Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Proverbs Twenty Questions

1. What’s the best advice you’ve received in life?

2. What advice would you give a young person today, such as upon their graduation, or when entering their career or marriage?

3. Have you ever seen someone be the victim of not taking their own advice?

4. How can you explain “the fear of the Lord” as a positive thing, and indeed the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7)?

5. Think of people you know who you consider wise and others you regard as foolish.  What characteristics separate them?

6. In what ways is our larger society/culture wise or foolish?

7. What are the benefits of living a life of wisdom, according to Proverbs 3:1-4?

8. What would the world be like if everyone followed Proverbs 3:5-6?

9. What do you find to be most difficult about following Solomon’s guidance to live a life according to wisdom and the fear of the Lord?

10. According to Proverbs 4, how important is wisdom?

11. What does “drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well” refer to in Proverbs 5:15?

12. What lesson does the ant have for the sluggard, according to Proverbs 6:6-8?

13. Proverbs 6 and 7 contain many warnings against adultery with another man’s wife.  If Solomon received such teachings from his father David, why are these words especially poignant?

14. Proverbs 8 and 9 personify Wisdom and Folly.  What can you say about each?

15. Do you find a favorite Proverb or two contained in this book that really resonates with you?

16. Have you ever seen Proverbs 15:1 (“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”) played out in life?

17. What is Solomon’s view on discipline?

18. What is Solomon’s view on debt?

19. Do you consider the proverbs to be promises of God that, if followed faithfully, are guaranteed to produce the outcome described, or general principles of truth that, if lived out, tend to reflect the way that God designed the universe?  Why?

20. What are some of the qualities of a “wife of noble character” in Proverbs 31?

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Job 22-42 Twenty Questions

1. What kind of slanderous charges does Eliphaz make against Job in chapter 22?

2. Is Eliphaz correct when he says in Job 22:21: “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you?”

3. How convinced is Job of his own righteousness?

4. What kind of injustices (economic and moral) does Job describe in chapter 24?

5. In Job 27:1-6, what is Job resolute about, and why?

6. What kind of things do people mine for in the depths of the earth, according to Job 28:1-11?

7. What wisdom does God impart to human beings (Job 28:28)?

8. In chapter 29, what does Job cite as evidence of his past righteousness?

9. In chapter 29, what does Job cite as evidence of his wisdom?

10. In chapter 30, how does Job describe his loss of respect?

11. In chapter 30, how does Job describe his physical symptoms and pains?

12. Job gives a stirring defense of his own righteousness as a summation of his argument in chapter 31.  What sins does Job assert he refrained from?

13. Sometimes people profess to “feeling like Job” because of their suffering.  On what grounds would you say that comparison is likely to be faulty?  Name at least two.

14. How does Elihu feel about his wisdom (Job 36:4)?

15. God reviews his dominion over earth, sky, and sea, including the weather, the constellations, and the behavior of wild animals.  Do any of these topics especially provoke a sense of awe and wonder within you?

16. What would you guess Behemoth and Leviathan are?

17. At the end of the book of Job, who is justified: Job or his friends?

18. Who would you say won the “wager” between God and Satan from the beginning of the book of Job?

19. Job receives back double in livestock for all that he had lost (Job 42:12-17), but the same number of children that he had before.  Do you find any significance to this?

20. How do you think Job would feel about the conclusion that “all’s well that ends well?”

Monday, May 18, 2020

Job 1-21 Twenty Questions

1. In chapter 1, on what basis does Satan claim that Job’s righteousness lies?

2. What does God allow Satan to do to Job?

3. In chapter 2, on what basis does Satan claim that Job’s righteousness now lies?

4. What does God extend permission for Satan to do to Job?

5. Make a list of the losses Job suffered.  How do you think you might have fared spiritually if you were in his shoes?

6. Did Job deserve what happened to him?  Why or why not?

7. In the worst season of your life, what friends of yours would you most want to see, and how would you hope that they would encourage you?

8. In chapter 3, Job basically wishes that he had never been born.  Is depression a sin or a sign of weakness in one’s relationship with the Lord?  Why or why not?

9. What is the crux of Eliphaz’s argument to Job in 4:7-8?

10. How confident is Eliphaz in his own wisdom (Job 5:27)?

11. What does Job reveal he is hoping for in 6:8-10?

12. What appears to be Job’s view of life after death based on 7:6-10?

13. What is Bildad implicitly accusing Job of in chapter 8?

14. In chapters 9 and 10, does Job maintain his innocence or admit his wrongdoing?

15. In chapter 11, Zophar feels the need to defend God’s integrity and attack Job for his insistence on his own righteousness.  Do you think God needs human beings to defend Him?  Why or why not?

16. In Job 13, Job earnestly desires to make his case before the Almighty.  How does the expression in 13:15, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him,” summarize Job’s attitude?

17. Do you detect any change in Job’s thoughts about an afterlife in 14:7-17?

18. Why does Job feel that his friends are “miserable comforters” (Job 16:2)?

19. Does Job 19:23-27 indicate any evolution in Job’s thinking about life after death?

20. Job 21 seems to ponder the inverse question of the theme of this book (Why do the righteous suffer?) as Job asks, “Why do the wicked prosper?”  His friends have been staunchly maintaining that the opposite is true.  Why is it that we can’t tell the quality of someone’s inner spiritual life based upon their outer material prosperity?

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther Twenty Questions

1. What king issued an edict allowing the Jews to return to Judah from their exile?

2. About how many Jews returned to Judah in this wave?

3. What act came first in the return of worship at the Temple?

4. Why were sounds of weeping and sounds of joy both expressed at the laying of the foundation of the second Temple?

5. Under what king was the work of rebuilding the Temple stopped?

6. What king reversed the work stoppage and allowed the second Temple to be completed?

7. What is Ezra’s work or job title most frequently referred to in Ezra 7?

8. What report caused Ezra’s grief in Ezra 9:3?

9. What was done about this situation (Ezra 10:11)?

10. If the Book of Ezra is chiefly about the rebuilding of the Temple and the restoration of the religion of Jerusalem, what is the subject of the Book of Nehemiah’s main building project?

11. What was Nehemiah’s role in the king’s court?

12. What are some examples of opposition that Nehemiah and the builders had to overcome in Nehemiah 4?

13. What kind of defensive measures did Nehemiah and the workers take to physically protect themselves from threats of attack?

14. What was Nehemiah’s opinion of charging interest?

15. How long did the wall rebuilding project take (Nehemiah 6:15)?

16. What holiday was re-celebrated for the first time in a long time in Nehemiah 8?

17. What did Queen Vashti do to get in trouble with the king?

18. What did the king’s advisors suggest should be done to replace the queen?

19. Why did it take bravery for Queen Esther to approach the king unsummoned?

20. Why was it poetic justice for Haman to be killed in the manner he was?

Monday, May 4, 2020

II Chronicles 21-36 Twenty Questions

1. With what physical disease did God afflict King Jehoram on account of his evil deeds?

2. Who took over Judah after King Ahaziah died?

3. Who rescued the child Joash from his murderous grandmother?

4. What role did the priest Jehoiada play in the restoration of the Davidic monarchy?

5. How did Joash raise money for the repair of the Temple?

6. What happened to Joash after Jehoiada died?

7. What is the meaning of the parable of the thistle and cedar in II Chronicles 25:18-19?

8. What caused the downfall of King Uzziah in II Chronicles 26:16?

9. How long did Uzziah suffer from leprosy?

10. To what was King Jotham’s power attributed to in II Chronicles 27:6?

11. In II Chronicles 28, how many prisoners and captives did the northern kingdom of Israel take out of the southern kingdom of Judah?

12. What ended up happening to the captives?

13. What evil things did King Ahaz do toward the end of his reign to try to turn his fortunes around?

14. How did King Hezekiah begin his reign?

15. What Jewish holiday did Hezekiah re-institute?

16. What is the Bible’s verdict on Hezekiah in II Chronicles 31:20-21?

17. This one may take a little cross-referencing: In II Chronicles 32:31, what miraculous event were the Babylonian envoys investigating?

18. What are some of the atrocious things that King Manasseh did in II Chronicles 33?

19. When the book of the Law was found in the Temple, to whom did the priest go to inquire of the Lord (II Chronicles 34:22)?

20. How does the Book of II Chronicles end?

Saturday, April 25, 2020

II Chronicles 1-20 Twenty Questions

1. How did God respond to Solomon’s request for wisdom?

2. How many people did Solomon conscript to work on the Temple?

3. What skilled craftsman did Hiram, king of Tyre, send to Solomon to oversee the work on the Temple?

4. Why do you suppose so much gold was used in the construction of the Temple?

5. What was in the Ark when it was brought into the Temple?

6. Explain why (or why not) you believe the dedication of the Temple represents the high point for the nation of Israel.

7. According to II Chronicles 6:6, what two things has God chosen?

8. What promise did Solomon credit God with keeping in II Chronicles 6:15?

9. Based on Solomon’s requests in II Chronicles 6:19-42, how would you describe the point/purpose or function of the Temple?

10. “His love endures forever” is a refrain we hear frequently in the Bible.  Explain why you agree or disagree.

11. How does II Chronicles 7:13-14 resonate with particular significance today during our present crisis?

12. According to those verses, what should God’s people do?

13. According to those verses, what does God promise to do in response?

14. What historical events do God’s words in II Chronicles 7:19-22 portend?

15. Do you notice anything important about Solomon’s later spiritual life that was recorded in I Kings but is missing in II Chronicles?

16. What was the mistake of King Rehoboam that led to a civil war?

17. Which side did the Levites choose to support?

18. What caused Asa’s reign to end badly, according to II Chronicles 16?

19. What did Jehoshaphat do in II Chronicles 17:7-9 to strengthen his kingdom and its people’s faith?

20. With what evil king of Israel did good king Jehoshaphat ally himself?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

I Chronicles Twenty Questions

1. Much of I and II Chronicles circles back and recapitulates earlier material found in the Bible.  What are some good reasons that the Bible repeats information?

2. Something to watch for is that I and II Chronicles generally portray David in a more positive light than I and II Samuel.  When some negative material is omitted (such as David’s sin with Bathsheba), what conclusions might we draw?

3. Where in history does I Chronicles 1:1 begin its story?

4. I Chronicles 4:9-10 tells us about Jabez and his prayer.  What did Jabez pray for?

5. Why do you think I Chronicles devotes so much time and attention to genealogical names?

6. According to I Chronicles 10, why was Saul rejected by the Lord?

7. Based on I Chronicles 15, what was David’s conclusion about why Uzzah was struck down and killed during the transport of the Ark?

8. After David decides he wants to build a house for the Lord, what does the Lord declare he will do for David in I Chronicles 16:10?

9. What bad advice did Hanun son of Nahash of the Ammonites receive in I Chronicles 19?

10. Compare II Samuel 24:1 and I Chronicles 21:1.  Who incited David to take a census?

11. How did Joab conduct the census because the idea was repulsive to him?

12. What does David’s prayer in I Chronicles 21:17 reveal about his heart?

13. How much did David pay to buy the threshing floor of Araunah, where the plague was stopped?

14. What did that site become?

15. What was David’s role in the construction of the Temple?   (I Chronicles 22:5)

16. According to David, why did God choose Solomon rather than David to be the one to build the Temple?

17. In I Chronicles 22:13, David tells Solomon to “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or discouraged.”  Where have we heard this before?

18. How does the role of the Levites change in I Chronicles 23 as Israel adapted from Tabernacle to Temple?

19. What musical instruments are mentioned for use in the worship of the Lord in I Chronicles 25?

20. Where did the gold and silver and precious stones for building the Temple come from, according to I Chronicles 29?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

II Kings Twenty Questions

1. In II Kings 1, what was the difference between the way the first two captains approached Elijah in contrast to the third captain?

2. What was Elisha’s final request of Elijah?

3. How was the faith of the widow in II Kings 4 play a necessary part in her receiving an answer to her plight?

4. What kind of parallels can you find between the miracles of Elisha and the miracles of Jesus?

5. What was Elisha’s servant Gehazi’s sin and resulting punishment?

6. When Elisha led a band of enemy soldiers from Aram into Samaria, how were the captured soldiers treated?

7. How bad is the lack of food in II Kings 6:24-29?  (Remember this was referenced back when we were studying Deuteronomy 28:49-57!)

8. In the midst of this terrible famine, Elisha prophesied that the very next day food would be incredibly cheap.  He was ridiculed by the king’s right hand man.  How did God fulfill this prophecy?

9. Who killed the king of Israel Joram, the king of Judah Ahaziah, and the former Queen Jezebel in II Kings 9?

10. By what subterfuge did Jehu cleanse the land of Baal worship in II Kings 10?

11. What baby was secretly saved from the purge ordered by Athaliah and raised in the Temple for six years?

12. What was Elisha’s final prophecy?

13. What affliction did King Azariah of Judah (also called Uzziah) have?

14. For how many generations did the descendants of Jehu sit on the throne of Israel?

15. II Kings 17 describes the final destruction of Israel as a nation.  What does the Bible say is the reason they were exiled to Assyria and lost their kingdom?

16. II Kings 17 also describes what happened to the land after the Assyrians conquered Israel.  The region became known as Samaria, and many other nationalities were imported into it.  The native bloodlines and religion became mixed.  The worship described is called “syncretism.”  Why is it wrong to worship the Lord along with idols as the Samaritans did?

17. While Israel fell to the Assyrians, Hezekiah was a (good) king over Judah.  What are some things Hezekiah did to merit his accolade in II Kings 18:5?

18. According to II Kings 19:35, how were the Assyrians defeated?

19. Hezekiah was originally going to die, but God added fifteen years to his life in response to his prayer.  Can you name two destructive things that came out of those extra fifteen years he was given?

20. What kind of religious reforms did King Josiah institute after the Book of the Law was found during the renovations in the Temple?

Monday, April 6, 2020

I Kings Twenty Questions

1. Which son of David almost became king instead of Solomon?

2. In his final charge to Solomon, what old scores did David want the new king to settle?

3. What did Adonijah do to arouse the wrath of Solomon that ended with his execution?

4. How did Solomon settle his father’s scores with Joab and Shimei?

5. If the Lord appeared to you in a dream and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you,” how would you answer?

6. Solomon’s reign is sometimes referred to as “the golden age of Israel.”  What are some biblical details that would support this idea?

7. How long did it take Solomon to build the Temple, and how long did it take him to build his palace?  (I Kings 6 and 7)

8. When the ark was brought into the Temple, why couldn’t the priests perform their duty?

9. Did Solomon believe that God would live in the Temple?  (I Kings 8:27)

10. What are some situations that Solomon lists where people can pray in/toward the Temple?

11. What does God say could move Him to reject the Temple and have it end up a pile of rubble? (I Kings 9)

12. Why is it apt that Jesus referred to Solomon as He did in Matthew 6:29?

13. What was Solomon’s downfall? (I Kings 11)

14. What caused the Kingdom to split into a civil war under Solomon’s son Rehoboam?

15. Which tribes stayed loyal to the House of David?

16. Why did Jeroboam institute idol worship in the northern tribes? (I Kings 12)

17. One of the great unsolved mysteries is what happened to the Ark of the Covenant.  What does I Kings 14:25-26 indicate about one of the possibilities?

18. What are some of the differences between a king that the Bible deems “evil” and one who “does right in the eyes of the Lord”?

19. One thing to notice is the continuity of David’s line in the southern kingdom of Judah, while the northern kingdom of Israel had dramatic turnovers in their leadership of unconnected houses.  Why was the first act of many new kings in Israel to slaughter all the previous king’s relatives?

20. While Judah occasionally had a good king on the throne, Israel’s kings were universally wicked.  Who was the evil king of Israel who served as the primary opponent to God’s prophet Elijah?

Next Week’s Reading: Psalm 43-45; II Kings

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

II Samuel Twenty Questions

1. What questions do you have about this week’s reading?

2. After all the bad things that Saul did to David, why do you think David still mourned his loss in II Samuel 1?

3. What was the root cause of the bitter hatred between Joab (David’s general) and Abner (the House of Saul’s general) in II Samuel 2?

4. How did David reward the people who brought him “good news” about deaths in Saul’s family?  (II Samuel 1 and 4)

5. How long was David’s total reign, including his time over Judah and then over all of Israel?

6. What did Uzzah do wrong that he was struck down in II Samuel 6?

7. What did David want to do for the Lord after he had established himself and built his palace (II Samuel 7:2)?

8. How did God respond to David’s desire?

9. How are David’s actions in II Samuel 9 a fulfillment of the covenant he made with Jonathan in I Samuel 20:14-17?

10. Describe how David’s sin kept escalating in II Samuel 11.

11. In II Samuel 12:6, what did David conclude should happen to the man who took and killed his poor neighbor’s only ewe lamb?

12. What ended up happening to the child that Bathsheba had conceived with David?

13. What atrocious sin did David’s oldest son, Amnon, commit?

14. What ended up happening to Amnon?

15. The Bible says that Absalom was very handsome on the outside (II Samuel 14:25).  What was he like on the inside?

16. What horrible thing did Absalom do in II Samuel 16 that was a fulfillment of the prophet Nathan’s decree against David in II Samuel 12?

17. What ended up happening to Absalom?

18. How did David react to the news about the usurper Absalom?

19. What were the three destructive options that God gave David as judgment for him ordering a census (II Samuel 24)

20. Why do you think David made the choice that he did?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

I Samuel Twenty Questions

1. Samuel’s birth can be considered a miracle.  Can you recall some other previous examples in the Bible of God providing a child in unusual circumstances?

2. What kind of “reversals” is God credited with in Hannah’s prayer in I Samuel 2?

3. What were the sins of Eli’s sons (2:12-17 and 2:22-25)?

4. What was Eli’s sin (3:13)?

5. How did the Philistines’ war trophy of the ark become a snare to them?

6. What were the sins of Samuel’s sons (8:1-3)?

7. What did Samuel warn the Israelites about what a king would do?

8. Why do the people still want a king (8:19-20)?

9. Why do you think God allowed the people to do something that was not in accord with His will?

10. What is Saul’s first victory as king (11:1-11)?

11. What are the two ways that Saul fell out of favor with the Lord (13:8-14 and 15:10-23)?

12. How had God prepared David for his battle with Goliath (17:34-37)?

13. How did David go from being a hero admired by Saul to being viewed with suspicion and fear by him?

14. What was the covenant made between Jonathan and David in I Samuel 20?

15. What ruse did David employ to be safe in Gath of the Philistines (22:10-15)?

16. What did Saul do to the priests at Nob in revenge for their assistance to David (22:6-23)?

17. When David had the opportunity to kill Saul in I Samuel 24, what did he do instead?

18. When David had a second opportunity to kill Saul in I Samuel 26, what did he do instead?

19. When Saul consults a medium to call up the spirit of Samuel, what does Samuel tell him (30:16-19)?

20. How do Saul and three of his sons die in I Samuel 31?

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Judges and Ruth Twenty Questions

1. Joshua was Moses’ successor.  Who was Joshua’s successor? (Note: this may be a trick question!)

2. According to Judges 4:4, what was God’s intention in leaving some enemy nations among Israel’s tribes?

3. According to Judges 4:6, what happened?

4. A. Who is the first Judge raised up in Judges 4:7-11,
B. his lineage,
C. the enemy of Israel (leader and nation) at the time,
D. and how long had Israel been oppressed?

5. A. Who is the second Judge raised up in Judges 4:12-30,
B. his lineage,
C. the enemy of Israel (leader and nation) at the time,
D. and how long had Israel been oppressed?

6. A. Who is the Judge raised up in Judges 5,
B. the enemy of Israel (leader and nation) at the time,
C. and how long had Israel been oppressed?

7. Does the fact that Deborah led Israel in the time of the Judges imply anything about God’s ability to use women in leadership?

8. A. Who is the Judge raised up in Judges 6,
B. his lineage,
C. the enemy of Israel (nation) at the time
D. and how long had Israel been oppressed?

9. What did Gideon do with his fleece in Judges 6, and why is that not an example of putting the Lord to the test?

10. How many fighting men did Gideon start with, and how many did he take into battle?

11. How did Gideon’s gold ephod become a snare to Israel?

12. What does the example of Jephthah teach us about making a rash vow?

13. What does Judges 14:1-4 teach us about God’s plans?

14. What similarities are there between Samson being worn down by the Philistine woman in Judges 14:16-17 and his experience with Delilah later in Judges 16?

15. What is the connection between Samson’s strength being in his hair and his identity as a Nazirite?

16. What are the similarities between the city of Gibeah in Benjamin (an Israelite town!) in Judges 19 and cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19?

17. What were the consequences upon the tribe of Benjamin for what happened in Gibeah?

18. What do you think of the various plans to secure wives for the decimated Benjaminite tribe in Judges 21?

19. What is the consequence of verses like Judges 17:6 and 21:25 where everyone does what is right in their own eyes?

20. What does the story of Ruth and Naomi teach us about God’s providence?

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Joshua Twenty Questions

1. What questions do you have about this week’s reading?

2. How many times (and by whom) is Joshua told in chapter 1 to be “strong and courageous”?

3. Being strong and courageous is necessary for Joshua and the Israelites to succeed, while their opponents “melt in fear.”  Have you ever seen fear play a decisive role in the ability to persevere?

4. Based on the story of Rahab in chapter two, what appears to be most important to God: one’s ethnicity, one’s morality, or which side one is on?

5. How does the testimony of Rahab in Joshua 2:8-11 show that God’s reputation is spreading on account of Israel’s experiences?

6. What happened at Gilgal?  (Joshua 4:19-24)

7. Although fear is generally considered a negative in the book of Joshua, why is it recommended that the people fear the Lord?  (Joshua 4:24)

8. Why does the manna stop in Joshua 5?

9. Whose side is the commander of the army of the Lord on?  (Joshua 5:13-15)

10. What were Joshua’s “marching orders”, and how did they result in the fall of Jericho?

11. What caused the army’s failure at Ai?  (Joshua 7:10-12)

12. With what tactic did Joshua conquer Ai?

13. Which scripture is Joshua 8:30-35 a fulfillment of?

14. What was the ruse of the Gibeonites?

15. According to Joshua 11, how faithfully did Joshua follow the orders given by Moses?

16. How many kings did Joshua and the Israelites successfully defeat?

17. In what town was the tent of meeting set up?  (Joshua 18)

18. After establishing towns of refuge and towns for the Levites, how many of God’s promises to Moses could be said to have gone unfulfilled?  (Joshua 21:43-45)

19. Why did the tribes east of the Jordan build an altar at Geliloth?

20. What ultimately happened to Joseph’s bones?

Deuteronomy 18-34 Twenty Questions

1. What questions do you have about this week’s reading?

2. The Bible takes a very negative view of magic and the occult (Deuteronomy 18:9-13).  Are these practices regarded as “hoaxes”, or is there another reason they are forbidden?

3. What is the test of a prophet? (Deut. 18:21-22)

4. Why is God determined that the cities of refuge should be both accessible and sufficient in number? (Deut. 19:6 and 10)

5. According to the Bible in Deut. 19:16-21, what should happen to one found to be a false witness?

6. What are some reasons that a person might be discharged from going up to battle or war?  (Deut. 20:5-9)

7. What is the penalty for a rebellious son?  (Deut. 21:18-21)

8. How is Deuteronomy 22:8 an early example of the concept of “negligence”?

9. The Bible is sometimes attacked for passages like Deuteronomy 22:28-29 which may offend our modern sensibilities.  Given the context of the culture and surrounding material in chapter 22, why might a provision like this have been included in the Law?

10. What examples of mercy and/or compassion can you find in Deuteronomy 24?

11. What is the connection between Deuteronomy 25:5-10 and the story of Ruth in Ruth 4:1-12?

12. What makes the difference between receiving the blessings of Deuteronomy 28:1-14 rather than suffering the curses of 28:15-68?

13. What is the connection between Deuteronomy 28:49-57 and II Kings 6:24-29 as well as Lamentations 2:20 and 4:10?

14. When in history have we seen the prophetic words of Deuteronomy 30:1-5 fulfilled?

15. How stark is the choice that Moses lays out for the people in Deuteronomy 30:15-20?

16. Who is told to be “strong and courageous” in Deuteronomy 31?

17. What did God give the Israelites in Deuteronomy 31:19-22 to be a witness against them when they sinned?

18. Is Moses optimistic or pessimistic about the future of the people in Deuteronomy 31?

19. Has a hymn or song ever seen you through a tough time or called you back to a place of faithfulness?

20. What challenges would Joshua face in succeeding Moses, who the Bible says was a one-of-a-kind prophet?

Deuteronomy 1-17 Twenty Questions

1. What questions do you have about this week’s reading?

2. How is Deuteronomy 1:10 a fulfillment of God’s covenant promise to Abraham in Genesis 15:5?

3. What does Deuteronomy 1 say about the role of fear? (See 1:17, 1:21 and 1:28-29)

4. How can the recitation of Israel’s history of wanderings and warfare give them encouragement for the battles ahead? (Deuteronomy 3:21-22)

5. What was Moses’ consolation prize instead of getting to go into the Holy Land himself?

6. What is God’s hope for Israel revealed in Deuteronomy 4:5-8?

7. Deuteronomy 4:9-10 stresses passing on the faith to the next generation by teaching the children.   Why is this important?

8. According to Deuteronomy 4:35, what was the point of Israel’s experience in Egypt and the wilderness?

9. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is repeated later by Jesus.  What will He say about this teaching?  (Extra Credit: what is the Jewish name for these verses?)

10. What is Moses’ warning about spiritual complacency and satisfaction in Deuteronomy 6:10-12 and 8:10-20?

11. What did God want the people to do regarding the worship of other gods among the peoples they were conquering? (Deuteronomy 7:5)

12. How should we view the discipline of the Lord? (Deuteronomy 8:5 and Hebrews 12:4-13)

13. Would Israel be justified in boasting that its own power or goodness caused God to favor it?  (Deuteronomy 7:7-11 and 9:4-6)

14. What are the similarities between Deuteronomy 10:12-13 and Micah 6:8?

15. Deuteronomy 11:26-28 could be a summary for the book.  What blessings and curses that Moses has described stand out to you?

16. Deuteronomy 12:5-14 is a prophecy of what place?

17. How is Deuteronomy 13 a logical consequence of the First Commandment?

18. What four groups are especially commanded to be remembered in Deuteronomy 14:28-29?

19. Do you think God intends for His people to give generously?  (Deuteronomy 15:7-11)

20. Can you think of any notable kings who did or didn’t follow the guidelines set out in Deuteronomy 17:14-20?

Numbers 19-36 Twenty Questions

1. What questions do you have about this week’s reading?

2. According to Numbers 20 and Numbers 27:12-14, why was Moses not permitted to enter the Promised Land?

3. What is the connection between Numbers 21:4-9 and John 3:14-15?

4. How is the bronze snake on a pole not a violation of the Second Commandment?

5. What do you make of the story of Balaam and the donkey?

6. Why does Numbers 23:1-12 have an almost comical effect?

7. Why or why not do you think Balaam’s fourth prophecy in Numbers 24:15-19 is about Christ?

8. How does the New Testament view the legacy of Balaam?  (II Peter 2:15-16 and Jude 11)

9. Although Balaam was not able to successfully curse Israel, what happens in the next chapter that leads to their corruption?  (See Numbers 31:16 to see who’s behind this.)

10. According to Numbers 27:15-17, how do you think Moses views his role?

11. Why was it important for Moses to have a designated successor?

12. According to Numbers 28:17, the Passover bread is to be made without yeast.  Why?  (See Exodus 12:34 and 39)

13. How is yeast also a metaphor for sin and sinful influences in the Bible?  (See Luke 12:1 and Galatians 5:9)

14. How binding is the vow mentioned in Numbers 30?

15. Why do you think there is a provision for the vows of daughters/ wives to be overruled by their fathers/husbands?

16. Why was Moses angry with the Israelite army leaders in Numbers 31:14?

17. How would you respond to the charge the God orders the genocide of the Midianites and the treatment of their young women as a commodity?

18. What was Moses’ initial reaction to the tribes of Gad and Reuben (and Manasseh) who wanted to stay east of the Jordan and not cross into the Promised Land?

19. What agreement was eventually reached?

20. According to Numbers 33:55-56, what was the risk to Israel if they didn’t cleanse the land of its prior inhabitants?

Numbers 1-18 Twenty Questions

1. What questions do you have about this week’s reading?

2. How many “tribes” are mentioned in Numbers 1?

3. What were the special responsibilities and privileges of the Levites described in Numbers 1?

4. In Numbers 3:5-10, what does Aaron and his sons receive for help in discharging their duties?

5. In Numbers 3:11-13 and 3:39-51, what does God exchange for the Levites?

6. Numbers 5:11-31 prescribes a ritual to determine infidelity on the part of a wife.  What observations would you make about this test?

7. What are the three prohibitions, or acts of separation, which accompany a Nazirite vow (Numbers 6)?

8. How would Moses hear from God, as described in Numbers 7:89?

9. What were the “working years” for the Levites, according to Numbers 8:23-26?

10. Can you discern any spiritual principles from the description of Numbers 9:15-23 and the people’s following of cloud and fire?

11. What did the Hebrews miss about their time in Egypt? (Numbers 11:4-6)

12. Based on Numbers 11, what lesson should we draw about complaining against the Lord?

13. What was Miriam’s punishment for speaking out against Moses?

14. What was the majority and minority report of the twelve spies sent to explore the land of Canaan?

15. What do the people want to do instead of going to the Promised Land?  (Numbers 14:1-10)

16. What does God first want to do to the Israelites for their rebellion, and then what does He ultimately do?  (Numbers 14:11-12 and 14:20-38)

17. How do the people respond when God informed them of God’s punishment?  (Numbers 14:39-45)

18. What is the penalty for gathering wood on Saturday?  (Numbers 15:32-36)

19. What is the point of having tassels on their garments? (Numbers 15:37-41)

20. What three kinds of death resulted from Korah’s rebellion in Numbers 16?

Leviticus Twenty Questions

1. What questions do you have about this week’s reading?

2. Several times the Bible points out that sacrifices are to be animals “without defect.”  What’s wrong with offering defective animals to God?

3. What would be a modern-day equivalent of offering something defective to God?

4. That sacrifices produce “an aroma pleasing to the Lord” is mentioned several times in Leviticus.  Do you think God physically and/or literally takes pleasure in smelling the offering?

5. What provisions does Leviticus 5 make for the economically poor?

6. Leviticus commands a system of sacrificial animal offerings.  We say we are Bible-believers.  Why don’t we follow this practice today?

7. Based on Leviticus 10:1-3, why was it important to follow the rituals precisely as laid out?

8. What does Leviticus 12:8 imply about Joseph and Mary later in Luke 2:22-24?

9. Reading Leviticus 13:45-46, how difficult would it be to live with a long-term skin disease in Bible times?

10. In spite of the difficulty placed upon those with skin diseases, why was it mandated?

11. In Leviticus 16, what was the role of the scapegoat?

12. How often was the atonement ritual described in Leviticus 16 to be practiced?

13. How important was the prohibition against eating blood in Leviticus 17:10-14?  (Compare with Acts 15:19-21)

14. Christians do not consider the “kosher laws” of Leviticus 11 to be binding on us.  What about the sexual laws of Leviticus 18?  (Compare with I Corinthians 5:1-5)

15. What is the point of establishing a system of holy days to be observed throughout the year, as in Leviticus 23?

16. What would happen during the Year of Jubilee?

17. Reading Leviticus 25:44-46, would you say that the Bible endorses slavery?

18. What do you think are the best promises for obedience/worst threats for disobedience listed in Leviticus 26?

19. Leviticus 27:30-33 says that a tithe of everything from the land and from the flocks and herds belongs to the Lord.  What right does God have to a tithe?

20. How difficult would you find it to be an ancient Jew and be expected to practice all of Leviticus?  You may indicate which laws in particular would be hardest to follow.

Exodus 20-40 Twenty Questions

1. What questions do you have about this week’s reading?

2. The very first commandment is that we should have no other gods before God.  Why do you think God insists on being first in our lives (Commandment #1 in Exodus 20:3)?

3. Jealousy is not normally considered a positive trait.  How should we interpret that God identifies Himself as a “jealous” God (Commandment #2 in Exodus 20:5)?

4. How would you explain Exodus 20:5 and 6 to someone who objects that God is being unfair by punishing children for the sins of the parents?  (Compare: Ezekiel 18:1-20)

5. How should Christians view the Ten Commandments – binding/ legalistic/optional/helpful?

6. In Ephesians 6:1-3, Paul says that honoring your father and mother is the first commandment with a promise.  What is that promise?

7. Is our entire consumer-driven marketing/economic system based on an inherent violation of the Tenth Commandment to not covet?

8. How is the understanding and punishment of homicide becoming more nuanced in Exodus 21:12-14?

9. How should we understand the concept and application of retributive justice (“eye for eye, tooth for tooth”) in Exodus 21:23-25?

10. Do any of the various laws strike you as strange or disproportionate?

11. Reading Exodus 23:23-33 and Exodus 34:10-17, what is the basis of God’s command for the Canaanite nations to be wiped out entirely?

12. Does reading Hebrews 9:16-20 help you to better understand Exodus 24:4-8?

13. Can people look upon God?   Check out Exodus 24:9-11 and Exodus 33:11 and 33:18-23.

14. Why was it important for Moses and the Israelites to build the Tabernacle exactly to the specifications that God laid out?

15. What did God do for Bezalel and Oholiab?

16. What do you suppose motivated the people to want to follow other gods in Exodus 32:1?

17. Do you believe Aaron’s story in Exodus 32:24 that the golden calf just happened to come out of the fire?

18. What kind of punishments came upon the people because of their sin with golden calf?

19. Based on Exodus 36:1-7, how well was the building project of the Tabernacle supported by the people?

20. How did the Israelites do in actually assembling the Tabernacle according to the vision God had given Moses?  (Hint: See Exodus 39:42-43)

Exodus 1-19 Twenty Questions

1. What does Exodus 1:15-21 reveal about lying and absolute honesty?

2. How do you see the providence of God at work in the story of Moses in Exodus 2:1-10?

3. Based on Exodus 2:11-15, would you describe Moses as a murderer?

4. What are Moses’ two questions to God in Exodus 3?

5. What meanings do you find in God’s revelation of His name as “I AM WHO I AM”?

6. In Exodus 4, what three signs did God give Moses to show the Israelites as proof of his story?

7. How would you describe Moses’ reaction to his call?

8. What is the difference in the elders’ attitude toward Moses and Aaron at the end of Exodus 4 and Exodus 5?

9. What are the odds of success for Moses’ mission at the end of Exodus 6:12?

10. According to Exodus 7:22-23, how did Pharaoh respond to the first plague of the water turning to blood? 

11. In Exodus 8, how did Pharaoh respond to the second plague of frogs?

12. How did Pharaoh’s magicians describe the plagues after they could not replicate the gnats?

13. Which do you personally feel would have been the worst plague?

14. Was it wrong for God to harden Pharaoh’s heart in Exodus 9:12 considering Pharaoh had already hardened his heart several times?

15. What parallels do you see between the Passover in Exodus 12 and the sacrifice of Christ?

16. The firstborn of the Egyptians were killed in the final plague.  What did God require be done to the firstborn of the Israelites instead?  (See Exodus 13:1-2 and 13:14-16)

17. How does Exodus 13:9 resolve the ending of the Book of Genesis?

18. Some have proposed various naturalistic explanations for the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea.  Does the Bible leave any room for acceptance of these events apart from the supernatural work of God?

19. What were some of the special rules regarding manna, and how did the Israelites break them?

20. How do the stories in Exodus 17 and 18 reveal that Moses needed help?

Genesis 34-50 Twenty Questions

1. What stood out most to you from this week’s reading? 

2. What do you think of the sons of Jacob’s plan against Hamor and Shechem?  (i.e. just or unjust, cleverness of the plan, what was the fall-out, etc.)

3. What is the background behind Benjamin’s name?

4. What is the connection between Rachel’s burial place and the New Testament?  (See Jeremiah 31:15 and Matthew 2:18)

5. In Genesis 37, what were Joseph’s brothers reasons for hating him?

6. What were the various plans the brothers hatched to do to Joseph?

7. Can you name three examples throughout his life that show Joseph’s excellent administration abilities?

8. In the time of Joseph, the meaning of dreams could be interpreted, often with a prophetic message.  Do you think God still speaks in dreams today?

9. What do the trials of Joseph (betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, unjustly accused, forgotten in prison) teach us about living an upright life?

10. What does Joseph’s answer to Pharaoh about dream interpretation in Genesis 41:16 reveal about Joseph?

11. If it hadn’t been for (God working through) Joseph, what would have happened to Egypt and its people, as well as Joseph’s family back home?

12. Based on the meaning of the names of Joseph’s sons (Manasseh and Ephraim), how do you think Joseph was feeling during the seven years of plenty?

13. What do you think were Joseph’s motivations in the mind games he was playing with his half-brothers?

14. How is Judah’s offer in Genesis 44:33 a picture of the gospel story in miniature?

15. Do you agree with Joseph about who he feels has been working behind the scenes throughout the events of his life (Genesis 45:8 and 50:20)?

16. Speculation question – do you think anyone ever told Jacob what had really happened to Joseph?

17. Beersheba had a profound spiritual influence on Abraham’s family.  Compare the experiences in Genesis 26:23-25 and Genesis 46:1-5.

18. What was the first tax rate in Egypt?  (Hint: See Genesis 47:26)

19. What do you make of Jacob’s crossed-arm blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh in Genesis 48?

20. What “unfinished business” does Genesis end with?

Genesis 12-33 Twenty Questions

1. What stood out most to you from this week’s reading? 

2. In Genesis 12:1-3 and 12:7, what did God ask of Abram, and what did He promise him?

3. In Genesis 12:8 and 13:3-4, Abram builds an altar to the Lord at Bethel and calls on His name.  What does “Bethel” mean?

4. In Genesis 14:18-20, what intriguing details do you find about Melchizedek?  (Look up Hebrews 7 for more insights.)

5. In Genesis 15, God establishes a covenant with Abram.  What is the significance of Genesis 15:6?  (Look up Romans 4 for more insights.)

6. What is the meaning of cutting the animals in half and the appearance of the smoking firepot with the blazing torch?

7. How is Genesis 16 a cautionary tale about thinking we know better than God and taking matters into our own hands?

8. What do Abraham and Sarah’s new names mean, given in Genesis 17?

9. Do you find any parallels between God’s deliverance of Noah and His rescue of Lot in Genesis 19?

10. What is the connection between Isaac and laughter?

11. What was the point of God testing Abraham in Genesis 22? 

12. What parallels do you see between the almost-sacrifice of Isaac and the sacrificial death of Jesus?

13. Abraham called that place “The Lord Will Provide.”  What has the Lord provided for you?

14. What does Genesis 24 tell us about God’s ability to work through circumstances?

15. Describe the sibling rivalry between Esau and Jacob.  What were the character flaws of each?

16. Jacob wrested the birthright and the blessing from Esau.  What were these ancient customs?

17. What was Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28 and his response to it?

18. Describe how Jacob was deceived in Genesis 29.  Do you think he had it coming?

19. What about Jacob’s experience provides a great example of why plural marriage is not a good idea?

20. Describe the events surrounding Jacob’s name change to Israel.  What does Israel mean?

Genesis 1-11 Twenty Questions

1. What has been your past experience in reading through (or attempting to read through) the Bible?  

2. Why do you think the Bible doesn’t tell us “where God came from?”

3. Some suggest that Genesis 1 and 2 are actually two different Creation stories.  What are the similarities and differences between them?

4. In attempting to explain our origins, Science has advanced the theories of the Big Bang and Evolution.  In what ways are these concepts compatible and/or incompatible with a biblical Christian faith?

5. What would you say to someone who argues that we should be honoring Saturday as the seventh day rather than Sunday?

6. It is sometimes said of the Fall of Man that God blamed Adam, Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent, and the serpent didn’t have a leg to stand on!  Where do you think the blame lies in Genesis 3?

7. In Genesis 3:22, why do you think God keeps humankind from the Tree of Life and living forever, when He later permits access in Revelation 22:2?

8. According to Genesis 4, what was God’s punishment for Cain’s sin of murder?

9. In the news headlines of this current week, do you see any evidence of sin in the modern world?  Cite specific examples.

10. How should we reconcile the very long lives of ancient people in the Bible (such as recorded in Genesis 5) with the shorter lives in more recent history?

11. According to Genesis 6:5, how corrupt was the world?

12. What does it say about God that He chose to spare Noah and his family instead of destroying them along with the rest of the world?

13. Many ancient cultures have flood stories.  Does the existence of so many flood stories weaken or strengthen the case for the Bible?

14. Genesis 9:6 indicates a change in the application of the death penalty from Cain’s experience.  Why or why not is this inconsistent?

15. In Genesis 9:9, God establishes a covenant with Noah, his descendants, and every living creature.  What is a covenant?

16. Can you name some examples of other covenants?

17. Why do you think covenants are often accompanied by signs?

18. Considering Genesis 11, have you ever experienced a situation where language was a barrier? Describe it.

19. Do you see a correlation in humankind’s growing ability to communicate with each other and the speed of progress/industry that has taken place as a result?

20. What will help you to get this week’s reading done?