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29 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 0 — Book of Numbers

Study 0 From The Book of Numbers is: The Introduction of the Book

In the book of Numbers, the narrative of Israel’s journey from Egypt, interrupted at the foot of Sinai (Ex. 19) for the giving of the law, is resumed. The history, however, is throughout the book alternated with further laws and enactments.  The book is a story of failure.  The people are brought to the edge of the promised land, but owning to unbelief and disobedience are prevented from entering it.  Then follows the long forty years of wandering in the wilderness, passed over almost in silence, except for one or two incidents. Finally, the people come again to Kadesh-Barnea, the whole generation that came out of Egypt as adults being dead, with three exceptions.  Their first conquests are recounted, and their destiny foretold in the mysterious prophecies of Balaam.

28 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 21 — Hebrews a Revision of the Book

Study 21 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Revision of the book of Hebrews 

With the revision of the book of Hebrews we end the study today and will delve into the book of Numbers tomorrow.
1.      Review the doctrinal teaching of this Epistle.  See the Introduction and Analysis.  List the ways in which what is ours under the new covenant is better than the things which the Israelites enjoyed under the old covenant.  What do we have to do to gain full possession of these benefits? Why is rejection of them so serious?
2.     Consider the positive exhortations to be found in the following passages: 2:1; 4:1, 11, 14, 16; 6:1; 10:22-24; 12:1, 28; 13:17, 22.  Which of these exhortations do I particularly need to heed, and to act upon?

1.      1: 1-2:18   Christ the perfect Revealer, better than angels (a) as the Son of God (1:5-14); and (b) as the Son of man (2:15-18).
2.     3:1 – 10:18 Christ the perfect Redeemer, better than Moses (3:1-6) and better than Aaron (a) in His Person and character (4:14-5:10); (b) in the ‘order’ of His Priesthood (7:1-25); and (c) in His ministry (8:1-9:12) and in His offering (9:13 – 10:18).
3.     10: 19-12:29 Practical teaching.
4.     13:1-25 Final counsels and greetings.
Within this outline are contained five passages of solemn warning:
1.      2:1-4          Against the danger of drifting.
2.     3:7-4:13     Against the danger of missing God’s promised rest.
3.     5:11-6:20   Against the danger of losing salvation.
4.     10:26-39    Against the danger of drawing back.
5.     12: 25-29   Against the danger of refusing to hear God’s final word.

27 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 20 —Hebrews 13:9-25    

Study 20 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 9:25

1.      What decisive choice and action are here demanded of the first readers of this Epistle between their old Jewish associations and their new Christian allegiance? What comparable choices do those who wish to follow Christian still have to make today?
2.     Verses 15, 16, 20, 21.  What may we count on God to do for us, and why? What is the purpose in view? What sacrifices may we now offer in God’s service? How far is this purpose finding fulfilment in my life?

26 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 19 — Hebrews 13:1-8   

Study 19 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 13:1-8

1.      List detail the various aspects of Christian duty which are here enjoined or implied. Examine your own life and circumstances in order to discover ways in which your practical obedience is demanded.
2.     Verses 5, 6, 8. What makes the Christian adequate to face every possible circumstance? Why is here for him nothing to fear, and no one who can really harm him? For his encouragement what use may he make of the Old Testament Scriptures?
3.     Verse 7. In what ways should Christian leaders, whose life on earth has ended, be remembered?
Note.  Verse 1. ‘Continue’: cf. 6:10; 10:32-34.

25 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 18 —Hebrews 12:18-29

Study 18 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 12:18-29 

1.      Verses 18-24.  List the ways in which our Christian privileges under the new covenant excel the experiences of the Israelites at Sinai. Of what ought we by faith deliberately to be conscious when we draw nigh to God through Christ and His shed blood?
2.     Verses 25-29.  What is there said to be impending and inescapable? How do we know this? Cf. Mk. 13:31; 2 Peter 3:9-14. How, in consequence, ought we to live our present earthly lives?
1.      Verse 23. ‘the assembly of the firstborn’: i.e., the church (Greek, ecclesia) of the privileged who have a heavenly inheritance and whose names are written in heaven.  Cf. Lk. 10:20; Rev. 21:27.
2.     Verses 23. ‘The spirits of just men made perfect’: i.e, either Old Testament saints or all the faithful departed.

24 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 17 — Hebrews 12:1-17

Study 17 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 12:1-17

1.      Verses 1-4. What quality does the Christian race particularly demand?  What conditions must be fulfilled if it is to be run successfully? How may I gain the help I need to finish my course?
2.     Verses 5-11. For what purpose does God in His providence order some of the earthly experiences to His children?  What goal has He in view for us? Upon what kind of response from us foes our full enjoyment of benefit depend?
3.     Verses 12-17.  What dangers beset those who are spiritually slack and careless? How may a whole group be affected by one renegade? What practical steps to avoid these dangers are here (either explicitly or implicitly) given?

23 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 16 —Hebrews 11:23-40

Study 16 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 11:23-40

1.      Verses 23-28. Note how Moses’ faith gave him the twofold awareness and assurance emphasized in verse 1.  What choices did such faith lead him to make (a) concerning the world in which he had grown up, and (b) concerning the cost of siding with the Israelites? How ought similar faith to affect my attitude towards the interests to which I choose to devote my life?
2.     Verses 28-31. What different steps and stages of faith and its expression are illustrated by these four instances? What kind of faith did the capture of Jericho demand? Cf. 3:14; 6:11, 12; 10:35, 36. Is my faith at all weak in this last quality?
3.     Verse 32-40.  These verses give a summary of the achievements and the sufferings of the men and women of faith. Note that the victories are of all kinds; and that the most outstanding witness is given by the ‘martyrs’ who suffered and died rather than deny their faith.  In what ways am I more privileged than they? Would I be ready to follow their example, or does their faith put mine to shame?

22 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 15 —Hebrews 11:1-22

Study 15 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 11:1-22

1.      Faith deals with things unseen and things future, and, in particular, with the living God and His faithful doing (verses 1, 6). It is sure of the present reality of the one, and of the coming fulfilment of the other. Notice in detail how these characteristics of faith were exhibited in the lives of the individuals here mentioned.  What does this teach me I need to covet if my life is to please God?
2.     Verses 7-16.  To what should faith in God take heed, and what does its full expression involve? Where is the crowning fulfilment of its hopes to be enjoyed? How should such awareness affect my present outlook, action, and attitude to life?
3.     Verses 17-19. What apparent contradiction was involved (as Abraham at first saw it) between God’s promise and God’s command concerning Isaac? How did Abraham’s faith in God triumph over this test, and what new hope did Abraham have in God?

21 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 14 — Hebrews 10:19-39

Study 14 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 10:19-39

Having finished his doctrinal exposition, the writer proceeds to give practical counsel for the life we are to live under the new covenant.
1.      Verses 19-25.  How are we here exhorted to give expression to our faith, hope and love?  Seek in your own life to discern ways in which these exhortations demand your obedience.
2.     Verses 26-39.  For those who have God-given light concerning the way of salvation, what is the only alternative to going on with God? Why are its consequences so serious? On what grounds does the writer here expect, and appeal for, the best from his readers?
1.      Verse 22. As the high priest and his sons at their consecration for service in the earthly sanctuary were washed with water and sprinkled with the blood of sacrifice (Ex. 29: 4, 21), so we in  ‘heart’ and ‘body’ (that is, inwardly and outwardly, in our whole being) have been  ‘sanctified’ by Christ’s sacrifice.
2.     Verses 26, 29.  The writer has in mind deliberate and persistent apostasy—self-chosen denial and defiance of both the Son of God and the Spirit of grace. The closing words of verse 26 mean that no second atoning sacrifice is provided for those who reject the sacrifice of Christ and His sanctifying blood.

20 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 13 —Hebrews 10:1-18

Study 13 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 10:1-18

1.      Write down as many contrasts as you can find between the sacrifices of the Tabernacle and the sacrifice offered by Christ. Why did the latter succeed where the former failed?
2.     What consequences of Christ’s sacrifice (a) are enjoyed by Him, and (b) can be enjoyed by us?
3.     To what truths does the Holy Spirit bear witness in the Old Testament passages which are here quoted?
1.      Verses 5-9. The truth emphasized here is that a moral act of personal obedience has superseded ritual ceremonies, which in themselves had no inherent worth.  They were only ‘a shadow of the good things to come’ (verse 1).
2.     Verses 1, 10, 14. ‘Perfected’ and ‘sanctified’:  the meaning is that by Christ’s one sacrifice we are brought for ever into a perfect, unalterable relationship of acceptance with God and consecration to His service. No further offering for sin is necessary (verse 18).

19 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 12 — Hebrews 9:15-28

Study 12 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 9:15-28  

1.      Verses 15-23.  What are the reasons why Christ’s death was necessary? Of what benefits can we be sure because it has occurred?
2.     Verses 24-28. What differences are here indicated between what the Jewish high priest did an what Christ has done? What are the consequences of Christ’s one sacrifice of Himself? How can it affect what happens to us when this life is over?
Note. Verses 15-22.  According to ancient practice covenants were sealed in blood, by the symbolic introduction of the death of the parties making it.  Also, once a transgression of a covenant obligation had been committed, death became necessary for a second reason, to pay the penalty of such failure.  So, ‘without the shedding of blood there is not forgiveness of sins’.

18 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 11 —Hebrews 9:1-15

Study 11 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 9:1-15

1.      Verses 1-10. In what respects did the earthly sanctuary and its ceremonies come short, and for what reasons?
2.     Verses 11-15. In what ways is the ministry which Christ fulfilled superior to, and more effective than, the Levitical ceremonies?  List its far-reaching consequences.
1.      Verse 9.  “Perfect the conscience’: i.e free it from guilt and defilement, or ‘purify’ it (verse 14).
2.      Verse 12. The Greek does not say that Christ took blood into God’s presence, like the Levitical high priest took blood into the inner shrine (verse 6). Rather He entered ‘through’ His own blood, i.e., on the ground of His death or shed blood.  For by this the veil had been rent which shut men out.  Cf. Mk. 15: 37, 38; Heb. 10:19-22

17 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 10 —Hebrews 8

Study 10 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 8

1.      Verses 1-6.  Jews were used to seeing Levitical priests fulfil their ministry in an earthly sanctuary.  As Christian they needed to appreciate that Christ’s ministry in different and ‘much more excellent’ (verse 6). In what ways is this true? What is the significance of His being already seated at the right hand of God’s throne (verse 1)?  Cf. 10:10-14; 4:14-16; Eph. 4:8.
2.     Verses 7-13.  Why did the first covenant fail? Was there anything wrong with it? In contrast to it, in what ways does the new covenant meet our need, give us ‘better promises’ (verse 6), and make success certain?

Note.  Verse 10-12.  Experimental progress into the enjoyment of the blessings of the new covenant is best appreciated from the bottom to the top as (a) forgiveness of sins, (b) personal knowledge of the Lord, (C) covenant relation to Him, (d) the indwelling Spirit turning the external restraint of the law into an internal constraint to do God’s will.

16 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 9 — Hebrews 7:15-28

Study 9 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 7:15-28

1.      Verses 15-25.  What are the distinctive differences between the Levitical and
the Melchizedek order of priesthood – in qualification for office, in continuance in office and in efficacy? In relations to Christ’s office what is added by God’s oath?
2.     Verses 23-28. How do these verses show that in Jesus we have a Perfect High Priest, and that He perfectly meets the sinner’s need? In What ways is He unique both in Person and work?
Note.  Verse 25. ‘For all time’: the Greek phrase means ‘to the uttermost’ both of time and of degree: ‘completely’.

15 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 8—Hebrews 7:1-14

Study 8 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 7:1-14

1.   Verses 1:10. On what grounds is Melchizedek said to be greater than Abraham and consequently superior to the Levitical priesthood? By what the scriptural record both does and does not tell us about him, in what ways is Melchizedek made to resemble the Son of God?
2.   Verses 11-14. Why could not Jesus possibly be a priest after the order of Aaron? What does the promise in the Old Testament of a new order of priesthood (see Ps. 110:4) imply concerning the existing Levitical priesthood? If the priesthood is changed, what must inevitably be changed as well?
1.   Verse 1. ‘This Melchizedek, king…priest’: among the Israelites these two offices were never held by the same person.
2.   Verse 2 ‘First…righteousness, and then … peace’: Is. 32:17.
3.   Verses 12.  The priesthood was so fundamental to the old covenant between God and His people, that any change in the order of priesthood must of necessity involve a change in the whole constitution; i.e., it implies nothing less than an accompanying new, and indeed better, covenant. See 7:22.

14 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 7— Hebrews 6:9-20

Study 7 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 6:9-20

1.   Verses 9-12. What gives the writer confidence concerning his readers’ final salvation?  In what ways does he desire to see improvement in their Christian living? Examine yourself to see in which of these characteristics you are strong or weak.
2.   Verses 13-20. If we have made Christ our refuge, what three unshakable grounds of assurance have we that our confidence and hope will not disappoint us? In what ways is Jesus Himself like an anchor? What benefits does He guarantee?
1.   Verses 10-12. Note the mention of love, hope and faith. Cf. 1 Thes. 1:3; 5:8
2.   Verse 12. ‘Sluggish’: 5:11 the same Greek adjective is translated ‘dull’. Other renderings are ‘lazy’ or ‘slothful’.
3.   Verse 11, 12. ‘Until the end’; … and patience.’ This is an emphasis typical of this letter. Cf. 3:14; 6:15; 10:35, 36.

13 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 6—Hebrews 5:11 – 6:8  

Warning Against Falling Away

Study 6 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 5:11 – 6:8
1.     5:11-14. What is he writer’s complaint about his readers? What does he imply are the conditions of spiritual growth? By these standards, considering how long I have been a Christian, by this time what ought I to be?
2.   6:1-8.  What teaching constitutes the foundation of the gospel? See Acts 2:38; 20:21; 26:18. What reason is given here for not laying this foundation again?  What were the only possibilities now open to such people?
1.   5:11. As the writer is about to begin his exposition of the Melchizedek priesthood of Christ, he is arrested by a sense of the difficulty of expounding it to those who have become spiritually so dull of hearing.
2.   5:14. Note the practical evidence of maturity.  Cf. Is. 7:16.
3.   6:4-8.  To understand these verses, compare the writer’s earlier reference to the Israelites in the wilderness.  It was impossible for Moses to take them back into Egypt, and to bring them out through the Passover and the Red Sea a second time.  Either they must go on with God and enter in, or come under God’s judgment, and be finally shut out. See 3:10-12.

12 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 5— Hebrews 4:14 – 5:10  

Study 5 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 4:14 – 5:10

1.   4:14-16.  What truths concerning our Christian High Priest are we here exhorted to confess, and what consequents privileges open to our enjoyment are we here exhorted fully to possess?
2.   5:1-10.  What qualifications for high priesthood are set forth in verses 1:4?  How are these possessed by Christ as a higher level and a fuller way than could ever be true of a Levitical priest? What benefit can He consequently make ours, and on what condition?
1.   The order of treatment in 5:1-4 is reversed in 5:5-10.  The three points dealt with are (a) function, (b) understanding sympathy, (c) appointment to office.
2.   5:3. Every Jewish high priest was ‘bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins’.  Contrast 4:15. Jesus was sinless.
3.   5:7-9.  These verses give an amazing insight into our Lord’s true humanity and earthly humility.

11 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 4 — Hebrews 3:7 – 4:13

Study 4 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 3:7 – 4:13

1.    3:7-4:2. What is the danger against which we are here warned?  Why were the Israelites overtaken by it in the wilderness? How may we avoid similar disaster?
2.    4:1-13. In what ways does God use His Word in His dealing with us? What promise of His still stands open for our enjoyment? What are the conditions of obtaining its fulfilment in our experience? Can any avoid having dealing with Him? 
Note. 3:12, 13; 4:1.  In each of these verses an exhortation is addressed in the plural to the many, exhorting them all to take care lest any single one of their number fall away.

10 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 3 — Hebrews 3:1-6

Study 3 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 3:1-6

1.    Verses 1, 6.  Christians are here described as those who confess Christ and respond to His call.  If these activities are to be fully meaningful, we must ‘consider Jesus’s as our apostle and high priest. What, then can Christ do for us, and what does He demand from us as (a) our Apostle, and (b) our High Priest?
2.    Verses 2-5.  Find three ways in these verses in which Christ is said to excel Moses.
1.    Verse 1. As ‘Apostle’ Jesus was sent from God to men to revel; as ‘High Priest” He offered Himself for men to God to redeem and to reconcile. C.f. 1:1, 2a, 3b; 2:3, 17; 4:14; 5:1; 8:1.
2.    Verses 2-6. ‘God’s house’: this refers to God’s people or household, not to the Tabernacle or Temple.  Now it is we Christians who are God’s house. Our heavenly calling makes us ‘holy brethren’ in God’s family (verse 1).

09 February, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 2— Hebrews 2

Study 2 From The Book of Hebrews Is: Hebrews 2

1.    Verses 1-4.  Why ought we to ‘pay the closer attention to what we have heard’ (verse 1)?  Sort out the reasons here stated. Against what practical dangers is this warning directed?
2.    What, according to the Scriptures (e.g., Ps. 8), is man’s divinely intended destiny? How do we here see God’s purpose for man being brought to its fulfilment? What path did the Son of God have to tread to make it possible for sinful men to share in this fulfilment? What, in consequence, can He now do for us?