Section: BIBL 105-B06
Old Testament Bible Study Assignment
Passage: 2 Kings 4:17
For this assignment, you will be studying the Old Testament story of Elisha and the Widows Oil found in 2 Kings 4:17. You will use the template below in order to complete a study of this passage. In your study, you will use the skills of Observation, Interpretation, Correlation, and Application that you have learned through your reading in Everyday Bible Study (EBS).
A. I have read 2 Kings 4:1-7 in both a formal translation (KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV, or CSB)
and a functional translation (NIV, NLT, or NCV). Highlight the correct answer. You will find a copy of the NASB, ESV, CSB, and NLT in your myWSB Library (EBS ch. 16).
B. Identify the basic elements of the story you are studying (EBS ch. 15).
1. Main characters: (List them)
Elisha, the Widow, her two sons, a creditor
2. Plot: (50100 words)
A widow comes to Elisha to ask for a help because a creditor is threatening to take her sons into slavery as payment for debts left by her deceased husband. Elisha gives her instructions to follow. When the widow obeys and follows the steps exactly as Elisha told her, God provides money for her to pay the debt and have enough left over to live on.
3. Story structure: (50100 words)
Introduction: A deceased prophets widow comes to Elisha for help and explains her dilemma.
Inciting Incident: The widows sons are going to be taken as payment for debts owed.
Rising Action: Elisha gives the widow specific instructions and she obeys them faithfully.
Climax: When the last jar is full of oil, the oil stops pouring from the widows jar.
Resolution: The widow is told to sell the oil to pay off the debts and to keep the rest of the money for living expenses. The boys will be saved from slavery.
C. List basic observations about this passage using the Key Questions from EBS ch. 17.
the widow, Elisha, the widows two sons, neighbors, a creditor
A man of God, one of the prophets, dies and leaves his family in debt.
A widow of a prophet comes to Elisha to ask for help when a creditor threatens to take her sons as payment of the debts her husband owed.
Elisha questions her and then tells her to borrow jars from her neighbors, close her door, and fill the jars with the oil she has in her house.
The widow and her sons follow the instructions and pour the small jar of oil into the borrowed jars.
When the last jar is filled with oil, it stops pouring out of the small jar.
Elisha tells the widow to sell the oil to pay off the debts and to use whats left for living expenses.
The Northern Kingdom of Israel in the city of Samaria.
The story is found in the 2nd Kings.
2 Kings is thought to have been written by someone living during the Babylonian exile as a reminder to Israel of their covenant with God.
The story of Elisha and the widow takes place during the reign of Joram, Ahabs son after the battle with Moab in which Elisha prophesied about the outcome of the battle for Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, and Joram.
The story takes place during the day in or near the town of Samaria.
Why is the widow in debt?
It is not explained exactly stated why her husband had debt but often many families had to borrow in order to cover expenses or deal with hardship. God had put rules into place to protect widows from paying consequences of debts incurred by their deceased husbands; but often creditors would take valuables including children as payment for debts.
Why does Elisha tell the widow to shut the door before she starts pouring the oil?
God is not interested in grand displays of power or wowing the crowd. He is interested in personal moments with his children.
Why did the oil stop pouring when she filled the last jar?
God provides what we need when we need it. He delights in meeting our needs.
How were the steps of Elishas plan laid out?
Borrow jars, Close doors, Pour oil, Fill jar, Set aside, and Repeat!
How did God provide payment for the debts of the widow and her family?
God had the widow pour out her only jar of oil into empty vessels in order to fill them. Once filled, they provided a way of salvation from slavery for her sons. God did the same for us by pouring out His only son in order to fill us and provide a way of salvation from the slavery of sin.
How did the widow show her faith in God and Elishas words?
The widow showed her belief by immediately carrying out Elishas instructions without question even though she was not told what the end result would be. She believed and therefore she obeyed.
A. Determine the authors main point. In 12 paragraphs (100400 words) explain what you
think the author is trying to communicate in this passage. Remember, the Old Testament narratives frequently communicate truth by showing it to us in story form instead of telling it to us by way of teaching or sermon. See EBS ch. 28.
The story of the widow and the oil is a reminder that God has compassion and concern for each of his individual children. In the previous chapter, God led the nations of Israel and Judah to victory over Moab demonstrating His love for a nation. The story of the widow immediately follows in order to remind the people and us that God also loves each of one of us and will provide what we need for us. Matthew 6:26 Jesus reminds us that God takes care of all His creation and how precious we are to Him. (Matthew 6:26, NIV version). The story also demonstrates how we can show our belief and faith in God by doing what he asks us to do. The widow and her sons followed all of Elishas instructions immediately and without fail. This obedience led to Gods blessings on their family and rescue from danger. This is true for us, as well, with salvation from sin and death. For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, ESV version).
B. Based on your answer above, write out one principle from this passage. You should be able
to express this principle in 13 sentences. See EBS ch. 33.
God not only takes care of nations, but he also shows compassion and concern for each of his individual children. We are not lost in crowd. God hears our voice and knows what each of us is going through. He wants a personal relationship with us. (Irwin, 2019).
A. How does this Old Testament narrative fit within the metanarrative of the Bible? State what
type of story you believe this to be (creation, fall, redemption, or new creation) and explain why you believe this to be so. Your explanation should be 1 paragraph (100200 words) in length. See EBS chs. 16.
The story of the widow and the oil is one of redemption. The widow represents all of us who are condemned to slavery and death by the debt owed because of our sin. God provided a way of salvation by pouring out His son as payment for our debt.
B. How does your principle fit with the rest of the Scripture? This principle is the one you have
written out in 1-3 sentences in the Interpretation section. If your principle is a true Biblical principle it will be reflected throughout the Scriptures. Where is the principle discovered in this Old Testament narrative found elsewhere in the Scriptures? Your explanation should be 1 paragraph (100-200 words) in length. See EBS ch. 29.
In the article, The Widows Oil Increased, Irwin reminded us that, The Bible is partly a history of nations, and particularly of the Jewish nation. But it is much more a history of individuals. (Irwin, 2019) Everything included in the Bible was put there specifically to remind us of how much he loves each and every one of us individually. God seeks a personal and intimate relationship with us. He meets us in the quiet, alone places. We can see another example of this in the story of Ruth and Naomi. God met the needs of each of these women in a personal and private way. It wasnt done with great ceremony; but instead, he provided for each of them both physically and emotionally. But it should also be noted that God doesnt just meet the physical needs of his children; he also made a way to redeem each one of us from the payment of our sin. Jesus died on the cross for each individual on this Earth.
C. How does this Old Testament narrative reflect the person and work of Jesus Christ? State
and explain at least one way that the principle of this narrative can be identified in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Your explanation should be 1 paragraph (100200 words) in length. See EBS ch. 30.
The story of the widow and the oil is an example of Gods redeeming love for his children. He makes a way for us to be rescued from payment of debts. We were all born sinners and inherited the payment of that sin which is death, much as the widows sons had inherited the payment for their fathers debt. When the widow surrendered what she held dear and obeyed God, she and her sons were redeemed from a lifetime of slavery and separation from each other. God asks the same from us. He sent his only Son, Jesus, to be poured out on the cross as a payment for the debt of sin. If we believe and choose to obey, surrendering to God, then we are redeemed from eternal death and separation from God. Paul said it this way, But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, NIV version)
What points of application can be made using the Four Questions for Application (EBS ch. 31)? State and explain 1 point of application for each of these four questions. Your explanation for each of these points should be 1 paragraph (100200 words) in length.
A. The question of duty
Our part in this relationship that we have with God is to demonstrate active faith. Active faith is putting action to the beliefs that you have in God. Christianity is not a stand still kind of faith. Rather Christians are to represent Christ in all we do and say We are not only to hear but we are to do as we are taught. (White, J. 2019). The widow and her sons put action to their belief by following what they were told without question. They demonstrated their love for God by trusting his words. James reminds us, But someone will say, You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. This is what God asks of us, to trust him enough to obey.
B. The question of character
The widow is an example to us of the kind of character that we should be an example of as well. She sought out help from the Lord in her time of trouble. She listened without questioning and worked without complaining. She did not need to analyze or get the approval of others before she did what God asked her to do. She was an example to her sons as well. She showed them what it means to be a follower of God and how to live what you say. Her husband was a prophet and it is same to assume that the family had been raised knowing who God was; but the widow put that knowledge into action. She taught her sons that obedience before understanding is true faith. Finally, the widow was an example to her neighbors. By borrowing jars from her neighbors, she actively involved them in Gods plan. She gave them a front row seat. Her obedience to God and willingness to follow him surely was a witness to them about the relationship that they could also have with God.
C. The question of goals
The widows ultimate goal was to save her sons; however, she chose to surrender her will to Gods instructions and obey without knowing if salvation was going to be provided. As we look to our future and career plans after college and further into life, we need to constantly be checking to see if we have surrendered our will and goals in lieu of following Gods plans, especially when his instructions make no sense! As a film major, I am aware that I will be entering a field dominated by personal greed, ambition, and compromise. I need to surrender my wants for Gods. If I truly believe what God says, then I will trust him to have what is best for me already planned out because he knows me intimately and personally. He seeks to meet me on a personal level and this is where my goal should be focused as well.
D. The question of discernment
Discernment can be defined as the ability to judge with understanding. It also can mean taking the time to apply spiritual truth in order to understand. The question of discernment in regards to the story of the widow and the oil is making the judgment as to whether or not it is worth it to trust God. Often, God does not allow us to see the end of the journey, instead he just asks us to take a step. This is can be a hard step to take especially when fear and suffering are mixed into the situation. Discernment is taking what we know and have learned about God through past experiences and using it to make decisions for future ones. The Bible is full of stories about how God takes care of individuals and meets their needs. Therefore, as we face situations that come our way, we can step out in faith because we know that God is trustworthy and will come alongside because he loves us. Nothing demonstrates this more than the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the cross. He paid our debt and redeemed us as his own. How great is his love for each of us? What can we do then but choose to willingly trust and obey.
Irwin, C.H. (2019). The Widows Oil Increased. Bible Hub. Retrieved from
1st Kings. (2019). Biblica: The International Bible Society. Retrieved from
White, J. (2019). Voices of Faith: What Does it Mean to Have Active Faith? Retrieved from