Step One: For this character-sketch Bible study I will be studying: Joseph
Step Two: Identify and list all the Bible passages on the person. You may find it helpful to use a Bible dictionary, Bible handbook, or a study Bible. Remember that some Old Testament characters are mentioned in the New Testament.
Step Three: Read through each passage, making general observations based on first impressions. List (in complete sentences) at least 10 general observations from the Bible passages on your character.
Joseph had a better advantage and outlook than his brother growing up. Joseph was favored by his father, Jacob causing tension and resentment between him and his siblings. When Joseph approached his brothers, they planned his death and would blame his death on a vicious animal. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in return for twenty pieces of silver. Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt, leading him to being in the hands of an egyptian official named Potiphar. When the wife of Potiphar grew an romantic interest in Joseph, he refused while other men in that situation could find the temptation. “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” he protested After repeated rejection, the wife of Potiphar made false accusations against Joseph resulting in him being sent into the royal dungeon. Joseph never lost faith in god and interpreted the pharaoh’s butlers dreams which lead to being true.. Joseph made it through each obstacle by trusting and following the power of god. When Joseph assisted the pharaoh, it lead to his freedom, wealth and new egyptian name.
Step Four: Ask the key questions and observe other structural or grammatical elements. Joseph was one of the elder sons of Jacob and Rachel. Rachel died giving birth to Joseph’s younger brother Benjamin. He was the eleventh out of twelve brothers but he was favored most by his father. This favoritism between Joseph and his father grew tensions and resentment between his other siblings. After being gifted an expensive colorful robe and having dreams of power and ruling over his family, ultimately ended in his despise. Resulting in his envious brothers act to sell Joseph into slavery in Egypt. There are many observations leading to the question “what” when studying Joseph.
What made Joseph’s brothers hit their breaking point, that they made the ultimate decision to sell him to slave in Genesis 37 and deceive their father. The favoritism Jacob shared towards his son and interpreting his dreams of ruling power of his family is what ultimately led his brothers to the deceiving decision to sell him into slavery.
What special gift did Joseph have that helped him achieve his freedom? While being locked in the royal dungeon, Joseph interpreted the dreams of two royal officials who had disrespected and offended the pharaoh. The accurate dream interruptions helped him when the pharaoh had his own troublesome dreams.
What is the significance of the treatment towards Joseph’s brothers when the travel to Egypt to buy grain. Joseph felt many emotions towards his brothers when they have arrived, but when facing them he would be quiet hostile. Maybe as an act of vengeance for the way they previously treated him, he even would hold a brother hostage to see his younger full blooded brother.
Observations related to “Where?”
There are a few observations related to the question “where” and Joseph. Where did Joseph and his family begin? Joseph and his family begun their lives living in Canaan , eventually moving with his family around the age of six. “The family eventually left Bethel and migrated south toward Bethlehem
Where did his brothers take the families animals and pushed them to the crisis Joseph encounters next?”His ten brothers took the family flocks north to graze them near Shechem.” After Joseph checked on them, that is when his brothers sold him into slavery. Where his adventure from caravan of Ishmaelites, then leading to his whereabouts in Egypt.
Observations related to “When?”
When did the amazing story of Joseph occur. It is believed that the story of Joseph took place among the years before christ of 1600 – 1700. In Genesis 37-50, his significance is brought to light.
Observations related to “Why?”
When Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers, why was he so forgiving? Once Joseph has learned that his father was alive, and forgiven his brothers for their deceitful actions, he aided to them for the famine that was to come to egypt. “ And now, do not be distressed … for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you … to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance”
Step Five: Construct a timeline that details the life of your Bible personality. Joseph and his family leave Bethel. Joseph is sold into slavery and separated from his family. Joseph was sold to Potiphar and taken to Potiphar house. Joseph was falsely accused and sent to the royal dungeon. Joseph interpreted the dreams which ultimately led him to assisting the pharaoh of his worrisome dream. Joseph was released from prison and became the prime minister of Egypt. Joseph reunited with his brothers that deceived him and his father without telling his true identity even holding one hostage as they fulfilled his demands. Joseph reveals himself and tells his brothers to bring his father and have them move to egypt. Joseph is reunited with his family. Joseph becomes the ruler of Egypt.
Step Six: Determine what Biblical wisdom can be gained from this character. Carefully look through your general observations based on your first impressions, your deeper study, and your timeline. What biblical wisdom can you gather about your character? Write out five elements of Biblical wisdom that can be understood from your character. Provide a concise explanation of each of these elements.
A. Knowledge of the Scriptures
Joseph knowledge of the Scriptures and being raised differently under the hand of Jacob are some key biblical wisdom that can be gained. For example, throughout Joseph’s life and obstacles, he never shared any anger, judgement against the lord. He remained humble and never lost faith in God, which he trusted completely of the things that happen to him and life. Even when revealing himself to his brothers that he was well and alive, he even expressed forgiveness towards them for the act of deceitfulness.
Joseph showed his boldness on a few occasions throughout Genesis. One of them being when Joseph was in slavery, the Potiphar’s wife gained interest in him. She would continuously throw her advances upon Joseph which he continuously and respectfully denied. This is an act of boldness because it was believed that other men would in the predicament as Joseph would sin and act upon the adultery.
In Genesis 41-46, Joseph practiced patience and wisdom. He shared his wisdom with two people who have offended the Pharaoh, who even forgot about Joseph after being released. When the pharaoh had troublesome dreams, he called for Joseph to intercept it which led him to his freedom and future success.
Step Seven: Ask, “How does this character’s life reflect other truths found in the Scriptures?” List and explain 3 truths from this person’s life that fit within the entire Bible. Your explanation must note how these truths fit the framework of God’s Word.
A. Followers of god must have patience.
Throughout the whole story of Joseph, you will see that he not once will express any distress. He did not use the lord’s name in vain, question the lord and never insulted the lord. He had patience and trusted gods plan, with that trust and commitment to god it lead Joseph to have a very well successful life.
B. Followers of God can expect persecution and trials
God will put obstacles and stops as trials to see which of his followers will overcome without loosing faith or committing any act of sin. Joseph dealt with many trials beginning from a early age, starting with the death of his mother then later on being sold into slavery by his own siblings. Despite the position he was in, he worked hard and achieved high status ranks quickly.
C. Followers of God should be people of forgiveness
Although Joseph may have been a bit hostile when he first seen his brothers possibly from the overwhelming emotions, he warned his family about the famine that was to come and demanded that they join him in Egypt. When he confronted his brothers, he did not blame them nor hold onto hate towards them but demanded that they tell their father the complete truth.
Step Eight: Ask, “How does this character’s life point me to Jesus?” List and explain 3 ways the life of your character can point to the person and work of Jesus Christ.
“Come close to me,” he said. “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed … for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you … to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance”
Joseph trust in God and his judgement is what can point a person to the work of Jesus Christ. After everything Joseph encountered in life, he never lost faith and seen that everything that did happen was leading for better and helping those around him.Joseph is helping the Pharaoh with the interpretation of his dreams but he cannot answer for god. God answer those prayers and plead for help in many of ways but if you fail to misinterpret it, you could miss it.
C. “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” he protested
Joseph was in a situation where someone is trying to commit the act of adultery and he finds himself questioning how could he possibly sin against god. In certain situations in life you find yourself questioning right or wrong and this thought could come across the minds of people.
Step Nine: What points of application can be made using the Four Common Questions? List and explain 1 point of application for each of the Four Common Questions.
A. The question of duty
When Joseph was sold as a slave to the Potiphar, his duty as a slave was to obey his master. With this duty, he worked his way up to the highest standard of being a slave before being falsely accused and sent to prison.
B. The question of character
When Joseph encountered the Potiphar’s wife and the way he handled they situation by respectfully rejecting her over and over shows a great example of character. As well as when Joseph reunited with his family, his express for emotion and willingness to help his family also show good character traits. It shows loyalty to god and not acting in sin as well as the love he expressed for his father.
C. The question of cause
Joseph’s cause was to be the ruler of Egypt which he overall did achieve. He served the purpose of helping others follow a sinless life. “God had reversed the brothers’ hostility into blessing. He had overruled their wickedness and made Joseph ruler of Egypt.” (Hindson, p. 59)
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