This is the second Bible study used with a group of prisoners in my local jail. You can read more about the life of Joseph in Genesis 37-50. It is not meant to be exhaustive but to provoke discussion.
In our first study we saw how Joseph's brothers planned to kill him but ultimately sold him in to slavery.
1. Success and Promotion – Gen 37 v 1-6
What do you think the Egyptian slave market would have been like? More than likely the prisoners would have been naked and shackled as people bartered over them. It would have been humiliating and degrading.
Joseph was sold to Potiphar. What was Potiphar’s position? Gen 39 v 1
What position did Potiphar give Joseph?
Gen 38 v 4, 5 and 6.
How do we know that Potiphar trusted Joseph? We are told that he gave him responsibility so that he didn't know anything other than the food that was in front of him.
How many times do we read in verses 1-6 that God was with Joseph? Isn't it amazing how often we read that God is with saints in the Bible even in really difficult circumstances?
How could God still be with Joseph after all that happened?
- Attempted murder
- Flung down a well
- Sold into slavery
- Ripped from his country and family
Why do you think God allows suffering? Check out Gen 45 v 7-8
God was working out his eternal purposes through the life of Joseph. We see many examples in the Bible like in Job and David of how, through great suffering, God was still working.
2. Accused and Imprisoned Gen 39 v 7 (b) – 20
Joseph has the chance to sleep with Potiphar’s wife – how persistent was she? 39 v 10
What arguments did Joseph use to resist Potiphar’s wife in verse 9?
- Marriage to Potiphar
- Breaking of God’s law/code of conduct
What is the Bible’s view of marriage and how seriously should we take this commitment?
What are the benefits of a good marriage?
What does Potiphar’s wife accuse Joseph off in v 11-18?
- How would Joseph have felt given that he was still a slave?
- Notice how once again his coat is used in a conspiracy against him.
- Notice how she shifts the blame onto her husband v 14.
How do you think Joseph would have felt as he was flung into prison?
Where was God v 21? He was there all the time.
In what way was God with Joseph in prison?
3. False Hope
Why did the Cup Bearer and Baker end up in jail? 40 v 1
Did Joseph claim to intemperate dreams v 8? He gave all the glory to God.
Read v 23 – how do you think Joseph would have felt?
Have you ever been falsely accused? How did you react?
Was God more with Joseph when he was promoted, when he was falsely accused or when he was in prison?
Why do you think we sometimes feel nearer to God when everything is going wrong?
What can we do to feel nearer to God?
Why do we find it so hard to ‘wait on God?’
Seeing Jesus in Joseph
Christ was exalted like Joseph was in but then falsely accused imprisoned and ultimately killed.
Isaiah 53 v 4-9
Just like Joseph God was with Jesus in all his trials and temptation
Lord, thank you for the story of Joseph. Thank you that you remained with Joseph through promotion, false accusation and imprisonment. Even in the midst of great evil and darkness we thank you that you showed him your steadfast love and favour. Please show that love to me today. Help me to put all my faith and trust in your son Jesus. Thank you that he was accused and condemned so that I can be declared innocent from my sin and set free to live a life of obedience and truth. Help me to stay closer to you as I resist sin and live the way you want me to live. For Jesus sake Amen.