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Jesus’ Birth and Early Years

Jesus’ Birth and Early Years

Excerpt


‎If there is one consistent theme that runs through all the stories of Jesus’ birth, it is the repeated claim that ordinary people had more insight than religious experts when it came to understanding the significance of it all. The coming of the one who was later claimed to be the expected Messiah was recognized not predominantly by the great and the good but by those who, to a greater or lesser extent, were on the fringes of the cultured society of their day. The first chapter of Luke’sGospel paints a vivid picture of the little-known priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth praying expectantly for God to deliver their people, and being rewarded for their faithfulness by the announcement of the birth of their own son, later to be known as John the Baptist (Luke 1:5–28, 57–80). …


Drane, John William. Introducing the New Testament. Completely rev. and updated. Oxford: Lion Publishing plc, 2000. Print.

The Revelation of Mystery

The Revelation of Mystery

Ephesians 1:9

Excerpt


‘Mystery’, which appears twenty-one times in Paul’s letters (out of a total of twenty-seven New Testament occurrences), is used in a variety of ways, though the apostle normally employs the term with reference to the revelation of what was previously hidden but has now been disclosed by God (Rom. 16:25–26; 1 Cor. 2:10; Col. 1:26–27; Eph. 3:3, 5). The ‘mystery of God’ (1 Cor. 2:1v.l.; cf. v.7) focusses on salvation through the cross of Jesus Christ. It cannot be understood through human wisdom but comes to be known as God reveals it by his Spirit to those who love him (v. 10). The plural ‘mysteries’ can draw attention to the essential elements of the one mystery (1 Cor. 4:1), or anything that transcends the human power of comprehending (13:2; cf. 14:2). In Romans 16:25 there is a correlation between the disclosure of the mystery and Paul’s preaching of Jesus Christ. The connection between the mystery and the salvation of Gentiles is a featur…

‘Savior’ in the Gospel of John and in the Hellenistic World

‘Savior’ in the Gospel of John and in the Hellenistic World

John 4:42

Excerpt


The confession of Jesus as “the Savior [sōtēr] of the world” (4:42) is used only once in this Gospel and only once in the Johannine Epistles (1 John 4:14). In the Old Testament the designation of Savior is applied a few times to God as the saving one (e.g., Ps 24:5; Isa 12:2; 43:3, 11; 63:8). It is used in a similar way God in Luke (1:47), 1 Timothy (1:1; 2:3; 4:10), Titus (1:3; 2:10; 3:4), and Jude (25). It is applied to Jesus by Luke (at 2:11; Acts 5:31; 13:23) and in a few other places (Eph 5:23; Phil 3:20; 2 Tim 1:10; Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:6; 2 Pet 1:1, 11; 2:20;3:2, 18).

For the early Christians, the designation “Savior” was a strategic confession like “Lord.” In the Hellenistic world, there were many gods and persons designated as “lords” and “saviors” including the Roman emperors such as Augustus, who was virtually deified in the sixth Eclogue of Virgil. In contrast, however, the early Christians confessed t…

The Hope of Righteousness

The Hope of Righteousness

Excerpt


For we (ἡμεις γαρ [hēmeis gar]). We Christians as opposed to the legalists.Through the Spirit by faith (πνευματι ἐκ πιστεως [pneumati ek pisteōs]). By the Spirit (Holy Spirit) out of faith (not law). Clear-cut repetition to make it plain.


Robertson, A.T. Word Pictures in the New Testament. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933. Print.

Obey the Lord’s Precepts

Obey the Lord’s Precepts

Excerpt


It is to be noticed that in verse 4 the Hebrew word translated precepts appears only in the Psalms. The Hebrew verb “to keep” is used in verses 4band 5b (see its use in verse 2a); again, it means to follow, to “obey.”

In verse 5 the wish represented by O that … may be expressed by “I hope that” or “I wish that.” NJB has “May my ways be steady in doing your will.”


Bratcher, Robert G., and William David Reyburn. A Translator’s Handbook on the Book of Psalms. New York: United Bible Societies, 1991. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

Create a Pure Heart

Create a Pure Heart

Excerpt


The Heb. word “create” does not mean to make something from nothing. Instead, it means to originate and is frequently used when an O.T. writer wishes to affirm that God alone is the source of a certain thing. Thus, God created the heavens and the earth, an act far beyond human capacity to duplicate. And it is God who, in extending forgiveness, transforms the inner personality of the believer. We are born in sin, but we are reborn with a pure heart.


Richards, Lawrence O. The Bible Reader’s Companion. electronic ed. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991. Print.

The Purpose of Christ’s Death

The Purpose of Christ’s Death

Ephesians 5:26

Excerpt


The purpose of Christ’s death was to make the church holy (hagiasē, “to set apart” for Himself as His own forever; cf. Heb. 2:11; 10:10, 14; 13:12) which He did by cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word. This is not baptismal regeneration for that would be contrary to Paul’s teaching in this book as well as all his other writings and the entire New Testament. Metaphorically, being regenerated is pictured as being cleansed by water (cf. “the washing of rebirth” in Titus 3:5). The “Word” (rhēmati) refers to the “preached Word” that unbelievers hear (cf. rhēma in Eph. 6:17; Rom. 10:8, 17; 1 Peter 1:25). More


Hoehner, Harold W. “Ephesians.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 641. Print.

Connect the Testaments

March 8: The Vine and the Branches
Numbers 7:48–89;John 15:1–16:4; Psalm 9:1–7

Jesus isn’t simply a high priority or even the highest priority of our lives. He is the source of life. In the Gospel of John, Jesus teaches the disciples that they need to depend on Him for their very lives—both in the present and for eternal life.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him—this one bears much fruit, for apart from me you are not able to do anything. If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown out as a branch, and dries up, and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:5–6).

We rarely think in these terms today. However, the disciples faced persecution and even death on account of their faith in Jesus. Our lives, like theirs, will be held to the same measure. They are being held to the same measure.

Today, when you look at your life, and the lives of those closest to you, do you see fruit and abundance? Or do you see anot…

Morning and Evening: Daily Readings

Morning, March 8      Go To Evening Reading
“We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”     — Acts 14:22
God’s people have their trials. It was never designed by God, when he chose his people, that they should be an untried people. They were chosen in the furnace of affliction; they were never chosen to worldly peace and earthly joy. Freedom from sickness and the pains of mortality was never promised them; but when their Lord drew up the charter of privileges, he included chastisements amongst the things to which they should inevitably be heirs. Trials are a part of our lot; they were predestinated for us in Christ’s last legacy. So surely as the stars are fashioned by his hands, and their orbits fixed by him, so surely are our trials allotted to us: he has ordained their season and their place, their intensity and the effect they shall have upon us. Good men must never expect to escape troubles; if they do, they will be disappointed, for none of their predecesso…

My Utmost for His Highest

March 8th
The relinquished life


I am crucified with Christ. Gal. 2:20.

No one is ever united with Jesus Christ until he is willing to relinquish not sin only, but his whole way of looking at things. To be born from above of the Spirit of God means that we must let go before we lay hold, and in the first stages it is the relinquishing of all pretence. What Our Lord wants us to present to Him is not goodness, nor honesty, nor endeavour, but real solid sin; that is all He can take from us. And what does He give in exchange for our sin? Real solid righteousness. But we must relinquish all pretence of being anything, all claim of being worthy of God’s consideration.

Then the Spirit of God will show us what further there is to relinquish. There will have to be the relinquishing of my claim to my right to myself in every phase. Am I willing to relinquish my hold on all I possess, my hold on my affections, and on everything, and to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ
?
There is alwa…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

March 8

  Quench not the Spirit
1 Thess. 5:19
In order that you may not quench the Spirit, you must make it a constant study to know what is the mind of the Spirit. You must discriminate with the utmost care between His suggestions and the suggestions of your own deceitful heart. You will keep in constant recollection what are the offices of the Spirit as described by Christ in the Gospel of John. You will be on your guard against impulsive movements, inconsiderate acts, rash words. You will abide in prayer. Search the Word. Confess Christ on all possible occasions. Seek the society of His people. Shrink from conformity to the world, its vain fashions, unmeaning etiquette. Be scrupulous in your reading. “What I say unto you, I say unto all, watch!” “Have oil in your lamps.” “Quench not the Spirit.”

Bowen

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