Following Good Examples – 3 John – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

V1-4:

1. What do you notice about the way John introduces himself?

He identifies himself simply as the Elder. Presumably the first readers knew who this was and perhaps he doesn’t directly refer to himself for the same reason he doesn’t in 2 John – the threat of persecution might have made it unwise (and unnecessary).

2. From this introduction, what do we learn about how John views Gaius?

He is faithful.

V5-8:

3.  How does John praise Gaius?

He praises him for his hospitality.

4. What does John highlight about Gaius’ attitude (when asked to do something)?

He does it faithfully. Whatever God has asked us to do, we should do it faithfully.

5. How does this help explain why John prays for the prosperity of Gaius?

He used his resources in a godly way, being a blessing to others. If God blessed him with more, others would be blessed more also.

6. Why does John say to take nothing from the Gentiles?

The ancient world of the early church was filled with the missionaries and preachers of various religions, and they often supported themselves by taking offerings from the general public. Instead of soliciting funds from the general public they were to look to the support of fellow Christians.

V9-11:

7. How does John rebuke Diotrephes?

By name. In rebuking him by name, he didn’t act outside of love. He followed the command of Scriptures (Romans 16:17) and the example of other apostles (2 Timothy 4:14-15).

8. What was the problem Diotrephes had? What does it lead to?

Pride. It ultimately leads to destruction.

9. How does this compare with Gaius?

Gaius walked in truth and offered humble hospitality.

10. What point is John making with these two examples?

Follow the good, for we serve a good God and those who follow Him will likewise do good.

V12:

11. How is Demetrius also a good example?

John recommended this man to Gaius. Perhaps he was the one who carried the letter from John to Gaius, and John wanted Gaius to know that Demetrius was worthy of Christian hospitality. Demetrius was so faithful to the truth that even the truth was a witness on his behalf.

V13-14:

12. How does John finish? What does John remind Gaius about?

In addition to a familiar blessing of peace upon Gaius, John also reminded him (and us) of the common ties of Christians – even if they are separated by miles, they are still friends in Jesus, and appropriately they should greet one another.

13. How can we ensure we follow good examples today?

Walk in truth, live out God’s commands faithfully. Show humble hospitality, follow those who do good.

Love the Truth – 1 John 4 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

V1-6:

1. What makes a true prophet? Is acknowledging that Jesus has come in the flesh the only test?

True prophecy and true teaching will present a true Jesus. Someone can confess that he has come in the flesh yet deny he is God.

2. Why do we not need to fear false prophets or the spirit of the antichrist?

God is greater than Satan and all of his allies. We have the indwelling spirit of God.

3. What’s the contrast between those in the world and those who are of God?

Those who are of the world are evident because they speak as of the world. The world hears them and they face none of the rejection that a Christian will face from the world, as they are friends with the world.

4. What do we need to be aware of when speaking or preaching the gospel to the world?

We must ensure they’re not hearing us because we speak as of the world. We must make sure we don’t say what they want to hear.

5. In John’s day, the issue was about if Jesus had truly come in a real body of flesh and blood. What are the issues today?

Accepting Jesus is God. Some groups deny that.

V7-12:

6. Why is it so important to love each other?

If love is of God, those who claim to know God must be able to love each other in the body of Christ.

7. The phrase “God is love” is used a lot. What does it actually mean?

Love describes the character and heart of God. He is so rich in love and compassion that it can be used to describe his very being. We are not saying everything about God. It’s an essential aspect of his character. It doesn’t eliminate his holiness, righteousness or justice. Everything God does expresses his love.

8. What’s the evidence of God living in us?

If we really walk in God’s love for us, it will be evident in our love for each other.

V13-21:

9. What’s the assurance that John gives?

We don’t have to merely hope we are saved. We can know and we can know now, this side of eternity. We can have boldness on the day of judgment.

10. What should our response be to God and his love?

We are called to take the love and grace God gives, to know it by experience and to believe it.

11. What’s the ultimate reason to love?

We love him because he first loved us. He loved us before the world was created.

12. How can we learn to love God more and how can we learn to love people more?

We can learn how to love God by loving people. Being born of God and abiding in him gives us the ability to love, but it is a choice of our will to draw upon that resource and give it out to others.

Children of God – 1 John 2:28-3:10 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

V28-29:

1. How can we have confidence when Jesus returns?

Abiding in Jesus means that we don’t need to be afraid or ashamed when Jesus returns. This is because we have intimately known him, and can therefore have confidence at his coming. John used “we” instead of “you”; he needed this confidence also.

2. Why is the idea of abiding or living in Jesus so important?

When you abide in him, you are ready for Jesus to come at any time. It gives us confidence as we know we wouldn’t change our lives dramatically if we somehow knew Jesus would come back next week. We’d already be abiding in him.

3. How do God’s children resemble God the Father?

We will practice righteousness in our lives because we are born of him. God is righteous, so those who are born of him also practice righteousness.

3:1-3:

4. How does John feel and how does he speak in v1?

Having just mentioned being born of him, John speaks in amazement about this manner of love that makes us children of God.

5. How is the greatness of God’s love shown in that we are called children of God?

There’s a sense that this is an unnecessary blessing that God gives in the course of salvation and a demonstration of his true and deep love for us. Someone might help or save someone, but not make them part of their family, but this is what God has done for us. It’s one sided – not a return for something earned.

6. How should we expect the world to treat us?

Because of our unique parentage from God, we are strangers to this world (or should be). We should expect the world to treat us as it treated him – rejection and hostility.

7. What can we expect in the future if we are children of God?

Our future destiny is clouded. We can’t even imagine what we will be like in glory. When Jesus is revealed to us, we shall be like him. We will still be ourselves, but our character and nature will be perfected into the image is Jesus’ perfection. None of us will be finished until we see Jesus.

V4-6:

8. How does John describe sin?

It’s a disregard for the law of God, which is inherently a disregard for the law maker, God himself.

9. How does John describe the mission of Jesus?

To take away our sins. Jesus had no sin to take away; therefore he could take away our sin, taking it upon himself.

10. How does John describe Christians? What does he mean when he says Christians no longer sin?

To abide in him means to not sin. John is talking about a continued lifestyle of sin, rather than occasional acts of sin. A true Christian can’t go on sinning without being concerned and without struggling to put it right.

V7-10:

11. Why should we not sin?

Our character reveals the family to which we belong. If we are made righteous by our faith in Jesus, it will be seen by our righteous lives.

12. How can we identify children of God and children of the devil?

Both love and righteousness are essential. We are to never love at the expense of righteousness and are never to be righteous at the expense of love.

13. What difference will it make to our lives (even this week) to remember that we are children of God?

We should want to live for him and resemble our heavenly father, so that others can see righteousness, only through faith in Jesus.

Old and New Love – 1 John 2:1-14 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

V1-6:

1. How does the opening sentence of v1 link to the end of chapter 1? Why is John addressing this?

John has made it clear that sin is a fact of Christian life and there is always forgiveness. Christians should also be concerned about sin. John addresses this because of the issue of relationship with God and how sin can break that.

2. What’s the encouragement in v1b-2?

We have an advocate – Jesus Christ himself. He is righteous – fully qualified to serve as our advocate.

3. Why does John add ‘not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world?’ [Why does this mean the whole world isn’t saved?]

Though Jesus made his propitiation for the whole world, the whole world isn’t saved. Atonement doesn’t equal forgiveness. The OT Day of Atonement demonstrates this (Leviticus 16:34), when the sin of all Israel was atoned for, yet not all of Israel was saved. God has taken care of the sin problem. Sin need not be a barrier between God and man, if man will receive the propitiation God has provided in Jesus.

4. What’s the evidence of someone knowing God?

They keep his commandments. Simple, loving obedience.

5. What’s the difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus?

We can know about lots of people and not know them. You can’t be saved by knowing about Jesus. The only saving knowledge is to know him and to trust him.

6. What does it mean for God’s love to be made complete in us?

A perfected love for God will show itself in obedience and the presence of this obedience and love gives us assurance that we are in Jesus.

7. How are we to live as Jesus did? What is John calling us to do?

We are called to imitate Jesus’ everyday walk with God the Father. The spiritual power evident in the life of Jesus flowed from a faithful, regular, disciplined life of fellowship and obedience.

V7-11:

8. How is the commandment to love one another both old and new?

It was old in the sense that it was preached to the brethren their whole Christian lives (Leviticus 19:18). It’s always been part of the Christian message. It’s new in the sense that it was called the new commandment by Jesus in John 13:34. Jesus displayed a kind of love never seen before.

9. How can our relationship with God be measured by our love for other Christians?

If we can’t love each other, we have no way to claim a real love for God. On one hand, God is merciful in requiring this because we’re not measured by how we love non-Christians, but it is difficult, as we expect more from our Christian friends.

10. What’s the danger in losing love?

If we lose love, we lose everything. You can do all the right things, believe the right truths but if you don’t love other Christians, all is lost.

11. How might we show hatred?

Avoidance, bitterness, conflict, gossip.

V12-14:

John addresses his readers according to their measure of spiritual maturity.

12. What does he say to little children, or young Christians?

Forgiveness is the special joy of God’s little children because God’s forgiveness does not come by degrees. Even the youngest Christian is completely forgiven.

In the first stage of spiritual growth, we sink our roots deep in the care and love of God. We know him as our caring Father, and see ourselves as his dependent children.

13. What does John say to fathers, or people who have been Christians for a very long time?

Spiritual maturity has its roots in knowing Jesus. The depths of fellowship and relationship we have with him. John repeats this as it should be emphasised. The relationship people have is true and deep.

14. What does John say to young men, or those who aren’t children and aren’t yet fathers?

They are engaged in battle with the wicked one. The repetition indicates emphasis. Not only have the young men overcome the wicked one, they have done it through the strength that comes to them through the word of God.

15. How is John linking to what he’s already said and encouraging his readers?

Although they’re sinners, they’re forgiven. When they know Jesus, they know God. They are on the side that’s already won.

16. How can our faith in Jesus make a difference to our everyday lives? How can we love each other in the way John has commanded?

Know God personally. Walk in the light, not in darkness.

Godly Suffering – 1 Peter 3:8-4:2 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

V8-9:

1. Peter turns his attention to addressing everyone. What does it mean to be of one mind, or like-minded?

Our common mind is to be Jesus’ mind. How? The word of God shows us the mind of Jesus. This also concerns unity.

2. What kind of love should be shown among God’s people?

Compassionate, brotherly, tenderhearted, polite. Jesus didn’t command us to like our brothers and sisters in Christ, but to love them.

3. What’s our natural response when someone wrongs us? How can we break this cycle of returning evil for evil?

To retaliate. Only the love of Jesus for our enemies can break the cycle. It’s easy to love those who love us. The real test of love is to demonstrate compassion to our enemies.

4. What’s the outcome?

By blessing those who have wronged us, we will inherit a blessing.

V10-12:

5. What does the quote from Psalm 34:12-16 show? How does it relate to what Peter is saying?

It demonstrates the blessing that comes to those who turn away from evil and do good.

6. Why is doing good often difficult?

As a general rule, evil is rewarded immediately and the reward of doing good is often delayed. The rewards of good are better and far more secure than the rewards of doing evil.

V13-17:

7. How is Peter encouraging his readers?

He knew that people often repaid good with a response of evil. There is a blessing for us when we suffer for righteousness’ sake. God will care for us, especially when we suffer unjustly.

8. What should we do instead of being afraid or frightened?

Give a special place to God in our hearts and always be ready to explain our faith with a right attitude.

9. What can stand in the way of revering Christ in our hearts (or giving a special place to God in our hearts)? How can we avoid this?

Our own selfish desires, the opinions of others, worldly wisdom, can all cause us to turn away from our allegiance to our one Lord. At the centre of life there is to be one Lord, Jesus Christ.

10. How can we be ready to give a defence?

Know the Bible. Rely on the Holy Spirit.

11. Why is it better to suffer for doing good?

Our good conduct will prove others wrong in their opinions about us and it will make them ashamed for speaking against our godly lives. None of us want to suffer, but if we must, may it be for doing good and not evil.

V18-22:

12. How is Jesus the perfect example of suffering for doing good?

He suffered for all of us who are the unjust and the purpose of it all was to bring us to God, to restore our broken and dead relationship with him.

Jesus was raised by the Holy Spirit. The Father raised Jesus (Romans 6:4) and Jesus raised himself (John 2:18-22). The resurrection was the work of the Triune God.

[It’s likely that the spirits in prison were demonic. The days of Noah were a time of gross sin for both demons and humans, when there was an ungodly mingling of humans and demons (Genesis 6:1-2). Jesus preached a message of judgment and final condemnation in light of his finished work on the cross; his triumph over evil.]

13. How is Noah an example of salvation in the midst of difficulty?

What saves us is the answer of a good conscience towards God, made good through the completed work of Jesus.

4:1-2:

14. What attitude should we have?

The commitment God calls us to have is nothing greater than the commitment Jesus had in enduring suffering for our salvation. We need to have a commitment to God that will endure through great struggles.

15. What’s the challenge in living for the will of God for the rest of our earthly lives?

We need to follow Jesus, otherwise we won’t be able to live for God. We should no longer live in sin. We should consider how to live the rest of our time.

Living Stones – 1 Peter 2:4-12 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

1 Peter 2:4-5:

1. What is God building (v4-5)?

A spiritual house using living stones (Christians) who have come to the ultimate living stone (Jesus).

2. Why are Christians a holy priesthood?

God chose Israel and the church is also chosen. As much as Israel had a priesthood, Christians are a holy priesthood.

3. What’s the purpose?

God does the work of building but we do the job of offering sacrifices pleasing to him, as we come to Jesus as who we are – living stones made by him.

1 Peter 2:6-8:

4. How does Peter back up what he says?

Provides scriptures for evidence.

5. Why is it significant that Jesus is the chief cornerstone?

The starting point of a building. Everything is laid out according to its connection to the chief cornerstone. Jesus sets out the course for both Jew and gentiles to be joined together into one glorious house for God.

6. What are the implications for Christians and those who aren’t?

Jesus is precious to those who believe. Those who reject him instead stumble over him. Jesus becomes to them a rock of offence.

1 Peter 2:9-10:

7. How does Exodus 19:5-6 link to this?

The things that once exclusively belonged to Israel now belong to every Christian. A new life principle (chosen generation), new access to God (royal priesthood), new government (holy nation), new owner (his own special people).

8. Why are we special? Do you think of yourself in these terms?

We’re special because we belong to God. God takes ordinary people and because he works in them, they are special.

9. How are we to respond to these privileges?

We are not to be proud, but we are to proclaim the praises of him who has done such great things for us.

1 Peter 2:11-12:

10. In light of what Peter has said, what does he call us to do?

Live godly lives among the pagans so that they might become Christians and glorify God.

The day of visitation is probably a reference to their ultimate meeting with God, either when they go to meet him, or when he comes to meet them.

Related Sermons:

Four Beasts – Daniel 7:15-28 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

V15-16:

1. Why was Daniel troubled?

He didn’t understand all that he saw.

2. What do we learn about the spirit and our bodies (1 Timothy 4:8)?

The spirit is more important than the body but the state of the body generally has an effect on the state of the spirit.

V17-18:

3. Looking at the summary of the vision, how is it similar to Nebuchadnezzar’s vision in Daniel 2?

It covers the same material (rise of four empires, which are succeeded by the kingdom of God).

4. How was Daniel’s vision different?

He saw the kingdoms from God’s perspective, not man’s. Nebuchadnezzar saw the present and future world empires in the form of a stately and noble statue of a man. Here God showed how He regarded them: as ferocious and wild animals who devour and conquer without conscience.

4a. In contrast, how is Jesus described in Revelation 5:5-10?

The Lion of the tribe of Judah. He primarily represents himself not as a ferocious animal but as a Lamb.

5. Who receives the kingdom and when?

The saints receive the kingdom. God gives them the kingdom at the return of Jesus. They do not gain dominion over all these earthly kingdoms before the return of Jesus.

V19-22:

6. Why was Daniel particularly interested in the fourth beast?

The fourth beast interested Daniel because of its great destructive power, because of the conspicuous horn, and because of its fight against God’s people.

V23-27:

7. What is the meaning of the fourth beast and its defeat?

Power is limited (three and a half years) – time and times and half a time. Phrase is used in Revelation 11:2-3, 12:6 and 13:5 to refer to half of the last seven year period of man’s rule on earth.

8. How are we to interpret the kingdom’s establishment in v26?

  • There is no fulfilment – Daniel is in error
  • The fulfilment is symbolic in church history
  • The fulfilment is literal and yet future

9. What is being described in v27?

The millennial earth, not our current earth or heaven.

10. What’s significant about the kingdom and dominion being given to the saints?

It’s something received, not achieved. The church doesn’t convert the world to Jesus’ kingdom and give the kingdom to Jesus; He gives it to them.

V28:

11. How does Daniel react to the vision?

Many things might trouble Daniel at this vision – such as the ferocity of the attack to come against his people from the conspicuous horn.

Daniel was convinced that the prophecy was true, and that it was the word of God. He was so convinced of its truth that his face changed and he considered what would happen.

12. What truths can we take from this passage to help us keep trusting in Jesus?

He will return and establish his kingdom for his people.

Lions – Daniel 6 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

1. Why was Daniel distinguished in v1-3?

He was one of three leaders directly under Darius and he shined above the other two leaders because he had an excellent spirit. A good attitude to work and life.

Verses 4-9:

2. Why could they find no fault? Does this imply Daniel was sinless?

Faithful. A man of integrity.

3. What’s the lie (v7)?

All the governors have consulted together. Daniel was one of the governors and wasn’t consulted.

4. What’s significant about the decree?

When a king signed a decree, it was binding that even the king himself couldn’t change it.

Verses 10-15:

5. How does Daniel respond? What do you notice about how he prays?

  • He didn’t let the decree change his actions. He continued his excellent prayer life.
  • Upper room – private prayer
  • Window open toward Jerusalem – remembering the place of sacrifice
  • Knelt down on his knees
  • Prayed three times a day
  • Gave thanks
  • Both communion and pleading for his will to be accomplished

6. Did Daniel intend to disrespect the king (v13)?

No – only a higher respect for God.

7. What is admirable about King Darius (v14)?

Instead of blaming others, he knew he was at fault.

Verses 16-18:

8. What faith does the king show?

It was born out of Daniel’s trust in the Lord.

9. How did Daniel’s night compare with Darius’?

He was better rested. He prayed as it was his habit.

Verses 19-23:

10. Daniel says he hasn’t done any wrong before the king. How does this fit?

He did break the king’s law, but didn’t go against the king or the king’s best interests.

11. Why was Daniel protected?

His faith preserved him.

12. What do you make of the fate of those who plotted against Daniel (v24)?

The king wasn’t happy – no one had to ask him to do this.

13. What does the outcome prove?

It was angelic protection – there was no natural reason why the lions didn’t eat Daniel.

Verses 25-28:

14. How do these verses fit with the pattern that we’ve seen in Daniel so far?

God makes the ungodly see and tell of the greatness of God.

15. What’s Darius’ spiritual condition?

He says ‘God of Daniel’, not ‘God of Darius’.

16. How are we pointed to Jesus?

Angelic protection. Dependence on prayer.

Disturbing Dreams – Daniel 2:1-30 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

Recap Daniel 1. Importance of training, standing up for what you believe in, being courageous. Nebuchadnezzar crushed Jerusalem.

Read Daniel 2:1-30.

Any initial reactions, thoughts? Anything surprising?

Hashtag challenge: summarise the passage in 140 characters and come up with a hashtag. Prize for the winning group.

[“In the second year” – some people think this happened while Daniel was in his three-year training course; others think it was soon after he finished.]

[From Daniel 2:4-7:28, the biblical text is in Aramaic, not Hebrew. This is the only section of the Bible written in Aramaic, the language of the Babylonian Empire.]

Groups: v1-9

1. Why does Nebuchadnezzar demand to know both the content of the dream and its interpretation from his wise men?

He couldn’t know for certain if the interpretation was correct, but he could test their ability to tell what he dreamed.

2. Was Nebuchadnezzar being unreasonable?

These men (magicians, astrologers, sorcerers) made their living on their supposed ability to contact the gods and gain secrets. If they’re really what they claimed to be, this shouldn’t be a problem.

3. Why does he make such a harsh threat?

The threat and method of execution are consistent with the character of ancient eastern monarchs.

Feedback.

Groups: v10-13

4. What do the wise men admit to?

True revelation comes from God down to man. They understood that revelation was not the achievement of man. They had no answer, because only God could bring an answer.

5. How does the king respond?

He erupts. He had no use for wise men that couldn’t bring him wisdom from God.

6. How are we left on a cliffhanger at the end of v13?

The four men we’ve come to respect and like are among those to be killed.

Feedback.

Groups: v14-18

7. How does Daniel react and what does this show about his character and his understanding of God?

He’s calm in a crisis. He knows it takes time to listen to God and wait upon him. He was in the type of situation where only God could meet his need. Therefore he knew how important it was for both him and his friends to pray. He had confidence that God could do an unprecedented miracle.

Feedback.

One group: v19-23

8. Verse 19 is key. Why is it significant that the mystery was revealed to him, as opposed to him finding it out?

God revealed it. Christianity begins with the principle of revelation. God has revealed himself to us. Our job isn’t to figure things out about God, but to understand what he has revealed to us.

[Night vision – could’ve been a dream, or a supernatural vision that happened at night.]

9. What does Daniel praise God for (v20-23)?

His power and might, his communication to man, he gave him the answer.

Groups: v24-30

10. How does Daniel behave in his exchange with the king? Why do we find it hard to speak the truth of what we believe to people in authority?

He is humble and willing to speak truth to power. He doesn’t bring honour to himself, but to God.

Feedback.

11. How have we seen the contrast between Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel?

The king was troubled but is introduced to a man of understanding.

Groups:

12. How can we follow Daniel’s example in order to help make God’s word known wherever we are and when we speak to people in power? [Pray through what we’ve talked about when finished.]

We are to speak up, without fear, wherever God has placed us.

King of Glory – Mark 9:1-29 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

1. How does Mark describe the transfiguration?

Through the eyes of Peter (probably). Jesus’ appearance shone forth in glorious, bright light.

2. The transfiguration wasn’t a new miracle. What was the real miracle that was going on here?

Jesus could keep from displaying his glory.

3. How does what Jesus says at the end of Mark 8 explain why he did this?

He just told his disciples that he was going the way of the cross and that spiritually they should follow him in the way of the cross. As Jesus displayed his glory, they knew that Jesus knew what he was doing. Jesus showed that cross bearers would be glory receivers.

4. What do Elijah and Moses represent?

They both represent those who are caught up to God. Moses represents those who die and go to glory and Elijah represents those who are caught up to heaven without death (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). They also represent the law and the prophets.

Future fulfilment of prophecy – they’re likely connected to the witnesses of Revelation 11:3-13.

5. What confidence does this give the disciples?

They saw evidence of life beyond this life. It gave them confidence in Jesus’ claim to resurrection. It seems the disciples just knew that this was Elijah and Moses. It implies we will know each other when we get to heaven.

6. Why is Peter’s offer a bit foolish (v5-10)?

We often get into trouble when we speak like Peter did, not knowing what to say. We say many foolish things without thinking and out of fear. He put Jesus on an equal level with Elijah and Moses – one tabernacle for each.

7. Where has the cloud of God’s glory appeared before?

It was the pillar of cloud that stood by Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21-22)

The cloud of glory that God spoke to Israel from (Exodus 16)

It was from this could of glory that God met with Moses and others (Exodus 19:9, 24:15-18, Numbers 11:25)

It stood by the door of the tabernacle (Exodus 33:9-10)

It was from this cloud that God appeared to the High Priest in the Holy Place inside the veil (Leviticus 16:2)

God appeared to Solomon (1 Kings 8:10-11); the cloud of Ezekiel’s vision (Ezekiel 10:4); it overshadowed Mary when she conceived Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35); it received Jesus into heaven at his ascension (Acts 1:9); it will display the glory of Jesus when he returns (Luke 21:27).

8. What does the voice from the cloud of glory confirm?

Jesus wasn’t on the same level as Elijah and Moses. It assured the disciples that the plan was fine with God the Father.

9. Why did the disciples ask about Elijah (Malachi 4:5-6)?

The coming of Elijah was clearly prophesied so they wondered if Jesus is the Messiah, where is Elijah?

10. What was the prophecy of Elijah’s coming connected to?

Jesus told them that the Elijah prophecy would he fulfilled. It was concerned with Jesus’ second coming, not his first, and Elijah would likely return in connection with one of the two witnesses as Revelation 11:2-13.

There was a sense in which Elijah has also come in the person of John the Baptist. He was not a reincarnation of Elijah but did minister in the role and spirit of Elijah.

11. What were the scribes disputing with the disciples?

It’s reasonable to assume that the scribes criticised the disciples for their inability to help the demon-possessed boy. This particular case of demon possession was too much for the disciples.

12. Who might Jesus be referring to when he describes a faithless generation?

The scribes, the desperate father, or the disciples.

13. How is the father of the boy challenged by Jesus?

Jesus urges him to have faith. He did believe in Jesus’ power to deliver his boy – why else would he have gone to Jesus? But he also recognised his doubts. His unbelief wasn’t a rebellion or rejection of God’s promise.

14. Why were the disciples unsuccessful (v28-29)?

A lack of prayer and fasting.

15. What’s the purpose of prayer and fasting?

They draw us closer to the heart of God and they put us more in line with his power. They are an expression of our total dependence on him.

16. What do we learn about Jesus from these events?

He’s the king of glory and king of power. Have faith and depend on him.