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Showing posts from November 14, 2016

Salvation as Gift

Salvation as GiftEphesians 2:8–9 Excerpt Paul elaborated, And this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Much debate has centered around the demonstrative pronoun “this” (touto). Though some think it refers back to “grace” and others to “faith,” neither of these suggestions is really valid because the demonstrative pronoun is neuter whereas “grace” and “faith” are feminine. Also, to refer back to either of these words specifically seems to be redundant. Rather the neuter touto, as is common, refers to the preceding phrase or clause. (In Eph. 1:15 and 3:1touto,“this,” refers back to the preceding section.) Thus it refers back to the concept of salvation (2:4-8a), whose basis is grace and means is faith. This salvation does not have its source in man (it is “not from yourselves”), but rather, its source is God’s grace for “it is the gift of God.” Hoehner, Harold W. “Ephesians.”The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. …

Praying to his Father

Praying to his Father ExcerptAs Jesus turns to address the Father his speech implies that he is taken up into the eternal presence (cf. Brown 1970:747). He speaks as if his work were already complete (for example, v. 4). Indeed, he even says, “I am no longer in this world” (v. 11, completely obscured in the NIV). But right after that he says, I say these things while I am still in the world (v. 13). He is right there with his disciples just before his death, but he is praying from the realm of eternity. Just as the book of Revelation reveals from a heavenly perspective the certainty of God’s unfolding will, so this prayer of Jesus shows that he is completely confident in the outworking of that will. More Whitacre, Rodney A. John. Vol. 4. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999. Print. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series.

Love Your Wives

Love Your WivesExcerpt Present active imperative, “keep on loving.” That is precisely the point. Be not bitter (μηπικραινεσθε [mēpikrainesthe]). Present middle imperative in prohibition: “Stop being bitter” or “do not have the habit of being bitter.” This is the sin of husbands. Πικραινω [Pikrainō] is an old verb from πικρος [pikros] (bitter). In N.T. only here and Rev. 8:1110:9f. The bitter word rankles in the soul. Robertson, A.T. Word Pictures in the New Testament. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933. Print.

In His Name

In His NameActs 4:7–18 Excerpt Statements made about God in the OT are now made about Christ in the NT (cf. He. 1:7–12). The most frequent name for God in the OT, Yahweh (LXXKyrios, “Lord”), now becomes the Church’s favorite name for Christ. The Church’s earliest confession of faith in Christ was in all likelihood “Jesus is Lord” (cf. Rom. 10:9Phil. 2:9–11). Hence, all that can be said about the name of Yahweh — that prophets prophesy in that name (Jer. 20:9), the righteous trust in that name (Isa. 50:10), people call upon that name (Ps. 105:1), etc. — can be and is said about the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:17f; Jn. 14:11 Cor. 1:2). Jesus’ disciples prophesied “in his name” (Mt. 7:22), cast out demons “in his name” (Lk. 10:17), performed miracles “in his name” (Mk. 9:39), etc. With the use of this expression, it becomes evident that the disciples spoke and acted like Jesus, in His place, and with His authority, as did the prophets of Yahweh in the OT (see Acts 4:7–10). Similarly, t…

Put on the Full Armor...

Put on the Full Armor...Ephesians 6:11 Excerpt The form of the Greek imperative put on indicates that believers are responsible for putting on God’s (not their)full armor (panoplian, also in v. 13; all the armor and weapons together were called the hapla; cf. 2 Cor. 6:7) with all urgency. The detailed description of the armor (given in Eph. 6:14-17) may stem from Paul’s being tied to a Roman soldier while in prison awaiting trial (cf. Acts28:1620).  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. 643. Print.

God guided David

God guided DavidExcerpt David was up very early that day and heard the morning challenge that Goliath gave to Saul and his army. If the Israelites could provide a champion who was able to defeat Goliath, the Philistines would submit to the Jews and be their servants, but if not, the Israelites must consider themselves defeated and become the servants of the Philistines (vv. 8–9). Unfortunately, nobody in the Jewish army volunteered, including King Saul, who stood head and shoulders above his men. Since Israel had come to a crisis in this confrontation, Saul made a generous offer to the man who would silence Goliath: he would marry one of the king’s daughters, receive great riches from the king, and take his father’s house off the tax rolls. Saul hoped that somebody would be tempted by the offer and try to defeat Goliath.  Wiersbe, Warren W. Be Successful. Colorado Springs, CO: Victor/Cook Communications, 2001. Print. “Be” Commentary Series.

Human Spirit or Holy Spirit

Human Spirit or Holy SpiritRomans 8:10 Excerpt The last part of this verse (literally but the Spirit [is] life because of "righteousness”) is also difficult. Paul may be referring to the human spirit (see TEV alternative “your spirit is alive") or to the Holy Spirit. The TEV takes the latter alternative, the Spirit is life for you. Throughout this entire passage (and definitely in verse 11) Paul is using the termSpirit as a reference to God’s Spirit, and so it seems likely that in this verse also he is referring to the Spirit of God. The TEV takes Paul’s term “righteousness” in the same sense in which Paul so frequently uses it: you have been put right with God.  Newman, Barclay Moon, and Eugene Albert Nida. A Handbook on Paul’s Letter to the Romans. New York: United Bible Societies, 1973. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

The Law is Spiritual

The Law is SpiritualRomans 7:14 Excerpt Paul begins this section with a positive statement (v. 14)—we know that the law is spiritual. We know points again to a commonly accepted truth that Paul wants to deepen (see 2:23:19). The law is not only holy, righteous and good (v. 12) but also spiritual, that is, the work of God’s Spirit. This means that its origin is divine rather than human. In contrast, Paul says, I am unspiritual (literally “fleshly”), the first of six times in this section thategō is stressed. Basically, the term refers to his own humanity and is not particularly negative. But here the contrast with spiritual means it refers to the carnal nature, that power within that leads one to choose sin. It depicts the individual as belonging to this world and under the power of sin and death. This is shown in Paul’s further description of “fleshly” as sold as a slave to sin.  Osborne, Grant R. Romans. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004. Print. The IVP New Testament Comment…

One Qualification: Israel of Promise

One Qualification: Israel of PromiseExcerpt Being recipients of the promise involves God’s selective will. The “true” Israel had received all God’s promises so far. See 9:13 regarding the continual conflict between the true and false people of God. Romans 9:6 gives the thesis of Romans 9–11. The promise of 9:8 relates to the Abrahamic covenant (cf. 4:13). The Israel spoken of in the Old Testament promises is not identical with the natural and physical descendants of Jacob. In Romans 9:7 Paul quoted Genesis 21:12 to prove the point of 9:6 that physical descent does not in and of itself make one a child of God and a recipient of the promise. Both Isaac andIshmael were physical sons of Abraham, but Isaac was designated Abraham’s heir. In Romans 9:9 Paul quoted Genesis 18:10, a prophecy of Isaac’s birth. In Romans 9:12–13 Paul quoted from Genesis 25:23 and Malachi 1:2–3to illustrate

Magi in the Ancient World

Magi in the Ancient WorldExcerpt Extrabiblical evidence offers various clues that shed light on the place of origin and positions held by the magi of Matthew 2. The historian Herodotus mentioned magi as a priestly caste of Media, or Persia, and, as the religion in Persia at the time was Zoroastrinism, Herodotus’s magi were probably Zoroastrian priests. Herodotus, together with Plutarch and Strabo, suggested that magi were partly responsible for ritual and cultic life (supervising sacrifices and prayers) and partly responsible as royal advisers to the courts of the East. Believing the affairs of history were reflected in the movements of the stars and other phenomena, Herodotus said, the rulers of the East commonly utilized the magi’s knowledge of astrology and dream interpretation to determine affairs of state. The magi were, therefore, concerned with what the movement of the stars (as signs and portents) might signify for the future affairs of history. Such an interest could account n…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

November 14

  Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations
Ps. 90:1
You cannot detain the eagle in the forest. You may gather around him a chorus of the choicest birds; you may give him a perch on the goodliest pine; you may charge winged messengers to bring him choicest dainties; but he will spurn them all. Spreading his lordly wings, and with his eye on the Alpine cliff, he will soar away to his own ancestral halls amid the munitions of rocks and the wild music of tempest and waterfall.
The soul of man, in its eagle soarings, will rest with nothing short of the Rock of Ages. Its ancestral halls are the halls of Heaven. Its munitions of rocks are the attributes of God. The sweep of its majestic flight is Eternity! “Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.”


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

Connect the Testaments

November 14: Staying the Course 1 Kings 19:1–20:25; Mark 11:1–33; Proverbs 4:18–27
“May your eyes look forward and your gaze be straight before you. May the path of your foot be balanced and all your ways be sure. Do not swerve right or left; remove your foot from evil” (Prov 4:25–27). These verses reflect someone who has an incredible purpose. I imagine an acrobat walking a tightrope—knees bent, one foot carefully placed in front of the other, and nothing but a slender rope keeping him from plummeting to the ground. Such efforts would require incredible calm, effort, and focus—especially focus. The body naturally follows the path of our eyes, which is detrimental if we’re focused on the wrong thing. The idea of staying the course illustrates God’s path and purpose for us. When we act, speak, and follow that path, we are carrying out His will for our lives. But there’s a problem: We can’t. All of our efforts are tainted. Our knees are bound to buckle, we’re sure to misstep, and it’s just …

My Utmost for His Highest

November 14th

Discovering divine designs

I being in the way, the Lord led me.… Genesis 24:27.

We have to be so one with God that we do not continually need to ask for guidance. Sanctification means that we are made the children of God, and the natural life of a child is obedience—until he wishes to be disobedient, then instantly there is the intuitive jar. In the spiritual domain, the intuitive jar is the monition of the Spirit of God. When He gives the check, we have to stop at once and be renewed in the spirit of our mind in order to make out what God’s will is. If we are born again of the Spirit of God, it is the abortion of piety to ask God to guide us here and there. “The Lord led me,” and on looking back we see the presence of an amazing design, which, if we are born of God, we will credit to God.
We can all see God in exceptional things, but it requires the culture of spiritual discipline to see God in every detail. Never allow that the haphazard is anything less than God’s appoint…

Morning and Evening

Morning, November 14Go To Evening Reading

“I will cut off them that worship and that swear by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham.”          —Zephaniah 1:5
Such persons thought themselves safe because they were with both parties: they went with the followers of Jehovah and bowed at the same time to Malcham. But duplicity is abominable with God, and hypocrisy his soul hateth. The idolater who distinctly gives himself to his false god, has one sin less than he who brings his polluted and detestable sacrifice unto the temple of the Lord, while his heart is with the world and the sins thereof. To hold with the hare and run with the hounds, is a dastard’s policy. In the ordinary matters of daily life, a double-minded man is despised, but in religion, he is loathsome to the last degree. The penalty pronounced in the verse before we are terrible, but it is well deserved; for how should divine justice spare the sinner, who knows the right, approves it, and professes to follow it, and all the whi…