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Bible Study Notes on 2 Peter 2 – 20160420

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Bible Study Notes

2 Peter 2:1  “…false prophets also among the people…”
The old testament mentions the existence of the false prophets and occasionally mentions them by name, but not often.  Would be interesting to know how many there were or how prevalent it was for the false ones to speak out.

1  “…false teachers among you…denying the Lord that bought them…”
It is amazing to me the number of “religious teachers/preachers” we have today who blatantly deny the tenants of the faith.  They deny the virgin birth of Christ, His divinity, and even His bodily resurrection.  If you’re going to deny all of this, which is supposed to be the very foundation of what you say you believe, why are you even in the ministry?  Do they not realize they are actually telling people to not believe what they are preaching because it is false?  How can someone live with that type of illogical behavior?  I know personally one Presbyterian minister who told me we can’t know exactly what Christ said on any given topic because we cannot trust the Bible to be true and accurate.  Without a standard for your beliefs, you are left with preaching or teaching nothing but platitudes based on experience and the circumstances at hand.

2  “…by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of”
People tend to believe the false teachers.  Then when the false teaching doesn’t pan out, they accuse the real ones of being at fault.  They try to label true Christianity as false based on those who are not really Christians.

3  “…whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not”
It may look like the false teachers are getting away with their sins, but the judgment has been there all along.  If they don’t change their ways and repent, it will catch up to them eventually.  As will be seen in chapter 3, God is longsuffering to them because He is not willing that any should perish.  He holds time for them as long as possible.  More on that when we get there.

4-9   Peter gives examples of how God judged the unrighteous while preserving the righteous as an example of what he had just said.  He concludes in verse 9.

9  “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished”

10-11  “…Presumptuous are they, selfwilledare not afraid to speak evil of dignities…angels…bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord”
Appears self righteous pride is a characteristic of false teachers.  They aren’t afraid of authority and aren’t afraid to speak evil of those in power or authority.  God reminded Job he was displaying some of this attitude toward Himself during Job’s lamenting.  Job didn’t realize he was doing it and quickly repented when God mentioned it.  Peter suggests as an example the angels who are far more powerful than humans.  They don’t bring accusations to those whom they know are wrong in God’s presence out of respect for God who is the true judge of all.  Jude mentions this in his epistle also.  Jude 9.  When pride arises, we easily forget our status as servants and act as though we are the judge.  We must remember to separate the actions from the actor.  We can observe the actions as compared to God’s righteous law, and even warn those who perform those actions of the predetermined condemnation awaiting them.  But we must not cross the line into trying to pass that judgment on them.  I can warn someone they are headed to Hell, but I’m not the one who can send them there.  It’s hard to see the difference from the outside, but the determining factor is in the heart and the intention.  One is warning out of care, the other is judgment without compassion.

12  “…speak evil of the things that they understand not…”
Job’s problem.  And mine sometimes.  Speaks of distrust in God.  Questions are ok, but we must not cross the line into distrust.

15  “Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness”
Balaam was a soothsayer who was hired to curse the Israelites.  God spoke to him and told him not to, but he was too enticed with the reward offered.  God used his donkey to get his attention, and he agreed to speak only what God told him.  However, the reward was too much, and he gave Israel’s enemy another idea to harm them.  God judged him, and he was later killed for his actions.  He knew the truth, but was tempted by the promise of a big pay day.  Personally, I don’t think he ever realized who God was.  I think he thought God was just another local deity or spirit which he had dealt with before.  Someone he thought he could manipulate or go around.  That would make an interesting study.
At any rate, false prophets and teachers are in the same boat.  They know they are not speaking the truth, but are too greedy for the promises of rewards for what they are doing.  And most probably think there is nothing to what they are saying anyway, so what difference does it make?  If I don’t believe in God or Christ, but I see that many do, I could jump on the false teacher bandwagon and have my own followers who would gladly pay me to say what they wanted to hear.  As far as I’m concerned, the only ones hurt are the poor suckers who actually believe in that Christian garbage.  But since it’s not really real, it’s no skin off my nose.  Unfortunately for them, it is real.  And the true God is paying attention.  One day they will stand before Him and give an answer.  That is not going to be pretty.

18-19  “…they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure …those that were clean escaped from them who live in error…While they promise them liberty…servants of corruption…brought in bondage”
False teachers are very dangerous to those who are trying to escape sin and are looking for the truth.  They think they are finding relief, but are actually given another lie.

20-21  “after they have escaped…through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…again entangled therein…latter end is worse with them than the beginning…it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them”
If someone trying to escape sin is given false teaching, when the false fails, they will return to their old way of living.  They were lured toward the truth, but were intercepted by false teachers and fed more lies.  Since they never actually received Christ, they have no power to continue and return to their old ways.
I once tried to witness to a young man.  He was high on drugs so it was an uphill battle anyway.  But the problem was that he had been reared somewhat in a church and knew the doctrines.  Unfortunately, no one had ever made sure he knew Christ.  The judgmental attitude of those in the church condemned him in his lifestyle, and he totally missed the forgiveness of Christ.  Even though I was telling him the truth, it sounded like what he already knew, and he refused to listen.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

The Better Way

The Open BibleJudges 7:19-20  “So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands.  And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.

My parents needed some rock put on their driveway.  So they bought a dump truck load and had it dumped near the end of the drive.  I’ve spent the last few days shoveling rock into a small dump wagon, placing it where I wanted it, then using a garden rake to level it out.  My Dad has a tractor with a box blade which I could use to push the rock around.  And several folks have suggested I do just that.  They say it would be much easier, and that I’m killing myself doing all that extra work.  I should be working smarter, not harder.

Normally I would agree with them.  It’s always better to work smarter than harder, and the tractor could move the rock without much effort at all.  The problem is, with what the driveway needs and what I want to accomplish, using the tractor would be like using a sledge hammer to swat a fly.  Not enough finesse.  The rock needs to be placed in specific spots and at a consistent depth.  Would be nice to have a tractor with a front bucket loader, but since I don’t have that, the shovel and dump wagon will have to do.  And it is working.  Yes, it’s been hot, difficult work, and it’s taking a long time, but the driveway looks nice, and after it rains to settle everything and the rock is pressed down, we should have a nice surface to drive on that won’t turn into a muddy swamp every time it rains.  The harder way has actually been the better way.

Gideon ran into a similar issue.  God had asked him to fight the Midianites.  Conventional wisdom told him to gather as large an army as he could, complete with swords and shields and whatever other weapons they could bring to bear.  But God had other plans.  He shrank Gideon’s army down to three hundred men and armed them with torches, pitchers, and trumpets.  That made no sense at all.  Fortunately for Gideon, he chose to follow God’s leading and not what conventional wisdom told him, and it worked exactly the way God said.

God had his reasons for doing things the way He did.  He knew the people would think they had won the battle all on their own by their own strength if they did it with an overwhelming force.  He needed them to see that God Himself was their protector and strength and that they should always place their trust in Him.  That’s what He tells us as well.

Proverbs 3:5 instructs us to trust in Him with all our hearts and to not lean on our own understanding.  Does that mean we don’t use the resources God has given us?  Of course not.  Gideon still had three hundred men with their torches, pitchers, and trumpets.  When the time was right, they broke the pitchers, held up the torches, and blew the trumpets, and the enemy was routed.  We all have our part to play, but the action is the Lord’s.  We follow His lead even when it doesn’t make sense to us.

And when you think about it, since He is the only one who can actually see all of the problem from every angle, His way will always be the better way.

Bible Study Notes on 2 Peter 1 – 20160416

Writing

Bible Study Notes

2 Peter 1:4  “…exceeding great and precious promises…by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature…”
Promise of salvation.  Promise that our sins are forgiven and are no longer held against us.  Promise that when our bodies fail on this earth, we will find ourselves with Christ.  Promise that our bodies will be resurrected into a new incorruptible form.  Promise that if we are alive when Christ returns, we will be instantly transformed into His incorruptible image to live with Him forever.  Exceedingly great and precious indeed.

5-7  “…add to your faith virtue…knowledge…temperance…patience…godliness…brotherly kindness…charity.”
Christian growth.  Once we have accepted Christ by faith, we continue to grow toward being like Him.  I wasn’t sure of the definition of virtue so checked with commentary.  It suggested moral excellency.  After that, you can see the progression.  We trust Christ, we desire to be like Him so we live by His standards.  To do this we increase our knowledge of Him.  This allows us to put to death the desires of the flesh by exercising self control.  We then endure hardship with patience, allowing Him to use it to mold us.  Our walk with Him becomes closer, and we are able to treat our brothers with compassion.  Eventually, we learn to love our neighbors as ourselves, getting us to being like Him.  Each step establishes the previous and makes way for the next.

9  “…he that lacketh these things is blind…hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins”
We weren’t redeemed just to sit and wait until we can enter Heaven someday.  God intends for us to grow, to be transformed into the image of His Son.  There is far more to salvation than just soul fire insurance.

10  “…give diligence to make your calling and election sure…”

12  “…I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth”
Repetition is learning.  The things of God are so deep, so rich, we must be diligent to continue in them until we join Him.

14  “…shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me”
Reference to what Christ said to Peter in John 21:18-19.  Peter obviously recognized the signs of what Jesus predicted.

15  “…I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance”
Expressed care for those with whom he was communicating.  Also, leaving a legacy behind.  After we are gone and those remaining see what we left behind, will what they see point them to Jesus?

16-17  “…we have not followed cunningly devised fables…but were eyewitnesses of His majesty…He received from God the Father honor and glory…’This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”
What Peter has been telling his readers is the truth.  The story of Christ is no fable or new religion.  Peter himself was a witness to the affirmation of God upon Christ while He was here.

18  “…this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount”
The mount of transfiguration where Peter, James, and John saw Christ transfigured and Him speaking with Moses and Elijah.

20-21  “…no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost
Scripture itself comes from God, not from man, even though God had mankind involved in writing it down.  I have spoken with folks who claimed to be teachers of the Word who said we could not be sure of what is written because man was involved.  God is more than capable of making sure His word remains true.
Also, there is no division in God.  He does not tell one person one thing and another person something entirely different when it comes to His nature.  He inspired holy men to write down His word, and all can read and understand.  He may direct some things toward one group and others to another group, but the core meaning and intention is there for all to see.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Bible Study Notes on 1 Peter 5 – 20160415

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Bible Study Notes

1 Peter 5:3  “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.”
It’s always been distasteful to me when leaders in businesses or organizations have a superiority or supremacy attitude towards those they are supposed to be leading, but more so in the church.  Our example is Christ Himself.  Although He truly was and is superior, He laid that aside and showed Himself a servant in order to serve us and to manifest His great love for us.  We must not do differently.

5  “…be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility…”
As Paul wrote, let each esteem others better than himself, look out for the affairs of others.  Employ Christ-like servanthood in dealings with others.
I’ve also heard this verse used as a counter point to Peter saying wives should submit to their own husbands.  Sad that folks get hung up on women submitting.  Perhaps it’s a reflection of incorrect feminist influence on the culture.  At any rate, Peter isn’t speaking of a marriage relationship here.  Certainly, a husband and wife should submit to each other as fellow heirs of Christ, as this context says.  But within a marriage relationship, other protocols are active.  Nothing that would establish equality of person, but of position.

6  “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time”
Not a promise of gain or prosperity.  If I submit to God, He will do this and that for me.  But a submission to His perfect will, way, and timing.  Submit to Him, and He will make us like Christ and bring glory to Himself through us in His time.

7  “Casting all your care upon him…”
Sometimes difficult to do, to let go.  So much easier to worry about stuff, especially when He seems to be taking His time about things.

9  “…knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world”
Not alone in our suffering.  And a reminder to pray for others who may be suffering greater trials for Christ.

12  “By Silvanus…I have written briefly…”
Appears Peter may have dictated the letter to Silvanus or had him carry the letter.  Commentary favors the latter.  Not uncommon.  Paul sometimes did so as it appears he had some vision problems.  Curious as to the reason if he did dictate.  Physical infirmity or just more convenient?

13  “The church that is at Babylon…”
Other translations render this as She who is at Babylon.  Shows the difficulty in translating between any two languages and the different methods that are used.  Commentary mentions different views.  Either one woman or the church meeting in Babylon.  It favors the latter.  Makes more sense to me also given the context.

13  “…Marcus my son”
Apparently same Mark that was unfaithful to Paul on the first missionary journey.  He redeemed himself well, with Paul and Peter, and wrote the gospel account bearing his name.  Good example of God’s mercy and grace.  He doesn’t throw us away when we make mistakes if we stay and trust Him.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Bible Study Notes on 1 Peter 4 – 20160414

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Bible Study Notes

1 Peter 4:1  “…he…hath ceased from sin”
Not that we are perfect or sinless after we accept Christ, but that we don’t live for sin any longer.  We live for Him.

4  “…they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.”
I had a supervisor once who invited his workers to a local bar after work for a drink.  I don’t drink so I respectfully declined.  He thought I was strange.  He said he didn’t know what to think about someone who wouldn’t go out and have a beer with him.

5  “Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.”
All will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give account of their actions here.  Those of us who are saved will give account to determine rewards which we can give back to Christ.  It is unclear what bearing their actions will have on those who have rejected Christ.  They will certainly be judged, but how that applies to Hell or the Lake of Fire is undetermined.  If there are indeed levels of Hell, I can’t imagine how someone could tell the difference.

6  “…that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”
Seems to be simple as you read it, but when you break it down it gets complex.  Commentary wasn’t a lot of help as it went into a complex explanation.  Confusion is around the use of “dead,” and to which dead is Peter referring.  Dead as in no longer living or dead as in have rejected Christ and face eternal condemnation?  Commentary suggested standard use as in those who are no longer living on earth.  In that case, Peter would be saying the gospel was preached to them as well as those who are currently living, so that they could also be judged while in the flesh, or alive, and having accepted Christ before dying, they can now live for or to God in the spirit.
I tend to use the term “dead” to refer to those who have rejected Christ, so I sometimes miss the reference when it is simply to those who have died.  Taking that view for verse 5, it seems to make more sense for verse 6 as well.  Jesus is going to judge those living when He returns and those who died before He returns.  The gospel was preached to all so that those who have died are judged as those still living, but having received God’s grace, can live to God in the spirit.
Will be interesting to sit down with Peter in the future and discuss all the aspects of his writing.

7  “But the end of all things is at hand…”
Both Peter and Paul expressed the idea that Christ’s return was imminent.  We need to live with that in mind also.

11  “…do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ…”
I’ve always wondered how we were supposed to know we were doing things in our strength or God’s since both come through us.  The answer is in intent.  If we do all things for the purpose of giving God the glory, then He will work through us and provide the strength to complete them.  Sounds simplistic, but it is the truth.  I’ve noticed it in singing.  Nervousness comes from focusing on myself and worrying that I will mess up.  Focusing on God and doing the best I can do while allowing Him to be responsible for the results removes the nervousness and lifts any performance beyond myself.  It is also a daily thing, must be worked on continuously.

12-16   Repeat of the suffering for Christ theme.

17  “…the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God…”
Scripture speaks of the great apostasy that will come at the last days.  I have seen this grow tremendously in my lifetime.  More than ever we as the family of God must examine ourselves and see if there is any wicked way in us.  I believe the sad, immoral state of our country and world can be laid at the feet of the family of God.  We have lost our salt and covered our light and have destroyed ourselves.  May God have mercy.

19  “…let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”
We can be faithful servants because we have a faithful God.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

The Woodworker’s Shop

Jeremiah 18:1-3  “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.  Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.”

I dreamed I went to a woodworker’s shop.  . . . → Read More: The Woodworker’s Shop

Bible Study Notes on 1 Peter 3 – 20160413

Bible Study Notes

1 Peter 3:1  “…in subjection to your own husbands…” It amazes me how many people, especially women, have a problem with that phrase.  I have put that phrase to women on questionnaires and asked them to share what it means to them.  Most of the time I either receive no answer . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on 1 Peter 3 – 20160413

Bible Study Notes on 1 Peter 2 – 20160412

Bible Study Notes

1 Peter 2:2  “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” Paul touches on this in his letter to the Corinthians and chides them because they were not growing, still only feeding on the milk of the word.  Everyone starts with milk, but you . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on 1 Peter 2 – 20160412

Bible Study Notes on 1 Peter 1 – 20160411

Bible Study Notes

1 Peter 1:1  “…to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” The last recorded words of Christ tell us to go, and as we are going, to make disciples of all nations.  The Jewish church members had been telling those they came in contact with in Jerusalem about . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on 1 Peter 1 – 20160411

Bible Study Notes on Romans 15 & 16 – 20160407

Bible Study Notes

Romans 15:24,28  “Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company…When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on Romans 15 & 16 – 20160407