Bible Study Commentaries
Sep 15, 2014
Medieval theologian Anselm wrote the first theology exploring the reason that Jesus became God incarnate—the God-Man. Anselm wrote that humans owed a debt to God that they were incapable of paying. The debt was so great only God could pay the debt, yet as the debtors, by necessity, humans must pay the debt. The Son of God became a man for two reasons. As God, He possessed the ability to pay the debt. As Man, He could rightfully pay the debt. Approximately 1,000 years before Anselm, the author of Hebrews set forth a biblical answer to the question, “Why did the Son of God become a human being?” Hebrews 2:9-18 details six answers to the question, “Why did the Son of God become a man?
Sep 15, 2014
All too often at the Monday morning pastor’s conference, one man confides to a friend, “Man, if the Lord opens up a new ministry somewhere, I would welcome a recommendation. The church I am serving is not interested in growing. I need a change.” At the back of our minds is the image of an ideal church in which excitement fills the air. Yet, the Bible at no point commands us to grow a bigger church, choir or anything else. The Great Commission motivated the apostles because Jesus said, “And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:14). Whatever it took to bring Him back, they would do. They scattered to the ends of the earth. That should be our motivating commitment, but in the meanwhile, what should be our spiritual goal for the church that we serve? The Bible makes that work abundantly clear.
Sep 9, 2014
My wife can attest to my problems related to hearing. I admit I have three hearing problems. First, I likely experience difficulty hearing because I listened to loud music earlier in my life. Second, I possess great skills at selective hearing. I hear what I choose to hear. Third, at times, I have difficulty remembering what I hear.
Sep 9, 2014
In reading through the epistles, we notice an absence of emphasis on signs and wonders as gifts or functions within the churches. Peter said Jesus performed signs and wonders as indicating His approval by God (Acts 2:22). Following Pentecost, the apostles performed signs and wonders (Acts 2:43). Several other passages affirm the apostles exercised those gifts (Acts 5:12, 6:2, 7:36, 15:12). Paul also performed signs and wonders (Romans 15:19). As Hebrews 2:2-4 explains, God bestowed the power to confirm them who heard him (v. 3). Jesus also warned that merely claiming the power to prophesy in His name, cast out devils and perform wonderful works will gain no favor at the judgment (Matt. 7:21, 22). The only criterion is whether or not one has been born again. We now look at some doctrines that are more relevant for experiencing peace and fellowship.
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.
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Sept. 21 Explore the Bible: Why the God-Man?
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Sept. 21 Bible Studies for Life: Connected in Growth
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Sept. 14 Explore the Bible: Pay Attention
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