Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Moving to WordPress

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It's the same blog, just on a different host.

Parable of the Lost Coin: Luke 15:8-10

Have you ever reached into your pocket and found cash you weren't expecting?

The most I ever found was a $20 bill in a winter coat. It had been in there since the previous winter. I was so excited!

Jesus teaches, "In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (v. 10).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Lost Sheep: Luke 15:3-7

"[T]here will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent" (Luke 15:7b, NIV).

Jesus simply destroys the thought that I might be able to do enough good things and avoid sin completely enough to get right with God.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mutterers: Luke 15:1-2

Do you hang with people that make other folks mutter about your taste in friends and acquaintances?

Great! So did Jesus.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Luke 15

I could probably spend the rest of my life reflecting upon Luke 15 and not get it completely.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Danger of Self-Righteousness

I'm a big fan of the daily Bible discussion Discover the Word.

For the last several weeks, Haddon and Alice and Mart have been discussing the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

One thing that they observed is that Christians love the first part of the story, where the younger son returns to the love of the father.

But many people, particularly the devout, have a hard time reflecting upon the older son's sins.

This contemporary discomfort with Jesus' story is closely related to His strong condemnation of self-righteous religious leaders of the day.

Friday, December 4, 2009

What a Relief!

At least, in verse 12, we read that God gives Jesus the props he deserves for his selfless sacrifice.

Glad that Jesus did this for the "many."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Isaiah 53:9-11

Verse 10 highlights just how intentional Jesus' sacrifice was.

God actively allowed Jesus to suffer so that he could be a guilt offering.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jesus' Descendants?

This verse suggests that the Messiah wouldn't have any children.

Why would this even be mentioned?

Weird considering the possibility that Jesus might have had a family.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Isaiah 53:7

In this verse, Jesus models wise behavior in the face of opposition.

It's a lesson I almost never apply.

I rarely keep my mouth shut when I'm frustrated.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Isaiah 53:1-6

The opening question of this passage implies that without divine revelation, it would be impossible to understand Jesus accurately.

The next four verses describe Jesus' low status.

The last two verses explain the theological significance of his sacrifice.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

End of Chapter 52

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on Isaiah 52:13-15
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes, same passage

The phrase which stands out most to me is v. 14b: "his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man"

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Outline of Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Outline of Isaiah 52:13-53:12

  1. Servant Lifted Up
  2. Servant Disfigured Beyond Recognition
  3. Tender Shoot
  4. Man of Sorrows
  5. Burdened with Iniquities
  6. No Descendants
  7. Innocent Intercessor

Friday, November 27, 2009

2 Chronicles 35

Josiah was a fervent follower of the Lord, but he didn't listen to wise counsel and got killed in battle.

Sometimes even the most faithful are foolish.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I'm grateful for people in my life who―like Josiah to the people of Judah―set a godly example and helped steer me in the right direction.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


In 23:1-3, Josiah leaves nothing unclear.

National elders come together and listen to the Law.

This becomes their charge.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Josiah, Age 25

Funny that the first 17 years of Josiah's reign aren't described in any detail.

It's a bit like how we know nearly nothing about Jesus' childhood.

Anyway, once Josiah learns of the Lord's law, he kicks right into gear.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Josiah's Reign Established

Josiah's father, Amon, was wicked. He was assasinated at age 24.

But Josiah, only 8 years old, had a faithful mother. The young kings' mothers are all given prominent mention.

Without Jedidah, Josiah wouldn't have had the influence necessary to grow into a faithful king.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Josiah's Mission Predicted

I didn't realize that Josiah's name and passion for following the Lord were predicted in advance.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Josiah, Good King of Judah

Josiah's name appears in 56 verses.

He was one of the greatest kings in Judah's history.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Last Prayers

In Revelation, prayers are symbolized by incense.

Time to stop writing about prayer and do it more.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pray At All Times

Wow. I wouldn't have been praying with thanksgiving if I'd been thrown in a nasty dungeon.

What am I missing that Paul and Sials had?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Between the Lord's Supper and Arrest

  1. Right after singing a song, the disciples left the room where they celebrated Passover
  2. Jesus quotes scripture
  3. He anticipates his betrayal and abandonment
  4. Peter argues with Jesus
  5. Jesus attempts to correct Peter
  6. Peter still argues
  7. How often do we argue with God?
  8. All the other disciples agreed with Peter. I've never noticed this detail before.
  9. Jesus went to a private garden to prepare in prayer
  10. Where and when do I pray? What are my habits?
  11. Jesus admits to James and John and Peter that he's depressed
  12. He asks his friends to stay near him
  13. Even Jesus desired companionship when his life was nearing its end
  14. Jesus was not a loner, even though he appears introverted on occasion
  15. Jesus catches his friends sleeping
  16. Jesus tells them to pray to "stay out of temptation"
  17. When's the last time I prayed to "stay out of temptation?"
  18. Jesus acknowledges his willingness to do anything God expects
  19. What am I unwilling to do?
  20. Jesus' friends fall asleep a second and third time
  21. Jesus announces the arrivalof his betrayer to his followers

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Lord's Prayer

My favorite analysis of Jesus' prayer is ACTS:


Monday, November 16, 2009

First New Testament Prayer

In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, he fixes a misconception.

Prayer is for our enemies, too, not only our friends.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jonah's Selfish Prayer

We find Jonah complaining to the Lord in prayer after seeing the Ninevites forgiven.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Daniel's Habit

I find Daniel's unwillingness to pray privately in Daniel 6 fascinating.

He knew he'd be thrown to the lions.

But he stuck to his regular habit of praying in front of his windows anyway.

I wonder if he was really several steps ahead of his adversaries and sensed that his God would save him from the lions.

This is one of the best reminders in the Bible that prayer really does make a difference.

Friday, November 13, 2009

When Not to Pray

In Jeremiah 7, we find that the Lord tells the prophet not to pray for the people.

There comes a time that even sincere prayer to God will fall on deaf ears.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hezekiah's Powerful Prayer

In Isaiah 37, we learn that Hezekiah's humble prayer led directly to the defeat of the Assyrian army.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sacrifice v. Prayer

In Proverbs 15:8, we learn that God would prefer words of prayer from "the upright" than gifts from "the wicked."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Psalm 109

David asks his enemy's prayers to "condemn him."

This is a surprising spiritual request.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Job's Prayer

Why is Job's prayer immediately followed by a description of his reinstated wealth?

There is not a one-to-one correspondence between sincere prayer and wealth.

The text connects Job's prayer to the sins of his friends, not his wealth.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Nehemiah, Man of Prayer

Whenever Nehemiah faces a challenge, the first thing he does is pray.

He sets a great example.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ezra's Prayer

Ezra prayed a community prayer of confession.

Sometimes a leader prays publicly over a group's sins to make things right.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Elisha's Prayers

Elisha prays and his allies see God's spiritual troops.

He prays again and enemy troops are blinded.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Elijah's 2 Prayers

Prayer 1: Burn up this soaking sacrifice
Prayer 2: Let me die. I'm no better than my ancestors

Prayer 2 doesn't appear to follow logically after God answers Prayer 1 so spectacularly.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Jeroboam, the Man of God, and the Prophet of Bethel

Jeroboam sinned by allowing anyone to become his priest.

A man of God prophesied against Jeroboam.

Jeroboam asked the man of God to pray for him, so God would forgive his sin.

Curiously, an old prophet called the man of God back into town against God's explicit directions. The prophet lied to the Man of God, and as a result, the Man of God was killed by a lion.

Afterwards, the prophet retrieved the man of God's body and buried him in Bethel.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Solomon's Prayer for the Temple

King Solomon prayed special blessings on the Temple, particularly that the Lord would pay special attention to requests directed toward the temple.

This is meta-prayer, a prayer about the efficacy of future prayers meeting a given set of criteria.

Monday, November 2, 2009

King David's Courageous Prayer

David says that it sometimes requires courage to pray to the Lord.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sin of Omission

Samuel explains that if he didn't pray for the people, he would be sinning "against the Lord."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I'm Praying, Not Drunk

Eli mistook Hannah's silent prayer for drunken babbling.

Hannah and Elkanah had Samuel as an answer to her prayer.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Prayer of Revenge

After Samson was pestered into confessing the source of his great strength to Delilah, the Philistines captures him and poked out his eyes.

In response, Samson prayed to be given super-human strength to kill thousands of people, even while killing himself.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Samson's miraculous birth was announced unsolicited.

But his father, Manoah, prayed for the return of the Lord's angel to ask how to raise their special child.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Moses v. Pharaoh

Moses prays on behalf of Pharaoh several times throughout the plagues.

It is interesting that another early model of prayer is intercessory, not directly from the sinner to God.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Prayer and Fasting

The words prayer and fasting only occur together 8 times in the NIV. That's less than I was expecting.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nameless Servant

Abraham's head servant prayed for a sign before meeting Rebekah, Isaac's future wife.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

First Prayer

I was surprised to find that the word "pray" doesn't appear until Genesis 20.

Abimelech was tricked into taking Abraham's wife, Sarah, into his harem. God appears to Abimelech in a dream and threatens his whole household with death if he doesn't return Sarah to Abraham.

Abimelech agrees to these terms but states his innocence. God agrees, but tells Abimelech that Abraham will pray for his forgiveness.

This places much more of the process of forgiveness on an intermediary than I'd expect.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


The word "pray" and its derivatives occur 365 times in the NIV.

That's a verse a day for a year.

Friday, October 23, 2009


One last key theme of John.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Favorite Gospel

What's your favorite gospel? Why?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Aw, Mom

It's not Jesus' time, but he turns the water into wine anyway.

That's funny. And a pretty cool miracle.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


It's so cool that the first thing Andrew did after meeting Jesus was go tell his brother, Peter.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lamb of God

I'm reminded of the scene in The Miracle Maker where Jesus goes to his cousin, John, to be baptized.

Jesus reminds John of their childhood memories playing in the Jordan river.

It's an intriguing thought.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

John the Baptist introduces John the Gospel

Followers of Christ redirect attention from themselves to Jesus when they have the right perspective.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Review of John

The thing that stands out most clearly is John's consistent focus on people in his gospel.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Jesus didn't fill his days with busyness.

He filled his days with purpose, following his Father's plans.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What About Him?

In verses 20-24, we find the origin of a major rumor. John knows he's not immortal, but that's not what some others thought they heard Jesus say.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Second Chance

Sure, Peter's feelings were hurt.

But Jesus gave him a second chance after an epic fall.

Peter made his second chance count.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Stick with the Boat?

Do you stick with the boat when the unexpected arrives?

Or do you jump out?

I don't think one approach is better than the other.  It's more a function of personality.

I stay in the boat.

Peter dives out, then climbs back aboard.

Either way, people get to share in the bountiful catch of fish.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Life Goes On

It's been a roller coaster for Jesus' followers.

Jesus was crucified and buried.

Then his body went missing.

Then he appeared to many of his followers.

What would you do in this position?

Peter goes fishing. And has no success. It's like when the crews in "Deadliest Catch" have a bad day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Outline of John 21

Jesus cares for Peter

Friday, October 9, 2009

Doubting Thomas, John's Thesis

Thomas demands proof before believing in Jesus' resurrection.  What proofs do we demand of God?

John states his purpose in writing his gospel clearly in verse 31: [T]hese {miracles] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Verse 23

Really? Verse 23

What does this mean?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Verses 19-22

After showing himself to the disciples, Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mary and Jesus

In verse 17, Jesus uses the phrase "I have not yet returned to the Father."

I'm curious about what Jesus means.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Peter and John

John is faster, but Peter is more bold and enters the tomb as soon as he arrives.

When they hear the news that Jesus' body is missing, they go running.

How interesting that Jesus folded his grave clothes. I wonder why John mentions this detail.

After they see the evidence they believe that Jesus is missing. They don't quite get it yet that Jesus is alive.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Verses 1-2

I would freak out if I went to a relative's fresh grave site and found the body missing.

Call 911! Get me the cemetery caretaker! What kind of third-rate operation are you running here? Do I need to call
Dr. G

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Outline of John 20

  1. Jesus rises from the dead and leaves behind an empty tomb
  2. Jesus appears to some of his followers

Friday, October 2, 2009


Have you noticed that cemeteries now advertise? Holy Sepulchre is just down the road. I was sitting at a red light right next to the entrance a year or two ago, driving home from work, and their radio ad came on. It was weird!

I'd never really paid much attention to the cemeteries in my hometown until my little brother died.

How often do you think about the burial places near where you live? Do you ever consider where your remains will be placed after your death?

Jesus' body was placed in a tomb in a garden right near his crucifixion site. The way it sounds in verse 42, his tomb was picked mostly because of its convenient location.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I wonder what percentage of people killed on a cross died before their legs were broken.

Verses 28-30

Jesus requests a drink simply to fulfill Scripture. I wonder why this prophecy was in place.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Verses 16-26

Jesus, like many people condemned to die on a cross, carried his own beam to Golgotha.

Pilate's statement of guilt was that Jesus was the King of the Jews. This was a dig against Jesus' persecutors.

The soldiers participating in Jesus' crucifixion unknowingly participated in gambling prophesied in the Old Testament.

And Jesus directed John to take his mother into his household.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hit Where It Hurts

Pilate was mired in Jesus' innocence, an angry mob, and Caesar.

The mob shrewdly forced Pilate to condemn Jesus because Jesus was King of the Jews.

Since Pilate's directive was to protect Caesar's interests, and since a kingdom has room for only one king, Jesus had to die.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Power From Above

Pilate took steps to have Jesus released, but Jesus' accusers presented convincing arguments to prevent Pilate from carrying out his plan.

Judas was more culpable than Pilate in this situation because God himself gave Pilate the authority to condemn Jesus.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Outline of John 19

Jesus is condemned to death, dies, and is buried.

Friday, September 25, 2009

What Is Truth?

It's one of the most important questions in the world.

Jesus prompted Pilate to ask it in the midst of his capital trial.

I wonder if Pilate became a Christian after Jesus' resurrection.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Nice try, Peter.

When you slice off someone's ear, their relatives remember you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Truth Hurts

People hate it when others are more righteous.

It's worse when they try to find others' faults and can't find any.

In my opinion, it's safer not to seek out other people's weaknesses. Just accept the fact that we all come up short.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Peter, Peter, Peter!

Peter denies Jesus for the first time.

I feel kind of bad for him.

Jesus has already prophesied that Peter will disown him three times.

When God tells you you're gonna screw up, what can you do with that information?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Did I Do That?

Anyone out there remember Steve Urkel from the show Family Matters?

I imagine Caiaphas asking, "Did I do that?" when he learns he prophesied that Jesus would die for all people.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

These Aren't the People You're Looking For

Even at the start of his betrayal, Jesus is clearly in charge of his destiny.

When he identifies himself, the crowd falls back because of his power.

Then, Jesus suggests that since he's the focus of the inquiry, his followers should be let go.

It reminds me of the Star Wars scene where Obi-Wan Kenobi tells the storm troopers that they don't want "these droids."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Outline of John 18

  1. Jesus arrested
  2. Peter goes van Gogh
  3. Jesus before Annas
  4. Peter's 1st denial
  5. Jesus questioned, then sent to Caiaphas
  6. Peter's 2nd and 3rd denials, rooster crows
  7. Jesus before Pilate

Friday, September 18, 2009


What disunity existed in Acts 2? Among thousands of believers, there must have been some issues. [Thx, D, for the insight]

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Verses 24-26

Jesus prays that his followers would experience his glory and love from the Father.

If this prayer applies to us, then we have access to these forms of encouragement.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Jesus prayed for the "complete unity" of believers in verses 20-23. Unless this was fulfilled in Acts 2, this prayer has not been answered.

God answers prayer, and Jesus is God, so it is possible that the future of the Church will be united.

Hard to imagine today, though.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Verses 12-19

Jesus' prayer is not to remove his disciples from trouble, simply to protect them.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Verses 6-11

Jesus prays for unity among his apostles.

This request parallels Jesus' unity with his heavenly Father.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Verses 1-5

It was Jesus' responsibility to fulfill the work God gave him to do.

It is our responsibility to fulfill the work God has given us.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Outline of John 17

Jesus prays for himself, his disciples, and for future believers

Friday, September 11, 2009

Verses 23-33

Jesus opened up to his disciples so that they could have peace.

Since Jesus overcame, his followers can too.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Verses 21-22

Sometimes great pain leads directly into great blessing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Verses 17-20

Jesus tells his disciples that "you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices."

After Jesus dies, the crowd will celebrate while his followers come to grips with the (temporary) loss of their Messiah.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Verse 16

"In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me."

This confused everyone around Jesus. Until he explained it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Spoonful of Sugar

Jesus explains that until he leaves, the Holy Spirit will not go public.

I wonder why? Too much God to go around? Turf wars? I'm being facetious, but there must be a reason for this order.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Verses 1-4

Jesus warns his disciples that a time is coming when killing Christians will be considered a public service.

We see this occur throughout history and around the world today.

In comparison, Christians in the US today have great freedom.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Outline of John 16

  1. Jesus to his disciples: They hate you because they hate the Father and me
  2. The Holy Spirit is coming and will guide you into all truth
  3. I will soon die and rise again
  4. The disciples to Jesus: Finally, we understand what the heck you're talking about

Friday, September 4, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Verse 26

How does the Spirit help you?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Verses 18-25

If people hate you, just make sure it's for the right reasons.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Verses 9-17

Love as Jesus loved.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Verses 3-8

Jesus explains that he is our spiritual vine and we are his fruit-producing branches.

This image encourages meditation more than analysis.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lesson From the Vinyeard

Plants grow better when they've been pruned.

God prunes unfruitful people from his vine.

What exactly does the word "unfruitful" mean here?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Outline of John 15

  1. Jesus Is the Vine, We Are the Branches
  2. Love and Hate, Multiple Perspectives

Friday, August 28, 2009

Come Now, Let's Leave

Jesus reminds his disciples that returning to the Father is a good thing.

It didn't seem like a good thing, though.

What good things do we mistakenly identify as bad?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Verses 25-27

Jesus says we now have the Holy Spirit and peace.

What more could we need?

Why do I sometimes feel like I have access to neither?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Verses 23-24

Jesus says:

If I love Jesus, I will obey. This is the original conditional statement.
If I do not love Jesus, I will not obey. The inverse is true.

This means that if I won't obey Jesus, then I don't love him.
And if I obey, then I love Jesus.

Obedience = Loving Jesus

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Good Judas

The other Judas asks Jesus a question (v. 22), and I struggle to see how Jesus' reply answers him (vv. 23-28).

What do you think, dear Readers?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Verses 8-21

Philip follows up with a comment that clearly indicates he and the other disciples have missed a major point:

Jesus = God the Father


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Where Are You Going?

Doubting Thomas presses Jesus for details.

"Where are you going?"

Jesus explains that it doesn't matter, because he himself is the destination.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Father's House

In verses 1-4, Jesus gives us a brief glimpse into heaven.

It's like a mansion "with many rooms."

This is a picture of abundance and has a very different feel than Matthew 7:13-14.

Matthew 5:1 describes Jesus' audience in Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount. Crowds follow him to experience his teaching. Jesus emphasizes the difficulty of getting through the narrow gate because his audience is the crowd.

In John 14, Jesus' audience is his 11 faithful disciples. Despite Peter's denials in a few hours and everyone else's desertion, Jesus anticipates their ultimate faithfulness and reassures them.

People on the road to heaven need reassurance. People on the road to hell need reality.

Jesus provides both.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Outline of John 14

Jesus: Everything will be OK.
Thomas: Are you sure?
Jesus: Yes.
Philip: But we need the Father.
Jesus: Same difference. And the Holy Spirit will help.
Judas: Why all the secrecy?
Jesus: We (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) have it covered.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good Intentions

At the end of the chapter, Peter insists that he will be faithful to Jesus to the very end.

He's right.

But not until the second time Jesus leaves.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Verses 31-35

Loving is not a new command. Loving like Jesus is the new command.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Verse 30

"It was already night."

The night of the first Passover, nobody left during the first part of the night. That would have put the Hebrews in the path of the Death Angel. (Thanks for sharing this insight, Pastor David.)

Judas left at night, and he was as good as dead.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Verses 18-30

Jesus tells his disciples, in different ways, that Judas is going to betray him.

How did they misunderstand the bread?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Follow My Example

Be as humble a servant as Jesus.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Full Extent of Love

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the phrase, "Full extent of love?"

Unless you're already familiar with the story, probably not stinky feet.

Jesus does the unexpected, right up to his last night on earth before being crucified.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Outline of John 13

The Last Supper

  1. Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet
  2. Jesus Tells Judas to Do His Thing
  3. Jesus Tell Peter He'll Mess Up

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Whose Words?

Jesus was sent to speak his Father's words.

Jesus is God, but he didn't speak his own words.

Whose words do I speak?  And you, dear Reader, whose words do you speak?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


In verses 41-43, John reminds us that our relationship with God is heavily influenced by our desire for praise.

From whom do I seek praise?  How about you, dear Reader?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Verses 37-40

John explains in verses 37-40 that Jesus' rejection is predicted by Isaiah.

Monday, August 10, 2009


In verses 31-36, Jesus confronts his opponents with a surprising claim, that the Messiah would be "lifted up." This was a euphemism for death by crucifixion.

The crowd didn't ask Jesus what he meant, but immediately questioned Jesus' understanding of the Torah.

Their questions were not unjustified, simply misguided.

I wonder what confusion would be generated by the Church's contemporary views of scripture, particularly Revelation.

After this public disagreement, Jesus "hid himself." This seems like a smart move after such a significant disagreement.

Avoiding further argument with opponents is not always a mistake.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Verses 27-30

We learn in these verses that being crucified does not come automatically to Jesus.  He acknowledges how upset he is.

But Jesus tells the crowd that even if they are not comfortable with his fate, he is.

God's voice is for our benefit, not Jesus'.

What kind of faith would it take to be able to say, "Yeah, we all just heard God, but I didn't need that reassurance"?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Verses 20-26

Jesus compares his death to the growth of a seed into a plant.

A seed won't sprout until it is buried, like a corpse.

Jesus' full sacrifice will not come fully until after he becomes a corpse.

We must lose our lives to save them.

How does this lesson apply to my life today?

How does it apply to your life, dear Reader?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Verses 20-22

Some visitors from out of town ask Philip about meeting Jesus.

Philip goes to Andrew, who goes to Jesus.

Andrew is a connector, not a front-line kind of person.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


In verse 19, we see the Pharisees complaining about Jesus' popularity.

How much damage does my jealousy cause? What trouble does your jealousy create, dear Reader?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


This feels like deja vu.

Again, as I read about Palm Sunday and Jesus' triumphal entry in verses 12-18, I'm struck by how enthusiastic the crowd is on this day.  And then I remember that on Thursday, Jesus is led away to slaughter.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Takin' Care of Business

In verses 9-11, we learn that Jesus' enemies plot to kill Lararus as well.

They want to leave nothing to chance.

No matter how much people resist God's will it will be done.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Deuteronomy 15:11

There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brother and toward the poor and needy in your land.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Verses 7-8

The Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary writes, "His comment on the poor was not a justification for tolerating unnecessary poverty; but it was a hint to Judas that if if were really concerned about the poor, he would never lack opportunity to aid them."

I wholly agree with the first part of this quote, but I'm not convinced Jesus would waste a hint on Judas like this.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Verses 7-8

Jesus defends Mary's "waste" by reminding his disciples of his upcoming death.

What I find curious is Jesus' statement, "You will always have the poor with you."

Why does he say this?

I plan to pursue this question tomorrow.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Jesus' Feet Anointed

Judas complained when Mary used up thousands of dollars worth of perfume on Jesus' feet.

My initial reaction is the same. Why the waste?

But John goes on to explain that Judas' motives were selfish.

When do I cover up my selfishness with reasonable questions? When do you, dear Reader?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Outline of John 12

Mary anoints Jesus' feet
Palm Sunday
Isaiah's prophesies fulfilled

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Keep 'em wondering

In verses 55-57, the religious leaders and crowds all wonder if and when Jesus will appear publicly.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Verses 53-54

Jesus didn't always confront his enemies directly.

Sometimes we face issues directly and sometimes we withdraw temporarily, until the time is right.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Verses 49-52
Caiaphas is unwittingly used to prophesy about Jesus' death.
Will I obey God willingly or will I be used despite my will?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Verses 45-48
Because Jesus was able to perform great miracles, the Sanhedrin feared that he would make them obsolete. Again, Jesus' opponents are right.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

You Stink! Verses 38-44
If Jesus can raise Lazarus from the dead four days later, then he certainly can help us smell sweeter!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Verses 17-37
Mary and Martha and the crowd nearly get it right: "He gives right to the blind. Why couldn't he have kept Lazarus from dying?"

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Verses 5-16
Lazarus died. Jesus' timing is rarely our timing.
Doubting Thomas nearly gets things right. He tells the other disciples, "Let us go, that we may die with [Jesus]."
This is precisely what Jesus had in mind!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Verses 1-4
If Jesus loves you, then there's no need to fear even death.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Outline of John 11
1) Lazarus dies
2) Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead
3) Caiaphas accidentally prophesies (v. 50)
4) Jesus withdraws to Ephraim

Monday, July 20, 2009

Opening Act
Verses 39-42
Jesus has better success when he withdraws from the city of Jerusalem to John's territory across the Jordan River.
John the Baptist prepared the people's hearts effectively for Jesus' ministry.
He was the perfect spiritual opening act.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

In verses 37-38, Jesus explains that his accusers should compare his actions to God the Father's work. Miracles and actions in isolation are not enough to establish Jesus' divinity, but his fidelity to his Father and the Scriptures establish his witness.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Psalm 82:6-7
You are gods.../
but you will die like mere men.
Jesus seems to be referring to our creation in God's image.
Despite our special place in creation, we won't live forever without God's help.

Friday, July 17, 2009

You are gods
Jewish leaders approach Jesus to stone him for claiming to be God. Jesus' reply is surprising. He quotes a Psalm: "You are gods."
Jesus' style of debate is fascinating. He consistently quotes his opponents to make points.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

They Have a Point

Some of the things Jesus has been saying sound like the words of a madman.

And miracles are not enough to establish a person's divinity (cf. Matthew 24:24).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Good Shepherd

Mountain view with sheepImage by Jule_Berlin via Flickr

In verses 8-18, Jesus explains that he's not just an hourly worker who will flee at the earliest sign of danger.

He's fully invested in his flock.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Let's try this one more time!
Jesus tells the crowd that he is the gate and the shepherd.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Which Entrance?

FIREBAUGH, CA - APRIL 18:  Sheep congregate in...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

In verses 1-6, Jesus tells a story about how only shepherds can enter a sheep pen.

The shepherd needs to get past the doorkeeper, and the sheep will only respond to their shepherd's commands and voice.

Trouble is, the people listening to Jesus didn't get it.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Outline of John 10

  1. Jesus is the Good Shepherd
  2. We are sheep
  3. We are "gods" (what does this mean?!)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Jesus tells the Pharisees it would be better if they were blind. Because they set themselves up as experts, they're even more guilty.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I Clearly Cannot Choose the Wine in Front of Me!

In verse 39, Jesus again turns everything topsy turvy.

His intent is to throw off those people who are confident and support those who are weak, "so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind" (NIV).

What's wrong with seeing? Is it a false seeing, an arrogant seeing?

The next two verses clarify this confusion.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

True Repentance

In verses 35-38, Jesus meets back up with the man whose sight he restored.

After a brief exchange, probably under 60 seconds, the man worships Jesus as the Messiah.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Don't Lecture Us!

(Especially when we know you're right and we don't want to admit it!)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Light of the World

Jesus illustrates his role as spiritual light of the world by bringing literal sight to a blind man.

He can do the same thing for all who believe in him.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Whose Fault?

Jesus makes it clear, in verses 1-3, that the blind man's disability was not the result of individual sin.

Labeling any disaster or injury a punishment for sin is on shaky ground.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Outline of John 9
1) Jesus heals a blind man.
2) They seriously tick off the synagogue rulers and Pharisees.

Friday, July 3, 2009

We Love You. We Can't Figure You Out. Who Do You Think You Are? Kill Him!

Jesus clearly outlines the gaps in his followers' understanding of his divinity.

Before the end of this argument, Jesus riles his adversaries up so much that they pick up stones to kill him.

"Before Abraham was, I Am!" (cf. Exodus 3:13-14)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Next Conflict

In verse 30, we learn that some people come to believe in Jesus despite all of the confusion.

In verse 31, Jesus goes on to take issue with some Jews "who had believed Him" (NASB).

The emphasis must be on the past tense word "had," because what follows is a strong confrontation.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Failure to Communicate

Jesus' critics complain that he is a lone witness.

From a natural point-of-view, this is a valid criticism.

Trouble is, his critics believe in the God of the Old Testament, and they ignoring their own God's testimony.

Then they get confused and think Jesus may be announcing plans to commit suicide.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Woman Caught in Adultery:
Where is the man?!
Just wondering.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Outline of John 8
1. Woman caught in adultery
2. Jesus speaks to the crowd, the Pharisees, and Jews who believed
* Key question: Why did Jesus confront his Jewish supporters?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

John 7:45-52
The Pharisees were irate that Jesus escaped their vengeance. They focused on picky details and blamed Jesus' popularity on a curse.
How often do we deny the truth by citing marginal evidence and calling our detractors idiots?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

On a Soapbox

Jesus used "sidewalk preaching" to announce his divinity publicly in verses 37-38.

We read that the crowd was divided.

There is no such thing as consensus in the public domain. Consensus is only achieved under formal protocols.

The most important things in life generate vigorous debate. But there are right and wrong positions, better and lesser perspectives.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Your Time

Jesus continues his confrontation with the crowds and religious leaders.

In verse 30, we read that "they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come" (NIV).

This is an important point.

Do the right thing. As long as it's not your "time," you'll continue having the opportunity to do the right thing.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

You're Nuts!

In verses 19-20, the crowd accuses Jesus of making up the threat against his life.

How often is the crowd oblivious to reality?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Who Sent You?

Jesus reminds us, in verses 16-18, that no one's teaching is entirely original.

Everyone, including Jesus himself, teaches lessons based upon someone else's expectations.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Verse 15
Jesus confuses the leaders with his great learning. They equated knowledge with teaching. Jesus illustrates that God can be our teacher.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Imagine if your brother were the Messiah

Jesus' brothers weren't any more open to the thought than we would be today!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Smart Move

Jesus left Judea in favor of Galilee, since people in Judea wanted to kill him.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Outline of John 7

  1. Jesus Teaches @ Feast of Booths / Tabernacles / Shelters
  2. Confusion, Crowds and Pharisees
  3. Key Question: Is Jesus the Christ?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Yeah, But...

It's awesome that Peter declared Jesus' divinity, but it was tempered by the reality that Judas Iscariot was preparing to hand him over to the authorities.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


In verses 59-65, Jesus reminds us that he knows what's in our hearts, sometimes even before we know ourselves.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bread of Life

Jesus is so often misunderstood. It must have been so painful for him.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Rabbi, when did You get here?"

Great question, considering Jesus hadn't boarded the outgoing boat with the rest of the disciples!

Monday, June 15, 2009

We Left Behind Who?!

Jesus left the crowds to avoid being led into power by force.

Good move.

His disciples got on a boat and left Jesus behind.

Bad move.

Reminds me of when Jesus was twelve and his family left him behind in Jerusalem.

I wonder what it was about Jesus' personality that allowed him to be a brilliant leader and at the same time under the radar.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Good Start, Andrew

Barley is a major animal feed crop.Image via Wikipedia

In verses 1-14, we meet Jesus feeding a huge crowd of casual followers.

When Jesus challenges his disciples to find some food, Andrew brings a little boy with a box lunch.

Andrew reasonably asks, "There is a boy here who has five small loaves of barley bread and two fish. But what good is that with all these people?" (v. 9 CEV)

When do I ask God, "Here's what we have to start with. But what good will it do?" When do you, dear Reader?

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Outline of John 6

Pure ShoresImage by Simon Grubb via Flickr

  1. Jesus Feeds 5,000
  2. Jesus Walks on Water
  3. Jesus Speaks Hard Words
    1. Hungry Followers
    2. Skeptical Jews
    3. His Many Disciples
  4. Peter's Confession
  5. 11 out of 12
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Friday, June 12, 2009

Men and Moses

Jesus knows that the crowd doesn't really believe in the writing of Moses.

Therefore, they're practically predestined to reject him.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


In verses 37-40, Jesus convicts the crowd.

Jesus explains that although they relied upon the scriptures for life, they denied the scriptures when they denied him.

What do I both rely upon and reject?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Greater than John

Jesus' testimony and activity is greater than John the Baptist's.

(cf. Matthew 11:11)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sabbath Healing?

Jesus is criticized for neglecting the Sabbath.

How encouraging to see that the Son of God acts with a great deal of common sense. Jesus considers healing someone bound by illness more important than following a religious custom.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Miraculous Pool of Bethesda

What a weird event described in John 5.

The regular stirrings at the pool of Bethesda seem like an odd way for God to express healing power. I wonder if it seemed bizarre to people 2000 years ago, or if it was more like visiting an oracle and seemed typical?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Outline of John 5

  1. Jesus Heals a Man at the Pool of Bethesda
  2. God the Father Testifies to Jesus
  3. John Testifies to Jesus
  4. The Scriptures, through Moses, Testify to Jesus

Friday, June 5, 2009

Many more believed

"Many more believed because of His word" (v. 41 NASB).

How often do my words get in the way of Jesus' word?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Inside Scoop

If the Samaritan woman were alive today, she'd have had the scoop of all time: "I who speak to you am He."

Jesus did not publicly delare his divinity to the religious leaders nor political powers of his day.

He identified himself openly to someone from another country and religious background. Jesus was less concerned about perfect theology and perfect living than an openness to his message.

This exchange reminds me that I focus on the wrong things sometimes.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


How precious to be truly known, entirely understood.

This is a gift Jesus gave the Samaritan woman at the well.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Core

The woman at the well was concerned about social conventions.

Jesus reframed their conversation in terms of spiritual truth.

How often and how effectively do I make this transition? How often do you, dear Reader?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Communication Styles

In Jesus' conversation with the Samaritan woman and follow-up with his disciples, he is at the same time both concrete and obscure.

It seems that Jesus keeps his listeners on their toes to keep up with him. It's an interesting teaching and communication style.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sychar, Samaria

In verses 1-6, we learn why Jesus is in Samaria.

He's on his way to Galilee from Judea and stops off in Sychar.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Outline of John 4

  1. The Samaritan Woman at the Well
  2. Healing a Boy in Capernaum

Friday, May 29, 2009

Becoming Nothing

Am I willing to become nothing for Jesus?

No, I don't have this level of humility. That's unfortunate.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Another Look at John 3

Would I have been willing to ask questions like Nicodemus?

I wish I could say yes, but I'm afraid the answer is probably no.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Father and Son

John concludes chapter 3 with an overview of the relationship between Jesus and God the Father.

It is a loving relationship, and the two are one in spirit.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Aenon near Salim

We learn in verses 23-30 that John was able to baptize lots of people because he was stationed near lots of water, in Aenon.

Hmmm. Seems like an important prerequisite. I'd never noticed this detail before.

John says clearly in verse 30 about Jesus, "He must increase, but I must decrease"

Monday, May 25, 2009


In verse 22, we learn that Jesus' disciples baptized followers in Judea.

I'd never noticed this detail in the text before. I wonder how this will connect with John's baptizing people.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


In verses 1-21, we learn through Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus that salvation is freely available to all people.

Our responsibility is to love the light and the truth, not falsehood.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Key Chapter: Outline of John 3

The Baptism of Jesus Christ, by Piero della Fr...Image via Wikipedia

  1. Jesus and Nicodemus
  2. John the Baptist
    1. I am not the Christ
    2. Believe in the Son

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Realism, Pessimism

Make some wine!
Sell in the Temple!
We'll hate you soon enough!

People are a pain.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

He already knew

In verses 23-25, Jesus finds people believing in him as a result of his miracles.

But he has a realistic view of human nature, so he doesn't count on people's approval.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Figuratively Speaking

Jesus declares, in verses 18-22, that he would raise "this temple" in three days.

This cryptic statement didn't make sense until after Jesus' resurrection.

It's always dangerous using figures of speech when conversing with enemies!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jesus Goes Ballistic

It's a bad idea to treat the Father's House like a market.

This is the angriest we see Jesus in the whole Bible.

While he's betrayed and crucified, he accepts the unfair treatment.

But mess with Jesus' Father, and there's hell to be paid.

Interesting that people today sometimes get angrier about sins against family members than about sins against themselves.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Jesus Chills

Synagogue at CapernaumImage by Randall Niles via Flickr

After his first miracle, Jesus went with family and friends to Capernaum to hang out for a few days.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Parental Pressure

I find it fascinating that, as John reports Jesus' first sign and miracle, the Messiah was pressured into it by his mother.

It's so mysterious. Why would Jesus allow himself to be influenced in this way?

One thing's for sure, Jesus is fully human.

And when the master of the wedding feast tastes the wine, he's shocked. Usually hosts would save the cheap wine for after the guests were wasted.

Jesus was fully God, able to turn water into the finest wine available.

I suppose the creator of the universe, the creator of humanity and grapes and fermentation, would be able to produce the best wine. I wonder if it was a red or a white?

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Outline of John 2

  1. Jesus' First Miracle: Water into Wine
  2. Jesus Cleanses the Temple
  3. Jesus Doesn't Trust People

Friday, May 15, 2009


Jesus is back !Image by joaquimb via Flickr

Nathan has one of the best, snarky quotes in the whole Bible: "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?"

Just like Andrew brought Peter to Jesus, Philip introduced Nathan to Christ.

Jesus quickly melts away Nathan's skepticism with a description of his time under the fig tree.

It may be the one time we find Jesus surprised that someone believes in him so easily.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009


Jesus renames Simon. He becomes Peter, Cephas, "the rock."

I'm also proud of Andrew for bringing his brother to meet the Messiah.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Main Event?

In verses 19-34, John the Baptist clarified that his role was to prepare the was for the Christ.

How often do we mistake the messenger for the main event?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Big Jesus

In verses 10-18, John outlines Jesus' role in the history of humanity.

Moses brought the rule of God's Law. Jesus became God incarnate.

The principle is greater than the detail.

Big picture trumps minutiae.

Monday, May 11, 2009

PR 4 Jesus

Even Jesus had a PR corps.

His name was John.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Jesus in the Beginning

In verses 1-5, John establishes Jesus' pedigree as preexistent.

What about being the first, or the oldest, or the tallest carries such psychological weight in human beings?

It doesn't seem that age should be as relevant as character and authority. But infinite age places God in a position where many atheistic cosmologists wish to place the universe.

According to John, because Jesus created order out of chaos, he is our supreme ruler, our light.

I agree with the conclusion, but the psychology intrigues and confuses me.

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Outline of John 1

Moses and Jesus Action FiguresImage by rbieber via Flickr

  1. Jesus was in the beginning
  2. John testified to the light
  3. Law through Moses, grace and truth through Jesus
  4. John is "the voice of one calling in the wilderness"
  5. John baptizes Jesus
  6. Andrew brings his brother to Jesus
  7. Jesus calls Philip and Nathaniel
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Friday, May 8, 2009

Last Verse

"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written" John 21:25 (NIV).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Outline of John 18-21

Kiss of Judas * Giotto di BondoneImage by Carla216 via Flickr

  1. Judas' Betrayal
  2. A Long, Crappy Night
  3. Crucifixion
  4. Death and Burial
  5. Jesus' Resurrection
  6. Jesus Appears to His Followers
  7. Jesus Prepares Peter for Leadership
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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

John 13-17

  • The Last Supper, including extended teaching and prayers

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Outline of John 9-12

  1. Jesus Heals a Blind Man, Controversy Follows
  2. I Am the Good Shepherd
  3. Jesus Resurrects Lazarus
  4. Plot to Kill Jesus
  5. Mary Anoints Jesus
  6. Palm Sunday: Triumphal Entry
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Monday, May 4, 2009

Outline of John 1-8

John The BaptistImage by The Newb via Flickr

  1. John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus
  2. Water to Wine
  3. Jesus' Ministry Goes Public
  4. Discussion with a Samaritan Woman
  5. Several Healings
  6. Peter's Messianic Confession
  7. Jesus Yells at the Feast of Tabernacles
  8. Before Abraham Was, I Am
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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Greek NT

Neat online Greek NT here:

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Why John Wrote His Gospel

Greek languageImage via Wikipedia

We read, in John 20:30-31, that John wrote this gospel to encourage non-Christians to put their faith in Jesus.

I am excited about the opportunity to study John's gospel for the next 23 weeks.

This works out well, because one of my annual goals is to learn how to read this book in Greek. I can combine the two efforts.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Timothy, PI

In 1 Thessalonians 3, Paul sends Timothy to check up on the Thessalonian church.

Timothy came back with a positive report.

I wonder if they recognized Timothy, or if he visited without being noticed.

It is clear that Paul valued Timothy's gifts and service.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Timothy's Parents

His mother was Jewish, but his father was Greek.

There is no indication that his father converted to Judaism or Christianity.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More Mentions

Three of the Seventy Disciples, from the left:...Image via Wikipedia

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Paul & Timothy in 1 Corintians 4

Paul informs the Corinthian church that he is sending Timothy to remind them of Paul's "way of life."

Timothy's ministry is still a partnership, based upon teamwork and modeling, but he is now being sent out alone.

Paul is gradually giving Timothy more and more independence and authority.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Timothy times twenty-nine

The name Timothy appears in the Bible 29 times.

In Acts 16-20, Timothy appears seven times. In every case, his is part of a group.

There is no need to be a Lone Ranger in service to Christ. Timothy's early service was completely as a member of a team.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

We Meet Timothy

According to the Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary Volume 2: New Testament, we first meet Timothy in Acts 16:1-3, part of Paul's second missionary journey.

It is believed that Timothy first came to faith as a result of Paul's preaching on his first missionary journey, just two years before Paul recruits him.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Who Is Timothy?

Here's his Wikipedia entry:

I know him best for being mentored by Paul. That makes him a special case study.

Who are my Pauls? Who can I look up to and correspond with so that I can grow in my faith?

Who is your Paul, dear Reader?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Paul's Benediction

"Grace be with you" (6:21b, NIV).

Powerful, short words to conclude this 8-week study.

Do I say more than necessary at the conclusion of matters?

Yes, definitely. I go on and on.

Like I'm doing right now.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Good to GreatImage via Wikipedia

Within minutes of picking up Jim Collins' leadership classic, From Good to Great, I was struck by the list of model companies:

  1. Abbot: Never heard of them
  2. Circuit City: Bankrupt and liquidated
  3. Fannie Mae: Sadly in turmoil
  4. Gillette: Merged with Proctor and Gamble
  5. Kimberly-Clark: Do they make groceries?
  6. Kroger: Like the Wegmans of the South?
  7. Nucor: Who?
  8. Philip Morris: Yes, I know who they are
  9. Pitney Bowes: Have they handled the digital revolution?
  10. Walgreens: Still successful
  11. Wells Fargo: Here's one of many negative stories
I immediately recognized some of the eleven for very negative coverage. Paul wisely warned of the passing value of financial success and the mistake many people make relying upon money in 1 Timothy 6:10. It's a lot harder finding positive examples that last than negative ones!
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hymenaeus and Alexander

Christians must be evervigilant.

Hymenaeus and Alexander were sincere believers whose faith ws "shipwrecked."

Paul "handed them over to Satan" to teach them a lesson.

It is vital that believers not engage in sinful actions which require this level of intervention.

But many of us do, in fact, require a strong level of correction.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

John 1 and Greek Thought

For the Easter 2009 edition of the Guardian Science Weekly podcast, Alok Jha discusses Christopher Potter's book, You Are Here: A Portable History of the Universe.

The "skeptical audience" to whom Alok Jha refers is those people who are skeptical of a materialistic explaination of the universe.

Christopher Potter's reply is fascinating and correlates strongly to John 1:1-18.

This exchange correlates closely to a comment I left on in response to Damon Ballard recently. (Please note the high quality of Damon's reply!)

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Avoid the Wrong Thing

An important theme in 1 Timothy is to avoid the wrong thing, not only to do the right thing.

Do I spend more time doing the right things or avoiding the wrong things?

Is this a 50/50 proposition, or is one task more important than the other?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What Controversy

I thought Paul's teaching on gender roles would be much more difficult to process, but he says that these are his opinions.

First Timothy is not where we find unnegotiable descriptions of the differences between men and women.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Review of 1 Timothy

Paul emphasized in this letter that church leadership is all about relationships.

There really isn't anything new under the sun!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Avoid Pointless Arguments

Part of keeping our faith strong is avoiding pointless arguments.

This is not the same thing as avoiding thoughtful conversation. But debate is futile in the arena of science vs. religion.

So don't bother.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Warn the Rich!

Financial crisis / FinanzkriseImage by alles-schlumpf via Flickr

Paul tells Timothy to remind rich people to trust in God, not their wealth.

God is a sure thing. Wealth is temporary and fleeting. The current economic crisis is an obvious application of this teaching.

Doing good deeds with our wealth will result in lasting rewards.

I sometimes forget that I'm wealthy. It's easy to compare myself to people with more money. But relatively speaking, my family is incredibly wealthy!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Characteristics of Jesus

Ecce Homo ("Behold the Man"), Antoni...Image via Wikipedia

  1. God gives life
  2. Testified before Pontius Pilate
  3. Will reappear on earth
  4. Blessed
  5. Sovereign
  6. Top King
  7. Top Lord
  8. Immortal
  9. Surrounded in unapproachable light
  10. Never seen by humans
  11. Honored
  12. Eternal ruler
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