling out all the tactics the devil uses (basically lies and deceit) and focusing on our weapons (the Truth of God’s word and ways) that will set us free if embraced.  So embrace it today!

It offers us encouragement and I’m glad we studied this at the beginning of the year as I for one needed it!

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 4, Day 3: Matthew 4:1-11

Summary of passage:  Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.  He fasted for 40 days and nights and the tempter told him to turn stones to bread.  Jesus said he only needed the word of God to live.  The tempter took him to the highest point of the temple and told him to jump.  Jesus said not to test God.

The devil offered him to rule the world if he only would worship him.  Jesus told him to go away for only God deserves to be worshipped.  Angels came to him afterwards.


5a)  He said “If you are the Son of God” (verse 3, 6).  Satan also repeated “It is written” (verse 4, 6, 7, 10).  Satan’s is verse 6

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus had just been baptized which is an outward sign of being cleansed from all sin and now Jesus heads to the wilderness to be tempted, which also happens to all sinners.  So Jesus is again identifying with us (sinners) and showing us how to live.  He sets the example of being baptized into Him and of overcoming temptation through God’s word.  Showing us how to be more like him!

c)  Personal Question.  My answers:

Matthew 6:25-26:  The command is to not worry about anything for the Father takes care of all of our needs just like He does the birds.  Who amongst us doesn’t worry?  We are tempted to take things in our own hands instead of placing them in God’s.  It’s a lack of faith in God and who He is that we are lacking.

Acts 4:12:  Salvation is found in Jesus.  People today don’t believe this and don’t believe in Jesus or believe in something else that will not bring them salvation.

Romans 8:16:  The indwelt Holy Spirit marks us as God’s children.  People don’t believe that and thus do not act like Jesus would.  They dismiss the significance and magnitude of the Spirit within and sometimes fight against it.

2 Corinthians 4:8:  Even though life is hard and we are confused, we are not defeated for we have Immanuel, God with us, inside of us all the days of our life.

1 John 1:9:  If we confess our sins, God will forgive our sins and purify us.  A lot of Christians do not confess their sins or don’t give them over to God to handle and thus walk this world needlessly carrying burdens God should be carrying.

Hebrews 2:1:  We must heed God’s words so we do not drift away.  A lot of Christians today do not know God’s word and do drift from Him into sin.

Conclusions:  Especially for the 2 Corinthians passage, read before and after in order to get a greater sense of the context of this tiny verse.  It will make much more sense if you do.

Again, we must watch out for Satan’s ploys and twistings of God’s word.  We must etch God’s words onto our heart, believe what God tells us is true, in order to fight the constant lies that bombard us every day.  God is enough.  We must only have the faith to allow Him to be so.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 4, Day 2: Matthew 4:1-11

Summary of passage:  Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.  He fasted for 40 days and nights and the tempter told him to turn stones to bread.  Jesus said he only needed the word of God to live.  The tempter took him to the highest point of the temple and told him to jump.  Jesus said not to test God.

The devil offered him to rule the world if he only would worship him.  Jesus told him to go away for only God deserves to be worshipped.  Angels came to him afterwards.


3a)  The desert.  To be tempted.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To share in our humanity, to become merciful and a faithful high priest in service to God so that he might make atonement for the sins of people.  Because he suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.  It encourages me because I know how much God loves us.  He didn’t need to be tempted for he understood us, His creation, completely.  But God sent Jesus to become man for our benefit–so we would more fully believe in Him.  So we would have an example of how to defeat the devil.  So that we could identify with him.  And so we could see Jesus’ holiness.

Jesus used a weapon we all can use–God’s word.

4a)  Eve was almost immediately blinded by the things of this world:  how good the fruit was and how pleasing to the eye it was and also her desire for wisdom.  She lost track of the things of God’s world, which at that point was His word since Adam and Eve lived in Paradise, and also God’s character and who He was.

Jesus never forgot who God was.  He used God’s words against the devil as defense.  He didn’t care for the kingdoms of this world for his eye was fixed on the kingdoms of God’s world.

b)  Differences:  Jesus used God’s words against the devil.  Eve had no defense in essence.  She believed the devil over God.  Adam and Eve tested God’s words; Jesus didn’t.  Eve gave into lust of the eyes, flesh, and pride.  Jesus did not.

Similarities:  The serpent/devil was equally crafty and deceptive.  He tried to plant doubt of God in both Eve’s mind and Jesus’.  The devil was in physical form.  Both had a personal relationship with God and both had the same weapons available.

Conclusions:  Very similar to a lesson in Genesis last year (see Lesson HERE) where we were asked the exact same question with regards to Jesus.

Take away:  God loves us so much He allows us to be tempted so that we may turn to Him in faith.

Martin Luther once said that prayer, meditation, and temptation are the best instructors of God’s word.  Because in it we learn who He is.

We also see 40 days and nights in Noah and the Flood and the Israelites wandering in the wilderness.

Satan quotes God’s word as well but he twists it and leaves out important phrases.  It’s our job to know God’s word so we do not fall into the trap of twisted lies.

We will all face temptation.  But it is a sin when we give in.  The devil cannot win against us if we use God’s word as a weapon.  It is too powerful.  Through Jesus we know we can defeat the devil’s tactics.