AMany of you will no doubt note that these are taken from Churchmouse Campanologist‘s series, Forbidden Bible Verses‘.  This is an ongoing project designed to provide you with essential Bible verses about which you might not have been otherwise aware.  Click on the chapter-and-verse links to see the full text and explanation.

The following Bible passages have been excluded from the three-year Lectionary used by many Catholic and Protestant churches around the world.

Do the clergy want to let you understand Holy Scripture in its entirety? You decide.

Joshua 11 – God’s plan, God turns events to His will, battle, promises, victory over enemies, victory against all odds

God tells Joshua he can conquer the northern territories of Canaan, against all odds, in fulfilment of His promise to Moses.

Key verse:

For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.   (Joshua 11:20)

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1 Samuel 15 – punishment

God is soon to punish a disobedient King Saul.

Key verses:

10 Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel: 11 “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the LORD all that night.     (1 Sam. 15:10-11)

27 As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. 28 Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you. 29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.”  (1 Sam. 27-29)

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1 Chronicles 10:1-14 –  punishment, suicide, death

God punishes a disobedient King Saul through a defeat in battle, then suicide.  Saul’s sons also die, and his lineage comes to an end.

Key verses:

3And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him, and he was wounded of the archers.

4Then said Saul to his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

5And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise on the sword, and died.

6So Saul died, and his three sons, and all his house died together.    (1 Chronicles 10:3-6)

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2 Chronicles 7:1-10 – praise

Solomon and his people praise God in thanksgiving for their new temple.

Key verse:

3 All of the people of Israel saw the fire coming down. They saw the glory of the Lord above the temple. So they got down on their knees in the courtyard with their faces toward the ground. They worshiped the Lord. They gave thanks to him. They said, ”He is good. His faithful love continues forever.”                   (2 Chron. 7:3)

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2 Chronicles 7:11-22 – obedience, protection, repentance, chosen people, forgiveness

God tells Solomon that although He now has a mighty temple, the Israelites must obey Him or lose it along with their nation.  An angry God?  No, a God who expects obedience from sinful man.

Key verses:

13 “Suppose I close up the sky and there isn’t any rain. Suppose I command locusts to eat up the crops. And I send a plague among my people. 14 But they make themselves low in my sight. They pray and look to me. And they turn from their evil ways. Then I will listen to them from heaven. I will forgive their sin. And I will heal their land. After all, they are my people.  (2 Chron. 7:13-14)

17 “But you must walk with me, just as your father David did. Do everything I command you to do. Obey my rules and laws.”  (2 Chron. 7:17)

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Psalm 12 – sin, faith, punishment

David wrote this psalm during the reign of Saul when many people were turning away from God towards dishonesty and moral decay.  He pleads for God to punish the evildoers.

Key verse: 6 The words of the LORD are pure words,
Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times.       (Ps. 12:6)

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Psalm 15 – ‘holy hill’, godly living

Who shall see the LORD and be with Him?  Those who ‘do the right thing’.

Key verses:

1 LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?

2 He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart    (Ps. 15:1-2)

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Psalm 60protection

A special teaching lesson for divided and assailed nations and churches.  When we turn to God, He gives us protection.  We have only to ask.

Key verse:  Help us against our enemies. The help people give doesn’t amount to anything. (Ps. 60:11)

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Psalm 109 – revenge, punishment of one’s enemies, Iscariot Psalm, hardship, faith

David asks for God to punish his enemies in a variety of alarming ways.  Only the truly righteous can appeal to God in this way.

Key verse: May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership.  (Ps. 109:8)

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Proverbs 16:1-9 – trust, obedience

When we trust in the Lord to guide us, He will put us on the path of righteousness.  Also, the Lord has made everything for His own purpose, even the wicked.

Key verses:

4The LORD has made everything for its own purpose,
Even the wicked for the day of evil.       (Prov. 16:4)

9The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.       (Prov. 16:9)

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Proverbs 19: 1-7, 8-20, 21-29 – wisdom, obedience, power and influence, raising children, emotional self-control

Key verses:

1 Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse.  2 It is not good to have zeal without knowledge,
nor to be hasty and miss the way.  3 A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the LORD.  (Prov. 19:1-3)

18 Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death. 19 A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.  20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.  (Prov. 19:18-20)

21 Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. 22 What a man desires is unfailing love;
better to be poor than a liar.  23 The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.  (Prov. 19:21-23)

29 Penalties are prepared for mockers,
and beatings for the backs of fools.  (Prov. 19:29)

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Isaiah 40:12-17 — God’s sovereignty, God’s power over Man and Earth

Key verses:

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?  (Is. 40:12)

15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. (Is. 40:15)

17 Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing.  (Is. 40:17)

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Isaiah 40:18-26 — God’s sovereignty, Man unable to fathom God, Man no better than a grasshopper (lower than an ant)

Key verses:

22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers.  He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. 23 He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.  (Is. 40:22-23)

26 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name.  Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.  (Is. 40:26)

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Isaiah 40:27-31 — God’s sovereignty, Man unable to fathom God, God renews our strength

Key verses:

Do you not know? Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  (Is. 40:28)

Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Is. 40:31)

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Jeremiah 6 (first and second posts) — sin, disobedience, God’s punishment

The prophet warns the people of Jerusalem of God’s imminent judgment — the mighty Chaldean invasion – for their greed, unkindness and stubbornness.

Key verses:

13 “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. 14 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious.       ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.”  (Jer. 6:13-14)

16 This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ 17 I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’  But you said, ‘We will not listen.’”  (Jer. 6: 16-17)

30 “They are called rejected silver, because the LORD has rejected them.”  (Jer. 6:30)

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Ezekiel 18:5-24 – sin and death

The generational and personal consequence is explained.  We are responsible for our own sins only, not those of our forefathers. However, the sins of our forefathers can have indirect consequences on our own lives.

Key verse: “But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die.” (Eze. 5:24)

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Hosea 4 – obedience, priests and people

God will punish wilful and persistent disobedience.  Also, if we were better people, we would probably have better priests!

Key verse: 9 And it will be: Like people, like priests.
I will punish both of them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.   (Hosea 4:9)

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Hosea 13 – idolatry, obedience, punishment

About the Ephraimites who, in their self-confidence and good fortune, turn from God to idolatry.  God prepares to punish them.

Key verses:

9O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.

10I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes?  (Hosea 13:9-10)

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Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 – King Solomon, vanity, history, ‘nothing new under the sun’, forgetting, remembrance

From King Solomon, who, having fallen into sin and repented, instructs his people on what to avoid.

Key verses:

2Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.  (Eccl. 1:2)

9The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

10Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.  (Eccl. 1:9-10)

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Matthew 1:1-17 – Jesus’s genealogy

Matthew demonstrates that Jesus’s genealogy from Abraham, our father in faith,through King David and other famous people in the Old Testament — saints and sinners — establishes Him as the Messiah, as Scripture prophesied.

Key verse:

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1)

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Matthew 4:24-25 – Jesus, miracles, healing, preaching, Gentile, Jew

Jesus’s name spreads from Galilee to Gentile lands, including Syria.

This post also explains why Jesus settled in the Galilean town of Capernaum and why the area was a trading post for faraway lands.

Key verse:

24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.  (Matthew 4:24)

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Matthew 5:25-26 – Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, anger, sin, holding grudges, improper worship because of interpersonal conflict

Our Lord exhorts us to make peace with each other before coming before God. Otherwise, He might judge us adversely for eternity. This also holds true for our Sunday worship.

Also see Luke 12:57-59 for a parallel passage.

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Matthew 5:31-32 – Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, adultery, divorce, marriage

Jesus warns against divorce, which often results in adultery.

Also see Mark 10:10-12 and Luke 16:18.

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Matthew 6:7-15 – Sermon on the Mount, Lord’s Prayer, Jesus, prayer

Our Lord tells us how to pray.

Also find out about the Greek origins of the word ‘barbarian’ from ‘barbaros’!

Key verses:

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.                                (Matthew 6:7-8)

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.                                                           (Matthew 6:45-15)

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Matthew 6:22-23 – Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, the eye lamp of the body

Our eyesight leads us to spiritual health. If we see objects and money, we will choose them over grace and communion with our Lord.

This post also explains the meaning of ‘single’ in the KJV and how poor spirituality was a metaphor for the Pharisees’ failings.

We also find out that ‘evil eye’ in Jesus’s day was not a curse but an ancient sign of stinginess.

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Matthew 7:1-6 – Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, judging others, pearls before swine

Our Lord says that we will be judged by the measure in which we judge others.

Key verses:

2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.  (Matthew 7:2)

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.  (Matthew 7:5)

“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.  (Matthew 7:6)

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Matthew 7:7-11 – Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, ask and you shall receive

Our Lord tells us that if we ask, seek and knock, God will respond to our needs if they are in accordance with His will.

Key verses:

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  (Matthew 7:8)

11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!  (Matthew 7:11)

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Matthew 7:12-14 – Sermon on the Mount, Golden Rule, Jesus, enter by the narrow gate, wide gate leads to destruction

Jesus gives His audience hard teachings in the Sermon on the Mount about how we are to treat each other (as God is forgiving of our shortcomings) and advises us that few enter by the narrow gate. We are not to follow the herd. Salvation is also individual, not a group effort.

Key verse:

14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.   (Matthew 7:14)

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Matthew 7:15-20 – Sermon on the Mount, prophets, sheep’s clothing, ravenous wolves, pastors, clergy, a tree and its fruit

Jesus tells the crowd that we will know a prophet by his fruits — life, teaching and faith. Some wolves disguise themselves as shepherds; their flocks are at spiritual risk, as are they.

Key verses:

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  (Matthew 7:15)

18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.  (Matthew 7:18-20)

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Matthew 7:28-29 – Sermon on the Mount (conclusion), Jesus, astonishment, authority

Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount with authority, which astonished His audience.

It is important to note that most analysed the sermon and few were converted, because He was a Man (or, human to their eyes), just like they were.

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Matthew 8:1-4 – Jesus, creative miracle, leper

After the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus cleansed a leper.

Also see Luke 5:12-16 and Mark 1:40-45 for two other accounts.

Read more about the structure of the first 13 chapters of Matthew.

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Matthew 8:5-13 – Jesus, creative miracle, centurion, faith, humility

The centurion’s faith and humility impress Jesus, who heals the man’s servant from a distance.

The parallel passage is Luke 7:1-10.

Key verses:

10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel[b] have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  (Matthew 8:10-12)

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Matthew 8:14-17 – creative miracles, Jesus, Peter’s mother-in-law

Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law of fever in time for Sabbath lunch then goes on to rid others of demons and cure people of diseases.

Parallel passages are Mark 1:29-34 — part of the three-year Lectionary readings — as well as Luke 4:38-39 and Luke 4:40-41, which are not.

Key verse:

17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”  (Matthew 8:17)

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Matthew 8:18-22 – scribe, young man, potential false followers of Jesus, let the dead bury their own dead

Our Lord turns away two men who think they wish to become His disciples.

This post provides John MacArthur’s enlightening explanation of what ‘I must bury my father’ means. An heir says this in order to be able to stay close to home in order to collect his inheritance. It is still used in some Middle Eastern cultures. Understanding this expression clarifies the passage. Jesus knew this young man’s priorities were elsewhere.

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Matthew 8:23-27 – Jesus, storm, miracle, Sea of Galilee, faith

Jesus calms a storm on the Sea of Galilee, which is more of a lake but with similar violent tempests. He asks His disciples about their faith when they approached Him in fear of their lives. They, in turn, wonder about His marvellous power to rebuke a storm.

Key verses:

26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marvelled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”  (Matthew 8:26-27)

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Matthew 8:28-34 – Gadarene swine, miracle, demons, Jesus

Jesus delivers two men from demons, which then inhabit the Gadarene swine. The swine, overpowered by the demons, run off the cliff into the Sea of Galilee. The local people were afraid of Jesus’s power and asked Him to leave forthwith. According to John MacArthur this was the first rejection of Jesus by the people.

For parallel accounts, but with one man instead of two, read Mark 5:1-20 and Luke 8:26-33 and Luke 8:34-39.

Key verses:

33 The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.  (Matthew 8:33-34)

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Matthew 9:1-8 – healing miracle, creative miracle, paralytic, sin, Jesus

Our Lord heals a paralytic, saying that his sins are forgiven. Not surprisingly, the scribes present accuse Him of blasphemy.

Parallel passages for this account can be found in Luke 5:17-26 and Mark 2:1-12, the latter of which is in the three-year Lectionary.

Key verses:

2 Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. (Matthew 9:2, KJV)

For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. (Matthew 9:5-7, ESV)

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Matthew 9:14-17 – fasting, Pharisees, John the Baptist’s followers, legalism, new wine, new wineskins

Jesus speaks out against fasting the way John the Baptist’s followers and the Pharisees did it — twice a week.

Also see a fuller explanation of this in my discussion of Luke 5:33-39. There is also the three-year Lectionary reading of Mark 2:18-22.

Key verses:

16 [”]No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. 17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:16-17)

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Matthew 9:18-26 – Jesus, miracles, Jairus’s daughter, death, sleep, woman with blood issue, resurrection, healing

Jesus heals a woman who has been bleeding for 12 years and resurrects the 12-year-old daughter of Jairus, the leader of the Capernaum synagogue. The number 12 is one of the biblically perfect numbers which might have a significance in these two miracles which occur at approximately the same time.

Accounts of the same miracles appear in the Gospels of Mark (Mark 5:21-34, Mark 5:35-43) and Luke (Luke 8:40-48 and Luke 8:49-56).

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Matthew 9:27-31 – Jesus, miracles, two blind men, physical blindness, spiritual blindness, faith, Capernaum

Jesus restores the sight of two blind men in Capernaum as He returns to rest after healing Jairus’s daughter and the woman with the 12-year blood flow. This miracle also relates to spiritual blindness and our Lord’s yearning for the two men to be brought to faith and life everlasting.

This post also includes the reasons for rampant congenital and near-congenital blindness in Israel: venereal disease, bacteria and excessive sunlight or heat.

Key verse:

28 When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.”  (Matthew 9:28)

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Matthew 9:32-34 – Jesus, miracle, healing, deaf mute, demon possession, Pharisees, disbelief

After healing the two blind men in Capernaum, Jesus heals a deaf mute possessed by demons. However, the Pharisees accuse Him of being in league with the devil.

The parallel account is in Luke 11:14-23.

Key verse:

34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”  (Matthew 9:34)

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Matthew 11:1 – Jesus, the Apostles

After Jesus sent the Apostles out for a short time — equipped with His gifts for teaching, preaching and healing — He continued to go about His ministry in Galilee.

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Matthew 11:12-15 – Jesus, John the Baptist, kingdom of heaven, violence

Jesus tells John the Baptist’s followers that he is as great as the prophet Elijah. Furthermore, God’s people were taking the heavenly kingdom by force, meaning that although the Jewish hierarchy held themselves apart from John’s and Jesus’s ministries, many in Israel — Jew and Gentile alike — were becoming baptised and embracing repentance. These were two signs of the Church to come.

A parallel account can be found in Luke 7:18-23 and Luke 7:24-30.

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Matthew 11:16-19 – Jesus, John the Baptist, children in the marketplace

Jesus compares those who deride Him and John the Baptist — ‘this generation’ — to children in the marketplace who find fault with their playmates’ games.

A parallel account is in Luke 7:31-35.

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Matthew 11:20-24 – Jesus, unbelief, condemnation of cities — Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum

Our Lord condemns the unbelief and indifference to His ministry in Capernaum and the surrounding towns of Chorazin and Bethsaida.

The parallel account is in Luke 10:13-15. This Bethsaida is unrelated to the Bethsaida — Bethesda of the healing pool — in John 5.

Key verses:

21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.   (Matthew 11:21-23)

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Matthew 12:1-8 – Jesus, Pharisees, working on the Sabbath, grain

Jesus explains that, by picking grain — corn, in later translations — His disciples are not violating Sabbatarian laws and declares that He is the Lord of the Sabbath.

Key verse:

5And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”  (Matthew 12:5)

Also see parallel accounts in Luke 6:1-5 and Mark 2:23-28  — the latter to be read in the three-year Lectionary, but wasn’t in 2014 (Year B, 4th Sunday after Pentecost).

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Matthew 12:9-14 – Jesus, miracles, healing miracles, withered hand

Jesus heals a man’s withering hand in the synagogue. The Pharisees watched and asked Him if it was legal to heal on the Sabbath.

St Jerome found evidence in the Hebrew Bible used by the ancient Nazarenes and Ebionites that the man had been a bricklayer and did not like having to beg.

Parallel accounts are found in Mark 3:1-6 and Luke 6:6-11.

Key verses:

11 He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”  (Matthew 12:11-12)

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Matthew 12:15-21 – Jesus, Isaiah, prophecy of the Messiah, Gentiles

Via Isaiah 42:1-3, Matthew explains to a Jewish readership how and why Jesus is the Messiah.

Jesus left the place where He healed the man’s withered hand. He healed many people immediately afterwards but told them not to speak of Him, most likely in order not to aggravate His situation with the Pharisees who wanted to ‘destroy’ (Matthew’s word) Him.

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Matthew 12:22-32 – Jesus, Pharisees, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit unforgiveable

Jesus tells the Pharisees that they can deride Him, however, when they said that He works through the power of Satan, they blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, and that is unforgiveable.

The parallel verses about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit resulting in eternal condemnation are  Luke 12:8-10.

Key verses:

30 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.  (Matthew 12:30-32)

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Matthew 12:33-37 – Jesus, Pharisees, a tree is known by its fruit

Jesus says that, in the way a tree is known by its fruit, the mouth will reveal the heart.

Key verses:

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.   (Matthew 12:33-34)

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Matthew 12:38-42 – Jesus, Pharisees, scribes, sign, sign of Jonah

Jesus says He will give no special sign to the Pharisees. They should expect a sign of Jonah — three days — referring to His impending death and resurrection.

Key verse:

39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.   (Matthew 12:39)

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Matthew 12:43-45 – Jesus, parable, unclean spirit, demons, Pharisees

Jesus directs this parable of the unclean spirit at the Pharisees. The lesson is to avoid morality and legalism and seek our Lord instead. The Pharisees considered themselves above reproach, yet their hardness of heart drove them to have Him sentenced to death, their long-awaited Messiah, whom they should have recognised.

The parallel passage is Luke 11:24-26.

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Matthew 12:46-50 – Jesus, Mary, brothers, step-brothers, disciples

Mary and Jesus’s step-brothers ask to speak to Him when He is teaching.

Parallel verses are found in Mark 3:31-35 and Luke 8:19-21.

Key verses:

49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:49-50)

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Matthew 13:10-17 – parables, Jesus, Isaiah, judicial blindness, faith, grace, judgement

Jesus cites Isaiah 6:9-10 in explaining why He uses parables and why continuing disbelief leads to less divine grace — and less faith.

The parallel verses for this reading, although in slightly different context, are found in John 12:39-41.

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Matthew 13:50-53 – Jesus, hell, compliments to disciples, end of Parable of the Net

Our Lord tells the disciples that hell is a fiery furnace with ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’. He then checks to see if they have understood His many parables, intended for them. He compliments them, comparing them to scribes and masters of houses.

Key verse:

50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:20)

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Matthew 14:1-12 – the death of John the Baptist, Herod, Herodias, Herodias’s daughter (Salome)

The parallel passage, albeit more detailed, is in Mark 6:14-20 and Mark 6:21-29.

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Matthew 14:34-36 – Jesus, healing miracles, creative miracles, Gennesaret

Jesus and the disciples visit Gennesaret a second time. This was where He healed the woman of the 12-year blood flow.

This post describes Gennesaret and aspects of Jesus’s visits there.

Key verses:

35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36 and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.   (Matthew 14:35-36)

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Matthew 15:1-9 — Jesus, Pharisees and scribes, disciples, hand washing

The Pharisees and scribes (those who compiled the Law and its interpretations) accuse Jesus of wrongdoing in not prescribing His disciples to wash their hands before eating. Jesus accuses them of breaking the God-given commandment of dishonouring their parents in allowing Jews to give their money and estates to the temple instead of providing for their parents.

Key verses:

But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,”[a] he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word[b] of God.  (Matthew 15:5-6)

The parallel passage is in Mark 7:9-13, about which I wrote in 2010.

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Matthew 15:10-20 – Jesus on what defiles a person, ritual cleansing no longer necessary

Jesus explains that ritual cleansing is no longer necessary.

Key verses:

17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled?[b] 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”  (Matthew 15:17-20)

See parallel verse — stronger, as it pertains to food, including meat — in Mark 7:17-20.

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Matthew 15:29-31 – Jesus, Gentiles, healing miracles, creative miracles, Decapolis

Jesus leaves the Jews for the Gentiles in Decapolis, ten free cities under Greek rule and Syrian supervision, not far from Gadara where the Gadarene swine miracle took place. Our Lord works countless miracles over three days in Decapolis. The pagans praise the God of Israel.

These Gentiles knew who Jesus was, because Matthew 4:24-25 tells us that His fame had spread as far away as Syria.

Key verses:

30 And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, 31 so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.   (Matthew 15:30-31)

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Matthew 15:32-39 – Jesus, miracle, Feeding of the Four Thousand, Feeding of the 4,000, Gentiles

After healing countless Gentiles in the Decapolis, Jesus performs a creative miracle and feeds the 4,000 men and thousands more women and children before they return home after three days.

The parallel account is Mark 8:1-10, also excluded from the three-year Lectionary.

Key verse:

32 Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”  (Matthew 15:32)

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Matthew 16:1-12 – seeking signs, testing Jesus, false teachings, questioning faith through logic

The Pharisees and the Sadducees test Jesus, asking Him to show signs from heaven.

This post also explains the use of ‘adulterous’ in this context.

The parallel reading is Mark 8:11-13.

Key verses:

4 ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.’ So he left them and departed. (Matthew 16:4)

11′How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’  (Matthew 16:11)

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Matthew 16:28 – Jesus, witnesses to His glory and majesty before their death

Like Simeon, some of Jesus’s followers would not die until, as He said, they saw ‘the Son of Man coming in His kingdom’. John, Peter, James, Simeon and some others saw it. Some, but not all.

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Matthew 17:10-13 – The Transfiguration, Jesus, Peter, James and John, Elijah, John the Baptist

After His Transfiguration, Jesus explained that, as the Old Testament prophets said, Elijah would come again to prefigure the Messiah (he appeared to the three aforementioned apostles) and that John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah. He also alluded to the fact that, as no one recognised John the Baptist as the last prophet, people did to him as they pleased — as they would to Jesus Himself. By that time, Herod had already had John the Baptist beheaded at stepdaughter Salome’s request.

Key verse:

12 But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.”  (Matthew 17:12)

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Matthew 17:14-20 – Jesus, miracle, healing miracle, creative miracle, epileptic boy with demon, faith, faith the size of a mustard seed, apostles given powers to heal, moving mountains

Jesus heals a boy afflicted with epilepsy and a demon which afflict him with grand mal. The nine apostles who were among the people while Peter, James and John witnessed the Transfiguration could not heal the boy, causing a great commotion amongst the crowd, which included some of the Jewish leaders.

Key verses:

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”[d(Matthew 17:19-20)

Parallel verses are Luke 9:37-43 and Mark 9:14-29. The latter is included in the three-year Lectionary for public worship.

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Matthew 17:22-23 – Jesus, disciples, death and resurrection

For a second time, Jesus tells the disciples of His death and resurrection.

Jesus’s previous mention in this gospel is in Matthew 16:21-23. The third mention is in Matthew 20:17-19.

A more subtle one is in Matthew 17:10-13.

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Matthew 17:24-27 – temple tax, Jesus, Peter, miracle

The temple tax collectors ask if Jesus pays it. Peter replies in the affirmative. Jesus, although not obliged to pay it, does so, via a fish which has a shekel in its mouth. Peter will fish for it, and it will be the first catch. The shekel pays for both Jesus’s and Peter’s temple tax.

Key verse:

27 However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel.[a] Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”     (Matthew 17:27)

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Matthew 18:1-4 – Jesus, apostles, disciples, child, humility, who is the greatest?

Jesus attempts to turn His disciples away from pride by using a child as an example of humility.

Key verse:

Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:4)

Parallel passages are Luke 9:46-48 and Mark 9:33-37, which is in the three-year Lectionary.

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Matthew 18:5-6 – Jesus, believers as God’s children, sin

Jesus says that whoever receives the children of God receives Him. Those who cause believers to sin would be better off with a millstone around their necks and thrust into the sea rather than face divine punishment.

Parallel passages are Luke 9:46-48 and Mark 9:33-37. The latter is in the three-year Lectionary

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Matthew 18:7-9 – Jesus, sin, temptation, cutting off limbs, hell

Jesus warns that those who fall into sin — as the fallen world is prone to temptation — should remove themselves as far from that temptation, otherwise it would be better if they had amputated a limb or removed an eye. This is a metaphor: He suggested removing ourselves from temptation, not removing a body part. Ultimately, we must avoid sin at all costs.

Parallel passages are Luke 9:46-48 and Mark 9:33-37. The latter is in the three-year Lectionary.

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Matthew 18:10-14 – Jesus, Parable of the Lost Sheep, clergy towards believers, angels

Jesus instructs the disciples on how to behave towards converts, as shepherds guarding all of their flock. It is God the Father’s will.

This is also an argument against guardian angels, explained in the post.

The parallel passage is Luke 15:4-7. However, it should be noted that Luke’s passage relates to unbelievers. Matthew’s concerns the faithful.

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Matthew 19:1-2 – Jesus, Galilee, Jerusalem, Judea, Perea, Gentiles

Our Lord finishes His ministry in Galilee. Although He returns there, it is en route to other destinations. He went to Judea ‘beyond the Jordan’, meaning the region called Perea. The word peran means ‘beyond’.

The parallel verse is Mark 10:1, which I wrote about in 2012. The only difference is that Mark used the word ‘taught’ and Matthew ‘healed’.

Another notable passage is Matthew 4:24-25, which records that Jesus’s incredible reputation had spread as far as Syria, very early on.

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Matthew 19:3-6 – marriage, divorce, Adam and Eve, Jesus, Pharisees, Judea, Perea

In Perea, the Pharisees attempt to trap Jesus by asking Him whether divorce was allowed for any reason whatsoever. Jesus reminds them of Adam and Eve, two people intended for each other, Eve fashioned from Adam and the two reunited as one.

Key verse:

6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:6)

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Matthew 19:7-9 – Jesus, marriage, divorce, Pharisees, adultery, Moses, hardness of heart

Jesus reinforces that, whilst divorce might be in limited cases a necessary allowance to mankind, it was certainly no commandment to the Pharisees, who freely divorced their wives.

Parallel passages for today’s verses are Matthew 5:31-32, Mark 10:10-12 and Luke 16:18.

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Matthew 19:10-12 – Jesus, marriage, celibacy

When the disciples say that being celibate is better than marriage, Jesus counters them by saying that not all are fit for celibacy. Jesus then goes into a separation of types of eunuchs: those who were so from birth because of congenital malformations, those who suffered at the hands of another man in forcible castration and, finally, those who abstain from sexual relations (not really eunuchs) for the glory of God for the rest of their lives. That said, He observes that not many people can live according to that last circumstance and wish.

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Matthew 19:13-15 – children, blessing of children, Jesus, Jesus angry at disciples

After ending His lesson on divorce and marriage, Jesus rebukes the disciples for trying to dismiss adults coming with their children — babies — to be blessed by Him.

Key verse:

14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”   (Matthew 19:14)

The two parallel accounts are Mark 10:13-16 and Luke 18:15-17. Note that none of the three is in the three-year Lectionary used in public worship.

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Matthew 19:16-22 – Jesus, the rich young man, eternal life, sin, repentance, works, commandments, temptation, materialism

A rich young man from Perea, probably a synagogue leader or perhaps a magistrate, asks Jesus what he needs to do to attain eternal life.

Key verses:

21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.  (Matthew 19:21-22)

Parallel accounts can be found in Luke 18:18-23 and Mark 10:17-22. Mark’s version is in the three-year Lectionary. Follow the Luke 18 link to discover more about the young man’s possible reluctance to sell his goods.

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Matthew 19:23-30 – Jesus teaches on the rich young man, camel and the eye of the needle, the Second Coming, the first will be last and the last first

Jesus explains His encounter with the rich young man to the disciples and offers a view to what happens after His Second Coming in glory.

Key verses:

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world,[a] when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold[b] and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.  (Matthew 19:28:30)

The parallel accounts are in Luke 18:24-30 and Mark 10:23-31. Mark’s version is in the three-year Lectionary.

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Matthew 20:17-19 – Jesus, suffering and death, Apostles, twelve disciples

Jesus foretells His death a third time.

The two previous accounts in Matthew are are Matthew 16:21-23 and Matthew 17:22-23.

However, Jesus also alluded to His suffering more subtly in Matthew 17:10-13, after the Transfiguration.

The direct parallel verse for today’s reading is Mark 10:32-34, about which I wrote in 2012.

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Matthew 20:29-34 – Jesus, two blind men, healing miracle, creative miracle

Jesus healed two blind men in Jericho who went on to follow Him as disciples.

Key verses:

32 And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” 33 They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” 34 And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.   (Matthew 20:32-34)

This is the story of Bartimaeus. Mark and Luke speak of him only. Matthew includes his friend.

Parallel versions are Luke 18:35-43 and Mark 10:46-52. Mark’s is in the three-year Lectionary.

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Matthew 21:12-13 – Jesus, Passover, Jerusalem, cleansing of the temple, God’s house, Holy Week

Jesus cleanses the temple early in His final Passover week.

Key verse:

13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”  (Matthew 21:13)

Parallel accounts are Luke 19:45-46 and Mark 11:15-19, which is in the three-year Lectionary for public worship.

John 2:13-17 occurred when He began teaching and healing. These two cleansings bookend His earthly ministry.

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Matthew 21:14-17 – Jesus, temple, miracles, healing blind and lame, children singing ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’, Holy Week

After Jesus cleansed the temple for a second time, He went to restore it to its place as a house of God, to glorify His Father. He accomplished this through healing the blind and the lame in the temple premises. While the nearby children sang His praises, the chief priests and scribes became angry. In response to them, Jesus cited Psalm 8:2.

Key verse:

16 and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,

“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies
    you have prepared praise’?”   (Matthew 21:16)

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Matthew 21:18-22 – fig tree, Jesus, curse, doubt, fruit, faith, Holy Week

On His way from Bethany to Jerusalem, Jesus cursed the fig tree for bearing no fruit.

This is also an allegory for the Jews of His day who had divine judgement passed on them with the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. The post gives more details.

Jesus also gives an important lesson on faith, telling us not to doubt.

Key verses:

21 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:21-22)

The parallel account for this reading is found in Mark 11:12-14.

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Matthew 21:23-27 – Jesus, chief priests, elders, authority, Holy Week

The religious authorities ask Jesus where He received the authority to preach and to heal.

The parallel versions of this account are found in Mark 11:27-33, about which I wrote in 2012, and Luke 20:1-8, discussed in 2014.

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Matthew 21:44-46 – Jesus, condemnation, chief priests, Pharisees, Holy Week

The Jewish leaders knew Jesus was condemning them. However, they feared the crowds, not Him or God’s wrath.

Key verse:

44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”[e]   (Matthew 21:44)

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Matthew 22:23-33 – Jesus, Sadducees, resurrection, afterlife, widowhood, children, remarriage, Holy Week

During the middle of Jesus’s last Passover week — what we remember as Holy Week — He gave the Sadducees answers about the living God, the afterlife and the marital state therein.

We know how the Sadducees got their name from Matthew Henry (emphases mine):

These heretics were called Sadducees from one Sadoc, a disciple of Antigonus Sochæus, who flourished about two hundred and eighty-four years before our Saviour’s birth. They lie under heavy censures among the writers of their own nation, as men of base and debauched conversations, which their principles led them to. As the Pharisees and Essenes seemed to follow Plato and Pythagoras, so the Sadducees were much of the genius of the Epicureans

Key verses:

29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching. (Matthew 22:29-33)

The two parallel accounts of this exchange are Mark 12:18-27, about which I wrote in 2013 and Luke 20:27-38, which is included in the three-year Lectionary.

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Matthew 23:13-15 – Jesus, seven woes, scribes and Pharisees, judgement, condemnation

Jesus pronounces the first of the seven woes against the scribes and Pharisees, whom He terms ‘hypocrites’. In other translations of the Bible, there are eight woes to counteract the eight Beatitudes, as per Matthew Henry (cited in the post).

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Matthew 23:16-19 – Jesus, seven woes, scribes and Pharisees, judgement, condemnation, Corban

Jesus pronounces the second of the seven woes against the scribes and Pharisees. Instead of calling them ‘hypocrites’ (see first woe in previous entry), he calls them ‘blind guides’ and ‘fools’ for placing priority on an oath — sometimes done for personal convenience — on gifts or gold (both of which were Corban, ‘given to God’) over a) God’s Commandments, b) God’s law and c) an oath sworn by the temple (with no gift).

Key verse:

19 You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? (Matthew 23:19)

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Matthew 23:20-22 – Jesus, seven woes, scribes and Pharisees, judgement, condemnation, oaths, promises, the holy Name, kingdom of heaven

These three verses conclude Matthew 23:16-19 and explain why swearing an oath is generally wrong. Whether swearing an oath on something manmade or something heavenly, God is involved — directly or indirectly.

However sinful, though, once one makes an oath, one is required to fulfil it. Otherwise, God’s condemnation will be heavier.

This also applies to making promises.

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Matthew 23:23-24 – tithing, scribes, Pharisees, Jesus, judgement

In Jesus’s fourth woe to the scribes and Pharisees, He passed judgement on them for placing more value on how much mint, dill and cumin to tithe than on justice, mercy — and faithfulness to God.

Key verse:

You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!  (Matthew 23:24)

The parallel verse for Matthew 23:23 is Luke 11:42:

But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

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Matthew 23:25-26 – hypocrites, scribes, Pharisees, cup and plate, purity, Jesus

Jesus condemns the scribes and Pharisees for their outward cleanliness and filthy inwardness, using an analogy of a cup and plate: clean on the outside, dirty on the inside. He was referring to their extortion racket in the temple. You can read more about that in the third woe (here and here). The lesson is to have a pure heart — interior — so that the exterior will also be pure.

Key verse:

26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. (Matthew 23:26)

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Matthew 23:27-28 – Jesus, scribes and Pharisees, whitewashed sepulchres

Jesus compares the scribes and Pharisees to whitewashed sepulchres — tombs. They appear pure and clean on the outside, but are full of sin within. This is the sixth of the seventh woes — judgements — He pronounced upon them.

Key verse:

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. (Matthew 23:27)

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Matthew 23:29-33 – Jesus, scribes and Pharisees, serpents, brood of vipers, hell

Jesus pronounced the seventh and final woe — judgement, condemnation — on the scribes and Pharisees who continued the egregious legacy of sin from their forefathers: killing prophets and, now, the Messiah, whom the prophets foretold.

Key verses:

32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?  (Matthew 23:32-33)

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Matthew 24:1-36false Messiahs, war, natural disaster, end of the world, Second Coming

Jesus tells us to expect war and natural disasters, which must occur before the end of the world.  However, He tells us not to be troubled by them. He also warns us against false Christs, by whom many will be deceived. Also see Mark 13.

Key verses:

5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.  (Matthew 24:5-7)

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Matthew 26:6-13 – Jesus, Mary (sister of Martha and Lazarus), precious ointment, alabaster flask, materialism

Jesus takes issue with the disciples who were indignant when ‘a woman’ (Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus) anoints Him with a flask of very expensive ointment at dinner.

Key verses:

11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12 In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”  (Matthew 26:11-13)

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Matthew 26:30-35 – Jesus, Peter, Apostles, Maundy Thursday, Garden of Gethsemane, temptation, denial, Satan, Holy Week

Jesus foretells Peter’s denial, which he refuted, mistaking his own strength of faith. The apostles also affirmed their allegiance to Jesus, but they, too, with the exception of John, would desert him for the next few days.

Key verses:

34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.  (Matthew 26:34-35)

Parallel verses for this reading are found in Mark 14:26-31.

Parallel verses for Matthew 26:34 are found in Mark 14:30, Luke 22:34 and John 13:38. Note that the links I have supplied are all from my Forbidden Bible Verses series. This means they do not appear in the three-year Lectionary. More’s the pity, because they teach us Christians a valuable lesson. Never boast about your faith!

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Mark 2:13-17 — Levi, Matthew, Jesus, Scribes, Pharisees, sinners

Jesus calls Levi — Matthew — to become one of His Twelve Apostles.

Includes a detailed explanation of the Jews’ objection to tax collectors like Matthew.

Key verses:

16And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”  (Mark 2:16-17)

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Matthew 26:26-29 – Jesus, Last Supper, Judas, Holy Communion, sacraments

Jesus pronounced the words of consecration still used today over the elements of the Last Supper, in memory of His Body and Blood. He thereby instituted the Supper as a sacrament for us to receive for the nourishment and health of our souls unto everlasting life.

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Mark 3:1-6 — withered hand, Pharisees, Herodians, healing, Sabbath

Jesus heals a man’s withered hand and questions the Pharisees about what exactly is lawful on the Sabbath.

Parallel accounts are Matthew 12:9-14 and Luke 6:6-11.

Key verses:

4And he said to them,  “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. (Mark 3:4-5)

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Mark 3:7-12 – Sea of Galilee, demons, demons falling down, Jesus’s healing, illness

Jesus heals many sick people at the Sea of Galilee, including some with demons. The demons know that He is the Son of God; the people do not.

This post also reviews how Jesus knew when to escape a situation, including many examples from John’s Gospel. It also explains why Jesus ordered the demons to stay silent.

Key verses:

11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.  (Mark 3:11-12)

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Mark 3:13-19 – Apostles, mountain

Jesus appoints His Twelve Apostles.

This post contains details about the Twelve Apostles, including their deaths.

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Mark 4:1-9 – Sea of Galilee, parable of the sower

Jesus relates to the crowd the parable of the sower.

Key verses:

8And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9And he said,  “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:8-9)

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Mark 4:10-20 – Parable of the sower

Jesus explains the parable of the sower to His disciples and Apostles. The key verse below is not in Matthew or Luke’s accounts.

Key verse:

13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?    (Mark 4:13)

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Mark 4:21-25 – parable of the lamp under a basket, good example, fruits of faith

Jesus recounts the parable of a lamp under a basket.

Key verses:

22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. (Mark 4:22)

25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”  (Mark 4:25)

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Mark 5:21-34 – introduction to Jairus and his daughter, healing the woman with blood loss, daughter

Jesus meets Jairus and heals a woman with a 12-year blood loss.

This is the only place in the New Testament where Jesus addresses a woman as ‘daughter’. Note the personal relationship that Jesus has with those whom He heals.

Key verses:

30And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?”  (Mark 5:30)

34And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” (Mark 5:34)

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Mark 5:35-43 – Jesus raises Jairus’s daughter from the dead, death as sleep, do not fear, only believe

As with the woman with the hemorrhage, Jesus has a personal, compassionate relationship with Jairus’s daughter addressing her affectionately.

Key verses:

36But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”   (Mark 5:36)

41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”  (Mark 5:41)

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Mark 6:14-20 — John the Baptist, Herod, Herodias, Jesus’s identity and Herod

St Mark tells us that Herod thought that John the Baptist had been resurrected as Jesus. This passage begins the flashback to the death of John the Baptist.

Key verses:

19And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.  (Mark 6:19-20)

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Mark 6:21-29 – John the Baptist, beheading, Herod, Herodias, Salome

St Mark recounts the beheading of St John the Baptist, wherein Herod grants his niece her wish on his birthday.

Key verses:

23And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”  (Mark 6:23-25)

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Mark 6:53-56 – aftermath of the Miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes, healing, miracles

This entry includes a discourse of the miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes along with what happened next — Jesus’s disciples turning away from Him.

There are two verses worth remembering when evangelising to Muslims: Matthew 14:33 and John 6:69 where people recognise and name Jesus as the ‘Holy One of God’ and the ‘Son of God’.

This passage also includes an illustrative example of the Lutheran and Calvinist theological principle of common grace.

Key verse:

56And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.   (Mark 6:56)

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Mark 7, selected verses — the error of manmade tradition, all food is clean, vegetarianism, sin defiles man — not food, Corban

Key verses:

11But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”‘ (that is, given to God)— 12then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” (Mark 7:11-13)

16If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.  (Mark 7:16 — KJV, NKJV)

18 “… Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20And he said, ”What comes out of a person is what defiles him.” (Mark 7:18-20)

For the last passage, see the parallel verses in Matthew 15:10-20, especially verses 17 to 20.

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Mark 8:1-10 – Miracle of feeding the four thousand with loaves and fishes, Gentiles

Jesus feeds at least 4,000 Gentiles with a small number of loaves and fishes.

The parallel account is Matthew 15:32-39, also excluded from the three-year Lectionary.

Key verses:

2 “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. 3And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.”  (Mark 8:2-3)

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Mark 8:11-13 – Jesus, Pharisees, sighing, signs, unbelief

Jesus ends His ministry in Galilee after a confrontation with the Pharisees.

This post also compares a similar version from Matthew 16:1-12, featuring the Sadducees. Note John 12:35-36 in the post, discussing Jesus’s desertion of His ministry in Jerusalem.

Key verse:

12And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”  (Mark 8:12)

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Mark 8:14-21 – bread, spiritual darkness, unbelief, hardened hearts, faith, leaven, Pharisees, Herodians

Jesus rebukes His disciples for lamenting the lack of bread and draws a larger picture about stubborn unbelief.

This passage also includes insight into the unbelief in Bethsaida and Capernaum, despite Jesus’s presence there.

Key verses:

17And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” (Mark 8:17-19)

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Mark 8:22-26 – healing a blind man, physical blindness, miracle, perfect healing, spiritual blindness, Bethsaida, unbelief

Jesus heals a blind man near Bethsaida.

This post also discusses a similar two-part healing of blindness from John 9, wherein Jesus said that ministry must be accomplished during the day, when there is light. Furthermore, there is a discussion about the condemnation that will befall Bethsaida and Capernaum, two towns where Jesus’s ministry was most prevalent and, yet, people refused to repent.

Key verses:

23And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24And he looked up and said, “I see men, but they look like trees, walking.” 25Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.  (Mark 8:23-25)

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Mark 9:1, 9-13 – Transfiguration, heaven, afterlife, Elijah, Elias

Key verse:

1 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

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Mark 9:49-50 – salt, the Christian life, Hell, eternal life

Jesus tells His disciples about the importance of salt in determining eternal life or condemnation.

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Mark 10:1, 10-12 – marriage, divorce, Mosaic law, Judea

Jesus challenges — and answers — the Pharisees on marriage and divorce, as per their provocations.

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Mark 10:13-16 – children, Kingdom of God

Jesus rebukes His disciples for preventing children coming to Him.

This post also includes a discussion on child Baptism — pros and cons — as well as an adult approach to God and Scripture.

The two parallel accounts are Matthew 19:13-15 and Luke 18:15-17. Note that none of the three is in the three-year Lectionary used in public worship.

Key verse:

Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. (Mark 10:15)

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Mark 10:32-34 – Jesus foretells His death a third time

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus explains how His final days will unfold.

Key verse:

“… And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” (Mark 10:34)

The direct parallel for this passage is Matthew 20:17-19.

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Mark 11:12-14 – Jesus, fig tree, fruit, faith

Jesus, hungry, curses the fig tree which has many leaves but no fruit. (Fig trees bear fruit before they bear leaves.)

This story is a precursor to the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem in 70 AD but also has a message for us today about bearing the fruits of our faith.

This post has details of the history of the temples of Jerusalem.

The parallel account is in Matthew 21:18-22.

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Mark 11:20-25 – Jesus and the fig tree, Peter’s surprise, prayer, forgiveness

Jesus explains the withering of the fig tree and the importance of prayer — with forgiveness of one’s neighbour.

Key verse:

25And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.   (Mark 11:25)

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Mark 11:27-33 – confrontation between Jesus and the Sanhedrin, authority

After their wilful obfuscation, Jesus refuses to tell the Sanhedrin under whose authority he works.

Key verse:

33So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”   (Mark 11:33)

The parallel versions of this account are found in Matthew 21:23-37 and Luke 20:1-8.

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Mark 12:1-12 – Parable of the Tenants, Old Testament history, prophets, vineyards, death, Isaiah

Jesus tells the Parable of the Tenants, which recalls the history of God’s Chosen People’s rejection of the prophets, as recounted in the Old Testament.

Key verse:

What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others.   (Mark 12:9)

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Mark 12:18-27: Sadducees, marriage, death, Heaven

Jesus describes what happens to married couples in Heaven. There is no sex, no exclusivity and no procreation. This is because we shall become perfect.

This post contains additional information on the Sadducees.

Key verse:

For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.  (Mark 12:25)

The two parallel accounts of this exchange are Matthew 22:23-33, about which I wrote in 2016 and Luke 20:27-38, which is included in the three-year Lectionary.

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Mark 12:35-37 – Jesus the Messiah, prophesied by King David via the Holy Spirit

Also includes the duties of the scribes, which sometimes involved legal work.

Jesus asks the scribes how they can question that He is the Messiah when David stated so in Psalm 110:1.

Key verse:

36David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet.’    (Mark 12:36)

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Mark 13:1-2 – Temple in Jerusalem, Jesus

Jesus foretells the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

This post also includes links about the temple itself and the history behind the three temples as documented in the Old Testament.

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Mark 13:3-13 – false Messiahs, destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, abomination of desolation, war, natural disaster, end of the world, Second Coming

Jesus describes the horrible destruction of Jerusalem’s Temple and the end of the world which leads to His Second Coming.  Every verse in this reading is important. Also see a parallel in  Matthew 24. See basic definitions of Preterists and Post-millenialists.

Key verses:

6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. 7And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. 8For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.  (Mark 13:6-8)

13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Mark 13:13)

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Mark 14:1-2 – the Sanhedrin, Passover, Spy Wednesday

St Mark explains the thinking of the Sanhedrin before Jesus’s arrest and death.

Key verse:

for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.”  (Mark 14:2)

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Mark 14:10-11 – Judas, betrayal

These two verses explain Judas’s betrayal of Jesus via flashback.

There are also important notes here on the days when Passover was celebrated –Thursday or Friday. (Also see Luke 22:7-13 below for more information.)

Also included is an important message as to why the social gospel is false.

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Mark 14:12-21 – Last Supper, Passover, Apostles, Judas

Jesus indicates His betrayer, Judas.

Also see Luke 22:7-13. Jesus tells Peter and John to prepare the Last Supper — Passover feast.

Key verse:

‘ … For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.’  (Mark 14:21)

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Mark 14:22-25 – Last Supper, Holy Communion, consecration, prayer

Jesus says the words of blessing over His body and blood which are still used today as the consecration prayer for the remembrance of His divine — and all-sufficient —  sacrifice for us sinners.

This post also contains a précis of the biblical covenants.

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Mark 14:26-31 – Last Supper, Peter’s denial of Christ

Jesus foretells Peter’s denial, citing Zechariah 13:7.

Key verses:

29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” 30And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”  (Mark 14:29-30)

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Mark 16:9-20 – snake handling, serpent handling, poison, demons, healing

Christ reassures His disciples that they will be protected when preaching the Word.  Scholars believe He meant these verses to be valid only during the apostolic age.

Key verses:

15He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”  (Mark 16:15-18)

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Luke 1:1-4 – Theophilus, true account

Luke introduces his Gospel as being a credible and an orderly account.

This post also gives some history of the authorship of Luke’s Gospel.

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Luke 1:5-17 – Zachary, Zechariah, John the Baptist, Nazirites, incense, Aaron’s lineage, priesthood

Luke relates Zechariah’s — John the Baptist’s father’s — encounter with the angel in the Temple.

This post also includes background on the Jewish monks — Nazirites — among them, John the Baptist, Samson and Samuel.

Key verses:

12And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” (Luke 1:12-17)

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Luke 1:18-25 – Zechariah’s punishment from Gabriel, John the Baptist

The archangel Gabriel punishes Zechariah for his unbelief about the upcoming birth of John the Baptist.

Key verses:

18And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.”  (Luke 1:18-20)

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Luke 2:22-32 – Presentation at the Temple, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Simeon, Candlemas

Mary and Joseph present the infant Jesus at the Temple (remembered on Candlemas Day), at which Simeon (Simon) — filled with the Holy Spirit — embraces the Christ Child and offers praise unto God, citing several passages from the Old Testament.

This post also contains Matthew Henry’s defence of infant baptism based on Luke 2:21.

Key verses:

27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
    according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”   (Luke 2:27-32)

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Luke 2:33-40 – Jesus, Presentation at the Temple, Simeon, Anna, Candlemas

Simeon foretells Jesus’s life to Mary. Anna prophesies and will go on to tell others that Jesus is the Messiah. At home in Nazareth, Mary and Joseph bring up Jesus to be physically and spirtually strong.

This post also includes the meaning of Anna’s father’s name — Phanuel — and the importance of children following Jesus’s example in childhood: obedience.

Key verses:

34And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”  (Luke 2:34-35)

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Luke 3:19-20 – John the Baptist, Herod, Herodias, imprisonment

St Luke ends his brief account of John the Baptist’s ministry.

This post includes further links to information about John the Baptist and Herod. Worth reading if you are planning a lecture on either or both.

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Luke 3:23-38 – Jesus’s genealogy, Mary’s family line, son of Adam, son of God

St Luke traces Jesus’s lineage through Mary’s family all the way back to Adam and God.

This post also includes a brief discussion of Jesus’s baptism.

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Luke 4:33-37 – Jesus, demons, rebuking demons, casting out demons, Capernaum, synagogue

St Luke recounts Jesus’s casting out of demons in the synagogue in Capernaum.

This post also includes the verse (Luke 4:24) about no prophet being popular in his hometown and an explanation of why Jesus became unpopular among His own people in Nazareth.

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Luke 4:38-39 – Jesus, Simon, Simon Peter, Peter, Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, Jewish Sabbath, Sabbath meal

St Luke tells the story of Jesus’s healing St Peter’s mother-in-law after the Sabbath worship at the Capernaum synagogue. (See previous entry: Luke 4:33-37)

Key verse:

39And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them. (Luke 4:39)

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Luke 4:40-41 – healing, miracles, creative miracles, demons

After Sabbath lunch and healing Peter’s mother-in-law, Jesus went on to heal all who came to him in Capernaum later that day.

This post also includes more detail not only on Jesus’s miracles but those throughout the Bible. It is a case against continual gifts for hands-on healing, including the present day.

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Luke 4:42-44 – Jesus, Judea, Galilee, leaving Caparnaum for a while, seeking time alone, good news of the kingdom of God

After healing many ill people after Sabbath lunch at Simon Peter’s house, Jesus announced that He must move on to other parts of Galilee/Judea. Before that, however, he went off to spend time alone.

Key verse:

43but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”   (Luke 4:43)

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Luke 5:12-16 – Jesus, leper, miracle, creative miracle

Jesus heals a leper and instructs him to see the temple priests to make the requisite appearance and offering expected of cured lepers. This is likely to be the same leper as in Mark 1.

Key verses:

13And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. 14And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” (Luke 5:13-14)

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Luke 5:17-26 – Jesus, paralytic, sin, faith, miracle, creative miracle, Pharisees

Jesus heals a paralytic lowered through a roof in Capernaum and cures him for his faith and repentance from sin.

Key verses:

21And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? 23Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 25And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God.  (Luke 5:21-25)

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Luke 5:27-32 – Levi, Matthew, tax collectors, Pharisees, ‘follow me’, mokhe, gabbai

Jesus calls Matthew to be an Apostle. The Pharisees later criticise Him. Also see Mark 2:13-17.

Key verses:

27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” 28And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.  (Luke 5:27-28)

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Luke 5:33-39 – Jesus, Pharisees, fasting, Bridegroom, wineskins, fabric, garments

Jesus explains to the Pharisees that Christianity cannot be grafted on to Judaism.

This post includes an overview of the other Gospels’ versions of this episode in His ministry.

Key verses:

33And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” 34And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” (Luke 5:33-35)

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Luke 6:1-5 – Jesus, Pharisees, working on the Sabbath, King, Messiah

Jesus explains that, by picking corn, His disciples are not violating Sabbatarian laws and declares that He is the Lord of the Sabbath.

Also see parallel accounts: Matthew 12:1-8 and Mark 2:23-28.

Key verse:

5And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath. (Luke 6:5)

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Luke 6:6-11 – Jesus, healing, the Sabbath, withered hand, creative miracle

Jesus heals the withered hand of a man in the synagogue and risks the wrath of the Pharisees and scribes.

This post also includes verses from Isaiah 1 and Isaiah 58 to say that the Lord does not delight in works offered by hypocrites. It also cites Hosea 6:6, Matthew 9:13 and Matthew 12:5-7 to demonstrate that Jesus was concerned with mercy, not sacrifice.

Parallel accounts are Matthew 12:9-14 and Mark 3:1-6.

Key verses:

9And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” 10And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. 11But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus. (Luke 6:9-11)

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Luke 6:12-16 – Jesus, prayer, Apostles

Jesus retreats to pray, then returns the following day to choose His Apostles.

This post also contains content and links to more information about the twelve Apostles.

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Luke 7:18-23 – Jesus, John the Baptist

John the Baptist has doubts about Jesus as the Messiah, so sends his disciples to investigate.

A parallel account, albeit shorter, can be found in Matthew 11:12-15.

Key verses:

22And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”  (Luke 7:22-23)

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Luke 7:24-30 – Jesus, John the Baptist, faith

Jesus asks John the Baptist’s followers why they went searching for him (Aristotelean method, for us) and says that the least in Heaven is greater than John the Baptist.

This post — despite the previous sentence — further explains John the Baptist’s greatness amongst biblical personages. Christ said he was the greatest human who ever lived. Find out why.

A parallel account, albeit shorter, can be found in Matthew 11:12-15.

Key verse:

28 “I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”  (Luke 7:28)

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Luke 7:31-35 – John the Baptist, disciples, unbelievers, Jesus

Jesus asks what will satisfy the unbelievers in His audience.

A parallel account is in Matthew 11:16-19.

Key verses:

33For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”  (Luke 7:33-35)

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Luke 8:1-3 – women, Mary Magdalene, Joanna (wife of Chuza), Susanna

Women were also disciples and monetary supporters of Christ, Who, in His mercy had healed them.

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Luke 8:4-8 – Parable of the Sower, parable, Jesus, fruits of faith

Jesus tells the Parable of the Sower.

For more information, see Mark 4:1-9.

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Luke 8:9-15 – Parable of the Sower, explanation, parable, Jesus, fruits of faith

Jesus explains the Parable of the Sower. Also see Mark 4:10-20.

Key verse:

15As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.   (Luke 8:15)

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Luke 8:16-18 – Parable of the Lamp under a Jar, parable, Jesus, fruits of faith, hearing, understanding

Jesus warns against hiding God-given fruits of faith from one’s fellow man. Also see Mark 4:21-25.

Key verses:

17 For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”  (Luke 8:17-18)

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Luke 8:19-21 – Mary, Jesus’s stepbrothers, personal relationship with believers

St Luke’s Gospel, as did St Mark’s, tells us of Mary and our Lord’s stepbrothers seeking Him in the crowds which surrounded Him.

This post also gives further information from St Mark’s Gospel as to why they wanted to see Him — to bring Him back to Nazareth.

Parallel verses are in Matthew 12:46-50 and Mark 3:31-35.

Key verse:

21But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:21)

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Luke 8:22-25 – Jesus, storm, Sea of Galilee, faith, disciples, the Lord’s sovereignty

Jesus calms a storm on the Sea of Galilee then asks His disciples about the depth of their faith.

Key verse:

25He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” (Luke 8:25)

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Luke 8:26-33 – Gadarene Swine, demons, Jesus, Legion, pigs

This is the first part of the story of the Gadarene Swine. Jesus drives a legion of demons out of a man; they then inhabit nearby swine and fall over a steep bank into the Sea of Galilee.

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Luke 8:34-39 – Gadarene Swine, Jesus, sin, miracle, healing

The people living near the Gadarene Swine ask our Lord to leave. The man healed from the demons asks to leave with Jesus, but He tells him to tell others of the miracle, which he duly did.

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Luke 8:40-48 introduction to Jairus and his daughter, healing the woman with blood loss, daughter

Whilst on the way to Jairus’s house, Jesus heals the woman who had a 12-year feminine problem (also see Mark 5:21-34).

Key verse:

48And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” (Luke 8:48)

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Luke 8:49-56 – Jairus’s daughter, Jesus, miracle, healing miracle, creative miracle, 

Jesus heals Jairus’s 12-year old daughter, bringing her back from the dead — despite a mocking crowd.

Also see Mark 5:35-43, where He addresses the girl in an affectionate manner, as ‘lamb’.

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Recapping Luke 8

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Luke 9:1-6 – Jesus, Apostles, ministry, miracles

Jesus sends the Apostles out to minister with all His gifts of teaching and healing.

Key verses:

3 And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. 4And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. 5And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.”    (Luke 9:3-5)

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Luke 9:7-9 — Herod, John the Baptist, Jesus

Herod is bemused about who Jesus is. He wonders if the Son of God could be the man whom he ordered beheaded, John the Baptist. Herod’s conscience is bothering him.

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Luke 9:10-17 — loaves and fishes, feeding the 5,000, miracle, creative miracle, Jesus

Jesus feeds 5,000 men and their families.

By the way, this Bethsaida is unrelated to the Bethesda — Bethsaida — of John 5.

Key verse:

17And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.  (Luke 9:17)

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Luke 9:25-27 – gaining the whole world and losing one’s soul, being ashamed of Christ, gaining a ‘taste’ of the Kingdom here on Earth

In these three verses, Jesus cautions us against materialism, being ashamed of Him and says that some will see a foretaste of what the Kingdom of God will be like.

Only a few days later, He gave this insight to Peter, James and John at the Transfiguration, also analysed here.

Key verse:

26For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.  (Luke 9:26)

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Luke 9:37-43 – Jesus heals a boy with an unclean spirit or demon, faithless and twisted generation

This post also includes references to the same story in Matthew (‘faith like a grain of mustard seed’, Matthew 17:20) and Mark (‘all things are possible for one who believes’, Mark 9:23; ‘I believe; help my unbelief’, Mark 9:24).

Key verse:

41Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” (Luke 9:41)

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Luke 9:43-45 – Jesus, disciples, impending arrest and death

Jesus warns His disciples of His imminent arrest and death which they cannot understand.

This passage also refers to Mark’s and Matthew’s accounts in order to give a clearer picture.

Key verse:

44“Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.”  (Luke 9:44)

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Luke 9:46-48 – the greatest, pride, children

Whilst the Apostles argue amongst themselves who is the greatest — to recur in Luke 22 at the Last Supper — Jesus takes a child and tells them to receive young people graciously. Those who take children seriously receive Christ and God the Father.

Key verses:

47But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side 48and said to them,  “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” (Luke 9:47-48)

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Luke 9:49-50 – Anyone not against us is for us, Jesus, John, unknown man healing others

Jesus takes John to task when the Apostle spots an unknown man healing in the Lord’s name.

Key verse:

But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:50)

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Luke 10:13-15 – condemned towns: Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum; Sodom, Tyre and Sidon

Because the people in these towns actually saw and heard Him, yet disbelieved or were indifferent, Jesus says their punishment will be greater than that of Sodom, Tyre and Sidon.

This post also includes another verse which might tie in with snake-handling churches in America’s South. However, those gifts Christ granted to His disciples, not everyone following on afterward.

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Luke 10:21-24 – Jesus rejoices, God’s will, words to the disciples, predestination

Jesus rejoices that His Father has seen fit to reveal salvation to everyday people.

Please note the verse below regarding predestination.

Key verse:

22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”  (Luke 10:22)

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Luke 11:14-23 – Jesus, demons, Beelzebul, Satan, faith, unbelief, miracles, scorn, mockery

Christ puts pointed questions to those who question His ability to — and source of — driving out demons.

Also see Matthew 9:32-34 for a parallel account.

Key verses:

18And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.  (Luke 11:18-20)

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Luke 11:24-26 – Jesus, demons, faith, conversion, empty conversion

Jesus explains what happens when a demon returns to its original home.

This post also explains conversions void of God’s grace — empty conversions which leave a void for Satan’s minions to re-inhabit. This is a divine warning against self-righteousness and ‘morality’.

Key verse:

24 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ (Luke 11:24)

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Luke 11:27-28 – Jesus, earthly parentage, temporal preoccupations

A woman compliments Jesus on his mother for having raised Him so well. He advises her and the others in the audience to obey God’s word throughout their lives.

This post contains similar references to John 1 and John 20.

Key verse:

28But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28)

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Luke 11:29-32 – Jesus, sign, morality, unbelief

Jesus criticises His self-righteous audience for their unbelief in requesting ‘signs’.

Also see Matthew 16:1-12 , Mark 8:11-13 and Luke 9:37-43.

Key verses:

31 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.  (Luke 11:31- 32)

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Luke 11:33-36 – unbelief, sin, light, darkness

Jesus warns about the spiritual darkness which affected the self-righteous, moralistic people of His day who rejected Him.

Key verse:

36If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”   (Luke 11:36)

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Luke 11:37-44 – Jesus, Pharisees, legalism, washing hands, manmade law, unmarked graves, false holiness and morality

Jesus takes issue with Pharisees who devised their own handwashing rule to appear holier; meanwhile, their hearts are ever the darker.

This post also includes John MacArthur’s definition and etymology of the word Pharisee.

Key verse:

44Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.” (Luke 11:44)

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Luke 11:45-54 – Jesus, Pharisees, lawyers, scribes, whited sepulchres, false teachers, spiritual blindness, legalism, hypocrisy, theologians leading people to Hell

Jesus criticises and condemns the lawyers (also called scribes) who were theologians — a subset of the Pharisees — leading the Jewish people to condemnation.

This post also includes an explanation of how the lawyers (scribes) fit into the Pharisees’ structure.

Key verses:

46And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. 48 So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs.  (Luke 11:46-48)

52Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”  (Luke 11:52)

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Luke 12:1-3 – Jesus, leaven of Pharisees, faith, disbelief, false teaching, hypocrisy, secrets

Jesus warned against hypocrisy and secrets in His time — and now.

This post also gives a brief explanation of houses in Jesus’s time, from walls to rooftops.

Key verse:

2 Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. (Luke 12: 2)

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Luke 12:4-7 – Jesus, sparrows, Hell, God’s omniscience, fear of God

Jesus instructed His disciples to fear God above all. Men can only kill our bodies. God can condemn our souls for eternity.

This post also explains why sparrows were mentioned so often in the Gospels.

Key verse:

5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!  (Luke 12:5)

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Luke 12:8-12 – Jesus, Holy Spirit, blasphemy, unbelief, persecution

Jesus explains that blaspheming — doubting, decrying — the Holy Spirit leads to eternal condemnation. Jesus’s deniers will be similarly denied at the Last Judgement.

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Luke 12:22-31 – Jesus, anxiety, worry, material cares, temporal cares

Jesus counsels His disciples not to worry about temporal matters, e.g. food or clothing. God knows everyone needs them, and He will provide, just as he has for flora and fauna.

Key verses:

22And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. (Luke 12:22)

30For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. (Luke 12:30-31)

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Luke 12:41-48 – Jesus, parable, master and servant, punishment, condemnation

Jesus explains to His disciples the importance of being ready for His certain return.

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Luke 12:57-59 – Jesus, judgment, examination of conscience

Jesus uses the analogy of a court appearance to warn against eternal condemnation.

This post also describes the legal system of our Lord’s time — not too different from today’s with regard to names and functions.

Also see Matthew 5:25-26.

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Luke 13:10-17 – Jesus, miracle, healing, bent over woman, mercy, disabling spirit, Satan, hypocrisy, sin, repentance

Jesus heals a woman in a synagogue who has been bent over because of a disabling spirit from Satan.

Although this miracle actually happened, it also serves as an analogy for salvation of the repentant sinner.

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Luke 13:18-21 – Jesus, parables, mustard seed, leaven, kingdom of heaven

Jesus cites two parables in describing the kingdom of heaven. One is external (that of the mustard seed) and the other is internal (the leaven, akin to sour dough, which enables flour to be turned into bread dough).

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Luke 14:2-6 – Jesus, miracle, man with dropsy, edema, Pharisees

Whilst being a guest at the house of a leader of the Pharisees, Jesus healed a man of dropsy — edema.

Once again, He questions the Jewish hierarchy on the validity of healing — working — on the Sabbath. They have no answer.

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Luke 14:15-24 – parable, Parable of the Great Banquet, Jesus

This passage involves the allegory of an estate owner’s invitation to a banquet met with sudden refusals compares with the invitation on the last day to join the kingdom of Heaven — God the Father’s holy banquet thanks to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.

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Luke 14:34-35 – salt, Jesus, disciples, Christians

Jesus briefly talks about salt being useless when its flavour is gone. He was referring to His followers then and to us in the present day.

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Luke 16:14-17 – Pharisees, Jesus, moral law, materialism, money, hypocrisy, status, good news, Gospel, Kingdom of God, Heaven

After relating the Parable of the Unfaithful Servant, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees who justify themselves via worldly means. He talks about the ‘good news’ which John the Baptist foretold and He preaches. He says that the moral law — the Ten Commandments — still holds until the end of time.

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Luke 16:18 – Jesus, divorce, adultery, remarriage

Our Lord points out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees — the so-called law keepers — who divorce their wives at a whim and marry someone else.

The passage from the Jewish Encyclopedia confirms that Jesus’s rule sided with the followers of Rabbi Shumai who kept to the only valid reason being adultery. Rabbi Hillel, on the other hand, said that a man could divorce his wife for many reasons; the Pharisees adopted Hillel’s convenient approach. Both men were teaching when Jesus was.

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Luke 17:1-4 – sin, condemnation, censure, rebuke, repentance, forgiveness

Jesus warns against committing sin which could lead others — believers and nonbelievers — unto eternal condemnation.

We have a responsibility towards others to bear a follower’s lifestyle in word and action.

In His time, He was also pointing out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees who cared little about the ordinary Jews’ salvation.

This post goes on to explain — thanks to John MacArthur’s sermons — just how the people of the Old Testament were saved.

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Luke 17:20-27 – God’s kingdom, Jesus’s death, the future, false teachers, Noah, carnality, sin

Jesus concisely discusses the heavenly kingdom and what must happen before then. He also says that the kingdom of God is in the midst of us and, as such, cannot be readily observed by other men and women.

Key verses:

20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”[h(Luke 17:20-21)

26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.  (Luke 17:26-27)

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Luke 17:28-37 – Jesus, Sodom, Second Coming, death, salvation, condemnation, materialism, too much love of temporal life as in the wife of Lot

Jesus continues His discourse from verses 20-27 on His coming again.

Key verses:

32Remember Lot’s wife. 33Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. (Luke 17:32-33)

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Luke 18:15-17 – Jesus, children, kingdom of God

As with Mark 10:13-16, this passage tells us that even the youngest of children are most welcome in God’s heavenly kingdom. Jesus calls us likewise to adopt the innocence and delight of children in becoming part of that kingdom. Whoever does not will not inherit it.

The two parallel accounts are Mark 10:13-16 and Matthew 19:13-15. Note that none of the three is in the three-year Lectionary used in public worship.

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Luke 18:18-23 – Jesus, the rich ruler, manmade, possessions, family inheritance, wealth

Jesus confronts the young(ish) synagogue leader who says he has obeyed all the Commandments yet seeks eternal life.

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Luke 18:24-30 – Jesus, the rich ruler, manmade, possessions, family inheritance, kingdom of God, camel, eye of the needle

Jesus comments on the rich ruler’s sadness in not being able to follow Him.

Key verses:

24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers[a] or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Luke 18:24, 25, 29)

Parallel accounts are in Luke 18:24-30 and Mark 10:23-31. Mark’s version is in the three-year Lectionary.

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Luke 18:31-34 – Jesus, Old Testament prophecies, suffering, humiliation, Apostles

For the third time, Jesus tells His Apostles that His ministry is coming to an end, according to Old Testament prophesies.

Key verse:

31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.   (Luke 18:31)

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Luke 18:35-43 – Jesus, the blind beggar, healing, miracle, creative miracle, healing miracle, faith

In Jesus’s last healing miracle of His ministry, He tells the blind man that his faith has made him well. The blind man went on to follow Him.

Key verses:

42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.  (Luke 18:42-43)

This is the story of Bartimaeus. Mark and Luke speak of him only. Matthew includes his friend.

Parallel versions are Matthew 20:29-34 and Mark 10:46-52. Mark’s is in the three-year Lectionary.

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Luke 19:11-19 – Parable of the Ten Minas (beginning), parable, Jesus

Jesus relates to His disciples the Parable of the Ten Minas. One mina was worth three months’ of a labourer’s salary. The ruler instructs his servants to invest. This is an analogy for us to use God’s abundant grace wisely by spreading the Gospel message and leading godly lives in order for us to bring others to Christ.

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Luke 19:20-27 – Parable of the Ten Minas (conclusion), parable, Jesus, reward, laziness, obedience

This passage concludes the hard-hitting wake-up call of the Parable of the Ten Minas. It speaks alike to lukewarm believers and unbelievers. Jesus also speaks against indolence (laziness), obedience and ignorance of divine grace, which He will condemn for eternity.

Key verses:

26 ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 27 But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’”  (Luke 19:26-27)

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Luke 19:41-44 – Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, unbelief, condemnation

Our Lord wept over the unbelief and hard hearts of Jerusalem after His triumphal entry into the city. They expected a temporal redeemer; He brought eternal salvation which they ignored. Hence God’s condemnation with the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, which Jesus prophesies here.

All the verses are pertinent. They might hold true today. Matthew Henry’s commentary says that our Lord never laughed. This post also includes a partial explanation of the Wailing Wall.

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Luke 19:45-48 – Jesus cleanses the temple, Jesus, Holy Week, Passover

Jesus, in His final days before the Crucifixion, cleansed the temple of Jerusalem in righteous anger. Perhaps some of our churches also need cleansing.

This post describes the temple structure.

Key verses:

45 And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”  (Luke 19:45-46)

Parallel accounts are Matthew 21:12-13 and Mark 11:15-19, which is in the three-year Lectionary for public worship.

John 2:13-17 occurred when He began teaching and healing. These two cleansings bookend His earthly ministry.

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Luke 20:1-8 – Jesus, chief priests, scribes, elders, John the Baptist, baptism, authority

The Jewish hierarchy challenges Jesus’s authority with regard to cleansing the temple. Jesus responds by asking them if John’s authority to baptise came from God or man.

Key verses:

So they answered that they did not know where it came from. And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” (Luke 20:7-8)

The parallel versions of this account are found in Mark 11:27-33 and Matthew 21:23-37.

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Luke 20:20-26 – Jesus, Jewish hierarchy, challenges, rendering to Caesar and to God

A group of religious spies intend to trap Jesus as an insurrectionist.

This post explains more — from John MacArthur — about the Jewish rebel Judas of Galilee (not Judas the traitorous Apostle) who opposed Roman taxation.

Key verse:

25 He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  (Luke 20:25)

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Luke 20:39-44 – Jesus, Son of David, Psalm 110

In conversing with the scribes, Jesus cites Psalm 110, which says the Christ — the Messiah — would come from David’s lineage.

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Luke 20:45-47 – Jesus, scribes, message to disciples

Jesus warns His disciples, within earshot of the crowd around them, not to emulate or become embroiled with the scribes, lawyers who were part of the Pharisees. (N.B.: Not all Pharisees were scribes.)

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Luke 21:1-4 – widow’s offering, widow’s mite, Jesus, corruption

Jesus’s witnessing the widow giving her small offering — her mite — all she had left actually condemns corrupt religious systems. This verse should not be used in praise of the poor who give their last cent to a church. Nor should it be used in annual fundraising.

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Luke 21:10-19 – from now to the Second Coming, persecution, plagues, wars, famine

Jesus foretells our future until He comes again in glory.

Also see Matthew 24 and Mark 13:3-13.

Key verses:

17 You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.  (Luke 21:17-19)

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Luke 21:20-24 – Jesus, destruction of Jerusalem

Jesus foretells the destruction of Jerusalem, a judgement for unbelief which gives unbelievers today an idea of what the end of the world will be like, presaged in the verse below.

Key verse:

24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.  (Luke 21:24)

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Luke 21:32-38 – Jesus, Second Coming, be on guard, no excesses, no drunkenness

Our Lord warns about His Second Coming. We are to be prepared and free of excesses: drink, food, materialism.

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Luke 22:1-6 – Judas, Satan, betrayal, Jewish priests and scribes, Spy Wednesday

Judas meets with the Jewish priests and scribes, agreeing to betray Jesus to them. This day is known as Spy Wednesday in traditional Catholicism.

Key verse:

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. (Luke 22:3)

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Luke 22:7-13 – Last Supper, Peter, John, providential and divine direction

Our Lord knows His Last Supper must proceed, therefore He directs His two most trusted apostles to arrange it via His instructions.

Also see Mark 12:12-16 (exposition carries thorough to verse 21 for the betrayal).

Key verses:

10 He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters 11 and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.”  (Luke 22:10-13)

This post also includes an explanation of why some Jews celebrated Passover on Thursday and others on Friday. (Also see Mark 14:10-11 above for more information.)

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Luke 22:31-34 – Jesus foretells Peter’s denial of Him, St Peter, Satan, prayer, temptation, faith

Following the Last Supper, Jesus tells Peter that he will deny Him before dawn. However, He has prayed that this is but a temporary temptation.

Also see Mark’s Gospel (Mark 14:26-31). Peter went on to achieve great things for the early Church (see the Book of Acts and his epistles) before dying as a martyr for the faith, having requested to be crucified upside down because he was unworthy of being crucified upright as was our Lord and Saviour.

Key verses:

31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you,[a] that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”  (Luke 22:310-32)

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Luke 22:35-38 – Jesus, Apostles, sword, self defence, self defense, Last Supper, Maundy Thursday, Holy Thursday

Jesus tells His 11 remaining Apostles to prepare themselves for the future without Him. He tells them to equip themselves with swords.

For comparison’s sake, as He was conducting His ministry at the time, see Luke 9:1-6, when He sent the Apostles out independently, and Luke 10:1-12, when He despatched the 72 disciples. With regard to persecution, see John 16:1-4, words He spoke at the Last Supper.

Key verse:

36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. (Luke 22:36)

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Luke 24:11-12 – Resurrection, Easter Sunday, Apostles, women, Peter. tomb

The Apostles refused to believe the women’s testimony that Christ was risen from the dead.

Key verse:

11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. (Luke 24:11)

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John 3:18-22 – Jesus, Nicodemus, darkness, light, belief in Jesus Christ, condemnation of disbelief

Jesus’s conclusion of His rebuke of Nicodemus — a call to give up human stubbornness and believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Key verses:

18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.   19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.   20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.   21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.  (John 3:18-21)

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John 3:31-36 – John the Baptist, belief in Jesus as the Son of God, wrath of God

John the Baptist tells his followers that they must now follow Jesus or risk God’s wrath.  He explains why.

Key verses:

35The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.   36He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.   (John 3:35-36)

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John 4:1-4 – baptism, Jesus, Samaria

Jesus travels from Judea to Galilee via Samaria.

Key verse:

2(Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)  (John 4:2)

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John 4:43-54 – Cana, Capernaum, nobleman, healing, miracle

Jesus heals a nobleman’s son from a distance: His second Galilean miracle after changing water into wine at Cana.

Key verses:

48Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.  49The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.   50Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.  (John 4:48-50)

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John 5:1-17 – Bethesda, Bethsaida, illness, sickness, cure, Jesus, miracle, pool, angel

Jesus cures a man who has been ill for 38 years and cannot get into the healing pool at Bethesda (Bethsaida).

Key verses:

8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.  9And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.  (John 5:8-9)

14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.  15The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.  (John 5:14-15)

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John 5:18-23 – Jesus is the Son of God

Jesus tells the Jews that He is the Son of God and that all men should honour the God the Son in the same way they honour God the Father.

Key verses:

19Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.   (John 5:19)

22For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 23That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.  (John 5:22-23)

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John 5:24-30 – Jesus is the Son of God

Jesus continues to elaborate on His divinity and further explains that He is the Son of God.

Key verses:

24Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.  (John 5:24)

26For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;  27And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.  (John 5:26-27)

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John 5:31-47 – Jesus is the Son of God, John the Baptist, Moses

Jesus concludes his talk to the Jews, once again telling them that He comes in His Father’s name.

Key verses:

43I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.  44How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?   (John 5:43-44)

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John 6:1-3 – Galilee, Sea of Galilee

Jesus travels by boat from Judea to Galilee.

Key verse:

And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.   (John 6:2)

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John 6:16-23 –  Sea of Galilee, storm, walking on water, fear

Jesus meets His disciples, struggling in the boat in the storm, by walking on water.

Key verses:

19So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid.

20But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid.   (John 6:19-20)

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John 6 (selected verses) – belief, faith, Judas Iscariot

Jesus speaks in Capernaum after His miracle of the loaves and fishes.  He delivers home truths; some disciples walk away from Him forever. The Jewish hierarchy refuses to understand Him. He ends by delivering shocking news to the Apostles.

This post also explains what ‘Iscariot’ means: ‘from the village of Kerioth’.

Key verses:

70Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?  71He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve. (John 6:70-71)

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John 7:1-13 – Feast of Tabernacles, the world hates Jesus, opinion divided on Jesus

Jesus prepares to attend the Feast of Booths (Feast of Tabernacles). His relatives persuade Him to reveal Himself through miracles.

Key verses:

6Jesus said to them,  “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. 8You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.”  (John 7:6-8)

12And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.”  (John 7:12)

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John 7:14-24 – Bethesda healing revisited, circumcision versus healing on Sabbath, Jesus’s ability to teach, right judgment, Feast of Tabernacles

Jesus and the Jewish hierarchy are opposed once again on Sabbath healings.

Key verses:

18The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.  (John 7:18)

24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”  (John 7:24)

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John 7:25-36 – Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus in Jerusalem

Jesus encounters mixed reactions after His teaching in the temple yet makes more converts.

Key verses:

32The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. 33Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. 34 You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.”  (John 7:32-34)

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John 7:40-52 – Feast of Tabernacles, Nicodemus, arrest attempt (first)

This commentary also includes a reference to living water (verses included in Lectionary).

Jesus is still a free man.  The arresting officers instead recognise His authority by what He has said.

Key verses:

45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!”  (John 7:45-46)

50 Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?”  (John 7:50-51)

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John 8:1-11 – adultery, hypocrisy, sin, forgiveness

A group of scribes and Pharisees bring before Jesus a woman accused of adultery.

Key verses:

7So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.   (John 8:7)

10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?   11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.  (John 8:10-11)

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John 8:12-20 – light of the world, temple, treasury, Court of the Women

Jesus proclaims that He is the ‘light of the world’.

This post has a) an explanation of why He said this where and when He did and b) a collection of quotes from John’s Gospel on the condemnation of unbelievers.

Key verse:

12Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  (John 8:12)

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John 8:21-30 – Jesus is the Son of God, unbelief, belief, judgment, mockery

Jesus tells the Pharisees (again) that He is not of this world.

Key verses:

28Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.   29And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.   30As he spake these words, many believed on him.  (John 8:28-30)

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John 8:31-37 – Jesus, truth, sin, slavery, God’s word

Jesus tells those assembled at the temple that those who seek to kill Him are incapable of understanding what He is saying to them.

This is indirectly related to Adam, as cited in Article X of the 39 Articles of Religion (Anglican).

Key verses:

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  (John 8:32)

I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.  (John 8:37)

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John 8:38-47 – the Devil, sin, God’s word

Jesus tells the Pharisees that they are not sons of Abraham as they claim but sons of the Devil.

Key verses:

44Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44)

47He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. (John 8:47)

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John 8:48-59 – Pharisees, unbelief, sons of Abraham, seeking one’s own honour, stoning attempt (first)

The Pharisees, having appealed as ‘sons of Abraham’, attempt to stone Jesus — a first attempt — but He escapes.

Key verses:

49Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.  50And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.  (John 8:49-20)

58Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.  59Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.  (John 8:58-59)

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John 9:39-41 – blindness, sight, unbelief

Jesus responds to the Pharisees about the blindness of their unbelief.

This post also includes verses on the theme of light in John’s Gospel.

Key verse:

41Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.  (John 9:41)

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John 10:37-42 – unbelief, stoning attempt (second, previously in the chapter), arrest attempt (second)

These events, which take place at Hanukkah (explained), describe the second attempts to arrest Jesus.

Key verses:

37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.  (John 10:37-39)

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John 11:45-57 – Chief priests plot Jesus’s death, Caiaphas, Ephraim

The chief priests decide that Jesus must now die, following His raising Lazarus from the dead. Jesus flees to Ephraim.

Key verses:

49And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,  50Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.  51And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;  52And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.  (John 11:49-52)

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John 12:12-19 – Jesus, Passover, Lazarus, Mary, Martha, spikenard, Judas Iscariot, donkey, Pharisees

Jesus makes His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, riding on a donkey.  A recap of events prior to this accounts for people and things not mentioned in these specific verses.

Key verses:

12On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,  13Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.  (John 12:12-13)

19The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.   (John 12:19)

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John 12:39-41 – unbelief, Palm Sunday, Isaiah’s prophecy fulfilled

Jesus deserts the Jewish people.  They have refused to believe in His divinity and His teachings, therefore, God leaves them to their own devices.

The parallel verses for these are found in Matthew 13:10-17.

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John 13:16-20 – Last Supper, footwashing, Judas

Jesus instructs the Apostles to follow His example in doing lowly, humble acts. He also announces another fulfilment of prophecy.

Key verses:

Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  (John 13:16)

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.  (John 13:20)

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John 13:36-38 – Last Supper, Peter, afterlife

Jesus tells Peter that he will go where Jesus is going — but not yet.

Key verse:

38Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.  (John 13:38)

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John 14:22 and 30-31 – Jude Thaddeus, Satan, Last Supper

‘Judas (not Iscariot)’ explained; he is the author of the Epistle of Jude. Jesus tells the Apostles that Satan has no hold on Him.

Key verse:

I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, (John 14:30)

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John 16:1-4 – persecution

In His last talk with His Apostles before the Crucifixion, Jesus tells them to expect persecution.  Also included in the post are examples of how four of the original Twelve were martyred.

Key verse:

3And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.  (John 16:3)

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John 16:16-24 – prayer, rejoicing, Final Judgment / Last Judgment / Last Day

The final message from Jesus to the remaining 11 Apostles prior to His Crucifixion.

Key verse:

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:24)

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John 16:25-33 – Maundy Thursday, prayer, Apostles’ partial understanding of Christ, Christ’s comfort to the Apostles, be of good cheer, overcoming the world

Key verse:

33These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.   (John 16:33)

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John 20:19-31 – Easter, the Resurrection, Doubting Thomas, faith, signs, wonders, Sabbath observance

John tells us of the Resurrection, the disciples’ disbelief, Thomas’s request to touch Christ’s wounds

Key verses:

21So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

22And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  (John 20:21-22)

26After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”

27Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

28Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

29Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”  (John 20:26-29)

30Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;

31but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.  (John 20:30-31)

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Acts 2:12-13 – Pentecost, the Apostles, disciples, speaking in tongues, accusations of drunkenness, accusations like those of hierarchy for Jesus

The first Pentecost was ordained by God to fit into the Jewish festival of the first fruits. When the Holy Spirit descended upon the 70 with tongues of fire, He enabled them to speak in foreign languages. This signified that the Church was not the sole inheritance of the Jews of the Old Covenant. Rather, it would be open to them and to people of all nations. Therefore, the Holy Spirit enabled the 70 to speak in known foreign languages. The Jews assembled for the Feast of the First Fruits could not understand what was being said and accused the 70 anointed of drunkenness.

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Acts 2:33-35 – Peter, Pentecost, Peter’s first sermon, Jesus the Messiah and Lord

Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost, stood up to refute charges of drunkenness and preached his first sermon. He concluded by saying the 70 anointed had received the divine gift Jesus had promised them through God the Father and that David, too, prophesied Christ (Psalm 110:1).

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Acts 4:22 – St Peter, St John, the lame man, miracle, healing miracle

Peter cures a lame man in his 40s.

Peter and John are arrested for the miracle of the healing of a man willing and able to bear wise witness thanks to his age. The onlookers approve of the healing and five thousand men are converted that day. Counting women and children, that would have been many more thousands.

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Acts 5:1-6 – Ananias, St Peter, lying to the Holy Spirit and God, hypocrisy, sin, deception, death

Peter unmasks Ananias, trying to copy the example of Barnabas (Acts 4:36-37) through deception. Ananias pledged the sale of his property would go to the new Christians. However, he and his wife Sapphira knew they would keep a portion of the proceeds for themselves. Once Peter told Ananias that he lied to the Holy Spirit and to God, the man died on the spot: divine judgement, the death sentence.

Key verses:

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it.  (Acts 5:3-5)

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Acts 5:7-11 – Sapphira, St Peter, testing the Holy Spirit, deception, death, sin

Sapphira appears at Solomon’s Porch at the temple of Jerusalem, which Matthew Henry says this is where her death and her husband’s took place. Now, expecting to get the glory, Peter tells Sapphira about her husband’s death and her grave sin. Her sin was also testing the Holy Spirit. She dropped dead in front of Peter and was buried — not wrapped in mourning shroud — next to her husband.

Key verse:

11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.  (Acts 5:11)

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Acts 5:12-16 – Signs and wonders, healing miracles, miracles, the Apostles, St Peter, women

The Apostles, particularly St Peter, attracted more converts with their healing miracles, performed through the gift of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost during the Apostolic Era.

Women were also able to worship with men, which was not done in the temple at Jerusalem. Ladies could worship only in the Court of Women.

Key verses:

14 And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.  (Acts 5:14-16)

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Acts 5:17-21 – Apostles, high priest, Sadducees, arrest, prison, angel of the Lord

The high priest and the Sadducees arrested the Apostles and put them in prison with common criminals. An angel of the Lord released the Apostles and told them to return to the temple to preach. The high priest and his men were none the wiser.

This is the first of three miraculous prison releases in the Book of Acts. The others occur in Acts 12 and Acts 16.

Key verses:

19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” 21 And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.  (Acts 5:19-21a)

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Acts 5:22-26 – The Apostles, high priest, captain of the temple, religious leaders, prison officers, the people

The religious hierarchy and prison officers find out that the Apostles are no longer imprisoned but back where they were before, at Solomon’s Portico, carrying on with their ministry. The captain and the prison officers request that the Apostles go with them. Both groups are peaceable.

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Acts 5:27-28 – Apostles, council of the temple

The Apostles were brought before the council of the temple charged with disobedience: preaching in the name of Jesus Christ, bringing forth interest about His life, which resulted in tens of thousands of conversions, and charging the Jewish hierarchy with killing Him.

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Acts 5:33-42 – Apostles, Gamaliel, Sadducees, Pharisees, Sanhedrin

The temple council members — the Sanhedrin — were outraged to the point of killing the Apostles for Peter’s outspoken, yet truthful, accusation that they were responsible for Jesus’s death.

The learned and level-headed Gamaliel, a Pharisee, intervened to assert that the Twelve should be left alone in case they were doing God’s work. The rest of the council agreed to let them go as long as they preached no more about Jesus and ordered them to be scourged.

The Apostles left rejoicing in Christ Jesus. They had been declared worthy of unbelievers to bear His stripes of blood. Even more encouraged by that heinous and unutterably painful act, they continued preaching in the temple and visited every house in Jerusalem.

Key verses:

41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.  (Acts 5:41-42)

This post also includes a breakdown of temple organisation, dominated by the Sadducees who acceded to requests from the Pharisees. The Pharisees had their finger on the public pulse. The people liked the Pharisees and the Sadducees — who could be compared to our elites today — did not want to upset the apple cart.

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Acts 7:2b-8 – Stephen, deacon, appearing before the court in the temple, apologetics, Abraham

Stephen — the first St Stephen and the first martyr — gives the beginning of his last testimony regarding Jesus and Christianity, beginning with Abraham. This was to show that he — Stephen — came from the same Jewish tradition and covenant, yet he recognised the Messiah — Jesus Christ. There is more to come in the following verses.

Stephen was one of the first deacons, chosen with six others, as recorded in Acts 6:5, for their good reputation, the Holy Spirit’s activity in them and their wisdom, which is separate from understanding. The deacons were to ‘serve the tables’ — diakonein trapezais: to provide charity and collect funds for the same.

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Acts 7:9-16 – Stephen, temple court, apologetics, Joseph

Having attracted the attention of his audience in the temple court, Stephen continued with his reasoning — apologetic — that Jesus is the Messiah by comparing him to Joseph (of the multi-coloured coat, of the famous musical, the story of which came from Genesis 37 – 50). Read more here and here.

Stephen, one of the first deacons, used Joseph as a parallel for Jesus. He was envied. He was mocked. He was thrown to his enemies by a false trial. He was punished unjustly. Jesus died. Joseph was imprisoned. Joseph became Pharaoh’s right hand man for grain during the famine. Jesus rose to eternal life.

Meanwhile, in Canaan, when Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, a famine soon resulted. God looked after Joseph. Jacob, his father, and the father of the twelve tribes of Israel, Joseph included, found out there was grain in Egypt and sent his sons to find out more. They did not meet Joseph on their first encounter. They did on the second, when they also met Pharaoh.

Stephen’s discourse is designed to parallel Joseph with Jesus. Jesus was rejected by His own, was accepted by the Gentiles, rose to a high position after experiencing imprisonment and was reconciled with his brothers, a sign of the kingdom to come.

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Acts 7:17-22 – Stephen, temple court, apologetics, Moses

Stephen moved on to discuss the Israelites’ peril under the Pharoah who enslaved them. This man didn’t know Joseph — who had died several generations before — or his lineage and went on to enslave the twelve tribes of Israel.

Stephen discussed the birth and upbringing of Moses. Moses grew up in Pharoah’s household as his grandson and was brought up with the best of everything, including wisdom and personal appeal.

Stephen included Moses because he was accused of blaspheming him by the temple council. Stephen spoke highly and wisely of Moses because he respected his history and the man. Stephen wanted to clear himself of the charge of blaspheming Moses.

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Acts 7:23-29 – Stephen, temple court, apologetics, Moses meeting with his people — the Israelites in slavery

Continuing from Acts 7:17-22, Stephen explains how Moses’s own family — the Twelve Tribes of Israel — rejected him, the deliverer appointed by God to take Israel back to the Promised Land.

Stephen’s purpose is to liken Moses to Jesus — the rejection — that bodes ill for the temple court if they do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah.

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Acts 7:30-34 – Stephen, temple court, apologetics, God, Jesus, Moses called from exile, burning bush

Stephen explains how God calls Moses to save the Israelites via the burning bush (Exodus 3). Here he continues to defend himself from charges by the temple court of blaspheming Moses.

Interesting facts: the name of Moses’s wife was Zipporah. Her father’s name was Jethro. Moses tended Jethro’s flock at the time this event occurred on Mount Sinai — also called Horeb, the mountain of God (Exodus 3:1). The two names are used interchangeably.

The bush did not self-combust. It represented God’s presence, the Israelites (in the fire of combustion but not consumed, as per Matthew Henry) and a foretelling of Christ’s incarnation and/or presence (the union of divine and human nature).

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Acts 7:35-43 – Stephen, temple court, apologetics, God, Jesus, Moses the deliverer, Ten Commandments, idolatry

Stephen continues his discourse on Moses, to show that the Israelites rejected him and God the same way they rejected Jesus when God sent Him to them.

Key verses:

36 This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. 37 This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.’   (Acts 7:36-37)

39 Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts they turned to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 41 And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. (Acts 7:39-41)

This post also includes a discussion on gods and idols the Egyptians worshipped, e.g. Moloch. They found their way into the Israelites lives for generations to come. The only thing that stopped it, by God’s will, was the long exile in Babylon.

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Acts 7:44-50 – Stephen, temple court, apologetics, the history of the temple, Moses, Joshua, King David, King Solomon

Stephen concluded his apologetic by defending himself against charges of blaspheming the temple.

This post also gives a biblical history of the temple and concludes with Stephen’s martyrdom.

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Acts 8:1-3 – Stephen, Saul, Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria

Stephen’s martyrdom, which Saul (the future Paul) rejoiced in, resulted in the Church leaving Jerusalem as its centre. The Apostles, however, remained there to minister to converted Jews.

This post includes a description of Saul’s brutality to Christians before his conversion.

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Acts 8:4-8 – Philip, Samaria, disciples scattered

With the disciples scattered, Philip — one of the first deacons with Stephen, the martyr — went to the city of Samaria to heal and preach. His miracles, especially ridding people of demons and healing the lame and paralysed as well as proclamations of Christ brought much joy to the city’s inhabitants.

Key verse:

And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did.  (Acts 8:6)

Philip the Evangelist, not to be confused with Philip the Apostle, had three similarities with Stephen. He was a Hellenic Jew originally, one of the first deacons and worked God-given miracles.

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Acts 8:9-13 – Philip, Simon Magus, Simon the Magician, Samaria, conversion, baptism

Philip the Evangelist (as distinguished from Philip the Apostle) preached from the Holy Spirit and worked God-given creative miracles among the people, convincing even the egotistical Simon Magus — the well respected magician of the region — to convert to Christianity.

Key verses:

12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles[a] performed, he was amazed.  (Acts 8:12-13)

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Acts 8:14-25 – Philip, Simon Magus, sorcery, money, divine gifts, God, Holy Spirit, Peter, John

After his baptism, Simon Magus continued to follow Philip the Evangelist. Philip, with his many gifts as a deacon and evangelist, was unable to confer the gifts of the Holy Spirit upon his flock — even though he had received them. Therefore, Peter and John made a trip from Jerusalem to Samaria to confer those gifts. There, Peter confronted Simon Magus, a sorcerer about whom much has been written.

Key verses:

18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall[a] of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”  (Acts 8:18-23)

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Acts 9:19b-22 – Saul of Tarsus, St Paul, Damascus

Having gone through his Damascene conversion …

Part 1 of Acts 9:1-9: Saul’s — St Paul’s — conversion

Part 2 of Acts 9:1-9: Saul’s — St Paul’s — conversion (includes interesting info from John MacArthur on his own conversion)

Acts 9:10-19 — when scales fell from the eyes of Saul of Tarsus (final part of St Paul’s conversion story)

Saul — St Paul — preaches about Christ in Damascus to the new converts he originally wanted to arrest and take back to Jerusalem for trial on heresy charges. With each day, Saul’s faith in Christ Jesus grew stronger, and, with it, his preaching about Christ and Christ alone.

Key verse:

22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.  (Acts 9:22)

This entry also has John MacArthur’s useful explanation of why we say Son of God, which in no way diminishes our Lord Jesus’s importance in the Holy Trinity.

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Acts 9:23-25 – Saul of Tarsus, St Paul, Paul the Apostle, Arabia, Damascus, leadership plot to murder Saul

After initially preaching in Damascus post-conversion, Saul went to nearby Arabia for three years where his preaching upset the Jewish hierarchy there and the non-Jewish ruler, Aretas. By the time Saul returned to Damascus, the Jewish leadership were at the city gates lying in wait for him. However, with the help of Christian converts, he escaped.

This post has a description of Nabatean Arabia, which might have included the city of Damascus.

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Acts 9:26-31 – Saul of Tarsus arrives in Jerusalem, St Paul, Barnabas, St Barnabas

Saul of Tarsus fled to Jerusalem. Whether this was his first visit post-conversion, we do not know. However, the disciples rejected him until a fellow Hellenist Jew, Barnabas, recommended Saul to the Apostles. However, Saul’s divinely given wisdom outwitted the Hellenists every time. They sought to kill him. The disciples heard of the plot and got Saul out of the city to his birthplace of Tarsus. The Church went on to grow by leaps and bounds, through peace from lack of persecution and purity through the converts.

Key verse:

31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.  (Acts 9:31)

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Acts 9:32-35 – Peter, Aeneas, healing miracle, paralysis, Lydda, Lod, Sharon

In the name of Christ Jesus, Peter completely healed Aeneas, who had suffered from long term paralysis in Lydda.

Key verse:

34 And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.” And immediately he rose.  (Acts 9:34)

This post also includes historical and geographical notes about Lydda (Lod) and the valley of Sharon from John MacArthur.

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Acts 9:36-43 – Peter, Dorcas, healing miracle, resurrection, Joppa, Jaffa

Peter raises Dorcas — Tabitha — from the dead.

This post includes information about Jewish preparations of a body for burial and geographical information about the port city of Joppa — Jaffa.

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Acts 10:1-8 – Cornelius, divine vision, angel, Peter, God-fearer

Cornelius is the first 100% Gentile to be mentioned in the New Testament — and by name.

He was a God-fearer, which, amongst the Jews at the time, meant that he was a Gentile who followed parts of Jewish law and believed in the God of Israel. Cornelius came to know that paganism was a false construct but did not go so far as a Roman (a present-day Italian) to become circumcised or venture into other parts of Jewish belief. However, he prayed regularly, possibly following the Jewish prayer times. God had plans for him via Peter.

Key verses:

3 About the ninth hour of the day[a] he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.”  (Acts 10:3-6)

This post also explains the three different types of Gentiles known to the Jewish people.

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Acts 10:9-16 – Peter, divine vision, allegory, animals, Gentiles, forbidden food is now clean

In order to meet Cornelius, who also received a divine vision with instructions, Peter needed to be similarly prepared, hence this vision. The upshot is that all food is good and that the mix of living creatures was meant to also symbolise the pure and the unclean to Peter: Jews and Gentiles. Both are meant to share in Christ’s death and resurrection.

Not only is there no need to obey old Levitical laws about diet, there is no need to become a Christian vegetarian. As verse 13 says, in part: ‘kill and eat’. There is no mention of plants here.

Key verses:

12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.  (Acts 10:12-16)

This vision was given three times, not only to show perfection and completion — in connotation with the number three used biblically — but to give Peter the meaning that this was a divine message. The theme of Jews and Gentiles returns in Acts and Paul’s epistles.

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Acts 10:17-23 — Peter, Holy Spirit, obedience, Gentiles, hospitality

Peter obeys the Holy Spirit and goes to meet the men — including a Roman centurion. He left the following day, along with a few male converts from Joppa, to go to meet Cornelius in Caesarea.

Key verses:

19 And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. 20 Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation,[a] for I have sent them.” 21 And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?” 22 And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” 23 So he invited them in to be his guests. (Acts 10:19:23)

This is the final part of the divine plan for the Church: the hospitality to and welcoming of Gentiles.

N.B.: This post explains that there was mutual suspicion between Jews and Gentiles — both sides.

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Acts 10:24-29 — Peter, Cornelius, Jewish converts, Gentile converts

Unquestioning, Peter goes from Joppa to Caesarea, to the house of Cornelius and asks why he was summoned. This is the great mixing of Jew and Gentile for the growing Church. Peter disabused any notion that he should be worshipped.

Key verses:

26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” 27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. 28 And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.  (Acts 10:26-28)

That nothing is unclean relates to man as well as food.

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Acts 10:30-33 – Peter, Cornelius, Jew, Gentile, Jesus Christ

Cornelius, the Roman centurion in Caesarea — a Gentile — explains the divine vision given to him and why Peter should be at his house.

Key verse:

33 So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” (Acts 10:33)

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Acts 10:44-48 – Peter, Cornelius, the Holy Spirit, baptism, Gentile, Jew

While Peter was preaching to Cornelius, the Holy Spirit descended upon the centurion, his household and Peter’s Jewish companions from Joppa. Peter then asked his Joppa companions if there was any reason why the Gentiles should not be baptised. He commanded them to baptise the Gentiles.

Peter stayed with Cornelius and his entourage for some time. This ends the mentions of Cornelius in Scripture.

Key verses:

47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.  (Acts 10:47-48)

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Acts 11:1-18 — Peter, Gentiles, circumcision group, circumcision party, legalists

The diehard Jewish converts — the ‘circumcision party’, legalists who believed those in Christ could only be true if they converted to Judaism and were circumcised first — were angry with Peter for converting Cornelius and his household of Gentiles until Peter explained factually what happened. Then, they no longer argued, but glorified God instead.

This was because the Apostles established strict doctrine and a spiritually clean Church beforehand.

Key verse:

18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”   (Acts 11:18)

We are now about seven years into the life of the Church after the first Pentecost.

Don’t miss Acts 11:19-30, the account of the church in Antioch, in Syria — the first mention of Christians (a derogatory one, too).

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Acts 12:1-5 — Peter, Jerusalem, Herod Agrippa I, St James the Great, martyr, martyrdom, Passover

After a period of peace, Herod — Agrippa I — actively persecuted the church in Jerusalem because he thought he could win favour with the Jews in Jerusalem, particularly during Passover (‘the days of Unleavened Bread’). He pursued the less-known, then went to James (John’s brother, both pronounced by Jesus as the ‘sons of thunder’), then to Peter.

Key verses:

He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread.

So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. (Acts 12:2-3, 5)

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Acts 12:6-11 – Peter, prison, angel, miracle, freedom, deliverance

While the church of Jerusalem was praying for Peter, his safety and release, an angel of the Lord visited him in prison, shackled to two prison guards — one on either side — struck him to awaken, put clothes and sandals on in order to escape.

The iron gate outside the prison opened by itself. Peter and the angel walked out together. When they got to a street the angel knew Peter recognised, the spiritual agent left him. Peter, having thought this was a vision, then realised it was reality.

Key verses:

And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”   (Acts 12:9-11)

The broken chains were real. Matthew Henry mentions that one of the guards kept them for many years as a religious relic. They were then given to an empress by the name of Eudoxia. Wikipedia says that the Venerable Bede, an early British historian, wrote about them:

‘According to a letter quoted by Bede, Pope Vitalian sent a cross containing filings said to be from Peter’s chains to the queen of Oswy, Anglo-Saxon King of Northumbria in 665, as well as unspecified relics of the saint to the king.[103]

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Acts 12:12-17 – Peter, Rhoda, visiting Barnabas’s cousin Mary, departing Jerusalem

In the middle of the night, Peter went to Mary’s house where the converts were praying with zeal for his safety. They did not know the angel released him. When he went to the front door at the gate, Mary’s young servant Rhoda saw Peter and, thrilled at hearing his voice, went inside the house to tell the others that he was outside. They accused her first of being mad (crazy), then said that it must have been his ‘angel’. Finally, they let him in. He was in danger of being seen or apprehended and returned to prison for trial. Fortunately, he was able to tell the faithful what happened, asked that they told James (of Jerusalem, brother of Jesus) what happened. He then left suddenly for safety.

This is nearly the last we hear of Peter in Acts. However, he did write letters to his flock during his ministry. These are in the New Testament, some discussed below near the bottom of this page (see 1 Peter and 2 Peter below).

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Acts 12:18-19 — Peter flees Jerusalem, Herod’s guards apoplectic, death penalty

Herod Antipas’s guards were panicking when they woke to discover that Peter was no longer in the prison. They searched everywhere. Peter was nowhere to be found. St Luke, the author of Acts, gives us no details as to the extent of their search, but under Roman law, a guard whose prisoners went missing was killed. This nearly happened in Acts 16, when a prison guard thought that Paul and Silas escaped during an earthquake.

Key verse:

19 And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there. (Acts 12:19)

Herod took a relaxing break from humiliation with the rich and powerful, lauding Caesar’s triumphant return from Britain.

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Acts 12:20-23 — Herod Antipas, death by worms, angel of the Lord, pride, Tyre and Sidon

Herod Antipas, having hidden himself in Caesarea after not being able to try and put Peter to death, nestled with the great and the good in honour of Caesar (see previous entry).

He then tried to make a public spectacle over the people of Tyre and Sidon. An angel of the Lord sentenced him to death. Worms ate him alive.

The Jewish historian Josephus said that it took five days for the worms to consume his body.

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Acts 12:24-25 – Saul of Tarsus, St Paul, St Barnabas, St Mark, John Mark, increasing the Church

The death of Herod Antipas caused many to convert to Christ Jesus.

Barnabas and Saul of Tarsus (the latter since converted) had been preaching in Antioch. When they returned to Jerusalem, they brought with them John Mark, the son of Mary, who had been housing many in the church of Jerusalem.

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Romans 1:16-32 – God deserts the wilful, chronic sinners; idolatry; homosexuality; protection

Those who wilfully and persistently commit serious sin against God will be punished.  God will desert them, leaving them to wallow in their own sin.

Key verses:

26For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.   (Romans 1:26-32)

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Romans 3:1-8 and 9-20 – sin, God’s faithfulness

Paul discusses God’s faithfulness to His faithful people and the perils of sin.

Key verses:

3What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness? 4Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written:
”So that you may be proved right when you speak
and prevail when you judge.”  (Romans 3:3-4)

20Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.  (Romans 3:20)

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Romans 9:6-13 – election, New Covenant

Paul introduces the New Covenant to the Jews. Our salvation depends not on our lineage (i.e. Abrahamic descent) and not all will be saved.  Our election to salvation depends not on our own works but on God’s choosing.

11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls)  (Rom. 9:11)

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Romans 9:14-24 – election, New Covenant

This passage explains how and why God, through Jesus’s death and resurrection, opened the promise of salvation to the Gentiles through the New Covenant: ‘not only Jews but also Gentiles’.

Key verses:

24Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?   (Romans 9:24)

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Romans 9:25-33faith, not works; New Covenant

This passage further explains how and why God, through Jesus’s death and resurrection, opened the promise of salvation to the Gentiles.

Key verses:

30 What should we say then? Those who aren’t Jews did not look for a way to be right with God. But they found it by having faith. 31 Israel did look for a law that could make them right with God. But they didn’t find it.

32 Why not? Because they didn’t look for it by faith. They tried to get it by working for it. They tripped over the stone that causes people to trip and fall.  (Romans 9:30-32)

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1 Corinthians 5:1-5 – incest, porneia, church discipline, indifference, sin

Paul has strong words for the Christians in Corinth who take pride in the incest that one of their prominent members commits.  Paul instructs them to publicly discipline this member for the health of the Church.

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1 Corinthians 6:9-20 – body a temple; homosexuality, fornication, thievery, drunkenness to be punished

Paul sets out a list of sins which God will severely punish.  He will deny those committing them the gift of eternal life unless they repent in this life.

Key verses:

9 Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, 10 Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God.   (1 Cor. 6:9-10)

17 But he who is joined to the Lord, is one spirit. 18 Fly fornication. Every sin that a man doth, is without the body; but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body.  19 Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own ? 20 For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body.  (1 Cor. 17-20)

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1 Corinthians 7:1-16 – marriage, marriage to non-Christians

Paul discusses the reasons for marriage and marrying non-Christians.

Key verses:

3Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

4The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.  (1 Cor. 7:3-4)

14For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. (1 Cor. 7:14)

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Ephesians 5:1-21 – behaviour, shunning

Paul explains what godly behaviour entails: no idle talk, no sexual immorality, no coarse jokes — these are tantamount to idol worship and will exclude them — and us — from eternal life.

Key verses:

5For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7Therefore do not be partners with them.    (Eph. 5:5-7)

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1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 – holiness, sexual continence, fornication, adultery, sexual sin, pleasing God, work, self-reliance, self-sufficiency, minding one’s own business

Paul warns that God will judge sexual sin and that, instead, Christians should please God with a holy way of life, honourable to all.  He also concludes with a few words about minding one’s own business and self-sufficiency.

Key verses:

3For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,  (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4)

11and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.  (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)

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1 Timothy 3 — absolutes for priests, deacons and their wives, male priests, male deacons, married priests, married deacons

Key verses:

2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.  (1 Tim. 3:2-7)

11In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.  (1 Tim. 3:11)

12A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.  (1 Tim. 3:12)

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1 Timothy 4:1-5all creatures good, vegetarianism

Paul warns Timothy that many will be seduced by false teachings and ungodly spirits.  He also says that what God gives us through His grace — food, companionship — are to be gratefully received.  Attention, vegetarian Christians!

Key verses:

1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils’  (1 Tim. 4:1)

4For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:  5For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (1 Tim. 4:4-5)

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1 Timothy 4:6-16godly living, don’t give up

Paul instructs Timothy on his future ministry at large.  By showing a good example in his own life, Timothy will save not only his own soul but those of the people around him.

Key verses:

7 Don’t have anything to do with godless stories and silly tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. 8 Training the body has some value. But being godly has value in every way. It promises help for the life you are now living and the life to come.  (1 Tim. 4:7-8)

16 Be careful of how you live and what you believe. Never give up. Then you will save yourself and those who hear you. (1 Tim. 4:16)

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2 Timothy 4 – ‘itching ears’, ‘in season and out of season’, fighting the ‘good fight’, keeping the faith

Paul warns Timothy against telling people what they want to hear.  He also exhorts Timothy to preach the Gospel when it’s popular and when it isn’t popular.

Key verses:

2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.          (2 Tim. 4:2-4)

7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  (2 Tim. 4:7)

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Titus 3:1-3 and 3:8-15 – importance of good conduct, avoiding controversy and arguments, avoiding argumentative people, remembering days of unbelief

Key verses:

1Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.  3At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. (Titus 3:1-3)

9But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. 11You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.  (Titus 3:9-11)

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James 1:1-16 – trials, joy in adversity, true faith, prayer, double-minded man

James the Just reminds his faithful that we must remain joyful in adversity and pray for wisdom to cope in a Christlike manner.

Key verses:

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  (James 1:2)

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.  (James 1:5-8)

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James 2:6-7 and 11-13 – impartiality, mercy in judgment

James the Just instructs his scattered faithful to judge people equally — not favouring rich over poor.  He also reminds them to obey all of the Law yet exercise temporal judgment with mercy.

Key verse:

13For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13)

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James 2:19-26 – faith, fruits of faith, Abraham as friend of God, Rahab

James cites Abraham and Rahab as examples of people who exhibited the fruits of faith.

Key verses:

19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!  (James 2:19)

26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (James 2:26)

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James 5:11-20 – oaths, profanity, bad language, healing, anointing, Extreme Unction, illness, bringing sinners back to faith

James counsels his converts to avoid frivolous oaths and profanity. He advocates praying in community for those who are ill and encourages his flock to bring those who have fallen away back to faith.

Key verses:

19My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20)

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1 Peter 1:10-16 – holiness, gird up your loins

Peter, in recalling the Old Testament prophets, instructs his converts to be holy and forsake excesses of emotion and the flesh.

Key verses:

13Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

14As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

15But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

16Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.  (1 Peter 1:13-16)

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1 Peter 1:24-25 – mortality, ‘flesh as grass’

24For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

25But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.  (1 Peter 1:24-25)

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1 Peter 2:11-18 – good conduct, strangers and pilgrims, refraining from sin, obeying civil authorities, servants, slaves

St Peter continues his exhortation to obedience to recent converts.  N.B.: There is an interesting exegetic note near the end of the post with regard to the different types and treatment of Roman slaves, some of whom were doctors and finance managers.

Key verses:

11Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;  (1 Peter 2:11)

15For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. (1 Peter 2:15-17)

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1 Peter 3:1-7 – husbands, wives, marriage, obedience, personal conduct

Peter gives instructions to wives and a brief reminder to husbands of how they should conduct themselves within the married state.

This post has an important explanation of obedience with regard to Christ and His Church as well as a pastor’s consternation with Christian women married to non-Christian husbands — essential reading.

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1 Peter 4:9-11 –  hospitality, good stewardship and use of God-given gifts

Peter asks new converts to extend hospitality to one another and gives advice on serving God according to one’s ability.

Key verse:

9Use hospitality one to another without grudging.  (1 Peter 4:9)

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1 Peter 5:5-14 – young men and authority, self-control, alertness, resisting the devil

Peter’s message to young Christians, citing Proverbs 3:34.

Key verses:

5Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
”God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”  (1 Peter 5:5)

8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  (1 Peter 5:8)

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2 Peter 1:1-12 – knowledge, self-control, holiness, godliness, ‘make your election sure’

Peter counsels his new converts on how to make their election sure.

This post contains excerpts from a sermon by the Revd Gil Rugh who says that our society needs regeneration not reformation!  Clean living people will also go to Hell unless they believe in Christ.

Key verses:

5For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (2 Peter 1:5-8)

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2 Peter 2:1-9 – beware of false teachers, Noah, Lot, sin, wicked angels

Peter teaches the new converts how to discern a false teacher and the biblical evidence for discovering God’s mercy.

Key verses:

1But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3)

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2 Peter 2:10-22 – false teachers, boastfulness, greed, empty promises, preying on the vulnerable

Peter continues his warning about false teachers.  Note the similarities with the letter from Jude.

Key verses:

14They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!  (2 Peter 2:14)

17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.   (2 Peter 2:17-19)

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2 Peter 3:1-7, 15-17 – scoffers, mockers, deniers of the Second Coming of Christ, false teachers, false prophets, the final judgment to come

St Peter warns his new converts about those who deny what is in Scripture as well as those who teach falsely, turning Scripture to their own interpretations.

Key verses:

4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”  (2 Peter 3:4)

7But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.  (2 Peter 3:7)

17You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.  (2 Peter 3:17)

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1 John 2:3-11 – Commandments, obedience, light, darkness, love of neighbour

In this part of his epistle, John discusses obedience to Christ’s commandment to love one another.

Key verses:

10He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.

11But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.   (1 John 2:10-11)

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1 John 2:12-17 – speaking to converts as they are in sanctification, countering worldliness

John addresses his followers by their status in the Church — new converts and older ones.

Key verses:

16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.  (1 John 2:16-17)

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1 John 2:18-29 – antichrists, false teachers, belief in Christ

John tells his faithful that if they stay true to core Christian beliefs, they will know eternal life.

Key verses:

20But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.  (1 John 2:20)

27But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.  (1 John 2:27)

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1 John 3:9-13 – sin, love one another, unbelievers, Cain, first murder, hate

John discusses identifying believers by their righteousness in Christ. Also see John 16:1-4.

Key verse:

Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.  (1 John 3:13)

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1 John 3:14-18 – love one another, hate akin to murder

John continues his guidance to his faithful, telling them to love in deed and in truth.

Key verses:

15Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.   (1 John 3:15)

18My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18)

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1 John 3:19-24 – assurance, conscience

John tells his converts that God is pleased with those who keep His commandments and love His Son Jesus Christ.

Key verses:

22And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

23And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.   (1 John 3:22-23)

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1 John 4:1-6 – discernment, antichrist, the world, faith, belief

John instructs his converts to examine closely the teachings they receive.

This post gives the correct definition of spiritual warfare and a selection of verses about the truth of Jesus Christ and the call to Christian discernment.

Key verses:

1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  (1 John 4:1)

3And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:3)

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1 John 4:7-13 – Christian love, Christ as propitiation

John explains the close, individual relationship that each believer has with God through Jesus Christ.

This post includes an extensive biblical explanation of the word ‘propitiation’ and what it means to Christians.

Key verses:

8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.  (1 John 4:8)

10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.   (1 John 4:10)

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1 John 4:14-21 – perfect love, God loved us first

St John explains perfect Christian love;  God loved us before we loved Him, therefore, we are to love Jesus Christ.

Key verses:

15Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. (1 John 4:15)

18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.  19We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:18-19)

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1 John 5:7-13 – Holy Trinity, unbelief, Christ’s blood and water

John is the only apostle to mention Christ’s blood and water and the Holy Trinity.

This post also contains a number of John’s other references to the damning sin of unbelief.

Key verses:

7For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.  8And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.  (1 John 5:7-8)

10He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. (1 John 5:10)

13These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13)

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1 John 5:14-21 – truth of and confidence in Jesus Christ, faith, prayer, sin, Satan and the world, beware of idols

John assures his faithful that they can have full confidence in Jesus Christ as Saviour.

Key verses:

14And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:  15And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.  (1 John 5:12-15)

17All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.  (1 John 5:17)

20And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.  21Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.  (1 John 5:20-21)

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2 John 1 – women, holiness, children, faith, hospitality, false teachers

The Apostle warns a godly woman against offering hospitality to strangers.

This post contains a précis of John 1 and how it ties in with 2 John 1.

This post introduces the passage with Matthew Henry’s encouraging words from the 18th century for Christian ladies.

Key verses:

8Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11for whoever greets himtakes part in his wicked works.  (2 John 1:8-11)

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3 John 1 – hospitality, Christian love, Christian friendship

John writes to Gaius, warning him about a prideful church leader and commending a travelling missionary soon to visit.

Key verses:

5Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, 6who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. 7For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. 8Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.  (3 John 1:5-8)

11Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.  (3 John 1:11)

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Jude 1 – defend the faith; false teachers, homosexuality and other sexual sins punished

Sodom and Gomorrah are referred to in this chapter. Jude tells his audience to turn from sin to Christ, who alone can save them — and us.

Key verses:

3 Dear friends, I really wanted to write to you about the salvation we share. But now I feel I should write and ask you to stand up for the faith. God’s people were trusted with it once and for all time.  (Jude 1:3)

7 The people of Sodom and Gomorrah and the towns around them also did evil things. They gave themselves over to sexual sins. They committed sins of the worst possible kind. They are an example of those who are punished with fire. The fire never goes out.   (Jude 1:7)

13 They [false teachers] are like wild waves of the sea. Their shame rises up like foam. They are like falling stars. God has reserved a place of very black darkness for them. He will keep them there forever.                           (Jude 1:13)

24 Give praise to the One who is able to keep you from falling into sin. He will bring you into his heavenly glory without any fault. He will bring you there with great joy. (Jude 1:24)

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Revelation 2 – 1-7, 8-11, 12-1718-29 Christ’s letters to the churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum and Thyatira, church purity, church discipline, idolatry, fornication, worldliness, lukewarm, acedia, persecution, evil from the Devil, eternal punishment for deadly sin

Key verses:

3You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.  (Rev. 2:3-5 — to Ephesus)

7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.  (Rev. 2:7 — to Ephesus)

10Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.  (Rev. 2:10 — to Smyrna)

17He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.  (Rev. 2:17 — to Pergamum)

20Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.  (Rev. 2:20-23 — to Thyatira)

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Revelation 3 – 1-6, 7-13, 14-22 Christ’s letters to the churches of Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea

The letter to the church in Philadelphia includes a definition of what ‘come quickly’ actually means.

Key verses:

3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.  (Rev. 3:3 – to Sardis)

5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. (Rev. 3:5 – to Sardis)

8I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. (Rev. 3:8 – to Philadelphia)

12Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.  (Rev. 3:12 – to Philadelphia)

16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.  (Rev. 3:16 – to Laodicea)

19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.  (Rev. 3:19-21 – to Laodicea)

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Revelation 5:1-5 – scroll, Jesus Christ as Lion and Lamb

St John sees the scroll in God’s right hand. He weeps because no one has come forward to open it.

Key verse:

4and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

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Revelation 6 – scroll, four horsemen

As Christ unseals and unrolls the scroll, St John envisages what He reveals.

Key verses:

14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”  (Rev. 6:14-17)

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Revelation 7:5-8 – the 144,000 of the tribes of Israel

St John hears the numbers of the ‘sealed’ tribes of Israel announced.

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Revelation 8 – the seventh seal, the first four trumpets

The scroll is fully opened and the angels’ trumpets sound the first four judgments.

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Revelation 9 – the fifth and sixth trumpets, worldly seduction, devastation, impenitence

St John sees the next two judgments — Satan releases his demons (‘locusts’) on the earth and devastation of the earth also occurs.  Yet, the unsaved refuse to repent.

Key verses:

20The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, 21nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.   (Revelation 9:20-21)

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Revelation 10 – The ‘angel’ — Jesus Christ — gives the scroll to St John

St John consumes the scroll as instructed and finds it sweet (receiving God’s holy Word) yet bitter (persecution of believers, especially those who minister in His name)

Key verses:

9So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” 10And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. 11And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”  (Revelation 10:9-11)

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Revelation 11 – The two witnesses, the seventh trumpet

St John measures the temple, the two witnesses for Christ accomplish their work and the final ‘woe’ is described.

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Revelation 12: 1-6, 13-17 – The woman and the dragon

This chapter covers the history of the conflict between Satan and the Church. St Michael the Archangel throws Satan out of Heaven. Once on Earth, Satan seeks to persecute the Church.

Key verses:

1And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. 3And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems.  (Revelation 12:1-3)

15The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. 16But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. 17Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.  (Revelation 12:15-17)

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Revelation 13 – the dragon, the beast rising out of the sea, mark of the beast, 666

Satan continues to blaspheme the Holy Trinity in the first and second beasts.  This is also the chapter which contains the ‘mark of the beast’, 666.

Key verses:

And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”  (Revelation 13:4)

5And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.   (Revelation 13:5)

15And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. 16Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.  (Revelation 13:15-17)

This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.   (Revelation 13:18)

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Revelation 14 – fall of Babylon, the winepress

St John sees what will happen on the Last Day, when the Lord is ready to answer the pleas of His saints and avenges their persecutors — Satan and his earthly agents.

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Revelation 15 – setting the scene for the seven censers, or ‘bowls’

Whilst the saints glorify the Lord, He — through His angels — prepares to avenge the persecution of His holy people.  These final seven judgments to unbelievers will be the seven plagues to come in Revelation 16.

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Revelation 16 – the seven vials / bowls / censers, judgment, Armageddon, mental torment, false miracles, fall of Babylon

Seven angels pour out their own vial — plague, judgment — upon the Earth in the final days.  God then pronounces, ‘It is done’.  Christ’s Second Coming can now take place.

Key verses:

15Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

16And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

17And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.

18And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.

19And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

20And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

21And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.    (Revelation 16:15-21)

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Revelation 17 – Babylon, Mystery Babylon, the beast

This chapter (and the next) reveal how Satan and his minions will be judged at the end of the world.  The whore of Babylon symbolises churches, kingdoms and civil governments that turn from God.

Key verses:

4And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

5And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

6And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

7And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. (Revelation 17:4-7)

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Revelation 18 – fall of Babylon

What will happen when the city of Babylon comes to an end.

Key verses:

4And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

5For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.  (Revelation 18:4-5)

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Revelation 19:2-3, 10-21 – Christ the King, the white horse, the beast, the false prophet, the winepress

Christ the Lord has seen all the sins committed and will come to judge evildoers to exert His rule over them.  The beast, the false prophet and their remnant meet their eternal fate in fire and brimstone. Faithful Christians will escape this almighty judgment.

Key verses:

11And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.  (Revelation 19:11)

15And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.    (Revelation 19:15)

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Revelation 20 – Satan, second death, Gog and Magog, great white throne, Book of Life, death, the sea, Hell, lake of fire

This chapter shows us another depiction — not a continuation — of the judgment of Satan and his minions.  We also have the depiction of the Final Judgment, involving all people, regardless of belief.

Key verses:

7And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.  (Revelation 20:7-8)

11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  (Revelation 20:11-12)

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Revelation 21:8-21 – deadly sin, second death, fire and brimstone, the afterlife, cowards, fearful, unbelievers, murders, whoremongers, all liars, occult, murder, idolatry

One of the seven angels with the vials (censers, bowls) shows St John a vision of the afterlife.  N.B.: I have also included a selection of New Testament verses confirming sins which could cause the second death — eternal damnation — described here and in Revelation 20.

Key verse:

8But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.   (Rev. 21:8)

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Revelation 22 – Second Coming unexpected, God’s sovereignty, our readiness, the occult, murder, idolatry

When the Lord comes again, it will be sudden with no warning.  Therefore, we must be ready.  The Book of Revelation is for all the churches, and no word is to be added or expunged (Episcopal Church — please note!).

Key verses:

12“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. 13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”   (Rev. 22:12-13)

15″Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”  (Rev. 22:15)

16“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”   (Rev. 22:16)

17The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. (Rev. 22:17)

18I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.  (Rev. 22:18-19)

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