Bible Study Commentaries
Dec 8, 2013
I remember in times past in which we used what was called the Roman Road of Salvation. We began in Romans 3:23, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, then pointed to 5:8. We then focused on Romans 10:9-10, that all who believe in Jesus and confess their sins are saved by the grace of God. Later, we refined the beginning point, not with sin, but with the affirmation that God loves them. We could not always make the parallel between the love of our earthly fathers because so many families had never had a human father in the home. Further, some fathers were abusive and therefore poor role models. Fortunately, even people deprived of stable family relationships can identify with the assertion that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives. In that love lies hope for them.
Dec 8, 2013
Jesus identified Himself as the one way of salvation. Many professing Christians, including some Baptists, deny Jesus’ teaching of being the one way of reconciliation between sinful humanity and a holy God. A disavowal of Jesus’ claim results in a profession of Jesus as one of many paths to God—thereby denying His Lordship. The view of the possibility of salvation through many paths functions as one of the key teachings of Hinduism. The Baptist Faith and Message succinctly summarizes the biblical teachings: “There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.”
Dec 1, 2013
At this time of the year, our minds turn inevitably to the subject of gift giving. In fact, some diligent persons have been known to start on gift buying for the next year by taking advantage of the post-Christmas sales each year. How sad it is when a person passes on to glory and cannot enjoy the gift already set aside. The death gives new meaning to the question one could ask, “When is a gift not a gift?” If the intended receiver either does not or cannot receive the gift, the giver is deprived of the joy of sharing a happy moment. Is this not true also when a person dies without receiving the gift of salvation already readied by God? Although God’s gift of salvation cannot be earned, it nevertheless must be received.
Dec 1, 2013
Beginning in chapter thirteen, John described the events of the last night of Jesus’ life. This chapter contains reminiscences of chapter one. Jesus came to His own people and they did not receive Him (John 1:11). The events of the last night occurred because of Jesus’ love for His own disciples (John 13:1), yet the disciples had difficulty receiving the ministry of Jesus. Furthermore, the Baptist proclaimed Jesus as “the Lamb of God (1: 29). The next day Jesus humbly died as the Passover Lamb to take away our sins.
Nov 24, 2013
Some time after the flood in Noah’s time, the entire human race eroded into a moral tragedy. In the words of the Divine Historian, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful: but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts and creeping things” (Rom. 1:21-23). God made man in His own image (Gen. 1:27), an act that made all humans to be incurably religious, even in the absence of a written revelation from God. Anthropologists report, for example, that archeologists have never found a society, no matter how primitive, that did not exhibit a belief in the supernatural world. The human race to this day is resoundingly god-oriented. Atheists are few among all nations. Against the rampant evidence of sin, God is revealing His power through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Nov 24, 2013
John 12 marks a dramatic shift in the Fourth Gospel. New Testament scholars divide the Gospel into two sections. John 1-11 comprises the “Book of Signs” as these chapters detail seven signs Jesus performed pointing to His identity. The “Book of Signs” concludes with a plot of the Jewish leadership to kill Jesus in order that “one man should die for the people” (John 11:50). The plot signaled the end of Jesus’ public
Nov 17, 2013
Sometimes a simple “Thank you!” suffices, as when a person holds a door open for you. It can speak volumes. I remember a cutting-edge song we sang when I was young, which goes: “Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul. Thank you, Lord, for making me whole. Thank you, Lord, for giving to me, Thy great salvation so rich and free.” It was a simple confession of our faith. We used to sing another song which begins, “Every Day With Jesus was Sweeter Than the Day Before.” Each successive generation of Christians produces songs of praise and thanksgiving that express their happiness and joy in Christ. Psalm 100 presents themes with which all of us can agree.
Nov 17, 2013
At no point does our theology intersect with life in as unified a manner as at a funeral. The funeral of a family member expresses our theology either positively or negatively. Death reveals and tests our beliefs about God, salvation, life, and hope. Jesus performed his greatest miracle in the context of human heartache. He raised Lazarus (his name means “one God helps”) in the village of Bethany (a name meaning “house of suffering”). Out of the deepest grief, a sister proclaimed the greatest confession of faith in the New Testament.
Nov 10, 2013
Two southern Baptist missionaries, Jim Lanly from China, and Rich Elligson, formerly of Brazil, confirmed the mission strategy when working with Unchurched People Groups. For those without any knowledge of the true God, one must begin the story with the Genesis account of creation. Once the workings of God in creation are settled, additional stories leading to the cross can follow. Getting the big[ger] picture can also help us in understanding God’s unfolding plan in history.
Nov 10, 2013
John 9 concludes with an emphasis on the spiritual darkness of the religious leaders. The leaders remained in darkness (9:41) because they rejected the True Light of the world. John 10 continues the contrast between the religious leaders and Jesus. Because the religious leaders remained in spiritual darkness, they were incapable of understanding the truth or guiding people in the truth. In contrast to the religious leaders, Jesus is the Good Shepherd.