Bible Studies

Bible Study: Living Uncommon

Pastor Don Mossman

Study on 2 Corinthians 4:7 – 5:1

Is there a theme you can develop from the above Scripture?

2 Cor. 4:7:  What’s this “jars of clay” reference all about?  Isaiah 64:8.

2 Cor. 4:13: “Since we have the same spirit of faith…”  What is Paul implying here?  Ps. 116:10; Romans 1:1-4.

  • 106:12 – Why do Lutherans sing so much? Martin Franzmann once said, “Theology is doxology.  Theology must sing.”   What does he mean by this?  Someone once said theology must be given a voice, and that the lips, not the pen, are the best instruments of theological expression.  Do you agree?  Reason why?  Can’t theology just remain in books?
  • Does theology find a home in our Divine Services (LSB)? In what way?  Liturgy: confession/absolution, lessons, sermon, prayers, sacraments, etc.
  • All communions in Christendom have their own distinctive hymnody? Why is this?  Do their songs mirror their theology?

2 Cor. 4:14-15: Paul grounds his hope on two things.  What are they?

  • Who does Paul include in the promise of the resurrection?

2 Cor. 4:16-17:  “So we do not lose heart.”  Why shouldn’t we lose heart?  Don’t we have reason enough to do so?  Synonyms for “lose heart”?

  • What is/are the comparison(s) here? How can anything “prepare” us for the future?
  • Why is Paul here using words to describe that which cannot be described with words?

2 Cor.4:18-5:1:  What is being compared here?

  • What are things that are referred to as “seen”? “Unseen”?
  • “We have a building from God…”   Hebrews 11:9-10; John 14:2-3; 1 Cor. 3:9,16

Do others benefit by our suffering?  Explain and give an example?

djm: 6/10/18

Bible Study: “Sweet Sorrow”

Bible Study Questions – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

Paul tells the readers to “respect (also translated “appreciate” or “recognize or “honor””) those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you.” Who is Paul speaking about and what does this kind of “respect” look like? 1 Corinthians 16:17-18; Philippians 2: 25-30

Next, he goes on to say that they should “esteem them very highly in love because of their work.” When can this start to become unhealthy for the congregation? (Think Pharisees)

Do these passages only apply to pastors? Explain

Why do many churches have trouble being at peace with one another? How can Redeemer stay away from this trend? Mark 9:50

How can someone make a conscious decision to “live at peace”? Psalm 133

Why are the idle (lazy) in the church dangerous? Why does Paul advise the congregation to admonish and avoid them? 2 Thessalonians 3:6-7

Describe the faint-hearted and weak in verse 14. Isaiah 35:4; Hebrews 12:11-12; Acts 20:34-35; Romans 15:1-2

Why is patience so important towards the faint-hearted and weak?

Give examples of repaying evil for evil within the church. Romans 12:17; Hebrews 12:15; 1 Peter 3:9

How does seeking to do good destroy the evil upon evil problem?

Is it possible to “Rejoice always,” “pray without ceasing,” and “give thanks in all circumstances?” Just what is Paul trying to say? Luke 18:1-7; Ephesians 5:20-21; Philippians 4:4

Name some ways we “quench” (stifle) the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 4:30; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6-7

Why is important to first test things like the doctrine and theology of a church you are considering attending?

In verse 22, Paul warns his readers to abstain from every form of evil. Why are the lesser evils sometimes even more dangerous than the major evils and why does God see all evils the same?

(Note:  Bible study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

Bible Study: “Here I Am Lord, Send Me”

Bible Study Questions – John 3:1-17

What important group was Nicodemus part of? Why did he visit Jesus at night?

If Nicodemus had been caught talking to Jesus in this way, he could have lost his position in the Sanhedrin and possibly worse. Why do you think he took the risk? Verse 2

In verse 5 Jesus says we must be “born of water and Spirit,” what does that mean?    Isaiah 44:3-5; Ezekiel 36:24-27

How does it benefit us? Titus 3:3-7

Where else in Scripture do we hear of new birth? Romans 6:1-11; 1 Corinthians 3:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:14-16; Ephesians 4:20-24; Titus 3:4-6; Hebrews 5:11-14;                  1 Peter 1:3, 22-23

How does this differ from the belief of many who say they are “born again?”

Nicodemus is confused, he thinks he is saved because he has already been born a Jew. What does Scripture have to say about that? Matthew 3:9John 8:39Romans 9:6; Matthew 23:13-15

What does the comparison to wind (which is the same word for spirit) and a born-again believer mean? Verse 8

Why must we be born again? Job 14:4; Romans 7:18; Psalm 51:5

New life has often been equated to be the same as having a new heart. What does Scripture have to say? Genesis 8:21Exodus 7:14Deuteronomy 5:28-29; 8:14Isaiah 29:13Jeremiah 17:9

What does God do to hearts in this condition for all who come to Him? Deuteronomy 30:6Jeremiah 31:31-34; 1 Samuel 10:6-13: 1 Corinthians 2

In verse 14, Jesus speaks of Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness, what does this have to do with Jesus? Numbers 21:4-9; Verse 15

Why would verses 16 & 17 have been shocking to Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin?

Where else do we hear of Nicodemus in the story of Christ? John 7: 40-52; John 19:38-39. What can we assume from this?

What does darkness represent? Why do people love it?

 (Note:  Bible study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

Bible Study: The Waiting Is Over

Bible Study – Acts 2:1-21

What was the day of Pentecost? Lev.23:15,16; Deut. 16:9-12; Exodus 20:16; Numbers 28:26; Acts 20:16; I Cor. 16:8.

Notice two things in this passage. The first is that the Holy Spirit is given to a group of Christians at once, rather than to individuals. The second is that the Holy Spirit immediately uses these Christians to speak to people nearby from all over the world. What is the significance of these two points for our own understanding of how the Holy Spirit works in the present?

What phrase shows the unity of purpose of the disciples? 1:14; 2:1,14,46

What three impressive phenomena occurred when the Holy Ghost was first given? (2-4)

How should being spirit-filled affect what you do? Romans 8:5-11; 1 Cor. 12:12-26; 2 Cor. 3:17-4:12; Gal. 5:16-26

How do you know if you are filled with the Spirit?

What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church? John 16:13-15; John 3:5-7; Titus 3:5; John 16:7-10; 2 Cor. 3:16-18; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 1:13

What reactions did the observers have? Verses 6,7,12,13

From where did the observers come? Verses 5,8-11

What four questions did Peter answer in his “sermon”? Verses 7,8,12,37

What time of day did the outpouring occur? Verse 15

What prophecy did the outpouring of the Holy Ghost fulfill? Verses16-18, Joel 2:28-32

Focus on verses 17-21, where Peter quotes from the prophet Joel. What stands out to you? What do you notice?

What are things you can do in your own life that can make you more receptive to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit?

(Note:  Bible Study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

What is Pentecost?

For Christians, Pentecost is a holiday on which we commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the early followers of Jesus. Before the events of the first Pentecost, which came a few weeks after Jesus’ death and resurrection, there were followers of Jesus, but no movement that could be meaningfully called “the church.” Thus, from an historical point of view, Pentecost is the day on which the church was started. This is also true from a spiritual perspective, since the Spirit brings the church into existence and enlivens it. Thus Pentecost is the church’s birthday.

What does the word “Pentecost” mean?

The English word “Pentecost” is a transliteration of the Greek word pentekostos, which means “fifty.” It comes from the ancient Christian expression pentekoste hemera, which means “fiftieth day.”

But Christians did not invent the phrase “fiftieth day.” Rather, they borrowed it from Greek-speaking Jews who used the phrase to refer to a Jewish holiday. This holiday was known as the Festival of Weeks, or, more simply, Weeks (Shavuot in Hebrew). This name comes from an expression in Leviticus 23:16, which instructs people to count seven weeks or “fifty days” from the end of Passover to the beginning of the next holiday (pentekonta hemeras in the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Scripture).

Shavuot was the second great feast in Israel’s yearly cycle of holy days. It was originally a harvest festival (Exod 23:16), but, in time, turned into a day to commemorate the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai. This day became especially significant for Christians because, seven weeks after the resurrection of Jesus, during the Jewish celebration of Shavuot/Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon his first followers, thus empowering them for their mission and gathering them together as a church.

 

Bible Study: “Fishing for Men”

Bible Study Questions – Luke 5:1-11

In verse 4, how does the scene change? If you were Simon, how would you be feeling?

Do you suppose that Jesus chose Peter’s boat on purpose? If so, what was the purpose?

James and John have watched this whole thing. What might have gone through their minds as Jesus made the suggestion to Simon about putting out into the deep?

What lesson is Jesus teaching in His miracle of catching many fish?

Peter is rewarded because He let the Savior lead. How many harvests do we miss out on because we make excuses instead of doing what Jesus said?

Can you remember the first time you really understood who Jesus was?

Think about your day. List some of your opportunities to obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit. How do you choose when to obey and when to disobey?

What small lesson can we learn from Peter calling on his friends to haul in the fish?

Paul repents and kneels at the Savior’s feet because he’s “astonished” at the catch of fish. In return Jesus says, “Do not be afraid; From now on you will be catching men.” What did Jesus mean?

Should every Christian have the purpose of reaching the lost or is this only the job of some? Defend your answer biblically. Psalm 105:1; Isaiah 12:4; Matthew 5:15-16, 28:19-20; Mark 10:29-30; 16:15; John 15:8; Acts 13:47, 20:24; 1 Peter 3:15

What are some pros and cons (if any) of Christians being trained to share their faith?

How can we maintain a profound sense of God’s holiness and yet relate to sinful people without seeming “holier-than-thou”?

What is the scariest aspect of being involved in evangelism for you?

Explain in your own words the phrase, “They left everything and followed Him?”

Is Christ’s call to you any different today? Why or why not?

If you had been one of these three fishermen, what characteristics of Jesus would have led you to leave everything to follow him?

Is there anything in your life you are holding on too tightly? Is God calling you to give up something in order to follow Him completely? When you reach the gates of eternity, what will be in your hands?

(Note:  Bible Study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

Bible Study: “Jesus Mocked”

Bible Study – Mark 15:16-20

Why do you think some people feel the need to mock others? What is it born from?

What did the soldiers say in mockery of Jesus? What is the supreme irony of this?

What does this tell us about how the Romans saw the Jews?

Why were condemned criminals flogged so brutally? How did this help accomplish the Roman’s task to subdue the Jews?

Who else mocked Jesus that day? Verse 27-32; Luke 23:10-11

Name some ways people tend to mock Jesus even today, many times without even thinking of it.

In what ways has some parts of society mocked our belief in Christ?

Have you ever been mocked for being a Christian? How did it feel?

What are some things we might do to stop the mocking?

Why does God allow good Christian believers to suffer?

What should Christians do in response? Is there a different response we should have between people mocking our faith and those actually mocking God Himself?

Ultimately, should we care what other people think? Why or why not?

What difference does it make that Jesus endured harsh ridicule and pain for your sake?

What does this passage tell you about yourself, and your own relationship with and to God?

What does God have to say about those who mock Him? 2 Kings 19:21-28; Proverbs 19:28-29; Galatians 6: 7-8

How did the purple robe and the crown of thorns play into their mockery?

Is it clothes or crowns that make the king? If not, what does in the worldly sense? In the Spiritual sense?

How does Jesus fulfill both?

Why do you suppose Jesus never tried to save Himself? Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22

What can we learn from Jesus about how to deal with pain and suffering?

(Note:  Bible study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

Bible Study “Giving Him Our Best”

 

Bible Study Question – Mark 14:3-9

Why do you suppose Mary did this? Was it of her own accord?

What did Mary’s act signify?

In John, the woman is Mary, the sister of Simon the home owner. Why do you think Mark neglected to give her name?

*Interesting fact* Nard is an aromatic Himalayan plant, believed to be the spikenard, Nardostachys jatamansi, the source of an ointment used by the ancients.

Were those who were complaining about this expensive ointment’s waste right in complaining? Why or why not? (300 Denarii was about a years wages for the common laborer)

Was aromatic oil the greatest gift given that day? Explain. Matthew 10:37; John 21:15-17

What does it mean to give Jesus your best and why should we always give our best to Christ? John 1:1,14; Galatians 2:20; 1 Timothy 1:15

How did Christ modal this for us? 1 Peter 1:17-19

What will be the result of giving our best to Christ?

Does it matter what the world thinks, so long as He is pleased with us?

In John, the complainer is stated to be Judas Iscariot? Contrast Mary’s action from Judas’.

What do you think was Mary’s reaction to Judas’ complaint?

It is interesting that the word translated ‘waste’ (apwleia) in Verse 4 is translated ‘perdition’ (A state of spiritual ruin: loss of the soul) in John 17:12 and applied to Judas. What can you take from this?

*Interesting note* Anointings were popular during Passover (Psalm 23:5, 141:5) and this was two days before the Passover.

Jesus called her act a “good work.” How is this so?

Jesus’ words sound harsh in verses 6 – 7. What does He mean by saying this? Deuteronomy 15:11

What do Jesus’ comments say about His ultimate feelings about the poor and destitute?

What is especially beautiful about Christ’s words in verse 8, “She has done what she could,” and how does that tell us of His expectations for us? Luke 21:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8:11-12

Explain verse 10. Acts 10:4

(Note:  Bible study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

Bible Study: More Than A Miracle

 

Bible Study Questions – Mark 3:7-12

Why is Jesus doing by withdrawing with His disciples to the sea? Does it have anything to do with the previous verse?

Why had the crowd gathered? Were they looking for a Messiah or a miracle worker? How does this equate to what many people are wanting from Jesus today? Matthew 4:24-25; Luke 6:17-19

It is wonderful for people to be attracted to Jesus. But if their focus is on what He can do for them instead of who He is will they follow Him for long if He asks more of them? Why or why not?

Do we see signs of this in our own society? If so, how?

Knowing this, what do you think Jesus was thinking?

What hints do we get from verse 8 & 9 as to the size of the crowd?

How much do you think crowd size had to do with the Pharisee’s wanting to destroy Jesus?

What can go wrong in a crowd atmosphere, especially as one as charged as the ones who followed Jesus? Mark 11: 8-10, 15:9-13; Acts 19:24-41

Why did the people want to touch Jesus and how would they know to do so? Mark 6:56; Matthew 9:20-21, 14:34-36; Luke 6:19

*Interesting fact* Idumea is the Greek name for a territory located south of Judea in the same general are as Edom. It was the homeland of Herod the Great. Isaiah 34:5; Ezekiel 35:15

General question…Do you believe that demons work in the same way today as they did then. Why or why not?

Why was Jesus so concerned about the demon’s giving up His identity? Genesis 6:2; Exodus 4:22; Job 1:6; 2 Samuel 7:14; Hosea 11:1

Why do you think they yelled out His name?

One might get the impression from what Mark has recorded thus far that Jesus was rather aloof, not allowing folks to talk about Him and not getting too close to anyone. How do we know from this passage that this isn’t true? Mark 3:13-15

If you were to define a devoted follower of Jesus, what would be your definition be? Why?

What makes you a follower?

(Note:  Bible Study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

Bible Study: Beyond Reason

 

Bible Study Questions – Mark 16:1-8

The earliest manuscripts end Mark here. If this is truly the ending to Mark, why would he end it in such a way?

Considering the above question, why would the additional verses have been added later?

Jesus foretold His death numerous times Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:32–34. Why was the empty tomb so shocking to them then?

Why did the women visit the tomb? What does their action indicate?

Why didn’t they think about the stone until they were almost there?

Why do you think Mark chose to describe the man in the white robe as a young man instead of an angel?

In verse 6 the ESV version reads, “You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.” The Greek reads as a title, “The Crucified One (“You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified One).” Why would this “title” be proper? 1 Corinthians 1:23; 2:2; Galatians 3:1; Revelation 5:12

Are angels always depicted as male? Zechariah 5:9-10 

Why does the angel single out Peter as the one who is especially to be told about Jesus’ resurrection?

Why do you think the women chose to tell no one, even after being told to do so? Verse 8; Mark 4:39-41; 5:15, 30-33; 6:40-50; 9:5-6; 10:32

The story implies that Jesus had better things to do then to hang around in an empty tomb until someone came. What do you think He went to do?

Why would Jesus choose to go to Galilee to meet up with His disciples? Mark 1:14, 28, 3:7, 15:40-41

Should the disciples have known to meet Jesus in Galilee already? Mark 14:28

How were all three persons of the Trinity active in Christ’s resurrection? The Father: Acts 2:24; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30,33,34; 17:31. The Spirit:  Romans 8:11 and The Son John 2:19-22; 10:17-18.

Why is the resurrection the central pillar of Christian faith?

(Note:  Bible study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

Bible Study: The Triumphal Entry

 

Bible Study Questions – Mark 11:1-11

The section of Scripture represents a new section in Mark’s Gospel and it starts with Jesus’ Triumphant entry. Why is it proper to call it a triumph?

This was a purposeful act of Jesus to fulfill prophecy. Where do we find hints in the Old Testament? 2 Kings 9:13; Psalm 118:19-29; Zechariah 9:9

What was paradoxical (self-contradictory) about this scene?

In this scene Jesus comes riding in on a donkey (a common mount for Jewish kings) but when He comes again, Revelation says he will be riding a white charger (Revelation 19:11-16). Is there anything significant about this?

Jesus sent two of His disciples to get the colt. Why do you think He didn’t just go on His own?

Why was it important that it be a donkey that no one else had ridden? 1 Kings 1:32-35

The word kurious or “Lord” is unusual in the context of verse 3 because it implies “owner” yet points to Jesus. Why do you think Mark chose to use this word? (In verse 9 Mark uses the word adon for “Lord”)

Palm branches apparently represent victory. Where else do we here of their use to represent victory? Revelation 7:9-10

*Interesting note* This ritual was performed each year by the residents of Jerusalem at the feasts of Tabernacles and Passover for the bands of pilgrims approaching the city. This year the significance of the approaching King was fulfilled. ‘Hosanna'” The Hebrew idiom means “welcome Him.” It was part of the Hallel which was quoted every year as the pilgrims came to Jerusalem. It literally meant “save now” 2 Samuel 14:4

For most of His ministry, Jesus resisted having praise given to Him. Why does He invite it now? Luke 19:40

Why should verse 10 have made the Romans nervous? 2 Samuel 7: 1, 12, 16, 25-26; Hosea 3:5

If Jesus were among us today, would He receive a critical evaluation, or would He receive generous praise?

What do you think Jesus was thinking as He “looked around at everything” (Verse 11) Malachi 3:1-3

Why else was this scene a heroic one? John 11:57

Soon the crowds would turn on Him. How do we see this happening in the world today?

What is the principal lesson in this section of Scripture that you can use to tell others about Jesus?

(Note:  Bible Study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

Bible Study: Follow the Leader

 

Bible Study Questions – Mark 10:35-45

What are the most popular current models of leaders and leadership styles?

How do you think Jesus would define leadership?

Who are some of the greatest leaders in the Bible? What characteristics do they share?  1 Samuel 13:14

What are James and John really asking in verses 35-37?  What do they really want?  What were these “seats”? 1 Kings 2:19; Psalm 110:1

James and John betray a misconception about the Messiah and his kingdom in their question. What is the misconception? Mark 8:31; James 4:3

What kind of “glory” do they envision Jesus entering into?

What is “the cup” and the “baptism” Jesus is talking about? Psalm 11:6, 75:8; Isaiah 51:17,22; Jeremiah 25:15-17, 27-28 – Job 22:10-11; Psalm 18:16; 42:7; Isaiah 43:2

What do you think Jesus mean by “to sit at my right or left is not mine to grant…it is for those for whom it has been prepared”?

Because this passage reveals to us the heart of idolatry. What is idolatry? Is it literally worshipping stone statues?

What lesson should the disciples have already learned from back in Mark 9:33-37?

How does Jesus’ understanding of greatness, power and authority differ from that of the Gentile rulers?

What is the challenge in governing Biblically in today’s society?

Why is “leadership by serving” the best method?

How do Jesus’ words to James and John change your attitude about power and authority?

What is your view of the kingdom of God today? Can you easily explain that to someone else?

What are some ways you can show leadership by serving?

(Note:  Bible Study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

 

Bible Study: Ephesians 2:1-10

 

Bible Study Questions – Ephesians 2:1-10

What are verses 1-3 saying about desperate predicament that sinners are in?

At what time were we placed in this predicament? Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12

Why do you think Paul started with the human condition (Verses 1-3) before stating what God has done to make salvation possible?

Explain your take on the title Paul uses in verse 3 describing mankind as “children of wrath.”

What hope do the first two words in verse 4 give you? Elaborate.

What remedy do verses 4-6 give us for being dead in sin? What more do these verses tell us about God?

What attribute within God moved him toward us? Verse 4a. What other attribute of God do we desperately need? Verse 4b. How much of this attribute does God have?

In your own words, try to describe the love that God has for us. Psalm 86:5; Proverbs 8:17;    John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:7-11, 19

Explain this sentence from one of our commentaries. “God’s love is not a response, but a cause.”

Explain the contradiction of how sinners are both dead in sins, yet alive in other ways. Why is the word “dead” proper in this context?

What are the “coming ages” in which God will show His immeasurable riches of grace in kindness. What does this mean to you?

Verse 8 says that salvation is a gift from God that cannot be earned.  Why is it important that we understand this?

What can you do to keep yourself from believing that salvation is something we can earn?

The grammatical sense of the word “saved” is in the past tense. Can you explain?

What is salvation caused by? Romans 3:22-24. What is salvation definitely not caused by?         Acts 13:38-39; Galatians 2:16; Philippians 3:7-9; Titus 3:5.

In what way should the last phrase of verse 9 be evident in our lives?

Explain in what ways the good works in Christ differ from the ‘works’ prior to Christ, as to source, motive, substance, etc.?

As Christians with a higher calling and indebted to God’s saving grace, what do you think is the role of the church in today’s world? How do we reach out to a world in conflict?

This passage speaks of the glorious difference between what we once were, apart from Christ, and what we now are, in Christ. How can it help you relay this message to unbelievers?         John 14:6

(Note:  Bible Study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

Bible Study: 1 Corinthians 18:31

 

Bible Study Questions – 1 Corinthians: 18-31

Who are “those who are perishing”? How do they see the cross? Who are the saved? How do they see the cross?

How can people hear the message of Christ differently?

How does the message of the Cross contrast with what most people consider wise?

How does the cross destroy the wisdom of men and why does God want to destroy it? How does verse 24 fit in with this verse? Isaiah 29:14, 55:8-9; Jeremiah 9:23-24

A.W. Tozer in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy” says these words, “When Christian theology declares that God is wise. It means vastly more than it says or can say, for it tries to make a comparatively weak word bear an incomprehensible fullness of meaning that threatens to tear it apart and crush it under the sheer weight of the idea.” What do you think he means?

Give current day examples of the wise, the scribe and the debater of this age.

What are some examples of the wisdom of the world (wise)? What are some of the popular Philosophies of our day?

What role do you think the media (news, television shows, movies, etc.) play in influencing us to trust the wisdom and advice of the world?

How does prayer help us combat the wisdom of the world?

Why is Christ crucified a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Greeks? Why the different words?

What does the “foolishness of God” mean? Can you think of any examples of this in the Bible?

Why does God express His power and wisdom through “foolish,” “weak,” and “lowly” means?

What makes the difference with those who are called? Why is it wisdom to us and not others? Are we just smarter?

Verse 27: why? This verse seems to say that Christianity is against rational thinking. Is it?

What does it mean “the things that are not, so that he may bring to nothing (the things) that are”?

How can we boast in the Lord?

Why do some refuse to believe?

How does the wisdom of man conflict with God’s design?

The end of this chapter (vs 26-31) has two interwoven messages. They are closely related but significantly different and it is important that we understand both of them:
A) the source of our righteousness, i.e., being right with God and
B) the key Christian quality of humility.
What do these mean to you personally?

(Note:  Bible Study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

Bible Study: From Grace to Peace

 

Bible Study Question – Romans 5:1-11

Give a definition for the word “grace.” How does your definition fit into 1 Corinthians 15:10?

What does faith do for us? Verses 1,2; Psalm 9:9-10; 1 Chronicles 20:20; Matthew 17:14-20; Hebrew 11:1-3; Ephesians 2:8, 6:16; 1 John 5:13-15

What is the “hope of the glory of God” that Paul refers to in vs. 2? Matthew 16:27;            Romans 8:16-19, 23; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44; Colossians 3:4; 1 John 3:2

 What terms does Paul use to describe our condition prior to salvation? verses. 6,8,10. In your own words, summarize what these terms tell us about man’s condition apart from Christ.

How is God’s love for us so amazingly different than any human love? Verses 6-8 (Expand on this)

What are the benefits that this passage tells us we receive through Christ? Verses 1,2.9,10,11

 Paul speaks of the sufferings Christians encounter in vs 3. Where else do we hear of these tribulations? Matthew 13:21; John 16:33; Acts 14:22; 2 Corinthians 4:17; 6:4; 7:4; 8:2; Colossians 1:24; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; Hebrews 10:33; 2 Timothy 3:12. What, therefore, should we expect?

An end to suffering is NOT one of the things we are promised. How is it possible to rejoice in suffering?

What does it mean to be “reconciled” to God? Verses 10-11; Ephesians 2:14-16; Colossians

1:19-20

 Other versions translate the word weak in verse six as powerless, which is a more common translation. What are we powerless to do?

What does it mean that Christ died “at the right time”? Verse 6; Galatians 4:4-5; Hebrews 9:24-26

 The work of Jesus Christ on Calvary is the basis of all spiritual blessings as mentioned in verse 6-8. What does this do for us? 1 Corinthians 1:30-31; Ephesians 1:15-23, 3:14-19; Colossians 1:17-22, 2:1-3, 3:1-4

 What has the blood of Jesus Justified us from? Romans 1:18 Describe what you think this wrath looks like?

What does reconciliation with God mean to you? How would you explain this to a non-believer?

 

The word that is translated “grace” in the New Testament comes from the Greek word “charis,” from which we get charity.  Here is how Zondervan’s NIV Bible Software Library describes this word:  “The biblical concept of grace is much greater than is suggested in the common definition of “unmerited favor.” “Grace” is a word that expresses a radical view of life and of relationship with God.  Grace teaches that God’s attitude toward us is one of acceptance and love; knowing God’s heart, we can “approach the throne of grace with confidence” (Heb 4:16) with every sin and need.  Grace is a dramatic statement about the human condition. Each person is helpless, trapped in sin and incapable of pleasing God or winning his favor.  Grace is a proclamation. It is the triumphant announcement that God in Christ has acted and has come to the aid of all who will trust him for their eternal salvation.  Grace is a way of life. Relying totally on Jesus to work within us, we experience God’s own unlimited power, vitalizing us and enabling us to live truly good lives…grace is not simply a basic orientation to relationship with God. It is also a practical approach to living the Christian life. This aspect of grace helps us to understand the warning found in Gal 5:4, that those “who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; [they] have fallen away from grace.” Any attempt by believers to struggle toward a life of goodness by works of the law means a return to the futile way of religion. It involves reliance on ourselves and an abandonment of reliance on Christ, who alone can enable us to live righteous lives. We cannot approach Christian experience from the old perspective, for grace and religion are contradictory. We can only live by full commitment to the way of grace and all that grace involves.”

 (Note:  Bible study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

 

Bible Study: Driven By Love

 

Bible Study Questions – Mark 1:9-15

Mark starts out this section of Scripture with the words, “In those days.” Why? Mark 8:1

The verb used to describe the heavens being “torn open” is the same verb used in Mark 15:38? Could there be a connection? Isaiah 64:1

In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ Baptism, he recalls that John said to Jesus, who had come to him to be Baptized, “I need to be baptized by you, and why should you come to me? Why did he say this? Matthew 3:13-14; John 1:22-34

Why did Jesus come to be baptized? Matthew 3:14-15

If Jesus was already filled with the Holy Spirit, what is the purpose of the Holy Spirit descending on Him now? Isaiah 42:1, 61:1; Luke 4:18-19

Do not think of this as something remote from us? Acts 1:7-8

How is the dove a symbol of power? Genesis 8:8-12

In Matthew when God speaks He says, “This is my Son, with whom I am well pleased” But Mark and Luke’s versions say, “You are my Son, with whom I am well pleased? Why the difference?

Voeltz translated this verse “This is my Son, with whom I have become well pleased.” How does this change the narrative?

Why do you think that part of Jesus’ preparation for ministry included temptation in the wilderness?

What does it mean that immediately the Spirit “drove” (Veltz in his new commentary translates it as, “throws”) Him into the wilderness to be tempted? Why the urgency?

What similarities do you see in the Israelites being sent to the wilderness for 40 years and Jesus being sent to the wilderness for 40 days?

Does God sometimes let our temptations happen? For what reason?

Why are wild beasts included in the story? Hosea 2:18; Isaiah 11:6-9, 35:7-10, 43:19-20;    Ezekiel 34:23-31

What does it mean that the angels attended to Him? Psalm 91:11-12(13)14-16

What does it say about Jesus that He begins His ministry in the same area and jurisdiction that John was beheaded in?

(Note:  Bible study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

Bible Study: “Practice What You Preach”

 

Text:  Matthew 23:1-12

What were Jesus’ biggest issues with the teachers of the law and the Pharisees? Matthew 16: 5-12

Why will legalism never work in the church?

Conversely, what would happen if there were no rules within the church? Name some of those rules that are important for us to abide by.

If Jesus was upset with them, why were the people instructed to obey the ‘Teachers of the law and the Pharisees’?

*Interesting note* Moses seat: Synagogues had a stone seat at the front where the authoritative teacher sat. The Jews spoke of the teacher’s seat as we speak of a professor’s chair.

Do you believe that Christian’s hypocritical actions constitute the greatest threat to the church? Why or why not? Why is it so dangerous?

Why is it more important for some to have the acceptance of man then it is to have the acceptance of God?

How does the burden of the religious leaders compare to the burden we bear for Christ? Matthew 11:30; Acts 15:10

Why do you believe that the religious leaders just did not get it?

Seeing that the teachers of the law and the Pharisees loved to be looked up to and considered great and be given highest respect, how do you think they would have taken these instructions from Jesus?

Name some examples of how verses 5-7 might be acted out today?

Why is it better that some things, like prayer, be done in private? Matthew 6:1-6

*Interesting note* Both the phylacteries (small leather boxes with tiny scrolls with scriptures on them, tied to the arm and head with leather straps) and the borders of their garments were worn in the attempt to conform to the Mosaic Law, Deuteronomy 11:8; Numbers 15:38-40.

Does verse 8 insinuate that we should not use titles such as pastor and deacon in the church? Why or why not? John 1:38; 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11

How can the use of titles get into the way of serving others? How can it help?

Explain the statement, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

What must we do in our church for people to see us as people of God and not people of the world? Are you prepared to do it?

(Note:  Bible Study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e.  Bible.org)

Bible Study: Let the Children Come

 

Text:  Matthew 19:13-15

What kind of blessing do you think the parents were wishing for by having Jesus prayerfully lay His hands on them? Would that same blessing be asked for by most people in today’s society? Why or why not?

Why do you think the disciples tried to keep the children away from Jesus? How did they see their actions as serving Jesus’ interests? 

Jesus’ command to “let the little children come to me” reveals several truths, what are they?

How is reaching out to children like reaching out to the socially outcast, ostracized and/or underprivileged, the common people, slaves, the poor, and women?

What point is Jesus making by inviting the children to come freely?

*Interesting note* The word βρεφη Is best translated very young infants, or babies. This was a typical rabbinical practice for babies that had nothing to do with salvation.

Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these,” What did He mean? Matthew 18:3-4; Luke 10:21; Galatians 4:18-20; 1 John 4:4

Matthew’s account does not include the comments about “receiving” the kingdom of God like a little child. Why do you think its missing? In what way does it add to the message?

What childlike attributes would be most beneficial in our walk with Christ?  

Where have we seen this kind of attitude in an adult in Scripture? Luke 18:11-14

How do these verses add to the conversation regarding children in Jesus’ day? 1 Corinthians 3:1, 13:11, 14:20; Galatians 4:1, 3; Ephesians 4:14; Hebrews 5:13; 1 Peter 2:1-2  

Is this a different attitude then the Old Testament view? Proverbs 22:15, 29:15 If so, How?

 Do you think Jesus had other goals in mind by letting the children come to Him, other than blessing them? What might they be?

Jesus is giving us an important clue as how we are to enter the kingdom. What must we rid ourselves of in our journey towards the kingdom?

How do we become selfless and humble, like a child? How do we become powerless?

What are we to learn from this incident?

How can we begin to make sure that the naïve innocence of our children doesn’t get lost in their relationship with Christ?

(Note:  Bible study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

Bible Study: God on Divorce

 

 Matthew 19:1-12

Why do you think divorce is so prevalent in our society today?

If everyone lived a righteous life, would there still be divorce? Explain. What does your answer then say about divorce?

Before we get further in the study, how do you think the church should respond to divorce and deal with it in the life of the Church?

Describe the ideal marriage.

What do you think Jesus means by calling a married couple “one flesh?”

What was the Pharisee’s intention on asking Jesus about divorce? Were they truly interested in His opinion?

How does Deuteronomy 24:1-4 correlate to what Jesus is teaching?

What do you think God means by “some indecency” in the Deuteronomy text?

In His argument, Jesus uses Genesis 1:27 and Malachi 2:10-16 to make His case. Why did he avoid Deuteronomy 24….or did He?

How could the people’s hardness of heart allow Moses to allow divorce? Was this right for Moses to do? Explain verse 8.

What makes marriage sacred? Is it only sacred when done by an ordained minister? How about those who become ordained in 15 minutes over the internet? Can anyone do it?

Why do you believe that sexual immorality (marital unfaithfulness) was given as the only reason for a divorce to be justified?

In your opinion, what qualifies as marital unfaithfulness (Pornia)?

Is divorce a refusal to obey God?

Should we treat the people who remarry without just cause and then marry again as adulterers? Verse 9

The disciples of Jesus seemed confused when they say to Jesus, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” What does this say about the disciples belief in divorce?

What do you think Jesus meant by His response in verse 11?

What is Jesus saying by using the example of eunuchs in His argument?

Now that you have done this study, has your answer changed as to how the church should respond to divorce?

(Note:  Bible study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

Bible Study: The Harvest is Plentiful…

 

Bible Study Questions – Matthew 9:35-38

Look at Matthew 4:23. How does it compare to Matthew 9:35 and what does this tell you about Christ’s ministry here on earth?

How is Matthew 28:19-20 similar to Matthew 9:35? What conclusion(s) are we to draw from this?

What 3 methods did Jesus use to do His ministry according to verse 35? How can we do the same?

What 3 phrases, in verse 36, are used to describe the crowds? In what ways do these phrases describe lost people in Bellingham, Seattle and the world today?

The more accurate interpretation of splagchnízomai is that Jesus not only saw and sympathized with their suffering, but that he experienced it emotionally within himself as well. Name a time when you had a similar feeling.

What do you think harassed and helpless meant in the context of verse 36?

What do you see when you look at your neighborhood, the city, and the world you live in?

What more can you do about what you see in the world around you?

Describe a shepherd in the context of verse 36. Why is it important to have a spiritual shepherd?

Can anyone be a spiritual shepherd? Why or why not

How is being a Christian like being a farmer?

Who are the laborers Christ is speaking of in verses 37-38?

Explain why the harvest is plentiful in this context. Why are the laborers few?

Who suffers when we choose not to serve as laborers in God’s harvest? Jeremiah 2:12-13; Hosea 7:1, 13, 13:9

Read Ezekiel 34:1-16. What are the parallels to this passage in Jesus’ ministry? How is it the responsibility of the leader to feed the sheep?

This passage tells us that the biggest barrier to what God has called us to be is not how the people will respond to us; rather, it is finding those who will go! What are your thoughts on this?

Read Philippians 2:1-8. Why is it so hard to not merely look to your own interests?

What does prayer have to do in finding laborers? Won’t God do this without prayer?

What is the greatest lesson you have learned about yourself after studying Matthew 9:35-38?

(Note:  Bible study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org.)

Bible Study: Jesus Calms the Storm

 

Matthew 8:23-27

Share times when you have experienced something catastrophic, within which Jesus has helped you.

*Interesting note* Although it’s called the “Sea” of Galilee, it’s actually a large, freshwater lake. As such, it’s sometimes referred to as Lake Galilee by modern folks. Others have also called it the “Lake of Gennesaret” (Jospehus), the “Sea of Tiberias” (naming it after a city on its southwestern shore), and “Sea of Kinnereth” (its ancient Hebrew name).

It says in verse one that when Jesus entered the boat, His disciples followed Him. What is truly required to follow Christ? Matthew 19:21; Mark 8:34-38 (What does it mean to deny oneself, to take up one’s cross); John 21:15-19; Philippians 3:12-16

Matthew says that the disciples cried out to Jesus “Lord, save us. We’re going to drown.” Mark says that the disciples said, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Luke says that they said, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown.” Why the discrepancy? What does this tell us about the moment?

Matthew says that Jesus said to them, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Mark says, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Luke simply says, “Where is your faith?” Why the rebuke at such a terrifying time?

What did Jesus mean to teach His disciples by His calmness?

*Interesting Note* the original Greek translated “Great storm” comes from the Greek words which mean megas (exceedingly great) and seismos (earthquake).

Why would the disciples be more scared of the calming of the storm then they were of the storm itself?

Why might a miracle of healing be less in the eyes of some than a miracle of nature?

What does this story tell us about (1) Jesus’ authority on earth (2) Faith and discipline (3) Life in the church?

Why is it so easy for so many to forget about God when they’re facing their greatest storms in life?

What does Scripture tell us about the value of staying calm? Ecclesiastes 10:4; Psalm 23:4, 37:7-9, 107:29-30; Proverbs 15:1; Matthew 11:28-30; John 14:1, 27; Ephesians 4:26; Philippians 4:6; James 1:19

In times of strife, where are we to go? Exodus 15:2; Psalm 33:4-6, 56:3; Isaiah 40:28-31, 41:10; Luke 12:8-10; Romans 1:18-20; 1 Corinthians 1:25-26; 1 Peter 2:1-5

(Note:  Bible study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)