NEW TESTAMENT OVERVIEW

By Rev. Dr. Jerry Schmoyer  jerry@schmoyer.net 

http://www.mainstreetbaptist.org/    http://india.christiantrainingonline.org/

You need a Bible, a notebook and a pen to do these devotions.  Each lesson you will be asked to write some things down.  These will help you learn and remember.  They will be important for you to keep for future use and reference, and will be invaluable if you some day teach the New Testament

 

If you would like to listen to my sermons on each of these books you can find them on line at http://www.mainstreetbaptist.org/.  Click on Sermons, then Archives.  Or email me and I’ll send you the link to listen to them.

 

If you want to send me your answers I would be glad to read them and offer comments or suggestions that might help you.  If you don’t send them to me that is fine as well.  You can write me at jerry@schmoyer.net.  If you have any questions or prayer requests please feel free to write to me.

 

 

Read the following article to get the background of the New Testament.

 

400 SILENT YEARS

 

            Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980), the movie director, told a parable in Guideposts (1959) about the unknown.  There once was a king who was granted two wishes.  His first was to see the future.  But when he saw all that lay ahead — the beauty and the pain — he immediately asked for his second wish; that the future be hidden.  “I thank Heaven,” the master of suspense proclaimed, “that tomorrow does not belong to any man.  It belongs to God.”

 

HISTORY = HIS STORY  In fact, ALL history belongs to God: past, present and future.  Every single event is under His control, even to a bird coming to land on the ground (Matthew 10:29).  The rising and falling of the most powerful nations of the world are also under God’s control (Daniel 2:32-47; Acts 4:25).  This is very comforting in a world that seems out of control. 

            One of the best examples of this is the coming of Jesus to earth.  God says that this was in the very time He chose:  Gal 4:4  But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law.  God didn’t sit around waiting for the right time, He actively controlled history so that all the conditions necessary were present when He came to earth.  Just what made this particular time so special? 

            There were three main groups of people God used to prepare the world for Jesus’ first coming.  These affected all areas of life at that time.  Everything was perfectly prepared in the area of politics (Rome), philosophy (Greece) and the people (Israel). 

 

GREECE (PHILOSOPHY)  Greece took over control of Palestine from Persia in 334 BC when Alexander was conquering the whole area.  When he died in 323 the Ptolmey’s ruled there until the Seleucids took over in 219 BC.  During this time the area was totally saturated with Greek culture, thought and philosophy (a kind of humanism not much different from New Age thought today).  Many Jews bought into this, lead by a group of very liberal-thinking Jews called the Sadducees.  God used this Greek thought to prepare people for the coming Messiah and the spread of the early church because Greek thought was looking for answers but, despite all the attempts to find them, didn’t really produce anything to fill people’s hearts.  There were Epicureans, Stoics, Academics, Orphism, Pythagoreans, Cynics, Skeptics and many more. Socrates, Plate and Aristotle were influencing the people. God was just an intellectual abstraction.  There were no strong gods or goddesses demanding the loyalty and attention of the common people.  Questions were asked but not answered.

            Of great impact on the world, and the Bible, was the spread of Greek as the universal language.  Now people could speak to each other in a common language — very essential to the quick spread of the early church.  Not only was Greek a universal language, but it was a very precise language.  It was just what was needed to convey all the theological nuances and flavors of the New Testament.  God obviously prepared Greek for His Word.

 

ISRAEL (PEOPLE)  While the Greeks greatly influenced the land of Palestine, they never conquered the hearts of the people. Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the temple in the most awful ways and killed any Jews who practiced their religion in any way.  Even quoting a Bible verse was punishable by death. The Maccabeans revolt, led by the Hasmonean family, won back Jewish independence and culminated with the rededication of the temple on December 25, 164 BC.  Unfortunately the Hasmonean rulership soon became almost as oppressive as the Seleucids had been before them.  I movement of conservative Jews who wanted to have the nation turn back to God and His Word arose.  Called the Pharisees, they led the people in civil war which just made everything worse.  This so weakened the nation that the Romans, having defeated the Greeks, were easily able to annex Palestine in 63 BC.

            During all this, though, Jews were moving into virtually every nation of the world.  This dispersion was very foundational to the spread of the early church.  The Jews brought their message of one God reveled in the Bible Who wanted His people to life a holy life to every nation, setting the groundwork for the spread of the early church.  Their synagogues became perfect places to first preach the Good News of Jesus the Messiah.  The church became patterned after the synagogue. 

            Also during this time period the Septuagint (LXX) was translated.  For the first time the Jews, and also anyone who could read Greek, could read the Bible for themselves.  This opened the way for the spread of the Gospel, too.  God was working to bring all this about.

 

ROME (POLITICS)  While the Greeks influenced the minds of men, Rome controlled their bodies.  Rome’s take-over of that whole part of the world also was important in setting the groundwork for what was to come.  For the first time there was world peace, and it lasted for several hundred years.  That meant it was safe to travel anywhere.  Rome built marvelous roads for travel.  Travel by ship was safe, too.  Pirates and robbers were kept under control.  Because of peace as well as advances in technology, it was no longer for everyone to spend the vast majority of their time growing their own food.  Many people moved into cities and pursued other crafts.  This made it possible for Paul and the other early missionaries to go into the cities where people were already gathered and preach.  This was MUCH more efficient than going from farm to farm!

            Then, too, Rome allowed religious freedom.  They did not dictate who or what was to be worshipped.  People could decide for themselves.  The old gods and idols their ancestors worshipped no longer held much interest and often didn’t apply to their new lives in the cities.  City life brought its share of new problems, too.  Sin was rampant.  Alcoholism, immorality, homosexuality, prostitution, crime, murder, extortion and political corruption were rampant.  Something was needed to give meaning, peace and satisfaction in life.  The stage was set for the message of Jesus

            Gal 4:4  But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law.  God IS in control of history, of ALL history.  He has everything set up just the way He wanted it to be for Jesus’ first coming.  He’s doing the same right now, getting ready for Jesus’ return.  It’s His world.  He is sovereign Lord over all that happens. Praise His name!

 


MATTHEW

 

If you can, read the whole book of Matthew this week.

Monday

Matthew 1-5

  Tuesday

Matthew 6-10

Wednesday

Matthew 11-15

Thursday

Matthew 16-20

Friday

Matthew 21-24

Saturday

Matthew 15-28

MONDAY 

READ: Mathew, Jesus the King article (after daily readings)

THINK ABOUT:  What comes to mind when you think of a ‘king’?

            What responsibility does a king have to his subjects?

            What obligations do a kings subjects have to him?

            Does this describe your daily relationship with Jesus?

PRAY:  Thank Him for being willing to be your King and oversee your needs.

            Submit to Him as a subject to King and commit to serving Him only all day this day. 

 

TUESDAY

READ: Matthew 1:18-23

THINK ABOUT:  Why was Jesus born of a virgin (think of several reasons)?

            Why do you think God planned His entrance into the human race in this way?

            How do you think this impacted Mary and Joseph?

            Others mocked them as being immoral but God didn’t defend them.  Why?

            Why does God allow unfair things to come against His people today?

            Think about some times you have been unfairly criticized when God didn’t defend you.

PRAY:  Thank God for coming to this world as a human being. 

            Thank Him for His perfect plan in your life, even if it is harder for you.

            Ask Him to help you be faithful in all things this day, even if you are falsely criticized.

 

WEDNESDAY

READ: Matthew 3:1-17

THINK ABOUT:  By this time Jesus knew He was to die for the sins of  everyone but He hadn’t  

publically committed to doing so until He  was baptized.  What do you think was going through His mind?

            Why did God speak after Jesus’ baptism? 

Was it for Jesus, others or both?

            Is there any commitment or stand Jesus wants you to take and you are

            struggling with it?

            How is God encourage you to move ahead in obedience to Him?

 

PRAY:  Submit to God and say you will obey Him with what He wants you to do in all areas.

            If there is one particular area of difficulty ask for His help with it.

            Sit quietly in prayer for awhile and listen to Him speak courage and encouragement to you.

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

 

THURSDAY

 

READ: Matthew 13:1-10, 18-23

 

THINK ABOUT:  What are the 4 soils and what do they stand for?

            Which are you?

            Why do such a small percent of the people who hear the Gospel

         respond?

            Why is Jesus warning His disciples that those who follow Him will

         be in a minority?

            Have you become discouraged in talking about Jesus because of

         a lack of response?

            Even though most won’t respond, why does Jesus want us to

       keep sowing anyway?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to make sure His Word takes root and grows in your life?

            Are their worries, cares, distractions or anything else keeping you from growing spiritually?

            Recommit yourself to keep sowing the Word even if people don’t’ respond.

            Ask Him to put someone in your mind or in your path to witness to today.

 

 

FRIDAY

 

READ: Matthew 21:1-11

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why did God uses this way and this means to let everyone know He was the

Messiah?

            Why didn’t He make such a display of Himself as King all would have to believe?

            What would you have though and done if you were standing by the road that day?

            How did Jesus feel when the people didn’t make Him their king but went about their business?

 

PRAY:  Make sure Jesus is the King of you life – if so tell Him so.

            Thank Him for not forcing you to believe but giving proof and opportunity for faith.

            Ask Him to continue to reveal Himself to you as your King.

 

 

SATURDAY

 

READ: Matthew 28:16-20

 

THINK ABOUT:  Write down what commands God gives us in these verses

            What can you do today to better keep these commands?

Write down the promise that God gives in this passage.  Memorize it.

            How can you apply that promise to your life today?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to forgive you for any times you haven’t kept these commands.

            Ask Him to fill you with His Spirit so you can better keep them this day.

            Meditate on His promise, “I am with you always” and the implications for your life.

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.


MATTHEW: JESUS the KING

 

Suppose you had 10 pennies in your hand shook them up, then opened your hand. What are the chances that they would all be heads?  How many tries do you think it would take?  On an average it would take you a little over a thousand tries!  Now think of these coins as prophecies of Jesus.  Pennies only have two sides – a 50-50 chance.  Prophecies have many more ways of not being fulfilled than fulfilled.  What if the very first time all 10 came up heads!  Suppose you did it again and they were all heads, and again and again – 30 times in all and every time every penny was heads.  You would think something special was going on, wouldn’t you?  That’s just how it is with prophecies of the Messiah.  He fulfilled every one of the over 300 prophecies about the Messiah.  This is tremendous proof that Jesus is the Messiah.

MATTHEW WROTE TO SHOW JESUS FULFILLED PROPHECY to show that Jesus was the Messiah.  “That it might be fulfilled” occurs about 20 times in his gospel.  Matthew was the best-educated of all the Jews and an excellent writer.  He wrote to fellow Jews, who knew the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah, to show that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies.  He includes 50 direct quotes from the Old Testament and 75 allusions to the Old Testament – double what any other Gospel has. 

            In Malachi the Messiah is anticipated.  The Old Testament closes looking for Him. “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”  (Malachi 4:5) In Matthew we see the Messiah has arrived, fulfilling these prophecies. 

MESSIAH  The term ‘Messiah’ is a Hebrew word that means ‘Anointed One.’  The word ‘Christ’ is the Greek equivalent of it.  Prophets, priests and kings were all anointed.  The Messiah was all in one.  In Matthew, and to the Jews as a whole, the main emphasis was on Messiah as King.  That’s what Matthew shows his readers – Jesus is the promised Messiah-King.

I. THE KING IS REVEALED (1:1 – 9:30)  The first question a Jew would ask of someone claiming to be the Messiah would be, “Are you a direct descendant of David?”  Here is where Matthew starts.  He gives Jesus legal status through His earthly father Joseph (1:1-7).  One problem arises, and that is that there is a curse on all the physical descendants of Jehoiachin, so how could a king come from that line?  The solution is that Jesus wasn’t a physical descendent of his but a legal one only.  Matthew explains how this could be by explaining about the virgin birth (1:18 – 2:23).  About a dozen time Matthew quotes the Old Testament to show how each step fulfilled a prophecy about the Messiah.

            He then tells how ambassadors came to crown the king (3:1-17), and how He proved His sinlessness when Satan tempted Him (4:1-11).  The King then sets forth His moral laws for His kingdom (5:1 – 7:25).  Thus Matthew shows Jesus is the Messiah by His birth and by what He said.  Next He will show His qualifications by what He did.

            Miracle after miracle is listed, showing Jesus’ words (8:1 – 9:30).  He is not only man (genealogy and birth), He is also God (miracles)

II. THE KING IS RESISTED (10:1 – 16:12)  While some accepted the message of the King, many rejected it (10:1 – 12:50).  Jesus’ parables of the coming Kingdom show the pattern of rejection before eventual acceptance (13:1-52).  Meanwhile, the Messiah was rejected by Herod, His own family, and the religious rulers (13:53-16:12).

III. THE KING IS REJECTED (19:13 – 27:66)  Because the masses rejected Him, Jesus turned his ministry to training those who believed, preparing them for when He would be gone (16:13 – 20:28). He taught them about His coming rejection and death and what would happen after.

            On ‘Palm Sunday’ Jesus clearly showed the whole nation, by actions and words, that He was the Messiah King (21:1-11).  Some accepted, but most rejected.  He went on to cleanse His throne room, the temple (21:12-22) and defend His kingship against those who rejected Him (21:23 – 23:39).  In the Olivet Discourse (24:1 – 25:46) Jesus foretold when His kingdom would come.  In the meantime, the King was turned down and crucified (26:1 – 27:66).

IV. THE KING IS RAISED (27:66 – 28:20) The power of the King over death and sin is seen in His resurrection from the dead. 

            Thus Matthew shows Jesus as the Messiah King, even though the religious rulers and the nation as a whole rejected Him.  What about you – is He your King?

TITLE: Named after the author

AUTHOR:  Matthew, tax collector, disciple

DATE of WRITING:  About 60 AD

PLACE of  WRITING: Antioch of Syria

TIME COVERED:  Life of Jesus

RECIPIENTS:  Jews everywhere

KEY VERSE: A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: 1:1

KEY WORD:   “Fulfill” (17 times); “kingdom of heaven” (32 times)

PURPOSE: Connect the Old and New Testaments

THEME:. Jesus is the King of Israel, the promised Jewish Messiah.

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 

 


 

MARK

 

If you can, read the whole book of MARK this week.

Monday

Mark 1-3

Tuesday

Mark 4-6

Wednesday

Mark 7-9

Thursday

Mark 10-12

Friday

Mark 13-14

Saturday

Mark 15-16

MONDAY

READ: Mark, Jesus the  Servant, article (after daily readings)  

 

THINK ABOUT:  What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘servant’?

            How is a servant different than a slave? 

Which would you rather be?

            The Greek word translated ‘servant’ really is our word for ‘slave’’.  What does this tell you

about what Jesus was willing to become for us?

            Why would  He, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords,  have been willing to do such a thing?

 

PRAY:  Thank Him for being willing to become a servant for your sake.

            List as many ways as you can that Jesus ha served you throughout your life.

           

TUESDAY

READ: Read Mark 1:14-20

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why did Jesus take the time to call others to come with Him when He could have

traveled faster and accomplished more without them?

            When did Jesus ‘call’ you to follow Him?  Did you do it right away?

            Is there anything Jesus is calling you to today?  Are you responding to that call?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to clearly reveal anything He is calling you to do (or not do) and commit to follow.

            Thank Him for the privilege of serving Him and being called by Him.

            Silently think and listen for anything God has to say to you for today.

 

WEDNESDAY

READ: Read Mark 5:1-13

 

THINK ABOUT:  List some of the characteristics of demonizing from this passage.

            Why does Satan treat those who serve him this way?

            Who is greater, those who serve God or those who serve Satan?  Why?

            List some of the miraculous things Jesus did that day.

 

PRAY:  Thank God that when you serve Him you don’t have to fear serving Satan (I John 4:4).

            Ask God to show you if there is any way any demons are affecting you.

            Pray for God’ protection and deliverance over anything Satan wants to do to you.

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

THURSDAY

 

READ: Mark 10:35-45

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why did James and John want to be first in the kingdom?

            When do you have the most problem with pride and wanting to be first?

            Why did Jesus say they would have to be willing to go through what He went through?

            Explain how verse 45 is a summary of the whole book of Mark.

            What lessons is Jesus teaching you now about being a servant?  Are you learning them?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to make you a fruitful servant to Him.

            Confess the areas where you are a poor servant and ask for specific ways to improve.

            Ask God to give you opportunities to serve others and to help you make sure you see them.

 

 

FRIDAY

 

READ: Mark 14:32-42

 

THINK ABOUT:  What examples do you see here of Jesus being a  good servant?

            What examples do you see of peter and the others being poor servants?

            Why was Jesus able to serve God no matter what it would cost?

            What can you learn from this passage to help you become a  better servant?

 

PRAY:  Tell God you are willing to serve Him no matter the cost.

            Ask Him to help you be alert and not asleep when He wants you to serve.

            Ask God to give you opportunities to serve others and to help you make sure you see them.

 

 

SATURDAY

 

READ: Mark 15:33-41

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why do you think God made it dark when He withdrew His presence from Jesus?

            Why was it necessary for Jesus to be totally separated from God for these hours?

            Will God ever ask you to go through anything as difficult as He went through for you?

            How do you think the women who were watching felt at seeing this happen?

 

PRAY:  Thank God for being willing to serve you by taking your place in hell.

            Tell Him you will serve Him in appreciation for how He has served you.

            Ask God to give you opportunities to serve others and to help you make sure you see them.

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.

 

 

 


MARK: JESUS the SERVANT

 

            In many churches today someone who is a ‘deacon’ is looked up to as being in a position many aspire to for they are often seen as occupying a level a little above others.  In the New Testament, though, a ‘deacon’ was one who waited on tables – a servant/slave.  Church leaders are to be servants of others, following the example of Jesus, the ultimate Servant.  “I did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45). 

MARK WROTE TO SHOW JESUS WAS A SERVANT  Mark, in his short gospel, paints a picture of Jesus the servant/slave.  While Matthew wrote to Jews to show Jesus as the Messiah/King, Mark wrote to Gentiles to show Jesus as a servant.  Mark wasn’t with Jesus, although it seems the Last Supper was held in the upper room in his house.  Mark wrote down what Peter taught and preached, so really the Gospel of Mark is Peter’s words. 

            “Straightway” and “immediately” are used over 40 times in Mark.  The focus is on Jesus’ actions and miracles.  There aren’t many quotes of his teaching or recounting of parables. After all, a servant is known by his actions, not how good a servant he claims to be!

            A servant is someone who will deliberately, voluntarily, sacrificially and joyfully give up their own goals in order to help someone else meet their goals.  Mark shows Jesus doing just this.  In life He served God by obeying Him in all He wanted, and in death He served Him by giving up His own life to redeem us. 

I. SEPARATION OF THE SERVANT  (1:1-13)   Mark starts with John the Baptizer (1:1-8).  There is no mention of Jesus’ birth, parents, etc.  After all, the background of a slave isn’t important.  Also, Mark’s Gentile readers weren’t as interested in that sort of thing as Matthew’s Jewish readers.  Jesus’ baptism shows Jesus committing Himself to serve God (1:9-11) and His resisting Satan’s temptations (1:12-13) show Him as being 100% obedient to His own Master only.  When John was arrested the focus of attention switched to Jesus.

II. SERVICE OF THE SERVANT (1:14 – 10:52)  Usually a servant/slave doesn’t have servants/slaves, but Jesus did (1:14-20).  He called disciples to follow Him to become servants like Him.  Mark then lists a series of miracles to show that, while being a servant, Jesus was also God and could therefore call servants (1:21 – 3:12).  The majority rejected this, but some believed.  Those that did were with Him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to learn how to be servants from Him (3:13-35).  Jesus taught them using stories (parables), showing them the importance of serving God (4:1-34). 

            Next Mark shows how this Servant was sovereign over nature, demons, sickness, death, rejection and physical ailments (4:35-9:1).  There are a few words of His quoted at this point, His teachings about His glory, death, hell, divorce, children and eternal life (9:2 – 10:52). 

III. SACRIFICE OF THE SERVANT (11:1 – 15:47)  The true test of a servant is His submission.  Jesus doesn’t ask His followers to do anything He wasn’t willing to do – and He did the worst of all.  After showing Himself to be King (11:1-11) and being rejected, He went on to teach His followers how to live like a servant after He was gone (11:12 – 13:37).  A few did recognize Who He really was, and commit themselves to a lifetime of service to Him (14:1-9).  However one of His closest followers betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver – the price of a slave (14:10-11).  Still, Jesus was submissive to His Master’s will.  He instituted the Last Supper, showing that it was His free will choice to go through with the crucifixion (14:2-52).  He also submitted to His arrest and unfair trials, which culminated in His crucifixion (14:53 – 15:47). 

IV. SOVEREIGNTY OF THE SERVANT (16:1-20)  That seemed to be the end of the suffering Servant – but it wasn’t so!  The suffering was done, but not His service.  He came back to life (16:1-8).  Mark has very little to say about the resurrection and time after, just enough to let his readers know that it happened.  He is no longer a servant, His followers are to now take over His servant chores on earth. 

            Do you see Jesus as a servant?  Do you see Him as YOUR servant, Who died for you?  Since He did that for us, He has the right to ask us to lay down OUR lives for Him, to die for Him by living for Him each moment of each day.  He continues to serve us by interceding for us, helping and protecting us, providing for our needs and keeping us safe from Satan’s destruction.  He needs us to serve Him by serving each other in this life.  Since He is no longer here to do it, He wants it done through us.  Remember, everyone serves someone.  If it isn’t God, it is self, sin or Satan.  Honestly, which do YOU serve?  Which do your actions say you serve?  How good a servant are you?  What can you do to improve your service now? 

 

TITLE: Named after the author

AUTHOR:  Mark, young friend of Paul

DATE of WRITING:  About 50 AD

PLACE of  WRITING: Rome

TIME COVERED:  Ministry of Jesus

RECIPIENTS:  Gentiles

KEY VERSE: For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his

life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

KEY WORD:   “Straightway” (40 times in KJV; “right away” “at once” in NIV); “Multitude” (17 x)

PURPOSE: Short account of Peter’s preaching (gospel tract) to distribute

THEME:. Show Christ as the perfect and absolutely faithful servant

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 

           


 

LUKE

 

If you can, read the whole book of LUKE this week.

Monday

 

Tuesday

 

Wednesday

 

Thursday

 

Friday

 

Saturday

 

MONDAY

READ: Luke, Son of Man, article (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why did God inspire Dr. Luke to focus on the human side of

Jesus?

            List several reasons why it is important to see Jesus as human?

            What difference does it make to you that Jesus knows just what you go through?

 

PRAY:  Thank God for becoming a human being like you.

            Talk to Him about some of the human struggles you face – He went through them, too.

            Ask Him to help you face those struggles as He Himself faced them.

 

TUESDAY

READ:Luke 1:26-38

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why did God choose to come to earth as a baby, why not save time and trouble and

come as a fully grown man?

            Why didn’t God tell Joseph first, or Mary and Joseph together about the coming baby?

            Why did the angel tell Mary to not be afraid?

            Zechariah questioned the angel and was struck dumb for unbelief (Luke 1:18).  Mary

questioned the angel but got a serious answer (Luke 1:34).  Why the difference?

            Read and ponder Mary’s response in verse 38.  What is so special about it?

 

PRAY:  Tell God that you are His unconditional servant no matter what He wants from you.

            Think for awhile of all Jesus went through as a baby, toddler, child, preteen, teenager, etc. 

How does that help you know Him better?  How does it help Him know you better?

            Thank Him for doing all that for you.

 

WEDNESDAY

READ:Luke 4:1-13

 

THINK ABOUT:  As a human being Jesus was tempted.  Why did God allow Him to be tempted?

            What temptations did He face and how are they similar to temptations you face?

            How did He overcome the temptation?  What did He do each time He was tempted?

            What lessons can you learn from how Jesus faced His temptations?

            What are some specific Bible verses you can use against temptations you’ll face today?

 

PRAY:  Thank Jesus for His example in how to face temptation.

            Ask Him to help you remember His example when tempted.

            Since no one is exempt from temptation, think about ways you may be tempted today and how

you can overcome the temptations.  What can you do now to help overcome the

temptation when it does come?

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

THURSDAY

 

READ:Luke 7:11-17

 

THINK ABOUT:   Why do you think Jesus brought this boy back to life?  Surely He passed other

funerals but didn’t bring everyone back to life?  Why now?

            What does it mean “His heart went out to her” (verse 13)?

            Let your heart go out to those in need today, it’ll make you more like Jesus.

            When Jesus looks at you now, what causes His heart to go out to you?

            How does it make you feel to know He cares about you that much?

            Do you reject or deny God’s love by saying you aren’t worthy?

 

PRAY:   Confess your sin of rejecting His love and ask Him to reveal His love in a special way.

            Ask God to put some who are hurting in your path today so your heart can go out to them.

            Sit quietly and let God love you, feel His tender heart toward you, don’t reject it but welcome it

and thank Him for it.

 

FRIDAY

 

READ: Luke 22:54-62

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why do you think Peter followed Jesus even though Jesus told them to flee and

hide?

            If Peter wanted to be near Jesus, why did he deny knowing Him, even to a servant girl?

            When is the last time you denied Jesus because you were afraid?  It may have been

something you said or did, or something you didn’t say or do even though you knew you should.

            Why did Peter weep bitterly?

            How do you respond when you aren’t faithful to Jesus?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to forgive you for times you haven’t been faithful to Him

            Is there any way you are currently denying Him or what He wants from you?

Pray that He would make you alert to little ways you deny Him and what He stands for.

           

SATURDAY

 

READ:Luke 24:36-49

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why were the disciples startled to see Jesus even though He said He’d return?

            What promises of His do you have a hard time believing?  Why?

            How do you think the fact of Jesus’ resurrection changed their life? 

How has it changed your life?

 

PRAY:  Thank Jesus for conquering death and coming back to life for you.

            Tell Him you believe His promises, even the ones you struggle with.

            Ask Him to impact your life today with the reality of His death and resurrection.s

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.


LUKE:JESUS the MAN

 

            Hundreds of names are used for Jesus in the Bible, but the one He chose for Himself was “Son of Man.”  It’s used 27 times in Luke.  If Jesus would have called Himself “Messiah” then people would have thought He was claiming to be a military leader who had come to lead a revolt against Rome, for that is what the people thought the Messiah would do. 

LUKE WROTE TO SHOW ON JESUS THE MAN The title “Son of Man” comes from Daniel’s vision of God the Son coming to reveal future events to him (Daniel 7:13; 8:17).   Using it is an obvious claim to deity, but also a term of identification with man.  “Son of,” in Jewish idiom, doesn’t mean inferior or lesser.  Rather it means ‘related to, part of, extension of.’  Thus when Jesus used this, and Luke focused his gospel around it, the focus was not on the connection with God in Daniel but with Jesus’ identification with man: “Son of Man.”  The Messiah was to be God and man.  While John focuses on Jesus as God, Luke focuses on Him as a man. 

            Luke was certainly the person to write about the human side of Jesus.  As a doctor he was very attuned to the physical aspect of people.  As a scientist, Luke approaches his subject in a very scholarly, objective way.  The miracles he includes are those of healing, and he is quite specific in his descriptions. 

            The fullest account of Jesus’ birth, childhood and home life is in Luke’s gospel.  He shows Jesus’ human side and feelings.  Social contacts and human relationships are emphasized.  His prayer life is emphasized.  His interest in downtrodden and needy individuals is clearly shown as well.  This is the longest book in the New Testament.

I. COMING OF THE SON OF MAN  (1:1-4:13)  Luke gives the most complete and detailed account of Jesus’ human beginnings: birth and childhood (1:1 – 2:59).  By being baptized He was identifying with humanity, calling man to repent from sin (3:1-22).  While Matthew includes Jesus’ royal/kingly genealogy, Luke records His human descent through Mary, all the way from Adam (3:23-38).  His temptation by Satan showed He was subject to temptation as a man: hunger, pain, loneliness, pride, etc.  He withstood the temptations as a man (4:1-13). 

II. CAREER OF THE SON OF MAN (4:14 – 9:50)  Jesus’ first claims to being the Messiah were made in Nazareth, but the people there, who watched Him grow up, could only see Him as a man, not as God and man (4:14-30).  To prove He was no ordinary man Jesus performed miracles to show His authority.  He had power over demons, disease, disciples, defilement and deformity (4:31 – 6:11). 

            Jesus, by living His message, was attracting a strong group of followers, men and women who wanted to live their lives like Him.  This is one reason He became a man: to show us how to live life on earth (6:12-49).  As a man He cared about other people and showed His compassion by healing and feeding them (7:1 – 9:50).  Then He was Transfigured to show He was more than a mere man. 

III. CONFLICT OF THE SON OF MAN  (9:51 – 19:27  While people were quick to take the healing and free food Jesus provided, they didn’t want to follow His life style (9:51 – 11:54).  To the ones who did, He taught them how to live as God wanted them to (12:1 – 19:27).  He warned against hypocrisy, taught about love and salvation, even warned about His coming death.

IV. CRUCIFIXION OF THE SON OF MAN (19:28 – 23:56)  His death is just what happened next.  When He presented Himself as the God-man Messiah most rejected.  Weeping loudly because His heart was breaking over what rejection would mean to Jerusalem, He showed He knows what we feel and go through (19:28-44).  He showed other emotions, too – like anger when He cleaned out the temple (19:45-48).  He showed need of human companionship when lonely at the Lord’s Supper (22:7-38).  In Gethsemane He emotional pain (22:39-46), as He did when mocked during His unfair trials (22:47-53).  Peter’s denial hurt, too (22:54-62).  He experienced extreme physical pain when they beat and crucified Him (22:63 – 23:49).  He died as a man and was buried (23:50-56).

V. CLIMAX OF THE SON OF MAN (24:1-53)  But that wasn’t the end of it.  He came alive physically again, showing that will happen to all who follow Him (24:1-49).  It was a new, resurrection body He had that replaced His earthly, human body. 

            How does it make you feel to think about Jesus as a man: humbling Himself to be one of us because He loved us, setting an example for us to follow, showing us God’s perfect standard for us to follow, and paying for our sins on the cross?  He knows what we go through when we are tempted, lonely, angry, in pain or stressed out.  He understands.  He’s been there.  God to Him and He’ll understand.

 

TITLE: Named after the author

AUTHOR:  Luke, a Gentile doctor

DATE of WRITING:  About 60 AD

PLACE of  WRITING: Rome

TIME COVERED:  Life of Christ

RECIPIENTS:  Theophilus, then everyone

KEY VERSE: For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

KEY WORD:   “Son of Man” (26 times)

PURPOSE: To confirm Theophilus’ faith by basing it on historical facts about Jesus (1:3-4). 

Then to present Jesus as the Son of Man (humanity of Jesus is emphasized) Whom Israel rejected (which opened the door for Gentiles to enter).

THEME: Give an accurate record of Jesus as the perfect God-man.

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 

 

 

 

 


JOHN

 

If you can, read the whole book of JOHN this week

Monday

John 1-4

Tuesday

John 5-8

Wednesday

John 9-12

Thursday

John 13-15

Friday

John 16-18

Saturday

John 19-21

MONDAY

READ: Mathew, article (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:  What difference would it have made if Jesus were just a

great man but not God?

What qualifications did John have to confidently declare that Jesus was God?

How could Jesus be both 100% man as well as 100% God?

If Jesus really was God, why would He leave everything to go through what He did?

Do you totally believe Jesus is God?  What difference should that make in your life today?

 

PRAY:  Thank God for leaving heaven to come to earth as a man and also as God.

Thank God for all the traits you love about Him as God.

Spend some time worshipping Him as the God of the universe.

           

TUESDAY

READ:John 1:1-14

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why was Jesus called the ‘Word’ instead of Jesus? In what was Jesus the ‘Word’?

Why was Jesus called the ‘Light’?  What is similar between light and Jesus?

How did the world respond to the Word coming to them?

What does He promise for His people in this passage?

How does this passage tell us that we become one of His children?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to reveal His truth to you through the Word.  Silently sit and listen to Him.

Ask God to guide your way with His light this day.  Silently sit and look for His direction.

Ask God to reveal His glory to you through Jesus as you silently sit and think about Him.

 

WEDNESDAY

READ:John 2:1-11

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why do you think Jesus was hesitant to get involved?  Why did He anyway?

What did Jesus mean “my time has not yet come”?

Why didn’t Jesus want to take credit for the miracle?

How did His disciples respond to this miracle?

When God does something special in you or through you, are you careful to give God all the credit?

 

PRAY:  Has anything happened in your life that could be called a real miracle?  Thank God for it.

Pray God would give you a humble, servant spirit like Jesus has.

Thank God for the ways He has served you through the years, ways you aren’t aware of.

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

THURSDAY

 

READ:John 3:1-21

 

THINK ABOUT:   Why do you think Nicodemus came to Jesus?  What might have been different

when he left?

What does the figure of speech ‘born again’ refer to?  What is the parallel in nature?  Why does Jesus use this as a picture of salvation?

In what way is the serpent in the wilderness a picture of belief?

When will those who don’t believe be condemned (verse18)?

Why do many people prefer darkness over light (verse 19-20)?

 

PRAY:   Thank God for the light He has sent into your life and ask Him to help you follow it this day.

Ask Him to help you live by the truth and to continue to walk in the light.

Think of those you will come in contact with today who don’t life by the truth but live in

darkness.  Pray for God to open their eyes to His truth.  Ask Him to give you opportunities to share His love and light with them this day.

 

FRIDAY

 

READ:John 4:4-30

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why did Jesus ‘have to” go through Samaria on His way home?

List several proofs from this passage that Jesus is God.

What made the great change in the woman?

When you talk to her in heaven, what questions would you like to ask her?

 

PRAY:  The woman had to face the sin in her life to move ahead with Jesus.  If there is any sin in

your life stop and confess it, putting it under the blood of Jesus.

Remember when Jesus went out of His way to meet you and your needs.  Thank Him for it.

List all the ways your life has changed because of Him and thank you for each one of them.

Ask God to give you opportunities today to tell others what Jesus did for you, just like the

woman did.

 

SATURDAY

 

READ:John 10:1-18

 

THINK ABOUT:  What are some of the similarities between this shepherd and Jesus?

What are the dangers the sheep face and how does shepherd Jesus take care of them?

Contrast Jesus the good shepherd with Satan and those who would seek to destroy us.

Write down several promises from this passage that you can use in your daily life.

 

PRAY:  Thank God for these promises and pray them one by one, asking Him to bring them about in

your life this day.

If there are any ways you haven’t been obedient to your shepherd Jesus confess them and ask

Him to forgive them.

Commit to thinking of yourself as a sheep and Jesus as your shepherd all day today.

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.

 


JOHN: JESUS the SON of GOD

 

            Years after Matthew wrote to Jews to show Jesus as the Messiah, Mark to Gentiles to show Jesus as man and Luke wrote to show Jesus as a man, John wrote and added information that wasn’t covered by the others.  If he hadn’t done this our knowledge about Jesus’ earthly life would be much weaker, both in quantity and quality. 

 

JOHN WROTE TO SHOW JESUS AS GOD  John was the perfect one to write a Gospel, for he was one of the inner three, and perhaps the closest on to Jesus on earth, for he was called “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”  Knowing everyone would recognize John in that description means they must have been VERY close.  Thus John could provide a unique perspective on Jesus’ life.  Matthew, Mark and Luke are called synoptic gospels because they contain roughly the same material.  John, however, contains 92% new material.  John’s focus is on showing that Jesus is God.  Six times He is called the “Son of Man.”

 

I. DEITY OF THE SON OF GOD  (1:1-18)  John starts with the divine genealogy of Jesus, showing He was always God and was with God before the world was created.  In fact, John says He created the world, then became man to reach us with God’s message and die for our sin.  Luke shows Jesus’ humanity (“Son of Man”) and John shows His deity (“Son of God”).  These opening verses give a summary of the whole book.  He then expands and fills in details showing that Jesus was indeed God.

 

II. DEBATE WITH THE SON OF GOD  (1:19 – 12:50)  Jesus was shown to be God by John the Baptizer (1:19-51) and His own miracles, such as turning water to wine (2:1-11) and cleansing the temple (2:12-25).  He revealed Himself to Nicodemus (3:1-21), a Samaritan Woman (4:1-42), and a Nobleman in Capernaum (4:43-45). 

            Not everyone believed His claims to deity, though.  Despite miracles the religious rulers disbelieved (5:1-47).  When the masses found He wasn’t there to wait on their needs they, too, turned (6:1-71).  John then shows a series of debates between Jesus and the religious rulers (7:1 – 12:11), all showing in various ways that Jesus was God.  This section culminates in Jesus’ triumphal entry (12:12-50) with His claim to be the God-man Messiah.

 

III. DECREES OF THE SON OF GOD (13:1 – 17:26)  John uses about half of his gospel to detail information about Jesus’ death and resurrection.  He starts with a detailed account of Jesus’ teachings during His final meal on earth (13:1 – 16:33).  He foretold the future and just what would happen, then He prayed for His followers (17:1-20) as He still prays for us.

 

IV. DENIAL OF THE SON OF GOD  (18:1 – 19:42)  Although He had power to resist, Jesus allowed the authorities to arrest Him (18:1-11) and put Him through a series of degrading trials (18:12 – 19:16), culminating with His death on the cross (19:17-42).  Even that showed His deity in that He paid for our sins and conquered sin and death.

 

V. DESTINY OF THE SON OF GOD (20:1 – 21:25)  The ultimate proof that Jesus is God, of course, is His resurrection (20:1 – 21:25).  That shows completely and finally who He is.

            It’s been said that Jesus is either Lord, Lunatic of Liar.  Having claimed so often to be God there is no way He could be just a good teacher and fine example.  If someone over and over claims to be God, always have existed and be able to forgive sin, He is either crazy (lunatic), lying (liar) or Who He claims to be (Lord).  What is your choice?

TITLE: Named after the author

AUTHOR:  John, beloved disciple of Jesus

DATE of WRITING:  About 80 – 90 AD

PLACE of  WRITING: Ephesus

TIME COVERED:  Life of Jesus

RECIPIENTS:  Believers

KEY VERSE: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever

believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3:16)

KEY WORD:   “Father” (121); “World” (78); “Believe” (98), “Love” (57); “Life” (52); “Son” (42)

PURPOSE:  Add a written account of Jesus’ life including information Matthew, Mark and Luke

didn’t include.

THEME: To show Jesus is God, Savior of the world.

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 

 


MT, MK, LK, JN: Compared & Contrasted

 

            Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Their names are very familiar to us.  They fit together in our minds, in that precise order.  We are so familiar with them that we take them for granted.  But why wasn’t it Philip, Peter and Paul?  Or just Andrew?  Why four gospels?  Why these four?  Why a New Testament at all?  It’s important to know the answer to these questions to be able to correctly interpret the Gospels.  The answers are quite interesting.

WHY A NEW TESTAMENT?  From God’s viewpoint the New Testament was to complete the incomplete revelation of the Old (Heb 1:1-2; Jer 31:31-34; Mal 3:1), to show the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies (Lk 4:21: Jn 13:18; 17:12; Acts 1:16), to fully present the way of salvation (Jn 20:31) and to give all needed information for God’s people to live for Him (Jn 4:25; 17:8; 16:12-13; Mt 16:18; Eph 5:23-32).  From man’s viewpoint it was written to have a clear and accurate record of Jesus’ life on earth.  The eye-witnesses were dying off and heresies were growing and spreading false teachings.  Plus, Christianity was spreading and expanding, and the best way to carry the truth to faraway places was in written form.

WHY THE GOSPELS FIRST?  The Old Testament shows the promises and prophecies of a coming Redeemer and why He is needed.  The Gospels show that Jesus fulfilled those prophecies and met man’s need.  Acts shows the results of the Messiah’s coming.  The Epistles add further teaching about the Messiah’s work and its results as well as how that applies to our daily lives.  The book of Revelation shows the final culmination of all things, when all prophecies are totally and completely fulfilled with God Himself on David’s throne.

WHY MORE THAN ONE GOSPEL?  Various men viewed Jesus from different perspectives.  They wrote to vastly differing audiences.  Several writers help to confirm what the others say, and shed light on each other’s accounts.

WHY FOUR GOSPELS?  The Law required the testimony of 2 witnesses (Dt 19:15; Mt 18:16).  For something this important twice the number of witnesses is given.  Also, the number four in the Bible and to the Jews stands for earthly completeness: four season’s directions on a compass, walls in a building, phases of the moon, etc.  Together Matthew, Mark, Luke and John show the completeness of Jesus’ life on earth. 

WHY THESE FOUR GOSPELS? Actually  several other gospels were written to help spread the message of Jesus, but aren’t included in the New Testament.  The four that are included were the ones God Himself chose.  He inspired them and kept them perfect for us.

WHICH GOSPEL WAS WRITTEN FIRST?  Most scholars agree that Mark wrote first, recording Peter’s message in tract form.  About 10 years later, in the 60’s, Matthew and Luke wrote.  They had Mark’s gospel and elaborated on much of what he wrote.  Then, 20 years later, John supplemented what they wrote by adding much new material focusing on the deity of Jesus.

WHO DO MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE AND JOHN COMPARE?  Matthew, Mark and Luke are called ‘synoptic’ gospels because so much in them is ‘synonymous’ (similar) material.  They all cover virtually the same events.  John, however, includes almost all (92%) new material which they didn’t cover.  The synoptic focus on Jesus’ outer life, giving facts about Him as a person.  John goes deeper inside and focuses on showing Jesus as God.  Matthew’s focus in Jesus as the prophesied, mighty King.  Mark shows Him as the obedient, lowly Servant.  Luke pictures Him as the perfect, ideal Man.  Matthew wrote to convince the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah (1:1; 23:37-39), Mark to spread the gospel among Gentiles (10:45), Luke to give an accurate history of His earthly life (10:10) and John to help believers to grow by trusting in Jesus’ power as God (3:16).

WHY DOES MATTHEW COME FIRST?  Since Mark was written first, why is Matthew put first?  Thematically Matthew links the Old Testament with the New Testament by showing that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled the prophecies and is, indeed, the promised Messiah.  Mark moves away from Judaism, but not completely.  Luke presents Christ as the Savior of the Gentiles.  John then concludes with a strong, clear declaration that Jesus is in essence God, the Savior of all mankind. 

SPECIFICALLY HOW DOES THIS APPLY?  The Triumphal Entry is one of the very few events in the life of Jesus that is included in all four Gospels.  It was so important and so pivotal that each had to include it.  We can use it as an example of their various perspectives and purposes.  This shows why understanding the differences in the gospels is so important.

            Matthew gives it 15 verses (21:1-11, 14-17), Mark 11 verses (11:1-11), Luke 16 verses (19:29-44) and John 8 verses (12:12-19). Mark wrote first, a short account showing Jesus as a humble servant who makes Himself available but doesn’t shove Himself on Israel.  Matthew, who adds more details to Mark’s story, structures his account around three prophecies which Christ then fulfilled (Zech 9:9; Ps 118:26; 8:2), quoting them and showing his Jewish readers how this further proves Jesus is the Messiah.  Luke also builds on Mark’s account.  Doctor Luke focuses on Jesus as a man, a human being like us, but a man who was also God.  He records that Jesus wept (41) as a man but also prophesied the future (43) as God.  Only Luke records the religious rulers challenging Jesus the man to stop His disciples (39) as well as Jesus’ response that if they are silent the stones will cry out (40) because they are proclaiming Him Messiah – God and man in one.  John, writing last, doesn’t repeat the details that the others have already recorded but, in accordance with his theme, shows Jesus is God.  He refers to His resurrection (16) and miraculous signs He had been doing (18).

            Thus it is important to understand the history of the writing of the four gospels to accurately interpret them.  It is true that ALL Scripture is inspired and important for us (II Tim 3:16).  God’s Word is so special, so important, so precise, so wonderful and so life-giving that we must immerse ourselves in it all we can.  Spend some time in the Bible today.

 

 

 


ACTS

 

If you can, read the whole book of ACTS this week.

Monday

Acts 1-5

Tuesday

Acts 6-10

Wednesday

Acts 11-15

Thursday

Acts 16-20

Friday

Acts 21-24

Saturday

Acts 25-28

MONDAY

READ: Acts article (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why did God want to continue the story of the early church after Jesus ascended?

            Why is the church so important to God?

            Man has been spreading the Gospel from the time of Jesus, generation to generation.  Who

                        shared the gospel with you?  Who have you shared it with?

            Why do you think God chose Luke to write the account of the early church?

 

PRAY:  Thank God for the person who shared the gospel with you.  Pray for that person.

            Think of those you have shared the gospel with but rejected.  Pray for each one of them.

            Think of those you have shared the gospel with who have accepted.  Pray for each one.

            Ask God to bring someone into your life today with whom you can share the gospel.

 

TUESDAY

READ:Acts 2:1-4, 42-47

 

THINK ABOUT:  What are some of the characteristics of the early church?

            How does the early church compare to the church today?

            Why was it so important for them to wait for the Holy Spirit?

            Name some of the specific ways the Holy Spirit has been working in your heart.

 

PRAY:  Ask God to make you more aware of the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.

            Sit quietly and listen to God’s Spirit speak to your heart and mind.

            Ask God to show you how you can minister to those around you as the early church did.

 

WEDNESDAY

READ: Acts 7:54 – 8:3

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why did people so hate Stephen that they killed him?

            How do you respond when people reject you and your faith?

            What is the worst persecution you ever received?

Why does the passage keep mentioning Paul’s (Saul) role in this?

 

PRAY:  Respond as Stephen did and pray for those who persecuted you for your faith.

            Ask God to give you patience and love for those who reject Him and take it out on you.

            Think of someone who is rejecting the gospel and pray for them by name.

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

THURSDAY

 

READ: Acts 9:1-6 

 

THINK ABOUT:   Why did God go out of His way to save the church’s worst enemy?

            What did God do to get Paul’s attention and reveal Himself to Paul?

            What did God do to get your attention when He was revealing Himself to you?

            Put yourself in Paul’s place when he realized he was talking to Jesus Himself!

 

PRAY:   God had mercy on Paul despite how Paul treated His people.  Is there any enemy of the

gospel that you should be showing mercy to in Jesus’ name?

            In what ways does God reveal Himself to you today?  How do you respond?

            List as many ways as your can in which God showed you mercy.  Thank Him for each one.

 

 

FRIDAY

 

READ:Acts 10:9-18

 

THINK ABOUT:  What lesson was God trying to teach Peter by doing this?

            Why do you think He used this method of conveying this truth?

            Why was Peter so resistant, why did he argue with God?

            How would your life be different if God hadn’t allowed Gentiles into the kingdom?

 

PRAY:  Is there any lesson God is trying to teach you which you are resisting?  Ask God.

            Ask God to forgive you if you are rejecting anyone, thinking of them as too bad for God.

            Thank Him for allowing you as a Gentile to have salvation without becoming a Jew?

 

 

SATURDAY

 

READ:Acts 13:1-3; 15:36; 18:23

 

THINK ABOUT:  Did Paul decide he wanted to travel and start churches or was it something God put

in his heart and called him to do?

            Why did God want Paul to travel and start churches in other countries?

            What is God calling you to do for Him?

 

PRAY:  Spend some time listening to God tell you what He wants you to do for Him.

            Ask Him to show you what you can do about this today.

            Praise Him for His plan for offering salvation to anyone who opens their heart.

Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.

 

 


ACTS: EARLY CHURCH

 

            The Old Testament shows our need of a Redeemer and God’s promise to send One.  The Gospels show how that was fulfilled in Jesus.  The book of Acts picks up the story after Jesus’ ascension back to heaven (1:1-26).  It shows how a handful of believers, filled with the Holy Spirit, started the church and spread God’s message to the world.  The epistles are letters written to churches and individuals during the time of Acts.  Revelation shows the final fulfillment of all the ages. 

LUKE THE WRITER  Luke wrote both Luke and Acts.  While Paul wrote the most books in the New Testament, 13, and John was next with 5, Luke wrote the most pages.  His book called Acts was a follow-up to his Gospel of Luke.  It is a historical book, a transitional book.  It is not a theology for us to apply in every detail, but it is an accurate historical record of the transition from Law to Grace, from Israel to Church, from Jew and Gentile to Bride of Christ.  Any transition takes time and goes through various stages.  This was true of the early church, too. 

 

chapter

1-7

8-12

13-28

 

area

JERUSALEM

JUDEA – SAMARIA

ENDS OF THE EARTH

 

people

JEWS

SAMARITANS

GENTILES

 

men

PETER

PHILIP (Peter/Paul)

PAUL

 

church

ESTABLISHMENT

EXTENSION

EXPANSION

 

time

2 YRS (33-35)

13 YRS (35-48)

14 YRS (48-62)

 

 

 

Missionary Jour

1MJ

2MJ

3MJ

Rome1

Trip

Rome

 

 

Chapters

13-14

16-18

19-20

21-28

 

 

 

 

 

Years

1 ½

2 ½

4

5

5

1

Books

 

James

Mark

Gal.

IThes

IIThes

I Cor

II Cor

Rom

Eph

Col

Phile

Phili

Acts

ITim

Titu

Mt

Lk

I Pt

II Pt

II Tim

Heb

Jud

Jn

I Jn

II Jn

III Jn

Rev

            The book follows the outline laid down in 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

I. “JERUSALEM” (1-7)  In the first section of Acts the focus is on Jerusalem.  Peter leads the early church.   The account is picked up with the ascension of Jesus to heaven (1).  The start of the early church in Jerusalem is recorded – Pentecost (2).  Events of the young church are then listed: a cripple cured (3), Peter and John arrested and released (4), Ananias and Saphira killed for deception (5), 7 deacons chosen to help with the work load (6) and the death of Stephen (7). 

II. “JUDEA & SAMARIA”  (8-12)   God used this first wave of persecution against the Christians in Jerusalem to cause them to scatter with the gospel.  They should have done this before but didn’t, now they must.  Philip’s preaching in Samaria and to the Ethiopian eunuch, (8), Paul’s conversion (9), and Peter’s evangelism of the Gentile Cornelius and his household (10-11) comprise the historical elements.  The church has gone from Jews in Jerusalem to Jews and Gentiles throughout Palestine. 

III. “ENDS OF THE EARTH” (13-28)  In this third section the focus shifts to Paul and his missionary journeys – 3 of them (13 – 20). Paul was the one to take the gospel to Gentiles and start churches in Asia Minor and even into Europe itself.   The book ends with Paul’s arrest and trip to Rome for trial (21-28).  After his release he continued to travel, then was martyred in Rome. 

            Now it’s our turn to take the gospel and spread it.  Like in a relay race, each one has his turn to do his part.  Now is your turn as part of this generation.  Don’t drop the baton!

TITLE: After the ACTions of the Holy Spirit

AUTHOR:  Luke

DATE of WRITING:  About 63 AD

PLACE of  WRITING: Various places

TIME COVERED:  AD 30 – 60

RECIPIENTS:  Theophilus, then everyone

KEY VERSE: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

KEY WORD:  “Holy Spirit” (54 times); “name” (33 times), “witness” (12 times)

PURPOSE:  The Gospels contain the facts of Jesus’ earthly life.  Acts continues the story about

the start of the early church and sets the background for understanding the epistles.

THEME:  To continue the record of the works (‘acts”) of the risen Lord. 

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 


ROMANS

 

If you can, read the whole book of ROMANS this week.

Monday

Romans 1-3

Tuesday

Romans 4-6

Wednesday

Romans 7-9

Thursday

Romans 10-11

 

Friday

Romans 12-13

Saturday

Romans 14-15

MONDAY

READ: Romans, Salvation (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:  What makes Romans such a special book?

            Why does “the righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16-

17) summarize the whole book of Romans?

            Romans 8:28 is one of the best know verses in the book.

                        How does it apply to what is happening in your life?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to give you an appetite and desire to read

Romans this week – and to grow because of it.

            Pray that god would help you arrange priorities so you make time to read this special book.

            Thank Him that Roman 8:28 is true in your life.

 

 

TUESDAY

READ:Romans 3:9-20

 

THINK ABOUT:  What do these verses say about the condition of the human race?

            What are some of the specific sins that are pointed out?  Are you guilty of any of these?

            Why does Paul try so hard to show man’s sinfulness, why not just talk about redemption?

 

PRAY:  Think about some of the sin areas you struggle with most and ask God for grace.

            Sit and think about God’s great love which is so much greater than our sin.  Thank Him.

            Ask Him to remind you before you sin today so you can seek His help in turning from it.

 

 

WEDNESDAY

READ:Romans 3:21-31

 

THINK ABOUT:  ‘But’ is one of the most important words in this passage.  What is the contrast

between the previous verses and these?

Summarize what God’s solution to the sin question is as described here.

What are some of the benefits for us as mentioned in this passage?

 

 

PRAY:  Thank God for all He has done for you through salvation in Jesus.

            Paul says there is nothing to boast about on our part of it is all from Him so thank Him,

                        Praise and worship Him to give Him the credit and the glory for it.

            Think of those you know who are still in their sin and ask God to show you how you can

                        help show His love and grace to them.

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

 

THURSDAY

 

READ:Romans 5:1-11

 

THINK ABOUT:   Paul lists several of the privileges that are ours as believers.  Make a list of as

many as you can find.  You can use the Personal Notes and Observations page.

            Which ones haven’t you been aware of?

            Which ones mean the most to you personally?

            What should our response be to such a God as this?

 

PRAY:   Thank God for each blessing on the list one by one.  Think of each one as a special gift.

            Ask God to help you appreciate and use these benefits He has given you.

            Commit yourself to love and serve Him in response for what He has done for you.

 

 

FRIDAY

 

READ: Romans 5:12-21 

 

THINK ABOUT:  Make 2 columns on the Personal Notes page.  Label one Adam and the other

Christ.  From this passage write down as many contrasts between the 2 as you can find or think of.

            Why did God come to earth as Jesus to undo what Adam had done?

 

PRAY:  Think of each instance of God’s grace in your life and thank God for it.

Write down the names of 3 people you know who are still on the Adam side of the column.  Pray for their salvation every day and every time you think of them.

           

 

SATURDAY

 

READ:Romans 8:28-39

 

THINK ABOUT:  On the Personal Notes and Observations page in this notebook list as many

promises as you can from this passage.  Go slowly and look carefully.

            These are excellent verse to memorize.  Write out one or 2 of them on a small piece of paper

to carry with you and read over and over until you memorize it.

 

PRAY:  Thank God for each of these promises.

            Look at the promises and meditate over where you can use various ones in your life.

            Sit quietly and listen to God use these truths to speak peace to your spirit.

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.

 

 


ROMANS: SALVATION

 

            Every preacher’s dream is to have one time in his life when he can say whatever he wants with no time limit and no interruptions.  Perhaps that’s why so many of us dream of writing a book.  Most of us will have to wait until heaven, though, for the chance to preach and teach without a time limit.  Few of us get that chance on earth.  Paul is one of the fortunate ones.  He was known to preach all night long, but he still had time constraints.  He started in Athens giving his total overall teaching of salvation and the Christian life, but he didn’t get to finish.  Finally in writing to the Romans he was able to say it all!

 

THE GREATNESS OF ROMANS  Romans is perhaps the finest book in the New Testament.  Many would say that if they had to pick just one book of the Bible to keep and use it would be the book or Romans.  It has led to more great revivals than any other book and, because of its breadth and scope, stands head and shoulders about other books.  Paul’s other writings were to address specific problems or doctrinal issues.  In Romans he is free to choose his topic, and he chose salvation and its results in our life.  There is no greater topic to be had.

 

LIVING BY FAITH   Paul starts off stating his theme in 1:16-17: “The righteous shall live by faith.”  This is actually quoted from Habakkuk and led to Martin Luther’s conversion and the Reformation.  It is actually a play on words in the Aramaic by Paul.  First is says that those who become justified shall have eternal life by faith, accepting God’s free gift of salvation.  That is expanded in Romans 1-4.  Then he also says that those who have become justified by faith shall live their daily lives by that same faith.  This is expanded in Romans 5-15.  This not only summarizes the book but our own lives.

 

I. SIN – guilt of all (1:18 – 3:20)  Before showing the solution, Paul shows the problem – sin.  Those without God’s revelation (Gentiles) are guilty of sin.  Those with God’s revelation (Jews) are also guilty of sin.  In fact, ALL are guilty and condemned.

II. SALVATION – provision for all (3:21 – 5:21)  God provided for our sins in the person of Jesus Christ (3:21-31).  It is up to us to freely accept this gift of salvation by faith (4:1-25).  When we do we have all the blessings and benefits of salvation (5:1-11).  This is all freely given in Jesus (5:12-21).  However the book doesn’t end here. Salvation is just the start, then comes the command to live for Jesus. 

 

III. SANCTIFICATION – provision for all believers (6:1 – 8:39)  After salvation we must life a holy life unto God.  Our sin has been paid for an removed, so in actual practice we are to not live in sin (6:1-23).  We are freed from the power of sin to control us.  Grace is not an excuse to sin.  We’ll never have victory over sin by trying to keep the law, for that isn’t its purpose (7:1-25).  We have freedom only in Jesus (8:1-39).  If Romans is the crown jewel of the Bible, then Romans 8 is the focal point of most beauty in this whole jewel.  It is certainly a chapter well worth memorizing.  It shows the victory we have in Jesus.

 

IV. SOVEREIGNTY – provision for Jews & Gentiles (9:1 – 11:36)  With Gentiles now accepted by faith, what about Jews?  God sovereignly chose them through Abraham.  Even though they disobeyed and failed Him, He won’t reject them.  He may temporarily set them aside so Gentiles can come to salvation, but they will one day turn to Jesus for salvation and be restored as God’s chosen people.

 

V. SERVICE – provision for daily life (12:1 – 15:13)  Paul concludes, as he always does, by applying the doctrine he has just taught to daily life.  He changes from teacher to preacher.  He talks about our daily life (12:1-21), daily conduct (13:1-14), and daily relationships (14:1 – 15:13).  

Spend time in this most special book.  It’s a treasure mine of special promises and blessings.

TITLE: Named for the recipients

AUTHOR:  Paul

DATE of WRITING:   56 AD

PLACE of  WRITING: Corinth

RECIPIENTS:  Church at Rome

KEY VERSE::  I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.  For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”  1:16-17

KEY WORDS: “Christ” (39 times), “faith” (37 times), “justify” 17 times  

PURPOSE: To teach the basic truths of the Christian faith to a place he has long wanted to

visit but hasn’t been able to visit.

THEME: All about salvation and living the Christian life.

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 

 

 

 


 

1 CORINTHIANS

 

If you can, read the whole book of 1 CORINTHIANS this week.

Monday

1 Corinthians 1-3

Tuesday

I Corinthians 4-6

Wednesday

I Corinthians 7-9

Thursday

I Corinthians 10-12

 

Friday

I Corinthians 13-14

Saturday

I Corinthians 15-16

 

MONDAY

READ: 1 Corinthians, Worldly Wisdom, article (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why is it always true that the greatest difficulties to the

church come from within rather than without?

            How is this true today?

            What was the city of Corinth like?  How is it similar to today?

            How did each of the problem areas at Corinth relate back to their

unbiblical world view of using worldly wisdom?

            Are you influenced by the worlds thinking in any of these areas?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to help you impact the world around you for Him this

day and to not let the world put its impact on you.

            Give God time to filter your thoughts and bring to mind any that are based on the world’s value

system instead of God’s.  Confess them and replace them with God’s truth.

            Ask God to do this in your mind through the day as needed.

 

 

TUESDAY

READ: I Corinthians 3:1-4

 

THINK ABOUT:  What is Paul trying to show by equating babies who need simple food with believers

who haven’t grown spiritually?

            How much ‘solid food’ of the Bible do you understand, or are you in need of only simple things.

            What are some of the disadvantages of being spiritually immature and weak?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to show you areas where you haven’t been growing as you need to be.

            Listen to Him speak to you about your time priorities – are you spending as much time reading

and studying the Bible as God wants you to? Is there anything you should change?

            Thank Him for the Word, what you have learned, and those who have taught you.

 

 

 


WEDNESDAY

READ: I Corinthians 6:12-20

 

THINK ABOUT:  Paul gives several reasons why sexual immorality of any kind is wrong. 

List as many as you can on the Personal Observations page.

            Why is sexual immorality such a big temptation to man in every generation?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to make sure your thoughts, words and actions are all pure. 

Confess any that aren’t 100%

            Request that God bring to mind any impure thoughts as soon as you have them.  Remember

temptation isn’t sin, but if you entertain them it becomes sin and must be confessed.

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

THURSDAY

 

READ: I Corinthians 8:9,13; 9:24-27; 10:23-24,31

 

THINK ABOUT:   There are many activities that the Bible doesn’t speak to today.  Sometimes its

hard to know what we as Christians should do or not do.  This passage lists several important principles that can help us decide about questionable activates in our lives.  List as many as you can on the Personal Notes and Observations page.

            How do these help you decide what Jesus would do in various situations?

            Which of these speak most strongly to you in your present situation?

            What guidance can you glean from them to help you be more like Jesus today?

 

PRAY:   Confess any actions or behavior you have been involved with you realize is wrong.

            Ask God to help you remember these principles when they are needed in life.

 

FRIDAY

 

READ: I Corinthians 11:23-32

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why does Paul go to such extent to warn them about sin and the

        Lord’s Supper?

            Why is partaking of the Lord’s Supper with sin such a grievous offense to

        God?

 

PRAY:  There shouldn’t be sin in our lives ANY time – ask God to show you any in

your life.

            Confess it and put it under the blood of Jesus.  Accept His forgiveness.

 

SATURDAY

 

READ: I Corinthians 15:12-28

 

THINK ABOUT:  What are some consequences if Jesus never came back to life? (v. 12-19)

            What results do we enjoy because He did come back to life? (v. 20-28)

            Write down the promises we have about life after death on the Personal Observations page.

            How would your life today be different if there was no eternal life awaiting you?

 

PRAY:  Spend time praising Him and thanking Him in detail that you have eternal life.

            Do you fear dying?  Don’t fear what happens after you die.  Ask God to give you peace.

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.

 


 


 

I CORINTHIANS: WORLDLY WISDOM

 

            We generally think that the greatest danger to the church today comes from without: persecution, oppression, etc.  The real danger, however, comes not from without but from within.  We are often our own greatest enemy!  That is especially true of the church in Corinth.  They were believers, but they lived like unbelievers.  The church wasn’t influencing society.  Society was influencing the church. 

 

CORINTH  The city of Corinth was in present-day Greece.  It was Greek, but very ‘Roman’ since it was the capital of the whole area.  It was large (1/4 million people) and full of pride and pleasure.  It had a reputation for being very immoral.  To call someone a ‘Corinthian’ was a great insult.  Paul was there on his Second Missionary Journey, 50-52 AD.  When he was kicked out of the synagogue he started a church and stayed 1 ½ years.  He actually wrote 4 letters to the church there.  We have the second (called I Corinthians) and fourth (called II Corinthians) in our Bible.  Paul then visited them again for 3 months.  It was a very worldly, carnal church.  The people were believers, but their world view, their motives, their priorities and their thought processes were the same as they were before salvation.  They were living by the world’s ways and wisdom, not God’s.  That is why Paul writes to them.

 

I. DIVISIONS (1 – 4)  Because of their ungodly viewpoints and values, they were having the same problems after salvation that they hade before.  They were comparing themselves with each other and putting down those who were different.  They had groups based on who they followed: Paul, Apollos, Peter or Christ (the ‘super-spiritual’ ones claimed this).  They also divided over social status and material means.  They even made some spiritual gifts superior to others and had divisions over that.  This undermined their unity and brought other problems.

 

II.  DISORDERS (5 – 6)  In taking the world’s outlook on things they opened themselves to sins.  Incest, lawsuits against fellow believers, and immorality in general were tolerated and accepted.  Paul has to warn them and show them how they are wrong in these things.

 

III. DIFFICULTIES (7 – 14)  While only some were involved in the immorality and lawsuits, it seems everyone was affected in other ways.  By still following their beliefs and views from before salvation, they were experiencing troubles in other areas.  What about marrying someone who wasn’t a believer?  If one became a Christian and their mate didn’t, could they leave that mate?  Why not divorce when things got tough like the rest of the culture?  What was wrong with sex before marriage or sex outside marriage?   Was it OK to eat cheaper meat which had been offered to idols?  Why should a woman have to submit to her husband?  Why did a man have to take the lead in his family?  What was wrong with observing the pagan love feasts and adding the Lord’s Supper to them?  Why wasn’t one who had an impressive spiritual gift like tongues superior spiritually to one who didn’t have that gift?  What was wrong with showing off one’s gift during the church service?  On and on the list went.

 

IV. DISBELIEF (15)  The culmination of these worldly thoughts and attitudes was that the resurrection was questioned.  It didn’t make sense to think of one coming back from death.  But without the resurrection, what was left of their faith?  If Jesus never raised from the dead there is no power, no hope, no forgiveness – nothing but another belief system which is no better nor any worse than the others.  That’s where their thinking was going, and that’s why Paul was so concerted to writ to them as quickly and directly as possible. 

 

            What about you?  What about your world view, your value and belief system?  Does it line up more with the world or the Bible?  I don’t mean just what you profess to believe, I mean what you practice in daily life.  How different are you from the unbelievers around you in values and goals, in priorities and motives?  There are many modern Corinthian believers today – make sure you aren’t one of them!

TITLE: Named for recipients

AUTHOR:  Paul

DATE of WRITING:   55 AD

PLACE of  WRITING: Ephesus

RECIPIENTS:  Church at Corinth

KEY VERSE::  For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. … But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.  … But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.   14:33; 14:40; 15:57

KEY WORDS: “Wisdom, love, resurrection, cross, Spirit, body, gifts, corruption”

PURPOSE: Address certain situations of worldliness that were defeating the Corinthian church.

THEME: To correct errors in Christian conduct by going by God’s wisdom instead of man’s

worldly wisdom.

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 

 


 

 

2 CORINTHIANS

 

If you can, read the whole book of 2 CORINTHIANS this week.

Monday

2 Corinthians 1-3

Tuesday

2 Corinthians 4-5

Wednesday

2 Corinthians 6-7

Thursday

2 Corinthians 8-9

Friday

2 Corinthians 10-11

Saturday

2 Corinthians 12-13

MONDAY

READ: 2 Corinthians, A Godly Ministry, article (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:  What was Paul’s motive in writing this letter to the

Corinthian church?

            Why does Paul talk so much about himself in this book?

            Paul is writing to defend himself against charges others are bringing

against him.  What are some of those charges and how does Paul answer them?

 

PRAY:  Pray for those who criticize you or who have things against you. 

Ask God to show you how you should respond to their charges.

Pray saying you forgive them and release any right you think you

            have to see them suffer for what they did to you.

 

TUESDAY

READ:2 Corinthians 3:1-6

 

THINK ABOUT:  Paul uses the word ‘competent’ a lot.  What does it mean?

            What is Paul referring to in our lives as Christians by the word ‘competent’?

            Meditate on ‘our competence comes from God.’

What does that mean to you?  Where do you need it most?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to apply His competence to your life today in the areas where you need it.

            Thank Him for the confidence He gives us to be able to do anything He wants through Him.

 

WEDNESDAY

READ:2 Corinthians 4:7-18

 

THINK ABOUT:  What are the ‘jars of clay’ Paul talks about?

            What is the ‘treasure’ that is in them?

What does Paul mean when he says he carries around in his body the death of Christ?

            Paul uses several truths to encourage the Corinthians to faithfully persevere.  What are they

 

PRAY:  Meditate on these verses.  Personalize them to yourself and pray them to God.

            Ask God to help you persevere in areas where you are getting weak and weary.

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

THURSDAY

 

READ:2 Corinthians 11:22-33

 

THINK ABOUT:   Is Paul bragging about this?  Why is he telling them all this?

            How do you know when to tell someone about all that God has used you to accomplish?

            How can we tell about what God has done through us but not seem like we take credit?

            Why did Paul continue to serve despite all these sufferings?

 

PRAY:   Confess any self pity you feel toward yourself because of the things God lets you go through

            Thank Him for the privilege of suffering for Him.

            Ask God to give you opportunities to share what you have gone through for Him without

                        it seeming like you are taking the credit yourself.

 

FRIDAY

 

READ:2 Corinthians 12:1-10

 

THINK ABOUT:  What is Paul’s point in telling about the man who died and saw heaven?

            Scholars agree Paul was that man, so why doesn’t he say so?

            Why was Paul given his thorn in the flesh?

            What did he learn through the experience?

            What weakness or trial has God given you to keep you humble and close to Him?

            In what ways are you learning that God’s grace is sufficient?

 

PRAY:  Thank Him for it and how it keep you closer to Him.

            Ask God to forgive you for not relying on His grace to handle these things.

            Ask Him to show you how you can depend on Him to help you through them.

 

SATURDAY

 

READ:2 Corinthians 12:19-21

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why does Paul tell them that he told them all this about himself?

            What concerns does Paul have for their relationship with him?

            What activities is Paul afraid he will find them doing when he comes?

            Which of these things would God say you were guilty of?

            Why is it important not be guilty of these things?  Be specific.

 

PRAY:  Confess any of these you are guilty of.

            Ask God to help you keep your eyes on Him and Him alone this day.

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.

 

 


II CORINTHIANS: A GODLY MINISTRY

 

BACKGROUND  Paul spent 1 ½ years at Corinth on his Second Missionary Journey.  He left for Ephesus and Apollos stayed at Corinth awhile.  Then Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthians condemning immorality and asking them to start a collection for the poor.  We don’t have a copy of this letter.  As reports came to Paul in Ephesus about the problems arising in Corinth, he wrote to them the letter we call I Corinthians.  Timothy went to Corinth to help get things settled, but more difficulties arose.  To counter Paul’s recent letter, his apostolic authority was being questioned.  Timothy personally went to Paul with this matter and Paul stopped by Corinth for a short visit during which grossly insulted by someone e in the church.  After he left Paul sent a letter about the money they were collecting for Jerusalem, a letter we don’t have.  Titus delivered this letter and then was to bring a report back to Paul.  Paul was so anxious to find out the news that he started out to meet Titus.  They ran into each other half way, and Paul rejoiced in Titus’ good report of their godly response to Paul’s words.  This made Paul so glad he immediately wrote another letter to them, which we call II Corinthians.  Later Paul went there and stayed for 3 months, during which time he wrote the letter to the Romans. 

II Corinthians is the most autobiographical of Paul’s Epistles.  It provide insight into his personal life and ministry not seen elsewhere.  Because of the false charges against him, Paul reveals things about himself and his ministry he would never had written down.  If it sounds like bragging, its really just self defense.  Paul knows they won’t believe God’s truth unless they see him as God’s true messenger.  Thus we get rare insight into the warm, human side of Paul.  This letter comes from his heart, unlike Romans which comes from his head. 

 

I. COMMISSION OF PAUL  (1:12 – 7:16)  False teachers caused Paul a lot of trouble.  They often carried fake letters of commendation so they could minister in churches and be paid by those churches.  While doing so they viciously criticized Paul’s appearance and poor speaking ability.  They said he didn’t have apostolic authority since he wasn’t one of Jesus’ 12 disciples.  Paul answers heir charges and talks about what he had been doing and why.  He shows that his worlds are from God, and that therefore they are correct in believing and accepting them.  H shares from his heart about what he has been through and why. 

 

II. CONTRIBUTION FOR THE SAINTS  (8:1 – 9:15)  Wherever he went Paul encouraged the Gentile churches to collect money to send to Jerusalem to help their poor brothers there.  The gospel came through the Jews to the Gentiles, and now they can help them back.  Jews in Jerusalem who became believers lost their families, jobs, everything.  Paul talked to the Corinthians about this, too, showing it is all of our responsibility to help believers in need. 

 

III. CREDENTIALS OF PAUL  (10:1 – 13:10)  Paul answered charges about his being too easy on some in the church.  He refers to Jesus’ example of forgiveness and mercy.  He is accused of not accepting support for his ministry, and he explains why he chose to not exercise that right.  He even told them of a time he died and went to heaven before coming back to life.  What a wonderful experience that was!

            In conclusion Paul tells them to repent and turn 100% from false teachings and teachers to God so things would be fine when Paul got there.  He said he wanted to come in love and joy, not with scoldings or disciplining.  He promised he would come soon and prove beyond doubt that God supported him and his teachings. 

TITLE: Named for recipients

AUTHOR:  Paul

DATE of WRITING:  Late 55 AD

PLACE of  WRITING: Ephesus

RECIPIENTS:  Church at Corinth

KEY VERSE:   For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.    We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.   4:5; 5:20-21

KEY WORDS:  “Ministry” (18 times), “glory, boast” (20 times)

PURPOSE: 

I CORINTHIANS

II CORINTHIANS

Objective & Practical

Subjective & Personal

Insight into the character of an early church

Insight into the character of Paul

Deliberate Instruction

Impassioned Testimony

Warning against pagan influences

Warning against Judaistic influences

THEME: Paul defends himself as a true minister of the Gospel and reestablishes a good

relationship with the Corinthians.

Spend some time reading this book this week.


 

GALATIANS

 

If you can, read the whole book of GALATIANS this week.

Monday

Galatians 1

Tuesday

Galatians 2

Wednesday

Galatians 3

Thursday

Galatians 4

Friday

Galatians 5

Saturday

Galatians 6

MONDAY

READ: Galatians, Christian Liberty, article (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:   Why do we make such a big deal about

Christian liberty?  What’s so bad abut a little legalism if it keeps people living more like God wants?

Why does Paul talk about himself in Galatians?

What motivates you to live for God – fear if you don’t, wanting to

impress God or get something from God, or love and appreciation for Him?

 

PRAY:  Ask Got to clearly reveal to you the motives for what you do for Him.

Confess any wrong motives that you have.

If you are taking advantage of the freedom you have in Christ ask for forgiveness from that.

Ask God to help you enjoy your freedom without taking advantage of it.

 

TUESDAY

READ:Galatians 1:6-9

 

THINK ABOUT:  A good counterfeit is close to the original but not the same.  Satan tries to

counterfeit the Gospel in many ways to distract people from the truth.  What are some of these false belief systems that attract people today?

            Why do people pay so much attention to belief systems that aren’t true?

            Which ones have attracted you in the past?  What have you learned about them?

                       

PRAY:  Thank God for revealing His truth to you and freeing you from deception.

            Pray for those you know who still allow themselves to be deceived.  Pray God would open

                        their eyes.  Ask Him what you can do to help them.

 

WEDNESDAY

READ:Galatians 2:17-21

 

THINK ABOUT:  What does Paul mean when he says he has been crucified with Christ?

            What all is implied in the phrase ’Christ lives in me.”?

            Write Galatians 2:20 on a small piece of paper and read it over and over until memorized.

 

PRAY:  Sit quietly and meditate on each phrase of Galatians 2:20.  Pray about each part, thanking

God and sitting letting Him speak His truth to your heart.

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

THURSDAY

 

READ:Galatians 5:1

 

THINK ABOUT:   On the Personal Observations page make a list of all the things Christ has set you

free from.

            Behind each item write down what He has replaced it with.

            What are some ways we can allow ourselves to go back under a ‘yoke of slavery’?

            What are some of the ways people take advantage of the grace & freedom we have?

 

PRAY:   Ask God to help you ‘stand firm’ in you freedom in Christ.

            Intercede for Christians you know who have put themselves back under bondage of any kind.

            Ask for opportunities today to share with others the freedom you have in Jesus.

 

FRIDAY

 

READ:Galatians 5:13-15

 

THINK ABOUT:  What are some ways in which we can use our freedom to indulge our sinful nature?

            Give some examples of what it means to serve one another in love.

            Who can you serve in love today?

            How can you know if you are loving your neighbor as yourself?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to give you opportunities to serve in love today, and to make you alert to them.

            Pray for those you have a hard time loving as yourself.  Ask God to give you His love for them.

            Think of some of the ways God is serving you in love and thank Him for them.

 

SATURDAY

 

READ:Galatians 5:16-26

 

THINK ABOUT:  What does it mean to ‘live by the Spirit’ (verse 16, 25) ? 

How do you know if you are doing it?

            Count how many of the sins listed in verses 19-21 you were guilt of.

            Which of these are you still involved with?

            Read the fruit of the Spirit – which do you need most now and why?

 

PRAY:  Confess any sin you currently have in your life and ask for victory over it.

Slowly read Galatians 5:22-25 and meditate on each fruit.  Pray for God to produce each one

you need in your own life.  Pray for this each morning when you pray.

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.

 

 


GALATIANS: CHRISTIAN LIBERTY

When I was a new Christian I was invited to join the Mormon church as well as Herbert W. Armstrong’s Radio Church of God.  As I checked into these groups I found they each had at their core a set of practices that one must adhere to.  The big things, even the little things in life, were regulated and specific responses were set for most any event.  That didn’t seem too unusual, though, because the Baptist church I was a member of was pretty much the same way.  New members took their cue from the older ones about how to dress, act, talk and think in most any situation.  If one didn’t know they had only to ask and the answer was given.  Everything was black and white.  At first that nice because I didn’t have to make decisions on my own.  They were all made.  As a new Christian I could act and look just like those who had been Christians their whole lives.  Instant spirituality was available to any who would just follow the ‘rules.’  However before long I realized that my Christian life was being lived by and for other Christians, not Christ.  Fear of what others would think motivated all I did.  It was empty.  Oh, it appealed to my pride, but where was the ‘personal relationship’ I so longed for?

Then in Bible College the first book of the Bible I studied in depth was the book of Galatians – just what I needed!  Paul was writing to people who were facing the same dilemma I was.  He had just completed his First Missionary Journey, going through Asia Minor into the area of Galatia in the middle of it.  Several churches were started there, but after Paul left Jewish Christians who said one had to keep all the Jewish law in order to have salvation came in and misled the people.  So when Paul got back to Antioch he wrote them to straighten them, and me, out about the relationship of law and grace.  What he did was give three proofs why we are free from any form of law.  These are as follows:

I. BIOGRAPHICAL PROOF (1:10-2:21) – An Independent Revelation  First Paul talks in detail about himself, something he does in no other book.  However in no other book is he writing to people who distrust him and his motives.  He must prove that God is speaking through him or no one will listen to anything he has to say.  Thus he gives his credentials first.

            Paul points out that he got his message directly from Jesus, not Jewish rabbis, for they were opposed to him (1:10-14), nor from the apostles for they kept away from him (1:15-17).  Neither did he get his message from the churches in Judea for he didn’t learn from them (1:18-24) nor from anyone else (2:1-18).  He himself had kept the law better than any of them ever could, yet he knew from experience that that was empty (2:19021).

II. THEOLOGICAL PROOF (3:1 – 4:31) – Failure of Legalism  Having shown that his readers could trust the source of the message (Paul) he now focuses on the message itself.  He reminds them that if grace is how they were saved, that should be how they live the Christian life (3:1-5).  Any system that focus on impressing or pleasing man or God fails because the focus is on outer actions, not inter attitude.  Paul even uses Abraham as an example of salvation and Christian living by faith, before God gave him any laws (3:6-22).  Actually the law makes us slaves, not free (4:8-31).

 

III. PRACTICAL PROOF (5:1 – 6:10) – THE Effect of Liberty  After showing that trying to keep the law is an inferior way to live, Paul shows the superior way of following Jesus. Legalism is under God’s judgment for it seeks to add to the finished work of Jesus.  It elevates our work of the flesh and feeds our pride.  God wants us to obey and serve Him out of love.  When we obey and serve out of love the results will be evident in our lives: the fruit of the Holy Spirit, humility and meekness, faithfulness, perseverance, to name a few (5:25-6:10). 

 

            A woman worked for a man whose wife had died.  Every day he gave her a list of chores and jobs to do and she did them because he paid her at the end of the week.  Eventually they got to love each other and married.  She found she was doing the very things he had paid her to do and more, but there was no list and no pay.  She now did them out of love.  Her motive had changed.  What is your motive in serving God?  If it isn’t love, it isn’t right/

TITLE: Named for the recipients

AUTHOR:  Paul

DATE of WRITING:  49 AD

PLACE of  WRITING: Antioch

RECIPIENTS:  Churches in Galatia (Asia Minor)

KEY VERSE: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be

burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” 5:1

KEY WORDS:   “Christ” (43 times); “law” (32); “Flesh” (18); “Faith” (22); “spirit” (15)

PURPOSE: To show the readers that the purpose of the law is to lead us to Christ (3:24) and

the purpose of Christ is to free us (5:1), bring Christian liberty.

THEME:. To show that the believer is free from the law and legalism.

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 


 

EPHESIANS

 

If you can, read the whole book of EPHESIANS this week.

Monday

Ephesians 1

Tuesday

Ephesians 2

Wednesday

Ephesians 3

Thursday

Ephesians 4

Friday

Ephesians 5

Saturday

Ephesians 6

MONDAY

READ: Ephesians, In Christ, article (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:  What does the phrase ‘in Christ” mean? Be specific, for if

you don’t understand it well you won’t understand Ephesians or what you’ll be reading this week.

            Take some time to think in depth of how different your life would be

without Jesus.  The difference is what you have ‘in Christ.’

 

PRAY:  Take time to thank God in detail for all you have in Him.

            Pray for someone you know who isn’t in Christ. 

Ask God what you can do to help reach them with the truth.

 

 

TUESDAY

READ:Ephesians 1:3-14

 

THINK ABOUT:  On the Personal Notes and Observations page make a detailed list of all the

spiritual blessings that are listed in this passage.  Take your time and don’t miss any!

            Which ones of these mean the most to you personally?  Why?

            Why is it important to know about all these things we have in Christ?

            Pick one blessing on your list and write it down where you’ll remember it and think of it all day.

 

PRAY:  This passage starts off asking us to praise God for these things (v. 4) so take time to do so.

            Think of someone who can’t praise God for these things and pray for their salvation this day.

 

 

WEDNESDAY

READ:Ephesians 2:1-10

 

THINK ABOUT:  On the Personal Observations page list what Paul says about us before salvation

(v. 1-3)

            ‘But’ (v. 4) changes it all.  List what we now have in verses 4-10.

            Why is salvation all by grace, why can’t we add anything to it?

            What does this passage teach us about God the Father?

            What does this passage teach us about God the Son, Jesus?

 

PRAY:  Meditate on the truth that you are God’s workmanship, created to do the good works He

                        planned for you to do before you were born.  What does this mean to you?

            Think of what good things God has for you in the future.  Thank Him for them now.

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

 

THURSDAY

 

READ:Ephesians 4:17-32

 

THINK ABOUT:   Why does Paul call the way Gentiles live ‘futile’?

            In verses 18-24 Paul contrasts believers and unbelievers.  What are some of these contrasts?

            On the Personal Observations page write down all God commands us to do (or not do) in

verses 25-32

What things can we to do ‘grieve’ (made sad) the Holy Spirit (verse 30)?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to show you anything in your life that makes Him sad.  Then apologize for it.

Pick out one or two items on your list where you need improvement and ask God to help you

                        with them today. Pray specifically about what He wants you to do to be more Christ like.

            Thank God for the truth of Jesus that He has revealed to you.

            Sit quietly and enjoy His presence.  Worship Him and listen to Him speak to your spirit.

 

 

FRIDAY

 

READ:Ephesians 5:15-21

 

THINK ABOUT:  What does it mean to be ‘filled’ by the Holy Spirit?

            How can you tell if you are filled with the Spirit or not?

            What are some of the results Paul mentions in this passage?          

 

PRAY:  Ask God to fill you with His Spirit.  You should do each time you drift from Him.

            Ask Him to show you anything that is keeping Him from having 100% control of you.

            Sit quietly and enjoy the presence of God in your life.  Let Him fill you with His Presence.

 

 

SATURDAY

 

READ:Ephesians 6:10-18

 

THINK ABOUT:  On the Personal Observations is a simple sketch of a Roman soldier.  Label each

piece of equipment and what it stands for in our spiritual battle.

            Write a short description of how each piece of armor helps us in our battles.

In which of these areas do you need extra help from God?

 

PRAY:  While looking at the picture or the list of equipment, mentally put on each part of the armor as

you pray to protect you spiritually in the way the armor would do so to a soldier.  Each morning before getting out of bed part of your prayer should be to mentally put on each piece of equipment to help you face the day.  Without it you battle the enemy without your armor.  No good soldier would do that.

            Pray in more detail for the area in which you are the weakest.

            Ask God to show you how the enemy is attacking you and what to do to have victory over it.

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.

 

 

EPHESIANS: “IN CHRIST”

 

            Suppose you had a long lost relative who died leaving their whole estate to only you.  The lawyers had tracked you down and re at this moment trying to contact you to tell you all these riches are now yours.  It’s already yours, you just don’t realize it yet!  It might seem impossible, but this is true.  God is trying to contact you.  Ephesians is the letter He is sending about all your inherited riches and blessings.  Its not about material possessions with will decay and be left behind, its about something yours eternally. 

 

EPHESUS  The city of Ephesus was one of the top 3 cities of its day, similar to New York City.  Paul spent 3 years there.  It was a very strategic location for a church. 

 

US IN CHRIST (1 – 3)  Paul starts talking about salvation, how God the Father planned it (election past, present & future – 1:4-6)  He was the Architect who drew the blueprint.  Then Paul writes about God the Son who provided it (redemption past, present and future – 1:7-12).  He is the builder Who followed God’s blueprint.  Finally he writes of God the Holy Spirit Who applied it regeneration past, present and future – 1:13-14).  He is the One Who delivers the title deed to that which Jesus built according to God’s blueprint.

            Of course, this is all by grace (2:8-9).  God loves us.  He knows everything about us and loves us anyway.  There is nothing we have done or can do to earn His love.  It is given freely and unconditionally.  This is grace.  There is nothing we can do to earn His love or lose His love.  If we wish, we may reject His love, or even reject God Himself.   But He will never stop loving us.  When we decide to recognize and accept His love, we will feel a joy like we’ve never known before. 

 

CHRIST IN US (4 – 6) 

(1-3) LIVE what

you ARE (4-6)

POSITION of the believer

PRACTICE of the believer

Heavenly Standing

Earthly State

Our heritage in Christ

Our life in Christ

DOCTRINE

PRACTICE

            As is his pattern, Paul applies in the second half of his writings what he teaches in the first half.  Because of our position in Christ we should live like Him.  We must live a holy life.  WWJD.  He applies this specifically to husbands, wives, parents, children, slaves and masters.  He concludes with a most important section on spiritual warfare and our armor.  Those who seek to live like Jesus and for Jesus better be prepared to fight for their spiritual growth for the enemy will oppose any attempts to grow spiritually. 

TITLE: Named for recipients

AUTHOR:  Paul

DATE of WRITING:    60 AD

PLACE of  WRITING:  Rome (prison)

RECIPIENTS:  Church at Ephesus

KEY VERSE: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. …  As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  1:3; 4:1

KEY WORDS:   “In” (93 times); “grace” (12 times); “walk” (8 times); “body” (8 times)

PURPOSE: “In Christ” key phrase

            Romans: We are justified “in Christ” (3:24)

            I Corinthians: We are sanctified “in Christ” (1:2)

            II Corinthians: We are vindicated “in Christ” (11:19)

            Galatians: We are liberated “in Christ” (2:4)

            Ephesians: We are exalted “in Christ” (1:3)

            Philippians: We are exultant “in Christ” (1:26)

            Colossians: We are complete “in Christ” (2:9)

            Philemon: We are graced out “in Christ” (15)

            I Thessalonians: We are hopeful “in Christ” (1:3)

            II Thessalonians: We are glorified “in Christ” (1:12)

            I Timothy: We are faithful “in Christ” (1:18)

            II Timothy: We are triumphant “in Christ” (14:6)

            Titus: We are made examples “in Christ” (2:7)

THEME: The heavenly position of the believer and the daily life which corresponds to this position. 

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 

 

 

 


 

 

PHILIPPIANS

 

If you can, read the whole book of PHILIPPIANS this week.

Monday

Philippians 1

Tuesday

Philippians 2

Wednesday

Philippians 3

Thursday

Philippians 4

Friday

Philippians 1

Saturday

Philippians 2

MONDAY

READ: Philippians, Joy, article (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:  Define ‘joy’.  What are some synonyms (same meaning) for joy?  What are some antonyms (opposite meaning ) for joy?

            When do you have the most joy?  The least?

            Is joy the same as happiness?  How are they different?

            If you could only have one, would you want joy or happiness? Why?

 

PRAY:  Thank God for the joy He gives despite circumstances.

            Ask Him to fill you with joy, the fruit of His Spirit, this whole day and week.

 

TUESDAY

READ:Philippians 1:3-11

 

THINK ABOUT:  The church at Philippi was the one Paul was closest to.  They had a deep mutual

love and respect for each other.  Who do you feel very close to spiritually?

            Why is it important to have someone who is there for you to talk to about spiritual things?

            Who do you know that faithfully and regularly prays for you?

            Who do you support spiritually and regularly pray for?

 

PRAY:  Thank God for those who support and pray for you.

            Pray for those who are and have been close to your spiritually.

            Pray for those God puts on your heart to remember in prayer.

 

WEDNESDAY

READ:Philippians 1:20-24

 

THINK ABOUT:  What is your main goal in life?  What do you live for?

What do you want to accomplish with your life more than anything else?

What was Paul’s main goal, the thing he lived for?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to make His dreams your dreams and His purpose for you your purpose in life.

            Are you, like Paul, willing to let Him use you any way He chooses, in life or in death? Take

some time to pray and give Him that permission and authority in your life.

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

THURSDAY

 

READ:Philippians 2:1-11

 

THINK ABOUT:   Why does Paul use Jesus as an example of humility for the Philippians?

            When do you have the hardest time humbling yourself and being a servant?  Why?

            Give some examples Paul mentions of how Jesus humbled Himself (v. 6-8)?

 

PRAY:  Thank God for humbling Himself by coming to earth and being your servant.   

            Ask Him to show you where you need to be more of a humble servant.  Sit and listen

                        quietly as He speaks to you.

            Pray verses 6-11 to God.  Turn the verses into your own personal prayer.

 

FRIDAY

 

READ:Philippians 3:7-14

 

THINK ABOUT:  What does Paul mean when He says he wants to ‘know’ Jesus?

            What is the difference between ‘knowing’ Jesus and knowing about Him?

            You know about Jesus, but how well do you ‘know’ Him?

            What can you do to know Him better?

 

PRAY:  Tell God you want to know Him better and ask Him to reveal Himself to you.

            Sit now and listen while He reveals Himself to your Spirit.  Enjoy His presence.

 

SATURDAY

 

READ:Philippians 4:4-13

 

THINK ABOUT:  On the Personal Observations page write down all the commands Paul gives us in

these verses.  Some are about what we think, others what we say or do.

            Verse 8 is a good guide for our thought life.  How does yours measure up?

 

PRAY:  Pray through your list of commands from this passage, thanking God for helping you with the

ones you are doing OK with and asking for help with the ones you struggle with.

Confess any thoughts that don’t measure up to verse 8. 

            Ask God to convict you so you can stop negative thoughts immediately.

            Paul says we are to rejoice in the Lord always, so do that now for a few minutes.

                        Try to do that as often as you can throughout your day today.

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.

 

 


PHILIPPIANS: JOY

 

            The famous German philosopher Neitzsche once said about Christians: “I would believe in their salvation if they looked a little more like people who have been saved!”  The early church made a profound impression on their world because of their joy.  Paul wrote to one of his favorite churches, the church at Philippi, to encourage them in their joy.  There is no problem to correct, just joy to share – and Paul wrote it from prison!

 

PHILIPPI  The city of Philippi was a near Thessalonica.  It was a Greek city which Paul had visited on his third missionary journey, about 6 or 7 years before writing to them.  When the believers in Philippi heard that Paul was in prison they sent Epaphroditus to Rome to see how Paul was doing and to deliver a gift of money.  He needed money to pay for his quarters and food, for he was in house arrest and had to provide for these things himself.  Epaphroditus realized Paul was needier than they thought so he stayed and worked for money to give to Paul.  During this time he got sick and almost died.  When he recovered Paul sent him back to Philippi with this letter.  He wanted his friends there to rejoice that Epaphroditus was OK and that Paul was OK, too.  Our book of Philippians is the letter Paul sent with him.

 

I. JOY IN SUPPORT (1:3-11)  Paul begins by thanking them for their concern and support for him. He prays for them.  Then he gets right to the heart of something he wanted to say. 

 

II. JOY IN SUFFERING  (1:12-30) They felt that prison had ended Paul’s ministry, but Paul says NO!   He pointed out clearly that his afflictions actually promoted the gospel for he had more time to pray, could witness to he guards and Caesar’s household (many of whom became believers), and had lots more time to pray.  Plus his being in prison had stimulated believers and churches everywhere to take up his work as well as to pray for him.  Also, he used this time to write an important part of our New Testament:  Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon.  Truly “all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord” (Rom 8:28).

            In addition, Paul saw his sufferings as making him more Christ-like.  He exhorted them to remain steadfast and fearless when they, too, faced suffering.

 

III. JOY IN SUBMISSION (2:1-30)  Paul then alls on them to make his joy complete by putting Jesus first in everything.  He calls them to unity, humility and self-sacrifice.  He uses Christ, Timothy, Epaphroditus and himself as examples.  No matter what life brings them, they are to submit to it as God’s will for them.  This will bring them great joy and peace.

 

IV. JOY IN SALVATION (3:1 – 4:3)   Paul warns them against the false teachers that are so prevalent everywhere.  They aren’t submitting to anyone and they don’t have God’s joy.  Paul challenges them to follow his example, not the false teachers.

 

V. JOY IN SUFFICIENCY  (4:4-19)  Paul prays they will continue to have peace and joy in all they do.  He rejoices at God’s power to provide for him in prison and rejoices over their concern and sacrifice.  He knows they can’t afford to send him money but did.  Their concern means more to him than the amount of money.  He assures them that God will bless and reward them for their sacrificial giving and assures them he is well provided for. 

 

            Paul then concludes in typical letter-writing style for his day.  He sends greetings and short messages to some of those in Philippi and passes on greetings to them from some of the men with him.  His love for them is evident, as is their for him.  Thus they rejoice in each other.  What about you?  Do others notice your joy and give Jesus the credit?  Are you full of a joy that draws others to the Savior?  If not, ask God for this fruit of His Spirit now!

TITLE: Named for recipients

AUTHOR:  Paul

DATE of WRITING:  60-61 AD

PLACE of  WRITING:  Rome (in prison)

RECIPIENTS:  Church in Philippi

KEY VERSE:  Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!   4:4

KEY WORD:   “Joy (rejoice)” 18 times; “Mind/think” 10 times

PURPOSE: 

 

GALATIANS

EPHESIANS

PHILIPPIANS

Style

Logical Arguments

Teaching & Application

Inform & Console

Main subject

Salvation (free from law)

Christ (possessions of believer ‘in Christ’)

Life of joy

Purpose

Correct

Instruct

Inspire

Tone

Sharp Rebuke

Calm, Victorious

Tender, Joyful

THEME: Rejoice in the Lord!

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 

 

 


      COLOSSIANS

 

If you can, read the whole book of COLOSSIANS this week.

Monday

Colossians 1

Tuesday

Colossians 2

Wednesday

Colossians 3

Thursday

Colossians 4

Friday

Colossians 1

Saturday

Colossians 2

MONDAY

READ: Colossians, Christ is Supreme, article (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:  What are some of the most prevalent belief systems that

attack God and His truth today?

            Paul lists several areas where Christ is exalted.  What are they?

            Give some examples of how He is exalted in your life.

 

PRAY:  Pray for someone who is believing the lies of the false philosophies

going around in the world today.  Ask God to show you what you can do to help them.

            Ask God to give you wisdom to see His truth and not be misled by any of these deceptions.

            That God that Jesus is Supreme over everything in life today.  Worship Him for this.

            Ask Him to show you anything He is not supreme over in your life and remove it.

 

TUESDAY

READ:Colossians 1:15-23

 

THINK ABOUT:  Make 2 lists on your Personal Observations page.  In one list all the things this

passage says about Jesus and Who He is.  Then make another list of what He does.

            Think of what you can add to this list.

            Put a star before 2 or 3 of the things in each list that mean the most to you personally.

 

PRAY:  Pray about the things you have stared.  Praise and worship God for them.

            Pray Colossians 1:15-23.  Instead of ‘He’ for Jesus say ‘You’.  When the passage addresses

us as ‘you’ instead say ‘I’.  You can do this with many Bible passages.

            Ask God to give you an opportunity today to proclaim this gospel (v. 23).

 

WEDNESDAY

READ:Colossians 2:6-15

 

THINK ABOUT:  How does Paul tell us to live in Christ? (verse 6-7)

            What are some of the basic principles of the world you face each day which are contrary to

God’s truth (verse 8)

            Add to yesterday’s list the things Christ has done for you in verses 9-15.

           

 

PRAY:  Using the list you have made, thank God for everything He has done for you.

            Thank Him for His forgiveness of your sins.

            Ask God to show you anyone you haven’t forgiven for anything.

            Forgive that person and pray for them.

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

THURSDAY

 

READ:Colossians 2:18-23

 

THINK ABOUT:   Sometimes those who come across as very ‘spiritual’ really aren’t so and can

mislead and deceive us, especially as we compare ourselves with them (verse 16-19).  Are there any such person or persons in your life?

            Is there anyone who is judging you by what you do or don’t do? 

How should you respond to them?

Is there anything you can learn and improve from what they say?

            Is there anyone you are critical of, even in your own thoughts?  Why?

 

PRAY:   Confess any criticalness you have as sin and ask God to forgive you.

            Ask God to help you forgive anyone who is critical of you.

            Ask God to show you any ways in which you haven’t ‘died with Christ to the basic principles of

this world’ (verse 20).  Turn them over to God and replace them with His truth.

 

FRIDAY

 

READ:Colossians 3:1-4

 

THINK ABOUT:  How often during the day do you think about spiritual things?

            What are some of the benefits of thinking of Jesus and heaven throughout the day?

            What can you do to remind yourself to keep your thoughts focused more on spiritual things?

            What most interferes with you ‘setting your mind of things above, not on earthly things’ (verse

2)?  What can you do about it?

 

PRAY:  Spend a good amount of time now thinking about Jesus and heavenly things instead of

things of this world.

            Ask God to help you keep your thoughts set on things above so they mean more to you

                        than the things of this world.

 

SATURDAY

 

READ:Colossians 3:5-17

 

THINK ABOUT:  Do you struggle with any of the things Paul says we aren’t to do?

            How can we better ‘let the peach of Christ rule in your hearts’?

            What does it mean to do everything we do and say everything we say in the name of Jesus?

(verse 17)  Why is this important?

 

PRAY:  Use Colossians 3:15-17 as the basis of your prayer.  Pray about each phrase and command

in these verses, applying it to your daily life.

Ask God to remind you of something you haven’t thanked Him for (verse 17) and spend some

time thanking Him for it now.

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.

 

 


 

 


COLOSSIANS: CHRIST IS SUPREME

 

            In my hometown is a gray concrete building just off the main street.  It’s not the largest, nor the smallest building in town.  I first remember seeing it when a child and often went past it but never paid much attention to it.  Oh, I’d been inside a time or two, but didn’t have any special memory of it.  Then one Sunday I went inside to worship with a church that met there and I found good fellowship, times of praise and worship, and a source of learning and growth.  Now the building has an entirely different meaning to me when I pass it.

            There’s a book in the New Testament that is quite similar.  It’s not the biggest nor the smallest.  We all know it’s there and go by it often, even stopping in from time to time.  However we often don’t take the time to really to see what’s inside.  It’s the book we call Colossians.

 

BACKGROUND  Colossae was a small town near larger Laodicea.  Although he was in the nearby region we have no record of Paul’s ever having gone to Colossae.  The church there  was started by some of the nearby churches which Paul had started.  Paul wrote this letter to them while in prison in Rome.  Because it is so similar in content to the book of Ephesians, it is often ignored and Ephesians chosen to be studied. 

            Paul wrote to encourage them to stay true to God and watch for the false teaching called “Gnosticism.”  Jude and I John also refute this heresy.  Gnostics believed that an intellectually enlightened few were far above the masses of humanity.  To them ‘god’ was an impersonal force and they rejected salvation for sin.  Many of their lies Satan is recycling today under the label of ‘New Age.’  Paul refutes this heresy, not by showing its inconsistencies and inaccuracies but by showing the truth of Jesus.  That’s a good lesson for us, too.  Instead of attacking another’s false teaching, lift Jesus up as the Truth.  Paul shows that Christ is Supreme over everyone and everything.

 

I. THE EXALTED CHRIST (1:15-29)  Christ is exalted as the head of all creation and the church.  He is also extolled as the reconciler of all things, the only One who reunites God and man.  He points out that He did it by His work on the cross as our substitute.  Paul says that true wisdom only comes by knowing Jesus, not through any counterfeit system which claims to have all the answers themselves. 

 

II. THE EXALTED CHRISTIAN (2:1-23)  Paul says that Christ is exalted over philosophy and appeals to them to totally turn from all false teachings and teachers.  He points out that any system of legalism fails, that we are free from all that through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.  Paul also shows Christ is greater than any mystical teaching or any system of asceticism.

 

III. THE EXALTED CALLING (3:1 – 4:6)  Soon Jesus will return for us, so Paul says even now we are to be like Him for then we will be totally like Him.  He then applies this to various areas of our lives: everyday life, family relationships, work responsibilities, and our own individual spiritual lives as well. 

 

            It’s been said that if Christ is not Lord OF all, He’s not Lord AT all.  Make sure He is first in your life, the Supreme One who is exalted above all else.  If He is not all in your life, He’s not in His proper, deserving place!

TITLE: Named for the recipients

AUTHOR:  Paul

DATE of WRITING:  60 AD

PLACE of  WRITING: Rome (in prison)

RECIPIENTS:  Church in Colossae

KEY VERSE:   and who also told us of your love in the Spirit. … and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.  1:8; 2:10

KEY WORD:   “head” (3 times)

PURPOSE:

 

TO GIVE TRUE TEACHING

TO CORRECT FALSE TEACHING

ABOUT SALVATION

Romans

Galatians

ABOUT CHRIST

Ephesians

Colossians

THEME:  Show the preeminence of Christ – the head not only of the church but of the whole universe.

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 

 

 


 

1 THESSALONIANS

 

If you can, read the whole book of 1 THESSALONIANS this week.

Monday

1 Thessalonians 1

Tuesday

1 Thessalonians 2

Wednesday

1 Thessalonians 3

Thursday

1 Thessalonians 4

Friday

1 Thessalonians 5

Saturday

1 Thessalonians 1

 

MONDAY

READ: I Thessalonians, Jesus is Coming Again, article (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:  Would you say you are a person who is looking up

to Jesus and His return?

            From what you read about Thessalonica and Paul’s letter to

them, what kind of a relationship do you think he had

with them?

            If Paul was writing you a letter, what would he write:

                        To encourage you in what you are now facing?

                        To teach you something you needed to know?

                        To correct something in your life that needed correcting?

 

PRAY:  Sit silently and let God spend some time letting God encourage you, teach you and correct

you.  Don’t rush this, take your time.

            Ask God to put the name of someone in your mind to whom you can write a letter of

encouragement and teaching (let God do the correcting). Then write it.

 

TUESDAY

READ:1 Thessalonians  1:2-12

 

THINK ABOUT:  What are some of the hardships Paul and the others faced?

            Why does the world so attack God’s people with God’s message?

            Why doesn’t God protect His servants from persecution or opposition?

            How did Paul respond to the persecution and difficulties he faced?

            How do you respond when you are criticized for what you believe?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to give you the courage to be faithful today no matter what happens.

            Pray for those who are most apt to make life hard on you today or any time.

            Thank God for counting you worthy for suffering for Him?

            Ask God to help you be a good example of faithfulness as Paul was to the Thessalonians.

 


WEDNESDAY

READ:1 Thessalonians 3:6-13

 

THINK ABOUT:  What are some of the people with whom you feel a deep spiritual kinship?

            Why did Paul want to see them again?

            Why didn’t God let Paul see them but force him to write to them instead?

 

PRAY:  Pray one by one for those you are closest to spiritually.

Pray 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 phrase by phrase, applying it to your current needs.

Thank God for those who have built into your spiritual life.  Pray for each of them.

Pray for those whom God has allowed you to build into their spiritual lives.

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

THURSDAY

 

READ:1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

 

THINK ABOUT:   What are some of the things Paul wanted them to do in order to please God by

their lives? (verses 1-2)

            What are some things that Paul says are God’s will for them? (verses 3-8)

            Do you ‘lead a quiet life, mind your own business and work with your hands’ (verse 11)?

            Why are these things important to God?

 

PRAY:   Ask God to give you love for anyone you don’t now love and even more love for the ones

you do love (verse 11-12).

            Spend some time thinking about and enjoying God’s love for you.

 

FRIDAY

 

READ:1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

 

THINK ABOUT:  Write down the events that will happen in the order they will happen.

            In what ways is knowing about the Rapture an ‘encouragement’ (v. 18) to you?

            What difference would it make in your life if you knew Jesus was returning today?

 

PRAY:  Meditate for a few moments about what it will be like for you when this happens.

            Thank God for this, that He is coming back for you and it could be any moment!

            Pray for those who aren’t ready, that they would use this time to be ready for His return.

 

SATURDAY

 

READ:1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

 

THINK ABOUT:  On your Personal Notes & Observations page list all Paul’s commands to the

Thessalonians.  Put a star by the ones you want God to help you with today.

            What does Paul mean by ‘don’t put out the Spirit’s fire’ (verse 19)?

            Have you put out the Spirit’s fire in your life?  What caused this?  How can you correct it?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to fill you completely with His Spirit and make sure there is nothing that keeps Him

from burring fully in you.

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.

 

 


 


I THESSALONIANS: JESUS IS COMING AGAIN

 

            When Gideon’s 10,000 potential soldiers went to drink, only 300 of them were chosen.  These were the ones who drank looking up.  For us to defeat our enemies today we must be found ‘looking up’ as well.  That’s Paul’s message to the Thessalonians. 

            Paul started a church in Thessalonica on his Second Missionary Journey.  It was only the second church established on European soil.  It had much opportunity but faced a lot of persecution.  Paul wrote to them from Corinth to encourage them in their times of suffering. 

 

LOOK AWAY FROM: Troubles (chapter 1)  Paul starts of praying for them, encouraging them in faithfulness.  He commends them for their fruit: receiving the gospel and passing it on.  They godly reputation had been spreading quickly.  Paul wants them to look to God and what He has done for them, not to focus on their suffering and persecution.

LOOK AWAY FROM: Temporal (chapter 2)  Then Paul defends himself against attacks and criticism some in Thessalonica have been spreading about him.  He assures them that both his motives and methods were pure.  His focus was on serving God, not on gaining money or a reputation for himself.  He encouraged them, too, to not focus on this temporary world during the hard times they were facing.

LOOK AWAY FROM: Temptation (chapter 3)  Paul tells them he sent Timothy to help then faithfully endure their trails, and Timothy’s good report about them really encouraged Paul as well.  He concludes this section praying that he will be able to visit them in person very soon.  After telling them what to look away from, he then tells them what to took towards:

LOOK UP TO: Trumpet (chapter 4)  Paul challenges them to be pure in their lives, for some of them continued in their old pagan immorality.  He emphasized that they are to love each other.  He corrected those who said they didn’t have to work because Jesus was coming back soon.  Then he gave the most complete description on the Rapture in the Bible (4:13-18). The trumpet will one day sound and those who have accepted Jesus as Savior will have their bodies instantly changed and taken to heaven.  Those who have already died have temporary bodies in heaven and their earthly bodies will be raised at that time and taken to heaven, too.  Thus we don’t have to fear death nor grieve the loss of believers who die before us.  Those killed in persecution just get to heaven first!  Jesus could return any day, ending their earthly suffering.  Thus they are to live looking up, awaiting the trumpet.

LOOK UP TO: Triumph (chapter 5)  Immediately following the rapture will be the Tribulation.  The persecution they were enduring was not the Tribulation.   Believers are not under God’s judgment (‘wrath’ v. 9; cf Rom 8:1).  Until this time they must live victorious Christian lives, growing and ministering to others.

            Paul concluded by praying for their total being.  He prayed they would live a holy Christian live until Jesus returned for them.  By knowing and remembering that Jesus was coming back for them, they could keep the sufferings of this life in proper perspective.    He assured them that God would preserve them.  Then he ended with his typical request for prayer on his behalf, a greeting, a charge and a benediction. 

            One day a business came to a school and promised the children that one day he would return and bring a special present for all who had their desks clean when he arrived.  A certain girl in the class room really wanted to receive this prize so she committed herself to clean her desk every Monday morning.  Knowing that it wouldn’t stay clean long, for the girl wasn’t normally a very neat person, the teacher asked her what happened if the man came on Friday.  She decided to clean her desk Monday and Friday.  Then when asked about if he would come on Wednesday, she decided she needed to clean her desk every morning.  But what if he came at the end of the day?  Finally she realized that what she needed to do was keep her desk clean at ALL times.  Paul wants us, like the Thessalonians, to always be aware of and ready for Jesus’ soon return.  Don’t focus on your problems or difficulties, but on His return!

TITLE: Named for the recipients

AUTHOR:  Paul

DATE of WRITING:  51 AD

PLACE of  WRITING: Corinth

RECIPIENTS:  Church at Thessalonica

KEY VERSE: for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell

how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son

from heaven, whom he raised from the dead-Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (1:9-10)

KEY WORDS:   “comfort” (6 times); “coming (of the Lord)” (4)

PURPOSE: To commend the Thessalonian believers for their faith and to defend himself

against criticism.  He also instructs them in areas of difficulty: sexual purity, love & especially the Second Coming of Christ.

THEME: The Second Coming of Christ

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 

 

 

 


2 THESSALONIANS

 

If you can, read the whole book of 2 THESSALONIANS this week.

Monday

2 Thessalonians 1

Tuesday

2 Thessalonians 2

Wednesday

2 Thessalonians 3

Thursday

2 Thessalonians 1

 

Friday

2 Thessalonians 2

Saturday

2 Thessalonians 3

 

MONDAY

READ: 2 Thessalonians, Jesus Is Coming Soon, article (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:  What are some of the positive results about

knowing Jesus is coming back?

What was one of the misuses and abuses of knowing Jesus

was coming back soon that affected some Thessalonians?

            What proof did Paul use to show them the Tribulation hadn’t

started already?

            Is there any work you should be doing but aren’t doing, whatever the reason?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to help you balance the importance of daily work with the expectation that Jesus can

return at any moment.

            Pray that God would keep you faithful to the labor and work of daily life which He has given.

            Also pray you would be faithful to the spiritual ministries He has put in your path as well.

 

TUESDAY

READ:2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

 

THINK ABOUT:  What did Paul pray for the Thessalonians?

            Why did he pray this for them?

            Who should you pray this same thing for today?

 

PRAY:  Take some time and pray for those whose name God puts in your mind. 

Pray the same things for them that Paul prayed for the Thessalonians (verse 11).

Thank God for those who have been praying for you.  Pray for them in return.

 

WEDNESDAY

READ:2 Thessalonians 2:1-8


THINK ABOUT:  Why is God waiting so long to come back?  The Thessalonians were expecting Him

2,000 years ago and He still hasn’t returned.  Why?

            What are some of the names Paul uses for the Antichrist in these verses?

            What is the significance of each name.

            Who is ‘the One who now holds it back’ in verse 7?

            Try to imagine how terrible the world will be when the Holy Spirit and all believers are gone.

 

PRAY:  Thank God for His Holy Spirit and what He does to make this evil world less terrible than it

would be without His presence.

            Thank Him that when the Holy Spirit is gone you will be gone with Him because of Jesus.  If

you aren’t sure you are a believer then read the page in this booklet called “Plan of Salvation and Prayer for Salvation.  If you have any questions contact Jerry Schmoyer, jerry@schmoyer.net, 215-348-8086

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

THURSDAY

 

READ:2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

 

THINK ABOUT:   What does Paul say God has done for the Thessalonians? (verse 13)

            What is God’s purpose in calling them to Himself? (verse 14)

            What should they do because of this?  (verse 15)

 

PRAY:  In what areas of life do you need encouragement (verse 17)?  Ask God for it.

            For what tasks or responsibilities do you need God’s strength today (verse 17)?  Ask for it.

            Spend some time quietly meditating, letting God encourage and strengthen you for today.

 

FRIDAY

 

READ:Matthew 24:36-44

 

THINK ABOUT:  What will characterize the times when Jesus returns?

            Why doesn’t God tell us the exact day, hour and minute He will return?

            What would happen if the whole world knew when Jesus would return?

            What should we be motivated to do because we don’t know?

 

PRAY:  Thank God that only He knows the time of His return.

            Ask God to help you make sure you are always ready, at every moment.

            Confess any sin, ask God to show you any changes you should make to always be ready.

 

SATURDAY

 

READ:Matthew 24:3-14

 

THINK ABOUT:  On your Personal Notes and Observations page make a list of the signs Jesus

gives of when He will return.

            Put a check mark by each of these that is happening today.

            Why is Jesus telling His disciples these things?

            Why did God want these words of Jesus kept in the Bible for us to read?

 

PRAY:  What difference does it make in your life that Jesus will return one day?

            What difference does it make that He might return at any moment?

            Ask God to bless and use every minute and every opportunity He has given you until He

returns.  Ask Him to show you what He wants you to do today.

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.

 

II THESSALONIANS: JESUS IS COMING SOON 

 

            The truth of the Rapture is one of the most glorious of all Christian doctrines.  It is wonderfully encouraging and uplifting.  Knowing Jesus will return soon to take those who believe in Him to heaven to be with Him forever is comforting and motivating.  Yet, despite its simple truth, much confusion and misunderstanding has arisen around this simple doctrine.  It’s easy to understand that Satan would do what he can to confuse and cloud this beautiful truth.  He did the same thing in Paul’s day, too. 

Not long after Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, telling them about Jesus’ coming back for them, wrong ideas started to develop which took away from the comfort of this truth.  For instance, some false teachers in Thessalonica said the persecution they were then facing was the Tribulation which had already started.  Yet Paul said the Rapture came before the tribulation.  What was true?  Who was right?

I. THE ANXIETY ABOUT THE RETURN OF CHRIST (chapter 1)  Again Paul starts with thanksgiving for their faithfulness in times of suffering.  He assured them that God was not unfair in permitting them to experiences the trials they were going through.  He reminded them about what the future held if they didn’t die before Christ returned. If they had accepted Jesus as Savior they would be taken to heaven immediately when Jesus returned.  If they hadn’t accepted Him they would live on into the Tribulation and  fin themselves under god’s judgment.

            Paul then prayed God would continue to work out His will in their submissive lives, and they would glorify Him.  He assured them they were doing right and weren’t under God’s judgment, for the Tribulation had not started yet.  Then he goes on to prove that they couldn’t already be in the Tribulation.

II. THE ANSWER ABOUT THE REVELATION OF ANTICHRIST (chapter 2)  No, Paul says, you haven’t missed the Rapture and entered into God’s judgment.  His proof is that the Antichrist has not yet been revealed and when the Tribulation really begins the Antichrist will be right there.  In fact, he can’t be revealed until after the Rapture, when the Church and the Holy Spirit are gone.  The Antichrist couldn’t possibly be revealed yet, for the Rapture must come first.  The fact that they were still here proved the Rapture hadn’t come. 

            Paul then builds on the many details given by Daniel and Ezekiel about the Antichrist and his actions on earth.  Paul then gives thanks for their spiritual standing as seen in contrast to the deceived world around them.  He encouraged them to stand fast in what he had taught them while there and in his first letter. 

III. THE APPLICATION ABOUT THEIR RETURN TO WORK  (chapter 3)  Paul then tackled the final problem that had arisen about the Rapture.  Some refused to work because the Rapture could come at any time, so why bother?  Paul got very strong with them, telling them that if someone wouldn’t do his share to support himself, no one should do anything to help him!  That’s how important it is for God’s people to live a holy Christian life. 

            We can’t and won’t know exactly when it is time for the Rapture, but we can tell when the season gets closer (Matthew 24:36-39).  Contractions can be felt earlier, but labor doesn’t begin until the pains (‘signs’) come close and hard.

            Paul then closed with prayer.  He asked that they would be conscious of God’s presence, peace and grace.  After a final benediction and greeting, the book closes.

 

TITLE: Named for the recipients

AUTHOR:  Paul

DATE of WRITING:  51 AD, shortly after I Thessalonians

PLACE of  WRITING: Corinth

RECIPIENTS:  Church at Thessalonica

KEY VERSE: This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.  (1:7b-10)

KEY WORDS:   “Day of the Lord”

PURPOSE:

I THESSALONIANS

II THESSALONIANS

Teaches the WHAT of the Rapture

Teaches the WHEN of the Rapture

Teach something NEW – Rapture

correct WRONG – time of Rapture

Mainly about the church

Mainly about Satan, Antichrist, world

THEME: to tell the Thessalonian believers Christ would return BEFORE the Tribulation, and to explain to them how they were to live until Christ came. 

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 

 

 


 

1 TIMOTHY

 

If you can, read the whole book of 1 TIMOTHY this week.

Monday

1 Timothy 1

Tuesday

1 Timothy 2

Wednesday

1 Timothy 3

Thursday

1 Timothy 4

Friday

1 Timothy 5

Saturday

1 Timothy 6

MONDAY

READ: 1 Timothy, Church Order, article (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:  What struggles and difficulties did Timothy face?

            Why didn’t God remove them?

            Why didn’t He have someone else do the job who didn’t have

Timothy’s fear and weakness?

            Timothy was like a son to Paul and Paul like a father to Timothy.  Who is your spiritual ‘father,’

the one you turn to for help?  Whose spiritual father are you, who turns to you for help when in need?

            Take a moment to call, email or write those who turn to you and encourage them.

 

PRAY:  Pray for those you can turn to.  Ask God to bless them and use them.

            Pray for those who turn to you, that God will help them grow in faith.

 

TUESDAY

READ:1 Timothy 2:1-4

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why does Paul specifically mention the importance of praying for government

authorities?  Do you regularly pray for our country?

            Paul says requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving is to be made for everyone.  If you

don’t have a prayer list, start one and write down the names of those God instructs you to  pray for.

 

PRAY:  Take some time to pray for government officials, for local ones all the way to the President.

            Pray in detail for our country and its needs.

            Use your prayer list to guide the rest of your prayer time today.

 

WEDNESDAY

READ:1 Timothy 3:1-7

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why does Paul say that being a church leader is ‘a noble task’? (verse 1)

            Why does God set such strict standards for His leaders.

            On your Personal Notes & Observations page make a list of these requirements.  They are for

leaders, but apply to all God’s people for they describe what it is to be like Jesus.  No one is perfect in all areas.  In which of these do you need the most improvement?

 

PRAY:  Pray about the areas God is showing you that you need to work on.

            Pause and think as God tells you what you should do to improve each of these traits.

            Pray for the church leaders you know, that God would help bring these about in their lives.

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

THURSDAY

 

READ:1 Timothy 4:1-6

 

THINK ABOUT:   What are some of the most dangerous deceptions Satan uses today to blind people

to God’s truth?  How can you make sure you aren’t deceived?

            Paul tells Timothy to point out error to believers who are deceived and lead them in the truth. 

Who does God want you to speak to about their deception and God’s truth?

 

PRAY:  Pray for those you know who are deceived to see the light of His truth only.

            Ask God to show you when and how to go about correcting the deception of those whose

names He puts on your heart.

 

FRIDAY

 

READ:1 Timothy 4:11-16

 

THINK ABOUT:  List the things Paul commands timothy to do in these verses.

            So you struggle with feeling inferior because you are young in age or in the faith?

                        Paul tells Timothy to not let that keep him from following God’s lead in His life.

            Why is it so important for Timothy to teach the Bible to the people in His church?

            Are you faithfully studying and learning God’s Word?  What stands in your way?

 

PRAY:  Confess any inferiority you may feel as a Christian, and also any times you have used your

age or youth in the faith as an excuse to not say or do what God wanted you to do.

Ask God to give you a hunger and thirst for His Word and to help you study it more.

            Pray God would help you persevere, especially in areas where you most struggle (v 16).

 

SATURDAY

 

READ:1 Timothy 6:6-10

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why does Paul say godliness with contentment is great gain (verse 6)?

            Would God say you are a content person?  Where are you least content?  Why?

            What dangers of ‘things’ does Paul mention here?

            Why are riches a temptation or a trap to many?  How can you avoid it?

            What does it mean that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil?

                        Name some of the kinds of evil that result from greed & love of money?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to search your heart and point out any greed, discontent or love of money you may

have. Confess it as sin and ask God to take it from you.

            Is there anything God is asking you to give to His church, His work, or someone in need which

your greed has kept you from doing?

            Ask God to help you be content with your circumstances in life in all areas of life.

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.

 

 


I TIMOTHY: CHURCH ORDER

 

            Before we even knew if our firstborn would be a boy or girl, God laid it on both of our hearts to name him ‘Timothy’ because he would be a young pastor.  Timothy in the Bible is a fine example for anyone to follow.  Born to a Greek father and Jewish mother, he was led to salvation in Jesus by Paul on his first missionary journey.  Both his mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, had had a fine godly influence on him.  Because of his spiritual gifts and rapid maturity, and also because he naturally got along very well with him, Paul asked Timothy to come with him and help on his second missionary journey.  He helped Paul establish churches at Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea and Corinth.  Paul sent him anywhere and everywhere as his official ‘trouble-shooter,’ to straighten out tough situations in churches which Paul himself was unable to visit.  His went on for years.  Timothy and Paul were very close to the very end.  He was probably with Paul in Rome the second time Paul was imprisoned there.  This arrest ended in Paul’s execution.  Timothy himself died as a martyr, killed by the Roman government. 

 

BACKGROUND  I Timothy was written about 3 years before Paul died.  Timothy had been sent to Ephesus to iron out problems there while Paul ministered elsewhere.  Paul expected to join him in Ephesus but was delayed, so he wrote this letter to Timothy instructing him how to carry on until he got there.  Thus we have Paul’s insight into how a church should run.  Not being able to get to Ephesus was frustrating to Paul and Timothy, but certainly to our benefit.

 

I. ORDINATION OF TIMOTHY (1:3-20)  Evidently things weren’t going smoothly for easy-going Timothy.  False teachers, domineering women, and church conflicts had him asking Paul if he could please leave Ephesus.  It was so bad it was causing him stomach problems!  Paul told him in no uncertain terms to stay and face up to the opposition.  While that would not have been hard for Paul, Timothy was obviously natured quite differently.  Thus Paul encourages and supports Timothy in this difficult assignment.  He gives him advice and guidance as well as reminding him of his obligation to stay and do the job.  The church needed order and he was the one to bring it.

 

II. ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH (2:1 – 3:16)  Paul then talks about the importance of prayer in the church and that it should be led by men.  He exhorts that Christian women should be marked by the inner adornment of the soul, not by the outward dress of the body.  Their lives should express modesty and good works.  Men are to be the leaders, women the supporters.  Evidently that wasn’t happening in Ephesus.

            Paul then told Timothy what the qualifications should be for elders and deacons.  The male leadership needed straightening up there, too.  Who to chose for church leadership is always a very important subject.  Since Paul wasn’t able to visit there as soon as he had hoped, he instructs Timothy about how to choose and use leaders. 

 

III. OPERATION OF TIMOTHY (4:1 – 6:19)  This last section of I Timothy relates to Timothy’s own walk and work within the church.  Paul warns him about false teachers and reminds him of his duty to be a godly teacher.  Paul talks about the church as a family and encourages Timothy to treat the church people as he would treat family members: with respect and honor. 

 

            How does your church stack up against Paul’s standards as listed in I Timothy?  If it isn’t meeting those principles something is wrong.  If Paul were alive he’d come straighten things out.  He isn’t and he won’t, but God is and He will. Be a Timothy and bring order to your church.

TITLE: Named for recipient

AUTHOR:  Paul

DATE of WRITING: 62 AD

PLACE of  WRITING: Macedonia

RECIPIENT:  Timothy, a young pastor friend

KEY VERSE:   if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. …  But godliness with contentment is great gain.  … But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.   12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  … Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge,   3:15; 6:6, 11-13, 20

KEY WORDS: “Good” (22 times); “godliness” (8); “doctrine” (8); “teach/teacher” (7) 

PURPOSE: Paul is providing guidance for his young trainee  as a pastor.  He warns him about

false teachers and explains how he should operate a church.

THEME: Correct church order.

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 


 

2 TIMOTHY

 

If you can, read the whole book of 2 TIMOTHY this week.

Monday

1 Timothy 1

Tuesday

1 Timothy 2

Wednesday

1 Timothy 3

Thursday

1 Timothy 4

Friday

1 Timothy 1

Saturday

1 Timothy 2

MONDAY

READ: 2 Timothy, Faithful Service, article (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:  When you are at the end of your life and look back on it,

what will you want to be remembered for?

            What are you doing now to assure that will happen?

            Why do you think Paul chose Timothy to write these things to?

            Paul must have wondered why timothy couldn’t be with him and why he had to settle for writing

instead, but god has used that to bless us throughout the generations.  This is Romans 8:28 in operation.

            Have you considered writing down your thoughts about life and God for others to read after

you are gone?  We never know when God will take us home and God can use that to minister to others in a very special way.

 

PRAY:  Think about times Romans 8:28 has worked in your life. Thank God for them.

            Commit your current situation to Him, trusting He will use that for good as well.

 

TUESDAY

READ:2 Timothy 2:1-7

 

THINK ABOUT:  What is Paul trying to teach through these illustrations?

            Why does Paul want Timothy to pass on to others the things he was taught?

            Who are you passing God’s truth on to?

            How can one be ‘strong in grace’ (verse 1)?  Are you?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to give you some to pass his truth on to.  And make sure you pass it on to them.

            Paul told Timothy to reflect on what he wrote so God would give him insight (verse 7). Spend

some time reflecting and asking God for insight into these verses and how they apply to you.

 

WEDNESDAY

READ:2 Timothy 2:22-26

 

THINK ABOUT:  Specifically what ‘desires of youth’ should Christians flee today?

            What’s so bad about getting into ‘foolish and stupid arguments’?

            What foolish or stupid arguments are you most prone to get into?  How can you stop?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to show you the foolish and stupid arguments you get into today. Confess that.

            Pray for God to build the traits listed in verse 22 into you today.

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

THURSDAY

 

READ:2 Timothy 3:1-9

 

THINK ABOUT:   On your Personal Notes and Observations page list all the characteristics of the

last days that Paul mentions here. 

Put a check by the ones that characterize people today.

            Which of these do you struggle with?  How can you have victory over them?

            Think of someone who is ‘always learning but never coming to the truth’ (verse 7)?

                        Why are some people like this?

                        How consistent are you in applying the truths of God’s Word to your own life?

 

PRAY:   Ask God to help you apply His truth to your life. 

            Confess any of the sins Paul mentions as signs of the last day that you are currently guilty of.

            Humbly thank God for His truth that has been revealed to you and ask Him to keep you from

ever drifting from it.

 

FRIDAY

 

READ:2 Timothy 3:10-17

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why does Paul say that everyone who lives for Jesus will be persecuted (v12)?

            Why does God allow evil to prosper (v 13) but believers to be persecuted (v 12)?

            What does Paul say Scripture is useful for?  Which of these are you using it for?

            Paul says the Bible thoroughly equips us for every good work.  Do you have time in the Bible

regularly?  Do your priorities need to be adjusted so you spend more time learning the Word?  Specifically what adjustments must be made?

            Write 2 Timothy 3:16-17 on a small piece of paper.  Carry it around with you all day and read it

often until you memorize it.

 

PRAY:  Ask God to help you stay faithful despite persecution and not compromise to avid it.

            Pray for those who are undergoing deep persecution for their faith throughout the world.

            Thank God for His Word.  Ask Him to help you learn and apply it to your life.

 

SATURDAY

 

READ:2 Timothy 4:6-8

 

THINK ABOUT:  Read this passage over and over, meditating on it and picturing Paul in prison

writing this knowing he would soon be dead.

            Is there anything in life you need to change so you can come to the end of life knowing you

have lived a faithful Christian life for God?  What must be done, if anything?

            Paul says life is light a ‘fight’ or a ‘race’ – what do these picture? 

What do they have in common?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to help you stay faithful to the end of life so you can say what Paul said.

            Spend some time thinking about and thanking God for the blessings and rewards He will have

for you in heaven.  Praise and worship Him for this.

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.

 

II TIMOTHY: FAITHFUL SERVICE

 

            Paul has been serving God faithfully for over 30 years.   It’s been 20 years since his first missionary journey.  He has suffered much, sacrificed much, and been near death often.  His brilliant, gifted mind and strong personality has led the early church through its tough growing years when false teachers and jealous political leaders tired all they could to destroy it.  Now he is in prison again.  In the 5 years since his first imprisonment Paul has been able to travel to see churches he has started as well as go start new ones in places he had never been.  Now the end is near and Paul knows it.  God has raised up a new generation of local leaders to take over the guidance of the church.  Paul is worn out physically.  He writes one final letter, to the one person (other than faithful Luke who was with him to the end) he loves more than anyone, his son in the faith Timothy.  II Timothy contains Paul’s dying words, his final communication as he faces death.  If a news reporter had interviewed Paul at this time they would have asked him if he had any doubts about how he spent his life.  “Paul, was it worth it?”  “Yes!” Paul would affirm, “and much more.”  “What final parting words do you have for your followers out there?” the reporter would ask.  Paul answered “Be faithful.”  That, in effect, is the message of II Timothy.  “Be faithful!”

 

BACKGROUND   Persecution is getting worse for believers.  Thousands are being martyred.  They are considered enemies of Rome with no rights to a fair trial.  Then when Nero burned Rome and blamed it on the Christians things got worse.  Everyone started blaming them for everything.  Peter is also in prison, soon to be crucified upside down.  Paul is public enemy number one.  He was betrayed and deceived while in Ephesus, and thus he now finds himself in prison in Rome.  He is not under house arrest but in a dungeon awaiting execution.  This strips away all pretense and gets right to the heart and core of what is in a person.  When one faces death all façade is stripped away.  That’s what makes II Timothy such a revealing letter.

 

I. FAITHFUL TO GOD  (1:3-18)  Paul begins by encouraging Timothy to stay faithful to God and use his spiritual gift of teaching for God’s glory.  With all the oppression going on, it seems Timothy was fighting depression and Paul does his best to encourage and motivate him to stay faithful to God and not be ashamed of the gospel.  Paul doesn’t want Timothy to feel badly because of his own sufferings.  He says that it’s a real privilege to suffer for the gospel.  Many are defecting under pressure, but Paul tells Timothy to make sure he remains faithful to Jesus.

 

II. FAITHFUL TO SELF (2:1-26)  Paul then uses seven illustrations of faithfulness as examples to Timothy: a teacher, soldier, athlete, farmer, workman, vessel and slave.  Knowing that things will actually get much worse for Timothy, Paul wants to make sure he stays true.

 

III. FAITHFUL TO OTHERS (3:1 – 4:15)  Despite how bad the circumstances are, Paul tells Timothy to stay faithful to God and his ministry.  He assures him that he is in God’s will and tells him to live no so he will be glad of it when he dies.  Keep things in eternal perspective is Paul’s message. Paul concludes with complements for those who have been faithful to him.  He wants to see Timothy one more time before he dies if possible.  We don’t know if he got there in time or not.  Some say he was arrested himself when he tried to see Paul.  If so he was released and ministered in Ephesus for some time with John until being martyred for his faithfulness. 

 

            Paul would tell us the same thing today – be faithful.  That was Jesus’ request of His followers as well.  What about you.  Are you faithful?  Are you passing the test?  Make sure!

TITLE: Named for recipient

AUTHOR:  Paul

DATE of WRITING:  64 AD

PLACE of  WRITING:  Rome (prison #2)

RECIPIENT: Timothy, a young pastor

KEY VERSE:   In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.   4:1-5

KEY WORD:   “Good” (5 times)

PURPOSE: Paul is providing more guidance for the young man he is training in the pastorate. 

He tells him how to live as a true servant in a time of apostasy.  He also asks timothy to come to him quickly, as he was about to be executed.

THEME:  Paul’s final words are to faithfully serve God.

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 

 


 

 

TITUS

 

If you can, read the whole book of TITUS this week.

Monday

Titus 1

Tuesday

Titus 2

Wednesday

Titus 3

Thursday

Titus 1

Friday

Titus 2

Saturday

Titus 3

MONDAY

READ: Titus, Daily Walk, article (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:  Titus assisted Paul for there was more work

than Paul could do by himself.  Who can you assist in the

work of the ministry to make their load a bit lighter?

Titus was willing to take second place and serve God by serving

Paul.  Who does God want you to serve?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to show you whom you can help by serving

today.  Look for opportunities to serve.

            Thank God for those who serve you in any capacity.

            Ask God to make you a servant like Jesus is a servant.

 

TUESDAY

READ:Titus 1:5-9

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why did Paul leave Titus behind on the island of Crete?                                               

            What kind of man is Titus to look for to appoint as a church leader?

            Why doesn’t matter if a person is rich, powerful, socially prominent or well educated?

            Such a leader must be hospitable.  How are you at showing hospitality to others?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to show you some time or way you can show hospitality to others.

            Read each of the characteristics for a church leader and ask God to build that trait into your life

so you can be more like Jesus.

 

WEDNESDAY

READ:Titus 2:1-3

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why do you think Paul chose these things (v 2) for Titus to teach to older men?

            Why did he pick these things (v 3) for Titus to teach to older women?

            Compare yourself to the list (men to the men’s list, women to the women’s list). 

                        Do you struggle with any of these?

            Who comes to mind when you think of someone who is a godly man or woman?

                        What outstanding traits make you think of them as godly?

 

PRAY:  Pray for those who are godly men or women.

            Ask God to work in your life so you will be a godly man or woman.

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

THURSDAY

 

READ:Titus 2:4-8

 

THINK ABOUT:   What important duties or traits should a godly young woman have?

            What important traits or duties should a godly young man have?

            What would you add to the list for women?  For men?

 

PRAY:   Thank God for the privilege of becoming like His son?

            Pray for young Christian wives or husbands  you know. 

Ask God to show you anything you can do to help them.

 

FRIDAY

 

READ:Titus 2:11-15

 

THINK ABOUT:  How has God’s grace that brings salvation appeared to ALL people (v 11)?

            What specific acts is Paul referring to by ‘ungodliness’ and ‘worldly passions’? (v 12)

                        What specific activities of those types will you have to say no to today?

            Why is the Rapture called “the blessed hope” (verse 13)?

 

PRAY:  Spend some time thinking about the ‘hope’ (confident assurance) you have in Jesus. Pray

about it, thanking Jesus for it, etc.

            Thank God for the grace He has shown you (v 11).  Think of all the ways you are a recipient of

His grace.  Praise Him for it.

 

SATURDAY

 

READ:Titus 3:1-11

 

THINK ABOUT:  List what Titus is to tell the people to do (v.1-2).

            Give some examples of showing ‘true humility to all men’ (verse 2).

            Titus 3:5 is a good verse to use to show salvation is by grace (like Eph. 2:8-9).  Write it on a

piece of paper and read it over and over today until you memorize it.

            Who do you know that is divisive, who causes problems between people (v 10)?

                        How does Paul say to handle people like that?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to help you show true humility to others.

            Thank God for the blessings of this day: life, friends, daily pleasures, etc.  Take you time and

name all that you can.

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.

 

 


TITUS: DAILY WALK

 

            After his third missionary journey Paul went to Jerusalem where he was falsely accused and arrested.  For his safety he was taken to Caesarea where he spent 2 years in house arrest.  Paul appealed to Caesar and was taken to Rome.  On the way he was shipwrecked.  Eventually he was released because the Jews couldn’t prove any charges against him.  Paul then went to Ephesus and left Timothy there to help churches in that whole area.  Paul continued on to northern Greece and wrote back to Timothy, encouraging him in his work and explaining about church order and organization (I Timothy).  Next Paul went to Crete and left Titus there to supervise those churches.  Soon Paul left Crete and went to Corinth.  From there he wrote back to Titus encouraging him.  Eventually he ended up in Ephesus again where he was arrested for the second time and taken back to Rome for the crime of being a Christian.  From prison there he wrote to Timothy again (II Timothy). 

 

BACKGROUND  Sandwiched between I and II Timothy is the book of Titus which is very similar to I Timothy.  Titus was a Gentile whom Paul led to salvation.  Paul took him to the Jerusalem council to show the leaders a Gentile could be saved without being circumcised.  At the end of the third missionary journey Titus again is mentioned.  Paul sent him to Corinth to deal with delicate problems there (much the same as Timothy was sent to Ephesus).  Mainly, though, Titus worked with the churches on Crete, just as Timothy worked with the churches in Ephesus.

 

I. CONDUCT OF THE LEADERS  (1:5-16)  Paul begins by reminding Titus how the church leaders were to live and act.  Qualifications and requirements were given for deacons and elders.  Paul also warns them about false teachers and their danger.  Titus couldn’t be everywhere on the island of Crete so he needed dependable leaders to oversee the various house-churches there.  This was the same set-up used in all the cites where there churches. 

 

II. CONDUCT OF THE LAITY  (2:1-10)  Paul tells Titus how all believers are to live.  Older men are to be self-controlled, women reverent and faithful, younger men are to be sensible.  All are to set godly examples for others.  Servants, too, are to live godly, submissive lives.

            In all things they are to live by grace.  They are to turn from ungodly lusts and desires.  They are to live remembering that Jesus could come back for them at any time and they are to always be ready.  Holiness must characterize God’s people. 

            In relationship to the government they are to be good citizens.  To all people they are to be ready to do what is good, honest in all they say and do, gracious and forgiving to all, and considerate and humble at all times.  This will show others what a Christian really is.  They are to avoid stiff and contentions among themselves.

            Any who don’t follow these principles are to be disciplined so they repent or are removed.  This will show the seriousness of sin and keep the church pure.  Living the Christian life is mandatory, not optional.  It is a requirement, not suggestion.  How are you doing?

TITLE: Named for recipient

AUTHOR:  Paul

DATE of WRITING:  62 AD

PLACE of  WRITING:  Corinth

RECIPIENT:  Titus, a young pastor Paul is training for ministry

KEY VERSE:   For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It

teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.    But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.   2:11-14; 3:4-8

KEY WORDS:  “Good” (11 times); “good works” (6 times); “sound” (5 times)

PURPOSE:                                                                         

I TIMOTHY

TITUS

II TIMOTHY

Mostly pastoral

Less pastoral

Mostly pastoral

Guard the gospel  6:20

Practice the gospel  3:8

Preach the gospel  4:2

THEME: How to live a godly life

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 


 

PHILEMON

 

If you can, read the whole book of PHILEMON this week.

Monday

Philemon 1:1-3

Tuesday

Philemon 1:4-7

Wednesday

Philemon 1:8-11

Thursday

Philemon 1:12-16

Friday

Philemon 1:17-21

Saturday

Philemon 1:22-25

MONDAY

READ: Philemon, Christian Courtesy, article (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:  Who comes to mind when you think of courtesy?

Do you think good manners are important to most people? 

Why or why not?

            How do you feel when someone is courteous to you?

            How do you feel when they are discourteous?

            What can you do to make yourself more aware of your

                        own manners?

 

PRAY:  Thank God for being a Christian gentlemen in how He treats you.

            Ask Him to forgive you for any ways you haven’t been courteous to Him.

            Ask Him to help you be more courteous to others today and to be aware of your manners.

           

 

TUESDAY

READ:Philemon 1:4-7

 

THINK ABOUT:  Before Paul asks Philemon for a big favor he pays him complements. 

Why is this a good thing to do?

            Do you think Paul was making things up to butter him up or genuinely thankful?

            Obviously Paul and Philemon had a good relationship and stayed in touch through writing.

                        Write a letter or email today to someone you haven’t thanked in awhile.

            What kinds of things do think Philemon did to ‘refresh the hearts of the saints’ (v 7)?

 

PRAY:  Thank God for those who are good Christian friends of yours.

            Pray for those you haven’t prayed for in a few days.

            Thank God for them, be specific and thank Him for different things for each person.

 

WEDNESDAY

READ:Philemon 1:8-11

 

THINK ABOUT:  Philemon’s slave, Onesimus, ran away and then became a believer who helped

Paul while imprisoned in Rome.  Paul is using his influence to intercede for him.  Think of a Christian brother or sister for whom you can intercede today – how can you do it?

            Why is it better to appeal to someone on the basis of love instead of ordering them to do

something?  (verses 8-9)

            Do you think it was easy for Paul to appeal in love instead of ordering him to do right?

            Does God appeal to us on the basis of love or order us around?

            What if someone doesn’t respond to love but only commands?

            What do you need to do today to adjust your dealings with others to be more Christ like?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to make you sensitive to how you speak to others, especially when you want them

to do something for you today/  Ask God to make you more Christ like in how you ask.

            Ask God’s forgiveness for taking advantage of His love appeals and sometimes not responding

as you should.  Thank Him for appealing in love instead of ordering you around.

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

THURSDAY

 

READ:Philemon 1:12-16

 

THINK ABOUT:   Paul subtly gives several good reasons why Philemon should be gentle with

Onesimus even though he ran away, perhaps even stealing money.  Take your time and look carefully, reading ‘between the lines’ to find as many of these as you can.

            Paul says he doesn’t want to force Philemon, but don’t you think he felt some pressure to do

the right thing when he read this?  Or was Paul just trying to make it easier for him to do what was obviously right – forgive Onesimus and free him to serve Paul and God?

 

PRAY: There can be a fine line between manipulating someone to do what you want and making it

easier for them to do what is right.  Ask God to keep you from ever manipulating anyone, and to point out to you when you do so.   

            Thank God for never manipulating you in any way but respecting your free choice.

            Thank Him for sometimes maneuvering circumstances to help you do the right thing.

 

FRIDAY

 

READ:Philemon 1:17-21

 

THINK ABOUT:  Paul gives more reasons for Philemon to forgive and release Onesimus.  Add them

to the list you started yesterday.

            Do you think Paul is coming on too strong?  Why or why not?

           

PRAY:  Ask God to help you remember those who have stood up for you from childhood on. 

            Thank God for them and pray for each one by name.

            Ask God to bring someone into your life today that you can stand up for and help.

 

SATURDAY

 

READ:Philemon 1:22-25

 

THINK ABOUT:  Paul says he wants to come stay with Philemon when released from prison.  Do you

have a hard time asking favors of others or letting others serve you?  Why?

            Do you have a hard time asking God for help and allowing Him to serve you?  Why?

            Do you have a hard time helping and serving others?  Why?

 

PRAY:  Kneel to pray and humble yourself before God.  Tell Him you will accept help from Him and

others in your life.  Also tell Him you will humble yourself to help others.

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.

 

 

PHILEMON: CHRISTIAN COURTESY

 

            Several years Readers Digest printed the following.  Talking with a friend recently, I remarked that status symbols are getting hard to come by.  A great many people, if they want one badly enough, can have a new car, a fur coat, a Florida vacation, a boat, a cottage, a country-club membership, or even a college degree.  “What’s left,” I asked, “to distinguish a man?”  “Manners,” he replied, “just good manners.”  The short letter of Philemon distinguishes Paul as a great man, a man of manners.

 

BACKGROUND  Paul wrote to Philemon from prison just before his release.  Onesimus, a slave of Philemon, ran away from Philemon after robbing him.  He ended up in Rome meeting Paul, who led him to salvation.  Onesimus stayed with Paul and helped him, becoming very useful to Paul while in house arrest.  Philemon was a close friend of Paul.  Paul had led him to salvation years before.  He was one of he leaders in the church at Colossae. One of the house-churches that made up the church in Colossae met in his home. Now Paul is sending Onesimus back to his master with a letter asking for Philemon to forgive him.  When the letter is closely studied one can see many ways in which Paul exercises Christian courtesy.

 

            Paul begins by writing Philemon friend to friend.  He doesn’t ‘pull rank’ and use his apostolic authority.  Courtesy is made up of petty sacrifices, putting others first.  It must come from the heart, an attitude of true love for others. 

 

I. PRAISE OF PHILEMON  (4-7)  Paul begins by praying for Philemon, asking God to bless him.  He then praises him for all the good he has done for Paul and the Gospel.  Complementing people is very important and shows very good manners.  Criticizing people is easy and does no one any good. 

            Remember that this letter was first read before the whole church.  It wasn’t delivered just to Philemon, but was for the whole church.  Having Paul praise him was good for Philemon, setting the groundwork for the request that was coming. 

 

II. PLEA FOR ONESIMUS  (8-17)  Paul wants Philemon to have the same gracious forsaking of rights for Onesimus that Paul has for Philemon.  He wants him, too, to be polite and kind, based on love.  Paul is showing Philemon love by sending Onesimus back to him and not using force to make Philemon forgive him.  Paul wants Philemon to show love to him by forgiving Onesimus and accepting him back.  Paul even points out that Onesimus has been very useful to him in prison, and that accepting him back without pressing charges would be like accepting Paul himself.  He is using every argument he can to make sure Philemon comes to a godly, courteous decision in this matter.  He isn’t trying to force or manipulate him, or he wouldn’t have sent Onesimus back.  He sincerely wants to make it easier for Philemon to do the right thing.  Paul is treating Philemon as he would want to be treated in similar circumstances – the Golden Rule in operation. 

            Paul says he is Philemon’s friend, fellow-worker, brother and partner.  To reject Onesimus would be to reject Paul and such a thing is unthinkable.  Notice Paul never tries to sort out the reason Onesimus left.  Whose fault was it?  What went wrong?  It’s very hard to get to the bottom of things that way, often it just makes things worse.  Christian courtesy means forgiving without having to prove guilt or innocence. 

 

III. PROMISE OF PAUL  (18-22)  Paul says he will even pay Onesimus’ debt so Philemon doesn’t have to take the loss.  Of course Philemon would never charge Paul for such a thing.  Paul is very positive in what he expects of Philemon, saying he knows he will do the right thing.  That is much more effective than being critical or condemning.  Paul concludes by saying he will come for a visit when released from prison, and he probably soon did come.  Thus we see valuable insights into Paul the man and his relationships with other believers.  It’s a fine example for us, too.  Remember, you cant’ be too courteous!

TITLE:  Named for recipient

AUTHOR:  Paul

DATE of WRITING:  60 AD

PLACE of  WRITING: Rome (in prison)

RECIPIENT:  Philemon, a rich and influential believer in Colossae

KEY VERSE:   So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If

he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back-not to mention that you owe me your very self.  17-19

KEY WORDS: “Love,” “beseech,” “profitable,” “servant” 

PURPOSE: Paul intercedes with Philemon to be gracious to his slave Onesimus who ran away

and is not returning to his service.

THEME: Christian courtesy and forgiveness

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 

 

 


 

 

HEBREWS

 

If you can, read the whole book of HEBREWS this week.

Monday

Hebrews 1-3

Tuesday

Hebrews 4-5

Wednesday

Hebrews 6-7

Thursday

Hebrews 8-9

Friday

Hebrews 10-11

Saturday

Hebrews 12-13

 

MONDAY

READ: Hebrews, Christ is Superior, article (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:  Who was the book of Hebrews written to and why?

            Why was the author so anxious to make sure his readers

were convinced that Jesus was superior to everything else?

            Why is it so critical that Jesus is superior to everyone and everything?

            Who challenges Jesus’ superiority today and why?

 

PRAY:  Spend some time in meditation and prayer, focusing on Jesus’ superiority to everything.

            Praise and worship Him for His greatness in all things – and for loving you!

 

TUESDAY

READ:Hebrews 1:1-4

 

THINK ABOUT:  Summarize these verses in a few words which could be a title for this book.

            On your Personal Notes and Observations page write down all the things this passage says

about Jesus.

            In what ways is Jesus the ‘exact representation’ of God the father (verse 3)?

            What does Jesus show us about God?  Take your time to think about this.

 

PRAY:  After thinking about what Jesus shows us about God, spend some time praying and praising

Him for what we see God is like.

            Thank God for sending Jesus to show us what He Himself is like, or we wouldn’t rally know.

 

WEDNESDAY

READ:Hebrews 4:12-13

 

THINK ABOUT:  List all verse 12 tells us about the Bible.

            Behind each one write how it applies to your life.

            Notice it doesn’t say the Bible judges our actions but our thoughts and attitudes.  Why?

            Does the fact that nothing is hidden from God (v 13) bring you comfort or guilt?  Why?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to sift through your thoughts and attitudes and make sure all are godly.

            Sit and reflect on what it means that every thought is know to God – so you don’t have to

explain anything to Him.  Enjoy His peace and fellowship as you think about that truth.

            Ask God to bless the Bible study at church tonight.

 

THURSDAY

 

READ:Hebrews 4:14-16

 

THINK ABOUT:   Think of the temptations that are hardest for you to resist.  Now think about Jesus

facing and understanding those very same temptations.

            Why did Jesus want to personally experience every temptation you face?

            What difference does this make when you pray?

 

PRAY:   Take your greatest current temptations to Jesus and talk to Him about them, knowing He

knows by personal experience what they are like.

            Ask for His mercy and grace (v 16) to overcome these temptations.

 

FRIDAY

 

READ:Hebrews 11:1-4

 

THINK ABOUT:  How does the writer of Hebrews define ‘faith’?  What would you add to that?

            How can we be sure and certain of things we don’t see?

            Make a list of the names of all the people who are listed as examples of faith.

            Why does the writer give so many varied examples for us?  What is his point?

            If your name was included in this list, what examples of faith in your life would be included?

            Name some people you know today who are good examples of faith and why they stand out.

 

PRAY:  Thank God for the examples of faith He has left us in the Bible and today.

            Ask God to help you have a good testimony of faith for others – of course this means you will

have opportunities to exercise faith, times of stretching and trials.  Are you willing?

            Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill you with the fruit of faithfulness.  Pray for this daily.

 

SATURDAY

 

READ:Hebrews 12:1-3

 

THINK ABOUT:  Who is the author referring to as ‘witnesses’ watching us?

            What are the things which most hinder you  (v 1) in your Christian life?  Think carefully.

            What exactly does it mean to ‘run with perseverance’ (verse 1)?

            When and where do you have the hardest time persevering in your faith?

            How does this passage say we develop better perseverance (v. 3)?

            What is to be our focus and goal in life (v. 2)?

 

PRAY: Pray for God to help you have victory over the sin that so easily entangles you (v 1). 

            Ask God for the fruit of patience (perseverance) from His Holy Spirit.

            Ask God to bless the worship service tomorrow and use it for His glory.

 

 


HEBREWS: CHRIST IS SUPERIOR

 

            Becoming a 1st Century convert to Christianity could definitely be “hazardous to your health.” There was rejection, persecution and even cruel death.  It was especially hard if you were a Jewish believer because your family and friends would turn on you.  Your whole support system would put tremendous pressure on you to revert back to Judaism. You would lose your job, your family, your savings, your inheritance and your hope through Judaism.  Because of this extra pressure many Jewish believers who had put their faith in Jesus as the Messiah later recanted and went back to Judaism.  This book was written to show them that Jesus is the ONLY way and that He is superior to everything in Judaism.  It is essentially a commentary on Genesis through Deuteronomy showing how Jesus fulfill and supersedes all the laws and practices written therein.  The Old Testament is but a shadow, Jesus is the real thing. 

 

I. SUPERIORITY OF THE PERSON OF CHRIST  (1:1 – 4:16)  In a majestically constructed opening paragraph the author introduces his readers to the surpassing greatness of Jesus.  Without a standard opening the author jumps right into his subject.  Jesus is greater than the Old Testament Prophets (1:1-4) because He is the creator and sustainer of all things, the express image of God and the One seated beside the Father in heaven.

            Next the writer shows that Jesus is greater than the angels (1:5 – 2:18) as well.  He is superior because He is God and because He alone provided salvation.  Jesus died for human sin as a man and thus defeated the most powerful angel, Lucifer.  By becoming lower than the angels Christ lifted men up to a position spiritually superior to the angels. 

            Jesus is also superior to Moses (3:1-6), the greatest Old Testament man to the Jews. Moses was a servant in God’s house but Jesus was the builder of that house.  In addition, Jesus is greater than Joshua (3:7 – 4:16).  Joshua may have led the Jews into the Promised Land, but even he didn’t lead them into permanent victory or peace. 

 

II. SUPERIORITY OF THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST  (4:14 – 9:39)  First the writer shows that Jesus is superior to Aaron’s priesthood  (4:14 – 6:20).  The Jewish high priest was in God’s presence only one day a year, Jesus is continually there.  He has unlimited access.  He has no sin of his own to contend with as the Jewish priests did.  They offered sacrifices for themselves and others, Jesus offered Himself as the sinless sacrifice for all and that ended the need for any sacrifices by any Jewish priests. 

            Jesus is even superior to the priesthood of Melchizedek (7:1 – 8:13).  He was a priest as well as a king, Jewish priests were never kings.  Jewish priests were only priests from the age of 30 until their death, Melchizedek’s priesthood was eternal, no beginning and no end.

            Thus Jesus is superior to all priesthoods (9:1 – 10:39).  His sacrifice is a one-time offering that totally removes all sin and guilt forever.  His work is finished.  He is seated in God’s presence.  Jewish priests can’t compare to that at all.

 

III. SUPERIORITY OF THE POWER OF CHRIST  (11:1 – 13:19)  Jesus is greater than faithlessness (11:1-40) .  Examples of those with faith are listed in chapter 11.  It was their faith that brought God’s approval, not their keeping of the Old Testament system.  All were rewarded for their faith, and the writer wants his readers to be rewarded for theirs as well.

            Following Jesus is greater than hopelessness (12:1-29).  Don’t be like Esau he warns them, and sell their future spiritual blessing for a moment of physical relief from distress.  When they see their error later it will be too late.

            Finally he shows how Jesus is superior to lovelessness (13:1-19).  He says that Jesus motivates His followers to treat each other in love. 

            Interspersed throughout the book are 5 warnings to them to not go back.  Some use these to show that salvation can be lost, but that’s not the context they are written in.  They are written to Jews who have realized that Jesus is the Messiah but, under pressure, have decided to go back to Judaism.  Before they knew about Jesus, when they were in their ignorance, Judaism was all right and God didn’t hold them accountable for what they didn’t know.  Now that they know, however, they are responsible to act on that and they can no longer go back to their ignorance.  Jesus is superior.  Is there anything in your life that you have above Him? TITLE: Recipients are Hebrew Christians

AUTHOR:  Unknown (Paul, Barnabas, Timothy, Priscilla, etc.?)

DATE of WRITING:  65 AD

PLACE of  WRITING: Unknown

RECIPIENTS:  Jewish Believers

KEY VERSE:   For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on

the seventh day God rested from all his work.”   4:4

KEY WORDS: “Eternal” (13 times); “heavens” (13); “better” (12); “perfection” (11); “partakers”

(7); “faith” (31)

PURPOSE: Encourage Jewish believers to stay faithful to Jesus and not give in to persecution

and go back to Judaism for salvation.

THEME: Christ is superior to all things (including the Old Testament, Judaism, angels, etc.)

Spend some time reading this book this week.

 

 

 


 

 

JAMES

 

If you can, read the whole book of JAMES this week.

Monday

James 1

Tuesday

James 2

Wednesday

James 3

Thursday

James 4

Friday

James 5

Saturday

James 1

 

MONDAY

READ: James, True Faith, article (after daily readings)

 

THINK ABOUT:  Who is James?

            What do you do you think it would be like to be Jesus’ younger brother?  Would you have liked not?

Who did James write this book to and why?

            What is the relationship between faith and works?

            How would James define true faith?

 

PRAY:  Thank God for inspiring godly men to write down His

truths for us today.  Thank Him for keeping them true in the Bible.

            Ask God to give you wisdom as you study this book.

 

 

TUESDAY

READ:James 1:2-8

 

THINK ABOUT:  Why does James say we should count it joy when we face trials (v. 2)?

            Why does James equate perseverance with maturity?

                        Since patience and perseverance shows maturity, how mature are you?

            Define ‘wisdom’?  How does it differ from Knowledge?

            What does James say we should do to get more wisdom?

            How does James define double-minded’?

            When do you find yourself believing but also doubting at the same time?

 

PRAY:  Ask God to fill you with His Spirit which gives patience/perseverance.

            Ask for wisdom as James directs (5-8).

            Honestly talk with God about the things you are having a hard time trusting Him with right now. 

He knows about them anyway.  Don’t be ‘double-minded.’

 


WEDNESDAY

READ:  James 1:22-25

 

THINK ABOUT:  What analogy does James use about someone who reads the Bible but doesn’t