Living By the Book June 18-22 and Helps

Jesus is incredible! He shines in every passage this week. Enjoy Him as you learn to take his word in. Remember the goal: for you to get into the word and getting the word into you.

Monday, June 18


Scripture: Mark 4:10-20

[10] And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. [11] And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, [12] so that
“‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.’” [13] And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? [14] The sower sows the word. [15] And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. [16] And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. [17] And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. [18] And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, [19] but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. [20] But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (ESV)

Scripture Reading Skill: Application The reason we are looking at this skill with this passage is that Jesus is, in this passage, applying the parable of the sower. When you consider application, you must necessarily answer questions about yourself.

Questions to answer:

  1. Do you know people in each of the categories Jesus mentions?
  2. How can you tell?
  3. Where are you? Be honest. Where do you want to be?
  4. What can you do to prepare your heart to receive God’s Word?

 

Tuesday, June 19


Scripture: Mark 4:21-25

And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? [22] For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. [23] If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” [24] And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. [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.” (ESV)

Scripture Reading Skill: Understanding Parables. Remember what a parable is: a story that tells a truth–a single truth.

Questions to answer:

  1. What is the one point of this parable?
  2. Don’t forget immediate context. What did Jesus say about parables in the preceding passage?

Hint: The one point fo the parable is found in hiding a lamp and not putting it on the stand. You can’t hide light. Jesus is the light, which some receive (compare the parable of the sower) and others reject. This parable shows that the condition of the heart is not a foregone conclusion–it’s the way people are and they can ask God to change their stubborn, rebellious hearts.

Wednesday, June 20


Scripture: Mark 4:26-34

[26] And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. [27] He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. [28] The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. [29] But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

[30] And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? [31] It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, [32] yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” [33] With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. [34] He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything. (ESV)

Scripture Reading Skill: Parables…again.

Helpful questions when studying this passage:

  1. What is the one truth of each parable? (I think they’re the same).
  2. What principles can be gleaned from this parable?

Hint: What is small becomes large, what is hidden becomes seen (see previous parable), what is little becomes much. All of these are indicators of the Kingdom of God. His kingdom will start small and become large, be hidden and then seen, be a few people then many. Wow!

 

Thursday, June 21


Scripture: Mark 4:35-41

[35] On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” [36] And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. [37] And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. [38] But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” [39] And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. [40] He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” [41] And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (ESV)

Scripture Reading Skill: Reading Imaginatively. You will never get the full impact of this story unless you can imagine yourself in it. If you read it quickly, re-read it. Picture it. Now that you have, consider the following questions.

  1. Where are they? (Sea of Galilee)
  2. What strikes you about their question to Jesus?
  3. What strikes you about Jesus’ questions to them?
  4. Why do you think they were filled with great fear?
  5. Why do you think they ask, “Who then is this?”

Hints: In two words I think this passage is about “misunderstanding Jesus.” They didn’t know who Jesus was. That’s why they asked, “Do you not care?” That’s why Jesus asked, “Why are you so afraid?” I think you could add, “Didn’t you know who was in the boat with you?”

Historical fact: For a Jew, control over the weather was considered to be the greatest possible miracle. That would answer question 5 above.

Friday, June 22


Scripture: Mark 5:1-20

[1] They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. [2] And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. [3] He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, [4] for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. [5] Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. [6] And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. [7] And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” [8] For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” [9] And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” [10] And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. [11] Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, [12] and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” [13] So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea. [14] The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. [15] And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. [16] And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. [17] And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. [18] As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. [19] And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” [20] And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled. (ESV)

Scripture Reading Skill: Sometimes stories have an element of surprise. What surprises you most in this story? Don’t miss the flow of the account–Jesus comes, meets a man who has terrorized the community, casts out his demons into nearby pigs, the townspeople hear about it and…SURPRISE..beg him to leave. You have to ask why this happened!

Hint: I think they asked Jesus to leave because this hurt their commerce. See verse 16 “and to the pigs.” They were afraid of someone who had so much power, even if he could solve their greatest problem. WOW!

Living By the Book June 11-15 and Helps

I’ve changed things up a bit this week. I hope this will be easier to use. All hints are included in each day. All Scripture is included with each day. This is rich stuff. Enjoy!

Monday, June 11


Scripture: Mark 3:1-6

[1] Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. [2] And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. [3] And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” [4] And 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. [5] And 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. [6] The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. (ESV)

Scripture Reading Skill: Read emotionally. Oftentimes when you know the end of the story, you lose sight of the suspense along the way–and miss important details–here Jesus’ own heart.

Questions to answer:

  1. What emotions are the Pharisees feeling?
  2. What might the man with the withered hand be feeling?
  3. What emotions does Jesus express?

Now when you look at the emotions expressed by the key players in this account, what insight does that give you? What do you learn about Jesus’ heart? If this is Jesus’ heart, then this is the heart of God. How does this change the way you understand God?

Hint: How do Jesus’ anger and grief reveal the heart of God? What might God be angry about today? Grieved about?

Tuesday, June 12


Scripture: Mark 3:7-21

[7] Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea [8] and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. [9] And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, [10] for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. [11] And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” [12] And he strictly ordered them not to make him known. [13] And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. [14] And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach [15] and have authority to cast out demons. [16] He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); [17] James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); [18] Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, [19] and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. [20] Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. [21] And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” (ESV)

Scripture Reading Skill: Finding the common denominator.

Questions to answer: Here we find Jesus in different circumstances–however Mark has a common theme woven throughout. What is that? When you read what do you see as the common denominator? Don’t think theological until you’ve read for what is there. Here are questions to help you arrive at that:

  1. In verse 7 why did Mark use the word “withdrew” to describe Jesus leaving?
  2. In verse 9 why did they get a boat ready for Jesus?
  3. In verse 20 what did Jesus have difficulty trying to do?
  4. What insight does this give you into Jesus’ everyday life?
  5. What emphasis does this give on his choosing the 12 in the middle of all of this going on?

Hint:  Jesus was crowded to the point of being crushed and unable to eat, still he focused on the mission, commanding even the demons not the reveal who he was (12) and choosing his disciples so that the Word could spread.

Wednesday, June 13


Scripture: Mark 2:22-30

[22] And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” [23] And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? [24] If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. [25] And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. [26] And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. [27] But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house. [28] “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, [29] but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—[30] for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” (ESV)

Scripture Reading Skill: Interpretation This is often a very misunderstood passage. So it makes sense for us to focus on the skill of interpretation. What does Jesus mean by blaspheming against the Holy Spirit? Let’s dig in.

Helpful questions when studying this passage:

  1. Who is Jesus’ audience for this teaching? (see verse 22)
  2. What are they saying? (Jesus cast out demons because he is possessed by demons)
  3. How does Jesus’ answer refute their bold accusations?

Jesus refutes them with a philosophical argument, several actually. “How can Satan cast out Satan? Kingdom divided against itself? House divided against itself?” Then Jesus illustrates how to take out a strong man: enter his house and bind him. Who was the strong man in 27? Satan. Who is the stronger man? Jesus. Jesus cast out demons because he is taking out the strong man, Satan. He’s plundering Satan!

So, in light of this, what is blaspheming against the Holy Spirit? Succinctly, it’s calling Jesus Satan. Ultimately blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is rejecting the Holy Spirit’s call to follow Jesus, which results in following Satan.

Thursday, June 14


Scripture: Mark 3:31-35

[31] And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. [32] And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” [33] And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” [34] And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! [35] For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” (ESV)

Scripture Reading Skill: Immediate Context  Context is most important in studying Scripture. Having read all of Chapter 3, answer the following questions:

  1. Who rejects Jesus in 3:1-6?
  2. Who does Jesus reject in 3:7-12?
  3. Who does Jesus enlist in 3:13-19?
  4. Who rejects Jesus in 13:20-21?
  5. Who rejects Jesus in 3:22-30?
  6. Who does Jesus reject in 3:33?
  7. Who follows Jesus in 3:35?

The immediate context (current verses and verses before and after) reveal that lines are being drawn and people are deciding on who Jesus is to them. Is he the Son of God, or a devil? Who follows and doesn’t is a bit surprising. He is rejected by religious leaders and his own brothers and sisters! He is followed by rough and tumble fishermen. In tomorrow’s passage, Jesus teaches on the reality of not everyone following him.

Friday, June 15


Scripture: Mark 4:1-9

[1] Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. [2] And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: [3] “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. [4] And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. [5] Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. [6] And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. [7] Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. [8] And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” [9] And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (ESV)

Scripture Reading Skill: Understanding Parables A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. The main rule for understanding a parable is not to try to connect every detail with something–rather look for one primary meaning. What is the one truth Jesus is trying to communicate with the parable. There can be other truths embedded in the details, but these would only support the one primary truth. That’s how parables worked then (and mostly now). In light of this definition of a parable, answer the following questions:

  1. Who is the main character of the parable?
  2. What is he doing?
  3. What is different about each time the sower sows?
  4. What is the same about each time the sower sows?
  5. What is the result of the sowing?
  6. What is the primary truth of the parable?

I believe the primary truth of this parable is this: Since the sower is the same and the seed is the same, the one difference is the soil. The soil is the human heart. In light of immediate context (chapter 3), Jesus’ family and the Pharisees did not have the heart to receive the seed. I think 3:35 and 4:8-9 are inextricably linked. Those who have good soil are those who do the will of God.

Surely Goodness and Mercy

Psalm 23 is the most oft-quoted Psalm. Charles Spurgeon said, ““I have all things and abound; not because I have a good store of money in the bank, not because I have skill and wit with which to win my bread, but because the Lord is my shepherd.”

Alexander McClaren added:

No wise, forward look can ignore the possibility of many sorrows and the certainty of some. Hope has ever something of dread in her eyes. The road will not be always bright and smooth, but will sometimes plunge down into grim cations, where no sunbeams reach. But even that anticipation may be calm. “Thou art with me” is enough. He who guides into the gorge will guide through it. It is not a cul de sac, shut in with precipices, at the far end; but it opens out on shining tablelands, where there is greener pasture.”

He who guides into the gorge will guide through it.

You may be in the gorge, but the Lord promises His presence. He will not abandon you. He never forsakes His own. Scripture is replete with those promises. Here are two:

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8, ESV)

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17, ESV)

Oswald Chambers, in My Utmost for His Highest adds:

We have the idea that God is going to do some exceptional thing— that He is preparing and equipping us for some extraordinary work in the future. But as we grow in His grace we find that God is glorifying Himself here and now, at this very moment. If we have God’s assurance behind us, the most amazing strength becomes ours, and we learn to sing, glorifying Him even in the ordinary days and ways of life.

So take a few minutes and join Shane and Shane and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir and sing through the storm:

Helps: June 4-8

Monday, June 4


Scripture: Mark 1:40-45

You’ve got this one!

Tuesday, June 5


Scripture: Mark 2:1-12

Scripture Reading Skill: Observation

And you’ve got this one too.

Wednesday, June 6


Scripture: Mark 2:13-17

Scripture Reading Skill: Interpretation

  1. Who were tax collectors and sinners? They were the outcasts in Jesus’ day, the most notorious sinners. Tax collectors bilked their own people out of money. They were turncoats.
  2. What is the significance that they were “reclining” with Jesus at table? The scribes felt that if Jesus was really God he would never associate with such people. He would perceive who they are and abandon them altogether.
  3. What did Jesus’ statement, “those who are well have no need of a physician…” mean? That doctors are for sick people, just as Jesus came for sinners who are sick in their sin.

Thursday, June 7


Scripture: Mark 2:18-22

Scripture Reading Skill: Application

  1. What is fasting?  Abstaining from food and other distractions for the sake of worshipping or praying.
  2. Have you ever fasted? Why?
  3. What 3 examples did Jesus give to make his point? Wedding guests and the bridegroom; new piece of cloth on an old garment; new wine into old wineskins
  4. How can you, in light of those 3 examples, live for Jesus today? Tomorrow?

 

Friday, June 8


Scripture: Mark 2:23-28

Scripture Reading Skill: Review the skills you’ve learned so far

  1. What is the Sabbath? The day set aside by God in the Old Testament for his people to rest from their work and worship.
  2. Why shouldn’t they pick grain on the Sabbath? It was against the OT law.
  3. How did Jesus change their perspective of the Sabbath? Well, he probably didn’t change their perspective, but his perspective was that the Sabbath was created to serve humankind, not the reverse.
  4. What can you do to experience the Sabbath in your own life?

Living By the Book: June 4-8

This week we will review some skills you’ve already learned (or are learning) and introduce reading with imagination. I love the stories of how God’s Word is coming alive!

Monday, June 4


Scripture: Mark 1:40-45

Scripture Reading Skill: Read imaginatively. When you’re reading a story (especially the Gospels) all the details are not always included. For those who have traveled to Israel, this is easier–you can imagine the setting. For others, it’s harder. So think desert. Think hot in the day, cold at night. Think poor people. And think Amha-Aretz—people of the land–a large group who weren’t religious enough for the Pharisees. Jesus reached out to them. They were poor day laborers. They were most often Jesus’ primary audience and those who most often came to him for healing.

Questions to answer:

  1. Who are the people involved?
  2. Where are they?
  3. What are they doing?
  4. When did it happen?

Three tips for reading imaginatively: (1) retell it in your own words; (2) read it in another translation and (3) have someone read it out loud (or do it yourself)

Tuesday, June 5


Scripture: Mark 2:1-12

Scripture Reading Skill: Observation (we have to get this one down…repeat, repeat, repeat!)

Questions to answer:

  1. Who are the people involved?
  2. Where are they?
  3. What are they doing?
  4. When did it happen?

Wednesday, June 6


Scripture: Mark 2:13-17

Scripture Reading Skill: Interpretation

  1. Who were tax collectors and sinners?
  2. What is the significance that they were “reclining” with Jesus at table?
  3. What did Jesus’ statement, “those who are well have no need of a physician…” mean?

Thursday, June 7


Scripture: Mark 2:18-22

Scripture Reading Skill: Application

  1. What is fasting?
  2. Have you ever fasted? Why?
  3. What 3 examples did Jesus give to make his point?
  4. How can you, in light of those 3 examples, live for Jesus today? Tomorrow?

 

Friday, June 8


Scripture: Mark 2:23-28

Scripture Reading Skill: Review the skills you’ve learned so far

  1. What is the Sabbath?
  2. Why shouldn’t they pick grain on the Sabbath?
  3. How did Jesus change their perspective of the Sabbath?
  4. What can you do to experience the Sabbath in your own life?

What God’s Word Says About…

When I am…and life is not so good

Afraid: 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God gave us a spirit, not of fear, but of power and love and self control.

Insecure: Philippians 1:6, “And I’m sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Hopeless: Romans 5:3, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Lonely: Isaiah 43:2-3, “When you pass through the waters I will be with you, and through the rivers they shall not overwhelm, when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume, for I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

Worried: Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (Jesus)

Angry: Ephesians 4:26-27, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”

Tempted: 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Grieving: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by our God.”

Doubting: Psalm 91:1-2, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Depressed: Habakkuk 3:17-19, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the field yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stall; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”

Discouraged: John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Condemned: Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Prideful: Jeremiah 9:23-24, “Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches. But let him who boasts, boast in this, that he understand knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight declares the Lord.

Impatient: Psalm 27:14, “Wait on the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage. Wait for the Lord.”

Unforgiving: Ephesians 4:29, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Restless: John 15:4, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.”

Complaining: 1 Thessalonians 5:16, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Confused: James 1:5-6, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives generously to all without reproach and it will be given him.”

Tested: James 1:2-4, “Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know the the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

When I am…and life is so good

Loved: John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whoever believes would not perish but have everlasting life.”

Forgiven: Romans 5:8, “But God shows his love for us, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

Joyful: Psalm 136:1, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.”

Content: Philippians 4:12-13, “I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Thankful:  Ephesians 5:20, “Giving thanks always, and for everything to God the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Seeking God: Psalm 34:8-9, “O, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”

 

 

Helps: May 28-June 1

Monday, May 28


Scripture: Mark 1:14-15

You’ve got this one…

Tuesday, May 29


Scripture: Mark 1:16-20

 

Questions to answer:

  1. What are the key words (words that jump out to you)? So these are the key words/phrases that caught my attention: “I will make you become”; immediately (2x); they left their father. I think there’s something rich in the phrase “I will make you become.” Jesus doesn’t magically make them fishers of men. No. He makes them become fishers of men–it involves both an action and a process. I love that.
  2. How does your understanding of this text relate to your own call to salvation?

Wednesday, May 30


Scripture: Mark 1:21-28

Questions to answer. How many questions can you write from this passage? Now try to find the answers.

  1. Where is Capernaum?
  2. What day is the Sabbath?
  3. What were the synagogues used for?
  4. Why did Jesus teach in a synagogue?
  5. What does astonished mean?
  6. What was the difference between the way Jesus taught and the scribes taught?
  7. What is an unclean spirit.
  8. Was he loud when he cried out?
  9. Why did he say “us?” Who was the “us?”
  10. How did he know who Jesus was?
  11. Why did Jesus tell him to be silent?
  12. Why did Jesus rebuke “him” when the man said it was “us?”
  13. What does “The Holy One of God?” mean. Why is it in all caps?
  14. How did the man convulse?
  15. Was it a mad cry (like a spoiled kid not getting his way) or a defeated cry (like a cry of submission)?
  16. Why were they so amazed? Was this unusual? Could the scribes not do this?
  17. How did his fame spread? Word of mouth?

Map of Israel in New Testament Times with Roads

Thursday, May 31


Scripture: Mark 1:29-34

Scripture Reading Skill: Reading Repeatedly

Read the passage in your translation. Now read it in another translation. Next, listen to it. (I’m serious!) Read it out loud. You got this one!

Friday, June 1


Scripture: Mark 1:35-39

Scripture Reading Skill: Do what Jesus did here. Read it and do what he did. Wow! Prayer is an incredible gift from God.  Enjoy your time with the Lord.

Living By the Book May 28-June 1

This week we’re going to hone our observation skills. Much of reading Scripture is asking the right questions. If you ask good questions you will discover great answers. Let’s jump in.

As in last week, Helps are available (in another post).

Monday, May 28


Scripture: Mark 1:14-15

Scripture Reading Skill: Review from last week

Questions to answer:

  1. Who are the people involved?
  2. Where are they?
  3. What are they doing?
  4. When did it happen?

Tuesday, May 29


Scripture: Mark 1:16-20

Scripture Reading Skill: Readiness. According to Arnold and Beyer (NT Scholars), if you’re going to make the most of reading Scripture 3 conditions have to be present: Are you regenerate (born again)? Do you have an open heart to receive what you read? Are you intellectually and emotionally capable of understanding what you read?

In light of these realities, ask God to search your heart. If you struggle to understand Scripture (as many do), ask for his help. He delights in those who delight in His Word.

Questions to answer:

  1. What are the key words (words that jump out to you)?
  2. How does your understanding of this text relate to your own call to salvation?

Wednesday, May 30


Scripture: Mark 1:21-28

Scripture Reading Skill: Reading Thoughtfully. Thoughtful reading is study. According to Hendricks, “When you come to the Bible, put your thinking cap on. Apply the same mental disciple that you would to any subject in which you take a vital interest.” For this section, and throughout the book of Mark, I find it helpful to have a map. For some reason, if I can spatially plot where Jesus is going, it sticks in my head. There is one for your use on the Helps page for this week.

Questions to answer. How many questions can you write from this passage? Now try to find the answers.

Thursday, May 31


Scripture: Mark 1:29-34

Scripture Reading Skill: Reading Repeatedly

Read the passage in your translation. Now read it in another translation. Next, listen to it. (I’m serious!) Read it out loud.

Friday, June 1


Scripture: Mark 1:35-39

Scripture Reading Skill: Do what Jesus did here. Read it and do what he did. Wow! Prayer is an incredible gift from God.

 

 

Helps: May 25-21

Monday, May 21


Scripture: Mark 1:1-8

I’m assuming you could answer these questions. And great job on getting day one!

Tuesday, May 22


Scripture: Mark 1:9-11

Scripture Reading Skill: Observation and Interpretation

Questions to answer:

  1. Who are the people involved?
  2. Where are they?
  3. What are they doing?
  4. What is the significance of the Jesus being baptized, the Spirit descending and the Father speaking? This is evidence of the Trinity. Notice that the Son is being baptized and the Spirit and the Father are participating in this event. This is Jesus’ inauguration into public ministry and the entire Godhead is involved. This should speak volumes about the unalterable unity of the Trinity and the gracious plan of God to save humanity from our sins.

Wednesday, May 23


Scripture: Mark 1:9-11

Scripture Reading Skill: Application

Questions to answer. Try to figure these out before looking at answers I have provided. Pray and ask God to give you discernment.

  1. Why are people baptized? To show what Christ has done for them by saving them.
  2. Why was Jesus baptized? As an example–he never sinned.
  3. What does it mean for me that Jesus was baptized? He lowered himself, identifying as a sinner. This predicts the crucifixion.
  4. Why was God the Father so pleased with Jesus for being baptized?  Jesus, the majesty one, became Jesus, the humiliated one–already.
  5. How does this change how you think about your own baptism?  My humiliation (over my sin) as I go into the waters pales in comparison to a sinless Jesus who was baptized for sins he never committed.

Thursday, May 24


Scripture: Mark 1:12-13

Scripture Reading Skill: Observation and Interpretation

Questions to answer.

  1. Who are the people involved?
  2. Where are they?
  3. What are they doing?
  4. What word(s) stand out to you?
    1. Immediately–the high of the baptism led to the low of the wilderness. Does this happen with us?
    2. the Spirit drove–The Trinity is still involved and Jesus, as a human, is responding to the Spirit. He really did empty Himself of divine privileges. (Philippians 2:5-11)

Friday, May 25


Scripture: Mark 1:12-13

Scripture Reading Skill: Application

Questions to answer.

  1. How does the fact that Jesus was tempted impact your thinking about your own temptations? You answer this for yourself
  2. What do you make of the Spirit driving Jesus into the wilderness? See above
  3. Why do you think Mark (and the other Gospels) include this event in Jesus’ life. To show us that Jesus faced every temptation we would but without sin.
  4. What temptations do you need to give to God today?
  5. How does God minister to you in your temptations?

 

Living By the Book: May 21-25

This week we’re going to focus generally on observation, interpretation and application. In short, observation answers the question: what do I see? Interpretation answers the question: what does it mean? Application answers the question: what does it mean for me? (not to me)

Also, I have another post with Helps, in case you get stuck. Here’s the link: Helps

Monday, May 21


Scripture: Mark 1:1-8

Scripture Reading Skill: Observation

Questions to answer:

  1. Who are the people involved?
  2. Where are they?
  3. What are they doing?

Tuesday, May 22


Scripture: Mark 1:9-11

Scripture Reading Skill: Observation and Interpretation

Questions to answer:

  1. Who are the people involved?
  2. Where are they?
  3. What are they doing?
  4. What is the significance of the Jesus being baptized, the Spirit descending and the Father speaking?

Wednesday, May 23


Scripture: Mark 1:9-11

Scripture Reading Skill: Application

Questions to answer. Try to figure these out before looking at answers I have provided. Pray and ask God to give you discernment.

  1. Why are people baptized?
  2. Why was Jesus baptized?
  3. What does it mean for me that Jesus was baptized?
  4. Why was God the Father so pleased with Jesus for being baptized?
  5. How does this change how you think about your own baptism?

Thursday, May 24


Scripture: Mark 1:12-13

Scripture Reading Skill: Observation and Interpretation

Questions to answer.

  1. Who are the people involved?
  2. Where are they?
  3. What are they doing?
  4. What word(s) stand out to you?

Friday, May 25


Scripture: Mark 1:12-13

Scripture Reading Skill: Application

Questions to answer.

  1. How does the fact that Jesus was tempted impact your thinking about your own temptations?
  2. What do you make of the Spirit driving Jesus into the wilderness?
  3. Why do you think Mark (and the other Gospels) include this event in Jesus’ life.
  4. What temptations do you need to give to God today?
  5. How does God minister to you in your temptations?