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Friday, 14 Aug 2020

Summer Reading Study - The Life of Joseph

Focus Questions



Chapter 50

  1. How did Joe express love and honor for his dad after his death?
  2. How did Joe's employer respond to him after Joe's father's death?
  3. What did Joe’s brothers do to help their chances for good treatment, since Jacob, who was the buffer between them and Joe, was dead?
  4. Joe really has the power to stick it to his brothers who wronged him, after their father’s death. How does Joe handle this moment of truth with his brothers? Explain.

Chapter 48

  1. What did Joe do when he got word his father was not doing well?
  2. What did Jacob share with Joe first and what should we always be ready to share?
  3. What was Jacob's word to Joe, about his sons?
  4. What happened when Jacob blessed Joe's sons? Did old, feeble Jacob make a mistake? Did something like this happen in Jacob's past?
  5. How did Jacob bless Joe in verses 21-22?

Chapter 47

  1. Did Joe follow protocol (look up protocol in the dictionary) in dealing with Pharaoh, his boss? What did this approach gain him? Should this be our approach on our jobs?
  2. We know Jacob honored God. He was a tither and a worshiper throughout his life. However, in verse 7, he blessed Pharaoh twice, a foreign leader. Explain, why. Can believers bless others who may not be in our church or of our faith?
  3. Joe had the very difficult job of helping the nation of Egypt manage through a difficult and debilitating famine. What things were required of the people as they came to get more food, when their money had run out? What was the people's opinion of Joe now?
  4. We in our day might naturally interpret this story in light of slavery in America and think poorly of Joe for requiring such a heavy price on the people; but this system of slavery was different. I invite those who would like to research this subject to read the following article:
  5. How did Joe agree to honor his father after his father’s death? How had he already shown honor to his father? How can you honor your parents in life or after they are gone?

Chapter 46

  1. On top of Jacob's realization that Joe was alive, what else happened to Jacob? What did Jacob do that setup the moment? Is what happened important? Do we also need moments like this for us?
  2. Who went with Jacob to Egypt? How do you think Jacob felt about this journey to Egypt, being near death?
  3. How many in total of Jacob's family went to Egypt?
  4. How did Joe manage with Pharaoh the prospect of his family coming to Egypt? Did he take it upon himself to make arrangements for them, since he had great powers in Egypt?
  5. Was racism a part of the Egyptian culture? Explain.

Chapter 45

  1. Do you think Joe's heart was pure in what he put his brothers through? Do you think he completely followed the Lord in doing what he did to his brothers?
  2. What led to Joe's emotional break? What did his break lead him to do?
  3. Was this emotional, confessional moment only for the freedom of Joe's brothers or for him also? Explain.
  4. How many times did Joe mention God, in telling his story to his brothers? How important was God to his outcome? How important was it that Joe acknowledged that God was in control of what happened to him?
  5. How did Pharaoh feel about Joe? Was he the first boss to be pleased with Joe? Did Joe become a brown-noser to please his boss, Pharaoh?
  6. After Joe hugged his brothers in verses 14-15, the brothers talked with him. What do you think they talked about?
  7. What did the news about Joe do to Jacob? What word was used to explain the impact on him? Did Jacob experience salvation? Can salvation happen more than once, when we open our heart to God?

Chapter 44

  1. How did Joe's brothers respond to being accused of stealing when they were headed back to Canaan again?
  2. What would you say was Joe's intention for this entire drama?
  3. Did Joe's brothers really get away with removing Joe from the picture when they sold him to the Ishmaelites in chapter 37? Explain.

Chapter 43

  1. Why did Jacob not want the grain his sons got from Egypt to run out?
  2. ​Can our running out of something have purpose? What should we do when that thing runs out?
  3. What was redeeming about one of the sons’ response to Jacob's fatherly concern for Ben?
  4. Jacob changed his mind about allowing his youngest son, Ben, to go with his other sons back to Egypt. What did Jacob put his faith in and how did he display his faith?
  5. What was the level of faith displayed by Jacob's sons as they were invited to Joe's house for a meal?
  6. How did Joe and how did his brothers handle the events that occurred during the meal?

Chapter 42

  1. When famine had come to Canaan, Jacob had to take charge of coming up with a solution for his family. Jacob got the intel that there was grain in Egypt, but the brothers were stuck. What does this say about Jacob's grown sons, Joe's brothers?
  2. Why wasn't Jacob willing to send his youngest son, Ben, to Egypt?
  3. Why did Joe treat his brothers, whom he did recognize, as he did? Give at least two possibilities.
  4. We know from the reading, the brothers were feeling convicted about what they did to Joe, although they did not recognize him. Have the brothers grown since they had gotten rid of Joe? Give evidence.
  5. What was wrong with the brothers’ assessment of themselves, when they told Jacob what happened? Who was being hurt by the overall response of Joe's brothers? What could they have done to flip the script?
  6. Talk about Reuben in contrast to his brothers.

Chapter 41

  1. Considering the disheartening ending of chapter 40 for Joe, and the opportunity presented for Joe in chapter 41, did God fail him by letting him stay longer in prison? Could the cupbearer forgetting Joe, as well as the cupbearer remembering Joe at a later time, have been in God's master plan for Joe?  How have you interpreted negative events in your past? Could your negative events be in God's master plan?
  2. What are the two elements of Joe's interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream? Was God the author of both elements?  How important is it that you understand both elements? What Frankie Beverly song covers the elements?
  3. How did Joe display his faith in sharing his solutions to the elements brought about in Pharaoh’s dream? How was his sharing of this different from him sharing his dream with his brothers? What can we learn from this scenario?
  4. What does Joe's administration of the good years teach us about handling our finances?
  5. When we experience boom times, like in Egypt, what can we expect will happen in all cases at some point in the future?
  6. Joe executed the 7 year good time plan perfectly. He did what he planned to do, he put away savings, and he didn't spend it all.  What was it that Joe also had to do during the time of famine?

Chapter 40

  1. We know Joseph was given responsibility at Potiphar's House, in fact put in charge, and now he's being given responsibility in prison. What must his attitude have been? Do you think you have this same type of tenacity in you?
  2. What was Joseph's gift from God? Was he willing to use it? What is your gift from God? How willing are you to use it to help others?
  3. We may look at Joe's character and think he's almost perfect. However, Joe asked the cupbearer to do something. What does that something reveal about Joe that makes him human, like me and you?
  4. The last verse reveals the action that Joe requested of the cupbearer did not happen. How do you think Joe felt? How would you feel?

Chapter 39

  1. In the midst of Joe's misfortune with his brothers and ending up a slave in Potiphar's house, what must his attitude have been? We know by what happened that his attitude ended up well, but do you think while he was being carried off to Egypt it was all good? Since Joe was not a super hero as some would think, how do you think he adjusted his attitude? What would your attitude have been?
  2. What elements led to his success, dig deep?  What can you take from Joe's success to help you in your daily grind?
  3. Joe experienced success on many levels, but what followed his success and what will follow yours?
  4. What were Joe's two motivations for resisting temptation?
  5. What was Joe's short-term reward for resisting his temptation? Should we expect all will go well every time we make a right decision?
  6. How do you think Joe felt about landing in prison? Do you think he was helped by the experience he had by being sold as a slave and ending up in Egypt? Could all these negative events really be a part of Joe's destiny? What about your destiny? Have there been negative events in your life that you now realize are a part of your destiny?

Chapter 37

  1. Did Joseph have a greater destiny than his brothers, because his was revealed and his brothers’ destinies were not?
  2. Did his brothers have just cause to be jealous and do you (if you are)?
  3. Does God have favorites and the rest of us are just peons or only here to serve the favorites?
  4. Two of Joseph's brothers were also leaders. What kind of leaders were they?
  5. The rest of Joseph's brothers were followers. Is that what you are?
  6. How much should money be an influence over what we do? 20 pieces of silver changed how Joseph's brothers handled him. How has it influenced decisions you have made?

Reading Project Details

Read 12 chapters - (Genesis 37-50, don’t read 38 & 49)


  • How God directed the events of Joseph’s life
  • How God used those events to disciple Joseph


  • How has God directed your life so far
  • How open have you been to His attempts to disciple you
  • What are you willing to change in order for God to have greater control

Reading Group Guidelines (register your group)

Form Small Groups

  • 4 or 5 Members

Select Point of Contact

  • Responsible for calling group together
  • Communication vehicle

Register Group

  • Registration Sheet in sanctuary, Call Church Office, On-Line
  • Provide Group Name, Point of Contact, Email Address of POC

Group Discussions of Genesis Chapters

  • Conference Calls, In Person, Video Chats