Archives For Bible

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons

  • John’s Introduction (1)
  • John’s Letters (2)
  • John’s Vision in Heaven (4-5)
  • First Six Seals (6)

B. Text of Rev 7:1-8

“1After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth. They were holding back the four winds of the earth so they would not blow neither on the sea nor against the trees. 2Then I saw another angel coming up from the east (where the sun rises) and the angel had the seal of the living God. The angel cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were given ability to harm the earth and the sea 3saying, ‘Do not harm the earth neither the sea nor the trees, until we seal the foreheads of the servants of our God.’ 4Then I heard the number of those who had been sealed—144,000—who were sealed from the descendants of Israel. 5From the tribe of Judah: 12,000 were sealed. From the tribe of Reuben: 12,000. From the tribe of Gad: 12,000. 6From the tribe of Asher: 12,000. From the tribe of Nephtali: 12,000. From the tribe of Manasseh: 12,000. 7From the tribe of Simeon: 12,000. From the tribe of Levi: 12,000. From the tribe of Issachar: 12,000. 8From the tribe of Zebulun: 12,000. From the tribe of Joseph: 12,000. From the tribe of Benjamin: 12,000 were sealed.” (Rev 7:1-8) 1

144,000 People Marked with the Seal of God (Rev 7:1-8)

Photo Credit: Matthais Gerung (1500-1570)

C. General Remarks

“Just when you think you are nearly at the top of the mountain, you crest a ridge and there . . . is another ridge half a mile ahead, steeper than the one you’ve just climbed. This is how it feels to get to this point [Rev 7] in the sequence of the ‘seals’ which have kept the purposes of God, written on the scroll, from being put into effect” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 69). Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own. Greek text is from the NA28

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons

B. Text of Rev 6:9-17

“9And when the Lamb opened the fifth seal I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered because of the Word of God and because of their testimony. 10Then they cried out in a loud voice: ‘How long, Lord—Holy and True—until you judge and punish those who live on the earth for our blood?’ 11Each of them was given a long white robe and was told they will rest a little longer until the number of their fellow slaves and brothers (who are about to be killed as they were) is fulfilled. 12Next I looked and the Lamb opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake and the sun became like dark sackcloth hair and the whole moon was like blood. 13The stars in the sky fell to the earth as a fig tree throws its unripe figs from a great wind which is stirring. 14The heavens separated like a book being rolled up and the mountains and islands were shaken from their place. 15The kings of the earth, dignitaries, military leaders, rich, strong, every slave and free person hid themselves in caves in the rocks of the mountains. 16They said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of the one who sits on the throne and from the anger of the Lamb.’ 17They said this because their great day of wrath has come, and who has power to stand?” (Rev 6:9-17) 1

 

The Fifth and Sixth Seals Effects on the Earth (Rev 6:9-17)

“The Opening of the Fifth and Sixth Seals” Matthais Gerung (1500-1570)

C. General Remarks

“The book of Revelation discredits those who teach that God is so loving and kind that He will never judge people who have not received His Son. Though the modern mind is reluctant to accept the fact that God will judge the wicked, the Bible clearly teaches that He will. The Scriptures reveal a God of love as clearly as they reveal a God of wrath who will deal with those who spurn the grace of Christ. The passage before us is a solemn word that there is inevitable judgment ahead for those who will not receive Christ by faith.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 135)

II. THE FIFTH SEAL’S MARTYRS (6:9-11) Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own. Greek text is from Nestle-Aland 28

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons

John’s Introduction and Vision of the Son of Man
Letters to the Seven Churches
John Taken to Heaven to See the 24 Elders (Rev 4:1-6a)
John Take to Heaven to See 4 Living Beings (Rev 4:6b-11)
The One Worthy to Open the Scroll (Rev 5:1-7)
Why the Lamb Is Worthy to Open the Scroll (Rev 5:8-14)

B. Text of Rev 6:1-8

“1Then I saw the Lamb as he opened the first of the seven seals. I heard one of the four living beings saying like the noise of thunder: ‘Come!’ 2Then I looked and behold: a white horse. The one riding the horse was holding a bow, a crown was given to him, and as a conquerer he went out in order to conquer. 3When the Lamb opened the second seal I heard the second living being say: ‘Come!’ 4Another horse came which was fiery red. The rider was given ability to take peace from the earth so that people will kill each other, so he was given a large sword. 5When the Lamb opened the third seal I heard the third living being say, ‘Come.’ Then I looked and behold: a black horse! The rider was holding a scale in his hand. 6Then I heard something like a voice in the midst of the third living being saying: ‘A quart of grain will be a day’s pay. Three quarts of barely will be a day’s pay. But olive oil and wine must not be affected.’ 7When the Lamb opened the fourth seal I heard a voice from the fourth living beings saying: ‘Come!’ 8Then I looked and behold: a pale green horse! The rider was named ‘Death,’ and ‘Hades’ was following him. Power was given to them to kill one-fourth of the earth with sword, famine, disease, and by beasts of the earth.” (Rev 6:1-8) 1

The Four Horsemen (Rev 6:1-8)

Photo Credit: “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” Matthais Gerung (1500-1570)

C. General Remarks

“From this introduction to the judgments portrayed in Revelation, it should be evident that the world is facing a time of trouble never known before. The dream of the optimist for a world becoming increasingly better scientifically, intellectually, morally, and religiously does not fit the pattern of God’s prophetic Word. The ultimate triumph of God is assured, as Revelation makes plain, Christ will reign over the earth and bring in a kingdom of peace and righteousness after the time of trouble has run its course. First, however, there must be the awful time of the great tribulation” (Walvoord, Revelation, 130).

“In books, in newspapers, in magazine articles, and in radio broadcasts, we read and hear about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who are riding across the earth today” (Metzger, Breaking the Code, 59).

“Any exposition of Revelation must have presuppositions based upon a study of the entire Word of God and consider the question of whether prophecy should be interpreted with the same degree of literalness as other portions of Scripture. Though Revelation abounds in signs and symbols, it was intended to be interpreted with far greater literalness than has been commonly applied. Such an approach yields a remarkable picture of the end of the age that coincides with other prophetic revelation” (Walvoord, Revelation, 121). Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise note, all English translations are my own

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Summary of Past Lessons

B. Text of Rev 2:1-7

“1Write to the angel of the church in Ephesus: This is the message of the one holding the seven stars in his right hand, of the one walking among the seven golden lampstands. 2I know your good deeds, work, and steadfastness. I also know that you do not allow evil, for you tested those who say to themselves that they are apostles (but are not) and you found them to be liars. 3You have perseverance and endured difficulty in my name while not getting tired. 4But, I have this against you: you abandoned your first love. 5Therefore, remember where you have fallen, express remorse, and do the things you did at first. But, if not, I will come to you and I will remove your lampstand from its place if you don’t repent. 6But, you have this: you hate the work of the Nicolaitans whom I also hate. 7The one who has an ear must listen to what the Spirit says to the churches: ‘To the one who overcomes I will give the privileged to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’”

John Writes to the Churches in Ephesus and Smyrna

Bamberg Apocalypse: “John Writes to the Churches in Ephesus and Smyrna” (AD 1000)

C. History and Background of the City of Ephesus

Ephesus was a thriving city at the time of John’s letter (95 AD) that had a population of about 250,000 people (Osborne, Revelation, 108) to 500,000 people (Mulholland, Revelation [2011], 434). In terms of commercial work, it was the largest city in the Roman province of Asia (Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 128). The city was accessible by both sea and land with well built highways connecting it to other cities (Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 128-129). There was no military installment there. Instead, the city was known for its athletic games that it held annually (Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 129). Religious life revolved around the Greek goddess, Artemis (see Acts 19:24, 27, 28, 34, 35). Artemis had a 425 foot long and 220 foot wide temple that is considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world (Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 129).

The city of Ephesus is mentioned several times throughout the New Testament:

  • Paul ended his second missionary journey to Ephesus in AD 52 (Acts 18:19-21)
  • Paul left Priscilla and Aquilla in Ephesus (Acts 18:26)
  • Paul returned to the city of Ephesus in his third missionary journey (Acts 20:31)
  • Paul left Timothy in charge of the church after one of his visits (1 Tim 1:3)

Continue Reading…

This fall I will be sharing some blog posts focusing on the significance and application of some books of the Bible. This week I start with the book of Ruth.

The Significance and Application of the Book of RuthPhoto Credit: Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing

I.    THE PURPOSE AND ARGUMENT OF THE BOOK OF RUTH

A.   Purpose Continue Reading…

In my time studying the Bible some of the things I have learned is the Bible has been “transferred” and copied from its originals documents thousands of years ago. I have sometimes heard people make the following statements about the Bible:

The Bible is nothing but fiction!

The Bible is full of errors!

There’s no way that what we have in the Bible matches the original.

In my studies over the last couple of years I have been grateful to read and learn more about the field of study called, “textual criticism.”

Textual Criticism is a discipline that focuses on discovering what the original writings said. When describing New Testament textual criticism Daniel Wallace writes, “textual criticism is the study of the copies of any written document whose autograph (the original) is unknown or nonexistent, for the primary purpose of determining the exact wording of the original” (Interpreting the New Testament Text, edited by Darrell Bock and Buist Fanning, p. 33).

With this statement and definition of textual criticism it is important to note that there are different manuscripts of the Bible that contain different readings. Meaning, there are different wordings, different arrangements, and differences among the different biblical manuscripts that have survived over the years. However, among these differences very very few are significant differences. For example, most differences in the New Testament are different spellings of words (for example, John can be spelled Ιωαννης  or  Ιωανης), contractions and abbreviations, the and word order changing (Greek does not depend on the word order in sentences like English does). For some commentary on Old Testament textual criticism go here

As an example of just one of the differences of the supposed “changes” in the New Testament is in Ephesians 2:8. Below I will examine the different pieces of evidence to determine which reading is authentic and what the significance might be for each.

Textual Criticism and its Significance to the New Testament

Ephesians 2:8 Textual Criticism Problem
δια πισεως (text) vs. δια της πισεως (variant)

I.    EXTERNAL EVIDENCE

Continue Reading…

I regularly hear from blog readers that my posts about Bible charts are very helpful for people attempting to study and understand the Bible.

On this blog I have shared charts and studies on the books of:

Even though some of my methods of creating Bible charts have slightly changed since I wrote those posts (the main change is that I try to keep everything on one page), I still find it helpful for me to create a chart of a Bible book when I study it.

In today’s post I share a chart for the book of Acts (below), but first I would like to point you to some great blog posts I found around the web about leadership and the book of Acts. Here’s a brief compilation: Continue Reading…

One of the most fruitful things I do is read the entire Bible every year. In this post I share with you four ways you can read the entire Bible in a year as well as which method I prefer.

4 Ways to Read the Bible in a Year

Photo Credit: Steve Spinks

4 Ways to Read the Bible in a Year

1. 4 Chapters a Day

Reading four chapters a day as a way to read through the Bible in a year was the original “challenge” from Dr. Jeff Harrington while I was a student at Fresno Pacific University working on my Christian Ministry & Leadership degree. In our Spiritual Formation class Dr. Harrington suggested that we have a regular schedule for reading through the Bible every year. His basic suggestion was that we read four chapters a day. Continue Reading…

As a book that was written and compiled from 15th century B.C. until the 3rd century A.D., the Bible can be difficult to interpret and teach.  Yet, the Bible is God’s inspired and authored Word. As the manual and rulebook for Christians to follow it must be taught effectively.

10 Essential Tips for Effective Bible Teaching

Photo Credit: The National Guard

I recently read the book, Effective Bible Teaching by Jim Wilhoit and Leland Ryken. It was a fantastic book written to help any Christian teach the Bible effectively. Here’s the ten things I found most helpful in the book.

10 Essential Tips for Effective Bible Teaching

1. Charisma does not always equal effective Bible teaching (p. 19).
Research shows that students are poor at assessing the effectiveness of Bible teaching. Students will sometimes rate a Bible teacher as effective even if the Bible teacher only entertains the audience instead of instructing. This is important because a Bible teacher’s job is to focus on teaching truth, not on how to be entertaining and charismatic. Continue Reading…

The study of biblical chronologies is viewed as one of the most difficult subjects of Old Testament studies. This is because the Old Testament books are arranged in chronological and theological order. Because these books were organized according to theological themes, perhaps it was not the intention of the authors of these books to provide perfectly chronological records, but instead to tell the history of Israel from a theological point of view.

Why Establishing a Chronology of the Old Testament is so Difficult

Photo Credit: Ryk Neethling

Therefore the task of a chronologist, according to the Tyndale Bible Dictionary,  is to “examine the pertinent biblical and non-biblical information, note areas of correlation among all the data, and finally establish a working system into which the most facts can be fitted.” With this careful (and even scientific) process an accurate chronology of Old Testament events can be reconciled.

This blog post will share a few dates which are known with certainty in the Old Testament while at the same time sharing why establishing a chronology of the Old Testament is difficult.

I. Firm Dates Known with Certainty in the Old Testament

Bible scholars can identify specific Old Testament events is with good accuracy most of the time. Continue Reading…