Category Archives: Bible study

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!

Stonewall Jackson

Lacey and I studied the civil war for several weeks this past spring and enjoyed a couple fun field trips that really brought this historical time to life for us. Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of history, I used to sleep in my high school class but still managed to pass it somehow. But, the civil war has been very interesting and I’m actually spending some of my free time learning more about it.

Stonewall Jackson has caught my attention, possibly since there is so much local history about this great man. Before we move into the twentieth century in history class, I wanted to review the civil war, finish our study on this topic and visit Jackson’s Mill.

I recently finished this great book, Beloved Bride- The Letters of Stonewall Jackson to His Wife.

I have read other accounts of Stonewall Jackson but this book clearly shows his strong faith in his heavenly father and his love and deep devotion to his wife, daughter, soldiers and his country. His testimony is an inspiration and great example to us all. I wrote the following notes and facts from this book and I highly recommend it if you have the chance to pick up a copy. Also, his wife wrote a biography titled, “The Life and Letters of Stonewall Jackson”, that I hope to check out soon. One other biography that has high reviews is by James Robertson, “Stonewall Jackson- the Man, the Soldier, the Legend.” All three of these books can be purchased on Amazon.

Despite his rough childhood, Thomas Jonathan Jackson grew up to be a godly man, husband, father and leader. At age 3 his older sister and father died. Just 4 short years later, his mother passed away and he then went to live with his uncle. In later years, he faithfully served as a deacon in his church and taught a Sunday school class. His life goal was to serve God and his country. As a young man, he married in 1853 but tragedy would strike just one year later. His wife gave birth to a still born son and she then passed away within hours. Althought heart broken, his faith was not shaken. He often quoted scripture such as Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

He was well known as a man of prayer and no matter was too small to bring before God. I think we need this reminder even today. He was content, despite his circumstances in the war. Stonewall soon became a great leader and example to many. He was known to quote the apostle Paul, “I glory in tribulations”, and he looked to the apostle for strength, encouragement and as an example to follow. He believed that Christians should never complain and advised others to keep their eyes fixed on God. He recognized and appreciated God’s beautiful creation, amidst the bloody civil war. He was deeply concerned about the spiritual welfare of his men. He often preached to them about his heavenly father and held services to offer thanks for the victories and prayers for continued success until independence had been established. He was called brave and beloved by his soldiers, they were devoted and had great affection for him. He was very grateful to God for the promotion to General and remained a humble servant to Him. He never failed to give God the glory for his battle victories and constant protection.

He was admired and loved by people around the world. He continually received gifts
throughout the war, that may have never been available otherwise. He stated that, “God is the source of every blessing.” His greatest blessing though was a young woman that became his beloved bride in 1857. They would be married for six years until his death in 1863. Anna Morrison Jackson lived until 1915. Their godly testimony continues to inspire and teach Christian families even until today. As shown in his letters in this book, he was a very loving husband and gentleman that prayed for his wife. He would often share sermons with his wife (by letters) while they were separated. It was noted that he would remind his wife to tithe at least one tenth of their income while he was away. He would not mail a letter though if he thought it would travel on Sunday, the Sabbath. This was a day to be set apart and honored. He wrote letters to many other people during the war besides his wife, including his pastor. He encouraged ministers to become army chaplains in the field. His pastor said that “his faith not only made him brave, but gave form, order, direction and power to his whole life.”

The Jackson’s had an infant daughter that died of jaundice. In November 1862, they were blessed with a healthy baby girl. Again, he expressed that, “God is the source of every blessing.” He would finally meet his beloved daughter when she was five months old, shortly before he died. At age 39, Stonewall Jackson was accidentally killed by his own troops. They opened fire in the dark, suspecting that the Yankees were attacking. As he lay dying, his wife read the book of Psalms to him and sang hymns of comfort and peace. At this time, he again expressed his desire for others to sanctify the Lord’s day.

The greatest quote from Stonewall Jackson in this book, in my opinion, that is quite relevant still today is; “Oh, that our country was such a Christian, God fearing people as it should be.”

Philippians

I recently finished a study of the great book of Philippians and I’m excited to go through this same study with Lacey in a couple months, after we finish Proverbs.  The following link shows the journal that I used from the Time Warp Wife and I highly recommend it!

Amazon- Philippians Journal

Once again, God has already gone before us and knows what we need and the exact time that we need it.  I began this new study on August 8th.  The month of August turned out to be busy and stressful in our home; 1) Adam’s surgery, complications and recovery, 2) preparing Lacey, her horse and the paperwork for a week at the county fair, 3) planning and studying to begin 6th grade homeschool, 4) packing and spending 8 days away from home and 5) my sweet little 15 yr old dog has been seriously ill and almost died a few times.  All these things were going on at the same time throughout the month.  Fortunately, God knew what would be happening in our life and this study was just what I needed everyday to stay focused, calm and faithful to care for my family and each of these situations.  Each day it seemed that the verses and the study was just exactly what I needed for encouragement and reminders of how much God loves us and is with us all the time.  His mercies and grace are new every morning!

Below is a copy of some of my notes.  Again, all information is from Darlene Schacht, the Time Warp Wife and the study journal titled “Philippians The Joy of Christian Living”.

Authors: Paul and Timothy

Philippians is a letter of encouragement to the church in Philippi. It is only 4 chapters but is packed full of encouragement and practical advice. It is one of four books that Paul wrote while in prison. He had a deep affection and close connection to his converts. Paul’s prayer to the people was that their love would grow, they would have knowledge and understanding with their love, make good choices, be pure and sincere and do good things to bring God glory. He encourages readers to pursue their faith- focus on the finish line and the prize!

Saul of Tarsus- before conversion
Paul’s name means humble or small.
~wrote the most books in the NT.
~was a true optimist.

Main theme all throughout this letter is Joy!
*You are only one thought away from joy!
All kinds of things can rob us of joy, such as our health, our attitude, lack of sleep or feeling unloved and not appreciated. But despite our situation, we have the ability to stop right where we are, give thanks to God and find a reason to smile.
The word joy is used 6 times in this letter.
The word rejoice is used 8 times.
Rejoice means to embrace our situation with a heightened sense of joy.
Other topics include: humility, peace, obedience and contentment.

NOTES:

Jew- used to describe all of the physical and spiritual descendants of Israel (Jacob)
Gentile- means non-Jew

Everything we do should stem from a deep love for the father and mankind. Our knowledge and understanding of the scripture is nothing w/o an intimate relationship with Christ.

Live a genuine life, void of hypocrisy and deceit.

Life Goal- do the will of the Father/not to live for our own gratification.

Dying benefits one’s self….Living benefits those around us.

Chapter 2 shows the character of Christ- a humble servant, obedient and loving the unlovable. We love because God first loved us. The power to do good comes from God, but how and if you choose to use that power depends on you.

God studies your heart, not your hands. Your intentions should be every bit as noble as the deed, so that you might glorify Him. He wants us to desire to do His work.

Don’t entertain negative thoughts because they have the power to destroy the good work that you do. Keep your heart in check!

God doesn’t want us to just make it to heaven one day, He desires our fellowship with us right now where we are.

Heaven is our home, we are just passing through this world. This truth will keep us focused on the eternal instead of the here and now.

Chapter 4 verse 3 is the first time “the book of life” is mentioned in the Bible. Verse 4- Paul is challenging us to grow in our faith by praising God through the storm, just as he did.

Living in comfort only benefits us in the moment but living a sacrificial life benefits us for eternity.

In the beginning

Lacey has read portions of her Bible, bits and pieces here and there but she recently read the entire book of Genesis and I’m so proud of her! It is a long book (50 chapters) but is filled with many great stories and lessons. As we finish this study, we are making an outline of the main events, writing notes and listing key verses. Genesis means beginning (often called “the book of beginnings”) and was wrote by Moses.
I wanted to include a summary page in our Genesis folder so I began researching several websites and finally found a great resource at http://www.gotquestions.org/Book-of-Genesis.html

Purpose of Writing: The Book of Genesis has sometimes been called the “seed-plot” of the entire Bible. Most of the major doctrines in the Bible are introduced in “seed” form in the Book of Genesis. Along with the fall of man, God’s promise of salvation or redemption is recorded (Genesis 3:15). The doctrines of creation, imputation of sin, justification, atonement, depravity, wrath, grace, sovereignty, responsibility, and many more are all addressed in this book of origins called Genesis. Many of the great questions of life are answered in Genesis. (1) Where did I come from? (God created us – Genesis 1:1) (2) Why am I here? (we are here to have a relationship with God – Genesis 15:6) (3) Where am I going? (we have a destination after death – Genesis 25:8). Genesis appeals to the scientist, the historian, the theologian, the housewife, the farmer, the traveler, and the man or woman of God. It is a fitting beginning for God’s story of His plan for mankind, the Bible.

Brief Summary:  (I love how this description breaks it down so easily)  The Book of Genesis can be divided into two sections: Primitive History and Patriarchal History. Primitive history records (1) Creation (Genesis chapters 1-2); (2) the Fall of man (Genesis chapters 3-5); (3) the Flood (Genesis chapters 6-9); and (4) the dispersion (Genesis chapters 10-11). Patriarchal history records the lives of four great men: (1) Abraham (Genesis 12-25:8); (2) Isaac (Genesis 21:1-35-29); (3) Jacob (Genesis 25:21-50:14); and (4) Joseph (Genesis 30:22-50:26). God created a universe that was good and free from sin. God created humanity to have a personal relationship with Him. Adam and Eve sinned and thereby brought evil and death into the world. Evil increased steadily in the world until there was only one family in which God found anything good. God sent the Flood to wipe out evil, but delivered Noah and his family along with the animals in the Ark. After the Flood, humanity began again to multiply and spread throughout the world. God chose Abraham, through whom He would create a chosen people and eventually the promised Messiah. The chosen line was passed on to Abraham’s son Isaac, and then to Isaac’s son Jacob. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, and his twelve sons became the ancestors of the twelve tribes of Israel. In His sovereignty, God had Jacob’s son Joseph sent to Egypt by the despicable actions of Joseph’s brothers. This act, intended for evil by the brothers, was intended for good by God and eventually resulted in Jacob and his family being saved from a devastating famine by Joseph, who had risen to great power in Egypt.

Foreshadowings: Many New Testament themes have their roots in Genesis. Jesus Christ is the Seed of the woman who will destroy Satan’s power (Gen. 3:15). As with Joseph, God’s plan for the good of mankind through the sacrifice of His Son was intended for good, even though those who crucified Jesus intended it for evil. Noah and his family are the first of many remnants pictured in the Bible. Despite overwhelming odds and difficult circumstances, God always preserves a remnant of the faithful for Himself. The remnant of Israelites returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity; God preserved a remnant through all the persecutions described in Isaiah and Jeremiah; a remnant of 7000 priests were hidden from the wrath of Jezebel; God promises that a remnant of Jews will one day embrace their true Messiah (Romans 11). The faith displayed by Abraham would be the gift of God and the basis of salvation for both Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 11).

Practical Application: The overriding theme of Genesis is God’s eternal existence and His creation of the world. There is no effort on the part of the author to defend the existence of God; he simply states that God is, always was, and always will be, almighty over all. In the same way, we have confidence in the truths of Genesis, despite the claims of those who would deny them. All people, regardless of culture, nationality or language, are accountable to the Creator. But because of sin, introduced into the world at the Fall, we are separated from Him. But through one small nation, Israel, God’s redemptive plan for mankind was revealed and made available to all. We rejoice in that plan. God created the universe, the earth, and every living being. We can trust Him to handle the concerns in our lives. God can take a hopeless situation, e.g. Abraham and Sarah being childless, and do amazing things if we will simply trust and obey. Terrible and unjust things may happen in our lives, as with Joseph, but God will always bring about a greater good if we have faith in Him and His sovereign plan. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).