The Syrophoenician Woman – 8 Points for Bible Study

Bible Study February 13, 2016  – Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30

1. The woman’s name is not known. Her identity by Matthew says she is a Canaanite.  As there was no country of Canaan at that time, the term may be a Semitic identification of reference by the Jews to the Phoenicians. Mark identifies her as “….a Greek born in Syrian Phoenicia…” (Mark 7:26).

2. Her story is a lesson in faith and love as she came to Jesus and begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter (Mark 7:26).

3. It is evident, that from the answer Jesus gave her; “First let the children eat all they want” (Mark 7:27) all involved understood the tension between the Jews and the Greeks.

4. Love – Jesus said the greatest commandment is: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the Greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).  Jesus also said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 list a number of admirable attributes such as, speaking in tongues, the gift of prophecy, faith to move mountains, giving to the poor, suffering martyrdom and being burned at the stake, but concludes that these great accomplishments are nothing without love. The Apostle John says “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8). However, Reverend Al Green reminds us that love is “Something that can make you do wrong, make you do right, love.” It is a mother’s love in this case, that makes the women risk prejudicial condemnation, to go to a person from a group that despised her people, and seek healing for her daughter. I’m sure this didn’t sit will with the Jews or her people, the Greeks of Syrophoenicia. Love however, conquered all.

5. In her initial call for help, she recognized him as being a direct desendent of King David. “A Canaanite woman from the vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly  from demon-possession.” (Matthew 15:22)

6. Jesus ignored her plea, but she was persistent. “Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” (Matthew 15:23)

7. There seems to be no real answer at why Jesus ignored the woman and spoke to her as he did in Matthew 15:24-26. Was he being witty to let her know he didn’t despise her like other Jews? Was he teaching his disciples a lesson regarding the scope of their ministry in the future? Did Jesus in his humanness have to come to grips with the true mission of his Father, God? Was he testing the woman’s level of faith? Or, was he using the woman as an example of what level faith in the healing power of God produced a response? No one knows the answers, but we know the woman had faith.

8. Faith – Many times the drive of the inward assurance of success outweighs the skill level. This is not to say that the woman didn’t have sufficient language skills to make her point to Jesus. In order to make the attempt, as She “begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter” (Mark 7:26), she had to have great faith that she would succeed. How many know how to solve their problems of life, but don’t have faith to not only take the first step in the right direction, but approach the task with the tenacity of guaranteed success. The Greek word parakaleo indicates an urgent call. Urgent enough that despite what may appear as rudeness from Jesus put him in a witty, seemingly challenging conversation which resulted in her showing him she had faith that be could and would heal her daughter. For, “Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour” (Matthew 15:28).

Study Guide:                                                                                                                                                    Syswerda, Jean E, Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Zondervan, 1999

 

 

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God is Real

God is Real. In our attempts to understand God, define God, make our worship of God meaningful to us, make God relevant to our individual problems and prove God’s existence, we lose the true meaning of his infinite goodness and control. He is and we will never fully understand. We live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV)

Something To Think About —Trials and Temptations

By Thelma Bruce

Integrity– honesty, uprightness, morality. Biblically living according to God’s standards.

  1. What is a “temptation”?
    A. Things that cause people to sin. Matt. 18:7-9 – Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come. If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, that to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
  2. Where do temptations come from?
    A. The devil – Matt. 4:1 – Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
    B.Evil desires. – James 1:14 – but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.
    C.Lack of self-control. – I Cor. 7:5 – Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
    D.God doesn’t tempt us to sin. – James 1:13-14- When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.
  3. How should we deal with temptations?
    A. Pray. – Matt. 26:41 – “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
    B. Lean and depend on God – (DBR)** I Cor. 10:13 – No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
    C. Live in the Spirit. – Gal. 5:16 – So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
    D. Be self-controlled and resist the devil. – I Peter 5:8-9-Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are going through the same kind of sufferings.
    E. Avoid tempting situations.- Gen. 39:10- And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or to be with her.
    F. Run. – Gen. 39:12 – She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
    G. Flee evil desires. – II Tim. 2:22 – Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
  4. What is a “trial”?
    A. Testing of your faith.- James 1:2-3- Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds , because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
  5. Where do trials come from?
    A. God. – James 1:12 – Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
  6. How should we respond to trials?
    A. Consider it joy.- James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kids, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you be mature and complete not lacking anything.
    B. Remember God is in control.- Romans 8:28- And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
    C. Depend on God who rescues – II Peter 2:9 – If this is so then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment while continuing their punishment.
    D. Know that God is always with us.- Gen 39:21- the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.

**DBR – Daily Reading Bible

From Homewords:
We, at Homewords, are delighted to share Ms. Bruce’s Handout from the Sunday School lesson on 1/1/2012 entitled, “A Life of Integrity” Genesis 39:7-21a. It is our hope that you will read and share this life-changing handout.

Last Published May 26, 2013

Faith in God’s Promises – 2 Chronicles 20:20

Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me , Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith  in the prophets and you will be successful.”

God’s promises never fail. Have faith in whatever God has sent you to do. It may be a battle, but God will uphold you.

 

Faith – Matthew 17:19-20

Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith, I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing is impossible  for you.

In God’s hands, nothing is impossible, no matter how difficult it seems.

 

God is…

These are my reflections from the teachings of a sermon series called God is…

Who is God to me and more importantly how can I grow to know him more fully in order to establish and foster a relationship with him.  During our study we looked at scripture to first glean why it is important to God that we know him.

Jeremiah 9:24(NIV) …but let him who boasts boast about this: that he who understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight, declares the Lord.

We can learn who God is by his own words and how he describes himself. In the earlier verse (v.23) he chides us about our own placement of importance on such things as wisdom, strength and riches. We have a tendency to boast about these things and place them high on the list of how we feel about ourselves and our accomplishments. We decide that being smart and having the money to purchase and use the latest smart phone is important. These things have no value to God; they are not important to him. What is important, God declares, is our knowledge and understanding of him, that we know that he is the Lord. He teaches us in his word that our knowing his attributes, what he does for us, his purpose, his love for us – in all of these he delights.

Another scripture we studied in the God is… series was Isaiah 6:1-3 where Isaiah looked upon the Lord and described him seated on a throne with a robe that filled the whole temple. Seraphs or angels called to one another:

Isaiah 6:3 (NIV) Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, the whole earth is full of his glory.

We learned that triple repetition of the word holy denotes God’s infinite Holiness; a way to exclaim before there were exclamation marks. Holy is defined in Webster’s dictionay as revered, set apart, awed. The majesty, splendor and grandeur of God is described by Isaiah who is so awed and inspired that he answers God’s question to be the one God sends to deliver his message. Will we be so inspired and not run away from the tasks, the challenges that God puts before us? Will we listen and obey; will we run to him and welcome the relationship offered to us. God’s invitation is clear.

We can learn who God is by exploring how God describes himself. This time we looked at scripture where The Lord asks:

                 Isaiah 40:25 (NIV) “To whom will you compare me?”… and in V.28 Isaiah responds “The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth.”                 

There is none to compare to him. He can name every star by name; he most assuredly knows who we are and wants us to know who he is. He wants us to understand who he is and to develop a relationship with him.  We are to be in awe of his power and his majesty but we also are to be aware of his love, his kindness and his righteousness provided for us the faithful, obedient people he created. God you truly are Awesome, awesome, awesome to me. You are wonderful and to be praised.