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12 December, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 2 — Ecclesiastes 3:1 – 4:8

 Study 2 From the Book of Ecclesiastes is: Ecclesiastes 3:1 – 4:8

1-     What, according to 3:1-15, is the best attitude to life? How does the Preacher illustrate his conviction? Cf. Mt. 10:29, 30. To what practical conclusion does he come?
2-     In 3:16 – 4:8, what four instances are given of the futility of life, and what reflections do they arouse in the writers’ mind?
Note. 3:1. ‘Season… time’: the two words express two thoughts, (a) that everything happens at an appointed time; and (b) that the time is appropriate in relation to the working out of God’s purpose.

11 December, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 1 — Ecclesiastes 1 and 2

Study 1 From the Book of Ecclesiastes is: Ecclesiastes 1 and 2

1-    In what ways does 1:1-11 show the monotony of life? Why is such pessimism unchristian?
2-    How did the writer discover that neither the pursuit of wisdom (1:12-18) nor the enjoyment of pleasure (2: 1-11) can satisfy man’s heart?
3-    Though wisdom is better than folly (2:13, 14a), what three facts rob even wisdom of its power to satisfy (2:14b, 17, 18 and 23, 24-26)?

10 December, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 0 — The Book of Ecclesiastes

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

This book speaks through the mouth of Solomon, but does not in any way build on his authority. In the earlier part, the writer describes human life as seen by a shrewd observer, who disputes the arguments of those who find a satisfactory aim in life either in intellectual labour, or in the gathering of riches, or in pleasures, or even in the attainment of an ethical ideal, seeing that death terminates all, and comes to all alike.

Man cannot by searching find oat the deep things of God (3:11) but must bow before His sovereignty (3”14). Whatever appearances may indicate, God judges righteously, though judgment may be long delayed (8:12, 13).

The recurring phrase ‘under the sun’ may be regarded as indicating the purely human standpoint adopted by the writer in the earlier chapters, and as roughly equivalent to ‘in the world as man sees it’. It is salutary for the Christian to contrast the vanity and meaningless of this world, its business and pleasures, as set forth in Ecclesiastes, with our glorious heritage in Christ as set forth in the New Testament.

The book is the record of a spiritual pilgrimage, reaching its culmination in chapter 12 (cf. 12:13, 14 with Rom. 2:16. In Ecclesiastes, perhaps more than in any other book of the Old Testament, the standpoint of the writer should be borne in mind, and particularly the fact that he saw nothing for man beyond death save judgment. His attention is concentrated upon this life, for ‘our Saviour Christ. Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to fight through the gospel’ (2 Tim. 1:10) had not yet appeared.

09 December, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 7 — Esther 9 and 10

Study 7 From the Book of Esther is:  Esther 9 and 10

With this study we end the book of Ester. Tomorrow we will start the book of Ecclesiastes.

      1-    Select from these and earlier chapters the outstanding features of Mordecai’s character. What was the source of his moral strength?

      2-    Notice here the severity of the judgment on the wicked. Are we in danger of underestimating this part of ‘the whole counsel of God’ (Acts 20:27)? Cf. Heb. 10:30, 31; 1 Pet4:17, 18; Rev. 20:12-15.

       3-    Why was the Feast of Purim instituted? See 9:22; cf. Ex. 12; 14-17. Do we ever encourage and challenge ourselves by the remembrance of God’s mercies to us? Cf. Dt. 8:2; 1 Cor. 11:24-26.

Note. 9:26. ‘Purim… Pur’: these words are derived from the Assyrian puru, meaning a small stone, which was used to cast lots. See 3:7; 9:24. +

08 December, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 6 — Esther 7 and 8

Study 6 From the Book of Esther is: Esther 7 and 8

      1-    How does chapter 7 illustrate the theme of certain psalms? See, e. g., Pss. 73:17-19; 94:1-7, 21-23. How should this influence our faith?

       2-    After the fall of Haman what did (a) Esther and (b) the Jews still have to do to obtain the deliverance promised by the king? See especially 8:3-8, 11, 12. What parallel is there in Christian experience? Cf. Phil. 2:12, 13.

             1-    7:3. ‘My life … and my people…’: for the first time Ester acknowledges her nationality.
            2-    7:9. Notice how often the king’s decisions are influenced by those around him.

07 December, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 5 — Esther 5 and 6

Study 5 From the Book of Esther is:  Esther  5 and 6

      1-    Mordecai could reasonably have expected a substantial reward for saving the king’s life (2:21-23). However, his service was acknowledged only after a long delay and by an apparent coincidence. In what ways does this help us to understand delays and disappointments in our own life? Cf. Ps. 37:7; Is. 55:8, 9
       2-    Consider the developments in the story of Haman as illustrations of such verses as Ps. 34:15, 16; Pr. 16:18. What ought we to learn from such a record?

06 December, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 4 — Esther 4

Study 4 From the Book of Esther is:  Esther  4

      1-    The Jews mourn Haman’s decree, but for Ester the situation requires personal action. Consider (a) what factors influenced the decision she reached (see particularly verses 4, 8, 13, 14, 16), and (b) whether verse 14 is relevant to your own immediate situation.
       2-    Esther made careful preparations to enter the king’s presence. In our own approach to the King of kings, what parallels and contrasts can you find? See also 5:1, 2; cf. Ps. 33:8; Heb. 10:19-22.

05 December, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 3 — Esther 2:19 – 3:15

Study 3 From the Book of Esther is: Esther 2:19 – 3:15

      1-    Mordecai made no secret of his Jewish faith, yet advised Ester to remain silent. What does this teach us for our own witness? Why did Mordecai not obey the king’s command? Cf. Ec. 3:1, 7b; Dn. 3:8-12, 16-18; Acts 5:28, 29.
      2-    What do we learn of Haman’s character in chapter 3? See particularly verses 5:9 and 15. To what was he blind in the schemes that he made?
            1-    2:19. ‘Sitting at the king’s gate’: the phrase may imply that he was in the king’s service in some way.
           2-    2:21. ‘Who guarded the threshold…’: i.e., of the king’s sleeping apartments.

04 December, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 2 — Esther 2:1-18

Study 2 From the Book of Esther is:  Esther 2: 1-18

        1-    By what steps did Ester become queen? Consider the events and the timing in terms of God’s overruling care for His people. See Note on verse 16; cf. Rom. 8:28; Is. 65:24
        2-    How far should a Christian conform to the laws and customs of his country? Cf. Dn. 1:8; 1 Pet. 2:13, 14.
1-    Verses 5, 6. ‘Who had been carried away …’: this refers not to Mordecai, but to Kish his grandfather. 
2-    Verse 16. Cf. 1:3. Four years had elapsed since Vashti was deposed.

03 December, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 1 — Esther 1

Study 1 From the Book of Esther is: Esther 1

       1-    Read this chapter in the light of a2 Cor. 4:18 and 1 Jn. 2:16, 17. What choice do such considerations force upon us?
        2-    What may we learn of the characters of Ahasuerus, Vashti and Memucan, as seen in this chapter? Pr. 20:2; Jas. 1:19, 20; Eph. 4:26, 27.
           1-    Verse 11. Persian women were usually present at feast, so this would not be taken as a personal affront to Vashti.
           2-    Verse 14. ‘Who saw the king’s face…’: i.e., belonging to the inner circle of the king’s counsellors.

02 December, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 0 — The Introduction to the Book of Ester

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

The book of Esther is a swiftly-moving story which repays reading at one sitting. Its author and date of composition cannot be identified with certainty. Its author and date of composition cannot be identified with certainty. The wealth of detail and local colour, however suggest, that it was written in Persia not long after the events recorded in the book had taken place. Perhaps its Persian origin may account for the long time that elapsed before it was accepted as canonical by the Palestine Jews.

Ahasuerus is usually identified with Xerxes (485 – 465 BC), and the action takes place in Susa, one of the three capitals of the Persian Empire. Chronologically this places the events some years before those recounted in Ezra and Nehemiah, which relate to the following reign-that of Artazerzes (465-424 BC).

One of the most unusual features of the book is the absence of any mention of the name of God. There is, however, a strong undercurrent throughout of patriotism and a sense of overriding providence, as the Jews in exile as saved from destruction. Their deliverance provides the origin of the Feast of Purim.

01 December, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 21 — 2 Chronicles 36

Study 21 From the Book of 2 Chronicles is: 2 Chronicles 36

With this we end the book of 2 Chronicles. Tomorrow we will start the book of Esther.
          1-    Alongside the cataclysmic political happenings, what is the one outstanding event in this chapter which overshadows all else?
           2-    In the indictment of this chapter, on what sin does the emphasis lie (verses 12-16)? How would you describe the cause of Judah’s downfall? Cf. 7:19-22.
        3-    In what particular matters did Zedekiah fail?
         4-    What does this chapter reveal about the character of God?
Note. A summary of the kings and events of this chapter. (a) Jehoahaz was a king for three months (verses 1-3) Jehoiakim (Eliakim reigned for eleven years (verses 4, 5). He was an Egyptian vassal until the Babylonians (or Chaldeans, verse 17) defeated them at the Battle of Carchemish (605 BC) and became the dominant power the first Babylonian invasion occurred during this reign (verses 6, 7). (c) Jehoiachin was king for three months, until the second invasion (verse 10) terminated his reign; 10, 000 leading citizens were taken into exile. (d) Zedekiah reigned for eleven years (verse 10, 11). He was a Babylonian vassal and his rebellion precipitated the third invasion, devastation and exile (verse 17, 18) in 586 BC.

30 November, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 20 — 2 Chronicles 34 and 35

Study 20  From the Book of 2 Chronicles is: 2 Chronicles 34 and 35

        1-    At what age did Josiah begin to seek the Lord? What effects did this have on his subsequent life both publicly and privately?
         2-    What was the effect of the finding of the book of the law (a) upon Josiah, and (b) through him upon the nation? Cf. Ps. 119:59, 60. Is the Word of God having the same effect upon you, and through your life?
         3-    What does 34:23-28 teach concerning (a) the inevitable consequences of sin (cf. Dt. 11:26-28), and (b) God’s attitude to the sincere penitent?
        1-    34:14. ‘The book of the law’ was quite likely the Deuteronomy (cf. Dt. 31:26).
        2-    35:3. It is usually assumed that the ark had been taken out of the holy of holies during the repairs, and that the Levites were now bidden to restore it, with the assurance that they would not again be asked to undertake this work. Cf. I Ch 23:26.
         3-    34:28 and 35:24. Josiah was spared from witnessing god’s anger poured out upon Judah (34:25) by his death, and thus may be said to have died  ‘in peace’.

29 November, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 19 — 2 Chronicles 33

Study 19  From the Book of 2 Chronicles is: 2 Chronicles 33

        1-    Make a list of Manasseh’s idolatrous deeds, as described in verses 3-9. It has been termed ‘a very delirum of Idolatry’ and was done in the face of protest and rebuke (verses 10, 18).
       2-    What means did God use to bring Manasseh to his senses? And what may we learn from this as to one of the purposes of human sufferings?
       3-    What marks of true repentance are seen in Manasseh after his restoration? In what ways could it have gone further?
               1-    Verse 6. A reference to human sacrifice in honour of the god Molech. Cf. 2 Ki. 23:10; Je. 7:31.
              2-    Verse 14. ‘Ophel’: a mound south of the Temple. Cf. 27:3.

28 November, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 18 — 2 Chronicles 31: 2 – 32:33

Study 18  From the Book of 2 Chronicles is: 2 Chronicles 31:2 – 32:33

       1-    How far was Hezekiah’s thoroughness in all matters connected with religion the secret of his success? See especially 31:20, 21. Cf. Rom. 12:11; Col. 3:23.
       2-    What lessons can we learn from the way in which Hezekiah met opposition?
       3-    How far did this spiritually -minded king fall short of perfection? How may we learn from him?
            1-    32:1. This reference to Hezekiah’s faithfulness (31:20) is introduced to show that the coming of Senacherib was not because he had sinned.
           2-      32:5 Archaeologists think ‘the Millo’ at Jerusalem was probably part of the fortifications or the foundations for them.

27 November, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 17 — 2 Chronicles 29:1 – 31:1

Study 17 From the Book of 2 Chronicles is: 2 Chronicles 29:1 – 31:1

       1-    Hezekiah as king desired to reform the religious life of the nation, and worked urgently to a definite plan. What steps did he follow? Note his speed (29:3; 30:2) and his priorities (29:16-21).
       2-    What evidence do you find that the Passover (chapter 30) was not merely an outward form, but betokened a genuine turning back to God? What sign were there of true spiritual revival?

Note 30:2, 3, 13, 15. The king availed himself of the provision in the law which allowed the Passover to be kept in the second month, instead of the first. (see Nu. 9:10, 11), and thus avoided having to wait almost a year.

26 November, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 16 — 2 Chronicles 26 - 28

Study 16 From the Book of 2 Chronicles is: 2 Chronicles 26 – 28

         1-    How was it revealed that in Uzziah’s heart notwithstanding his piety (26:5), there lurked the same evil tendency that had marred the life and reign of his father Amaziah before him? With 26:16, cf. 25:19; Dt. 17:18-20. What forms might his sin take today?
        2-    How did the sin of Ahaz affect (a) God, (b) His people, and (c) himself?
        3-    In the midst of a godless age how did Obed, the prophet, and the men mentioned in 28:12 stand out? What may we learn from their example? Cf. 1 Tim. 5:20.
            1-    26:5. ‘Zechariah’: not otherwise known, and not the prophet of the biblical book who lived at a later period.
           2-    26:18. See Nu. 18:40; 18:7.

25 November, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 15 — 2 Chronicles 25

Study15  From the Book of 2 Chronicles is: 2 Chronicles 25

        1-    What would you say was the chief fault in Amaziah’s character? How does the chapter illustrate the description of him in verse 2? See, on the one hand, verses 3, 4, 7-10;  also 26:4 and, on the other hand, 25:14-16, 27.  Cf. Je. 17:9.
         2-    How does Amaziah’s career, wit its gradual drift away from God, show the peril of a half-hearted loyalty to Christ?

Note. Verse 10. The hired soldiers had been hoping for loot and plunder’ hence their anger. See also verse 13.

24 November, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 14 — 2 Chronicles 24

Study 14 From the Book of 2 Chronicles is: 2 Chronicles 24

      1-    Joash was a weak character, who leant on others. To whom did he listen? What were the consequences? What lessons may we learn? Cf. 2 Tim. 2:1
       2-    Why was the stoning of Zechariah a peculiarly a flagrant crime?

Note. Verse 16. This was a signal and unique honour. Contrast verse 25.

23 November, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 13 — 2 Chronicles 22:10 – 23:21

Study 13  From the Book of 2 Chronicles is: 2 Chronicles 22:10 – 23:21

        1-    Planning:  Why had Jehoiada to wait seven years? What lessons may we learn from this for ourselves? Cf. Hab. 2:3. Why did he have confidence that the plan would succeed?
        2-    Action: What lessons in careful planning and organization can we learn from Jehoiada in our service of Christ?
        3-    Success: Jehoiada was not content with half measures. How did he follow up his victory? See 23:16-20.
           1-    23:2, 3. This was the preliminary gathering, secretly convened in the Temple, in which all present pledged their loyalty to the boy king.
          2-    23:11. ‘The Testimony’: i.e., the book of the law. Cf. Dt. 17:18-20.

22 November, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 12 — 2 Chronicles 21:1 – 22:9

Study 12 From the Book of 2 Chronicles is: 2 Chronicles 21:1 – 22:9

        1-    Identify the sins here recorded of Jehoram. How did God deal with him, and why? To what did he owe this survival?
        2-    How far was the low state under Jehoram and Ahaziah directly traceable to the mistaken step of Jehoshaphat as recorded in 18:1? What does this illustrate concerning the character and consequences of some sins?

21 November, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 11 — 2 Chronicles 19 and 20

Study 11 From the Book of 2 Chronicles is: 2 Chronicles 19 and 20

        1-    In the beginning of Jehoshaphat’s reign he continued the policy of maintaining fortified cities for defence against Israel. But, later he made peace with Israel through a marriage alliance (18:1; 21:6).  How was this alliance with Ahab rebuked, and on what grounds? Cf. 2 Cor. 6:14; see also 2 Ch. 20:35-37.
        2-    After this rebuke, what further steps did Jehoshaphat take to establish true religion in the land?
        3-    When peril came, what did Jehoshaphat do first? What impresses you most in this story?
Note. 20:2. ‘Engedi’: on the western shore of the Dead Sea, and therefore not far from Jerusalem.

20 November, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 10 — 2 Chronicles 17 and 18

Study 10 From the Book of 2 Chronicles is: 2 Chronicles 17 and 18 

        1-    The chronicler gives four chapters to the reign of Jehoshaphat, who was one of the best of the kings of Judah. What, according to chapter 17, were the reasons for his prosperity?  Note the word ‘therefore’ in verse 5. What method did Jehoshaphat introduce to give religious instruction to the people?
       2-    Chapter 18. How did Micah seed to proclaim the word of God, and what difficulties did he encounter? What may we learn from him concerning faithfulness in such ministry
      3- In what ways do the characters of Jehoshaphat and Ahab differ?