Luke 6:27-35 – Love Your Enemies

Love your enemies.  It’s a simple sentence, isn’t it?  It’s an imperative made up of three words, none of which is hard to understand.  It’s short, it’s easily definable, it’s easy to read and speak.  There’s absolutely nothing about it that’s complicated at all.  It even kind of rolls off the tongue.  What we realize […]

Luke 6:17-26 – Called to be Different

Starting in verse 20 and lasting through the end of the chapter is what some call the Sermon on the Plain.  Likely the same sermon as the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, it is Jesus’ manifesto explaining how a citizen of the kingdom of God is to live.  In a word, the godly […]

Luke 6:12-16 – Choosing the Twelve, Choosing Judas

Jesus chooses twelve men from among His disciples to be apostles.  The men He chooses are in some cases expected and in others surprising.  The varying personalities, lifestyles, and professions show God’s sovereignty and mercy and act as a preview of a kingdom where there will be neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male […]

Luke 6:1-11 – Lord of the Sabbath

God instituted the Sabbath when He gave Israel the Ten Commandments.  The fourth commandment reads as follows: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, […]

Luke 5:27-39 – A Mold-Breaking Savior

Jesus continues to defy convention, especially for the religious leaders.  He shockingly chooses a tax collector as one of His followers and then uses that choice to make a statement about who He is and what He’s here to begin.  Jesus is unlike anything the scribes and Pharisees have seen, and His approach and goals […]

Luke 5:12-26 – Jesus is Supreme

Jesus has shown His supremacy over temptation, over sickness and suffering (healing multitudes), over the powers of evil (casting out demons), and over nature (bringing boatloads of fish to fishermen).  In this text, He shows His supremacy over the most feared disease of His time (leprosy) and – most impressively – over sin itself.  Jesus […]

Luke 5:1-11 – The First Men Caught

Jesus teaches by the Sea of Galilee and calls Peter, Andrew, James, and John to be His disciples.  Based on what we know from other references, this isn’t His first exposure to the fishermen but it’s the first time His divinity becomes real to them.  Once they realize the truth, they do what only makes […]

Psalm 40 – Walking by Faith

The wonderful thing about the book of Psalms is that it meets us where we live.  It tells about good times and mountaintop experiences, but it also speaks to trials and disappointments, times that don’t make sense, times where God seems silent or absent.  In a word, the Psalms talk about life – real life […]

Luke 4:14-30 – You Can’t Go Home Again

“You can’t go home again” is an old saying that means if you try to return to a place you remember from the past it won’t be the same as you remember it.  The expression comes from a book title, but it just as easily could’ve originated from the text we study today.  Jesus comes […]

Luke 3:21-4:13 – A Savior who Sympathizes

Jesus begins His public ministry.  He is gloriously baptized, anointed with the Spirit, and then ruthlessly tempted.  In all cases, He proves Himself worthy of His inheritance and mission.  This story shows that spiritual highs are often followed by temptations to selfishness and pride.  It also shows that there is nothing in our life experience […]

Luke 3:1-20 – John the Baptist/John the Example

The ministry of John the Baptist begins.  John – the most important prophet in the Bible (per Jesus) and one of the oddest – preaches repentance in no uncertain terms.  He’s not beholden to tradition, power, prestige, precedent, wealth, or comfort.  He’s here to tell the truth and pave the way for the Messiah.  John […]

Luke 2:21-52 – An Unconventional God

Luke continues his exclusive account of Jesus’ birth and early childhood.  This part of the story shows ordinary humans in contact with supernatural events and also shows that young Jesus does not take long to understand His nature and mission.  Ultimately Luke takes pains to make his readers understand that normal people are involved in […]

Luke 2:1-20 – The Kingdom of God Invades the World of Men

Luke 2 is really the quintessential Christmas passage.  It’s the most complete account of the birth of the Messiah and the text most people associate with Christmas.  It’s not, however, simply a story.  In Luke’s telling he gives us a picture of how God sovereignly works; of how God is the God of power and […]

Luke 1:5-80 – Miraculous Birth Stories

As the scene opens on Luke’s birth narratives, God has been silent for 400 years.  His last words were to the prophet Malachi saying that Elijah would come again and proclaim the day of the Lord (Mal 4:5) and that God would send a messenger to clear the way before the coming Messiah (Mal 3:1).  […]

Luke Introduction/1:1-4

Almighty God, who calledst Luke the Physician, whose praise is in the Gospel, to be an Evangelist and Physician of the soul: May it please thee that, by the wholesome medicines of the doctrine delivered by him, all the diseases of our souls may be healed; through the merits of thy Son Jesus Christ our […]

Luke 11 – Reading Helps

1-13 Instead of recounting the Sermon on the Mount in one place like Matthew, Luke spreads the teaching throughout his book.  In these verses he records Jesus’ teaching about prayer from the Sermon and adds a parable that is unique to this account. The model prayer shows the importance of making God the priority of […]

Luke 9-10 – Reading Helps

9:1-6 This is somewhat of an odd event.  No way to know where all the disciples go, how long they’re gone or what Jesus does during their absence.  It could be that this is a rehearsal for what they’ll be called to do after the ascension.  Jesus gives them a mini-great commission and sends them […]

Luke 8 – Reading Helps

1-3 Jesus continues the mission that He laid out in 4:43 – He is here to preach the good news of the kingdom of God.  The Messiah is here, and God’s kingdom will be established through Him – both now to a limited extent and in the future to the fullest. Luke helpfully explains how […]

Luke 5-7 – Reading Helps

5:1-11 Nothing random or coincidental about Jesus being around the boats of Peter, Andrew, James and John.  He clearly seeks them out. The miracle Jesus performs is perfectly appropriate for the four fisherman – He meets them where they live. Peter’s response (vs 8) shows he knows he’s in the presence of God.  It’s the […]

Luke 1-4 – Reading Helps

Overview Luke is a Gentile (or most likely a Gentile – see Col 4:10-14) writing not as an eyewitness but based on others’ eyewitness accounts. Luke is a physician (Col 4:14).  It’s interesting to consider how this affects his writing about Jesus’ miracles and healings.  Luke likely has a unique perspective on Jesus’ role as […]

Esther – Reading Helps

Dates722 – Northern kingdom deported by Assyria605 – First Jewish captives taken to Babylon from Judah (includes Daniel)586 – Jerusalem destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar539 – Fall of Babylon to Persia536 – First return of Jews to Israel under Zerubbabel (end of 70-year captivity per Daniel prophecy)483 – Vashti deposed481 – Xerxes’ campaign against Greece launched479 (7th […]

Habakkuk 3 – Living by Faith When the World Falls Apart

Habakkuk’s final response to God’s words of impending judgment is a prayer.  He is done arguing and done questioning.  He accepts God’s explanation that He will use the Babylonians to judge Judah and then judge the Babylonians themselves for their sin.  He knows evil times are coming but is willing to trust the ultimate Author […]

Habakkuk 2:1-3 – Waiting for God

After three iterations of dialogue between Habakkuk and God (Habakkuk complains – God answers – Habakkuk responds) we reach a very interesting break in the action.  Instead of simply recording God’s second response (as he did with the first one), Habakkuk curiously tells us that he assumes a post and waits for God to speak.  […]

Habakkuk 1 – Trying to Understand an Infinite God

SynopsisThe book of Habakkuk is a dialogue between Habakkuk – a prophet – and God.  The book is unique in that there is no narrative about Habakkuk proclaiming God’s message to the people.  God tells him to proclaim it, but any interaction with the people of Judah takes place outside the book.  The entirety of […]

Deuteronomy 33 – The Blessings of Moses

As his final act before he dies, Moses pronounces a blessing on (almost) each of the twelve tribes of Israel.  In making this his last act, he hearkens back to the blessing Jacob – on his death bed – gave to each of his sons over four hundred years ago.  Moses blesses each of the […]

Deuteronomy 32:48-52/34:1-12 – The Death of Moses

After 120 years (assuming the number is literal) of an amazing life, Moses reaches the end.  God told him he would die before Israel entered the land, and the time to enter the land is here.  He has instructed the people and blessed them and commissioned their new leader, so there is nothing more he […]

Deuteronomy 31:1-8,23 – Leaders Change, God Doesn’t

Israel as a nation has been around since the birth of Isaac over 500 years ago, but only one man has ever officially been its leader.  Moses has led the nation for the last 40 years and has been the channel through which the people have received their laws, their structure of governance, and their […]

Deuteronomy 30:11-14 – Moses Helps Paul Explain Jesus

Moses continues with the gospel according to Deuteronomy.  In verses 1-10 of this chapter he told the Israelites they will fall away in the future but God will bring them back to the land and restore their place as His chosen people.  He will do for them what they will not be able to do […]

Deuteronomy 28 – IF

In Chapter 28 Moses puts all the cards on the table in regard to the blessings and curses associated with the covenant.  He has talked many times about God’s blessing being contingent on the people’s obedience and that God will remove His protection and care if they disobey (it is really the basis of the […]

Deuteronomy 14-26 – Seeing God in Mosaic Statutes

In the remainder of Moses’ second sermon – which began at 5:1 – he continues to apply and clarify the Law.  In these chapters he adds flesh to the skeleton of the Law with statutes that apply to specific situations. This study will highlight certain statutes and seek to explain their historical-cultural context.  Some of […]

Deuteronomy 13 – God Abides no Rival

The foundation of the covenant is its prohibition against worshiping any god other than Yahweh.  Nothing is more fundamental to the people’s place as God’s chosen people than their exclusive worship of Him.  Thus violations of the first two commandments are to be dealt with in the harshest terms.  In Chapter 13 Moses lists specific […]

Deuteronomy 11 – It’s All About the Love

Moses reaches the end of his discussion of the importance of the Law that he began in 5:1.  In this chapter he repeats many of the themes and warnings he has discussed throughout this address.  It is critical that the people love God and obey Him as they enter and conquer the land.  They must […]

LoveYouBye

Time for a confession.  My wife knows this, my daughter knows this, pretty much everyone in my family knows this, so it’s probably appropriate to tell you – the tens of followers of this blog – so you can know it too (and perhaps decide if you want to continue following).  I’m not a loveyoubye […]

Deuteronomy 10:12-22 – How is the Follower of God to Live?

Moses begins to conclude this portion of his second sermon (which began in 5:1) by explaining how the incidents he has described affect the people going forward.  His concluding remarks will lead into the specific application of the Law which begins in 12:1.  Along with 30:15-19, this is one of the key passages in Deuteronomy.  […]

Deuteronomy 9:25-29 – How to Pray for Others

In these verses (along with verses 18-19) Moses records his response to the people’s sin with the golden calf.  After rebuking them and making them realize the seriousness of their actions he rushes back to God and appeals to Him to spare the people.  What drives him are God’s words in verse 14 – “Let […]

Deuteronomy 9:1-24 – No One Earns Paradise

No one earns Canaan.  No one deserves the Promised Land.  This is the message Moses wants to convey to the people with this part of his sermon in Chapter 9.  He goes to great lengths to make sure they know their upcoming conquest has nothing to do with them.  It is all about purging the […]

It’s Only Rock n Roll

I am wholly the product of Christian education.  I started in preschool at Heritage Christian School on the northeast side of Indianapolis in 1968 when I was four years old.  I graduated from the same school 14 years later in 1982.  I then attended Cedarville College (now ‘University’ since they put on airs), a Christian […]

Deuteronomy 7 – Cure for Anxiety = Obey and Trust

In the second half of Chapter 6 Moses preached to the people about their lives in the Promised Land after the conquest.  In Chapter 7 he discusses the conquest itself.  He instructs them as to their role in driving out the inhabitants of Canaan and reassures them that God’s presence and power will be with […]

Deuteronomy 6:10-25

Moses moves on from the Shema and gives the Israelites a series of imperatives for after they enter and conquer the land.  He does not address what they will do to settle the land but tells them what they must remember after the battles are done and they have taken possession.  Once they no longer […]

Deuteronomy 6:1-9

This text contains one of the most quoted portions of the Old Testament and some of the most important words in both Judaism and Christianity.  Moses continues the theme of the last few verses of Chapter 5 and instructs the people on the importance of keeping the Law and the benefits of the covenant.  But […]

Deuteronomy 5:22-33

Moses wraps up his re-telling of the events at Sinai.  He reminds his listeners of what happened immediately after God gave them the Ten Commandments.  In so doing he gives us insight into the nature and character of God.  We learn more about God by hearing how He was perceived by the people who were […]