Bible Study Commentaries
Sep 1, 2014
Other than the short letters of 2 Peter and 2-3 John, Hebrews likely is the most neglected New Testament book. The 21st century American church desperately needs to hear and obey the message of Hebrews. As one commentator wrote, “It is a tonic for the spiritually debilitated. … We neglect such a book to our own impoverishment.”
Sep 1, 2014
In order to have a fuller appreciation for the message of the Book of Ephesians, we must go back to the magnificent teaching in chapter 1, verses 3-14. First, the Bible there provides us with God’s glorious plan for the ages as it centers around the blessed Trinity. It is set forth in verses 3-6. He chose—elected—to implement a way to show forth His glories by saving those who trust in the Son. He predestined to be saved anyone believing in the Son. Second, the Bible then gives in detail the saving work of the Son (vv. 7-12). The fundamental elements of His death on the cross will bring redemption, forgiveness, the inheritance and an unveiling of the mystery of God’s will according to what He has planned through Jesus. Third, the Bible highlights the work of the Holy Spirit (vv. 13-14). He is the seal, that is, God’s down payment, guaranteed by His presence in every believer. The Holy Spirit does not seal. He is the seal.
Aug 26, 2014
The Bible assigns to humans the responsibility for having dominion over fish, fowl and every living thing that moves upon the earth (Gen. 1:28). We can easily discern God’s will for us as caretakers of the natural order. However, our assigned text concerns not humanity’s oversight of the creation, but Israel’s mandate to observe the Sabbath year (Lev. 25:4). To understand that divine mandate we will need to delve a little deeper into the background of the seventh day, seventh year and 50th year. We will conclude with a brief application to us as Christians.
Aug 26, 2014
Church historians affirm that more Christians experienced martyrdom in the 20th century than the previous 19 centuries of the Christian faith. The 21st century evidences harsh persecution by many Christians throughout the world in places like China, Iraq and Sudan. An ancient church leader referred to bloody persecution as the “seed of the church.” As the Roman Empire increased persecution of Christians, the church grew. Recently, a major British newspaper —The Daily Telegraph—reported that China might become the world’s most Christian nation within 15 years. The blood of the martyrs is becoming the seed of the growth of the church throughout the world. American Christians, in contrast, consider mere ridicule persecution.
Aug 18, 2014
We live in tumultuous, albeit interesting, times. Daily news provides mind-boggling accounts of horrific evil, wars, atrocities and persecution. Daniel and his contemporaries lived in a transitional era of world history. In this confusing time, God revealed to Daniel the prophet that God, His Kingdom and His people win.
Aug 18, 2014
A person rises no higher than his or her prayer life. The opposite is also true. Failure in prayer often leads to failure in actions and character. Prayer focuses upon God and His Kingdom, yet the Kingdom-building God builds Kingdom servants through prayer. The elderly Daniel was a prayer warrior. Prayer was a daily habit of the administrator.
Aug 12, 2014
A person rises no higher than his or her prayer life. The opposite is also true. Failure in prayer often leads to failure in actions and character. Prayer focuses upon God and His Kingdom, yet the Kingdom-building God builds Kingdom servants through prayer. The elderly Daniel was a prayer warrior. Prayer was a daily habit of the administrator. Even though the book of Daniel does not mention prayer frequently, prayer undergirded every aspect of Daniel’s life and ministry. Prayer gave him strength in the test about food (chap. 1). He no doubt prayed as his friends experienced the fiery furnace (chap. 2). Daniel must have prayed before interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (chap. 4) and the writing on the wall (chap. 5).
Aug 12, 2014
In approaching our assigned texts for this study, we must note the word “therefore” in verse six. It could be interpreted to mean, “on the basis of what was just written.” It points to the important ideas that shed light on the subsequent discussion. Two merit our attention. First, the Bible refers to the time when “the Chief Shepherd” appears (v. 4). He is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep (John 10:11) and knows them by name (John 10:14). He is the Great Shepherd through the blood of the everlasting covenant (Heb. 13:20). Second, Peter alludes to the crown of glory that does not fade away to be awarded at the Chief Shepherd’s appearing. James 1:12 speaks of the crown of life for those who love Jesus. Three other crowns are to be given out: the incorruptible crown for those practicing self-discipline (1 Cor. 9:25), the crown of rejoicing for the soul-winners (1 Thess. 2:19) and the crown of righteousness for those who love our Lord’s appearing (2 Tim. 4:8).
Aug 5, 2014
Archaeology and historical records provide support for the accuracy of the biblical text of Daniel 5. Critics formerly debunked Daniel because the last king of Babylon was Nabodinus rather than Belshazzar. In the 19th century, archaeologists discovered Babylonian records that support the Bible. Nabodinus rejected the traditional Babylonian gods in favor of the moon god “Sin.” He left Babylon and devoted himself to worshiping the moon god in ancient Haran and turned over functioning authority to his son Belshazzar.
Aug 5, 2014
As we progress in our study of Peter’s writings, placing the writing in historical contest can be helpful. Peter wrote under the shadow of a sobering prophecy. Following his restoration and commission by Jesus after His resurrection, a portion of Jesus’ words were foreboding.