Category Archives: Bible Study

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

June 9, 2015 Bible Reading

June 9

Reading for Today:

2 Kings 5:1–6:33

Psalm 72:1-7

Proverbs 18:10-11

John 18:1-18

Notes:

2 Kings 5:17- two mule-loads of earth. In the ancient Near East, it was thought that a god could be worshiped only on the soil of the nation to which he was bound. Therefore, Naaman wanted a load of Israelite soil on which to make burnt offerings and sacrifices to the Lord when he returned to Damascus. This request confirmed how Naaman had changed—whereas he had previously disparaged Israel’s river, now he wanted to take a pile of Israel’s soil to Damascus.

2 Kings 5:27- leprosy…shall cling to you. Gehazi’s greed had cast a shadow over the integrity of Elisha’s prophetic office. This made him no better in the people’s thinking than Israel’s false prophets, who prophesied for material gain, the very thing he wanted to avoid (vv. 15, 16). Gehazi’s act betrayed a lack of faith in the Lord’s ability to provide. As a result, Elisha condemned Gehazi and his descendants to suffer Naaman’s skin disease forever. The punishment was a twist for Gehazi, who had gone to take something from Naaman (v. 20), but what he received was Naaman’s disease.

2 Kings 6:5- iron…borrowed. Iron was expensive and relatively rare in Israel at that time, and the student-prophet was very poor. The ax head was loaned to the prophet since he could not have afforded it on his own and would have had no means to reimburse the owner for it.

John 18:4–8- Whom are you seeking? By twice asking that question (vv. 4,7), to which they replied, “Jesus of Nazareth” (vv. 5,7), Jesus was forcing them to acknowledge that they had no authority to take His disciples. In fact, He demanded that they let the disciples go (v. 8). The force of His demand was established by the power of His words. When He spoke, “I am He” (v. 6), a designation He had used before to declare Himself God (8:28, 58; 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5), they were jolted backward and to the ground (v. 6). This power display and the authoritative demand not to take the disciples was of immense significance, as the next verse indicates.

John 18:13- Annas first. Annas held the high priesthood office from A.D. 6–15 when Valerius Gratus, Pilate’s predecessor, removed him from office. In spite of this, Annas continued to wield influence over the office, most likely because he was still regarded as the true high priest and also because no fewer than 5 of his sons, and his son-in-law Caiaphas, held the office at one time or another. Two trials occurred: one Jewish and one Roman. The Jewish phase began with the informal examination by Annas (vv. 12–14, 19–23), probably giving time for the members of the Sanhedrin to hurriedly gather together. A session before the Sanhedrin was next (Matt. 26:57–68) at which consensus was reached to send Jesus to Pilate (Matt. 27:1, 2). The Roman phase began with a first examination before Pilate (vv. 28–38a; Matt. 27:11–14) and then Herod Antipas (“that fox”—Luke 13:32) interrogated Him (Luke 23:6–12). Lastly, Jesus appeared again before Pilate (vv. 38b–19:16; Matt. 27:15–31).

DAY 9: Who was Naaman, and what does he teach us about obedience to God?

In 2 Kings 5:1, four phrases describe the importance of Naaman: 1) he was the supreme commander of the army of Syria as indicated by the term “commander,” used of an army’s highest ranking officer (Gen. 21:22; 1 Sam. 12:9; 1 Chr. 27:34); 2) he was a great man, a man of high social standing and prominence; 3) he was an honorable man in the eyes of his master, a man highly regarded by the king of Syria because of the military victories he had won; and 4) he was a mighty man of valor, a term used in the Old Testament for both a man of great wealth (Ruth 2:1) and a courageous warrior (Judg. 6:12; 11:1). Severely mitigating against all of this was the fact that he suffered from leprosy, a serious skin disease (v. 27). Naaman’s military success was attributable to the God of Israel, who is sovereign over all the nations (Is. 10:13; Amos 9:7).

Because of his personal greatness (v. 1), his huge gift of ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold (about 750 pounds of silver and 150 pounds of gold in v. 5), and diplomatic letter (v. 6), Naaman expected that Elisha would “surely come out to me” (v.11). He expected personal attention to his need. However, Elisha did not even go out to meet him. Instead, he sent his instructions for healing through a messenger (v. 10). Naaman was angry because he anticipated a personal cleansing ceremony from the prophet himself. Besides, if Naaman needed to wash in a river, two Syrian rivers were superior to the muddy Jordan. However, it was obedience to God’s word that was the issue, not the quality of the water.

Fortunately, Naaman had a servant who pointed out to him that he had been willing to do anything, no matter how hard, to be cured. He should be even more willing, therefore, to do something as easy as washing in a muddy river. Naaman’s healing restored his flesh to that “of a little child” (v. 14). Upon his healing, Naaman returned from the Jordan River to Elisha’s house in Samaria to give confession of his new belief: “there is no God…except in Israel” (v. 15).

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible

June 8, 2015 Bible Reading

June 8

Reading for Today:

2 Kings 3:1–4:44

Psalm 71:17-24

Proverbs 18:9

John 17:1-26

Notes:

2 Kings 3:15- a musician. The music was used to accompany praise and prayer, which calmed the mind of the prophet that he might clearly hear the word of the Lord. Music often accompanied prophecies in the Old Testament (1 Chr. 25:1).

2 Kings 4:4- shut the door behind you. Since the widow’s need was private, the provision was to be private also. Further, the absence of Elisha demonstrated that the miracle happened only by God’s power. God’s power multiplied little into much, filling all the vessels to meet the widow’s need (1 Kin. 17:7–16).

John 17:17- Sanctify. This verb also occurs in John’s Gospel at v. 19; 10:36.The idea of sanctification is the setting apart of something for a particular use. Accordingly, believers are set apart for God and His purposes alone so that the believer does only what God wants and hates all that God hates (Lev. 11:44, 45; 1 Pet. 1:16). Sanctification is accomplished by means of the truth, which is the revelation that the Son gave regarding all that the Father commanded Him to communicate and is now contained in the scriptures left by the apostles.

John 17:21- they all may be one. The basis of this unity centers in adherence to the revelation the Father mediated to His first disciples through His Son. Believers are also to be united in the common belief of the truth that was received in the Word of God (Phil. 2:2). This is not still a wish, but it became a reality when the Spirit came (Acts 2:4; 1 Cor. 12:13). It is not experiential unity, but the unity of common eternal life shared by all who believe the truth, and it results in the one body of Christ all sharing His life.

DAY 8: What was Jesus’ prayer in John 17 about?

Although Matthew 6:9–13 and Luke 11:2–4 have become known popularly as the Lord’s Prayer, that prayer was actually a prayer taught to the disciples by Jesus as a pattern for their prayers. The prayer recorded in John 17:1–26 is truly the Lord’s Prayer, exhibiting the face-to-face communion the Son had with the Father. Very little is recorded of the content of Jesus’ frequent prayers to the Father (Matt. 14:23; Luke 5:16), so this prayer reveals some of the precious content of the Son’s communion and intercession with Him.

This chapter is a transitional chapter, marking the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the beginning of His intercessory ministry for believers (Heb. 7:25).In many respects, the prayer is a summary of John’s entire Gospel. Its principle themes include: 1) Jesus’ obedience to His Father; 2) the glorification of His Father through His death and exaltation; 3) the revelation of God in Jesus Christ; 4) the choosing of the disciples out of the world; 5) their mission to the world; 6) their unity modeled on the unity of the Father and Son; and 7) the believer’s final destiny in the presence of the Father and Son. The chapter divides into three parts: 1) Jesus’ prayer for Himself (vv. 1–5); 2) Jesus’ prayer for the apostles (vv. 6–19); and 3) Jesus’ prayer for all New Testament believers who will form the church (vv. 20–26).

Jesus speaks to His Father that the hour of His death has come (v. 1).“Glorify Your Son.” The very event that would glorify the Son was His death. By it, He has received the adoration, worship, and love of millions whose sins He bore. He accepted this path to glory, knowing that by it He would be exalted to the Father. The goal is that the Father may be glorified for His redemptive plan in the Son.

Note Jesus’ concern that the Father keep His disciples “from the evil one” (v. 15). The reference here refers to protection from Satan and all the wicked forces following him (Matt.6:13; 1 John 2:13, 14; 3:12; 5:18, 19). Though Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was the defeat of Satan, he is still loose and orchestrating his evil system against believers. He seeks to destroy believers (1 Pet. 5:8; Eph. 6:12), but God is their strong protector (12:31; 16:11; Ps. 27:1–3; 2 Cor. 4:4; Jude 24, 25).

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible

June 7, 2015 Bible Reading

June 7

Reading for Today:

2 Kings 1:1–2:25

Psalm 71:9-16

Proverbs 18:6-8

John 16:1-33

Notes:

2 Kings 2:1- by a whirlwind. Literally, “in the whirlwind.” This was a reference to the specific storm with lightning and thunder in which Elijah was taken to heaven (v. 11). The Lord’s presence was connected with a whirlwind in Job 38:1; 40:6; Jer. 23:19; 25:32; 30:23; Zech. 9:14. Elisha. The record of this prophet, who was the successor to Elijah, begins in 1 Kings 19:16 and extends to his death in 2 Kings 13:20.

2 Kings 2:3- the sons of the prophets. See 1 Kings 20:35. take away. The same term was used of Enoch’s translation to heaven in Genesis 5:24. The question from the sons of the prophets implied that the Lord had revealed Elijah’s imminent departure to them. Elisha’s response that he didn’t need to hear about it (keep silent) explicitly stated that Elijah’s departure had been revealed by the Lord to him also (v. 5). from over you. I.e., from supervising you, an allusion to the habit of students sitting beneath the feet of their master, elevated on a platform. Elisha would soon change from being Elijah’s assistant to serving as the leader among the prophets.

2 Kings 2:11- chariot of fire…with horses of fire. The horse-drawn chariot was the fastest means of transport and the mightiest means of warfare in that day. Thus, the chariot and horses symbolized God’s powerful protection, which was the true safety of Israel (v. 12). As earthly kingdoms are dependent for their defense on such military force as represented by horses and chariots, one single prophet had done more by God’s power to preserve his nation than all their military preparations.

2 Kings 2:24- pronounced a curse. Because these young people of about 20 years of age or older (the same term is used of Solomon in 1 Kin. 3:7) so despised the prophet of the Lord, Elisha called upon the Lord to deal with the rebels as He saw fit. The Lord’s punishment was the mauling of 42 youths by two female bears. The penalty was clearly justified, for to ridicule Elisha was to ridicule the Lord Himself. The gravity of the penalty mirrored the gravity of the crime. The appalling judgment was God’s warning to any and all who attempted to interfere with the newly invested prophet’s ministry.

John 16:25- in figurative language. The word means a veiled, pointed statement that is pregnant with meaning, i.e., something that is obscure. What seemed hard to understand for the disciples during the life of Jesus would become clear after His death, resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit (vv. 13, 14; 14:26; 15:26, 27). They would actually understand the ministry of Christ better than they had while they were with Him, as the Spirit inspired them to write the Gospels and Epistles and ministered in and through them.

DAY 7: What very specific ministry does the Holy Spirit have on people’s lives?

In John 16:8, the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was approximately 40 or more days away at this point (Acts 2:1–13). Jesus says that the Holy Spirit’s ministry is to “convict” people. This word has two meanings: 1) the judicial act of conviction with a view toward sentencing (i.e., a courtroom term—conviction of sin) or 2) the act of convincing. Here the second idea is best, since the purpose of the Holy Spirit is not condemnation but conviction of the need for the Savior. The Son does the judgment, with the Father (5:22, 27, 30). In v. 14, it is said that He will reveal the glories of Christ to His people. He will also inspire the writing of the New Testament, guiding the apostles to write it (v. 13), and He will reveal things to come, through the New Testament prophecies (v. 13).

The Holy Spirit convicts of “sin” (v. 9).The singular indicates that a specific sin is in view; i.e., that of not believing in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God. This is the only sin, ultimately, that damns people to hell. Though all men are depraved, cursed by their violation of God’s law, and sinful by nature, what ultimately damns them to hell is their unwillingness to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior (8:24).

He convicts of “righteousness” (v. 10). The Holy Spirit’s purpose here is to shatter the pretensions of self-righteousness (hypocrisy), exposing the darkness of the heart. While Jesus was on the earth, He performed this task especially toward the shallowness and emptiness of Judaism that had degenerated into legalistic modes without life-giving reality. With Jesus gone to the Father, the Holy Spirit continues His convicting role.

And of “judgment” (v. 11).The judgment here in context is that of the world under Satan’s control. Its judgments are blind, faulty, and evil as evidenced in their verdict on Christ. The world can’t make righteous judgments (7:24), but the Spirit of Christ does (8:16). All Satan’s adjudications are lies (8:44–47), so the Spirit convicts men of their false judgment of Christ. Satan, the ruler of the world (14:30; Eph. 2:1–3) who, as the god of this world, has perverted the world’s judgment and turned people from believing in Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God (2 Cor. 4:4), was defeated at the Cross. While Christ’s death looked like Satan’s greatest victory, it actually was Satan’s destruction (Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14, 15; Rev. 20:10). The Spirit will lead sinners to true judgment.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible

June 6, 2015 Bible Reading

June 6

Reading for Today:

1 Kings 21:1–22:53

Psalm 71:1-8

Proverbs 18:3-5

John 15:1-27

Notes:

1 Kings 21:3- The LORD forbid. Naboth’s words implied that trading or selling his property would be a disregard of the law and thus displeasing in God’s eyes (1 Sam. 24:6; 26:11; 2 Sam. 23:17). The reason was that the vineyard was his ancestral property. The Lord, the owner of all of the land of Israel, had forbidden Israelite families to surrender ownership of family lands permanently (Lev. 25:23–28; Num. 36:7–9). Out of loyalty to God, Naboth declined Ahab’s offer.

1 Kings 22:6- prophets. These 400 prophets of Ahab were not true prophets of the Lord. They worshiped at Bethel in the golden-calf center set up by Jeroboam (12:28, 29) and were supported by Ahab, whose religious policy also permitted Baal worship. Their words were designed to please Ahab (v. 8), so they refused to begin with the authoritative “thus says the LORD” and did not use the covenant name for Israel’s God, “LORD.”

John 15:14,15- friends. Just as Abraham was called the friend of God (2 Chr. 20:7; James 2:23) because he enjoyed extraordinary access to the mind of God through God’s revelation to him which he believed, so also those who follow Christ are privileged with extraordinary revelation through the Messiah and Son of God and, believing, become friends of God also. It was for His friends that the Lord laid down His life (v. 13; 10:11, 15, 17).

DAY 6: What serious warning is sounded in the lesson of the vine and branches?

In John 15:1–17, Jesus used the extended metaphor of the vine and branches to set forth the basis of Christian living. Jesus used the imagery of agricultural life at the time, i.e., vines and vine crops (see also Matt. 20:1–16; 21:23–41; Mark 12:1–9; Luke 13:6–9; 20:9–16). In the Old Testament, the vine is used commonly as a symbol for Israel (Ps. 80:9–16; Is. 5:1–7; 27:2–6; Jer. 2:21; 12:10; Ezek. 15:1–8; 17:1–21; 19:10–14; Hos. 10:1, 2). He specifically identified Himself as the true vine and the Father as the vinedresser or caretaker of the vine.

The vine has two types of branches: 1) branches that bear fruit (vv. 2, 8), and 2) branches that do not (vv. 2, 6). The branches that bear fruit are genuine believers. Though in immediate context the focus is upon the 11 faithful disciples, the imagery also encompasses all believers down through the ages. The branches that do not bear fruit are those who profess to believe, but their lack of fruit indicates genuine salvation has never taken place and they have no life from the vine. Especially in the immediate context, Judas was in view, but the imagery extends from him to all those who make a profession of faith in Christ but do not actually possess salvation. The image of non-fruit-bearing branches being burned pictures eschatological judgment and eternal rejection (Ezek. 15:6–8).

“Abide in Me,” Jesus said (vv. 4–6).The word “abide” means to remain or stay around. The remaining is evidence that salvation has already taken place (1 John 2:19) and not vice versa. The fruit or evidence of salvation is continuance in service to Him and in His teaching (8:31; 1 John 2:24; Col. 1:23). The abiding believer is the only legitimate believer. Abiding and believing actually are addressing the same issue of genuine salvation (Heb. 3:6–19). “Abide in My love” (vv. 9, 10; Jude 21). This is not emotional or mystical, but defined in v. 10 as obedience. Jesus set the model by His perfect obedience to the Father, which we are to use as the pattern for our obedience to Him.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible

June 5, 2015 Bible Reading

June 5

Reading for Today:

1 Kings 19:1–20:43

Psalm 70:1-5

Proverbs 18:1-2

John 14:1-31

Notes:

1 Kings 19:3- he saw. His hope shattered, Elijah fled as a prophet, broken by Jezebel’s threats (v. 2), her unrepentant Baalism, and her continuing power over Israel. Elijah expected Jezebel to surrender. When she did not capitulate, he became a discouraged man (vv. 4, 10, 14).

1 Kings 19:4- broom tree. A desert bush that grew to a height of 10 feet. It had slender branches featuring small leaves and fragrant blossoms. take my life. Since Israelites believed that suicide was an affront to the Lord, it was not an option, whatever the distress. So Elijah asked the Lord for death (Jon. 4:3,8) because he viewed the situation as hopeless. Job (Job 6:8, 9), Moses (Num. 11:10–15), and Jeremiah (Jer. 20:14–18) had also reacted in similar fashion during their ministries.

1 Kings 19:11- the LORD passed by. The 3 phenomena, wind, earthquake, and fire, announced the imminent arrival of the Lord (Ex. 19:16–19; Ps. 18:7–15; Hab. 3:3–6). The Lord’s self-revelation to Elijah came in a faint, whispering voice (v. 12). The lesson for Elijah was that Almighty God was quietly, sometimes imperceptibly, doing His work in Israel (v. 18).

1 Kings 19:19- Elisha. This name means “my God is salvation” and belonged to Elisha, the successor to Elijah (2 Kin. 2:9–15). It was a common practice for several teams of oxen, each with his own plow and driver, to work together in a row. After letting the others pass, Elijah threw his mantle around the last man, Elisha, thus designating him as his successor.

John 14:6- This is the sixth I AM statement of Jesus in John (6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 15:1, 5). In response to Thomas’s query (v. 4), Jesus declared that He is the way to God because He is the truth of God (1:14) and the life of God (1:4; 3:15; 11:25). In this verse, the exclusiveness of Jesus as the only approach to the Father is emphatic. Only one way, not many ways, exist to God, i.e., Jesus Christ (10:7–9; Matt. 7:13, 14; Luke 13:24; Acts 4:12).

John 14:12- greater works than these he will do. Jesus did not mean greater works in power, but in extent. They would become witnesses to all the world through the power of the indwelling and infilling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) and would bring many to salvation because of the Comforter dwelling in them. The focus is on spiritual rather than physical miracles. The Book of Acts constitutes the beginning historical record of the impact that the Spirit-empowered disciples had on the world (Acts 17:6).

DAY 5: How is the role of the Holy Spirit explained in John 14?

Jesus said, “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever” (v. 16). The priestly and intercessory work of Christ began with the request that the Father send the Holy Spirit to indwell in the people of faith (7:39; 15:26; 16:7; 20:22; Acts 1:8; 2:4, 33). The Greek word specifically means “another of the same kind,” i.e., someone like Jesus Himself who will take His place and do His work. The Spirit of Christ is the Third Person of the Trinity, having the same essence of Deity as Jesus and as perfectly one with Him as He is with the Father. A “Helper” literally means one called alongside to help and has the idea of someone who encourages and exhorts. Abiding has to do with His permanent residence in believers (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; 12:13).

He is the “Spirit of truth” (v. 17) in that He is the source of truth and communicates the truth to His own (v. 26; 16:12–15). Apart from Him, men cannot know God’s truth (1 Cor. 2:12–16; 1 John 2:20, 27). He “dwells with you and will be in you.” This indicates some distinction between the ministry of the Holy Spirit to believers before and after Pentecost. While clearly the Holy Spirit has been with all who have ever believed throughout redemptive history as the source of truth, faith, and life, Jesus is saying something new is coming in His ministry. John 7:37–39 indicates this unique ministry would be like rivers of living water. Acts 19:1–7 introduces some Old Covenant believers who had not received the Holy Spirit in this unique fullness and intimacy.

He “will teach you all things”(v. 26). The Holy Spirit energized the hearts and minds of the apostles in their ministry, helping them to produce the New Testament scriptures. The disciples had failed to understand many things about Jesus and what He taught; but because of this supernatural work, they came to an inerrant and accurate understanding of the Lord and His work and recorded it in the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20, 21).

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible

June 4, 2015 Bible Reading

June 4

Reading for Today:

1 Kings 17:1–18:46

Psalm 69:29-36

Proverbs 17:27-28

John 13:21-38

Notes:

1 Kings 17:1- Elijah. His name means “the LORD is God.” The prophet Elijah’s ministry corresponded to his name: He was sent by God to confront Baalism and to declare to Israel that the Lord was God and there was no other. Tishbite. Elijah lived in a town called Tishbe, east of the Jordan River in the vicinity of the Jabbok River. not be dew nor rain. The autumn and spring rains and summer dew were necessities for the crops of Israel. The Lord had threatened to withhold these from the Land if His people turned from Him to serve other gods (Lev. 26:18, 19; Deut. 11:16, 17; 28:23, 24). Elijah had prayed for the drought (James 5:17) and God answered. It lasted 3 years and 6 months. The drought proved that Baal, the god of the rains and fertility, was impotent before the Lord.

1 Kings 18:3- Obadiah. His name means “servant of the LORD.” He was the manager of Ahab’s royal palace and a devout worshiper of the Lord, who had demonstrated his devotion to the Lord by protecting 100 of the Lord’s prophets from death by Jezebel (vv. 4, 13), which had put him on tenuous ground with Ahab.

1 Kings 18:12- the Spirit of the LORD will carry you. The servant had been asked to tell Ahab Elijah was present to speak with him (vv. 7, 18), but he was afraid because Ahab was seeking Elijah so intensely. Since Elijah had disappeared from sight earlier (17:5), Obadiah was afraid that the Holy Spirit would carry Elijah away again (2 Kin. 2:16) and the irrational Ahab would kill him for the false report of Elijah’s presence.

1 Kings 18:21- falter between two opinions. Literally, limp along on or between two twigs. Israel had not totally rejected the Lord, but was seeking to combine worship of Him with the worship of Baal. The issue posed by Elijah was that Israel had to choose who was God, the Lord or Baal, and then serve God wholeheartedly. Rather than decide by his message, Elijah sought a visible sign from heaven.

1 Kings 18:24- the God who answers by fire. Since Baal’s followers believed that he controlled the thunder, lightning, and storms, and the Lord’s followers declared the same (Ps. 18:14; 29:3–9; 104:3), this would prove to be a fair test to show who was God.

John 13:26- He gave it to Judas Iscariot. The host at a feast (whose role was filled by Jesus) would dip into a common bowl and pull out a particularly tasty bit and pass it to a guest as a special mark of honor or friendship. Because Jesus passed it so easily to Judas, it has been suggested that he was seated near the Lord in a place of honor. Jesus was demonstrating a final gesture of His love for Judas even though he would betray Him.

John 13:34- A new commandment…as I have loved you. The commandment to love was not new. Deuteronomy 6:5 commanded love for God and Leviticus 19:18 commanded loving one’s neighbor as oneself (Matt. 22:34–40; Rom. 13:8–10; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8). However, Jesus’ command regarding love presented a distinctly new standard for two reasons: 1) it was sacrificial love modeled after His love (as I loved you; 15:13), and 2) it is produced through the New Covenant by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit (Jer. 31:29–34; Ezek. 36:24–26; Gal. 5:22).

DAY 4: How do scholars conclude that the expression “whom Jesus loved” was John’s way of referring to himself?

Three obvious clues about John’s Gospel help identify the unnamed disciple who called himself the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20).

Early church fathers invariably identify the apostle John as the author of this Gospel. John is frequently mentioned by the other Gospel writers as an active participant among the disciples of Jesus, yet John’s name is absent from the fourth Gospel.

If four people take a trip together and each carries a camera, the group-shots each person takes will naturally not include them. In fact, someone else could probably guess who took which pictures by which member of the group was absent. The Gospel of John functions this way—John’s absence by name shouts his presence.

As for his signature phrase, the words “whom Jesus loved” convey both a sense of the apostle’s humility and the depth of his relationship to Jesus. The phrase doesn’t mean that John thought of himself as the only disciple Jesus loved. It simply expresses with disarming honesty the wonder of this disciple over the fact that the Lord loved him!

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible

June 3, 2015 Bible Reading

June 3

Reading for Today:

1 Kings 15:1–16:34

Psalm 69:22-28

Proverbs 17:25-26

John 13:1-20

Notes:

1 Kings 15:11–15- Asa did 4 good things: 1) he removed the sacred prostitutes (v. 12); 2) he rid the land of all the idols made by his predecessors (v. 12); 3) he removed the corrupt queen mother and burned the idol she had made; and 4) he placed holy things, items that he and his father had dedicated to the Lord, back in the temple (v. 15). Though he never engaged in idolatry, Asa’s failure was his toleration of the high places (v. 14).

1 Kings 15:13- obscene image. This term is derived from the verb “to shudder” (Job 9:6). It suggests a shocking, perhaps even a sexually explicit, idol. Asa removed his grandmother, Maacah, the official queen mother, because of her association with this idol.

1 Kings 15:29- he killed all the house of Jeroboam. Baasha, the northern king, in a vicious practice too common in the ancient Near East, annihilated all of Jeroboam’s family. This act fulfilled Ahijah’s prophecy against Jeroboam (14:9–11). However, Baasha went beyond the words of the prophecy, since 14:10 specified judgment only on every male, while Baasha killed all men, women, and children.

1 Kings 16:30- evil…more than all who were before him. With Ahab, Israel’s spiritual decay reached its lowest point. He was even worse than his father, Omri, who was more wicked than all before him (v. 25). Ahab’s evil consisted of perpetuating all the sins of Jeroboam and promoting the worship of Baal in Israel (vv. 31, 32). Of all Israel’s kings, Ahab outraged the Lord most (v. 33).

Psalm 69:26- the ones You have struck. Those hostile to the psalmist were ridiculing him as one suffering from God’s chastisement. In its messianic application, the suffering of the Messiah was a part of God’s plan from eternity past (Is. 53:10).

John 17:26- punish…strike. Here is a clear statement on political and religious injustice, focusing on the equally bad mistreatment of the innocent and the noble.

DAY 3: Why was Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet so powerful a lesson?

The dusty and dirty conditions of the region necessitated the need for footwashing. Although the disciples most likely would have been happy to wash Jesus’ feet, they could not conceive of washing one another’s feet (John 13:4–17). This was because in the society of the time footwashing was reserved for the lowliest of menial servants. Peers did not wash one another’s feet, except very rarely and as a mark of great love. Luke points out (22:24) that they were arguing about who was the greatest of them, so that none was willing to stoop to wash feet. When Jesus moved to wash their feet, they were shocked. His actions serve also as symbolic of spiritual cleansing (vv. 6–9) and a model of Christian humility (vv. 12–17). Through this action Jesus taught the lesson of selfless service that was supremely exemplified by His death on the cross.

These proceedings embarrassed all of the disciples (vv. 6–10). While others remained silent, Peter spoke up in indignation that Jesus would stoop so low as to wash his feet. He failed to see beyond the humble service itself to the symbolism of spiritual cleansing involved (v. 7; 1 John 1:7–9). Jesus’ response made the real point of His actions clear: Unless the Lamb of God cleanses a person’s sin (i.e., as portrayed in the symbolism of washing), one can have no part with Him. The cleansing that Christ does at salvation never needs to be repeated—atonement is complete at that point. But all who have been cleansed by God’s gracious justification need constant washing in the experiential sense as they battle sin in the flesh. Believers are justified and granted imputed righteousness (Phil. 3:8, 9), but still need sanctification and personal righteousness (Phil. 3:12–14).

Jesus said, “I have given you an example” (v. 15). The word used here suggests both example and pattern. Jesus’ purpose in this action was to establish the model of loving humility. “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (v. 17). Joy is always tied to obedience to God’s revealed Word.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

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June 2, 2015 Bible Reading

June 2

Reading for Today:

1 Kings 13:1–14:31

Psalm 69:16-21

Proverbs 17:23-24

John 12:27-50

Notes:

1 Kings 13:18- He was lying to him. Why the old prophet deceived the man of God the text does not state. It may be that his own sons were worshipers at Bethel or perhaps priests, and this man wanted to gain favor with the king by showing up the man of God as an imposter who acted contrary to his own claim to have heard from God. Accustomed to receiving direct revelations, the Judean prophet should have regarded the supposed angelic message with suspicion and sought divine verification of this revised order.

1 Kings 14:15- Ahijah announced God’s stern judgment on Israel for joining Jeroboam’s apostasy. Struck by the Lord, Israel would sway like a reed in a rushing river, a biblical metaphor for political instability (Matt. 11:7; Luke 7:24). One day, the Lord would uproot Israel from Palestinian soil and scatter it in exile east of the Euphrates. The fulfillment of this prophecy is recorded in 2 Kings 17:23.

Psalm 69:21- gall…vinegar. Gall was a poisonous herb. Here it serves as a metaphor for betrayal. Friends who should provide sustenance to the psalmist had turned against him. Gall in vinegar was actually offered to Christ while He was on the cross (Matt. 27:34).

John 12:42,43- The indictment of vv. 37–41 is followed by the exceptions of vv. 42, 43. While the people seemed to trust Jesus with much more candor and fervency, the leaders of Israel who believed in Him demonstrated inadequate, irresolute, even spurious faith. The faith of the latter was so weak that they refused to take any position that would threaten their position in the synagogue. This is one of the saddest statements about spiritual leadership, for they preferred the praises of men above the praises of God in their refusal to publicly acknowledge Jesus as Messiah and Son of God.

DAY 2: As Jesus approached His death, what kept Him going?

In John 12:23, Jesus knew that “the hour” had come for His death. Considering what was ahead, He confessed, “Now My soul is troubled” (v. 27). The term used here is strong and signifies horror, anxiety, and agitation. Jesus’ contemplation of taking on the wrath of God for the sins of the world caused revulsion in the sinless Savior (2 Cor. 5:21).

What kept Him going was the principle that Jesus lived by and would die by: “Father, glorify Your name” (v. 28). See 7:18; 8:29, 50. The fact that the Father answered the Son in an audible voice signifies its importance: “I have both glorified it and will glorify.” This is only one of three instances during Jesus’ ministry when this took place (Matt. 3:17—His baptism; 17:5—His transfiguration).

Jesus acknowledged that “the ruler of this world” was involved (v. 31). This is a reference to Satan (see 14:30; 16:11; Matt. 4:8,9; Luke 4:6,7; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 6:12). Although the Cross might have appeared to signal Satan’s victory over God, in reality it marked Satan’s defeat (Rom. 16:20; Heb. 2:14). This would occur as Jesus was “lifted up from the earth” (v. 32), referring to His crucifixion (v. 33; 18:32). This is a veiled prediction of Jesus’ death on the cross. Jesus referred to the story of Numbers 21:5–9 where the Israelite people who looked at the serpent lifted up by Moses were healed. The point of this illustration or analogy is in the “lifted up.” Just as Moses lifted up the snake on the pole so that all who looked upon it might live physically, those who look to Christ, who was lifted up on the cross for the sins of the world, will live spiritually and eternally.

The people’s response was to ask Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’?” (v. 34). The term “law” was used broadly enough to include not only the 5 books of Moses but also the whole of the Old Testament (Rom. 10:4). Perhaps they had in mind Isaiah 9:7 which promised that Messiah’s kingdom would last forever or Ezekiel 37:25 where God promised that the final David would be Israel’s prince forever (Ps. 89:35–37). To their question, Jesus offered them a final invitation to focus on His theme of believing in the Messiah and Son of God (vv. 35, 36).

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible

June 1, 2015 Bible Reading

June 1

Reading for Today:

1 Kings 11:1–12:33

Psalm 69:5-15

Proverbs 17:20-22

John 12:1-26

Notes:

1 Kings 11:26- Jeroboam the son of Nebat. In contrast to Hadad and Rezon, who were external adversaries of Solomon, God raised up Jeroboam from a town in Ephraim as an internal adversary. Jeroboam was from Ephraim, the leading tribe of Israel’s northern 10 tribes. He was a young man of talent and energy who, having been appointed by Solomon as leader over the building works around Jerusalem, rose to public notice.

1 Kings 11:38- if you heed all that I command you. The Lord gave to Jeroboam the same promise that He had made to David—an enduring royal dynasty over Israel, the 10 northern tribes, if he obeyed God’s law. The Lord imposed on Jeroboam the same conditions for his kingship that He had imposed on David (2:3, 4; 3:14).

1 Kings 11:39- but not forever. This statement implied that the kingdom’s division was not to be permanent and that David’s house would ultimately rule all the tribes of Israel again (Ezek. 37:15–28).

1 Kings 12:26- return to the house of David. The Lord had ordained a political, not a religious, division of Solomon’s kingdom. The Lord had promised Jeroboam political control of the 10 northern tribes (11:31, 35, 37). However, Jeroboam was to religiously follow the Mosaic Law, which demanded that he follow the Lord’s sacrificial system at the temple in Jerusalem (11:38). Having received the kingdom from God, he should have relied on divine protection, but he did not. Seeking to keep his subjects from being influenced by Rehoboam when they went to Jerusalem to worship, he set up worship in the north (vv. 27, 28).

Psalm 69:9- has eaten me up. The psalmist has brought hatred and hostility on himself by his unyielding insistence that the behavior of the people measure up to their outward claim of devotion to God. Whenever God was dishonored, he felt the pain, because he loved God so greatly. Jesus claimed for Himself this attitude, as indicated in John 2:17; Romans 15:3.

John 12:19- the world has gone after Him. The world means the people in general, as opposed to everyone in particular. Clearly, most people in the world did not even know of Him at that time, and many in Israel did not believe in Him. Often, world is used in this general sense (v. 47; 1:29; 3:17; 4:42; 14:22; 17:9, 21).

Day 1: What was Solomon’s main downfall?

“But King Solomon loved many foreign women” (1 Kin. 11:1). Many of Solomon’s marriages were for the purpose of ratifying treaties with other nations, a common practice in the ancient Near East. The practice of multiplying royal wives, prohibited in Deuteronomy 17:17 because the practice would turn the king’s heart away from the Lord, proved to be accurate in the experience of Solomon. His love for his wives (vv. 1,2) led him to abandon his loyalty to the Lord and worship other gods (vv. 3–6). No sadder picture can be imagined than the ugly apostasy of his later years (over 50), which can be traced back to his sins with foreign wives. Polygamy was tolerated among the ancient Hebrews, though most in the East had only one wife. A number of wives was seen as a sign of wealth and importance. The king desired to have a larger harem than any of his subjects, and Solomon resorted to this form of state magnificence. But it was a sin directly violating God’s law, and the very result which that law was designed to prevent happened.

“Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD” (v. 6). The particular evil of Solomon was his tolerance of and personal practice of idolatry. These same words were used throughout the Book of Kings to describe the rulers who promoted and practiced idolatry (15:26, 34; 16:19, 25, 30; 22:52; 2 Kin. 3:2; 8:18 ,27; 13:2, 11; 14:24; 15:9, 18, 24, 28; 17:2; 21:2, 20; 23:32; 24:9, 19). Solomon became an open idolater, worshiping images of wood and stone in the sight of the temple which, in his early years, he had erected to the one true God.

The Lord appeared to him twice (vv. 9, 10).Once was at Gibeon (3:5), the next at Jerusalem (9:2). On both occasions, God had warned Solomon, so he had no excuses. “Because you have done this…I will surely tear the kingdom away from you” (v. 11). Solomon failed to obey the commandments to honor God (Ex. 20:3–6), which were part of the Mosaic Covenant. Obedience to that Covenant was necessary for receiving the blessings of the Davidic Covenant (2:3, 4).The Lord’s tearing of the kingdom from Solomon was announced in Ahijah’s symbolic action of tearing his garment in vv. 29–39.

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May 31, 2015 Bible Reading

May 31

Reading for Today:

1 Kings 9:1–10:29

Psalm 69:1-4

Proverbs 17:18-19

John 11:30-57

Notes:

1 Kings 9:3 consecrated. The Lord made the temple holy by being present in the cloud (8:10). As proof of the temple’s consecration, the Lord told Solomon that He had put His name there (3:2). forever. God was not saying He will dwell in that building forever, since in less than 400 years it was destroyed by the Babylonians (vv. 7–9). He was saying that Jerusalem and the temple mount are to be His earthly throne as long as the earth remains, through the millennial kingdom (Is. 2:1–4; Zech. 14:16). Even during the new heaven and new earth, the eternal state, there will be the heavenly Jerusalem, where God will eternally dwell (Rev. 21:1, 2). eyes…heart. These symbolized, respectively, the Lord’s constant attention toward and deep affection for Israel. By implication, He promised them access to His presence and answers to their prayers.

1 Kings 10:1 Sheba. Sheba was located in southwestern Arabia, about 1,200 miles from Jerusalem. concerning the name of the LORD. The primary motive for the queen’s visit was to verify Solomon’s reputation for wisdom and devotion to the Lord. hard questions. Riddles designed to stump the hearer (Judg. 14:12).

1 Kings 10:25 silver and gold…horses. The wisdom God had given to Solomon (v.24) caused many rulers, like the queen of Sheba (vv. 1–13), to bring presents to Solomon as they sought to buy his wisdom to be applied in their own nations. These gifts led Solomon to multiply for himself horses, as well as silver and gold, precisely that which God’s king was warned against in Deuteronomy 17:16, 17. Solomon became ensnared by the blessings of his own wisdom and disobeyed God’s commands.

John 11:50 one man should die for the people. He only meant that Jesus should be executed in order to spare their own positions and nation from Roman reprisals, but Caiaphas unwittingly used sacrificial, substitutionary language and prophesied the death of Christ for sinners.

John 11:51 he prophesied. Caiaphas did not realize the implications of what he spoke. While he uttered blasphemy against Christ, God parodied his statement into truth (Ps. 76:10). The responsibility for the wicked meaning of his words belonged to Caiaphas, but God’s providence directed the choice of words so as to express the heart of God’s glorious plan of salvation (Acts 4:27,28). He actually was used by God as a prophet because he was the high priest and originally the high priest was the means of God’s will being revealed (2 Sam. 15:27).

DAY 31: What so troubled Christ at the death of His friend Lazarus?

Jesus was met by Mary, who fell brokenhearted at His feet and “the Jews who came with her weeping” (John 11:33).According to Jewish oral tradition, the funeral custom indicated that even a poor family must hire at least two flute players and a professional wailing woman to mourn the dead. Because the family may have been well-to-do, a rather large group appears present.

“He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.” The phrase here does not mean merely that Jesus was deeply touched or moved with sympathy at the sight. The Greek term “groaned” always suggests anger, outrage, or emotional indignation (v. 38; Matt. 9:30; Mark 1:43; 14:5). Most likely Jesus was angered at the emotional grief of the people because it implicitly revealed unbelief in the resurrection and the temporary nature of death. The group was acting like pagans who had no hope (1 Thess. 4:13).While grief is understandable, the group was acting in despair, thus indicating a tacit denial of the resurrection and the Scripture that promised it. Jesus may also have been angered because He was indignant at the pain and sorrow in death that sin brought into the human condition.

“Jesus wept” (v. 35).The Greek word here has the connotation of silently bursting into tears in contrast to the loud lament of the group. His tears here were not generated out of mourning, since He was to raise Lazarus, but out of grief for a fallen world entangled in sin-caused sorrow and death. He was “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (3:16; Is. 53:3).

Jesus’ prayer in vv. 41,42 was not really a petition, but thanksgiving to the Father. The reason for the miracle was to authenticate His claims to be the Messiah and Son of God.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

http://www.gty.org/resources/devotionals/daily-bible