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Good Masters

Good Masters Excerpt The particular Greek word translated “servants” indicates that these were household slaves. They were Christian slaves serving for the most part in the homes of pagan masters. The fact that Peter singles them out for special admonitions indicates that slaves, as a class, formed a large part of the early Christian community. The slaves are exhorted to put themselves in subjection to their absolute lords and masters. They are to do this to the good and gentle ones. Some of these pagan masters had what the poet calls “the milk of human kindness.” They were good to their slaves. The Greek word translated “good,” refers to inner intrinsic goodness. They were good at heart. The word “gentle” in the Greek refers to that disposition which is mild, yielding, indulgent. It is derived from a Greek word meaning, “not being unduly rigorous.” Wuest, Kenneth S. Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997. Print.

Adam and Eve’s Family outside the Garden

Adam and Eve’s Family outside the Garden Excerpt Whereas Chaps. 2–3 recount the Life of Adam and Eve inside the garden, Chap. 4 will relate a new episode in the ongoing story of the first couple’s experience—but now outside the garden.237 the abrupt announcement of Cain and Abel’s birth (vv. 1–2) is told so as to show the linkage between Chap. 3’sintimations of continued life and prosperity (3:15–1620) and the beginning realization of that hope despite human sin in the garden. Sadly, the optimism of the narrative turns to the sordid account of sin’s continuing encroachment by the murder of Abel at the hands of his elder brother (vv. 3–16). Remarkably, however, the grace of God toward Cain enables Adam’s firstborn to survive and later father an impressive lineage whose members are remembered for notable cultural achievements. Unfortunately, these achievements were overshadowed by their wicked accomplishments (vv. 17–24). The “tôlĕdôt of the heavens and earth” (2:4–4:26) concludes on …

Darkness

DarknessPsalm 139:11–12 Excerpt Imagery based on darkness is especially prominent in the poetic books where it represents destruction, death, and the underworld (Isa. 5:30; 47:5; Ps.143:3; Job 17:13; cf. Mark 15:33) in a manner similar to that known in other ancient Near Eastern cultures. Conceived as a curse or punishment (Deut. 28:29; Ps. 35:6), darkness characterizes the coming Day of the Lord (Joel 2:2; Amos 5:18). God’s appearance is often accompanied by darkness (1 Kings 8:12), which, according to Gen. 1:2, prevailed prior to creation, although Isa. 45:7and Ps. 104:20 assert that it was created by God. The Dead Sea Scrolls contrast light and darkness as representing the forces of good and evil, both metaphysically and psychologically; a similar view has been noted in the Gospel of John.  Achtemeier, Paul J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. Harper’s Bible dictionary 1985 : 207. Print.

Demon

DemonJames 2:19 Excerpt The English transliteration of a Greek term (daimōn) originally referring to any one of numerous, vaguely defined spirit beings, either good or bad. In the NT,they are understood as evil spirits, opposed to God and God’s people. In the KJV, the term is regularly translated ‘devil,’ a word that appears in the RSV only as the translation of a different Greek term meaning ‘accuser’ or ‘slanderer’(diabolos). It is used as a virtual synonym for ‘Satan.’ In the ancient world, there was a widespread belief in spiritual powers or beings that existed in addition to the well-known gods and goddesses. These beings were not understood as necessarily evil, though some might be. The idea that many or even all such beings were allied with the forces of darkness and wickedness only came into focus, probably under the influence of Persian thought, during the intertestamental period of Judaism. Achtemeier, Paul J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. Harper’s Bib…

God’s Grace is the Model for Forgiveness

God’s Grace is the Model for Forgiveness Excerpt Selling the man into slavery would recover virtually none of the loss, though it might abate some of the king’s anger: the most expensive slave recorded would sell for only a talent, the average being one-twentieth to one-fifth of that (Jeremias 1972:211). Jewish custom prohibited the sale of women and children, but Jesus’ hearers recognized that a pagan king wouldn’t care about such just technicalities (compare m.Soṭa 3:8; t.Soṭa 2:9; Jeremias 1972:180, 211; Derrett 1970:38; Via 1967:138–39). In all, the king was bound to lose at least 9,999 talents (as much as 99,990,000 days’ wages, or roughly 275,000 years’ wages for an average worker) despite the sale. Perhaps this was one reason the king canceled the debt at the pitiable sight of the fool offering to pay it all back.*More Keener, Craig S. Matthew. Vol. 1. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997. Print. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series.

Protevangelium

ProtevangeliumGenesis 3:15 Excerpt Christian tradition has referred to 3:15 as the protevangelium since it has been taken as the prototype for the Christian gospel. Historically interpreters have differed about whether “her seed” refers to an individual or is a collective singular indicating all humanity. The LXX version may be the earliest attested interpretation of “seed” as an individual. It translates the Hebrew zeraʿ (“seed”) with the Greek sperma, a neuter noun. The expected antecedent pronoun is “it [auto] will crush your head,” but the Greek has “he” (autos), which suggests that the translators interpreted “seed” as an individual. The Targums, Jewish pseudepigrapha, and later rabbinic commentators, however, generally viewed the “seed” as collective for humankind. Christian interpreters showed a mixed opinion. Justin and Irenaeus interpreted the woman of 3:15 as the virgin Mary by drawing a parallel with Eve. Greek Fathers, such as Chrysostom, viewed 3:15 as a depiction of the s…

Fishermen and Their Methods

Fishermen and Their MethodsLuke 5:2–7 Excerpt The strenuous life of fishermen required a strong physique (Lk. 5:2), and their speech was sometimes rough (Mk. 14:70f). At least seven of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen: Peter, Andrew, probably Philip, who also came from Bethsaida (Aram. for ‘house of fishing’) on the Sea of Galilee, James, John, Thomas and Nathanael (Mt. 4:18, 21; Jn. 1:44; 21:2). Some of these were partners in fishing and were used to working together (Lk. 5:7, 10). The Bible mentions fishing by *NET, specifically the casting-net (Mt. 4:18) and the large drag-net (Mt. 13:47). On the Sea of Galilee, the fishermen used small boats, which were propelled by oars (Jn. 6:19). The statement that the wind was contrary (Mt. 14:24) may indicate the use of a sail as in the present-day fishing-boats on this lake. (*Ships and Boats.) Often on the Sea of Galilee fishing was done at night (Lk. 5:5; Jn. 21:3). During the day the fisherman on the shore or wading in the water could thro…

The Son Can Set You Free

The Son Can Set You Free Excerpt This general principle, illustrated in the origin of the Jewish people by the parable of Isaac and Ishmael, has one absolute fulfillment. The Son, the true Son, is one. Through Him alone—in Him, in fellowship with Him—can lasting freedom be gained, seeing that He alone is free, and abideth unchangeable for ever. If the Son, therefore] The Son and not the Father is represented as giving freedom, in so far as He communicates to others that which is His own. free indeed] The word translated indeed (ὄντως) occurs here only in St John. It appears to express reality in essence from within, as distinguished from reality as seen and known (ἀληθῶςv.311:484:426:147:40). The conception of freedom which is given in this whole passage presents the principle which St Paul applied to the special case of external ordinances.  Westcott, Brooke Foss, and Arthur Westcott eds. The Gospel according to St. John Introduction and Notes on the Authorized Version. London:…

The Feast of Passover

The Feast of Passover Excerpt The Passover was the major feast celebrated at the beginning of the Jewish year, Nisan 15, which falls in our month of March or April (Fitzmyer 1981:339–40). Only men were required to make the journey, so Mary’s presence shows her commitment (Preisker 1964:373). Jerusalem was eighty miles from Nazareth, so the trip would take three days. Though some have argued that women and children traveled separately from the men as a way to explain how Jesus got lost, there is no ancient text that describes this practice. Bock, Darrell L. Luke. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994. Print. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series.

Aquinas on the Senses of Scripture

Aquinas on the Senses of ScriptureExcerpt The author of Holy Writ is God, in whose power it is to signify His meaning, not by words only (as man also can do), but also by things themselves. So, whereas in every other science things are signified by words, this science has the property, that the things signified by the words have themselves also a signification. Therefore that first signification whereby words signify things belongs to the first sense, the historical or literal. That signification whereby things signified by words has themselves also a signification is called the spiritual sense, which is based on the literal and presupposes it. Now this spiritual sense has a threefold division. For as the Apostle says (Heb. 10:1) the Old Law is a figure of the New Law, and Dionysius says (Cœl. Hier. i) the New Law itself is a figure of future glory. Again, in the New Law, whatever our Head has done is a type of what we ought to do. Therefore, so far as the things of the Old Law signif…

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 a 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:

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 marginalize…

Morning and Evening

Morning, November 2Go 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 gives the ship when it h…

My Utmost for His Highest:

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 about 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 t…