Monthly Archives: August 2014

A Week in the Word, August 31-September 6

 

Theme: Great Bible Themes – The Last Things

What will the end of the world be like? The end of time?  What about Jesus’ promised return?  What will happen to all of humanity?  Living and dead?  What about judgment?  Will there be a heaven and hell?

The questions about the last things are as weighty as they are numerous.  Theologians have a name for all of this (of course they do); it’s eschatology.  It means a study of last things.

It’s no surprise that this is a subject of immense popular interest.  Also of no surprise is the fact numerous theories, ideas, teachings, and movements have been spawned over this subject and its many related parts.   Neither should it be surprising that much of what is taught, believed, and embraced among the masses of believers is despite what Scripture actually says, not because of it.  Such has always been the modus operandi of Satan; God says one thing, he says another.  It really is that simple.

The linchpin event of it all is Jesus’ return.  No promise of the Bible is any more certain.  He said Himself, quite plainly, “I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself” (John 14:2-3).  Then, when He did leave this earth, the angels present assured the apostles who witnessed the event, “This Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

Readings and Introductory Comments:

Matthew 24:32-51; 25:1-13; 14-30

Matthew 24 is a challenging passage. In it Jesus is answering His disciples’ questions prompted by His own assertion that the temple would one day be completely destroyed (24:1-3).  They thought that surely this could only happen in the cataclysmic end of time.  Jesus assured them that there were actually two days of which they needed to pay particular attention.  The first was that which would result in the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple (vv. 4-31). They were to observe the warning signs and escape the city.

The second, for which there would be no signs, was His own return at the end of time.  For this day there would be no signs and therefore the primary need was for readiness.  To emphasize this point Jesus gave two parables, that of the wise and foolish virgins (25:1-13) and that of the talents (25:14-30).

John 5:25-29; 1 Corinthians 15:1-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11

Incredibly, when Jesus comes the dead will rise.  Jesus promised that such would occur (John 5) and Paul goes to great lengths to discuss and prove the validity of this unique event.  First Corinthians 15 is the classic text on the resurrection.  Our hope and assurance that death is not our final state is based squarely upon Jesus’ own resurrection.

Matthew 25:31-46; Acts 17:30-31; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 20:11-15

Jesus will return.  When He does, the dead will rise and all will be judged.  The final judgment of all humanity is the next in this series of amazing events.  It’s hard to imagine all humanity, from the beginning of time, passing before the judgment seat of Christ, but so it shall be.  Eternal destinies will be pronounced.  The time of man’s opportunity to exercise free will, to make choices and act upon them, will forever end.  Final and eternal consequences follow.

2 Peter 3:1-18

All that we have known, and what since the creation itself has been known, will come also to an end.  Humanity’s physical existence and its abode will cease to be.  This terrestrial home, all that God created as the dwelling place for man made in His image, will have served its purpose and will, as such, be destroyed.

Revelation 21:1-27

Eternal destinies are heaven and hell.  Having already read of the place of eternal punishment, the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14-15; also referenced in this reading, 21:8), this reading focuses on the glories of the eternal reward, our heavenly home.

Study/Thought Questions:

Matthew 24:32-51

  • Who knows of “that day and hour”? (v. 36)
  • When will the Son of Man come? (v. 44)
  • Who is the “sensible and wise servant” (vv. 45-46

Matthew 25:1-13

  • Based on this parable, why must we “watch”? (v. 13)

Matthew 25:14-30

  • In light of Jesus’ return, what will happen to us based on the use of our talents? (v. 29)

John 5:25-29

  • To what will the dead respond when they rise? (v. 25)
  • Who will raise to a resurrection of life? (v. 29)

1 Corinthians 15:1-58

  • What is one proof of Jesus’ resurrection? (vv. 5-8)
  • What would render our faith completely vain? (v. 14)
  • What will Jesus do at His coming—that is, the end—relative to His reign over the kingdom? (vv. 23-24)
  • What present experiences and realities give credence to the validity of the resurrection? (vv. 36-37, 39, 40-41)
  • What cannot inherit the kingdom of God? (v. 50)

1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11

  • What will be the order of those who meet the Lord in the air? (4:15-17)
  • What is the coming of the day of the Lord likened to? (5:2)

Matthew 25:31-46

  • Who will be gathered before Jesus on His glorious throne? (v. 32)
  • To whom will He say, “Come,” and why? (vv. 34ff)

Acts 17:30-31

  • Because God has appointed a day of judgment, what should all men do? (v. 30)
  • What assurance has been provided for Jesus as judge? (v. 31)

2 Thessalonians 1:7-10

  • What will happen when Jesus is “revealed from heaven”? (vv. 7-8)
  • What will happen on that day relative to His saints? (v. 10)

Revelation 20:11-15

  • Based on what are the dead judged? (v. 12)
  • Who is thrown into the lake of fire? (v. 15)

2 Peter 3:1-18

  • What is God’s ultimate desire for all people? (v. 9)
  • What will happen on the day of the Lord? (v. 10)
  • What should happen since all these things will take place? (v. 11)
  • How should we view God’s patience? (v. 15)

Revelation 21:1-27

  • How is the beauty of heaven described? (v. 2)
  • What will be absent from heaven? (v. 4)
  •  Why is there no temple in heaven? (v. 22)

Meditation Thoughts:

Why is our ignorance of the time of Jesus’ return so important?

Why do you think many people find the events of the end of time as depicted in Scripture difficult to believe?

Scripture teaches us to long for and pray for Jesus’ return (Php. 3:20; 2 Pet. 3:11-12).  Do we?  If not, why don’t we?

Memory Verse: 

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:3)

 

 

A Week in the Word, August 24-30

 

Theme: Psalms & Proverbs — Life Well Lived in Proverbs

This week will mark only our second foray into the book of Proverbs.  Being a book that is about wisdom—pursuing it, acquiring it, and practicing it—and that the foundation of that wisdom is fearing God, the proverbs of this book also touch on very practical matters of living life.

Though the book of Proverbs appears to have no real order and arrangement beyond being a collection of collections of proverbs (see 10:1; 25:1; 30:1; 31:1), several themes keep cropping up. We’ll focus our attention on three of these themes: the family, the tongue, and self-control.

Proverbs seeks to impart wisdom about how life can be best lived.  It attempts to identify pitfalls, highlight common failings, and point the reader down the best possible path to a well-lived and fulfilling life.

Proverbs being what they are—short, compact statements of truth and wisdom—and the book of Proverbs being what it is—haphazard arrangement of these compact statements—our readings will be collections of single-verses from throughout the book based on the themes mentioned above.

Readings and Introductory Comments:

Proverbs 1:8                        17:1, 13                      25:24           

            3:33                           18:22                          27:15

            5:15-20                      19:14, 26                    28:24

            10:1                            20:20                         29:15

            11:29                          21:9, 19                     30:17           

            12:4, 7                        22:6                           31:10-31

            14:1, 11                      23:22, 24-25                                   

            15:6, 17, 20, 27          24:3-4

Following on the heels of last week’s theme (Christian Living — Family) we’ll begin our readings in the same place.  As just about anyone can testify, family can at the same time be a source of great joy and blessing, but also of great pain and misery.  Attention given to family can pay tremendous dividends and has a direct correlation to the joy and contentment of our lives.

Proverbs 4:24                                             15:1, 2, 4, 14, 23

            6:12, 16-17                                      16:24, 27, 28

            8:6-8, 13                                          17:9, 27, 28

            10:8, 11, 14, 18, 19, 31, 32             18:8

            11:9, 12, 13                                     20:19

            12:6, 13, 14, 18, 22, 23, 25             21:23

            13:2, 3                                             26:20, 22, 28

            14:3                                                  29:20

Nothing gives mankind any more trouble than our tongues.  James speaks directly to it in the New Testament (Jas. 3:1-12).  Nothing can get us into trouble quicker and nothing diffuse a volatile situation better or bring delight to ones life than the words we speak.  No theme in the entire book of Proverbs gets any more attention than the tongue.

Proverbs 6:34                        19:3, 11, 12, 19

            11:23                           20:2

            12:16, 23                     21:14

            13:16                           22:8, 24-25

            14:16, 17, 29, 35         25:15, 28           

            15:1, 18                        26:21

            16:32                             27:4

            17:14, 27                       29:8, 9, 11, 22, 23

            18:23                             30:32-33

The New Testament teaches us that self-control is characteristic of a life guided by God’s Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:23; Titus 2:11-12). It is therefore not surprising that a life well lived is one characterized by self control as well.

Study/Thought Questions:

Proverbs 1:8

  • From whom is a child to learn?

Proverbs 3:33

  • Whose house is blessed?

Proverbs 4:24

  • What is crooked speech?

Proverbs 5:15-20

  • What is drinking water a euphemism for in this passage?

Proverbs 6:12, 16-17, 34

  • What is #2 on this list of things God hates? (v. 17)
  • What enrages a man? (v. 34)

Proverbs 8:6-8, 13

  • What is an abomination to my lips? (v. 7)
  • What is listed alongside perverted speech as hated sins? (v. 13)

Proverbs 10:1, 8, 11, 14, 18, 19, 31, 32

  • Who comes to ruin? (v. 8)
  • Who has lying lips? (v. 18)
  • Who is prudent? (v. 19)

Proverbs 11:9, 12, 13, 23, 29

  • What does a man of understanding do? (v. 12)
  • What does a trustworthy man do? (v. 13)
  • Who inherits the wind? (v. 29)

Proverbs 12:4, 6, 7, 13, 14, 16, 18, 22, 23, 25

  • Who is (not “wears”) a crown? (v. 4)
  • What ensnares an evil man? (v. 13)
  • What does a prudent man do? (v. 16)
  • What can overcome anxiety? (v. 25)

Proverbs 13:2, 3, 16

  • How can one preserve life? (v. 3)

Proverbs 14:1, 3, 11, 16, 17, 29, 35

  • How is great understanding demonstrated? (v. 29)

Proverbs 15:1, 2, 4, 6, 14, 17, 18, 20, 23, 27

  • What is a good response to wrath? (v. 1)
  • What brings joy to a man? (v. 23)

Proverbs 16:24, 27, 28, 32

  • What are gracious words like? (v. 24)
  • Who is better than the mighty? (v. 32)

Proverbs 17:1, 9, 13, 14, 27, 28

  • What is one way to seek love? (v. 9)
  • Who has knowledge? (v. 27)

Proverbs 18:8, 22, 23

  • What is one “favor” from the Lord? (v. 22)

Proverbs 19:3, 11, 12, 14, 19, 26

  • What effect does good sense have? (v. 11)
  • Who brings shame and reproach? (v. 26)

Proverbs 20:2, 19, 20

  • Whose lamp will be put out in utter darkness? (v. 20)

Proverbs 21:9, 14, 23

  • What’s a good way to keep oneself out of trouble? (v. 23)

Proverbs 22:6, 8, 24-25

  • Who should not be your friend? (v. 24)

Proverbs 23:22, 24-25

  • To whom should you listen? (v. 22)

Proverbs 24:3-4

  • What builds up a house?

Proverbs 25:15, 24, 28

  • What is like an unprotected, unguarded city? (v. 28)

Proverbs 26:20, 21, 22, 28

  • With whose absence will a quarrel end? (v. 20)

Proverbs 27:4, 15

  • What is a quarrelsome wife like? (v. 15)

Proverbs 28:24

  • Who is like a person who destroys?

Proverbs 29:8, 9, 11, 15, 20, 22, 23

  • What’s the difference between the wise and the foolish? (v. 11)
  • Who shames his mother? (v. 15)
  •  Who obtains honor? (v. 23)

Proverbs 30:17, 32-33

  • Who will be eaten by vultures? (v. 17)

Proverbs 31:10-31

  • How valuable is an excellent wife? (v. 10)

Meditation Thoughts:

What would you say is the book of Proverbs’ answer to gossip?

Is it a valid response when one says about their temper, “That’s just the way I am”?  Why or why not?

In the family setting, what is of greater value and importance than getting ones way or winning the argument?

Memory Verse:

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” (Prov. 16:24)

 

 

A Week in the Word, August 17-23

 

Theme: Christian Living – Family

Just as surely as man is the product of God’s intentional purpose and design so also is the family.  God created Adam, what was lacking in him was fulfilled by the creation of Eve.  Note that it wasn’t just the creating of another, sexually corresponding human being that corrected the only “not good” feature of God’s creation (Gen. 2:18).  Also involved was the process described in Gen. 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

For this to work, man has an important part to play.  There are roles and responsibilities to be fulfilled.  God has enlisted man’s participation in the process.  Can people engage in relationships, get married, have children, and start families all the while ignoring God and His will?  Certainly so.  Just as man can live his entire life in rejection of and rebellion against the will of God, though serious consequences will follow.  So also man cannot ignore and circumvent God’s will when it comes to family and expect to have no consequences to suffer.  “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psa. 127:1).

God’s will covers the gamut of concerns from the varied interpersonal relationships of husbands and wives to the roles and responsibilities of parents and children to principles concerning the home in general. Our readings this week fall under what would have to be considered the broad umbrella of family. It should be noted that sometimes the Bible addresses the issue when men deviate from, change, or otherwise reject God’s will in these matters.

Readings and Introductory Comments:

Genesis 1:26-28; 2:18, 21-24

The family, home, and marriage all originate in the creation.  The wisdom, forethought, and blessing God employed in all of creation certainly applies to the family.  Just as Jesus, when asked about marriage, was concerned with “from the beginning” in this matter (Matt. 19:4), so should we be as well.

1 Corinthians 7:3-5; Song of Solomon 1:2-4; 2:16-17; 4:10-11; 8:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7; Romans 1:26-32; Proverbs 5:15-23; Hebrews 13:4

Absolutely unique to the husband/wife relationship—in God’s plan and design—is the intimate physical relationship of sexual union.  Mankind’s thoughts about it have been altered to the point of thinking it is somehow inherently wrong on one extreme, to the other that there are no limitations or parameters to be recognized in its practice.  Neither are true.

1 Timothy 5:14; Titus 2:3-5; Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Peter 3:1-6

The Bible speaks directly to the roles and responsibilities of women as wives.

Proverbs 18:22; 19:14; 31:10-12; Ephesians 5:25, 28-29, 33; Ecclesiastes 9:9; 1 Peter 3:7

Also, the Bible speaks pointedly to men as husbands.

Psalm 127:3-5; 78: 1-8; Ephesians 6:4, 1-2; Colossians 3:20; Proverbs 31:28

In most homes children complete the family.  They are not mere byproducts of the husband/wife relationship, but an intended part of God’s design and purpose.  So, both parents and children must be concerned with God’s plan regarding families and thus the roles of parents and kids.

Matthew 5:31-32; 19:7-9; Romans 7:2-3; 1 Corinthians 7:39; Malachi 2:13-16

All marriages, obviously, are not successful.  What happens in the aftermath of broken marriages is of great concern, as evidenced by the number of times the subject is addressed.  While no two set of circumstances are the same, it must be recognized that not everyone who is divorced has the right to remarry.

Study/Thought Questions:

Genesis 1:26-28

  • In what two “types” did God create man? (v. 27)

Genesis 2:18, 21-24

  • What are the three parts of the “process” of marriage? (v. 24)

1 Corinthians 7:3-5

  • Who has authority over the wife’s and the husband’s bodies? (v. 4)

Song of Solomon 1:2-4; 2:16-17; 4:10-11; 8:6-7

  • For what does the bride desire? (1:2)
  • Whose is my beloved’s? (2:16)
  • How strong is love? (8:6)

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7

  • In order for sanctification to happen, from what must one abstain? (v. 3)

Romans 1:26-32

  • What is described as “dishonorable passions”? (v. 26)

Proverbs 5:15-23

  • With what should a man be intoxicated? (v. 19)

Hebrews 13:4

  • What is to be held in honor among all?

1 Timothy 5:14

  • What is Paul’s instruction for younger widows?

Titus 2:3-5

  • What are younger women to be trained to do? (v. 4)

Ephesians 5:22-24

  • Why are wives commanded to submit to their husbands? (v. 23)

1 Peter 3:1-6

  • How might unbelieving husbands be won by their wives? (v. 2)
  • What is a woman’s adorning to be? (v. 4)

Proverbs 18:22; 19:14; 31:10-12

  • Who finds a good thing? (18:22)
  • From whom is a prudent wife? (19:14)
  • More precious than what is an excellent wife? (31:10)

Ephesians 5:25, 28-29, 33

  • In what way are husbands to love their wives? (v. 25)
  • What are husbands to do?  What are wives to do? (v. 33)

Ecclesiastes 9:9

  • With whom should a man enjoy life?

1 Peter 3:7

  • What is the husband’s responsibility?

Psalm 127:3-5

  • What man is blessed? (v. 5)

Psalm 78: 1-8

  •  What should be told to the “coming generation”? (v. 4)

Ephesians 6:4, 1-2

  • Why are children to obey their parents? (v. 1)
  • What must fathers guard against? (v. 4)

Colossians 3:20

  • What pleases the Lord?

Proverbs 31:28

  • Who is called “blessed” and by whom?

Matthew 5:31-32

  • Upon what grounds is divorce permissible? (v. 32)

Matthew 19:7-9

  • Why did Moses allow for divorce? (v. 8)

Romans 7:2-3

  • How is a woman freed from the “law of marriage”? (v. 2)

1 Corinthians 7:39

  • For how long is a woman bound to her husband?

Malachi 2:13-16

  • To whom should no one be faithless? (v. 15)

Meditation Thoughts:

What role or place to you hold in your family (there are likely several)?  What are your specific responsibilities based on these readings?

How does the place of family contribute to the well being of culture?

What are some of the ways that modern culture undermines family?

Memory Verse:

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psa. 127:1)

A Week in the Word, August 10-16

 

Theme: Jesus—Prophet, Priest, and King

To describe the multifaceted nature of a person’s responsibilities we might say the person “wears many hats.”  So, it would be appropriate to say that Jesus wore many hats.  Probably more hats than we’ve taken time to think about.  William Barclay wrote a useful book, Jesus as They Saw Him.  In it he devotes one chapter each to Jesus’ various “hats.”  This book is comprised of 42 chapters; forty-two!

Of course, not all of these are roles and/or responsibilities.  Some are names and designations.  But still, it is quite obvious that a one or two-dimensional way of looking at Jesus, though truthful, is inadequate.

It is not possible within the format of this Bible reading program to address every facet of Jesus’ identity, role, and mission.  We will, though, look at three very prominent roles of Jesus that are frequently linked together: prophet, priest, and king.  Each of these has a major part to play in our understanding of Jesus.  Each is preceded by important Old Testament background and each greatly enhances our understanding of the Savior.

Readings and Introductory Comments:

Deuteronomy 18:14-22; Matthew 16:14; 21:11; Luke 7:16; 9:7-8; 24:19; John 4:19; 6:14; 7:40; 9:17; Acts 3:22-26

In Jesus’ day the people of Israel were longing for the interaction of God with the nation.  It had been 400 years since the last prophet had come (Malachi).  It is not surprising the that when one like Jesus came on the scene they were quick to identify Him as a prophet from God.  Such was their response to a number of His miracles.  Some even thought that He wasn’t simply another prophet sent from God, but actually one of the old prophets brought back to life by God (Luke 9:7-9).

Jesus’ role as prophet, though, goes further than this.  There were times when He was identified not simply as “a prophet,” but “the prophet” (John 6:14; 7:40).  This is because of the prophecy of Moses that another prophet would come who would be like him (Deut. 18:14-22). Peter picks up on this point in his sermon in Acts 3.

Hebrews 4:14-5:10; 6:19-7:28; 9:1-28; 10:1-31

Jesus’ role as our high priest and the sacrifice He offered are central to our understanding not only of Jesus Himself, but also of our salvation. It is interesting that none of the Old Testament teaching and prophecy about the coming Messiah speaks of Him in terms of a priest. This may be due to the very point made in Hebrews about the priesthood of Jesus being in contrast to that of the Mosaic system.  It is likely that any thoughts on Israel’s part about their Messiah being a priest would have naturally been understood in terms of the Levitical priesthood, not in contrast to it.

These readings from Hebrews go to great lengths to describe Jesus as high priest.  But not only that, also the sacrifice He made, the offering of that sacrifice, and the results of it having been made (initiation of a new covenant).

2 Samuel 7:12-16; Matthew 4:17; Mark 15:2, 16-18, 25-27; Luke 1:32-33; John 1:49; 12:12-16; Acts 2:30-33; Colossians 1:13; Revelation 19:11-16

It would be very hard to find a designation for God in the Old Testament any more frequent or common than that of king.  The literal Monarchy of Israel was a physical manifestation of this key relationship.

Jesus came for the purpose of ruling as king.  His preaching announced the imminent appearance of His kingdom.  This identity came to the fore during the course of His trial, though neither the Jewish authorities nor Pilate came close to understanding the significance of His kingdom or His role as its ruler.  It was his resurrection and subsequent exaltation that served as nothing less than His coronation to God’s throne.

Consequently, our saving relationship with Jesus is described as His ruling as our king and our being part of His kingdom.

Study/Thought Questions:

Deuteronomy 18:14-22

  • From where will this coming prophet arise? (v. 18)

Matthew 16:14

  • Whom were men saying that Jesus was?

Matthew 21:11

  • On what occasion did these events occur? (see vv. 7ff)

Luke 7:16

  • What event prompted these words? (see v. 15)

Luke 9:7-8

  • What had Herod heard about the identity of Jesus?

Luke 24:19

  • What kind of prophet did these men say Jesus was?

John 4:19

  • What was the Samaritan woman’s perception of Jesus?

John 6:14

  • Why did these people say that Jesus was a prophet?

John 7:40

  • For what reason did these people say that Jesus was “the Prophet”?

John 9:17

  • Why did this man say Jesus was a prophet?

Acts 3:22-26

  • What will happen to the one who does not listen to this prophet? (v. 23)

Hebrews 4:14-5:10

  • What are we able to do since we have Jesus as our high priest? (4:16)
  • What do high priests offer? (5:1)

Hebrews 6:19-7:28

  • After whose order is Jesus a high priest? (6:20)
  • On what basis did Jesus become priest? (7:16)

Hebrews 9:1-28

  • By what means did Jesus enter into the holy place? (9:12)
  • By means of His sacrifice, what did Jesus become? (9:15)

Hebrews 10:1-31

  • By what are we sanctified? (10:10)
  • What was Jesus able to secure by a single offering? (10:14)

2 Samuel 7:12-16

  • What did God promise to establish through David’s descendant? (v. 13)

Matthew 4:17

  • About what concerning the kingdom did Jesus preach?

Mark 15:2

  • What did Pilate want to know from Jesus?

Mark 15:16-18

  • In what way did the soldiers mock Jesus?

Mark 15:25-27

  • What did the inscription posted at Jesus’ crucifixion read? (v. 26)

Luke 1:32-33

  • What did the angel promise Mary would be given to her child?

John 1:49

  • What did Nathanael exclaim about Jesus?

John 12:12-16

  • How did the crowds describe Jesus? (v. 13)

Acts 2:30-33

  • To what position was Jesus exalted? (v. 33)

Colossians 1:13

  • Into what is one transferred as one is being saved?

Revelation 19:11-16

  • What name is written on Jesus’ thigh? (v. 16)

Meditation Thoughts:

In what way does Jesus fill the role of a prophet?

In Hebrews after Jesus is introduced as high priest (4:14-5:10), the readers are rebuked for not being able to understand as they ought due to lack of spiritual maturity (5:11-6:12). What are the factors in my life that are contributing to my own developing spiritual maturity?

The notion of Jesus as king needs to be understood not on a large, broad scale—king of the universe—but on a very personal, individualized scale—king of me.  So, who really rules my life; Jesus or me?

Memory Verse: 

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15)

A Week in the Word, August 3-9

 

Theme: God – God is…

The magnitude of God surpasses the capacity of human comprehension.  Still, Scripture encourages us on the path of understanding God.  “Let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord” (Jer. 9:24).

So, the question is, how can we even begin to comprehend the incomprehensible?  Obviously, we need to begin smaller.  As is also true of ourselves, God is not simple or single-faceted in His nature.  Our previous readings under the theme of God have already delved into His sovereignty, His holiness, and His majesty and glory.  This week we’ll look into several other attributes.

Our first group of passages serve as catalogues of some of God’s greatest qualities.  Following that we’ll focus on God’s love, His righteousness and justice, and finally His goodness and kindness.

Readings and Introductory Comments:

Exodus 34:6-7; Numbers 14:18; 2 Chronicles 30:9; Nehemiah 9:31; Psalm 86:15; 103:8; 145:8-9; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2

God is gracious and compassionate and merciful.  These passages all string together series of qualities of God. No matter what else we may be prompted to think of God, these are always true of Him and should not be forgotten.

Deuteronomy 7:7-9; John 3:16; Romans 5:3-8; 8:35-39; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 1:4-5; 2:4-7; 3:14-19; 1 John 3:16-18; 4:7-21

The fact that God is love is one of the very best known statements in Scripture about God’s nature.  The two references from 1 John are far from the only such statement.  God’s love is expressed repeatedly throughout Scripture.

Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 5:8; 7:11; 9:7-8; 11:7; 31:1; 33:5; 35:28; 36:6, 10; 45:4; 48:10; 50:6; 71:19; 85:9-13; 89:14; 97:2; 98:9; 111:3; 112:4; 116:5; 119:137, 142; Isaiah 5:16; 9:7; 41:10; 45:13; Romans 3:21-26

Though one can find any number of combinations of these numerous qualities of God in a variety of places in  Scripture, two that are quite frequently paired are God’s justice and righteousness.  There are a number of passages to be read in this list—particularly from Psalms—most are single-verse readings.

We devoted an entire week to readings on God’s holiness, it would be easy, and perhaps preferable, to do the same with God’s righteousness and justice.  If one were to create a “short list” of qualities that describe God and must also be true of His children, the list would certainly contain these.

Romans 2:4; 11:22; Ephesians 2:7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 2:3

We finish this week’s readings with a series of texts extolling both the goodness and kindness of God.  When we consider the godliness which is to be a part of our lives as His children (see Titus 2:12), these traits would be an excellent place to begin.

Study/Thought Questions:

Exodus 34:6-7

  • What traits and qualities does God claim for Himself in these verses?

2 Chronicles 30:9

  • Because God is gracious and merciful, what will He not do?

Psalm 86:15

  • In what does God abound?

 Joel 2:13

  • Because God is gracious and merciful, what should men do?

Deuteronomy 7:7-9

  • What had God “set” upon His people? (v. 7)

John 3:16

  • What did God’s love prompt Him to do?

Romans 5:3-8

  • What has been poured into our hearts? (v. 5)
  • How has God shown His love? (v. 8)

Romans 8:35-39

  • What can separate us from the love of God? (vv. 38-39)

Galatians 2:20

  • How is the Son of God described for whom Paul lives his life by faith?

Ephesians 1:4-5

  • Read these verse in the ESV or NASB.  What has God done for us “in love”?

Ephesians 2:4-7

  • When did God love us? (v. 5)

Ephesians 3:14-19

  • What surpasses knowledge? (v. 19)

1 John 3:16-18

  • How do we know love? (v. 16)

1 John 4:7-21

  • From where is love? (v. 7)
  • What should we do since God loved us? (v. 11)

Psalm 7:11

  • What kind of judge is God?

Psalm 9:7-8

  • With what does God judge the world?

Psalm 33:5

  • What does God love?

Psalm 36:6, 10

  • What is God’s righteousness like?  His judgments? (v. 6)

Psalm 48:10

  • What fills God’s right hand?

Psalm 71:19

  • How far does God’s righteousness reach?

Psalm 85:9-13

  • What do righteousness and peace do? (v. 10)

Psalm 89:14

What are the foundations of God’s throne? (see also 97:2)

Isaiah 5:16

  • How does God show Himself holy?

Isaiah 41:10

  • With what will God uphold us?

Romans 3:21-26

  • How has the righteousness of God been manifested? (vv. 21-22
  • Why did God show His righteousness? (v. 26)

Romans 2:4

  • What is to lead to repentance?

Romans 11:22

  • What is paired with God’s severity?

Titus 3:4-7

  • What appeared when God saved us? (vv. 4-5)

1 Peter 2:3

  • What may we “taste” about the Lord?

Meditation Thoughts:

  • In what ways is God merciful and gracious?
  • When God’s actions don’t set well with our understanding of goodness and kindness, how do we proceed in our thinking about God?
  • What do I hold to as proof of God’s love for me, personally?
  • If God is characterized by goodness and kindness, how, in practical ways, might I become more godly?

Memory Verse: 

“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” (Ex. 34:6-7)