Interpretations Belong to God
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: Joseph’s imprisonment marks the second time in his life when he seems to have been abandoned by God, but in reality, the Lord is working through his life to bring hope and help to others. A conversation with his fellow prisoners reveals Joseph’s continued interest in the interpretation of dreams and his God-given gift in providing an accurate application of the same. His reputation is such that even Pharaoh summons him to inquire about the meaning behind his recurring dreams. Joseph informs Pharaoh that God is revealing what He is about to do and recommends that Pharaoh implement measures accordingly. Pharaoh responds by elevating Joseph in the kingdom and appointing him as overseer in preparation for the famine, all of which prove appropriate when the years of plenty come to an end. This text is a helpful reminder of the reality of biblical revelation, the importance of accurate interpretation, and the need for personal application.
01. God has revealed Himself in many ways, but He primarily does so through the Bible as it is inspired, inerrant, unchanging, and sufficient.
02. God has gifted teachers in the church to aid in our understanding of the Bible, so we should seek those who are godly, wise, humble, and faithful.
03. God has called us to put into practice what we learn from the Bible, so we should do so with joyful anticipation, without delay, and without question.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. Note how often dreams are recorded in the Bible (Jacob, Joseph, Potiphar, Solomon, etc.). Why do you think God spoke to people in dreams rather than in a more direct fashion that doesn’t involve symbolism or sleep?
2. What does Joseph’s willingness to provide interpretation of dreams to the cupbearer and the baker suggest about his frame of mind with regard to his own dreams? Did he stop believing that God had a plan for his life even when he was in prison? What hopes and dreams for the future are you still holding on to regardless of the passing of time or intervening circumstances?
3. Note the length of time between the release of the cupbearer and the occasion when he remembers Joseph (Genesis 40:23-41:1). How does God’s timetable become evident in this passage between the interpretation of dreams and the fulfillment of their interpretation? What evidence from the text indicates that God’s timing is always on time? See 40:28, 32, 53-57 for further insight.
4. What information did Pharaoh have that convinced him Joseph was correct in his interpretation of the dreams? How did Pharaoh’s response to Joseph indicate that he believed the interpretation was correct? How does his exaltation of Joseph in the kingdom provide an initial fulfillment of Genesis 12:3?
5. What qualities do you look for in a teacher of the Bible? What indicators do you look for if you suspect someone is a false teacher? In what ways does this passage remind you that faithful Bible teaching should be met with faithful application on our part? Pray that the Lord will help us all at NP to be doers of the Word and not hearers only.
For Further Reading: Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. 4th edition (Zondervan, 2014)