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Showing posts from November 2, 2015

A Book of Wax Tablets

A Book of Wax Tablets
A book of wax tablets with Greek school exercises (fourth–fifth century AD)
SCHOOLMASTER In Gal. 3:24–25 the KJV translates the Greek word paidagōgos as “schoolmaster,” referring to a function of the OT law as a custodian, guardian, or tutor to prepare a person for salvation by faith in Christ through creating an awareness of the holiness and righteousness of God and an accompanying sense of personal need. The term was used of a slave placed in charge of a boy in a wealthy Greco-Roman household whose task it was to accompany the boy to school and to guide his conduct until he came of age and took on the responsibilities of a man.

Longman, Tremper, III, Peter Enns, and Mark Strauss, eds. The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary 2013 : 1483–1484. Print.

Jesus Knew their Hostile Thoughts

Jesus Knew their Hostile ThoughtsMk 2:8–9. Immediately (euthys; cf. Mk 1:10) Jesus perceived in His spirit (inwardly; cf. Mk 14:38) their hostile thoughts and He confronted them directly with pointed counter questions (a rhetorical device in Rabbinic debate; cf. Mk 3:4; Mk 11:30; Mk 12:37).
The scribes expected a physical healing, but Jesus pronounced the man’s sins … forgiven. They probably thought that a pronouncement of forgiveness was easier than one of healing because healing was visible and immediately verifiable.
Mk 2:10. This verse presents an interpretive problem due to the awkward change of addressee in the verse’s middle. Jesus seemed to be addressing the scribes (v. Mk 2:10a) but there is an abrupt break in the verse after which He addressed the paralytic. Another problem in light of the overall emphasis of Mark is the public use of the title Son of Man by Jesus in the presence of unbelieving hearers so early in His ministry (cf. Mk 9:9; Mk 10:33). Apart from Mk 2:10 and Mk…

Test the Spirits

Test the Spirits
John begins with a warning about the false spirits in the world. Keep in mind that the NT was not yet completed and what had been written was not widely known; until the completion of the NT, the local churches depended on the ministry of people with spiritual gifts to teach them truth. How could a believer know when a preacher was from God and that his message could be trusted? (See 1 Thes. 5:19–21.) After all, Satan is an imitator. John states that the false spirits will not confess that Jesus is the Christ (see 1 Cor. 12:3). The false cults today deny the deity of Christ and make Him a mere man or an inspired teacher. But the Christian has the Spirit within, the new nature, and this gives overcoming power.
There are two spirits in the world today: God’s Spirit of Truth, who speaks through the inspired Word, and Satan’s spirit of error that teaches lies (1 Tim. 4:1ff). Teachers sent by God will speak from God, and God’s children will recognize them. Satan’s workers…

Hebrews 1.4–14.

Hebrews 1.4–14. Anointing with oil is associated in the Old Testament with happiness (compare Isa 61:3), and especially with the coronation of a king. Oil is not used in this way in most cultures, and a glossary note on “anoint” may be needed as in TEV. GeCL brings out the meaning: “therefore has the Lord, your God, chosen you and given greater honor and joy to you than to all who belong to you.” Has given you the joy of an honor is in many languages expressed only as a type of causative expression. For example, “I have given you honor which causes you joy” or “I have caused you to have joy because of an honor” or “… by means of an honor,” or “… joy because I have honored you.”
Ellingworth, Paul, and Eugene Albert Nida. A Handbook on the Letter to the Hebrews. New York: United Bible Societies, 1994. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

Krater with Lid

Krater with Lid

Fig. 2. Krater with lid. H: 115 cm. Euboean, Late Geometric, 750–700 B.C. (Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cesnola Collection; purchased by subscription 1874–76 [74.51.965]).
The tree of life as a pictorial prayer for the fertility of the land might suggest a relationship with the nearby sanctuary founded toward the end of the eighth century B.C. The name of the god worshipped there, Apollo, is only first attested in inscriptions of the fifth century B.C., and the epithet Hylates, “of the woodlands,” does not appear until the Hellenistic period; but the god may well have possessed his woodland character several centuries before it is confirmed by inscriptions. Terracotta trees from the Archaic Precinct in the Sanctuary support this notion (Young and Young 1955: 41, nos. 840–41; Winter 1996: 99, no. 447). The heraldic animals, usually goats, that accompany the tree of life also represent fertility, in this case for the herds, and could be imagined as symbolic o…

Praise for God’s Word to Mary

Praise for God’s Word to MaryPraise for God’s Word to Mary (Luke 1:46–49)* Mary’s poetic outburst echoes Old Testament language with a perspective that sees the present in light of God’s consistent activity throughout time. Her praise is personal—her soul and spirit offer praise. She glorifies the Lord, which means her words acknowledge his goodness and bring attention to him like a huge neon light shining out from a building (Ps 34:3; Ps 69:30). She makes his name great. She approaches him recognizing her humble state as his servant and thus acknowledging him as sovereign Master (see also v. Lk 1:38; 2 Kings 14:26; Ps 9:11–14; Ps 25:16–18). Yet though she addresses God as the Mighty One (Deut 10:21; Deut 34:11; Ps 44:4–8; Ps 89:8–10; Ps 111:2, Ps 111:9; Zeph 3:17), she knows that she has nothing to fear from his power, because he also is her Savior (Ps 25:5–6; Is 12:2; Mic 7:7). All these titles serve to show Mary’s humble spirit. Her humble perspective forms the basis of her gratit…

The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea

‎ The Arabs call this Bahr Lut, the Sea of Lot. It is the most remarkable inland sea in the world. It is situated in the lowest part of the valley which extends from the base of Hermon to the Gulf of Akabah. The Hebrews call it the Salt Sea. The Greeks at an early period called it the Dead Sea. It is forty-seven miles in length and its greatest width is nine and a half miles. Its mean depth is 1080 feet, its level below the level of the Mediterranean is 1293 feet. The water contains from twenty-four to twenty-six per cent of solid substances, seven per cent of which is chloride of sodium (common salt). The salt of the Dead Sea has from the earliest times been collected and brought to the Jerusalem markets and is considered particularly strong. To the Government alone belongs all the salt and bitumen brought into and sold in Syria. During the last of April, when the writer and the artist were here, the weather was so hot that it was necessary for us to leave our hotel in …

Athenian Coin of Antiochus Epiphanes

Athenian Coin of Antiochus Epiphanes

‎This silver tetradrachma’s inscription says “of Athens” and names men associated with the coin’s production. One of them was Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who held a public office connected with coinage in Athens for an unknown period between leaving Rome in 189 B.C. and taking the Seleucid throne in 175. When he heard of his brother Seleucus IV’s assassination, he left Athens for Syrian Antioch to take charge. The elephant on the coin’s reverse alludes to the eastern Greek monarchs, thus to Antiochus’ own dynastic family.
‎1 Macc 1:20–25, 1 Macc 6:16, 2 Macc 4:7, 2 Macc 5:11–14, 2 Macc 9:1–29

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

November 2

  Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore
Ps. 16:11
The man who walks along the path of life lives in the presence of the joy-giving God. Just in so far as he is true to that path of life, and wanders neither to the right hand nor to the left, his joy becomes deeper; nay, he becomes partaker of that very fullness of joy in which God Himself lives, and moves, and has His being. And while such is his experience in the midst of all the trials of life, he has also the privilege of looking forward to grander things yet in store for him, when that higher world shall be reached, and the shadows of time have passed away forever. “At Thy right hand,” exclaims the psalmist, “there are pleasures forevermore.”

W. Hay Aitken

Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

November 2

  Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore
Ps. 16:11
The man who walks along the path of life lives in the presence of the joy-giving God. Just in so far as he is true to that path of life, and wanders neither to the right hand nor to the left, his joy becomes deeper; nay, he becomes partaker of that very fullness of joy in which God Himself lives, and moves, and has His being. And while such is his experience in the midst of all the trials of life, he has also the privilege of looking forward to grander things yet in store for him, when that higher world shall be reached, and the shadows of time have passed away forever. “At Thy right hand,” exclaims the psalmist, “there are pleasures forevermore.”

W. Hay Aitken

Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.

Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan

November 2: Will We Follow?
1 Kings 2:1–46; Mark 1:35–2:28;Proverbs 1:8–12

The Gospel of Mark opens without fanfare—certainly nothing befitting literary greatness. There is no lofty imagery like the Gospel of John, no impressive genealogies like the Gospel of Matthew, and no historical narrative like the Gospel of Luke. Instead, Mark flashes rapidly through events that build on one another. John the Baptist’s prophecy is followed by short summaries of Jesus’ baptism and His temptation by Satan. After calling His first disciples, Jesus begins healing and preaching both near and far—all within the first chapter. The unadorned, clipped prose communicates something urgent.

Mark’s narrative captures the coming kingdom that will erupt with a power only some can see. It imparts a sense of urgency to those who know they are needy.

Mark portrays the advancing kingdom through the person and work of Jesus, who draws people. The crowds at Capernaum seek Him out (Mark 2:2), as do those marginalized…

Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year

November 2nd
Authority and independence


If ye love Me, ye will keep My commandments. John 14:15 (R.V.).
Our Lord never insists upon obedience; He tells us very emphatically what we ought to do, but He never takes means to make us do it. We have to obey Him out of oneness of spirit. That is why when Our Lord talked about discipleship, He prefaced it with an IF—you do not need to unless you like. “If any man will be My disciple, let him deny himself”; let him give up his right to himself to Me. Our Lord is not talking of eternal positions, but of being of value to Himself in this order of things, that is why He sounds so stern (cf. Luke 14:26). Never interpret these words apart from the One who uttered them.
The Lord does not give me rules, He makes His standard very clear, and if my relationship to Him is that of love, I will do what He says without any hesitation. If I hesitate, it is because I love someone else in competition with Him, viz., myself. Jesus Christ will not help me to …

Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings

Morning, November 2      Go To Evening Reading
   “I am the Lord, I change not.”           — Malachi 3:6
It is well for us that, amidst all the variableness of life, there is One whom change cannot affect; One whose heart can never alter, and on whose brow mutability can make no furrows. All things else have changed—all things are changing. The sun itself grows dim with age; the world is waxing old; the folding up of the worn-out vesture has commenced; the heavens and earth must soon pass away; they shall perish, they shall wax old as doth a garment; but there is One who only hath immortality, of whose years there is no end, and in whose person there is no change. The delight which the mariner feels, when, after having been tossed about for many a day, he steps again upon the solid shore, is the satisfaction of a Christian when, amidst all the changes of this troublous life, he rests the foot of his faith upon this truth—“I am the Lord, I change not.” 

The stability which the anchor g…