- 6:19. The ark, according to God's command, was to be kept closely covered, when not in the Holy of Holies. Cf. Nu. 4:5, 6, 15, 20.
30 June, 2016
Study 6 From the Book of 1 Samuel is: 1 Samuel 5:1-7:2
1. Read the story of 5:1-5 in the light of Je. 10:1-16. Contrast the idols with the Lord of host. How ought such evidence to influence our fears and our faith?
2. Because the ark of the Lord was associated with His law (cf. Dt. 31:9), it was also associated with judgment—as in this passage. Why did such a dire punishment fall on the men of Beth-shemesh, and with what result? Cf. Ex. 19:21; Heb. 12:28, 29; and see Note 2 below.
1. 5:6, 12; 6:4, 5. The association of tumors and mice suggests and our break of bubonic plague.
LINK TO THE VERSES LISTED
29 June, 2016
Study 5 From the Book of 1 Samuel is: 1 Samuel 4:1b-22
1. Try to picture what a crushing blow these events were for Israel. What is he right answer to the question 'Why' in verse 3?
- The ark was the visible symbol of the Lord's 'glory' or manifested presence (see verses 21, 22). Why, then did the Israelites' use of it prove unavailing? In what ways may Christians today make a similar mistake?
28 June, 2016
Study 4 From the Book of 1 Samuel is: 3:1-4:1a
1. Notice the expressions used about Samuel in 2:18, 21; 3: 1, 7, 19. What new thing came into Samuel's life in the experience described in 3:1-14? Why did Samuel have to tell the vision (3:15-18)? Cf. 1 Cor. 9:16.
2. What was lacking in Israel at this time, and what did God do to meet the need? Do you know places that need similar divine provision? Cf. Jn. 1:6, 7; Lk. 3:2, 3; Rom. 10:14, 15.
1. 3:1. In those days there was no prophet regularly active to give the people messages from God; contrast 3:20-4:1a.
2. 3:10. 'The Lord...stood forth': this vivid language is paralleled in Jb. 4:15, 16.
27 June, 2016
Study 3 From the Book of 1 Samuel is: 1 Samuel 2:12-36. (Read also 3:11-14)
- What aspects of the sins of Eli's sons were specially grievous in God's sight? See 2:12, 17, 25, 29; 3:13. What serious warning ought we to take from 2:25, 30 and 3:14?
- How did Eli fail? Cf. Pr. 29:17; Mt. 10:37. Over against 2:31 and 3:14 set 2:35. What may we learn from all this concerning the ways of God? Cf. 16:1.
- Verses 12-17. The misappropriation of Eli's sons ('the men' of verse 17) was twofold. They took what they wanted rather than what was offered them; and they insisted on receiving their raw portion, before the Lord's portion-the fat (Lv. 3:3-5)--was burned upon the altar. LINK TO THE VERSES LISTED
26 June, 2016
Study 2 From the Book of 1 Samuel is: 1 Samuel 2:1-11
This Old Testament 'Magnificat' (cf. Lk. 1:46-55) possesses an astonishing range of ideas concerning the Character of God, His dealings with all sorts of men even to the ends of the earth, and the coming of His anointed king.
- Compare the exaltation of verse 1 with the dejection of 1:6-10. What or who should be the object of our joy? Cf. Pss. 9:1, 2; 5:11, 12; 1 Pet. 1:8.
- What does Hannah say about (a) God's Character, and (b) the way in which time and again He reverses the lot of men? What will be the final end as described in verses 9, 10? What warning and what encouragement do you take from these truths? Cf. Ps. 2:11, 12.
25 June, 2016
Study 1 From the Book of 1 Samuel is: 1 Samuel 1
1. Verses 1-6. List the phrases describing Hannah's distress. Do you find her retaliating against her rival? How did she dispel her grief? Cf. Pss. 62:8; 142:1-3; 1 Pet. 2:23.
- Account for the change of verse 18b. How can a similar experience be mine? Cf. Mk. 11:24; Jn. 4:50; 1 Jn. 5:15.
- With verses 26-28 compare Ps. 116:12-14; Ec. 5:4, 5. Do you find all the encouragement you ought in the faithfulness and unforgetfulness of the Lord?
24 June, 2016
Study 0 From the Book of 1 Samuel is the Introduction to the Book
The two books of Samuel formed a single work known as “Samuel” in the Hebrew Canon. The Septuagint translators made the division. They grouped 1 and 2 Samuel with the two books of Kings to form the four 'Books of the Kingdoms'. The story is that of the development of the nation from the state described at the end of Judges to the established monarchy under David and the events of David's reign.
The chief religious theme is that Israel are the people of God, who alone is their true Ruler. First, they are rebuked for their decadence and sin by Samuel, who accedes to their demands for a king. But, he warns them fully of the consequences. Saul, the sort of king the people wanted, is anointed at God's command and his history proves the danger to the nation of a self-willed leader.
Finally, David is appointed and leads the people with the one aim of pursuing the will of God, until in his turn he falls into sin. The incidental events are all evidences of the inherent sinfulness of the natural man and proof of the enabling power of God granted to those who go forward in faith, as Samuel and David did. The underlying history is a continuation of that of the Pentateuch and Judges, with the theme 'a people for my name'
23 June, 2016
Study 2 From the Book of Ruth is: Ruth 3 and 4
With this study we end the small book of Ruth to jump into the book of 1 Samuel tomorrow.
- How does the whole story show the Lord's loving-kindness to those who trust Him? Cf. La. 3:22-26, 31-33; Na. 1:7; Rom. 8:28.
- What example are we given in chapter 4 on matters affecting the rights of others?
Note. 3:12. 'Near kinsman': The Hebrew word (goel, meaning 'next of kin') has a technical meaning in Hebrew law. The next of kin had certain duties and privileges, among them being that of redeeming the land or person of a kinsman who had been compelled to sell his land or himself through poverty (cf. Lv.25:25 , 47-49. To draw a portion of a kinsman's mantle over oneself (3:9) was the legal way of claiming protection and redemption. A kinsman-redeemer must be able and willing to redeem and pay the redemption price in full. Cf. 4:4-6; Gal. 3:13, 14.
22 June, 2016
Study 1 From the Book of Ruth is: Ruth 1 and 2
INTRODUCTION: The general tone shows the setting of the story to be that of the time of the Judges. The book was read at the time of the Feast of Pentecost. The outstanding lesson of the book is the way in which the hand of God is seen guiding the faithful in the details of everyday life, as also in the events through which the way was prepared for the birth of the Son of David (see Mt. 1:5).
1. Put yourself in Ruth's place, and consider the cost of her decision to follow Naomi into the land of Israel. Orpah, too had been a good daughter (1:8), but what differences were there between her attitude and Ruth's? What lessons may Ruth teach us about our following Christ? Cf. Lk. 9:23, 57-62; 14:25-33.
2. Notice how an apparently chance happening (2:3, 20) was overruled by God for blessing. Can you recall similar experiences? Also, in chapter 2 what qualities are outstanding (a) in Boaz, and (b) in Ruth?
21 June, 2016
Study 8 From the Book of 1 Peter is: 1 Peter 5
With this lesson, we end the book of 1Peter. Tomorrow we will delve into the very small book of Ruth.
- Verses 1-4. How is oversight or the shepherd-care of God's flock to be exercised? What characteristics should a good pastor (a) avoid, and (b) exhibit? Note (a) how Peter speaks of himself, and (b) who is the chief Shepherd.
- Verses 5:14. What according to these verses is 'the true grace of God', and how are we to 'stand fast in it' (verse 12)? In other words, what purpose is God working out for our good, and what must we do to cooperate with Him, and to enjoy the full enrichment of all His grace?
20 June, 2016
Study 7 From the Book of 1 Peter is: 1 Peter 4:7-19
- Verses 7-11. In what practical activities ought all Christians to engage? Make a brief list of them from this passage. In what way do they all start? At what end should they all aim? What is my gift (verse 10), and am I properly exercising it in ministry?
- Verses 12-19. What kinds of suffering should the Christian (a) avoid, and (b) rejoice in? How should the latter kind of suffering be faced, and what good may be expected to issue from enduring it?
Note. Verse 14b: i.e., because God will specially manifest His presence to you and with you Cf. Ex. 40:34.
19 June, 2016
Study 6 From the Book of 1 Peter is: 1 Peter 3:13-4:6
1. 3:13-17. In what spirit should the Christian (a) face suffering 'for righteousness' sake', and (b) explain his faith and hope to a hostile questioner?
- 3:18 – 4:3. What were the nature, purpose and issue of Christ's sufferings? How, in consequence, ought we to face, and to spend, the rest of our earthly lives?
- 3:14. Such sufferings should be regarded not as one's unhappy lot, but as an added privilege. Cf. 4:13, 14. It means one is the object of special divine favour. Cf. Lk. 1:48. If God so wills it (3:17), such suffering must be for some good reason and purpose. See 3:18; 4:1.
- 3:18b-20. After His death on the cross Christ was at once able, as One alive in the spirit, to go and proclaim His triumph to the rebellious and imprisoned evil spirits who had involved men in sin and judgment.
- 3:20. In the ark Noah and his family were 'saved through water', ie., brought safely through the judgment of God which fell upon a sinful world.
- 4:6. This is best understood as meaning that this is why the gospel was preached during their earthly lives to those believers who are now dead.
18 June, 2016
Study 5 From the Book of 1 Peter is: 1 Peter 3:1-12
1. Versed 1-7. What qualities in wife and husband make for a happy and harmonious wedded life? In addition, what special results can sometimes follow if the individuals concerned behave as a Christian wife or husband should?
2. Verses 8-12. What characteristics are mentioned here which should mark Christians in their relations (a) with one another, and (b) with non-Christians who work or speak evil against them? What is the way to blessing according to (a) Ps. 34:12-16 (here quoted), and (b) our Christian calling? Cf. Mt. 5:11, 12, 44, 45. Apply these standards to your own life in self-examination and prayerful concern.
17 June, 2016
- In what ways does Christ's suffering provide an example for us to follow? What does Peter here suggest that 'servants' or 'slaves' should learn from it? Do I need to appreciate that this is also part of my Christian calling?
- Why was the sinless Jesus willing without protest to submit to the full penalty due to the worst sinners? What purpose was His sacrifice intended to serve? What response and what results ought to follow in my life?
Note. Verse 24. 'Bore our sins': to 'bear sin' means to 'endure its penalty'. 'On the tree': the wording suggests 'up on the tree', i.e., to the extreme limit of shameful crucifixion and, in Jewish eyes, of coming openly under the curse of heaven. Cf. Dt. 21:23; Gal. 3:13.
16 June, 2016
Study 3 From the Book of 1 Peter is: 1 Peter 2:4-17
1. Verses 4-10. Under what figures dos Peter here speak of the Christian church? What determines whether men find a place in it or not? Each figure suggests special blessings and responsibilities. Seek to identify these, and to face up to the practical challenge of each.
2. Verses 11-17. What instructions concerning worthy Christian conduct are given here? In what ways are a right attitude and corresponding right action important (a) for our own spiritual well-being, and (b) for effective witness for God in the world? How can God use our 'good conduct'? Cf. Mt. 5:16.
- Verses 4-8. Peter justifies his comparison of Christ to a stone from three Old Testament passages: Ps. 118:22; Is. 8:14; 28:16. To the believer Christ is the corner-stone on which the whole building depends; to the unbeliever He is a cause of stumbling.
- Verse 16. 'A pretext for evil': an excuse for base conduct' (Weymouth) Cf. Gal. 5:13.
15 June, 2016
Study 2 From the Book of 1 Peter is: 1 Peter 1: 13-2:3
1. What has God provided to make possible (a) our redemption, (b) our birth, and (c) our growth to full salvation? What response is necessary on our part to enjoy the benefits divinely intended for us?
2. In what ways ought our new God-given life as Christians to be expressed? What changes or new standards should characterize our daily living?
1. 1:17. 'With fear' i.e., 'with reverence and awe'. Cf. Heb. 12:28.
2. 1:17. 'Your exile': i.e., your temporary sojourning in a place to which you no longer belong. Cf.. 2:11.
3. 1:19. 'Blood' here signifies blood shed or life laid down, in sacrificial death.
4 2:2. 'Spiritual milk': in Greek the adjective is logikos. 'Logical' milk suggests food for the mind rather than the stomach. Mention in 1:23 of the divine 'logos' or 'word' suggests a further reference here to the same divine agent, the 'milk of the word'.
14 June, 2016
Study 1 From the Book of 1 Peter is: 1 Peter 1:1-12
- What do Christians means by 'salvation'? How is it provided? What benefits does it offer? What kind of understanding and response are essential to its full enjoyment?
- How can Christians 'rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy' while they 'may have to suffer various trials' (verses 6, 8)? What causes of joy does Peter enumerate in verses 3-9?
- What light is thrown in verses 10-12 upon (a) the work of the prophets, (b) the ministry of the Spirit, and (c) the task of preachers of the gospel? What is their common interest and concern? Is it yours?
Note. Verse 2. 'Sprinkling with his blood': this signifies, for all who come under it, the ratification of the new covenant, and personal participation in its blessings and demands. Cf. Ex. 24:7, 8; Heb. 9:19-22; 12:24; 13:20, 21.
13 June, 2016
Study 0 From the Book of 1 Peter is the Introduction of the Book
This letter is attested very early external evidence as a genuine writing of the apostlePeter. When Peter wrote it he was 'in Babylon'(5:13). It seems best to regard this as a reference to Rome. A probable date for the writing of the letter is AD 63.
The letter is addressed to 'the exiles of the dispersion Asia Minor. But, though Peter was the apostle of the circumcision, and the term 'dispersion' was ordinarily applied to the Jews scattered among the nation, the letter itself contains clear evidence that its readers at least included converted Gentiles (1:14; 2:9, 10; 4:3, 4), who were addressed as the spiritual Israel dispersed among the heathen.
The letter had a double purpose: to comfort and encourage the Christians in a time of persecution actual or threatened; and to exhort them, all the more on account of this danger, to holiness of living and to hope of glory. The problem of suffering, especially the suffering of God's people, was the main subject of the book of Job, and we have met with contributions to its solution in Isaiah and in the Gospel of John. In this letter, as in Job, it is of primary importance, and here we find a noble and satisfying answer to Job's despairing questions. Compare, for example Jb.10 with 1 Pet. 1:6-9. Peter has a key to the problem which Job had not. He knew that a sinless One had suffered and died, bearing our sins in His body on the tree; so that undeserved suffering has to halo of His glory round it, and to bear it aright is to follow in the steps of the Redeemer. Also, His resurrection and heavenly enthronement (1:21; 3:22) are proof that suffering in the will of God leads to certain eternal reward.
12 June, 2016
Study 18 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 21
With this study we end the book of Judges and tomorrow we will delve into the book of 1 Peter.
1. The tribes recognized after their victory that in the heat of the moment they had gone too far in making the vow of 21:1. The sense of unity of the tribe was in danger of extinction, in spite of the fact that they had suffered severely at the hand of Benjamin . How did they solve their dilemma? Did they keep, or break their second vow (21:5)? Would you condone the action they took in verses 10:12 and 19-23? What does the whole story suggest with regard to the taking of vows?
2. To what does the writer attribute this weak and unhappy condition of things in Israel? Do you consider this an adequate explanation of the moral and spiritual condition of Israel? If not, what would you add?
11 June, 2016
Study 17 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 20
1. Gibeah was a Benjamite city, and the men of Benjamin refused to deliver up their fellow-tribesmen to justice. What is the relationship between loyalty?
to those with whom we are connected (family, friends business associates, etc.) and our loyalty to God and His commandments?
2. Note the profound effect upon the tribes of the sin of the men of Gibeah. See 19:30; 20:1, 8, 11. It stabbed the people awake to the degree to which moral declension had progressed among them.
Can you discover other factors which show that some good came out of this sordid chapter of events?
3. How would you account for the fact that the eleven tribes were twice defeated by the Benjamites, even though they had asked counsel of the Lord? What do you gather from 20:23 about their attitude? What is a sign of weakness, or strength?
10 June, 2016
Study 16 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 19
Judges 19-21 belongs to the period shortly after Joshua’s death. Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, was still alive (20:28); there is no hint of foreign oppression; the league of tribes was still functioning.
- What does this chapter teach us of the obligations of hospitality? Are there any indications of pitfall to be avoided? Cf. Heb. 13:1, 2.
- There are many illustrations of evil in this chapter. Make a list of the chief sins shown here and observe how the wickedness of the man of Gibeah brought destruction upon almost their whole tribe.
09 June, 2016
Study 15 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 17 and 18
The story of these chapters belongs to the later period of the judges, when Philistine pressure caused the complete displacement of the tribe of Dan and forced it to migrate northwards. There is therefore a general connection with the time of Samson. The tribal league was not functioning, and Micah had no court of appeal for the wrong done to him by the Danites. The narrative shows the decline of true religion and the lawless condition of the time.
1 How would you describe the religion of Micah and the Danites? Wherein did they fall short of true religion?
2 A Levite was supposed to be a man who stood in a special relationship to God. What impression have you formed of this particular Levite? In what respects did he fail to walk worthily of his profession? Cf. Is. 61:8a; Je.23:11; 1Jn. 2:4-6.
17:7. ‘Of the family of Judah’: the words refer to the place Bethlehem, not to the Levite, who was only a ‘sojourner’ in Judah. There was another Bethlehem in the land of Zebulun. Cf. Jos. 19:15.
18:30. ‘The son of Gershom’: the expression need only imply a descendant, not an actual father-son relationship.
08 June, 2016
Study 14 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 16
- What may we learn from this chapter concerning (a) the folly and fruit of sin; (b) the exultation of the ungodly at the downfall of God’s servants; (c) God’s enduring mercy to the penitent?
- Contrast the sad end to Samson’s life with its bright dawn in the sincere desire of his parents to rear him aright (13:8, 12). Can you suggest reasons why Samson fulfilled so little of his potential? Under what conditions is it possible for the Christian to exhibit similar powerlessness?
07 June, 2016
Study 13 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 14 and 15
- Note the contradictory elements in Samson’s character. He was a judge in Israel, yet his life-story centres around his dubious relationships with Philistine women. His unshorn locks denoted a Nazirite consecrated to God, yet his chief aim was to please himself. How many more such contrasts can you discover? How important is it that we should be consistent in our Christian profession? Cf. 2 Cor. 6:14; 1 Thes. 5:22.
- What does the incident of 15:18, 19 teach regarding God’s ability to supply every need of His servants? Cf. 1 Ki. 17:4, 9; Phil. 4:19.
Note. The apathetic acceptance of the Philistine yoke by the men of Judah was the most dangerous feature of this period. Samson’s one-man activity was used of God to bring the danger of complete Philistine domination out into the open.
06 June, 2016
Study 12 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 13
- How did Samson’s Nazirite calling differ fromthat of the ordinary Nazirite vow? See Nu. 6:1-5, 13-18
- Observe Manoah’s concern (verses 8, 12) for guidance on the subject of the upbringing of the promised child. What lessons may present -day parents learn from this? Cf. Pr. 22:6; 2 Tim. 1:5; Heb. 12:5-11.
- What evidences of faith do you find in Manoah and his wife? And how did the wife’s faith show itself to be greater than that of her husband?
05 June, 2016
Study 11 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 11:29 – 12:15
- Read the story of Jephtha’s vow in the light of Ec. 5:2-6; Dt. 23:21-23. What does this story teach about (a) the sacredness of a promise to God, and (b) the necessity of first considering what such a promise may involve?
- Compare Jephthah’s treatment of the Ephraimites with that of Gideon in a similar situation (8:1-3). What light does this incident throw upon (a) the Ephraimites, (b) Jephthah?
Note. Whilst all earlier commentators and historians accepted that Jephtah offered up his daughter in sacrifice, well meaning scholars from the Middle Ages onwards have tried to reduce the maiden’s fate to one of perpetual virginity. But, the anguish of Jephthah (verse 35), the two-month reprieve (verse 37, 38) and the institution of an annual four-day feast would be inappropriate in such a situation. The plain statement of verse 39 must be allowed to stand.
04 June, 2016
Study 10 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 10:6 – 11:28
- Why did God, at first refuse to deliver Israel from the Ammonites? What caused the change in His subsequent attitude? Cf. Je. 18:5-11
- What indications are there in this section that Jephthah, in spite of his unfortunate background, possessed nobility, piety and faith?
- Summarize Jephthah’s answer to the Ammonites. To what extend do you find his arguments valid?
03 June, 2016
Study 9 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 9:1 – 10:5
- Consider in this story (a) the sin of Gideon in associating with a Shechemite woman and having a son by her (see 8:31; cf. Dt. 7:3) (b) the sin of the men of Shechem (9:4, 5, 16-18); (c) the sin of Abimelech (9:1-5). Compare verses 56 and 57 and consider how in each case the words of Nu. 32:23b were fulfilled.
- Shechem was a Canaanite city which, most probably, had been assimilated into Israel. What does this chapter teach us about the dangers of such a compromise?
Note. Verses 7-15. The first part of the parable contains a reference to 8:22, 23. Verse 15 presents the incongruous picture of great trees seeking shelter under a lowly bramble, and being destroyed in a forest fire which originated in the very thorn bush whose shade they had sought. The point of the parables is not that the Shechemites had chosen a king, but that they had selected the wrong person to rule over them.
02 June, 2016
Study 8 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 7:24 – 8:35
- Note (a) Gideon’s dealings with the complaints of Ephraim and with the lack of cooperation of the elders of Succoth and Penuel. (b) the vigour of his pursuit and capture of Zebah and Zalmunna, and the respect which these princes showed him. What various aspects of character are here revealed?
- What temptation did Gideon overcome? Contrast, however, the frequent references to God’s guidance in the earlier part of the narrative with the entire absence of this in 8:24-27. Why did Gideon, who had given such able leadership in the national crisis, tend to rely upon God only when we are “up against it”?
Note. The Ephod of the high priest (Ex. 28) was a shoulder garment covering the breast and back, ornamented with gems and gold, and having in front the breastplate containing the Urim and Thummim, which were manipulated to discover God’s will. Gideon’s ephod (8:24-27) may have been an elaborate reproduction, or it may have been some kind of free-standing image. In any case it was used to ascertain God’s answer in a particular situation, but the people came to regard it as a kind of idol.
01 June, 2016
Study 7 From the Book of Judges is: Judges 7:1-23
What other principles, in addition to that expressly stated in 7:2, appear in the choice of few out of many to be instrument of God’s victory? In answering, observe the character defects of those rejected in the two tests. Cf. 1 Cor. 9:26, 27; 10:12.
Consider the transformation in Gideon’s attitude from spiritless acquiescence in bondage (6:13, 15) to a complete assurance of victory (7:15). Do you know such confident assurance in your battle against the forces of evil? Cf. Rom. 8:37; 2 Cor. 2:14; 1Jn. 5:4, 5.