Category Archives: Bible study

The sense of smell

Psalm 115:5-7 describes some characteristics of idols, contrasting them with God.

They have mouths, but do not speak;
    eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear;
    noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel;
    feet, but do not walk;
    and they do not make a sound in their throat.

We all know that God sees and hears everything that happens and he has the ability to speak and act, but he has a sense of smell too.  The first mention of it is found in Genesis 8:20-22. Read the rest of this entry

Forget your people and your father’s house

Psalm 45

 My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;
    I address my verses to the king;
    my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.

You are the most handsome of the sons of men;
    grace is poured upon your lips;
    therefore God has blessed you forever.
Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one,
    in your splendor and majesty!

In your majesty ride out victoriously
    for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
    let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!
Your arrows are sharp
    in the heart of the king’s enemies;
    the peoples fall under you.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.
    The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;
    you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
    with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;
    your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.
From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;
    daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor;
    at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.

10 Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear:
    forget your people and your father’s house,
11     and the king will desire your beauty.
Since he is your lord, bow to him.
12     The people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts,
    the richest of the people.

Read the rest of this entry

Questioning God

Have you ever experienced a time when your life was so messed up you wanted to ask God what was going on?  Job did.

Today also my complaint is bitter; my hand is heavy on account of my groaning.  Oh, that I knew where I might find him, hat I might come even to his seat!  I would lay my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. (Job 23:2-4)

If you read Job 1-4 it is easy to see why he felt that way.  He feared and obeyed God and God had blessed him with great wealth and with ten children.  For a long time he had lived a prosperous and happy life, and then suddenly everything began to go wrong. Read the rest of this entry

Eliphaz’s questions

In addition to the suffering he experienced, Job had to endure the belief by his friends that his suffering was the result of some sin he had committed.  Eliphaz the Temanite asked these questions, “Who that was innocent ever perished?  Or where were the upright cut off?” (Job 4:7)  The implication was that the innocent and upright never suffered, so Job’s suffering was evidence of his guilt.  Eliphaz clearly had no idea what the right answers to his questions were, but we do because of what God has revealed to us since then.

“Who that was innocent ever perished?”  The only innocent person who ever lived was Jesus Christ.  The rest of us are sinners who deserve death.  Jesus didn’t deserve to die but chose to do so in our place so our sins could be forgiven.

“Where were the upright cut off?”  At Calvary, where Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice to atone for our sins.

Finding time to pray

Paul had a very busy schedule, going from town to town preaching the gospel and establishing new churches.  Yet he always took the time to pray for his converts and the churches he helped to establish.

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.  (Ephesians 1:15-21)

Read the rest of this entry

Christ’s suffering

Crucifixion is one of the most painful methods of execution ever devised.  Here is an article that describes Christ’s crucifixion and also the suffering he experienced before it.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

He knew before his arrest what he would endure.  Is it any wonder that he prayed that God would enable him to avoid it if that were possible?

And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 22:41-44

He wanted to avoid the pain of being crucified but he wanted even more to do God’s will.  His death was the only way human sin could be atoned for, so in the end he submitted to being put to death. Read the rest of this entry

Last minute conversions

When Jesus was being crucified his enemies added insults to the injuries he was suffering by challenging him to prove the claims he had made about himself by coming down from the cross.  Even the two criminals who were being crucified with him joined in.

And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,save yourself, and come down from the cross!”

So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.”

Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.

Mark 15:29-32

A short time later one of the criminals experienced a change of heart.

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”

And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Luke 23:39-43

Read the rest of this entry

Result of the plagues

Exodus 7:1-12:40 describes the ten plagues God had to send on the Egyptians before they would let the Israelites leave to go to the land God had promised them.  Yet even after all of this suffering Pharaoh changed his mind about freeing the Israelites and tried to bring them back into slavery.  Exodus 14:5-31 tells how God opened the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to escape and then allowed the sea to return to drown Pharaoh and his army.  Israel was finally free to go to its own land and Egypt was in ruins with its ruler dead.

But God’s judgments had another result.

“Behold, about this time tomorrow I will cause very heavy hail to fall, such as never has been in Egypt from the day it was founded until now.Now therefore send, get your livestock and all that you have in the field into safe shelter, for every man and beast that is in the field and is not brought home will die when the hail falls on them.”  Then whoever feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses, but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the Lord left his slaves and his livestock in the field.

Exodus 9:18-21

Not all of the Egyptians were as hard hearted as Pharaoh.  Some of them feared God and took steps to protect themselves.  When the Isrealites left Egypt they left behind a group of people who believed in the true God.

Thomas

You have probably heard the phrase “Doubting Thomas.”  It originated with this incident in the life of Thomas, one of the twelve apostles.

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.”

But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 20:24-29

All most people know of Thomas is that he wouldn’t believe Jesus had risen from the dead until he saw him with his own eyes.  There is an earlier mention of Thomas that sheds more light on what he was like. Read the rest of this entry

Truth and love

 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:8

These two statements show that both truth and love are part of God’s character.  We need to express both of them when telling others about God.

Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.

Ephesians 4:15

We must always speak the truth and what we say must be motivated by love.  But what will happen if we speak truth without love or try to practice love while ignoring truth?  We can find out by looking at two organizations in Topeka, Kansas, that do these things. Read the rest of this entry

Diversity of creation

Humans are created in the image of God.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:26-27

In spite of this fact no two humans are exactly alike.  Even identical twins, who have the same DNA, have different fingerprints.  Each of us is a unique individual, not exactly like any other person.

The diversity of God’s creation isn’t limited to people.  You have probably heard that no two snowflakes are exactly alike.  Since the vast majority of snowflakes have never been examined how can we know whether this is true?  Here is an article from the website of the California Institute of Technology that shows that this belief is probably correct.

Is it really true that no two snowflakes are alike?

Here is the conclusion of the article.

Read the rest of this entry

If God spoke to us audibly

There is disagreement about how God wants us to live.  If God would just speak to everyone in an audible voice that would eliminate all questions about God and enable us to serve him without any doubts or disagreements.

Or perhaps it wouldn’t.  The Bible records a time when a crowd of people did hear God speak.

“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.  Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

 John 12:27-28

Everyone present heard the sound of the voice but not everyone understood it. Read the rest of this entry

Iron chariots

God performed miracles when he brought the Israelites into the promised land.  He stopped the flow of the Jordan River so they could enter the land.

So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest),the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.

Joshua 3:14-17

He made the walls of Jericho fall down.

So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city.

Joshua 6:20

He even caused the sun to stand still. Read the rest of this entry

Are you blind?

Are you blind?  If you were asked this question I think all of you would answer “No”.  After all, you are reading this page right now so that proves you can see.  But the Bible has some things to say about blindness that might make you change your mind.

God revealed to Elisha the plans of the king of Syria and Elisha in turn warned the king of Israel.

Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.”  But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.”  And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice.

2 Kings 6:8-10

The king of Syria learned that Elisha was responsible for his failure to defeat Israel so he decided to capture him. Read the rest of this entry

Do angels have wings?

Everyone knows that angels have wings.  Every picture we see of angels shows them with wings.  However there is one problem.  Some of the things said about angels in the Bible seem to contradict this belief.

Before God destroyed Sodom he sent two angels to take Lot and his family out of the city.

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.”

They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.”  But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house.  And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”

Genesis 19:1-5

The men of Sodom thought the angels were men and tried to attack them.  Don’t you think that if they had wings the men would have known they would have realized there was something different about them and they wouldn’t have been so anxious to harm them? Read the rest of this entry

Is love always good?

The Bible says a lot about love.  We are told that God is love.  He has demonstrated his love by sending his son, Jesus Christ, to die as a sacrifice for our sins so we can be forgiven.

God requires that we love others as well.  Jesus said that the two greatest commands are to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  We are even commanded to love our enemies.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that all love is good.  Jesus has told us that loving him should have priority over all other loves.

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 

Matthew 10:37

Read the rest of this entry

Is God ever unfair?

Have you ever believed that God was treating you unfairly?  I think everyone has at one time or another.  I know I have and the Bible tells us about a man named Job who felt this way.

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.

His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.

Job 1:1-5

Job feared God and turned away from evil.  He cared about the welfare of his children and offered sacrifices for them in case they had sinned, and God had blessed him with great wealth.  It appeared that he was all set to live a life of piety and comfort. Read the rest of this entry

The sons of God and the daughters of men

When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

Genesis 6:1-4

Who were these sons of God?  There are three theories as to their identity. Read the rest of this entry

Paul and Jonah

Acts 27:1-28:16 describes Paul’s voyage to Rome to stand trial before Caesar.  It was late in the year, when sailing on the Mediterranean was dangerous.  At one point they had to decide whether to continue to Rome or spend the winter where they were and finish their voyage the following spring.

Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, saying, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.”
Acts 27:9-10

They rejected Paul’s advice and continued their journey.

But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. And because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing both southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.
Acts 27:11-12

A storm rose and the crew of the ship gave up all hope of survival. Read the rest of this entry

Oaths

When Paul visited Jerusalem for the last time the Jews started a riot in the temple that led to his arrest by the Romans.  The Romans brought him before the Jewish council for trial and he was acquitted.  Acts 21:27 – 23:11

Many of the Jews wouldn’t accept this and were determined to kill him.

When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. There were more than forty who made this conspiracy. They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul. Now therefore you, along with the council, give notice to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. And we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”
Acts 23:12-15

Paul’s nephew learned of the plot and warned Paul and the Roman commander.  The commander sent Paul to Caesarea so he would be safe from the Jews. Acts 23:12-35

When reading this I have often wondered whether the Jews who swore not to eat and drink until they killed Paul kept their oath.  Did they die of thirst and starvation? Read the rest of this entry

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