Bible Study Lessons

Questions about the Law


Robby looked indignant when he stepped out of the house and saw his older brother playing basketball on the driveway. Robby was the type who always thought of ways to try to look and sound better - smarter, faster, more strictly obedient - than everyone else. So indignance about Joe's actions was nothing new. "Joe, what are you doing playing on the driveway? You know dad said not to play on the road!" Somehow Joe managed to remain perfectly calm. Instead of defending the obvious - that he wasn't on the road - he tried something different this time. "You know, Robby. Last week my ball rolled across the road into Mrs. Jackson's yard. I asked dad what to do, and he said to go get it. "He didn't tell us not to play on the road because he doesn't want us to play, but because he wants to keep us safe." With a superior smile and shake of his head, Robby ducked back inside mumbling something about some people never understanding. In Mark 2:23-28 the Pharisees are kind of like Robby. Watch their accusation and Jesus' response and learn about God's perspective on obedience.



Ask the Lord to give you a willing mind ready to understand His Word and believe it even if you have to reject your own thoughts about things to accept His.

Read Focus Verses

Read Mark 2:23-28 and notice the main issue in the passage.

The Issue

What is Jesus questioned about in today's passage?

Keyword - Sabbath

Marking the Sabbath will help it stand out in the second part of today's passage.

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Mark the words referring to the Sabbath day in Mark 2:23-28.


Notice that the Pharisees have just been questioning Jesus about something else in Mark 2:18-22.


Where are Jesus and His disciples in verse 23?


When were they in these fields?


Who asks the question in verse 24?


What is the question?


What illustration does Jesus give in verses 25-26?


What is Jesus' answer in verses 27-28?

The Sabbath

What does Jesus say about the Sabbath in verse 27?


Who is identified as the Lord in verse 28, and what name is He identified by?

Keywords - Jesus Christ

Jesus is the main character in these verses. Marking His Name will emphasize this.

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Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ

Mark the words naming or referring to Jesus in Mark 2:23-28.



Luke 6:1-5 records the same story as today's passage.


What are the Pharisees accusing Jesus of in today's passage?


A piece of Scriptural background that will prove a key to properly interpreting today's passage is Jesus' relationship to sin. Start with 1 John 3:5.

No Sin

2 Corinthians 5:21 reaffirms this.


Hebrews 4:15 reveals this is not because He wasn't tempted.

About Jesus

What do these verses tell us about Jesus?


How does knowing that Jesus never sinned help us interpret today's passage?


In contrast, see what Jesus says about the Pharisees in Mark 7:6-9. (For more information about the Pharisees see the study plan for Mark 2:13-17, "Jesus: Savior for Sinners.")

Add or Subtract

Deuteronomy 12:32 tells us what God thinks of this.


In contrast to Jesus' perfect obedience of God's Law, what do we know about the Pharisees?


How does knowing that the Pharisees often rejected God's Word and replaced it with their own traditions help us understand today's passage?

One More Piece

If we go into the next chapter and read Mark 3:2, we'll learn a little more about the Pharisees' motives in their dealings with Jesus.

To Destroy Him

A few verses later in Mark 3:5-6 we see the Pharisees' reaction to Jesus healing a man, which gives us a further glimpse into their thoughts and intentions.

A Peek Inside

What do these verses tell us about the Pharisees and their attitude toward Jesus?

Keep It In Mind

How does keeping in mind the Pharisees' hatred of Jesus and desire to destroy Him help us as we look at today's passage?

Seventh Day

Another key to understanding the passage is to understand the Sabbath. The first time the seventh day is mentioned in the Bible is Genesis 2:1-3.


What makes the seventh day special?


In Exodus 20:8-11 we see that the fourth of the Ten Commandments that God gave Israel at Mount Sinai is regarding this seventh day, which He calls the Sabbath.

Sign of the Covenant

In Exodus 31:12-18 we learn why Israel keeping the Sabbath was so important to God.


Ezekiel 20:12-21 also highlights how significant the Sabbath was as part of the Law God gave to Israel.

Keeping the Sabbath

What did God say about keeping the Sabbath in these verses?


Why was keeping the Sabbath so important for Jews according to these verses?

Jesus and the Sabbath

You've already seen what God says about Christ's obedience. Based on God's Word what can we definitely say about whether or not Jesus kept the Sabbath in a way that fulfilled the law and pleased God?

A Difference

Since we know that Jesus always kept the Sabbath what can we say about what He was allowing His disciples to do? (Hint: notice that they were not harvesting the field, they were simply picking some grains to eat on the way presumably to the synagogue.)

The Disciples

Luke 23:52-56 confirms this when it reveals that even between Jesus' death and resurrection His disciples kept the Sabbath.

More Righteous

The Pharisees thought that by adding lots of rules to God's Law and keeping them, they would surely impress God. But look at what Jesus says in Matthew 5:20.

One Thing

James 2:10-11 explains why this is not enough.

We Call It

1 John 3:4 tells us more.


Romans 6:23 tells us how serious this is.

Think About It

Think about it in other terms. Let's say a friend of yours has borrowed $50 a week from you for 25 years. You realize he owes you $65,000, but he doesn't have a way to repay you. He tells you he can't pay the money, but instead won't borrow any more money from you in the future. Would you be happy with that? Why?

This Like That

How is that situation a little bit like a person who tells God they will try really hard to be good and never do anything wrong again?


Jesus talks about His relationship to the Law in Matthew 5:17-18.

Did He Do It?

If disobeying one part of the Law makes a person guilty, what must be true of Jesus so He could fulfill the Law? (Hint: you've already read verses directly confirming this.)

In Our Place

Read 2 Corinthians 5:21 again which explains how that applies to sinners.


There are two reasons Christ had to be righteous to save us according to 2 Corinthians 5:21. What is the first one? (Hint: It has to do with being eligible to pay our debt.)


What is the second reason Christ had to be righteous to save us? (Hint: It has to do with what He gives us after He takes our sin.)

Dead to the Law

Romans 7:1-13 explains how those who trust in Christ alone for salvation after His death and resurrection are now dead to the Old Testament Law (because their account says they fulfilled it in Christ). It also reveals the purpose for the Law.


What purpose does the Law serve according to Romans 7?

What it Means

Galatians 5:13-26 explains what this freedom from the Law means and what it should look like in a Christian's life.


What does freedom from the Law mean?

Not That

What does freedom from the Law not mean?


In the next chapter, Galatians 6:7-10, we see why obedience to God's Word is so important even to New Testament Christians.


1 Peter 2:11-12 gives another reason.


Why is obedience to God's Word important for Christians?


Romans 8:1-5 confirms this reason for a Christian's freedom from the Law of Moses and reveals what has replaced it.


What law frees Christians from the Law of Moses?


We see specifically that this applies to the Sabbath in Colossians 2:10-17.


In the Scripture verses listed in this blog post we see that, instead of meeting on the Sabbath, Christians gathered to worship especially on the first day of the week - Sunday - since that is the day Christ rose again.

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What David Did

However, today's passage is set before Christ's death and resurrection when the Law of Moses was fulfilled. This means God's people (including Jesus as the God-man) still had to obey the Law to please Him. When Jesus answers the Pharisees' question about Sabbath keeping, He refers to a story from the Old Testament. You can read the story in 1 Samuel 21:1-6.

Special Bread

In Leviticus 24:5-9 we read about the special show bread which was kept in the Tabernacle and later the Temple by God's command.

God's Commands

The Pharisees thought that by adding extra rules and saying they were as important as God's Law they would make everything better. Jesus' reply in today's passage reveals God's perspective on these extra rules which were imposed on His people. What do we learn from Jesus' reply?

God's Kindness

What do we learn about God's kindness in Jesus' reply?

Not a License to Disobey

Many passages could serve as a warning not to interpret this to mean it is okay to break God's law in the name of mercy. Consider Matthew 5:19 for instance.

Not Merciful

Based on what you saw about sin earlier, why would it not be truly merciful to tell someone it was okay for them to break God's law even if it felt kind?

Avoid It

Proverbs 4:14-15 shows us the importance of staying far away from temptation and evil.


And 1 Thessalonians 5:22 talks about not just doing evil but appearing like you might be doing it.


These verses show us that it wasn't that the Pharisees were being careful that Jesus didn't like. God wants His people to stay far away from sin. What was the real problem? (Hint: Remember what Jesus said in Mark 7:6-9 about the Pharisees' traditions in relationship to God's Word.)

Lord of the Sabbath

Today's passage ends with a glorious declaration about the Lord Jesus Christ. Going back to the book of Colossians again, consider from Colossians 1:13-20 why Christ is Lord of the Sabbath.

Lord of All

In Revelation 19:11-16 we see that the Sabbath is not the only thing Christ is Lord over.


What do these verses tell us about Christ's authority?


How does reflecting on this truth of Christ being Lord of all help us see more of how amazing it is that Jesus was walking in a wheat field talking with the Pharisees in Mark 2?

Once More

Read Mark 2:23-28 once more in light of what you've studied.

Take Away

What has stood out to you as you've studied this passage as something you need to keep thinking about or working on obeying?



How has today's study challenged the way you think about God's Word and obeying Him?


Are there commands in God's Word that you need to more carefully obey? How will you begin today?


Are there rules of your own that you have (accidentally or purposefully) considered equal to God's? How can you think biblically about those things - making guidelines to help you obey God's Word without making them equal to His commands?



We hope this study has helped you understand God's perspective on the law and obedience and has challenged you to obey Him without considering your own rules equal to His.


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