John 8:12-16: I Am the Light of the World

Intro In John 7-9, Jesus is celebrating the annual Festival of Tabernacles.  For eight days each year, the Jews traveled to Jerusalem for this ritual, living in temporary shelters to remind them of their time in the wilderness.  In their exodus, with the Red Sea at their backs, a water shortage waited for the Israelites […]

1 Peter: Lesson 4: It’s All About Jesus

Intro Last week, we saw Peter focus on “the futile ways inherited from [the ethnic Jewish Christians’] forefathers”—their Jewish work-righteous thinking.  So, we found Peter establish a pattern.  First, he sets up one’s righteous standing before God by what someone does.  Next, he destroys such foolish thinking by what showing what God does.  Two times, […]

1 Peter: Lesson 5: From Nothing to Something

Intro Last week, Peter commanded Christians to long for the “worded” (logikon) milk like newborns for their mothers’ milk.  This referred to the Lord’s Supper, for if Peter meant the preached Word, he would have used a different Greek construction (to gala tou logou).  Why are we to crave the Supper?  To grow up into […]

1 Peter, Lesson 3: Our Life with God: Is It Up to Us or God?

Intro In 1 Peter 1:3-12, Peter is preparing his recipients for what is to follow, to be well-disposed and ready to receive his instruction.  Peter does this by expounding on the activity of each Person of the Holy Trinity, offering a blessing based on the Father (vs. 3-5), Son (vs. 3, 7-8), and Spirit (vs. […]

Matthew 15:22-28: Being a Blessed Dog

To the Northern coast, Christ goes, traveling into the region of Tyre and Sidon.  Far from home, He is walking on Canaanite soil with His disciples.  Many centuries earlier, God told Joshua to purge the land of these people when they recaptured their country.  With this shared history, the Israelites hated the Canaanites, calling them […]

Genesis 3:1-21: The Dark Poetry of the Fall

The story of our plummet into sin is simple enough but also full of intricacies.  These verses in Scripture are both complex and nuanced.  Every word in the first three chapters of Genesis is correct, but they do not come to us as a textbook of history, but as poetry.  So, we should be wise […]

John 15:1-8: I Am the Vine

Apart from me, you can do nothing, Jesus decrees, scorching every elegance of language away (John 15:5).  Attend to His words, for He doesn’t say someone is disabled but bereft of all ability.  What might glint and glimmer from us, is only “wood, grass, or stubble,” nothing eternal (1 Corinthians 3:12).  “All things are from […]

1 Peter: Lesson 2 Preparing His Hearers

Intro In this section, Peter uses classical rhetoric, writing an “exordium” to prepare his recipients for what is to follow.  The purpose is to prepare them to be more well-disposed and ready to receive his instruction. So, this section includes no explicit exhortations or commands.  Instead, Peter wants his recipients to hear him without being […]

Matthew 16:13-23: Who Do You Say I Am?

After people demanded proof of His divinity, Jesus questions His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”  Earlier, the Pharisees clamored, challenging Him to give them a sign from heaven.  Do not find this as strange, for lack of faith always wants to sense and experience something, not take God at His […]

1 Peter: Lesson 1

Introduction Theme The relationship between the Christian and culture as resident aliens in this world.  Peter wants the hearers of his epistle to understand who they are before God so they can be who they are in in the world.  1 Peter tells us not so much how we are to think about God, but […]