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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The End Times – 2 Peter 3:1-18

Read the Passage: 2 Peter 3:1-18

Knowledge (3:1–9)

Peter begins this chapter by referring to his first letter to the churches of Asia Minor, which we know as 1 Peter. That epistle, along with the current one, was written in order to “stir up your pure minds by way of reminder” (2 Pet. 3:1; cf. 1:13; 2 Tim. 1:6; Heb. 10:24). That which Peter wanted to remind his readers of was “the words which were spoken by the holy prophets” (2 Pet. 3:2). Recall that Peter had earlier mentioned the prophecies written by “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21). Continue reading

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False Teachers – 2 Peter 2:1-22

Read the Passage: 2 Peter 2:1-22

False Teachers’ Presence (2:1–3)

In 2 Pet. 1:21 Peter had noted that in times past “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” In continuing his teaching, in 2 Pet. 2:1 the apostle notes that “there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you” (cf. Acts 20:29–30). By way of overview of the false teachers’ methodology, Peter notes here that false teachers “secretly bring in destructive heresies” (2 Pet. 2:1a). Ultimately, however, false teaching is rooted in “denying the Lord” (2 Pet. 2:1b). Continue reading

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Authority of Scripture – 2 Peter 1:12–21

Read the Passage: 2 Peter 1:12-21

Death of Peter (1:12–15)

Peter begins this section with the phrase “For this reason” (2 Pet. 1:12). The reason that he is referencing is the sanctification of his readers (cf. 2 Pet. 1:10–11). In other words, the apostle is saying that because of his desire for his readers’ spiritual growth he wants to remind them of their duty to pursue Christ that they may be “established in the present truth” (2 Pet. 1:12). Note that the term “stir up” that appears in 2 Pet. 1:13 literally refers to waking up one’s mind to action. Continue reading

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