Category Archives: Bible study

Luke

As we finish our monthly morning Bible study this week, I wanted to share a few things and encourage you to read and study the Gospel of Luke.

The Lord took men of varying personalities and abilities, inspired them by the Holy Spirit, and produced four separate accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) of the life of Christ that would appeal to all kinds of people. We are able to see His character from four different viewpoints. Together they represent a composite picture of the Son of God. Probably the richest portrait is that given to us by Luke, the beloved physician.

Luke’s design for this record was to describe Him as a humble servant and the only perfect human being. Luke devoted a great deal of time to Jesus’ ministry to women and children, to the poor, to the underprivileged, and to the despised Samaritans. He pictured the Lord Christ as the perfect man ministering to imperfect humanity. Luke also gave much attention to the subject of prayer, recording in nine places the fact that Jesus prayed.

Luke’s Gospel may be divided into four main sections:

1. The Coming of the Son of Man
2. The Preparation of the Son of Man
3. The Ministry of the Son of Man
4. The Victory of the Son of Man

I have mentioned before the invaluable resources from the Time Warp Wife, Darlene Schacht. In November 2016 she wrote a very thorough and practical online Bible study of the book of Luke. This website includes a free study guide, questions and answers, free printables and her thoughts on each chapter throughout the book.

I highly recommend using this website for more information:    The Book of Luke

Luke 23:43 NIV

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

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Mark

We recently finished reading the Gospel of Mark in our morning Bible study.  The following post is a copy of our notes from the last few weeks.  This book includes one of my favorite verses, Mark 10:45:

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.

Author: Mark, also called Marcus in NT

Date: AD 57-60 (approx)

Subject: the life, teachings, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ

Setting: the Holy Land- the Jordan Valley, Galilee, Jericho and Jerusalem

Key People: Jesus, the disciples, Pilate, the Jewish religious leaders

The book of Mark contains 16 chapters.

1. The Preparation 1:1-13
2. The Galilean Ministry 1:14-9:50
3. The Journey to Jerusalem 10:1-52
4. The Final Week 11:1-15:47
5. The Resurrection and Ascension 16:1-20

Bible scholars generally agree that this narrative was the first Gospel written. This book was written for the Gentiles (probably Romans) rather than Jews. Mark had a sincere desire to win the Gentile Romans to Christ.

Mark traveled with Paul and Barnabas, most likely when he was a very young man. He gained great experience in missionary work. He matured over the years and ministered as a co-laborer with Paul, Timothy and Peter. During his association with Peter, Mark learned many of the facts about Christ’s ministry, which later became a part of his Gospel record. Peter and Mark may have been very much alike in temperament and spent much time together. They must have talked at length of the Lord’s life on earth, and Mark must have jotted down many precious memories from one so close to Jesus. Peter called Mark his son, which probably means that Peter was his spiritual father, who led him to faith in Jesus Christ.

The theme of the book of Mark could be simply stated as The Humble Servant. Mark depicts Christ as a worker of wonders, but emphasized that He performed these miracles for the benefit of the people and that He presented Himself unto them as a servant. Jesus was determined to lead as a servant and to set an example for you and me. Here is his message: If you want to win, lose yourself. If you want to be first, be last. If you want to be a leader, be a servant. Greatness is not determined by how many people you lead but by how many you serve. (Ch 10:45)

Favorite verses: 1:11, 5:36, 8:34-37, 9:37, 10:6-9, 14-16, 27, 31, 45
11:24, 12:30, 13:5-13, 31-33, 14:22-26, 16:6, 15, 19

Sources: Alpha Omega Publications
Read Your Bible One Book at a Time, Woodrow Kroll

Matthew

For the first few months of this school year, we are studying the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  The following notes are from our morning Bible study.

Author: Matthew, formely known as Levi before he was chosen by Jesus to be His follower. The name Matthew means “God’s fully grown man”

Date: AD 50-58 (approx)

Subject: birth, life, teaching, miracles, death and resurrection of
Jesus Christ

Setting: the Holy Land- Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth, the Judean wilderness, Galilee and Jerusalem

Key People: Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the wise men, John the Baptist, the disciples, the religious leaders of Jerusalem, Pilate and Mary Magdalene

The book of Matthew contains 28 chapters.
He wrote this book to convince Jews everywhere that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the promised Messiah and that He was the fulfillment of the OT prophecies about a coming Redeemer. He references fulfilled prophecy 17 times.

Matthew was a tax collector and despised by his fellow countrymen. He used his experience with money to share parables in this book. Money is mentioned more often than in any other Gospel. This book helps us understand that the Holy Spirit worked through ordinary men to put together an inspired record of the brief time that God’s son was on this earth.

For 3 years, Matthew was a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ and learned from His life and teachings. He was sent out as an apostle with the other chosen disciples to all the people of Israel. As an apostle, he freely gave of himself to preach, to heal the sick, to cleanse the lepers, to raise the dead and to cast out demons. We can imagine that the people of that day were utterly amazed to see a former publican doing all those things. After Christ’s resurrection, Matthew was among the 120 who were baptized by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost; and he continued to minister through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Beatitudes- Ch 5
The Lord’s Prayer- Ch 6
The Great Commission- Ch 28

Favorite verses: 1:21, 4:17, 5:14-16, 44, 6:21, 24, 33, 7:12, 9:37, 11:28, 15:18, 16:26, 18:5, 11, 20, 19:14, 30, 20:28, 21:22, 22:37-39, 25: 33-40, 28:6

 

Sources: Alpha Omega Publications
Read Your Bible One Book at a Time, Woodrow Kroll

Colossians

“The Book of Christ’s Preeminence”

Author- Paul, in Rome, in prison

Paul had never met the Colossians but he loved these young Christians very much!  So he wrote this letter to the 3 churches in the area.  This letter teaches about the position of Christ- not a man, an angel, or a prophet, but God in the flesh and the Head of the Church.

False teachers had told the people that Jesus was not the Lord but just a lord.  They also taught that their faith in Jesus was not enough for salvation.  This letter could apply to our world today because so many false teachers or groups are misleading people about Jesus’ authority and the truth of salvation through grace alone.

Ch 1,  Paul’s prayer and what Christ has done, Christ as Head of the Church, His power and the importance of staying faithful

Ch 2, Stand firm in your faith, stay faithful and always thankful, warning about false teachers, be in the world but not of it

Ch 3, Live as God’s people

Ch 4, Be fervent in prayer, keep praying and be thankful

Galatians 4-6

Galatians Ch 4- We are God’s Children!

Paul is broken hearted and discouraged. He deeply loves the people of Galatia and was afraid that his work among them amounted to nothing and would end up being in vain. He wished he could be there with them, instead of writing this harsh letter.

The Galatians used to love Paul, respected and honored him, like a father. Now he feels betrayed and like an enemy to them. He knew that his work with the Galatians was not complete until they stayed in a place of trusting Jesus.

Abba (Daddy) vs 6
Jesus addressed God the Father as Daddy. We have the same privilege!
We can go to our heavenly father with the same boldness and adoration.

Beautiful progression:
Step 1- set free from slavery
Step 2- adopted into God’s family
Step 3- made heirs of God

Cults (vs 17-18)
Many cults use a technique informally known as “love bombing.” They overwhelm a prospective member with attention, support, and affection. Yet it isn’t really a sincere love for the prospect; it is really just a technique to gain another member. Christians can use the same technique in some way or another. See 2 Cor 11:13-14

Examples: Branch Davidians, The Manson Family, Heaven’s Gate, Peoples Temple, Scientology, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
(toptentopia.com)

John Newton wrote the most popular and famous hymn in America, Amazing Grace. He was an only child whose mother died when he was only seven years old. He became a sailor and went out to sea at eleven years old. As he grew up, he became the captain of a slave ship and had an active hand in the horrible degradation and inhumanity of the slave trade.

But when he was twenty-three, on March 10, 1748, when his ship was in imminent danger of sinking off the coast of Newfoundland, he cried to God for mercy, and he found it. He never forgot how amazing it was that God had received him, as bad as he was. To keep it fresh in his memory, he fastened across the wall over the fireplace mantel of his study the words of Deuteronomy 15:15: You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you.

If we keep fresh in our mind what we once were, and what we are now in Jesus Christ, we will do well.

Galatians Ch 5 Live in Freedom

Verse 7- “You ran well”
Paul remembered their good start in the faith, but he also knows that it isn’t enough to start well. We must finish our race strong and keep our focus and faith on Jesus Christ.

Verse 13
Paul has made the point over and over again – the Christian life is a life of liberty/freedom. We should use our freedom wisely though. We shouldn’t use freedom as an excuse to do selfish things of the flesh. Paul recognized the danger of this attitude, so he warned against it here. We are to serve each other in love. This is exactly the pattern set by Jesus. He had more liberty than anyone who ever walked this earth did. Yet, He used His liberty to love and serve one another.

Verse 14- The greatest commandment
Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
“If you want to know how you ought to love your neighbor, ask yourself how much you love yourself. If you were to get into trouble or danger, you would be glad to have the love and help of all men. You do not need any book of instructions to teach you how to love your neighbor. All you have to do is to look into your own heart, and it will tell you how you ought to love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luther)

Walk in the Spirit-
To walk in the Spirit first means that the Holy Spirit lives in you. Second, it means to be open and sensitive to the influence of the Holy Spirit. Third, it means to pattern your life after the influence of the Holy Spirit. We can tell if someone walks in the Spirit because they will look a lot like Jesus. When someone walks in the Spirit, they listen to what the Holy Spirit says as He guides us in the path and nature of Jesus.

Flesh (sinful self) vs the Holy Spirit-
Let the Spirit lead you- have self control. Paul has just written about the battle between the flesh and the Spirit in every believer. Though it is an interior, invisible battle, the results are outwardly evident. Paul knew that those who are saved by God’s grace have a high moral obligation to fulfill – not to earn salvation, but in gratitude for salvation, and in simple consistency with who we are in Jesus.

The works of the flesh seem overwhelming – both in us and around us. In Jesus Christ, you can live above the passions and desires of your flesh. The resources are there in Jesus. Look to Him. See your life in Him. If you are one of those who are Christ’s, then you belong to Him – not to this world, not to yourself, and not to your passions and desires. God is good enough and big enough to change everything with the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit can always conquer the works of the flesh.

This whole chapter lends itself to an examination of ourselves. We often think that our problems and difficulties are all outside of ourselves. We think that we would be fine if everyone just treated us right and if circumstances just got better. But that ignores the tenor of this chapter: the problems are in us, and need to be dealt with by the Spirit of God. Augustine used to often pray, “Lord, deliver me from that evil man, myself.” With that kind of reality check, we can see a new world, and a new life – and not one other person or one other circumstance has to change. All we must do is yield to the Spirit of God, and begin to truly walk in the Spirit.

FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT

LOVE- This is above and beyond natural affection, or the loyalty to blood or family. This is loving people who aren’t easy to love; loving people you don’t like. It is fitting that love be the first mentioned, because it encompasses all of the following. It may even be said that the following eight terms are just describing what love in action looks like.

JOY- “Believers are not dependent upon circumstances. Their joy comes not from what they have, but from what they are; not from where they are, but from whose they are.”

PEACE- This peace is peace with God, peace with people, and it is a positive peace, filled with blessing and goodness.

LONGSUFFERING- Longsuffering means that one can have love, joy, and peace even over a period of time when people and events annoy them. God is not quickly irritated with us, so we should not be quickly irritated with others.

KINDNESS AND GOODNESS- These two words are closely connected. About the only difference is that goodness also has with it the idea of generosity.

FAITHFULNESS- “It is the characteristic of the man who is reliable.”

GENTLENESS- The word has the idea of being teachable, not having a superior attitude, not demanding one’s rights. It isn’t timidity or passiveness; “It is the quality of the man who is always angry at the right time and never at the wrong time.” (Barclay)

SELF CONTROL- Discipline/not selfish/think of others

Galatians Ch 6 Final Instructions

Verse 1
One overtaken (sinner) needs to be restored- not ignored, excused or destroyed. Do it in a gentle spirit, lift him up and gently restore his faith.

Verse 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens
A simple command to obey- not complicated. It’s not always easy, but we must help others with their burdens. Be humble, look for others that need us. Care about others and what they are going through. There are enough selfish people in the world, be a light instead! We don’t have to look very far to find someone in need.

Be careful of pride- allow others to help you when needed.

Reaping and Sowing- What we get out of life is often what we put in. Paul relates the principle of sowing and reaping to the way we manage our resources before the Lord. (money, time, talents, etc) We must have patience- the harvest does not come immediately. But don’t give up, don’t lose heart. God will bring the harvest, at just the right time!

Verse 10
As we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith: Not losing heart, we seek to do good with our resources, and to do good to all – but especially to those who are of God’s family.

But, we must do these things with good intentions/good motives.

Those who walk in God’s truth will be blessed. (vs 16)

After the stress and intensity of the letter, Paul ends it with a message of GRACE. And for him that is the only word that really mattered.

Note: Paul’s custom, typical in the ancient world, was to dictate his letters to a secretary. But he would often personally write a short portion at the end, both to authenticate the letter and to add a personal touch.
See vs 11-18

Galatians

We have recently finished week one of our Bible study of Galatians.  The Lord has challenged me this year to dig deep and really study His word and then teach it to Lacey.  He has proved faithful, once again, to help me, guide me and teach me along the way.  The following post is an introduction and our notes from chapters one to three.  I pray it is a blessing to those who read His word.

Galatians- The book of Christian freedom. We don’t live under law- but grace.
Possibly the earliest writing of the NT.  1st verse tells that Paul is the author of this letter. He wrote this letter to the people of Galatia while he was in Antioch- north of Israel. This letter was wrote to many churches, it was meant to be passed around. (vs 2- churches) This letter is a short, passionate, emergency letter. It has many emotions and intensity- Paul does not hide his feelings of frustration.
Ch 1 & 2  The good news of God’s grace- declared, demonstrated and defended.

Ch 3 & 4 Grace and Law

Ch 5 & 6 Application to our Christian life

Introduction:  Paul established churches in Galatia and preached the gospel to many people. After he left, false teachers came in and attacked Paul as a Christian and taught that they must be circumcised to be saved- like the old law. The letter dives right in with his disappointment that the people were so easily influenced by outsiders.

Chapter 1

In this chapter, Paul discusses the problems and issues, speaks of his history, his early life and conversion and his first visit to Jerusalem.  Paul established churches in Galatia. After he left, the people were easily persuaded and influenced by false teachers. They believed that they must be circumcised to be saved- like the old law.

Circumcision was commanded by God in the OT. It was a mark of holiness that set Jewish males apart as holy unto the Lord. It was a physical sign that man belonged to God- body, soul and spirit. Also, it was meant to remind him that he was not his own, he was bought with a price and that he must glorify God, even with his body.

This old law (law of Moses) was fulfilled and replaced by our faith and salvation in Jesus Christ.

Salvation/message of grace vs. the law/”religion”

Paul preaches justification by faith. He points out that his gospel came from Jesus- not from men, not even from the apostles. He was seeking to please God, not man. There was no room for compromise, Paul had a backbone and would not give in to the false teachings.

Paul wants the church to unite- but in the TRUTH of the gospel.

***Be very careful of false teachers that go against God’s word- the Bible.  Satan will use many people or ways to lead you astray. Be alert!  Stay faithful and true to the Lord.

There are 3 warnings written in the Bible commanding people not to add or take away from God’s words.  Read Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:5,6 and Revelation 22:18,19.

God says what He means and means what He says.

Chapter 2 “Paul’s Declaration of Independence”

Paul, Barnabas and Titus (directed by God), went on a trip to Jerusalem and met with James, John and Peter- the top 3 apostles. This trip was about 3 years after Jesus met Paul on the road to Damascus. Most likely, this trip was the same one mentioned in Acts 11:27-30. Paul brought gifts from other cities to the Christians in Jerusalem that were in a famine.

The apostles accepted and approved Paul and his ministry. They agreed that the Gentiles were not required to come under the Mosaic law to find favor with God. It is mentioned that they reminded him to remember the poor.

Peter turned his back on the Gentiles and treated the uncircumcised as if they were not saved at all. He refused to eat with them and acted against what he knew was right, out of fear. He still believed the gospel but failed to practice it. We must be careful and not give in under social pressure and compromise our beliefs and values.

Paul confronts Peter over this issue and calls him out in public. At this time, Peter was one of the most important disciples of Jesus and Paul was a new Christian that was known for his evil former life. Paul boldly takes a stand because he knew what was at stake- the truth of the gospel.

Hypocrite- one who puts on a mask/ acting/ fake

No man is so secure that he may not fall, just like Peter. Barnabas also did the same as Peter and then the rest of the Jews at the church in Antioch followed him. Our actions can greatly influence others, good or bad. When we go astray, others will often follow. Satan knew that if he could make Peter take the wrong path, so would many others.

The outcome:
Paul- stayed true to the gospel
Peter- came to his senses and became more firm in the truth than before
Barnabas- believed Paul
Jews- the truth was spelled out clearly
Gentiles- faith was strengthened

All of these good results came only because Paul was willing to do something totally right, but uncomfortable. Are we willing to do this?

Notes:

vs 20- “who loved me”- past tense, action
Creation, in the manger, on Earth, on the cross….there has never been a time that Jesus has not loved you!

vs 21- Jesus did not die in vain- his purpose was to offer grace, forgiveness and a way to heaven.

He loves ME! He gave himself for ME! We are not saved by what we do but what Jesus has done. This is called Grace.

Chapter 3 Living in Faith

Paul scolds the people of Galatia for being foolish and allowing someone to deceive them. They had the right knowledge and understanding of the gospel but they were not using it.

Bewitched- vs 1- like some kind of spell had been cast over them.

Just as we receive the Holy Spirit by faith (not works), the Galatians received the Holy Spirit through simple faith. They were mislead into thinking that spiritual growth or maturity could only be achieved by works instead of a continued simple faith in Jesus. If Satan can’t keep you from being saved, then he will attempt to hinder your blessings and growth as a Christian.

Paul examines the life of Abraham in vs 5-9. Paul quotes Genesis 15:6.
Abraham believed God by faith, not works. And not by circumcision- the law wasn’t even given yet.

Abraham and his descendant- Jesus Christ.
God never intended the law to be the way we find our approval before him. He knew we could never keep the law so God provided a sacrifice- Jesus. All who put their faith in Jesus are sons of Abraham and are blessed. We are heirs of God and this high place of privilege comes only by faith, not by the law or by works.

Salvation by grace- through faith alone- Quoted 4 times in NT:
Romans 4:3
Romans 4:9-10
Romans 4:22
Galatians 3:6

In vs 28-29, Paul stressed that when we are in Jesus, we are all equal.
Jesus died on the cross for everyone- regardless of denominations, race, nationality, political party, rich or poor…..
THE LAW OF MOSES (OR THE MOSAIC LAW)

Refers to the first 5 books of the Bible, written by Moses

Consisted of many ceremonies, rituals, symbols, etc. to remind people frequently of their duties, responsibilities and high ethical and moral values. Also includes instructions about faith, repentance, baptism in water, remission of sins and the ten commandments.

The law was a beautiful thing when man regarded it correctly, as a standard of righteousness. (See Psalm 119:97) But it was often regarded incorrectly- keep the law to earn salvation.

God gave us His standard (the law) so we would not destroy ourselves before the Messiah came. Matthew 5:17 says that Jesus came to fulfill the law, not destroy it. The law was our master until Christ came.

The law protects us- it shows us God’s heart, shows us the best way to live and shows us what should be approved and disapproved in this world.

Once we are saved by faith, we no longer live under the law but we remember the behavior it has taught us. We learn from it and we remember our lessons from it.

The whole purpose of the law is to bring us to Jesus. We can’t keep the law- we aren’t perfect, we need to look outside of ourselves for something greater.

The OT tells us that a right standing before God comes by faith, not by the law. See Habakkuk 2:4

Paul quotes Deuteronomy 27:26
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law.
It cost him everything- his life.

sources: blueletterBible, Bible.org, enduringword

Exodus

In Bible class, we recently finished our six week study of the first half of Exodus. God has really impressed on my heart this past year that I need to teach Lacey (and myself) the Bible and how to study and learn from His word, book by book. I don’t need special school curriculum, I just need a Bible. I have ordered a few journals and used internet resources to work through each study. It has been such a blessing and we are both learning so much!

The one who calls you is faithful.

 I Thessalonians 5:24a

On this blog, under the category Bible Study, you can check out our notes and info on Genesis, Philippians and Proverbs.
Exodus Part 1- Chapters 1-15

Author: Moses
Setting: Egypt
Key People: Moses, Aaron, Pharaoh, Jethro, Joshua
40 Chapters

The following is the introduction from the Time Warp Wife.  The materials for this study can be found at Time Warp Wife- Exodus study
The story of Exodus in many ways typifies our redemption. In fact, the Greek word for “Exodus,” ἔξοδος (Strong’s G1841) is “an exit, departure, death.” When we give our lives over to God, our old life passes away. Through freedom in Christ we embark on a journey toward the promised land set before us. The question is, will Satan let us go without putting up a fight? Not a chance.
The Israelites left Egypt behind with the promise of a new life and a new land before them. They were slaves in Egypt, as we too were once slaves to sin, but God sent Moses to free them and lead them to a land flowing with milk and honey. Pharaoh did everything in his power to rebel against God. He had a tight hold on the Hebrew people and wasn’t about to free them or let go of his pride, but Pharaoh was no match for God. God had promised to free His people and nothing would stand in His way.

As we make our way through this study we’ll be looking at the 10 plagues of Egypt. It’s interesting to note that while the purpose of these plagues was to prove to the world that there is only one God, each plague was uniquely designed to cast down the many gods that the Egyptians worshipped.

The Israelites had a bad habit of looking back. Anytime the journey got difficult they lost focus. They longed for their days back in Egypt, and failed to see the blessings at hand.
————————————————————————–
Brief outline:

Ch 1 and 2- Moses is protected by God
Ch 3- The burning bush
Ch 4- Moses prepares to lead
Ch 5- Pharaoh increases the labor
Ch 6- Looking to the promise ahead
Ch 7- The 10 plagues begin
Ch 8- The plagues continue
Ch 9- The purpose of the plagues
Ch 10 and 11- The final plagues
Ch 12- The Passover
Ch 13- God leads and protects
Ch 14- The orchestration of God
Ch 15- The song of Moses
We each use one of these journals daily during this Exodus study:

Quieting your heart- Gratitude journal

There is space to record things you are thankful for, keep a record of fond memories, consider ways to express your gratitude, journalize what you’re learning in your quiet time, record something wonderful that happens each day, keep track of your prayer requests and praise reports and record a daily prayer. Our morning routine is to read the Bible chapter(s) together, answer the study questions and then work on our journal while listening to a few worship songs.

One of my favorite quotes from this study is, “Sin is like the Pharaoh of Egypt- it holds us hostage as the Pharaoh did Israel. But when God intends to deliver us from the bondage of personal sin, we can be certain that He will stop at nothing. Be encouraged! God can free you from the bondage of sin if you follow His leading.”

We are now working on the conclusion of this study and I will share more notes in the future. I invite you to jump into God’s word and learn more, seek Him and draw close to the One who created you and loves you!