Bible Study

Tuesday 9/15/20 10:45 AM in-person & Facebook live

Genesis 9 & 10: Death of a storm God, birth of a family

1) God knelt down and congratulated the man named Comfort and the nations that followed after him, saying “Happy hunting, little archers.” Genesis 9:1 PJT (Pastor Jeremey Translation) This is an alternate translation of the words that comprise this verse. Notice how far the PJT version is from the actual scripture. What can happen when we substitute our own knowledge for that of God?

2) Do you see 7 commandments in verses 2-12? Someone did. They are called the Noahide laws, given to the Gentiles – (people not of the Jewish faith) – for their salvation in this life: 1) Do not worship idols; 2) Do not curse God; 3) Establish courts of Justice; 4) Do not murder; 5) No adultery or bestiality; 6) No stealing, and; 7) No eating flesh or blood torn from a living animal. If a nation upholds these laws, it is blessed and worthy of the respect of its people. If not, calamity and civil unrest is its due.

3) “I do set” is one of those Hebrew words (like many Hebrew and Greek words) that is a phrase in English. The word is Nathan. It is meant to show the seriousness of God’s covenant – God is using formal oath taking language. That is how serious God’s promises are to us. Take a minute to ponder where God has kept promises in your life. Take another minute to ponder the promises you made to God. Is the deal square? Can it ever be?

4) We picture the rainbow as we should, but now add another mental picture: the word used for bow, qeseth, means bow as in archery. There is that motif again. What is going on with the archery references? HINT – the majority of the culture around the writers of the Old Testament believed in Baal the storm God who shot lightning arrows from his bow. Could the authors be claiming God’s supremacy over false or cultural gods? What cultural gods surround us now? What is our message to them?

5) What did Noah get busy on right away? Before we judge Noah, consider this: many archaeologists and historians believe humans settled down to farm to grow grain not for food but to make beer. In other words, the love of beer may very well be responsible for modern agriculture. Noah was regarded as the most righteous of mankind before Jesus. Is it reassuring that the literal best of us can still have very bad days?

6) What was Ham’s sin? Why did Noah curse Canaan? Hint: Remember singing Joshua Fit the Battle? There is a connection here.

7) Historically, the progeny and dispersal of the three sons of Noah were seen as the beginning of the races and an explanation for differences and similarities in cultures despite our very obvious kinship. Bible Teachers since the dawn of time have tried to emphasize our connection, yet people focus on the division. Meanwhile, science, again complementary to the Bible, more and more shows race is a social construct and not biological. How can we show the world the scriptural and scientific truth – that we are family

BONUS: How many nations are mentioned in Chapter 10? How many evangelists does Jesus call in Luke 10?

Tuesday 9/8/20 10:45 AM in-person & Facebook live

Genesis 8 – It starts and ends with a prayer

  1. Verse 1 says God remembered Noah. Did God ever forget Noah? No. The Hebrew word is zakar. It is an ancient word and its meaning is to make note of, keep in mind, make an offering to, commemorate. Do you ever feel forgotten by God? If God did not forget Noah, God will not forget you.
  2. How long were Noah and his family on the boat? Could there be a message about instant gratification here?
  3. Where did the ark come to rest? Have we found it? (HINT: It is NOT in a government warehouse. That is another famous ark, courtesy of Indiana Jones.) People have sought Biblical treasure for millennia and have mostly come up short and/or peddled materials of questionable authenticity. Do we need old pieces of wood to bolster our faith today?
  4. Reread verses 6 – 12 concerning the birds. Notice two things: 1) Sometimes, you have to build your own windows, and 2) Do you get a sense of Noah’s gentleness with the birds?
  5. What other boat from antiquity came to rest on Ararat?How many men did Noah slay in battle during his time on the boat? How many treasures did he win for his wife?
  6. Reread verse 15. Is God calling you and/or your family somewhere or to something? Is God calling you out to the daylight? Do you just feel like hiding instead?
  7. Reread verses 20 – 22: What is it exactly that makes God promise not to destroy, ever again, all living creatures? Now you know why men love to BBQ. We’re just trying to save the world.

BONUS: Now that we know the meaning of remember used here, we know that chapter 8 opens and closes with a zakar – a commemoration. God commemorating (remembering) Noah and his family for their ordeal, Noah commemorating (remembering) God through sacrifice for their preservation. Can you think of anything else that begins and ends with a prayer?

Tuesday 9/1/20 10:45 AM In-person & Facebook Live

Study questions for Tuesday Bible Study, 10:45 AM Facebook live and in person at church: Genesis 7 – The Second Greatest Day in a Man’s Life

1. How much time did God give Noah to build the ark?

2. Has there ever been a time in your life that felt like 40 days of rain? Did God deliver you? If so, how? Are you still waiting on delivery?

3. Have you ever built or owned a boat? What kind? What did you/do you use it for?

4. How many times do we read Noah, his family and the animals entered the ark? See 7:7-9;13-16. Is this important?

5. In chapter 6 Noah is told to take one pair of every animal. In chapter 7 he is told to take additional pairs of clean animals. Why?

6. How are the animals wrangled on to the boat? See verse 15. 7. Does it hurt a bit to read of the animals and people dying? This is intentional language to remind the reader of the consequences of sin. Doubtless we have seen people in our own lives suffer through self inflicted or natural consequences from sin. Is it getting harder to remain compassionate?

BONUS QUESTION: What does Noah’s name mean?

BONUS BONUS question: just what IS the second greatest day in a man’s life?

Tuesday 8/25 10:45 AM In-person & Facebook Live

Genesis 5 & 6: Numbers, Names and Nephilim

1) Wow these folks sure got old. Or did they? What have you read, been taught, and or thought about the long ages in Genesis 5?

2) There are 30 numbers mentioned in Genesis 5. All of them end in 0, 2, 5, 7 or 9. The chances of this happening at random are 1 in 1 hundred million. With that in mind, is it possible these numbers could be symbolic? Have you ever heard of the practice of gematria or numerology?

3) These numbers come from Babylonian mathematics, which uses a base 60, or sexigesimal, system. By comparison, we use a base 10 system. (About this: Base 60 systems make fractions and decimals easy, which accounts for their amazing architecture, weapons and chariots but requires memorization of 60 digits instead of 10. This might explain why Babylon and its successors were global superpowers from 3000 – 333 BC. That’s 2,667 years of technological supremacy.). Why would Babylonian mathematics be used to explain the ages of Biblical patriarchs? Can you anticipate issues and problems with reading foreign number systems in our own number systems, much like language?

4) Who and what are the Nephilim?

5) What are the sins that make God “regret” making humanity?

6) How big is a cubit?

7) Where do koala bears, Japanese macaque’s and opossum fit in to the flood narrative? Warning: this question is far deeper than it appears.

BONUS: What is the name of the band who sang about the humpty backed camels and the chimpanzees getting on Noah’s ark?

BONUS BONUS: True or False – unicorns were on the ark?

Tuesday 8/18

Genesis 4 – Call a Detective!

  1. What does your name mean? Did you give your children names with distinct meanings? Do you have or did you ever have a nickname?
  2. What does Cain’s name mean? What does Abel’s name mean?
  3. What was Cain’s occupation? Abel’s? (Keep a thumb on that word “shepherd”)
  4. Why did God not accept Cain’s sacrifice? Other translations of the word used as accept is to “look dimly upon” or to have “little or no respect.” Does that change the meaning of the scripture here?
  5. Did Cain mean to kill Abel? Would it matter here?
  6. Let’s parse a few things from verses 14 – 17: where did all these people come from? What is the mark? Where did the wife come from? Cities already?
  7. Are we ever truly out of God’s presence? Notice that while God banishes Cain from God’s presence, God gives Cain the mark as protection. So I ask again, are we ever truly out of the presence of God?
  8. BONUS: If we all spoke Hebrew, we would get the joke at verse 16: The Land of Nod is a play on the Hebrew word for nowhere, Nowd, which is also the word for vagrant. The Land of Nod translates literally into The Land of Vagrants and/or The Land of Nowhere.

Tuesday August 11, 2020 10:45 AM In-Person and Facebook Live

GENESIS 3 – There’s a Snake in my Boot!

1. FUN FACT: The Hebrew word for serpent used here is nachash, pronounced nah-HAHSH, which is an onomatopoeia word for a snake’s hiss.

2. Why a serpent? Is Satan ever mentioned in Genesis 3? Where do we get the idea of Satan being the serpent? (Hint: start with Revelation 12:9 and 20:2)

3, When does God go walking in the Garden? What does that say about the weather in Eden? It must be important because it is in the Bible. What makes this bit about the weather important? (No wrong answers!)

4. Verses 16 and 17, and much of the story of the fall, frankly, can feel a little what modern readers may call sexist. But, I am a man and not a woman. I invite women in our class, as you feel led, to share your feelings and experiences with this scripture or others like it.

5, Read Galatians 3:28. Also, reflect on Jesus’ interactions with women, which were extraordinarily egalitarian for the time according to the apostles around him. Does Christ lift this “curse of dominion” in verse 16?

6. True or False: John Wesley believed in original sin.

7. Guess what else is onomatopoeia? (Hint: we hear this word several times in the movie Wall-E.)

Thursday August 6, 2020 In-Person Facebook Live

Genesis 2 – Between Four Rivers

Read Genesis 2 and ponder some or all of the questions below:

  1. How do you picture God resting?
  2. Where are some places you get rest? Inspiration? Rejuvenation?
  3. Do you read two creation accounts in the Bible or a continuation of a single story? (Hint – there are no wrong answers!)
  4. Do you have a favorite poem or poet? Why?
  5. Do men and women have the same number of ribs? How many each?
  6. What do you picture when you read “tree of knowledge of good and evil”?
  7. Pretend God has asked YOU to make the rules for a new Garden of Eden. What are your rules?

July 28, 2020: Genesis 1 – In the Beginning

Read Genesis 1 and ponder some or all of the questions below.

  1. When did your spiritual walk begin? 
  2. What do you picture when you read the words “formless and empty”? What about the “deep” and the “waters”? 
  3. Are you familiar with “the firmament” from Sunday School or other sources? BONUS: Are you familiar with creation accounts found outside the Bible in other cultures? 
  4. What does it mean to you that God speaks light, plants, animals and humans into existence? 
  5. How do you define a day? Is the Bible’s use of the word day limited to a 24 hour solar cycle?
  6. What is very good in your life? 
  7. FOR FUN: Carefully re-read Gen. 1:30. Notice something about who can eat what?