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31 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 6 — Judges 6

Study 6 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 6

The Midianite oppression took the form of an annual invasion (for seven years, 6:1) of hordes of semi-nomads from Trans-Jordan. This is the first indication of the use of the camel in warfare (6:5) which gave the Midianites an immense tactical superiority. The effect upon Israel is described in verses 2, 4 and 6.
  1. When the people cried unto the Lord, what was His first answer? See verses 7-10, and cf. 2:1, 2; Ps. 81:8-11; Ho. 11:1-4,7.
  2. Gideon was called to deliver Israel from the Midianites. But first he must make a stand for God in his own house (verse 25-32). Has this a bearing upon your Christian service? Cf. 2 Tim. 2:19, 21; Mk. 5:18, 19; Acts1:8.
  3. By what three visible signs did God strengthen Gideon’s faith? Consider what these signs would teach Gideon.

30 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 5 — Judges 5

Study 5 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 5

The story falls into four parts: (a) verses 1-5, an introductory hymn of praise; (b) verses 6-8, the situation before the deliverance; (c) verse 9:18, the rallying of the tribes and the rebuke of the irresolute; (d) verse 19:31, the victory, and the death of Sisera.
  1. Observe to what dire straits backsliding had reduced the tribes (verses 6-8; cf. 3:31; 1 Sa. 13:19, 22; 2 Ki. 10:32, 33; 13:3, 7). What parallel spiritual consequences are found in the life of the backsliding Christian?
  2. What qualities are praised in the story, and what kind of conduct is condemned? Is there a present-day application in our service for God? Cf. Lk. 8:14; 9:62; Acts 15:26.
Note. Deborah clearly approved of Jael’s act, but did God approve? It was an act of treachery which abused all the accepted conventions of the age. It may be compared with Jacob’s deceit of his age father. (Gn. 27), yet in both incidents there was an element which could be approved—Jacob’s oppressor. In the case of Jacob we know that he suffered severely for his treachery, although he received the blessing.

29 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 4 — Judges 4

Study 4 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 4

  1. Why do you think Barak was unwilling to undertake the campaign without Deborah? Does this reveal a defect in his faith? What insight does this give into God’s willingness to bear with our human frailty? Cf. Ex. 4:13-16; Je. 1:6-8; 2 Cor. 3:5, 6.
  2. Who was the real architect of Israel’s victory? Cf. Ex. 14:13; 2 Sa. 8:6, 14; 2 Ch. 20:15-17. What practical application has this for us today?

28 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 3 — Judges 3:7-31

Study 3 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 3:7-31

  1. Observe what the Lord did against Israel (verses 8 and 12), and what He did for Israel (verses 9:and 15). What caused Him to do the first, and what caused Him to do the second. What insight does this give into the principles of God’s dealings with His people? Cf. Ps. 34:12-18; 103:8-14; 2Ch. 7:13, 14.
  2. Compare and contrast Othoniel and Ehud, both in their achievements and their methods. What quality was present in both men which enabled God to use them? Cf. 2 Ch. 16:91

27 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 2 — Judges 2:6 – 3:6

Study 2 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 2:6 – 3:6

  1. Backsliding, judgment, deliverance, renewed backsliding—trace this unvarying cycle in the history of the period, as summed up in this section. What sort of spiritual life corresponds to this in the life of the individual? Cf. Col. 3:5, 6; Rev. 3:1-3.
  2. What may we learn from 2:7, 10 and 3:6 concerning the importance of (a) Christian example? B) Christian teaching of the young, and (c) Christian marriage? Cf. Mt. 5:13; Dt. 6:6, 7; Eph. 6:4; 1Cor. 7:39 (last clause); 2 Cor. 6:14.

26 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 1 — Judges 1:1 – 2:5

Study 1 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 1:1 - 2:5

The many parallels between this chapter and the book of Joshua show that it is a valuable supplementary account of the conquest.  It deals with events after the main victories had been gained, when the tribes had dispersed to attempt the occupation of their allocated territory. The opening words of the book, “after the death of Joshua”, do not necessarily relate to the events of the first chapter, but are a general title to the complete book of Judges.

1.      Judah began well. Why did they fail to complete their task? Ought their advance to have been checked by ‘chariots of iron’? Cf. Dt.20:1; Jos.17:16-18; Jdg. 4:13-15; Mt. 9:29; Heb. 11:33.
2.     Notice the general movement from south to north in chapter 1. Can you document a corresponding deterioration in the situation as the chapter progresses?
3.     What charge did the angel of the Lord bring against Israel? What were the consequences of their failure? What may we learn from this concerning the folly of compromise? Cf. Heb. 12:14-17; Rom. 6:16.

25 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 0 — Intro to Judges

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

The author of the book of Judges is not known. The most likely date for the completion of the book is during the reign of David or the early part of Solomon’s reign (observe the favourable attitude to the monarchy implied in 19:1; 21:25).

The book opens with an introductory section, in two parts.  The first (1:1-2:5) gives extracts from a history of the conquests, stressing the failure of many of the tribes to possess their ‘lots’. It also tells how they were rebuked by the angel of the Lord.  The second (2:6-3:7) show the failing away after Joshua’s death and provides a summary of the salient features of the period.  The main portion of the book (3:8-16:31) gives the history of the judges, of whom twelve are mentioned, namely, Othoniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephtah, Ibazan, Elon, Abdon and Samson. It will be noted that the usurper Abimelech is not included. Six of the twelve judges (Othoniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Jephtah, and Samson) receive extended mention, whilst the other six are little more than named (for which reason they are sometimes referred to as ‘the minor judges’). The final section of the book (17:1-21:25). Narrates two instances of the moral and religious declension which characterized the period of the judges. The apostasy, lawlessness and immorality which they reveal are a vivid witness to a situation when ‘every man did what was right in his own eyes’ (17:6; 21:25).

The book bears testimony to the faithfulness of God, showing both His righteousness and His enduring mercy.  It contains some memorable examples of faith, and reveals also the hideous blackness of human sin. There is also much instructive teaching in it on the workings of God’s providence, especially in regard to the instruments which He can use in the working out of His purposes.

24 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 35 — Mark 16:9-20

Study 35 From the Book of Mark is: Mark 16:9-2o

With this lesson, we end the book of Mark. Tomorrow we will start the book of Judges.

1.      What three appearances of the risen Christ are recorded in these verses? What were the reasons for the rebuke of verse 14? Is our spiritual perception and growth hindered by the same two besetting sins? Cf. Heb. 3:12, 13.
2.     If we truly believe what is recorded in verse 19, what challenge and encouragement are there for us in verses 15 and 20? And what does verse 16 reveal concerning the issue with which the gospel confronts men, when it is preached? Cf. Rom. 10:11-15
Note. Verses 9-20. “this section is the so-called “Longer Ending” of Mark, omitted in some MSS…. Therefore, it seems reasonable to see this as an early attempt, known at least as early as Iranaeus, to “round off” a Gospel whose original ending had become in some way maimed or lost’.  

23 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 34 — Mark 15:42—16:8

Study 34 From the Book of Mark is: Mark 15:42—16:8

1.      What deliberate acts of Joseph are mentioned here? Considering who he was and the situation at the time, what qualities of Character are shown by his behaviour? Which of these qualities is most lacking in my life?
2.     Although the women who went to anoint the body of Christ were told that He had risen and they could see the empty tomb, and although they were given the privilege and the command to tell others, yet ‘they said nothing to any one’ (16:18). Why was this? What did they still need to give them calmness, conviction and boldness in testimony? Are you at all like them?

22 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 33 — Mark 15:22-41

Study 33 From the Book of Mark is: Mark 15:22-41

1.      With what words did the passers-by and the chief priests and scribes mock and revile Jesus? What have you seen, which they failed to see, which makes you believe that, nevertheless, He is the Christ?
2.     What is the answer to the question in verse 34? What is the significance of the rending of the veil, and what consequent benefit can we now enjoy? Cf. Is. 59:2; Gal. 3:13; Heb. 9:8; 10:18-22.

21 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 32 — Mark 15: 1-21

Study 32 From the Book of Mark is: Mark 15:1-21

The main concern of the Jewish leaders now as to get their verdict carried into effect. For this they required the Roman governor’s decision, for the Romans reserved to themselves the right of capital punishment.
1.      What mistakes did Pilate make and what were the reasons underlying them? Are there any of these that we are in danger of repeating? If so, what positive action can we take to avoid them?
2.      Notice the amazing silence of Jesus (verse 4, 5; cf. 14; 60, 61a). Try, also, to picture the mocking of the soldiers, remembering that Jesus had just been scourged, a punishment of brutal severity. Why did Jesus submit without protest to such treatment, and why did God allow it to happen to Him? Cf. Phil. 2:8; 1 Pet. 2:22-24.

20 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 31 — Mark 14:53:72

Study 31 From the Book of Mark is: Mark 14:53-72

The object of the Jewish council was to find legal grounds for putting Jesus to death. It had been previously decided that He must die. (14:1), but some ground must be sought, which would justify their action in condemning Him, and enable them to secure Pilate’s confirmation of the verdict. Cf. Lk. 23:1, 2.

1.      Verses 53-65. Note that the one definite charge, on which the decision to have Jesus put to death was taken, was His claim to be the Christ. Cf. 15:26. How did Jesus declare that His claim would be vindicated? Cf. Acts 2:32-36. What is your attitude to His claim?
1.   Observe the experiences through which Peter passed on this eventful night. What were the contributing factors which finally led up to his denial of Christ? See 14:29, 37, 50, 54. What can we learn from all this that will help us to be prepared for temptation?

19 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 30 — Mark 14:26-52

Study 30 From the Book of Mark is: Mark 14:26-52

1.      Verses 26-31. Peter evidently found it much easier to apply the Lord’s words to the other disciples than to himself.  What wrong attitude does this reveal? Do we ever refuse to accept what the Lord is plainly trying to teach us?
2.   Verses 32-50. What caused our Lord’s distress? What is meant here by ‘the hour’ and ‘this cup’? Why was Jesus ready, in a way His disciples were not, for what had to be faced? What exactly was His petition? Was it answered, and if so, how? Cf. Heb. 5:7, 8; Ps. 119: 50, 92.

18 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 29 — Mark 14:1-25

Study 29 From the Book of Mark is: Mark 14:1-25

1.      Verses 1-9. What some said about the value of the ointment and the need of the poor was perfectly true. Why then did Jesus commend Mary for her extravagance? What does this incident teach us about right priorities in Christian service?
2.     Verses 10-21. What do these verses suggest was the motive which lay behind Judas’ act of betrayal? Is our own attitude one of condemnation, or are we prepared to share the solemn heart searching of verse 19?
3.     Verses 22-25. Consider use here of the words ‘bread’, ‘blood’, ‘my’, ‘gave’, ‘take’, ‘drank’, ‘covenant’. What light do they throw on the nature and method of salvation? Cf. 1 Pet. 1:18, 19.
1.      Verses 8-9. Note Jesus’ remarkable prediction of the future world-wide preaching of the ‘gospel’; Cf. 13:10. There was in the woman’s action a recognition both of the unique Person and of the impending work of Jesus; and these are both essential gospel truths.   
2.     Verse 22. The expression ‘This is my body’ corresponds to the Passover formula, ‘This is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in the land of affliction’. It indicates a symbolical commemoration, not an actual ‘transubstantiation’.        

17 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 28 — Mark 13:24-37

Study 28 From the Book of Mark is: Mark 13:24-37

1.      Among the many puzzling details of this passage concerning the coming of the Son of man, what are the facts about which we can be certain? What particular error do we need to avoid?
2.     If we are expecting Christ to return, what difference should this make to the way we live our lives and why?  Cf. 2 Pet. 3:10a, 11b, 14.
1.      Verses 24, 25.  The phraseology may, as in the Old Testament, symbolize national and international upheavals. Cf. Is. 13: 10; 34: 4; Ezk. 32:7, etc.
2.   Verses 33-37. ‘Watch: i.e., be wakeful and alert.

16 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 27 — Mark 13:1-23

Study 27 From the Book of Mark is: Mark 13:1-23

1.      Verses 1-13.  Notice how Christ translates the abstract enquiry of His disciples into the personal and moral realm. How can we prepare ourselves to meet similar dangers?
2.     Verses 14-23. What is here foretold? How are Christ’s followers to act when it happens? To whom are they to look for deliverance? Of what are they to beware? What may we learn from such a passage concerning God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility?
1.      Verse 14. ‘The desolating sacrilege’: this is the sign of the impending destruction of the Temple for which the disciples had asked (verse 1-4).   It refers to the desecration of the holy place by Roman invaders. Cf. Dn. 11:31.
2.   Verses 15. ‘Him who is on the housetop’: the flat roofs of houses in Palestine were used for places of rest and social intercourse.  Cf. Acts 10:9.

15 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 26 — Mark 12:28-44

Study 26 From the Book of Mark is: Mark 12:28-44

1.      Verses 28-34.  Jesus pronounced this scribe to be ‘not far from the kingdom of God’. What would he have needed to do to enter in?
2.     Verses 41-44. Jesus did not deny that the rich gave much, but merely stated that the widow had given more.  What does this teach us about the way God measures our giving?   How do we match up to this standard? Cf. 2 Cor. 8:12; 9:7.
3.   The Scribes undoubtedly had an intellectual mastery of Scripture and professed to accept its authority without question.  Why then did Christ condemn them and in what way is this a warning to us? Cf. Lk. 12:47, 48.

14 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 25 — Mark 12:1-27

Study 25 From the Book of Mark is: Mark 12:1-27

1.      Verses 1-12.  How does this parable clarify Christ’s unique position in relation both to God and to the prophets? What does it teach us (a) about the character of the motives which lay behind His final rejection, and (b) about His own expectation of vindication and victory?
2.     Verses 13-17.  How does this incident reveal both the wisdom of Christ and the insincerity of His questioners? What important truth was Jesus trying to convey to them, and of what relevance is this to us?  Cf. Rom. 13:1, 2, 6, 7.
3.     Verses 18-27.  The Sadducees were obviously attempting to make spiritual truth look ridiculous by interpreting it with the grossest of literalness. How does Christ show them their mistake? On what grounds does He base the certainty of the resurrection?
Note.  Verses 1-12. Since the Lord was obviously using Isaiah 5:1-7 as an Old Testament back-cloth for this parable, His hearers would know that He was referring to Israel, and that this was yet another parable of judgment.

13 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 24 — Mark 11:20-33

Study 24 From the Book of Mark is: Mark 11:20-33

1.      Verses 20-25.  What does Jesus say here are the essential conditions of effective prayer? What more does prayer involve apart from just asking for pleasant things we desire? Cf. Mk. 14:35, 36
2.     Why did Jesus refuse to answer the question put to Him by the Jewish leaders? What was the point of His question to them?  Was He trying to be evasive? What was the root of the trouble, and how is this a warning to us? Cf. Heb. 3:12
Note. Verse 25. ‘Unless we forgive our fellow men freely, it shows that we have no consciousness of the grace that we ourselves have received (Mt. 18:32, 33) and thus that we are expecting to the heard on our own merits.

12 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 23 — Mark 11:1-19

Study 23 From the Book of Mark is: Mark 11:1-19

1.      What truths concerning our Lord’s Person are specially evident in the incidents here described?  Jesus had previously refrained from publicly declaring His Messiahship. See 3:11, 12; 8:30; 9:9.  Why then did He declare it now?
2.     Verses 1-6. When the two disciples were sent out by the Lord on this special errand, in what ways were they put to the test, and how would they benefit from the experience?  Do we display the same faith and boldness in our service for Christ?
3.     In what way does the fig three described here typify Israel as a nation? What was Jesus seeking to teach His disciples from this acted parable? Before passing judgment, ought we not first to search our own hearts? Cf. Rom. 11:20, 21.
Note. Verse 13. ‘It was not the season for figs’: it is fair to presume that the Lord was looking for the small early ripe figs that ripen with the leaves before the main crop.

11 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 22 — Mark 10:32-52

Study 22 From the Book of Mark is: Mark 10:32-52

1.      Verses 32-34, 45. What new aspects of His sufferings does Jesus introduce here? Cf. 9:31. Why does He continue to stress this subject? Why were His disciples amazed and afraid, and what ought we to be?
2.     What motives do you think were behind the request of James and John, and what was the meaning of Christ’s reply to then? Do our own aims in life also reveal the same spiritual shallowness? What is the governing principle of true Christian greatness?
3.     What were the progressive steps which led Bartimaeus to the recovery of his sight?  What can we learn from this incident that will both guide and encourage us when trying to help those who are spiritually blind to find their way to Christ.
Note.  Verse 28. The terms ‘baptism’ and ‘cup’ are sometimes used symbolically in Scripture to denote suffering which has to be endured.  In this passage they are forceful reminders of the cost of following Christ.  Cf. Lk. 12:50; Mk. 14:36.

10 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 21 — Mark 10: 17-31

Study 21 From the Book of Mark is: Mark 10:17-31

1.      What basic wrong assumption was made by this man about salvation and eternal life? Cf. Eph. 2:9.   Why did Jesus stress to him the demands of the law? What was the real hindrance that held him back?
2.     Why did Jesus say it would be hard for those with riches to enter the kingdom? Cf. Lk. 14:33. Are there any things in my life that are holding up spiritual progress?    
3.     What promises does Jesus make to those who are willing to renounce earthly wealth to follow Him without reservation? What is the meaning of the warning in verse 31? Cf. 1 Cor. 13:3.
Note. Verse 25.  ‘There does not seem to be good early evidence for the view that the eye of a needle is a postern-gate in the city wall’. The phrase is better understood as a vivid description of sheer impossibility.

09 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 20 — Mark 10:1-16

Study 20 From the Book of Mark is: Mark 10:1-16

1.      Verses 1-12.  What is Christ’s teaching about divorce, and on what grounds does He base it?
2.     Verses 13-16. No doubt the disciples were trying to the thoughtful here by guarding their Lord from unnecessary intrusion; why then was Christ so indignant? In what ways am I also in danger of obscuring Christ from those who are seeking Him?
3.     Verse 15. What does it mean to ‘receive the kingdom of God like a child’, and why is this so essential? Cf. Mt. 18:2-4.

08 May, 2016

Search The Scriptures —Study 24 — Deuteronomy 32:48-34:12

Study 24 From The Book of Deuteronomy is: Deuteronomy 32:48-34:12
With this lesson we end the book of Deuteronomy and tomorrow we will go back to the book of Mark and will pick up where we left off which means study 20.

Chapter 33. Like Gn. 49, requires for its full understanding much research.

1.      Chapter 33.  Whence and why did these blessings come to the Israelites? Define for yourself the character or significance of each o the blessings here promised, and compare with them our blessings in Christ.
2.     32:48-52; 34: 1-12. Ponder (a) the character and work of Moses, and (b) the time and manner of his death. What may we learn from this record?