Miracles, Questions, and Teachings – Matthew 9

Read the Passage: Matthew 9

Miracles (9:1–9, 18–34)

In Matt. 9:1–8 we read of Jesus meeting a man so severely paralyzed that friends must carry him to Jesus. Interestingly, without even asking for healing or forgiveness, Jesus declares, “So, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you” (Matt. 9:2). The narrative is clear that Jesus was not implying that this man’s condition was because of his sin (cf. Luke 13:1–5; John 9:1–3); rather, Jesus was teaching the onlookers—the scribes—a truth about himself. Continue reading

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Jesus’ Miracles – Matthew 8

Read the Passage: Matthew 8

A Leper is Cleansed (8:1–4)

As we’ve noted previously, in an attempt to draw parallelism with the Pentateuch, Matthew structures his Gospel around five discourse/narrative cycles. Matt. 5–7 contains the teaching portion of the first of the five discourse/narrative cycles in this Gospel. Matt. 8–9 contains the narrative portion of this cycle, which focuses on Jesus’ miracles. Jesus’ miracles can be divided into two broad categories: (1) miracles of restoration, which show Christ’s power over sickness/death and power over evil, Continue reading

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Sermon on the Mount, Part 3 – Matthew 7

Read the Passage: Matthew 7

Judging Others (7:1–6)

Probably one of the most quoted and misapplied verses in the Bible is Matt. 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” It seems that some people understand this verse to be teaching that we are never to make moral evaluations of others. Of course, this is a ludicrous idea, as even the idea that we are not to make moral evaluations is a moral evaluation. Continue reading

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Sermon on the Mount, Part 2 – Matthew 6

Read the Passage: Matthew 6

Good Deeds (6:1–4)

In the first section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was correcting bad interpretation and teaching from the Old Testament. This is seen in the repeated use of the phrase, “You have heard it said . . . but I say to you.” In the second section of Jesus’ message, recorded in Matthew 6, Christ teaches on additional areas of behavior and living in which a believer’s faith has an impact. These areas are good works, prayer, and material possessions. Continue reading

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Sermon on the Mount, Part 1 – Matthew 5

Read the Passage: Matthew 5:1-48

Characterization of Believers (5:1–16)

Matt. 5:1 begins the first of five teaching and narrative cycles in Matthew’s Gospel. The teaching section covers Matt. 5–7, and the narrative covers Matt. 8–9. Continuing to draw parallels between Moses and Jesus, Matthew describes Jesus as ascending up a mountain, as did Moses, in order to disclose principles of conduct. A major difference, however, is that whereas Moses ascended Mt. Sinai alone, Jesus was accompanied by the multitudes. Continue reading

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Jesus’ Early Ministry – Matthew 3–4

Read the Passage: Matthew 3-4

Person of John (3:1–17)

In this passage Matthew records the message, appearance, and ministry of John the Baptist, whom he has not mentioned previously in his Gospel. Further, Matthew notes that these events were a fulfillment of Isa. 40:3. In Matt. 3:7–12, when John saw the religious leaders coming out to be baptized, he harshly confronted them. His message is that repentance entails not resting upon one’s tradition or work for salvation, but rather that salvation produces good works. Continue reading

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The Birth of Jesus – Matthew 1–2

Read the Passage: Matthew 1-2

Authorship and Date – Although the Gospel of Matthew, like all of the four Gospels, is technically anonymous, Matthew’s name has been associated with it from ancient times. This is the same Matthew, also known as Levi, who was, by his own admission, a tax-collector prior to his conversion (cf. Matt. 10:3). Matthew falls into what could be called a second subgroup of apostles, along with Philip, Bartholomew, and Thomas (cf. Matt. 10:2–4; Mark 3:16–19; Luke 6:13–16; Acts 1:13). Continue reading

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Ruth’s Redemption – Ruth 3:1–4:22

Read the Passage: Ruth 3:1-4:22

Promise of Redemption (3:1–18)

Ruth chapter 2 begins with dire circumstances, but ends with great promise. After the introduction of Boaz, as well as Ruth and Naomi’s encouraging dialog in Ruth 2:20–23, the reader is left wondering about the outcome of the story. In Ruth 3:1–4, we learn that Naomi is a woman of action. She schemes to facilitate a marriage between Ruth and Boaz, while it is yet still the time of the Barley harvest (cf. Ruth 3:2). Continue reading

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Ruth Meets Boaz – Ruth 2:1–23

Read the Passage: Ruth 2:1-23

Ruth’s Labor (2:1–7)

From a human perspective, the circumstances of Naomi and Ruth were quite dire. They were both widows, Ruth was a foreigner, and they were living in a place in which neither one of them had resided for at least ten years. However, in noting that it was “the beginning of the barley harvest” (Ruth 1:22), the author of Ruth gave a clue that things were about to get better for Ruth and Naomi. In Ruth 2:1, Boaz is introduced. Continue reading

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Introduction to Ruth – Ruth 1:1–22

Read the Passage: Ruth 1:1-22

Authorship and Date: The book of Ruth is named after the main human character in the book, Ruth the Moabitess. Only two Old Testament books are named after women—that is, Ruth and Esther. Ruth is only mentioned one other time in the Bible, at Matt. 1:5, which is the lineage of Jesus. The book of Ruth is technically anonymous, although Jewish tradition attributes the book to Samuel. David is cited by name in this book (cf. Ruth 4:17–22), but none of the other Kings of Israel are mentioned, thus it is reasonable to conclude that this book was written during the early years of David’s reign (1011–971 BC). Continue reading

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