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Bible Study Notes on Matthew 15:1-28 – 20180117


Bible Study Notes

Matthew 15:1  “…Pharisees who were from Jerusalem…”
He can’t get away from the rascals.  Not content to cause trouble in Jerusalem, these had to travel up to Capernaum to harass Jesus.  Commentary mentioned that their presence in the synagogues in Capernaum and surrounding areas may have been why Jesus changed His method of teaching, from preaching plainly to using parables.  Makes sense.

2  “…transgress the tradition of the elders…”
Not concerned with real and significant matters, the thing they bring up is violation of man’s traditions.  Sound like lawyers.  Not interested in the truth, but in finding a violation of a technicality one way or another.

3  “…Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition”
They had gone beyond simply worrying about insignificant things.  They had advanced into exchanging their traditions for the actual commandments of God.  In the instance Jesus mentioned, they said as long as a person gave money to the temple or service of God, they didn’t have to financially support their parents or honor their father and mother.  They had created an exception to one of the original ten commandments.  Sounds extremely dangerous to me.

9  “…Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men”
Very dangerous place to be.  When we forsake the Bible and what it says and instead concern ourselves with doctrines of our own making, we put ourselves in the place of or above God.  Nothing good will ever come of that.  The Bible does teach doctrine, but it always abides with the commandments.  Our interpretations of it may differ, but we must be wise to rightly divide the Word and know the difference.

11  “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”
He will have to explain this to them a few verses later.  But He was trying to get them to pay attention to what was happening, then listen to what He was saying.  Pharisees were concerned with hand washing, but not about the evil within their hearts.  One could be the cause of temporary sickness, the other could put you into Hell.  Priorities.

14  “Let them alone…”
I guess it wasn’t a bad thing that the disciples were concerned about what the Pharisees thought.  After all, the Pharisees were supposed to be the spiritual leaders and teachers of the nation.  Everyone else had been taught to follow what they said because it was believed they could be trusted to tell the truth about God and His desires for the people.  This is why truth and integrity among those who are teachers is so vitally important.  As James mentioned, they will receive the greater judgment.  Unfortunately, these had allowed their own evil desires to override what they knew the scriptures said.  As Jesus said, they were blind leaders of the blind.  He was now having to teach His followers to go beyond the fact that they were Pharisees and to truly listen to what was being taught.  If it was contrary to what God said then they should ignore it and go with God.

16  “…Are you also still without understanding”
Can’t blame Jesus for being frustrated.  Appears the disciples are still in the mode of just hearing words.  They aren’t trying to understand what is being said.  It’s like reading words on a page, but never trying to understand what the author is trying to convey.  I see this in denominations who get hung up on words and phrases without seeing the context.  Reminds me of the Japanese shipping officials who saw the term cowhide belt on a manifest so they emptied the container looking for the cows.

21  “…the region of Tyre and Sidon”
Northwestern area of the country.  Tyre and Sidon were nation cities outside of Israel, but their land area was within what God had promised to Abraham.  Commentary suggested the distance from Capernaum to Tyre may be covered with one day of active walking.

22  “…a woman of Canaan…”
A gentile woman.

22  “…Son of David…”
She knew who the Messiah was supposed to be and used that term to refer to Jesus.

23-24  “…He answered her not a word…I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”
This seems harsh coming from Jesus.  A woman in need, seemingly being ignored.  One commentary suggests two options of interpretation.  The first is the one I have heard and which it said is probably followed by most, that being that Jesus only said this to give her an opportunity to display her faith and to teach His disciples.  This view rests heavily on His divinity, that He knew what she was thinking and wanted to help her.  The other takes a different view of Jesus.  It rests on His humanity and His choice to fulfill the mission for which He came, to share the good news with the house of Israel.  Jesus refused to do certain things using the reason that it wasn’t the proper time.  Commentary suggests that was what transpired here.  He wasn’t ready for the message to go fully to the Gentiles, although that didn’t stop Him from dealing with Gentiles within Israel as He did with the Roman Centurion.  However, once the woman persisted and showed her great faith, He chose to address her and granted her request.  This in no way suggests that Jesus was fickle or uncaring from the beginning, nor that He had to be bothered to the point of frustration before He would act.  But it does prevent us from trying to neatly place Him within a box of preferred action and method.  I agree with the commentary that we must not forget Jesus’s divinity and humanity equally.  His human actions were never sinful, but they were a part of how He operated.

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!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Study Notes on Matthew 14 – 20180112


Bible Study Notes

Matthew 14:2  “…he is risen from the dead…”
Guilty conscience.  If he’d been paying attention, he would have known about Jesus.  But that’s the problem when you’re so absorbed with yourself.

8  “…having been prompted by her mother…”
The woman was as evil as Herod.  She saw a way to remove the bothersome John since her current husband was afraid to kill him.  I couldn’t find it in the commentaries, but I wonder if Herod and Herodias are both titles of a sort, like the Pharaohs of Egypt.  Herod the title of whoever is king and Herodias as his consort.  Would make some sense, but just speculation on my part until I can find any confirmation.  Finally found a reference saying Herodias was the female form of the ruling royal family name during the time of Jesus, Herod.  She was the granddaughter of Herod the Great and thus a relative of the men she married, niece I think.  Can’t find any mention of her given name, only the title.  It was unlawful for Herod Antipas to have her as she was his brother’s wife and also a close familial member, the daughter of another brother.

13  “When Jesus heard it, He departed from there…”
I’m sure John would have meant much to Jesus were he just the forerunner, but he was also Jesus’s cousin.  As a man He would have experienced the loss of a close family member.

14  “…He was moved with compassion for them…”
Even in His own grief, He expended Himself for others.

18-21  “…five loaves and two fish…they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments…five thousand men, besides women and children”
Will happen again with seven loaves.  This one fed easily ten thousand.

23  “…He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray…”
Where He started when the crowds showed up before.  He still needed some time alone with the Father and to grieve.  We must remember that in ministry.  If Jesus took time to rest, relax, and recharge, then we certainly must.

25  “…the fourth watch of the night…”
Commentaries say this was probably between 3 and 6 am.  Roman method of dividing the night into watches.  The early dawn hours would have provided enough light for the disciples to see Jesus.

29  “…when Peter had come down out of the boat…”
Many are critical of Peter’s apparent lack of faith in taking his eyes off Jesus and beginning to sink.  But Peter was the only disciple to get out of the boat.  He got out with only a word from a figure claiming to be Jesus.  Yes, his faith wavered, but getting out took a lot.  He also knew where to call when he got into trouble.

31  “…immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him…”
I like the fact that Jesus didn’t wait for some dramatic effect.  He didn’t let Peter submerge or swallow any water.  He reached out and caught him as soon as Peter cried out.

32  “…when they got into the boat, the wind ceased”
Yet another miracle.  Makes you wonder if the contrary wind was just there for the disciples’ sake and left when He no longer needed it.

34  “…the land of Gennesaret”
Commentary says this was a section along the western coast of the Sea of Galilee and contained Capernaum.

35-36  “…they sent out into all that surrounding region…begged Him that they might only touch the hem…”
They knew who He was and what He could do.  Their faith and compassion for others is amazing.  They immediately sent out for all who were sick, and they knew they only need touch His garment to be made well.

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!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Study Notes on Matthew 13:24-58 – 20180112


Bible Study Notes

Matthew 13:24  “…kingdom of heaven is like…”
The idea presented in the parable will be similar to an idea dealing with the kingdom of heaven.  Important to note that parables usually have only one idea.  Some are allegorical, some are not.  You can’t always transfer the pieces between the parable and their purpose.

30  “Let both grow together until the harvest…”
You can’t tell how someone’s life will turn out, whether they will choose to receive Christ or not.  As long as they are breathing, I believe they have a chance.  I think it shows the great grace, mercy, and patience of God.  But one day all of that will be finished.  Then those who believe in Him will be gathered to Him and all the others will be cast out.

33  “…like leaven…”
Good example of why you have to read the context of what is said.  Leaven is usually used as a reference to sin.  Here its ability to spread from a small amount to a great is referenced.  Similar to the previous parable regarding the mustard seed.  Because God is the power behind the message, the gospel can start from a single person telling another.  It will grow until it has spread to multitudes of people.

37  “…He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man”
One which can be taken as an allegory.  Jesus shows how each part is represented.

44  “…for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field”
Good example of why you can’t take all parables as allegories.  Here we have a man who finds a treasure in someone else’s field.  Instead of letting the owner know there is treasure in his field, the person sells all he has to obtain the field.  Certainly Jesus is not telling us we should be dishonest in dealing with the gospel.  What He is saying is that we should value the good news above all else, just as the man in the parable did.  He valued the treasure to the point he was willing to give all he had to acquire it.  We should be the same way with the knowledge of the kingdom, with all honesty and purity.

52  “…like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old”
A person has things both old and new of the items he has collected over time.  Interesting to view what some people collect as personal treasures.  Scribes of the kingdom do the same.  We have the old truths of the Old Testament and how they were displayed.  We have the new truths which Christ provided as well as new ways to observe the old truths.  Today we take common events and ideas and compare them to the old truths.  We don’t exchange the truth as it remains the same, but we find new ways to present it.  The methods may change, but the message must always remain the same.  This is why I don’t like the phrase old fashioned when used to refer to the gospel.  The gospel never changes.  It is the truth beyond the relevance of time.  A person may only be saved by repenting of sin and accepting the gift of salvation from Christ.  Those who do this have eternal life, those who don’t will go to Hell.  That is the way it has been since man sinned in the Garden of Eden, and that is the way it will be until Christ returns to abolish sin forever.

57  “…they were offended at Him…A prophet is not without honor except in his own country…”
Knowledge of a person’s origins and past can hinder how much we accept the truth they proclaim.  Doesn’t matter how valid the truth may be, we have a hard time getting passed what we remember.  We should check the person’s credentials to be sure they aren’t a liar or charlatan, but we also need to focus on what is said and try it to see if it’s the truth before dismissing the message over prejudice.

58  “…He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief”
Not from a lack of power on His part.  Nor did their lack of belief have any stopping power.  But you can’t help someone who doesn’t want help or deliberately refuses it.  Jesus said as the serpent was lifted up in the wilderness so would He be lifted up.  All who wanted to be saved need only look up.  The power to save wasn’t in question, but some refused to look up and still do.  Jesus wasn’t there to wow them with His power and ability.  He wanted them to see their need and the truth of their situation as well as the truth He offered, then come to Him in faith to be saved and/or healed.

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!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Study Notes on Matthew 13:1-23 – 20180110


Bible Study Notes

Matthew 13:2  “…the whole multitude stood on the shore”
Common practice then, the teacher or speaker would sit while the audience would stand.  In this case, because there were so many and they were beside the water, Jesus got into a boat so all could see Him, and they wouldn’t push Him into the water.

3  “…He spoke many things to them in parables…”
New teaching method.  Jesus tried several teaching methods while He was here.  Sounds odd since He was God, but He chose to do things as a human.  He would try one way, then another, whatever worked for the audience.  Methods can differ, but our message must always be the same, Jesus.

12  “…whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him”
This sounds rather cruel.  We’re taught to be fair and to share with others what we have.  But Jesus isn’t speaking about material possessions.  He’s speaking about desire and interest in Him, in the kingdom, in salvation.  The disciples had asked why He was speaking in parables, why not just speak plainly.  His reply sounds strange, but it amounts to one’s choice.  The disciples wanted to know Jesus and about the kingdom, while others may only be there to gain materially, food and healing and such.  Whoever has a desire to know more of Christ, more will be given to him.  But to him who has no interest in repentance and salvation, even what little thought he has on it will go away.  Those who truly wanted to know what Christ was speaking about would hear the parables and understand or inquire more about it.  Those who really didn’t want to know wouldn’t understand and would let it pass.

15  “…the hearts of this people have grown dull.  Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed…”
Isaiah’s prophecy of how many of the people of Jesus’s day would be.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t just the Pharisees.  Some weren’t belligerent about it, but simply apathetic.

17  “…many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it
Jesus Himself.  The prophets would proclaim what God told them, but many times they didn’t fully understand what they prophesied.  I’m sure many did indeed long to know and understand what God was saying.  I’m sure they knew it was about the future and probably had to do with the Messiah, but the specifics were masked in mystery.  The disciples were privileged in that they saw the fulfillment of what was prophesied.  We, too, are privileged in that we can look back on what has happened and understand because of God’s word and the work of the Holy Spirit.

19  “…the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart…”
This would be the ones Jesus spoke of who weren’t concerned about understanding.  Their hearts are hard.  They aren’t interested in the things of God.  But it’s not beyond God’s power to soften them, which is why we continue to pray for those we know in this condition.

22  “…the cares of this world…”
We let so many things get in the way of our relationship with Christ.  Even those things which are needed and helpful.  We must be diligent to make Him our priority above all.  I have a hard time with this.  Praying for diligence.

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!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Study Notes on Matthew 12:22-50 – 20180108


Bible Study Notes

Matthew 12:23  “…Could this be the Son of David”
They were asking if Jesus could be the Messiah who was prophesied to be a descendant of David.

24  “Now when the Pharisees heard…”
Heard the people asking if Jesus was the Messiah.  This wasn’t going to sit well.  The sad part is that the Pharisees, who were supposed to know the law and the prophets, were witnessing miracles which they knew only God could do, yet they refused to check and see if Jesus fit the prophecies of the Messiah.  They would not consider the possibility that the Messiah could be anyone other than someone who fit their idea of Him.

24  “…except by Beelzebub…”
They didn’t have any choice but to acknowledge that Jesus had power, so they had to say He got His power from satan.  So pathetic.  Just excuses for what they didn’t want to accept.

27  “…if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out…”
They couldn’t have it both ways.  If the ability to cast out demons had to come from God, how could they say Jesus did it by other means.  To say this destroyed their own credibility.

30  “He who is not with Me is against Me…”
Only two types of people in this world, Christians and everyone else.  You either believe in Jesus and accept His gift of salvation for eternal life or you go to Hell.  No half measures.

31  “…the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men”
Checked with some commentaries and was surprised by their answers.  Some didn’t think He was referring to the Holy Spirit but to His own divinity.  That makes no sense as they are the same.  He is one with the Father and Spirit.  The work and ministry of the Spirit is to point to Christ as the means of salvation, to exalt Jesus as the way to eternal life.  To blaspheme the Spirit would be to deny His message and actions.  In other words, to reject His urging to repent and accept Christ.  To deny the Spirit, to reject Christ, is the one sin that can’t be forgiven.  If someone dies having committed that sin, they go to Hell.  No forgiveness can be found at that point.  I think a person has a lifetime to make that decision, however long that life may be.  I think as long as a person is breathing, there is the possibility to accept Christ.  God certainly knows whether they will do so or not, but I think the door is open until they die.  Thus the unpardonable sin is to reject the calling of the Holy Spirit to accept Christ.  The Pharisees were stepping very close to that by denying what they were seeing.  It was obvious that the actions done by Jesus were of God, the Spirit was saying this is the Christ.  But they were denying that, rejecting what the Spirit was saying.  If they continued to do so until death, that one sin of rejection would be unpardonable.

35  “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”
Still speaking to the Pharisees throughout this section.  The truth should be obvious to all.  Good could only come from someone who has goodness within, bad will come from someone who doesn’t.  If they agree that casting out demons and healing sickness is good, then the goodness and power of God must reside in the person doing those things.

36  “…I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it…”
Given the context, I think He is referring to what men have to say regarding Christ and the Spirit, the truth.  We speak out of what we believe.  The Pharisees obviously didn’t believe in Christ, and their speech displayed that.  Their careless words in ascribing Christ’s actions to the power of satan would someday condemn them, unless they repented.

39  “…An evil and adulterous generation…”
One who worships someone or something other than God.  The sin of idolatry was referred to as adultery, breaking the covenant between man and God.  Worshipping anything other than God is spiritual adultery.  If you were actually following God, why would you need a sign when His acts were being performed in front of you.  The Pharisees condemned themselves.  They claimed to be following and worshipping God, yet they couldn’t recognize an act of God when it occurred directly in front of them.  Not only that, they went out of their way to deny it as though they were working for some false god.  God had already given them enough signs and wonders.  To further demand another one was an insult and showed their unfaithfulness.

40  “…so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”
The sign to be given was that Jesus would die on the cross then rise again the third day.  That would prove to anyone and everyone that He was indeed the Messiah.  We mustn’t get hung up on the phrasing of three days and three nights.  Hebrew thought saw it as the same as saying after three days or on the third day.  To count the days, the current day is one, the next day is two, and the following day is three.  Not necessarily three twenty-four hours periods.  In American reckoning, it is the same as saying the day after tomorrow.

45  “…So shall it also be with this wicked generation”
Commentary was good at showing how this fit within the context.  The point of the parable is obvious enough.  We have a demon possessing a man who leaves.  While it is gone, the man cleans himself up, but doesn’t fill himself with anything.  When the spirit returns, it finds everything set in order, but doesn’t encounter any resistance to its repossession.  Therefore, it goes out and gets other demons to join it.  The man’s last state is worse than the first.  The Jews of Jesus’s day had become wicked and adulterous when it came to their relationship with God.  They said they wanted a sign from Jesus to show His divinity.  Jesus knew if He did so, they would have no choice but to act as though they believed, but no true belief would have taken place.  Just like the demon leaving and the man sweeping up and putting all things in order, but not filling the emptiness.  The people acted only on the surface.  They didn’t really accept Christ to fill their own hearts.  Thus once the novelty of any sign wore off, they would return to their old ways.  And having seen the truth and denying it, they would become calloused to it.  Their last state would be worse than the first.

48  “…Who is My mother and who are My brothers”
Commentaries remind us that Jesus meant no disrespect toward His earthly family.  That is clearly shown in other instances.  Appears His mother and brothers came to check on Him.  Other gospels mention that they may have thought Him ill or beside Himself.  Since He had been teaching and preaching for some time, we don’t know if this was a special instance when His family thought Him in more danger than others, or perhaps because He was confronting the Pharisees.  At any rate, He used the opportunity to show His relation to others was based on His purpose.  As He told His mother when He was young, He had come to be about His Father’s business.  His relations now were based on those who believed on Him, including His own physical family.  As He had said before, one must be willing to leave all other ties in order to follow Him.  Hopefully, our earthly family will also choose to follow Christ, but if they don’t, we mustn’t allow that connection to take priority over the one we have with Christ.

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!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Study Notes on Matthew 12:1-21 – 20180105

Bible Study Notes

Matthew 12:2  “…when the Pharisees saw…” Why were the Pharisees there.  It seems they followed Jesus around about as much as His disciples.

2  “…what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath” The fact that they were picking the grain then rubbing it in their hands to break off the . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on Matthew 12:1-21 – 20180105

Bible Study Notes on Matthew 11 – 20180103

Bible Study Notes

Matthew 11:1  “…He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities” After instructing the twelve on their mission and sending them out by twos.  Commentaries vary on the meaning of their cities.  Could be the cities around Galilee or perhaps the ones that the disciples went through.  My . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on Matthew 11 – 20180103

Bible Study Notes on Matthew 10:26-42 – 20171231

Bible Study Notes

Matthew 10:26-27  “…nothing covered that will not be revealed…I tell you in the dark, speak in the light…” I think the idea in verse 27 follows verse 26 more than proceeds to verse 28.  No deceit of man will remain hidden, so there’s no need to fear what man does.  And . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on Matthew 10:26-42 – 20171231

Bible Study Notes on Matthew 10:1-25 – 20171229

Bible Study Notes

Matthew 10:1  “…His twelve disciples…” Jesus had other people following Him, but He had chosen twelve from among them to be with Him always.  And within these, he had something of an inner circle of Peter, James, and John.

1  “…He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out…” . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on Matthew 10:1-25 – 20171229

Bible Study Notes on Matthew 9:18-38 – 20171227

Bible Study Notes

Matthew 9:18  “…a ruler came and worshiped Him…” Religious leader.  Doesn’t specify what he did, but by his actions paid homage to Jesus.

18  “…come and lay Your hand on her and she will live” Statement of faith.  If you come and touch her, she will be made well.  Not as . . . → Read More: Bible Study Notes on Matthew 9:18-38 – 20171227