Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ruth, the Feast of Weeks, and Pentecost

There are seven feasts celebrated in the Old Testament:

  1. First Month: First Coming of Christ
    1. Passover: 15 Nissan
    2. Feast of Unleavened Bread: 15-21 Nissan
    3. Feast of First Fruits: 16 Nissan-6 Sivan
  2. Third Month: Feast of Pentecost, Shavuot: 6-7 Sivan
  3. Seventh Month: Second Coming of Christ
    1. Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah: 1 Tishrei, Jewish New Year
    2. Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur: 10 Tishrei
    3. Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths or Tabernacles), Sukkot: 15-21 Tishrei
This outline is influenced by information from the following link:

Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles make up the Shalosh Regalim, or three pilgrimage festivals of Judaism.

Ruth is read during the Jewish celebration of Shavuot, which corresponds to the Christian celebration of Pentecost in Acts 2.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Outline of Ruth

Since I finished up my 45-week first year plan with a few weeks to spare, I have the opportunity to do some additional, unscheduled Bible study.

Here's an outline of the book of Ruth:

  1. Naomi's Awful Time
    1. Her husband dies
    2. Her sons both die
  2. Ruth's Stubborn Streak
    1. Get out of here, Ruth
    2. No way, I'm with you forever, Naomi
    3. No, seriously, go back to your family and gods
    4. "Your people are my people, and your God is my God."
  3. Naomi and Ruth return to Naomi's Hometown
    1. Ruth scavenges from a harvested field
    2. Boaz guarantees Ruth's safety
    3. Boaz is generous to Ruth and Naomi
  4. Boaz is a Kinsman-Redeemer
    1. Naomi directs Ruth to pursue Boaz
    2. Ruth agrees to this plan
      1. Ruth gets dressed up
      2. Ruth goes to the threshing floor
      3. Boaz drinks a lot and goes to bed
      4. Ruth turns up the cloak over Boaz's feet
      5. Boaz wakes up and thanks Ruth for her request
  5. Boaz negotiates with a closer kinsman-redeemer
    1. There is property of Elimelech, Naomi's late husband, for sale
    2. I'll buy it
    3. Then you also inherit Naomi's widowed daughter-in-law. Her children will be credited to Elimelech's son, not you.
    4. Then you buy the land, Boaz. This situation will put my own property at risk.
    5. Cool. Hand me your sandal in the sight of these ten witnesses.
    6. Deal!
  6. Ruth Marries Boaz
    1. They have a son, Jesse
    2. Jesse has a son, King David
    3. David is in the line of Jesus

Friday, November 28, 2008

Achilles' Heel

What is my Achilles' Heel? The thing that I'm unable to give up, even if it costs me dearly?

For Daniel, it was his faith and obedience to God.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Belshazzar's humble...

Belshazzar's humble Thanksgiving key verse. He gave a command for Daniel to be rewarded. Am I thankful when someone shares difficult truth with me? listen

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Daniel chapter five...

Daniel chapter five key verse, keep your gifts or give them to someone else. Just to do the right thing not for the reward. listen

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nebuchadnezzar Gives Props to Daniel

In chapter 4, Daniel interprets one of the king's dreams accurately.

Even though the consequences were brutally negative, they were true.

Reasonable people appreciate truth, even if it's difficult.

Speaking difficult truth is a large part of what makes Daniel an inspirational character.

Monday, November 24, 2008

An Impossible Demand

In chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar demanded that his advisers tell him the details of his dream and then interpret it.

How would I react if someone asked me to tell me their dream and interpret it? How would you, dear Reader? Probably the same way that the advisers responded:

Your Majesty, you are demanding the impossible! No king, not even the most famous and powerful, has ever ordered his advisors, magicians, or wise men to do such a thing (2:10, CEV).
Then, under penalty of death, Daniel asked the king for time and prayed to God for insight.

When God gave him the answer the king required, Daniel saved his own life and the lives of all the other advisers. Just like in the previous chapter, Daniel responded to unimaginable pressure with calm and reason.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Daniel and Friends Put to the Test

In Daniel 1, we meet Daniel and his three friends, captured and recruited for the new political power in town.

It is amazing that Daniel is so wise and tactful without compromising his faith.

When faith collides with the workplace, appeal to data and evidence-based results.

If my faith gets in the way of my work then I'm misapplying my religious beliefs, I'm in the wrong line of work, or I'm employed by the wrong people.

When my faith improves my results, I need to allow it to be put to the test objectively.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Daniel: Character Study

"Daniel" appears 70 times in the NIV. Sixty-three of the 70 are in the book of Daniel. Only one, Matthew 24:15, is in the New Testament.

In the Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary Vol. 1 OT introduction to the book of Daniel, the authors write, "The principal theological emphasis in Daniel is the absolute sovereignty of the Lord, the God of Israel....A second theological emphasis is the power of persistent prayer."

Daniel's life is a case study in the power of God and the power of prayer.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Final Farewell to Mark

As a final farewell to my blog posts related to the book of Mark, I'd like to direct readers to a companion site, the 9-Year Bible wiki.

Blog posts encourage daily reflection, but are not ideal for creating a "big picture" view of a book of the Bible.

This new wiki may help me balance day-to-day thoughts with a longer-term approach to understanding what I've read.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jesus' Last Week

Palm Sunday: parade
Monday: Jesus cleanses the temple
Tuesday: Jesus annointed
Wednesday: strangely silent [what happened? why no public record?]
Maundy Thursday: the Last Supper
Good Friday: the cross
Saturday: despair
Easter Sunday: Resurrection Day

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One Amazing Week!

Jesus' last week fills Mark 11-16.

It's amazing how much can happen in seven days.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Paralytic Revisited

In 2:1-12, we learn that Jesus is more concerned about our sins than our illnesses.

But as I reflect upon my prayer life, I spend much more time and energy on the physical than the spiritual.

This reflects an imbalance in my priorities.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Twelve

In 3:13-19, Jesus picks his 12 disciples.

What did Jesus see in Judas? Did he have any redeeming qualities, or was he selected simply because Jesus needed a traitor to betray him?

Would I have been qualified to be one of the twelve? How would I live differently if I were one of the twelve?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fishers of Men

In 1:16-20, we see Jesus recruit "fishers of men."

What does it mean for me to be a fisher of men? How about you, dear Reader?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Personality of John Mark

The author of Mark is clearly focused on the concrete, the here-and-now. He spends little time in the abstract beyond the words of Jesus' parables.

I believe that he may have been an Inspector (ISTJ).

Generally speaking, Inspectors are not comfortable with anything that gets too fancy. Their words tend to be plain and down-to-earth, not showy or high-flown (

This describes Mark's sparse, concrete narrative. It is quite different in style (though not content) from the other synoptic gospels.

Most measures of personality type separate people into four main categories. There are four gospels.

Maybe I'll discover in further study that the other three gospels were written by people with the other three main personality types.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Chapter-by-Chapter Overview of Mark

  1. John the Baptist, Start of Jesus' Public Ministry
  2. Jesus Heals, Physically and Spiritually
  3. Jesus Picks the 12
  4. Jesus Speaks in Parables
  5. Jesus Heals Again
  6. John the Baptist's Death, Jesus Feeds the 5000 and Walks on Water
  7. The Heart of Man
  8. Peter's Confession of Christ
  9. Transfiguration
  10. Rich Young Ruler
  11. Palm Sunday
  12. Give to Caesar, Widow's Generosity
  13. Eschatology
  14. Maundy Thursday
  15. Good Friday
  16. Easter Sunday

NIV Study Bible Overview of Mark

This is my favorite online study resource. Follow the link for an excellent overview of the book of Mark.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Reviewing Mark

The best part about Mark is that it is full of stories.

I look forward to summarizing what I've experienced over the past 17 weeks.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Spiritual Health Assessment transcribed from the 40 Days of Purpose Study Guide. This tool has generated some excellent discussions in my community group this fall.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Overview of the New Testament

Overview of the Old Testament (Prophets)

Be Amazed

I think it's odd that the angel who greeted Mary and Mary said, "Do not be amazed."

What other reaction is there? Why did the angel say this?

How cool that Peter, the disciple who denied Jesus three times on Thursday night and Friday morning, is specifically singled out for the good news.

It is not possible to dig a hole so deep that you can't get out.

Forgiveness is instantaneous and infinitely powerful.

This is amazing. As we forgive others, we'll experience forgiveness ourselves.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Monday AM

In verses 1-4, we meet Mary and Mary on their way to Jesus' tomb. In their time and culture, the dead were not embalmed but anointed.

In one sense, their act of devotion is impulsive, because they realize a large stone should be in front of the tomb.

On the other hand, their devotion is rewarded in an unimaginable way.

Go ahead and be impulsively loyal and devoted, even in impossible circumstances.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Outline of Mark 16

I'll focus on verses 1-8 since the remainder of the chapter was not in the original manuscripts.

  1. Mary & Mary, Crack of Dawn Monday
  2. How Will We Move the Stone?
  3. Angel Announces: "Jesus Has Risen!"
  4. Mary & Mary: "Holy Crud! What Just Happened?!"

Friday, November 7, 2008

1 Thessalonians 1

Chapter Analysis of I Thessalonians 1

Passage Description

vv.1-3 We [Paul, Silas, and Timothy] remember you fondly in our prayers
vv.4-10 You [Thessalonian Church] are a model of what it means to be Christ's Church

Verse-by-Verse Analysis

(vs) Observation (vs) Question & Answer (vs) Cross-References
(1) Typical greeting (1) Does Paul share authorship in any of his other letters? Yes. (1) I Corinthians w/ Sosthenes; II Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon w/ Timothy; II Thessalonians, like I Thessalonians, also w/ Silas and Timothy; Galatians w/ "all the brothers with me" (v.2)
(2) Paul prays regularly for the churches he's planted

(3) Faith --> Work
Love --> Labor
Hope --> Endurance
(3) What's the difference between work and labor?
(4) Paul "knows" the Thessalonians have been chosen by God (4) How does Paul know this? What evidence does he provide? See (5)'s observation.
(5) The Thessalonians' response to the gospel included power, the Holy Spirit, and deep conviciton

(6) By responding to severe suffering with the Holy Spirit's joy, the Thessalonians imitated Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Christ (6) How do Christians today receive this supernatual joy of the Holy Spirit? (6) II Corinthians 6:4-10 The Holy Spirit often acts in times of great distress
(7,8) The Thessalonians are a model to believers throughout Greece (7,8) What qualifies a church to be a model to believers throughout Monroe County today? (7,8) Matthew 16:15-18 The church is built upon Peter's profession of faith in Jesus
Ephesians 2:19-22 Jesus is the church's chief cornerstone; its foundation is made of apostles and prophets.
NIV Study Bible note on Ephesians 2:22: "The church is to be a people or community in whom the Holy Spirit dwells" (p.1794).
(9) Other Grecian believers are well aware of the Thessalonians' success (9) Is reputation among other churches still a reasonable measure of the health of a congregation? Only with respect to Paul's analysis of the Thessalonian church in vv.5-6,9-10
(10) Thessalonians wait for Jesus (10) How does a person wait for Jesus? Negative Example: Waiting for Godot

Key Term

Greek ekklesia: "church, congregation, assembly; a group of people gathered together. It can refer to the OT assembly of believers (Ac 7:38), or a riotous mob (Ac 19:32), but usually to a Christian assembly, a church, as a totality (Eph 3:10), or in a specific locale (Col. 4:15). In the NT a church is never a building or meeting place" (emphasis mine). (Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance, Greek to English Dictionary and Index: 1711)

Overview of 1 Thessalonians

Overview of I Thessalonians

Chapter 1 Way to go, Thessalonians!
Chapter 2 I'm OK [Paul], You're OK [Thessalonian Church]
Chapter 3 Live Life with Godly Restraint
Chapter 4A Timothy's Visit and Good Report
Chapters 4B-5A Meet the Lord in the Air, Who Cares When?
Chapter 5B Paul's Fortune Cookie Christian Thoughts

Principal Personalities


Silas (I'm especially intrigued by Silas. Who is he? How did he get involed with both Paul and Peter's mnistries? Why and how did Silas end up with Peter after Paul, not before? The book of Acts emphasizes their ministries in opposite this chronological order.)





Thessalonica: 200,000 residents, capital city of Rome's Macedonian province, excellent natural harbor, on an important trade route


Paul had planted a church in Thessalonica that experienced amazing initial growth. After he left, Jews and Gentiles bad-mouthed Paul. Additionally, the Thessalonian Church was worried about believers who died before the Day of the Lord. Paul wrote in response to these points of confusion.


Live like the Lord may come today, even though he might wait until you're long "asleep" [dead]

Thessalonian Church, continue to be a model to believers everywhere!

Key Verse and Application

I Thessalonians 5:15 "Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but try to be kind to one another and to everyone else" (NIV).

I take a "get even" approach to life. Jesus says to "turn the other cheek." I don't do this consistently. I justify my sinful responses by saying, "It's their fault. They provoked this response in me." I don't want to "pay back wrong for wrong." Often, the other person's "wrong" against me is only in my imagination anyway.

The next time I feel the urge to "pay back wrong" I'll pray for the Holy Spirit to intervene.

Key Term

eschatology--"[Wrong] attitudes have been encouraged by the separation of eschatology from the rest of Christian life and doctrine. If the 'last things' have been occurring since Jesus' time, they must be far more relevant to the main themes of Christian activity and thought" (p. 436, Holmann Bible Dictionary).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jesus' Burial

It must have seemed like a lost cause when Joseph of Arimethea asked for Jesus' body.

The guy is dead. Why go out of your way and risk your reputation after learning that Jesus appears no different than any other wannabe leader?

I suppose you could say that loyalty continues after death. But more importantly, if a goal is in God's will, there is no such thing as a lost cause.

Joseph's loyalty was rewarded three days later when Jesus rose from the dead.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jesus In Charge

In Jesus' final moments, I'm struck by a small detail I've never noticed before.

Crucifixion made it difficult for people to breathe, yet in verse 37, Jesus "uttered a loud cry" and then died.

This reminds me that even when he appeared most helpless, Jesus was completely in charge of his fate.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Consider the Source

In verses 22-32, we read about Jesus' crucifixion.

The people who wanted to see him dead mocked him in his suffering.

Most telling is what the chief priests and scribes were saying:

He saved others; He cannot save Himself. Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!

They acknowledge the power Jesus exhibited in his previous miracles. But evidence is irrelevant once people have made up their minds.

Even if Jesus had come down from the cross, they would not have believed.

The next time you are criticized, persecuted, mocked, consider the source. Take courage from Jesus' example.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Jesus Mocked

In verses 16-21, Jesus is mocked as the "King of the Jews." In the midst of the hatred, the soldiers and religious leaders actually continue in the pattern of Jesus' other detractors. They state truth despite their sarcasm.

When do I speak truth in sarcasm? How much better off would I be to speak the same truth in love?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trial by Mob

In verses 1-15, we see that even at the darkest time of Jesus' life, he is still well aware that nothing happens without God's permission.

Pilate believes that he's in charge, but everything that happens is a result of what was already written about in the OT.

How do we handle our trials by mob? We know that we will face difficulties to help us develop our perseverance and character.

Do I approach these situations with bitterness or with thankfulness? Do you, dear Reader?

My Technorati score recently(?)...

My Technorati score recently(?) doubled from 1 to 2. Ouch. listen

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Outline of Mark 15

  1. Jesus Tried by Pilate
  2. Jesus Mocked by Soldiers
  3. Jesus Crucified
  5. Jesus Buried by Joseph of Arimethea
Mark 15 Audio