March - Reading 25

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Mar 25, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Good evening -

    This was an important mark in our Bible reading program today. We finished three different Books, Dueteronomy, Matthew, and Romans. By finishing Dueteronomy, we finished the Torah or the books of Law. In April we will begin the books of History beginning with Joshua.

    Again I apologize for the lack of commentary last night and even though I will double up some of the commentary tonight, I will endeavor to be brief.

    In Dueteronomy tonight, we read of the death of Moses. Moses sat atop Mount Nebo and looked across the land that he was forbidden to enter. Moses "the servant" is probably the most significant character in the Bible, second only to Jesus Christ "the Son."

    In Matthew last night we read Matthew's account of the Ressurection. Matthew is the only Gospel to speak of the earthquake and is the only Gospel to identify the entity waiting there as an angel. Mark says "a man" and Luke says "two men."

    Also, moving into today's reading, Matthew is the only gospel to mention the guards and their report. Lastly, Matthew reports the least details of post-Ressurection stories. The final sentence in Matthew confirms that Christ was Emmanuel, God with us.

    Our reading in Romans the last two nights have been Paul's conclusory statements. He expresses confidence in his bretheren at the churches in Rome and assures them that he will join them soon. Paul's personal greetings in the last chapter are as important to Biblical historians as the many scriptural lineages throughout the Bible. Phoebe, mentioned in verse two is considered by many as scriptural support for female deacons. Notice that she is called a "servant," whereas Priscilla in verse 3, Mary in verse 6, Tryphena and Tryphosa in verse 12, etc. are all called workers.

    May God bless you all

    - Clint
     
  3. Helen

    Helen
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    Adding a couple of notes on Matthew:

    1. Because Matthew had been a tax collector, he knew a good many of the soldiers and officials. It is interesting, therefore, and a sign of validity of authorship, that his gospel is truly the only one presenting the material only the soldiers could have told him.

    2. The Great Commission, given by Jesus at the end of Matthew, is often misunderstood. We are to make disciples, not converts. Only the Holy Spirit can make converts. Our job, instead, is to locate these new believers and walk alongside them with prayer, encouragement, friendship, and Bible study, until they are no longer babies, but walking strongly on their own with the Lord. Then they can turn around and offer a hand to the next ones coming in/up.
     
  4. RodH

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    Clint, I appreciate the comments above on the important details at the end of Matthew that are not mentioned in the other Gospels. I admit that while reading the end of Matthew, I had thought that it was very brief and lacking in detail. I am glad to be proven wrong.

    We have now made it through: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and 71 of the Psalms in the Old Testament and Matthew, Acts, and Romans in the New Testament, 1/4 of the way through the reading plan. [​IMG]
     
  5. Gwyneth

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    Still here..... thanks for all the help.
    Gwyneth. [​IMG]
     
  6. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    From upcoming Sunday School lecture 4/11/04 - continued

    Matthew 28:11-15 The False Report of the Guards

    The guards at the tomb appear to be Roman as we see them assigned to the duty by Pilate at the end of chapter 27. However, their duty was to the temple priests in this instance and they reported to them of the events that morning. Further evidence that these were Roman guards and not Temple guards is found in the fact that matters would need to be squared with the governor over this matter. More than Pilate, however, the priests feared the reaction of the people upon hearing of the Resurrection.

    Had the priest been able to produce a body they would not have had such a problem. Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for us, such an act was beyond their power. Therefore, their only recourse was to bribe the soldiers to report to the people that the Disciples had stolen the body as they slept. Interestingly, this story would not hold water no matter how one sliced it. If the soldiers were sleeping, how did they know it was a grave robbing by the Disciples?

    This story was for the benefit of the priest to the people. The soldiers had no need to fear the population of Palestine over this matter. However, should Pilate hear that his guards were sleeping there would be consequences for them. Therefore the priest promised to satisfy Pilate should this occur.

    The phrase "to this day" in verse 15 is relevant to the audience at the time of the writing of Matthew. We will discuss the dating of the Gospel at length when the Book is introduced in the future but we do know that the rumor of grave robbing continued among the Jews until the 2nd century. However, what is significant is that both Jews and Christians acknowledge that the tomb was empty, no matter which course they chose to explain it.

    Matthew 28:16-20 The Great Commission

    Only the Gospel of Matthew shows Christ's first appearance to the Disciples in Galilee. Luke and John place it in Jerusalem but Mark 14:28 and 16:7 would seem to confirm Matthew's account. While specifics are impossible to correlate, the fact that Christ did appear to his Disciples is recorded in all four Gospels and also by Paul. We also can not determine what mountain in Galilee was the designated meeting site nor when this was decided.

    It shows the humanness of the situation in that some of the Disciples doubted the validity of what they were seeing. In Luke 24:11 we see that the Disciples were of one accord in denouncing the report of the women upon first hearing it. He also records that among the Eleven were "questionings" and that "they still disbelieved for joy." John names Thomas as one of the doubters. That the Gospels report these doubts further strengthen the reliability of the account of the Resurrection. When one dies, we do not expect to see him again. That Christ was appearing to them would certainly have seemed too good to be true!

    It is also an important statement concerning faith that just because they all saw Him does not mean that they all believed. Physical sight alone does not confirm faith. Many people misunderstand the relationship between seeing and faith. The high priests at the Crucifixion had told Christ to come off the Cross so that they would believe. In actuality, such an occurrence still would not have convinced them. John 11:40 gives us the deeper New Testament view of faith. Seeing is not believing; believing is seeing! Faith is not dependent upon sight; sight is dependent upon faith! In John 20:29 Christ told us that we have the greater blessing in believing without ever having to rely on actually seeing his corporeal form.

    The final verses of Matthew that we know commonly as the Great Commission bring a literary closure to the Book. The man introduced to us as "the son of David, the Son of Abraham" is now given all authority in Heaven and on Earth. Though crucified as the "King of the Jews", He now has dominion over all nations. The covenants with David and Abraham are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

    Some have interpreted the phrase "Go ye therefore and teach all nations" as an exclusion of the Jews from the Message, putting the emphasis on the word "go". However, the converted Jews were certainly a part of the plan of Christianity. Instead the emphasis in the phrasing is on "making disciples." We may paraphrase the command as "as you go, bring all nations into my discipleship." Christ's ministry had centered almost exclusively on the people of Israel but now He commissions His Disciples to a global mission.

    "Baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" refers to immersing in water those who come under the possession and protection of God. This verse is the earliest known Trinitarian formula and it is noteworthy that "name" is singular. Though we know God as three distinct personas of Father Son, and Holy Ghost, He is but One God.

    The command to teach certainly involves intellectual instruction, however, the emphasis is that the Disciples teach obedience. Converts, old and new alike, are to "observe the commands of Christ. Doctrine and study will not bring one into a saving relationship with Christ. Obedience to His commands will affect that end. Just as the Gospel narrative begins with John the Baptist commanding that we repent, so too does the narrative close.

    "The close of the age" refers to the Parousia, that is, the Second Coming. The phrase "I am with you" mirrors the phrase Emmanuel (God is with us) in verse 1:23. Jesus the risen Christ is with us then, now and until His return - in short, always.
     
  7. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lesson – 2/26/06

    Romans 16

    Having completed his theological treatise and directions for proper behavior for the self-taught Roman audience, Paul now includes a secondary document, the Letter for Phoebe. This chapter is of great importance to scholars who attempt to reconstruct the journeys and acquaintances of Paul and we also get a glimpse into some of the inner workings of the primitive church.

    Paul mentions some 28 individuals in this chapter. Some were with him, some may have been there already, some were traveling to Rome, some had been there previously. Documents such as chapter 16 of Romans were a fairly common device during the first century among Christian teachers and Apostles. They served to separate the more formal main body of the letter from the more personal greetings as well as act to endorse the carrier of the letter.

    Such endorsements may have been necessary for the very reason Paul points to in the middle of the chapter. False teachers such as the early Gnostics were creeping into the church and Paul was not alone in recognizing this. In other Letters, Paul spoke quite strongly against the Judaizers but it is likely not this group to which he refers here as he had just spent a great deal of parchment defending Jewish Scruples.

    The chapter is far too packed with data to give a fair summary of all of its contents in the brief time allotted to us. Be that as it may, we will attempt to give a fair overview of the highlights.

    Romans 16:1-2 the Commendation of Phoebe

    It is generally agreed that Phoebe was the deliverer of this document to the Romans. The word “diakonos” rendered “servant” in many versions is the same word translated “deacon” in other Passages. While the word is used in a less formal sense for servants in New Testament writings, that Phoebe is a “servant of the church” lends credibility to the view that she was a member of the diaconate.

    Her home church was in Cenchreae, the eastern port for Corinth. Up until this point in the Letter, the members of the church were referred to as “the saints” and “the brethren” but now the more formal “ekklesia,” for the local assembly, appears. Paul mentions that Phoebe had been his protector at some point in the past. We are left wondering how this was accomplished but the mention of it in this Letter indicates that it was common knowledge at the time.

    Romans 16:3-16 Paul’s Greetings

    Almost any Bible student will recognize immediately the name of another great woman in the early church, Prisca, or Priscilla. As is characteristic, her Jewush husband Aquila is mentioned next. This already Christian couple is first introduced to us in Acts 18 where they meet Paul in Corinth after being expelled from Rome by Claudius. It was also these two who heard the preaching of Apollos and instructed him further in the doctrine of Christianity. It has been theorized by many that the two tentmakers were leaders in the early Roman church.

    Also of interest is that Paul sends greetings to the church in their house. In the modern day the idea of house churches seems a little foreign but e see the practice often in the New Testament. The term “ekklesia,” most often interpreted “church,” has three meanings in the New Testament. First is the church invisible that is the whole of Christianity, also called the household of God. The second meaning is for all the Christians in a city, such as we see in 1Corinthians 1:2. In this particular instance, however, the reference is to the most basic element of the Christian body: a few believers gathered together in a home.

    Moving down the list of names, Epaenetus was the first convert in Asia. The Mary who is mentioned is one of six Mary’s in the New Testament. Aside from the honorable mention in this verse, we know nothing more of her.

    Little is known of the rest of the names except for speculation. Of interest are the names Tryphaena and Tryphosa. These two women may have been twins as the names are based on the same Greek root. The others in this part of Paul’s list may have been slaves, nobles, missionaries, or scholars. They are almost all Greek rooted names implying that they were Gentiles. Tradition holds that Rufus was the son of Simon of Cyrene who helped Jesus carry His cross to Calvary.

    The exhortation to greet one another binds the list together. The members of the Roman church were instructed to greet one another with a holy kiss, a custom still practiced by some sects of modern Christianity.

    Romans 16:17-20 A Sudden Warning

    Paul’s greetings have ended and soon the greeting of his associates will commence but Paul takes a moment to warn of an approaching heresy. Perhaps Paul had received word that the Gnostics were also going to Rome to infiltrate the church. First Paul outlines how to recognize these false teachers. They will be the ones who teach in opposition to the doctrine the Romans had been taught. It is quite a commentary on the Romans that they would be such a strong and knowledgeable congregation from teaching amongst themselves. It is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work among them.

    The Holy spirit does not, however, dictate man’s will and persuasion to sin and stray is a constant threat to any church. These heretics did not serve Christ but their own appetites. They were smooth talkers and persuasive in their arguments for those who were easy to lead astray. They were divisive and caused difficulties in a church. Through deception they would lead the weak away from the fold.

    Paul acknowledges the good reputation the Romans had but he wanted them to be wise about what was good. This is what could make the difference in their church. There was also no need for them to explore what was evil to know it as evil. For Paul, he states that forewarning was forearming.

    The crushing of Satan echoes the promise given to Eve in the garden in Genesis 3:15 and that ultimate victory is the culmination of the Gospel.

    Romans 16:21-23 A Greeting from Paul’s Associates

    Now eight members of Paul’s entourage Timothy, is, of course, well known elsewhere but the Romans may not have known of him. He often appears at the beginning of Paul’s Letters leading many to believe he arrived during the writing. This is the same Timothy for whom two Epistles are named.

    Little is known about the next three greeters. Lucius has been identified as Lucius of Crete found in Acts 13:1 and Luke the physician, author of the Gospel that bears his name and Acts, most notably the “we” chapters beginning in Acts 24. Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater are all identified as “kinsmen” suggesting they were Jewish by heritage or even blood relatives of the Apostle.

    The next greeter is Tertius, Paul’s amanuensis for this Letter. He was most certainly a Christian as he sends his greeting “in the Lord.” It is also possible that he himself wwas Roman as his name is Latin for “third.” The last greeter in this section may have been his brother as his name, Quartus, means “fourth.”

    Gaius may or may not be Titius Justus of Acts 18:7 or the Gaius associated with Aristarchus in Acts 19. 3John is also addressed to “Gaius the beloved.” We have no way of positively identifying these names as belonging to the same man.

    Erastus is of great historical interest as in 1929 a marble paving block was found bearing an inscription “Erastus, commissioner for public works, laid this pavement at his own expense.” Is it the same man? Perhaps the future will answer this riddle.

    Romans 16:25-27 The Final Doxology

    This doxology can be considered a composite of all of Paul’s other doxologies. The phrasing is purely Pauline.

    With final thoughts in place, Paul sealed the Letter that would become the most important Christian document in history. Sister Phoebe started west towards Rome while Paul and his traveling companions started east for Jerusalem with the offering for the poor saints.
     
  8. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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