Thursday, December 3, 2015

2015 TBC Men's Bible Study - The Gospel of Mark: A Serving Savior / Lesson 10 - “Warning About the Pharisees” - Mark 8:1-26

Lesson 10   - “Warning About the Pharisees”  -  Mark 8:1-26
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)

The WORD: What does the Bible say?
Context:  Read Mark 7:35-8:30 to help understand the context of this passage.  Read Mark 8:1-26 in a more literal or more dynamic translation than you usually use. 

1.     ID: (8:1-3)  What response did Jesus have to the condition of the multitudes?  What were his concerns? 

2.     ID/CR: (8:4-9)  What are some similarities and differences between this feeding of 4,000 and the previous feeding of 5,000 in Mark 6:33-44?

3.     CR: (8:10-12)  How many of Jesus’ miracles has Mark recorded so far?  Why did the Pharisees seek a sign?   (Compare with Matthew 16:1-4)  What was Jesus’ response?

4.     WS: (8:15)  What was Jesus saying about the Pharisees and Herod when he referred to leaven (zymē)?  (After you have examined Mark, refer to the parallel passage in Matthew 16:11-12 and a similar interaction in Luke 12:1-3)  What did the disciples think he was talking about? 

5.     ID: (8:13-21)  Do Jeremiah 5:20-24 and Ezekiel 12:1-2 relate to the disciples’ response?  Why did the disciples fail to understand? 

6.     ID: (8:22-26)  What unusual things happened when Jesus healed the blind man?

The WALK: What should I do?
1.     What are some times the Lord has worked in your life that you can look back on and remember His faithfulness / deliverance?
2.     What tends to be our response to people (esp. when they oppose us or what we think or believe)?  What pattern did Jesus set for us in this passage (esp. verses 2, 11, 17-21)
3.     Is there leaven in American Christianity?  Are there any areas of “leaven” in your life? 
4.     What causes us to harden our hearts, have blurry spiritual vision, and become spiritually hard of hearing?  How do you keep your heart soft and tender toward the Lord?
5.  Where in this passage do we see Gospel truths about God, Man, Christ, and our response?

Going Beyond:  1. Study the symbolism of leaven in the Bible.
2. What areas of theology are touched on in this passage?
   The Bible     God    God the Father    Jesus Christ      The Holy Spirit      Man     Salvation     The Church     Angels & Satan     Future Things –

Leaven: A lump of old dough in high fermentation. As making it and leavening bread with it took time, unleavened bread was used in sudden emergencies (Genesis 18:6; Genesis 19:3). It was forbidden in all offerings to the Lord by fire (Leviticus 2:11; Leviticus 7:12). The Israelites on pain of death were to have none in their houses or in the land during Passover for seven days, from 14th Nisan (Exodus 12:15; Exodus 12:19; Exodus 12:39; Exodus 13:7; Exodus 23:18; Deuteronomy 16:3-4). Salt was its opposite, and was never to be absent from the altar burnt offering, representing the incorruptible imperishableness of Jehovah's covenant. Honey as liable to ferment also was excluded from the altar burnt offerings. Leaven reminded Israel of the haste with which they fled from Egypt, and of their sufferings, which answer to the insipidity of unleavened bread, "the bread of affliction."
Its prominent symbolical meaning was, it is bred of corruption and corrupts the mass with which it is mixed. Hence it represents "malice" (the evil habit) and "wickedness" (evil coming out in word and deed) as opposed to "sincerity" and "truth" (1 Corinthians 5:7). The Jews searched with extreme care their houses, to purge out every particle of leaven. So Christians ought to search their hearts and purge out every corruption (Psalm 139:23-24). It also symbolizes corrupt doctrine (Matthew 16:6). Another quality is its secretly penetrating and diffusive influence: 1 Corinthians 5:6, "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump," the influence of one sinner corrupts many (Ecclesiastes 9:18); but in Galatians 5:9 a little legalism mixed with the gospel corrupts its purity. Though elsewhere used in a bad sense, leaven in Matthew 13:33 represents the gospel principle working silently "without observation" from within, until the whole is leavened, just as the mustard tree represents its diffusion externally; so "flesh," though usually in a bad sense, in Ezekiel 11:19 is in a good sense.
The decomposition of social elements, accompanying and providentially preparing the way for the gospel, makes the image appropriate. Leaven was allowed to be offered in the firstfruits and tithes (Deuteronomy 26:2; Deuteronomy 26:12; 2 Chronicles 31:5), the Pentecostal loaves (Leviticus 23:15; Leviticus 23:17), and the peace offering (Leviticus 7:13). See Leviticus 2:11 "as an oblation of firstfruits ye shall offer them (leaven and honey) unto the Lord, but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savour." In Amos 4:5 the leavened bread was "with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of the peace offerings," not with burnt offerings of animals on the altar. Perhaps however the command is ironical, "offer by burning (margin) a sacrifice ... with leaven" (which was forbidden), your very offerings being open insults to God.
Fausset, Andrew Robert M.A., D.D., "Definition for 'Leaven' Fausset's Bible Dictionary".

You may also want to refer to:
leaven” entry in the Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Edited by Walter A. Elwell
Leaven” entry in the International Standard Bible Encylopedia ©1915

Teacher notes for Lesson 10 - Mark 8:1-26
3. By my count there have been about twenty descriptions of miracles (Some are references to many healed.) in Mark so far (including God speaking from heaven).  It is remarkable that Jesus was still being asked for a sign.
4. I have included comments by Warren Wiersbe below.
6. The commentators are rife with speculation about meaning and reasons for this unusual healing.  It might be enough to just note some of its unusual aspects.

1. It is easy to criticize how quickly the disciples forgot about the feeding of the 5,000.  It fact some skeptics think this is a retelling of the first feeding because it is inconceivable that the disciples could have forgotten Jesus was able to feed thousands so quickly.  Let’s take some time to remember what the Lord has done in our lives.
4. I think it is a challenge for us to admit or recognize that we have our moments of spiritual dullness and lack of spiritual perception.  If your men feel free to talk about it, this could be a good discussion about seeing the signs and precautions that the men find helpful.

Articles about the metaphorical uses of “leaven” in the Bible have been included in this lesson.  This is a reoccurring term in the Bible, and one that it will be helpful for the men to know about.
 Dr. Warren Wiersbe’s comments on leaven…
“In the Bible, leaven is consistently a symbol of evil. Each Passover season, the Jews had to remove all leaven from their dwellings (Ex. 12:18–20), and leaven was not allowed with the offerings (Ex. 23:18; 34:25; Lev. 2:11; 6:17). Evil, like leaven, is small and hidden, but it spreads and soon infects the whole (Gal. 5:9).

The Bible uses leaven as a picture of false doctrine (Gal. 5:1–9), unjudged sin in the church (1 Cor. 5), and hypocrisy (Luke 12:1). In this context, Jesus warned them about the teaching (false doctrine) of the Pharisees and the followers of Herod. The Pharisees “said but they did not”; in other words, they practiced and encouraged hypocrisy (note Mark 7:6). The Herodians were a worldly group who catered to Herod, accepted the Roman way of life, and saw in Herod and his rule the promised kingdom for the Jewish nation. If this false teaching got into the hearts and minds of the disciples, it would infect them and pollute the truth Jesus had given them to proclaim about Himself and His kingdom.

We can never be too careful about detecting and avoiding false doctrine. Only a small deviation from the Word may get into an individual or a church, but before long it will grow and infect everything. Our Lord did not often say “Beware!” but when He did it was important!”[1]

[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 137–138.

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