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30 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 18 — Jeremiah 27 and 28

Study 18 From the Book of Jeremiah is: Jeremiah 27 and 28
Five kings of surrounding nation seek Zedekiah’s co-operation in an attempt to throw off the yoke of Babylon. Jeremiah opposes the plan.
1.     What means did Jeremiah use to impress upon the five kings the futility of resistance to Babylon? Notice the claim which God made for Himself in His message to these heathen rulers (27:4-7).
2.     What did Jeremiah condemn in the propaganda of the prophets’?
3.     In chapter 28 we have a leading prophet of the time attacking Jeremiah, and we can consider the two men at close range in what respects did they resemble each other, and in what respects did they differ?  Ponder Jeremiah’s now unwavering courage in predicting passive acceptance of Babylonian control in the face of prominent religious opposition. What ought we to learn from this?
Note. 27:16-22. Only a part of the vessels of the Temple had at this time been carried off to Babylon.


29 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 17 — Jeremiah 26

Study 17 From the Book of Jeremiah is: Jeremiah 26
Jehoiakim was a very different king from Josiah.  At the beginning of his reign, therefore, God sent Jeremiah to warn the people against being led astray into further disobedience to Him.
1.     What reason does God give for sending His servant on this dangerous mission? See verse 3 and cf. 2 Ch. 36:15; 2 Pet. 3:9; Lk. 13:34, 35.
2.     Note the points of resemblance between Jeremiah and Jesus (see Study 8, Question 3; and Mt. 16:14) e.g., cf. Mt 24:1, 2; 26:61; 27:4, 24, 25. Consider also the experiences of Jeremiah and Uriah in the light of what Jesus foretold for His disciples. Cf. Jn. 15:18-20; 16:33; 1 Pet. 4:12, 13.
Notes
1.     Verses 4-6. It seems probable that this brief summary of Jeremiah’s words is given more fully in chapter 7.
2.     Verse 18.  ‘Micah of Moresheth’: see Mi. 1:1, 14.
3.     Verse 24. ‘Ahikam the son of Shaphan’: one of those sent by King Josiah to consult the prophetess Huldah (2 Ki. 22:12, 13), and the father of Gedaliah, who was made governor after the fall of Jerusalem (40:5, 6).



28 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 48 — Matthew 28:1-20

Study 48  From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew  28:1-20
With this lesson, we end the book of Matthew and will go back once again to the book of Jeremiah starting with Jeremiah 26.
1.     Note the foremost place taken by women disciples in the story of the resurrection appearances.  Why should this be (cf. Jn. 14:21)? Contrast the effect of the news of the resurrection on the disciples with the response of Christ’s enemies recorded in verses 11:15. How does this prove the truth of Lk. 16:30, 31?
2.     Verses 18-20. Note the fourfold repetition of the word ‘all’ in Christ’s final commission. What is the threefold task given to the Christian church? Are we obeying, as we ought to do, in the light of (a) Christ’s authority, and (b) the promise of His presence?

27 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 47 — Matthew 27:51-66

Study 47 From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 27:51-66
1.     What is the significance of the torn curtain of the Temple (verse 51)? Cf. Heb. 9:8; 10:19-23.  How are the manifestations recorded in verses 52, 53 linked with these truths?
2.     What made Joseph of Arimathea (and Nicodemus, Jn. 19:39) come out into the open at this late stage? Is it not at first sight strange that they should now publicly associate themselves with Christ?  What, in the purposes of God, did such a burial demonstrate and make possible?
Note. Verse 62. ‘Next day, that is, after the day of Preparation’: it looks as if, in their concern to safeguard the tom, the Jewish leaders even broke their own sacred sabbath laws.



26 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 46 — Matthew 27:32 - 50

Study 46 From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 27:32 – 50
1. What were the real sufferings of Christ?  In what way are physical, mental and spiritual sufferings here indicated?
1.     What, if any, truth is there in the taunt of verses 41-43? Why did God not intervene? What is the meaning behind Christ’s own sense of desertion in verse 46? Can you hold this truth with that contained in 2 Cor. 5:19. ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself’? See also 2 Cor. 5:21.

25 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 45 — Matthew 27: 15-31

Study 45 From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 27: 15-31
1.     In these verses the Jewish people made a fateful choice. Note especially verses 20 and 25. It was the choice of what kind of saviour they wanted (see Note below). What was the result of this choice in the life of the nation?
2.     In how many ways did Pilate seek to avoid a decision about Christ? Cf. Lk. 23:7. Read again the question in verse 22. Is this not a question which I, too, must ask and answer?
Note.  Verses 16, 17. There is good textual evidence in favour of reading ‘Jesus Barabbas’. This makes the question of verse 17 even more telling.  This was a choice between a false claimant and the true Saviour.

24 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 44 — Matthew 27: 1-14

Study 44  From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 27:1-14
1.     What lessons concerning the inevitable judgment upon sin are to be found in the account of the death of Judah?  Can you see any sense in which we may be tempted to act like Judas in our situation, or is he unique?
2.     Consider the silence of Jesus in these last hours of His life.  Cf. lk. 23:9. In the light of this, read 1. Pet. 2:-23 and note the lessons for our own life and witness.

23 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 43 — Matthew 26: 57 - 75

Study 43 From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 26: 57 – 75
1.     The trials of Jesus and Peter were running concurrently, but with such different results.  What was Peter’s failure, and what was the reason for it? Do you see any difference between this and the failure of Judas?
2.     Verses 59 – 68. In what ways was the trial of Jesus unworthy of the name of Justice? In contrast note the majesty of Jesus at this point. What would you consider the salient characteristics of His witness here?
Note. Verse 64. ‘You have said so’ is more than the equivalent of ‘Yes’. It indicates that Christ’s Kingship was real, but different from the concept in Caiaphas’ mind.



22 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 42 — Matthew 26:30-56

Study 42  From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 26: 30 -56
1.     How do these verses indicate the strength to do God’s will that Christ found through His knowledge of Scriptures? Consider how frequently during these last hours our Lord quoted the Old Testament. What ought we to learn from this concerning the way to face the demands of Christ’s service?
2.     Wherein lay the particular agony to Jesus of the experience in the garden? Why did He shrink so much from the cross? Consider this section in the light of Heb. 5:7-9; 10:1; 1 Pet. 2:24.
3.     What does our Lord pinpoint as the reason for the disciples’ failure in the garden? Consider in how many ways they did fail that night, and how relevant this is to our situation. Cf. What Peter wrote in 1Pet. 5:8-9.

21 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 41 — Matthew 26:17-29

Study 41 From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 26:17-29
1.     What does the phrase in verse 18, ‘My time is at hand’, teach us of Christ’s understanding and control of the situation even at this moment? Notice the repetition of this reference to ‘the hour’ (verse 45) Cf. Jn. 12:23, 27; 13: 1.  Note also in verse 24 the combined recognition of God’s foreordained purpose and man’s personal responsibility.
2.     In the institution of the Lord’s supper, Matthew notes the idea of a covenant in verse 28. In what way does this link with Ex. 24: 6-8 and with Je. 31:31–34?  What ought drinking from such a cup to mean to us?


20 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 40 — Matthew 26:1-16

Study 40  From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 26:1-16
1.     Note the difference between the prophecy of Christ in verses 1, 2, and the plans of the Jewish religious leaders in verses 3-5. Whose word, in fact, prevailed, and why? Cf. Acts 2:23; Ps. 33:10, 11.
2.     In verses 6-16 consider the contrast between the action of Mary, anointing Christ, and Judas selling Him.  How does this demonstrated the truth of Lk. 2:35b? What were the motives behind these different actions?

19 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 39 — Matthew 25: 14-46

Study 39 From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 25: 14-46
1.     Verses 14:30. Compare this parable with that in Lk. 19:11-27.  What is the message underlying both parables? Can you distinguish the particular emphasis of each parable?
2.     Verses 31-46. What claims does Christ here make concerning Himself? How is men’s final destiny determined?
3.     What does this passage teach about the gravity of the sin of omission? What does the absence of good works prove?
Notes
1.     Verse 34. This is the only place in the Gospels where Christ speaks of the Son of man as King. No doubt there was too great a danger of the popular misunderstanding of that title for its frequent use to be possible.
2.     Verse 46. ‘Eternal’:  This speaks primarily not of endless duration but of that which in quality is characteristic of the age to come.


18 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 38 — Matthew 24:32 – 25:13

Study 38 From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 24:32 – 25:13
1.     What truths concerning our Lord’s return are unmistakably certain, and what matters are left uncertain?  What, in consequence, ought the Christian’s attitude to be?
2.     The parable of the ten virgins (25:1-13) teaches a final division. What is the basis of that division? How can we join the company of the wise?  Cf. Mt. 7:21-27.

17 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 37 — Matthew 24:1 - 31

Study 37 From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 24:1 – 31
1.     What is the pattern of future history as predicted by Christ in verses 1-14?  Make a list of the prominent features and see how they apply to our present age.
2.     According to the teaching of these verses how should a Christian react in days of political upheaval and world-wide distress? On what can he count?
Notes
1.     The teaching of this chapter is in answer to the two questions of verse 3. The disciples seemed to think of these events as contemporaneous. Christ sees the fall of Jerusalem as a foreshadowing of the day of His return. It is impossible to be dogmatic about the division of the chapter, since references to the two events are so interwoven, but the following is suggested. Verses 4-14: general principles. Verses 15:28: the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. Verses 29-31: the day of Christ’s coming. Verses 32-51: preparation for both events.
2.     Verse 15 refers back to Dn. 11:31 and in this context, seems to point to the setting up of the Roman ensign within the sacred precincts of the Temple.
3.     Verse 27. ‘coming’ is in Greek Parousia, meaning the official visit of a king. Cf. verses 3:37, 39.


16 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 36 — Matthew 23:23-39

Study 36 From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 23:23-39
1.     The Lord accuses Pharisees in verses 23-26 of a serious lack of proportion in their practice of religion. Can you find modern examples of this dangerous tendency?
2.     The chapter comes to a climax with our Lord’s teaching on the inevitability of judgment (verses 29-39). Yet consider the love of Christ for Jerusalem which is clearly shown. What was it that made judgment inevitable?

15 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 35 — Matthew 23:1-22

Study 35 From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 23:1-22
1.     Verses 1-12 are an indictment of the Pharisees because of their concern for personal prestige and outward show. Do you see how this may happen within the Christian church? In what ways may this temptation come?
2.     Note the repetition of the word ‘Hypocrite’ or ‘play-actor’. How is this seen in the attitude of the Pharisees to others (verses 13-15), and in their vows and promises (verses 16-22)? What do we need to do to avoid becoming like them?
Notes
1.     Verse 5. The phylactery was a small box of leather containing portions of the law and strapped to forehead and to left arm.  The fringes of the garments were four in number, attached to the dress as a symbol of the law. 
2.     Verse 15. ‘A child of hell’: Greek Gehenma, meaning ‘worthy of suffering punishment in the after-life’.

14 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 34 — Matthew 22:15-46

Study 34 From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 22:15-46
1.     Comparing the teaching of Jesus in verses 15-22 with Paul’s teaching in Rom. 13:1-7, outline the duty of the Christian to the state.
2.     Verses 23-33. On what does Christ base His teaching about the fact of resurrection? What features of the life of the world to come emerge from this teaching?
3.     Verses 41-46. Christ’s counter-question here makes some clear claims. What are these? Ps. 110:1 is cited in verse 44. Consider the use made of this elsewhere in the New Testament. Cf. Acts 2:33-36; Heb. 1:13; 10:11-13. Of what truths and hopes are we thereby assured?

13 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 33 — Matthew 22:1-14

Study 33 From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 22:1-14
1.     In this parable what are we taught about the pattern of Christ, ministry, and what challenge do you find to evangelistic outreach?
2.     In verses 11-13 what do you understand to be the significance of the wedding garment?  Cf. Zc. 3:1-5. Consider the balance in these verses of the free invitation of the gospel and the demand for holiness, ‘without which no one will see the Lord’. (Heb. 12:14).


12 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 32 — Matthew 21:23-46

Study 32  From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 21:23-46
1.     Verses 23-27. People often ask for more understanding or for more proof before they respond to Christ. How did Christ Himself answer such a demand? What are the conditions of receiving more light? Cf. Jn. 7:17. In what way does the brief parable of verses 28:32 underline the same teaching?
2.     Verses 33:44. What is taught by this parable concerning the character of God, the person of Christ, the responsibility of men, and the reality of judgment?  Do you find anything significant in the reaction of the Pharisees in verses 45, 46?
Note. Verse 44 (see mg.) is omitted in many manuscripts. But it teaches that there will be brokenness either in repentance or in final judgment.
LINK TO THE VERSES LISTED

11 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 31 — Matthew 20:29 – 21:22

Study 31 From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 20:29 – 21:22
   1.     What claims concerning the Person and work of Jesus are here (a) publicly made by Jesus Himself and (b) openly acknowledged by others? What particularly provoked either rebuke and indignation, or prayer and acclamation? Can you keep silent?
   2.     What was Christ condemning in His cleansing of the Temple (21:12, 13), and in His cursing of the fig tree (21:18, 19)? If He similarly came into our church or examined our lives, what would He see and say?


10 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 30 — Matthew 19:23-20:28

Study 30  From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 19:23-20:28
1.     Consider the teaching of Jesus on riches and possessions. With verses 23-26, cf. Lk. 6:24; 8:14; 12:13-21. Compare Paul’s teaching in 1 Tim. 6:7, 10, 17. But note that Christ gladly received help from the rich (cf. Lk. 8:2, 3).
2.     Is there a place for the concept of reward in Christian service? What do verses 27-30 teach about this?
3.     Verses 1-16. What is the main teaching of the parable of the labourers in the vineyard? What does it have to say about the legalistic spirit in Christian service?
4.     Verses 17-19 are the third prediction by Christ of His own passion. Cf. 16:21; 17:22, 23. What new details are added here? What do verses 22 and 25-28 reveal of the mind of Christ with regard to what was ahead?
5.     In what ways do verses 20-28 prove the disciples to be out of sympathy with Christ at this moment? What do both Christ’s teaching and His example demand of us?


09 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 29 — Matthew 19: 1-22

Study 29 From the Book of Matthew is: Matthew 19: 1-22
1.     In Christ’s answers to the Pharisees and the disciples on the subject of marriage (19:1-12), what does He teach about the place and character of marriage, and what does He say about the celibate life?
2.     Verses 16-22.  What do you find commendable in the young man in this incident? What were the factors which nevertheless made him turn away from Christ?


08 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 16 — Jeremiah 24 and 25

Study 16  From the Book of Jeremiah is: Jeremiah 24 and 25
With this study we will make a short pause for now with the intense study of the book of Jeremiah to delve once again into the book of Matthew, starting with study 29.
Chapter 24 dates from the reign of Zedekiah.  Chapter 25 declares to Judah and the surrounding nations that they shall all be brought under the power of Babylon with great slaughter.
1.     Who are the good figs and who the bad, and what will happen to them respectively? Cf. Ezk. 11:14-20.
2.     25:1-11. The fulfilment of the vision of the boiling pot (1:13-15). Much of what is said in these verses is found in proceeding chapters.  See, e.g., 7:6, 7; 16:9; 18:11, 16. What however, do you find here that is new?
3.     ‘The supreme factor in history for the Hebrew is the activity of the eternal God’. Illustrate this statement from today’s portion. Note especially 25:29. Cf. Am. 3:2; 1 Pet. 4:17, 18. What is the correlative of special privilege?
Notes
1.     25:12-14.  These verses break the sequence of thought, and were possibly introduced at a later date; so also the words ‘as at this days’ in verse 18 (they are not in the LXX) and the last clause of verse 26.
2.     25:23. Dedan, Tema and Buz were tribes of northern Arabia. Unlike the Jews (Lv.19:27), they shaved the hair from the sides of their forehead.  Cf. 9:26.

07 April, 2017

Search The Scriptures —Study 15 — Jeremiah 23

Study 15 From the Book of Jeremiah is: Jeremiah 23
1.     Verses 1:8. To meet the situation created by the failure of Judah’s rulers, what does God say He will do?  Cf. Ezk. 34:1-16. How much of what is promised here has been fulfilled?  Cf. Jn. 10:1-18; Lk. 1:32, 68, 70; 1 Cor. 1:30.
2.     What does Jeremiah say concerning (a) the religious life, worship and ministry of the prophets of his day; (b) their moral character and conduct; and (c) their influence? What qualifications are essential in those who are called to speak in the name of the Lord?
Notes
1.     Verse 1: ‘Shepherds’ see 2:8 and mg.
2.     Verse 5. ‘Branch’: better, ‘shoot’ or ‘sprout’, i.e., a growth of new life.  Cf. 33:15; Is. 11:1.
3.     Verses 7:8. ‘The new and more wonderful Exodus’ (R.C. North).
4.     Verse 9 describes the effect of God’s words upon Jeremiah himself.
5.     Verses 33-40. The Hebrew word translated ‘burden’ could also mean, figuratively, a solemn utterance, and oracle, normally of ominous import. Cf. Is. 13:1; 15: 1; 17:1). The people had evidently been speaking mockingly of the prophet’s utterances ‘burdens’. Jeremiah uses it to rebuke its users. (verses 33, 39), and forbids its employment in such an irreverent context.