Monday 5th June 2023

2 SAMUEL 7 and 8 The next chapter in 2 Samuel is simple, yet profound!  The Ark had been safely returned to Jerusalem without anyone else dying and David was now established fully as king over all Israel.  He had had a cedar palace built and moved in with his wives, concubines, children, and servants. Continue reading “Monday 5th June 2023”

Sunday 4th June 2023

ACTS 2 This chapter describes “The Birth of the Church”.  The Day of Pentecost was, of course, the Jewish festival that celebrated the firstfruits of harvest.  How appropriate that the seeds of discipleship that Jesus had ‘planted’ over a period of three and half years should now blossom into a great ‘tree’ or ‘vine’ thatContinue reading “Sunday 4th June 2023”

Saturday 3rd June 2023

ACTS 1 The Book of Acts could be subtitled: “Jesus – Part Two”.  Written again by Luke, it begins:  “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all the Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles heContinue reading “Saturday 3rd June 2023”

Friday 2nd June 2023

JOHN 21 After a completely stressful, totally exhilarating, life-changing experience, the usual human response is to do something very ordinary.  Peter and his mates went fishing.  Unsuccessfully, as it happened! It was like the re-run of a well-viewed movie.  Jesus stood on the shore and told these experienced fishermen how to fish more effectively (well,Continue reading “Friday 2nd June 2023”

Thursday 1st June 2023

2 SAMUEL 1, 2, 3 and 4 Saul and his claims to kingship over Israel are both emphatically dead – as is his son Jonathan.  It now remains for David to claim what his previous anointing has prepared for him – kingship over all Israel.  But David was a man of patience and planning, asContinue reading “Thursday 1st June 2023”

Wednesday 31st May 2023

JOHN 20 It was fitting that the first person to meet the Lord after his resurrection was Mary Magdalene, who had shown him so much devotion previously, and who had risked arrest and death by sticking so close to him during his trials, crucifixion and at the tomb.  She arrived at the tomb at theContinue reading “Wednesday 31st May 2023”

Tuesday 30th May 2023

JOHN 19 Flogged, crucified, died, and buried.  That was the sequence of events for the Hero of so-called ‘Good Friday’!  Pilate, in his attempt to avoid this unjust execution, had one more throw of the dice: have the prisoner scourged, dress him up and humiliate him, and the crowd might just have their sympathies arousedContinue reading “Tuesday 30th May 2023”

Monday 19th May 2023

1 SAMUEL 21, 22, 23 and 24 The whole of life is a degree-course in learning to trust God.  It is not simple to do, which is why it takes a lifetime to master.  In this university of Christian Life, the examination season comes when times get very tough, when we reach the end ofContinue reading “Monday 19th May 2023”

Sunday 28th May 2023

JOHN 18 His disciples having been fully briefed and his prayers completed, Jesus crossed the steep Kidron Valley between the city walls and the Mount of Olives.  In doing so, he was retracing his route of a few days previously when he had ridden triumphantly into the city, to the cheers and acclaim of greatContinue reading “Sunday 28th May 2023”

Saturday 27th May 2023

JOHN 17 Now we are eavesdropping on a private conversation between Jesus and his Father.  The Holy Spirit – through scripture – draws back the curtain and reveals to us some of the secrets that the Old Testament kings and prophets would have given anything to learn.  Within an obvious face-to-face, person-to-person relationship, the overridingContinue reading “Saturday 27th May 2023”

Thursday 25th May 2023

JOHN 15 There are few occupations on earth that are more single-minded than that of the vine grower.  His or her only purpose in life is to produce the maximum crop of the highest quality grapes.  Nothing else is permitted to get in the way.  Everything else is sacrificed for the sake of fruit.  AContinue reading “Thursday 25th May 2023”

Wednesday 24th May 2023

JOHN 14 The longest account of Jesus’ teaching at and after the Passover meal is in John’s gospel.  Five chapters of doctrine, encouragement, warnings, and reassurance come from Jesus’ lips, and it is impossible to do justice to them all in these notes!  So I will just comment on a small selection of verses thatContinue reading “Wednesday 24th May 2023”

Tuesday 23rd May 2023

1 SAMUEL 13 and 14 Saul was an impetuous and impatient king; he had Jonathan attack a Philistine outpost in order to provoke a counterattack, so that the whole army of Israel would be forced to assemble behind Saul.  Unfortunately, he stirred up a hornets’ nest and the Philistines retaliated with their heavy weaponry.  TheContinue reading “Tuesday 23rd May 2023”

Monday 22nd May 2023

JOHN 13 John refers to the same Passover Supper events detailed in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but John completely omits all details of the meal and the bread and wine.  He focuses on Jesus the Servant King.  The lowliest servant did the foot washing – for a very good reason – and the disciples wereContinue reading “Monday 22nd May 2023”

Sunday 21st May 2023

JOHN 12 Just about everything Jesus says in this chapter is related to his death.  All four gospels have an account of a woman anointing Jesus with some kind of expensive perfume.  However, Luke 7:36-50 is clearly a quite different event from the one in this gospel and from the other two (Mt 26:6-13 andContinue reading “Sunday 21st May 2023”

Saturday 20th May 2023

1 SAMUEL 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 Today’s readings describe a key transitional period between the futility of the times of the Judges and the prosperity of Israel under Kings Saul, David, and Solomon.  God was now disposing of the ‘old guard’ represented by Eli, with his permissive attitude towards his sons and towardsContinue reading “Saturday 20th May 2023”

Friday 19th May 2023

JOHN 11 “I am the resurrection and the life.  The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die”.  (John 11:25-26).  Just about everything Jesus taught was backed up by action, and nearly all his actions were a means of teaching too.  The ‘Lazarus Incident’ (as theContinue reading “Friday 19th May 2023”

Wednesday 17th May 2023

JOHN 10 Chapter 10 continues seamlessly from chapter 9: these Pharisees are not the true shepherds of Israel – they are thieves and robbers, ruling harshly over the flock, using the sheep for their own benefit, and having no meaningful relationship with them.  Ezekiel 34 refers to the false shepherds of Israel and, in exasperation,Continue reading “Wednesday 17th May 2023”

Tuesday 16th May 2023

JOHN 9 Two huge questions were raised during this healing event.  1. Are those people who are chronically sick or disabled actually being punished for sins committed by themselves or their parents?  2. Was healing permitted on the Sabbath day?  Jesus quickly answers the first question by decoupling the connection between sin and sickness, declaringContinue reading “Tuesday 16th May 2023”

Monday 15th May 2023

JUDGES 18, 19, 20 and 21 The tribe of Dan was originally allocated (Joshua 19:40-48) an inheritance consisting of an area of land to the West of Jerusalem extending to the Mediterranean Sea, between Judah to the South and Ephraim to its North.  The native inhabitants of this land were the Amorites and the Philistines,Continue reading “Monday 15th May 2023”

Sunday 14th May 2023

JUDGES 16 and 17 “Every person has their price” – this seems to be a bit of a theme today.  Samson with his infatuation with exotic foreign women booked up a session with a prostitute in a Philistine stronghold of Gaza.  Being Samson, he wasn’t quiet about it either!  So half the population, bent onContinue reading “Sunday 14th May 2023”

Saturday 13th May 2023

JOHN 8 The account of the woman caught in adultery is interesting.  It does not feature in the oldest and most reliable manuscripts of John’s Gospel and seems logically better located just after Luke 21:38; indeed, a limited number of manuscripts do have the account appearing there in Luke.  Regardless of where it ‘should’ beContinue reading “Saturday 13th May 2023”

Friday 12th May 2023

JUDGES 13, 14, and 15 Samson, whose name means ‘Brightness’ was much-wanted baby, a spoilt teenager, and a nasty piece of work as a man.  His twin driving forces in life were a lust for beautiful women and the arrogance that comes from overwhelming physical power over men.  He indulged both those impulses to theContinue reading “Friday 12th May 2023”

Thursday 11th May 2023

JOHN 7 “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them”.  So Jesus claims in John 7:37-8.  What Scripture is he talking about?  There is no direct quotation, so I think it refers to Ezekiel 47,Continue reading “Thursday 11th May 2023”

Wednesday 10th May 2023

JUDGES 10, 11 and 12 Israel had been in the Promised Land 300 years by now and the spiritual temperature towards the Lord has fallen again.  It was G. K. Chesterton who said:  “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing, they believe in anything.” – and these Israelites were out toContinue reading “Wednesday 10th May 2023”

Saturday 6th May 2023

JUDGES 3, 4 and 5 In my opinion, Judges is the best ‘window’ into human nature in the whole Bible.  If you digest the stories and teachings of Judges, you have no grounds for asserting that human beings are essentially good and naturally god-fearing!  The human heart is no different today; most people will callContinue reading “Saturday 6th May 2023”

Wednesday 3rd May 2023

JOSHUA 22, 23 and 24 From heroes to apparent ‘zeros’ in a short space of time: the Transjordan tribes had fought bravely and unselfishly to secure the territory for their brothers west of the Jordan, leaving behind their wives and children for a total period of at least seven years.  Individuals were probably permitted periodsContinue reading “Wednesday 3rd May 2023”

Tuesday 2nd May 2023

JOHN 3 Many people imagine that Billy Graham first coined the phrase ‘Born Again’, as a powerful emotional lever to persuade people to become Christians.  Not true!  The need for all to be born again or ‘born from above’ is an imperative directly from God the Son himself.  “Truly, truly, I tell you, no oneContinue reading “Tuesday 2nd May 2023”

Monday 1st May 2023

JOHN 2 John calls miracles ‘signs’.  His gospel has the least number of miracles recorded – only eight – but he certainly chose to include the most spectacular!  They are ‘signs’ because they point towards the true nature of the Son of Man, who was and is also the Son of God.  They are theContinue reading “Monday 1st May 2023”

Sunday 30th April 2023

JOSHUA 16, 17, and 18 Judah’s allotment of land had now been sorted and it was the turn of Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph, to receive theirs next.  Some of the time they were known collectively as ‘Joseph’ still.  It is interesting that – as with Judah – there was a group ofContinue reading “Sunday 30th April 2023”

Saturday 29th April 2023

JOHN 1 If the first verses of Genesis introduce the beginning of the world, the first verses of John’s Gospel refer to a much, much earlier time!  Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God, is given the name “The Word”, which in Greek is ‘Logos’, meaning ‘Reason’.  Indeed, Jesus is the first and the lastContinue reading “Saturday 29th April 2023”

Friday 28th April 2023

JOSHUA 12, 13, 14, and 15 It is good to keep a record of your past victories.  They are a reminder of the favour and power of God in your life – and an incentive to keep going in the future when things get tough.  The list starts with the Transjordan territories, inherited by theContinue reading “Friday 28th April 2023”

Thursday 27th April 2023

LUKE 24 The Apostolic Church of the first three Centuries did not celebrate Christmas or Easter.  These modern-day festivals only came into official existence in 350 AD and 325 AD respectively.  However, the early church did better than that: they lived in the power of the Incarnation 365 days per year, and they preached theContinue reading “Thursday 27th April 2023”

Wednesday 26th April 2023

JOSHUA 9, 10 and 11 Big Mistake Number Two makes an appearance today!  Yesterday we read how Israel disobeyed the Lord by stealing some of the plunder from Jericho that was rightly all God’s.  Today, the error was more subtle but had longer-lasting consequences.  You probably remember that the Lord had commanded Israel not toContinue reading “Wednesday 26th April 2023”

Tuesday 25th April 2023

LUKE 23 Jesus, having declared himself to be the Messiah, the Son of God, had provided more evidence of blasphemy to the ‘salivating’ Sanhedrin than they could have hoped for in their wildest dreams!  The man actually said that he was God!  The big problem with their trial, and with their definition of blasphemy, was: Continue reading “Tuesday 25th April 2023”

Monday 24th April 2023

LUKE 22 In all three other gospels, we have the account of Jesus being anointed by Mary of Bethany, as Jesus reclined at table.  In Luke, there is no such story.  This is because a similar-sounding, but completely different, account in Luke 7:36-50 took place much earlier in Jesus’ ministry and was located in theContinue reading “Monday 24th April 2023”

Sunday 23rd April 2023

JOSHUA 1, 2, 3 and 4 In our Old Testament reading, we are beginning a new Book: Joshua.  From an action point of view, it largely continues the stories in Numbers; from a teaching point of view, it expands on Deuteronomy.  Most conservative scholars regard Joshua, servant of Moses, as the main author of mostContinue reading “Sunday 23rd April 2023”

Saturday 22nd April 2023

LUKE 21 By 18th January 2013, Bill Gates and his wife had already given away at least 28 billion dollars of their fortune to charitable work worldwide; they intend to give away at least 95 percent of all their money eventually. Warren Buffett, currently the richest man in the world, has pledged to giveContinue reading “Saturday 22nd April 2023”

Friday 21st April 2023

DEUTERONOMY 32, 33 and 34 If you wrote and released a song along the lines of the Song of Moses – Deuteronomy 32 – it would be a commercial failure; this is mainly since it spends most of its verses rebuking its target listeners and telling them “I told you so”!  But it is aContinue reading “Friday 21st April 2023”

Thursday 20th April 2023

LUKE 20 “Trick or Treat?”  “We are going to ask you an impossible question and, if you give the wrong answer, something bad might happen to you!”  In today’s reading, Jesus’ opponents take it in turns to attempt to catch him out by asking him to ‘clarify’ what he believes.  It turns out that, ledContinue reading “Thursday 20th April 2023”

Wednesday 19th April 2023

DEUTERONOMY 30 and 31 the Lord immediately reveals what will become of Israel: they will in fact inherit both the blessings and the curses; for a time they will obey the Lord and be blessed in every way, and then they will rebel as an entire nation and be cursed and dispersed.  In chapter 30Continue reading “Wednesday 19th April 2023”

Tuesday 18th April 2023

LUKE 19 Four stories, including one parable, that all feature a king arriving unexpectedly to groups of people: Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector had a major advantage in life: he was very rich; and a major disadvantage: he was very small.  He chose to do the Romans’ dirty work for them – for a fee,Continue reading “Tuesday 18th April 2023”

Monday 17th April 2023

LUKE 18 Prayer features a great deal in Luke’s gospel.  Today, in a series of parables or encounters, Jesus tells us what a disciple’s attitude and behaviour towards God should be like.  First, the parable of the ‘Persistent Widow’:  Always pray and don’t give up!  Perseverance even works in a selfish human situation, so itContinue reading “Monday 17th April 2023”

Sunday 16th April 2023

DEUTERONOMY 24, 25, 26 and 27 The subject of legitimate divorce was as live a topic in Jesus’ day as the question of legitimate marriage is in ours.  Two ‘schools’ of rabbis – Shammai and Hillel – disputed whether a man could divorce his wife for ‘any and every reason’ or whether it was onlyContinue reading “Sunday 16th April 2023”

Saturday 15th April 2023

LUKE 17 Today’s reading starts with an interesting look at ‘forgiveness’.  Do you always have to forgive someone?  What does that forgiveness look like in practice?  What about people who harm you, but then you never meet them again?  Does the process work exactly the same between God and us?  I think that the answerContinue reading “Saturday 15th April 2023”

Friday 14th April 2023

LUKE 16 It is surprising how often the topic of money comes up in the gospels.  Most times it is Jesus himself who raises it.  In this chapter – unique within the four gospels – he illustrates how cleverly some of the people of this world deal with money, to gain wealth, power, and fame. Continue reading “Friday 14th April 2023”

Thursday 13th April 2023

LUKE 15 A unique chapter – not found anywhere else in the gospels – and focussed on ‘Mission’ and ‘Redemption’!  It consists of three simple fictional stories crafted to illustrate Jesus’ response to the Pharisees’ allegation: “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (v2).  The ‘Lost Sheep’ (singular) implies safety in the flock (whereverContinue reading “Thursday 13th April 2023”

Tuesday 11th April 2023

DEUTERONOMY 14, 15 and 16 Food, Finance and Festivals – these three topics largely make up today’s readings.  The food laws have been referred to previously and more or less boil down to Israelites only being able to eat vegetarian creatures and not carnivores (but that is only approximate).  A reminder, too, from Mark 17:19Continue reading “Tuesday 11th April 2023”

Monday 10th April 2023

LUKE 13 How do we react to human disasters?  Are they a punishment from God for rebellious, irresponsible behaviour – or are they a kind of random consequence of living in a ‘broken’, fallen world?  Whilst accepting that ‘randomness’ is nothing more than a human confession of ignorance, and that true randomness is impossible forContinue reading “Monday 10th April 2023”

Sunday 9th April 2023

DEUTERONOMY 11, 12 and 13 The search for the source of the Nile is a topic that has fuelled both fact and fiction.  The reason is that the Nile is vitally important to Egypt’s irrigation and agriculture.  Farmers had a type of foot-powered water pump that lifted water from the Nile itself into their ownContinue reading “Sunday 9th April 2023”

Saturday 8th April 2023

LUKE 12 If Luke 11 was about Jesus training his disciples in prayer, then today’s is about ‘Fear’!  “Fear Him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear him”.  (v5)  The ‘Him’ is referring to God himself, and the message is that he isContinue reading “Saturday 8th April 2023”

Friday 7th April 2023

DEUTERONOMY 5, 6 and 7 Growing up in a God-fearing, Bible-believing home does have its drawbacks.  It is tempting to think that all the real action happened between your parents and the Lord, before you were born, and that you are just a kind of afterthought or add-on to your parents’ blessings.  The Children ofContinue reading “Friday 7th April 2023”

Thursday 6th April 2023

LUKE 11 In my opinion, this is not really the “Lord’s Prayer” (that one is found in John 17).  This would better be titled “The Disciples’ Prayer”, as it was designed by Jesus for his disciples.  An almost identical version is found in Matthew 6:9-13, as part of the Sermon on the Mount.  Personally, IContinue reading “Thursday 6th April 2023”

Wednesday 5th April 2023

DEUTERONOMY 3 and 4 Moses continues to remind the Children of Israel that God had then given them a great victory over the other Amorite king, Og, who ruled over the northern end of the Transjordan region, up as far as Mount Herman in what is today the Golan Heights.  Og was the smallest possibleContinue reading “Wednesday 5th April 2023”

Tuesday 4th April 2023

LUKE 10 In Luke 9, Jesus sent out the ‘Twelve’ apostles in a mission to proclaim the gospel exclusively to the Galilean Jews.  In today’s reading, he sends out ‘Seventy-Two’ (or Seventy) others to cover a wider territory, that included Samaritans and Gentiles.  Significantly, the ‘Table of Nations’ in Genesis 10 has 72 names inContinue reading “Tuesday 4th April 2023”

Monday 3rd April 2023

NUMBERS 35 and 36 “Simeon and Levi are brothers—their swords are weapons of violence.  Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.  Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel!  I will scatter themContinue reading “Monday 3rd April 2023”

Sunday 2nd April 2023

NUMBERS 33 and 34 Moses is commanded by the Lord to itemise the stages in the journey that they have taken from the Exodus to the Promised Land.  There are exactly 40 stages mentioned, which probably has symbolic significance – 40 symbolises a ‘generation’ and, of course, an entire generation perished in the desert onContinue reading “Sunday 2nd April 2023”

Saturday 1st April 2023

LUKE 9 In Stage One of discipleship (yesterday: Luke 8), Jesus took his apostles along with him to watch him at work in the towns and villages of the Galilee region.  Today we see Stage Two, when Jesus sends these same men, under his own power and authority, to dispatch demons and heal diseases, whilstContinue reading “Saturday 1st April 2023”

Friday 31st March 2023

NUMBERS 28, 29 and 30 Let’s look first at a fascinating chapter in today’s reading – Numbers 30.  In my bible it is entitled ‘Vows’, but the real meaning should be ‘Authority’, since that is what it is all about.  And the implications are huge, for those people and for us.  It begins with aContinue reading “Friday 31st March 2023”

Thursday 30th March 2023

LUKE 8 We now take a closer look at Jesus’ methods of mission and discipleship.  Having been rejected by the people he grew up with in his hometown of Nazareth, he based himself at Capernaum on the shore of Lake Galilee, where he preached, taught, and healed extensively, both within the synagogues and in theContinue reading “Thursday 30th March 2023”

Wednesday 29th March 2023

NUMBERS 26 and 27 The focus shifts back to the Old Testament: Israel was told by The Lord to organise another census, following the one that occurred 38 years previously.  There were two main reasons for this:  (a) to demonstrate to all parties that every one of those Israelites previously 20 years old or olderContinue reading “Wednesday 29th March 2023”

Tuesday 28th March 2023

NUMBERS 23, 24 and 25 You would imagine that a man who was really a false prophet, a fraud and a mercenary would be put off his mission by being rebuked by his donkey and nearly killed by the Angel of the Lord.  He certainly offered to turn around – since he was scared forContinue reading “Tuesday 28th March 2023”

Monday 27th March 2023

LUKE 7 In this episode, an honest fighting man, in charge of up to one hundred men, seems to grasp the ways of God more quickly than some of God’s own people!  Whereas they approach Jesus and ask him to help the centurion on the grounds that “…he has built our synagogue” (v5), he realisesContinue reading “Monday 27th March 2023”

Sunday 26th March 2023

LUKE 6 With the previous thought of ‘new wineskins’ still an echo in our minds, the first real test of this comes in the form of ‘The Sabbath’.  What happens when the ‘wave’ of new life rolls onto the ‘rock’ of Jewish tradition?  Surprisingly, the rock is shattered!  Jesus ‘harvested’ grain on the Sabbath andContinue reading “Sunday 26th March 2023”

Saturday 25th March 2023

NUMBERS 19, 20 and 21 The water of cleansing in Numbers 19 was unusual.  The animal killed was not sacrificed, but slaughtered outside the camp, rather than at the altar.  It was a female, not a bull, and every part of it was burnt, including the blood and the offal.  It was only needed toContinue reading “Saturday 25th March 2023”

Friday 24th March 2023

NUMBERS 17 and 18 As a final demonstration of power, in support of Moses’ and Aaron’s authority, the Lord turned Aaron’s dead staff into a living tree, producing fruit.  Ultimately, true leadership in God’s church is confirmed by its fruitfulness and effectiveness in producing growth.  Whether you are in new covenant leadership, or one ofContinue reading “Friday 24th March 2023”

Thursday 23rd March 2023

LUKE 5 A complete stranger appears at your place of work, performs a very impressive miracle, and then asks you to leave your job, your possessions, and your family – and to follow him wherever he goes.  Is that plausible?  Is it likely?  Is it even a wise course of action? Those of us whoContinue reading “Thursday 23rd March 2023”

Wednesday 22nd March 2023

NUMBERS 14 Democracy only takes you so far!  Many times it actually holds you back.  The problem that Moses created by choosing a representative from each tribe to explore the land was that when ten of them rejected the will of God, all their tribal relatives ‘voted’ with them and that meant that most ofContinue reading “Wednesday 22nd March 2023”

Sunday 19th March 2023

NUMBERS 8, 9 and 10 The Holy of Holies (or ‘Most Holy Place’) had no man-made light in it.  On the one hand, it wasn’t necessary, since no human was allowed in there; on the other hand, the glory of God filled that tent, since the Light of the World was resident between the CherubimContinue reading “Sunday 19th March 2023”

Saturday 18th March 2023

NUMBERS 7 Well, now I know where they got the idea for “The Twelve Days of Christmas”!  Numbers 7 is the longest chapter in the Pentateuch (89 verses) and it benefits hugely from the copy-and-paste facilities that a word processor provides.  Twelve representatives of the twelve tribes each bring an offering on one of twelveContinue reading “Saturday 18th March 2023”

Thursday 16th March 2023

NUMBERS 5 and 6 The Bible is the most misunderstood book in the world.  It must be – or else everyone would by now be a Christian!  And one of the classic examples of misunderstanding is found in Numbers 5: ‘The Test for the Unfaithful Wife’.  Most modern-thinkers will read it and conclude that thisContinue reading “Thursday 16th March 2023”

Wednesday 15th March 2023

NUMBERS 3 and 4 Every powerful and effective community needs a group of people who are committed full-time to the service and work of that community.  They cannot have normal ‘day jobs’ and cannot have the distractions of ownership that others are permitted.  In the church there are full-time leaders, administrators, and gift ministries; inContinue reading “Wednesday 15th March 2023”

Monday 13th March 2023 – Part 2

LEVITICUS 26 and 27 If you were a gambler, living at the time that Leviticus 26 was written, and you wanted to place a substantial wager on whether or not Israel would obey the Lord and keep his covenant or disobey him and rebel… you might want to count up the number of verses promisingContinue reading “Monday 13th March 2023 – Part 2”

Monday 13th March 2023

LUKE 1 “…since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught” (vv3-4). The ‘Good News’ must be accurate and historically truthful in order to be believable and life-transforming.  We areContinue reading “Monday 13th March 2023”

Sunday 12th March 2023

MARK 16 (“The Amazing Jesus”) Possibly the most studied chapter in the New Testament – but not for the reasons you might expect!  When theologians are chatting over their pre-dinner drinks, the conversation may drift to “What do you think about the ending of Mark’s gospel, then?”.  All reliable manuscripts have verses 1 to 8,Continue reading “Sunday 12th March 2023”

Saturday 11th March 2023

LEVITICUS 24 and 25 Olive oil is very good for you – as evidenced by the fact that the Lord was also keen on it for twelve hours a day!  The command to Aaron was to keep the lamps burning continually during the hours of darkness in front of the Ark in the tabernacle.  TheContinue reading “Saturday 11th March 2023”

Friday 10th March 2023

MARK 15 Matthew 27 and Mark 15 are almost identical, but with certain significant differences.  I have already given a complete run-down of the Matthew chapter, so I will not repeat myself here.  Matthew contains extra material of mainly Jewish interest:  Marks’ account is relatively short, sharp, and to the point.  He doesn’t waste hisContinue reading “Friday 10th March 2023”

Thursday 9th March 2023

LEVITICUS 19 and 20 Some of the things I write today may shock you, offend you or cause you to examine your own lifestyle.  Let me first say that my aim is to attempt to explain and interpret what the Word of God says and not to give my own opinion, which is really irrelevantContinue reading “Thursday 9th March 2023”

Wednesday 8th March 2023

MARK 14 The crucifixion and resurrection events were now rushing rapidly towards them all, and his disciples were struggling to ‘keep up’ emotionally and psychologically.  First the scene shifts to the peaceful home at Bethany (whose Hebrew name means ‘house of figs’), the same village where Lazarus, Martha and Mary lived.  John 12 tells usContinue reading “Wednesday 8th March 2023”

Tuesday 7th March 2023

LEVITICUS 14 and 15 Yesterday’s readings talked about the diagnosis of infectious skin diseases and their treatment.  Today follows on to outline the purification rites when the individual was declared ‘clean’ again.  There were regulations for cleansing in the first week – outside the camp; and regulations for cleansing in the second week – insideContinue reading “Tuesday 7th March 2023”

Sunday 5th March 2023

LEVITICUS 11, 12 and 13 “You are what you eat” – as the saying goes!  It was very important that an itinerant nation of 2 ½ million people, travelling through an inhospitable desert full of strange animals, knew what to eat.  Once in the Promised Land, there would be many creatures that might constitute aContinue reading “Sunday 5th March 2023”

Saturday 4th March 2023

MARK 12 Jesus spoke a parable to the Jews about themselves: a vineyard owner rented the land to tenants who were expected to look after the place and to give the landlord a significant percentage of the ripe fruit.  These tenants, however, were evil and had no intention of paying their rent; instead, they attacked,Continue reading “Saturday 4th March 2023”

Friday 3rd March 2023

LEVITICUS 8, 9, and 10 Before you can be forgiven, the priest needs to be acceptable to God.  Why?  Because the priest stands between mankind and God and mediates between them – he connects the two parties and re-joins what has been divided.  In similar fashion, Jesus (see Hebrews 7:26-28) was appointed the perfect HighContinue reading “Friday 3rd March 2023”

Thursday 2nd March 2023

MARK 11 Today, Jesus does something blatantly Messianic, possibly in an attempt to provoke the Jewish leadership finally into action: he borrows a young donkey, along with its mother, and rides it into Jerusalem.  To do this in such a way was an expression of royalty and a fulfilment of Zechariah 9:9. The Jews couldContinue reading “Thursday 2nd March 2023”

Wednesday 1st March 2023

LEVITICUS 5, 6 and 7 Having dealt with the five offerings from the giver’s point of view, Leviticus then looks again from the perspective of the priest receiving the offering on behalf of God.   The Burnt Offering was obviously burnt whole – minus the skin in the case of a bull, which the priest couldContinue reading “Wednesday 1st March 2023”

Tuesday 28th February 2023

MARK 10 The first part of this chapter contains exactly the same material – with just one exception – that is found in Matthew 19.  Therefore, I will repeat the comments that I made previously… It’s a funny thing that in First Century Judea the hot topic was ‘Divorce’, when today it is ‘Marriage’!  TheContinue reading “Tuesday 28th February 2023”

Monday 27th February 2023

LEVITICUS 1, 2, and 3 If you were a worship leader in the Old Covenant ‘church’, then you were in for a very messy time indeed!  (And to think that we sometimes call it ‘Messy Church’ now!)  Worship was seen primarily as sacrifice of some animal from the flock or the herd and was doneContinue reading “Monday 27th February 2023”

Sunday 26th February 2023

MARK 9 If you offered law-abiding Jews the chance to meet Moses, Elijah, and the Messiah together, and to listen to their conversations – you’d sell a lot of tickets!  Today’s readings describe this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, received gratefully and for free by Peter, James, and John.  Mark 9 begins with an obscure comment by Jesus:Continue reading “Sunday 26th February 2023”

Saturday 25th February 2023

EXODUS 37 and 38 Every great construction project needs a brilliant architect, a skilled master builder, numerous other craftsmen, a willing labour force prepared to work hard, and a suitable supply of high-quality materials.  The Tabernacle project has it all: God the architect, Bezalel the master builder, Oholiab and other unnamed men and women wereContinue reading “Saturday 25th February 2023”

Friday 24th February 2023

MARK 8 The Feeding of the Four Thousand only features in Matthew’s and Mark’s gospels – leading some commentators to suggest that it was a copyist’s mistaken duplication.  However, in Mark 8:19-20, Jesus mentions both occasions in the same sentence, and makes comparisons between them.  What strikes me are two things:  (a) The disciples wereContinue reading “Friday 24th February 2023”

Thursday 23rd February 2023

MARK 7 It appears that Jesus turns his criticism onto dyed-in-the-wool religious traditionalists who refuse to move with the times.  Smugly, perhaps, we think of churches and denominations to which we would like to send our copy of Mark 7 with copious highlighting.  But Jesus wasn’t talking about these people at all!  The practice ofContinue reading “Thursday 23rd February 2023”

Wednesday 22nd February 2023

EXODUS 31 and 32 Aaron comes across as a bit of a wimp!  He was naturally a man-pleaser who was apparently desperate to be liked and would push his own convictions to one side to avoid rejection or unpopularity.  He had been left in charge for 40 days and the natives were getting restless!  “MakeContinue reading “Wednesday 22nd February 2023”

Tuesday 21st February 2023

MARK 6 We are hard-wired only to accept an expert if he or she is from somewhere distant, has a mysterious history, and is slightly aloof.  If he comes from our hometown, his family is well known, we remember his childhood ‘scrapes’ and he openly shares his life with us – then he has noContinue reading “Tuesday 21st February 2023”

Monday 20th February 2023

MARK 5 If he had lived today, he would simply have been ‘sectioned’ as insane.  He spoke in a multitude of different voices and claimed that Jesus was torturing him – clearly some kind of religious mania?  He seriously self-harmed and spent nights without sleep, wandering around graveyards and howling in despair.  But we knowContinue reading “Monday 20th February 2023”

Sunday 19th February 2023

MARK 4 The Parable of the Sower is more logically the parable of the soil – since that is what really makes the difference here.  The seed, or the living word of God, is sown into all kinds of soil – just like a First Century farmer would do accidently.  Some of this soil hasContinue reading “Sunday 19th February 2023”

Saturday 18th February 2023

MARK 3 If you have ever visited a great and beautiful building and arrived to see it under repair and covered in temporary scaffolding, you will have had that feeling of ‘let-down’, of second best.  The same is true of the Christian gospel when legalism has been allowed to wrap itself around it – andContinue reading “Saturday 18th February 2023”

Friday 17th February 2023

MARK 2 The front page of the Rome tabloids contains the following action scenes from the life of Jesus: Scene 1:  They gathered to hear Jesus teach in Peter’s home in Capernaum and the place was very crowded.  Four guys carried their paralysed friend onto the top floor and dug through the mud roof inContinue reading “Friday 17th February 2023”

Thursday 16th February 2023

EXODUS 17, 18, 19, and 20 In a desert, water is even more important than food, and cannot be stored as easily either.  Learning nothing from the ‘manna’ experience, they grumbled again against Moses, and by extension, against the Lord.  The solution was quick, simple, and miraculous: hit a rock with your staff and outContinue reading “Thursday 16th February 2023”

Wednesday 15th February 2023

MARK 1 If Luke’s gospel is like the Daily Telegraph, then Mark’s is closer to the Daily Mail, the Mirror, or the Express (or maybe the Son!!!).  It is written in a much racier, action-packed style, with short ‘scenes’ changing more rapidly than camera shots on a modern dance video.  In Mark, actions generally speakContinue reading “Wednesday 15th February 2023”

Tuesday 14th February 2023

MATTHEW 28 The Resurrection!  If you asked four eyewitnesses to describe truthfully the same event, it would probably surprise you how different their stories were from one another.  The same is true of the Resurrection accounts of the four gospel writers.  Consult a ‘harmony of gospels’ and see these accounts when laid out side byContinue reading “Tuesday 14th February 2023”

Monday 13th February 2023

EXODUS 13 and 14 “Out of Egypt have I called my son” – said the Lord (Hosea 11:1;  Matthew 2:15).  Israel was God’s adopted son, his Firstborn (Exodus 4:22), and when Pharaoh continued to hold that ‘son’ captive, the Lord punished him by putting the firstborn of Egypt to death, rescuing Israel in the process. Continue reading “Monday 13th February 2023”

Sunday 12th February 2023

MATTHEW 27 “The Crucifixion”: the plot by the Jewish authorities to have Jesus killed was very difficult to organize and almost impossible to plan much in advance.  Jesus was enormously popular with the masses and the religious people were not.  Also, the Jews had no jurisdiction over the death penalty in an occupied Roman territory. Continue reading “Sunday 12th February 2023”

Saturday 11th February 2023

EXODUS 9 and 10 Locusts are a pest!  A large swarm that might cover a square kilometre would devour 100,000 tons of vegetation in a single night!  Unsurprisingly they were seen as a sign of divine judgment.  When Moses conveyed God’s threat, Pharaoh’s officials advised playing safe and giving in to the Hebrews’ demands.  ToContinue reading “Saturday 11th February 2023”

Friday 10th February 2023

EXODUS 6, 7 and 8 Egypt became a battleground between Pharaoh, his magicians, his officials, and the false gods of the land – against the Lord, Moses and Aaron.  The outcome was never in doubt!  Ten plagues of increasing severity were unleashed against the stubborn Egyptians, with God demonstrating his power and control over hisContinue reading “Friday 10th February 2023”

Thursday 9th February 2023

MATTHEW 26 Like a ski jumper heading for the great leap into the unknown, Jesus was now accelerating towards his crucifixion and resurrection, and his disciples were struggling to ‘keep up’.  In Matthew 26:2, he states, almost matter-of-factly, that in two days he will be arrested and crucified.  But first the scene shifts to theContinue reading “Thursday 9th February 2023”

Wednesday 8th February 2023

EXODUS 1, 2, and 3 Some people never show gratitude, no matter how much blessing they receive.  The same applies to some nations.  Egypt had been rescued from starvation and annihilation by Joseph and his Israelite family – but national memories are short, and soon Israel was seen as a threat to them, in ratherContinue reading “Wednesday 8th February 2023”

Tuesday 7th February 2023

MATTHEW 25 “The Sheep and the Goats” – that fearsome piece of teaching from Jesus in Matthew 25 – what is it really about?  Many would say that it is a judgment by God based on how many good works a person has done in his/her life, and how loving and caring they have beenContinue reading “Tuesday 7th February 2023”

Monday 6th February 2023

JOB 38 and 39 Finally, in the last five chapters of Job, God himself takes centre stage!  He ‘appears’ concealed within a vast storm cloud and his voice probably carries more fear and awe than all that thunder and lightning!  The concealment of God’s full glory and presence within the cloud was perhaps for twoContinue reading “Monday 6th February 2023”

Sunday 5th February 2023

MATTHEW 24 This chapter is extremely similar to Mark 13 – which is not really surprising, since it describes the same speaker on the same topic!  It is certainly possible that both the gospel writers derived material from a common source, or else one writer began with the other’s gospel in front of him.  BothContinue reading “Sunday 5th February 2023”

Saturday 4th February 2023

MATTHEW 23 “You snakes!  You brood of vipers!  How will you escape being condemned to Hell?”  That was Jesus describing the most committed religious leaders of his day with their fasting, their tithing, their memorizing of the scriptures, and their devotion to God.  It goes to prove that sometimes your religious observances can be soContinue reading “Saturday 4th February 2023”

Friday 3rd February 2023

JOB 32, 33 and 34 Today, a new character appears on the scene: Elihu, whose name means ‘He is my God’.  A man is never going to be half-hearted with a name like that!  Having waited for his elders to exhaust their arguments with Job, he now takes the opportunity to launch his own defenceContinue reading “Friday 3rd February 2023”

Thursday 2nd February 2023

MATTHEW 22 Telling pointed parables about your opponents is a guaranteed way of offending them and of stirring up a hornets’ nest of retaliation.  Yet Jesus did not shrink from causing offence where the truth was concerned.  The chapter today is similar to Mark 12, but with a couple of differences in content.  The ‘pointedContinue reading “Thursday 2nd February 2023”

Wednesday 1st February 2023

MATTHEW 21 Lots of exciting goings-on today in what seems to be one of those real-time 24-hour micro-documentaries of Jesus’ life.  It began at a village just outside Jerusalem called ‘House of Figs’ (Bethphage).  Nearby was also the village of Bethany – meaning ‘House of Affliction’ or ‘Poor House’ – where Jesus lodged during theContinue reading “Wednesday 1st February 2023”

Tuesday 31st January 2023

JOB 19, 20 and 21 Job’s words to his so-called friends are perhaps the most interesting and engaging of all the sections of this amazing book.  In the shock of hearing the terrible news about his children’s demise, he declares resolutely that the Lord is sovereign and good, and that His will is absolute (1:20-21; Continue reading “Tuesday 31st January 2023”

Monday 30th January 2023

MATTHEW 20 Jesus ends the previous chapter of Matthew with the rather cryptic statement: “…But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first”.  He then proceeds to illustrate this with the most infuriating parable in all the gospels (well, in the opinion of some people, anyway): ‘The WorkersContinue reading “Monday 30th January 2023”

Sunday 29th January 2023

JOB 11, 12, 13 and 14 Many years ago, I was rather careless with my iPad; I allowed some heavy object to fall on it and later discovered that the glass was cracked!!!  After that, most of the time it worked brilliantly, but every so often it went completely wild and irrational.  More about thisContinue reading “Sunday 29th January 2023”

Saturday 28th January 2023

MATTHEW 19 It’s a funny thing that in First Century Judea the hot topic was ‘Divorce’, when today it is ‘Marriage’!  The Pharisees were engaged in debate about whether a person could legitimately get divorced for just about any reason, or only in the case of sexual immorality by one of the parties.  This wasContinue reading “Saturday 28th January 2023”

Friday 27th January 2023

JOB 4, 5, 6 and 7 Let’s ask the question again: “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”  No-one in the Book of Job fully answers this one, but chapters 1, 2, and 42 do introduce an important purpose:  to demonstrate that true believers in a Living God can be faithfulContinue reading “Friday 27th January 2023”

Thursday 26th January 2023

MATTHEW 18 After the Transfiguration, the rest of Matthew 17 continues with some examples of the power of faith.  Yet again, Jesus has cause to rebuke his disciples for failing to put into practice the teachings he has given them – rather than obeying him and trusting him for the power. True faith – theContinue reading “Thursday 26th January 2023”

Wednesday 25th January 2023

GENESIS 49 and 50 In Ch. 49, Jacob called all his sons to his deathbed and prophesied a blessing over them one by one.  The ‘blessings’ are mixed, showing God’s justice for a mis-spent life in some cases.  For example: Reuben had effectively forfeited his right of the firstborn, many years previously, by sleeping withContinue reading “Wednesday 25th January 2023”

Tuesday 24th January 2023

MATTHEW 17 The final verse of chapter 16 is said almost as an afterthought: “Truly, I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom” (16:28).  What did it mean?  Perhaps we should ask Peter again!  In his second letter he says:Continue reading “Tuesday 24th January 2023”

Monday 23rd January 2023

MATTHEW 16 “Who do the people say that the Son of Man is?” – asked Jesus to his disciples.  They took it in turns to list the different ideas that the crowds held about him:  John the Baptist, perhaps, or Elijah (nearly the same thing), or perhaps a reincarnation of Jeremiah or one of theContinue reading “Monday 23rd January 2023”

Sunday 22nd January 2023

GENESIS 43 and 44 We are in a stand-off situation.  Jacob refuses to risk letting Benjamin travel to Egypt and so they cannot obtain food from Egypt to survive a famine in which Benjamin would otherwise certainly die, along with the whole family.  Who blinks first?  Jacob!  Judah takes total responsibility for Benjamin’s safety and,Continue reading “Sunday 22nd January 2023”

Saturday 21st January 2023

MATTHEW 15 Watch out for hypocrisy!  God hates it!  “These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules” (Isaiah 29:130).  The longer a faith becomes entrenched within a society, the more it seems that an outward observation is allContinue reading “Saturday 21st January 2023”

Friday 20th January 2023

MATTHEW 14 Today we have a flashback, a miracle of catering and an apparent pause in the laws of physics.  The flashback was triggered by King Herod’s comments about Jesus: “It is obviously John the Baptist, risen from the dead doing these miracles” (v2).   Herod wanted to believe this because of the enormous weight ofContinue reading “Friday 20th January 2023”

Thursday 19th January 2023

GENESIS 38 and 39 Jacob’s problems continue today when his son Judah moves away from the family, falls into bad company and then marries a Canaanite woman, with whom he has three sons.  This episode probably occurred whilst Joseph was in captivity in Egypt, and the bible contrasts Joseph’s moral integrity with Judah’s distinct lackContinue reading “Thursday 19th January 2023”

Wednesday 18th January 2023

MATTHEW 13 What kind of soil are you?  Jesus told the famous parable of the Sower – which should really have been “The Parable of the Soil”, since that is what made all the difference.  The destiny of the four sets of seeds was:  (1) No root and no shoot;  (2) no root but plentyContinue reading “Wednesday 18th January 2023”

Tuesday 17th January 2023

GENESIS 34 and 35 As the old saying goes: ‘Insanity is hereditary – you get it from your kids!’  Certainly, the things our children get up to are often very stressful and, in Jacob’s time, it was exactly the same.  Having twelve sons and a daughter would have stretched parental wisdom to its limits, notContinue reading “Tuesday 17th January 2023”

Monday 16th January 2023

GENESIS 32 and 33 ‘Out of the frying pan and into the fire’, so Jacob must have been thinking after saying relieved ‘goodbyes’ to his father-in-law and now about to face an irate brother!  Just then he was met by a large number of God’s angels, the same ones he had seen in that dreamContinue reading “Monday 16th January 2023”

Sunday 15th January 2023

MATTHEW 12 In the Ten Commandments, the Sabbath was essentially a social safeguard against enforced over-working; it was clearly designed to ensure that the weakest and most powerless, in particular, found rest for at least one day a week.  It is strange that, today, we almost mock it as an anachronism.  It is possibly moreContinue reading “Sunday 15th January 2023”

Saturday 14th January 2023

MATTHEW 11 (Part 2) The pinnacle of this great chapter is the verse: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  ForContinue reading “Saturday 14th January 2023”

Friday 13th January 2023

MATTHEW 11 (Part 1) Early in this chapter, Matthew deals with the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus, showing conclusively that John’s ministry was destined to diminish and Jesus’ ministry to expand.  John had sent his own disciples to check with Jesus that he was indeed the one that John had been signposting IsraelContinue reading “Friday 13th January 2023”

Thursday 12th January 2023

MATTHEW 10 Discipleship means watching, then doing – learning, then acting on that knowledge.  Jesus called his twelve main disciples and gave them genuine supernatural power to heal the sick and release people from demonic powers.  He himself had been demonstrating those powers already, and now it was time for his disciples to demonstrate themContinue reading “Thursday 12th January 2023”

Wednesday 11th January 2023

MATTHEW 9 Try this little test.  Say “Your sins are forgiven” and then “Get up and walk” (to a paralysed man).  Which was easier to say?  Well, both have four words in the sentence and are probably equally easy to say.  But, for ordinary men or women, both are equally impossible to do.  I thinkContinue reading “Wednesday 11th January 2023”

Tuesday 10th January 2023

GENESIS 21, 22, and 23 Today’s reading is all about Births, Deaths, and Marriages!  And about faith and failure too.  At the end of yesterday’s readings (Genesis 21) Abraham, out of fear, repeated the same lie about his wife (not being his wife) that he had made previously to Pharaoh (Ch. 12); again, amazingly GodContinue reading “Tuesday 10th January 2023”

Monday 9th January 2023

MATTHEW 8 All in a day’s work, it would seem!  Everything in a frenetic Chapter 8 seems to have occurred within 24 hours.  First a leper demonstrated the faith to ask for healing: “If you are willing, you can make me clean” (v2).  That is all that is needed for healing to happen: faith thatContinue reading “Monday 9th January 2023”

Sunday 8th January 2023

MATTHEW 7 Jesus was especially against hypocrisy.  He hated outward righteousness blended with inward corruption.  He was particularly offended by those who criticised others whilst doing even worse things themselves.  The hyperbole of attempting to remove a speck from someone else’s eye, whilst having a ‘plank’ in your own, was a case in point.  WeContinue reading “Sunday 8th January 2023”

Saturday 7th January 2023

MATTHEW 6 It is the curse of short-termism!  It is a sign of immaturity…  The need to have it all now!  We see it every day: the credit card that ‘takes the waiting out of wanting’; the relationship where instant sexual gratification is a necessity.  The political bribery that promises ‘jam today’, regardless of theContinue reading “Saturday 7th January 2023”

Friday 6th January 2023

GENESIS 11, 12, and 13 Abraham:  The Man of Faith and the Friend of God.  It is hard to overstate the importance of Abraham to the purposes of God in his redemption of mankind.  Missing out on the next few days’ bible readings will be a major setback in your understanding of the entire OldContinue reading “Friday 6th January 2023”

Thursday 5th January 2023

MATTHEW 5 Moses climbed up the mountainside and sat while God dictated the Ten Commandments and the law to him, for the benefit of his people.  Here in Matthew, the author is portraying Jesus as the Great King, giving his own teaching to those listening on the mountainside of Galilee.  “The Sermon on the Mount”Continue reading “Thursday 5th January 2023”

Wednesday 4th January 2023

MATTHEW 4 These days, after a baptism, everyone usually sits down to a relaxing celebratory meal with friends and family.  Not so for Jesus!  The very next thing was that the Spirit of God ‘drove him’ into the Judean wilderness to be tested or tempted by the devil.  ‘Devil’ (from the Greek) or ‘Satan’ (fromContinue reading “Wednesday 4th January 2023”

Tuesday 3rd January 2023

MATTHEW 3 John the Baptist represents the ‘tipping point’ between Old and New Covenants.  He was the final Old Covenant prophet, whose job was to ‘close’ that covenant and open the new one, by introducing the Messiah.  In a sense, his whole ministry was an outworking of Jeremiah Chapter 31.  For further explanation about John’sContinue reading “Tuesday 3rd January 2023”

Monday 2nd January 2023

MATTHEW 2 He was the Saddam Hussein of Judea, ruling by appointment of the Roman Senate from 37–4 BC.  He wasn’t even a Jew!  King Herod the Great was a byword for ruthlessness, warming up for his slaughter of the Bethlehem Under-Two’s by murdering his wife, three sons, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, uncle and quite a fewContinue reading “Monday 2nd January 2023”

Sunday 1st January 2023

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE! MATTHEW 1 We begin the first gospel of the New Testament.  Matthew is many people’s favourite gospel.  It is wonderfully poetic and beautifully structured.  It quotes the Old Testament more than any other gospel.  Its job is to prove to all Jews that Jesus really is their long-awaited Messiah.  It hasContinue reading “Sunday 1st January 2023”

Read ‘THE BIG PICTURE’ in 2023

To all current subscribers: I hope you are enjoying / benefitting from the Biblica bible reading plan and the ‘Big Picture’ notes. Unless your memory is world-class, we all need to be constantly reading the Bible (ideally daily). So would encourage you all to stick with us for 2023. In addition, if you know ofContinue reading “Read ‘THE BIG PICTURE’ in 2023”

Saturday 31st December 2022

REVELATION 22 Every great city has a great river that sustains all life within it.  The New Jerusalem is no exception.  Just as the Garden of Eden had rivers flowing through it, so the New Jerusalem has “the river of the water of life” proceeding from its source, the throne of God and of theContinue reading “Saturday 31st December 2022”

Friday 30th December 2022

REVELATION 21 “Then I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  AndContinue reading “Friday 30th December 2022”

Thursday 29th December 2022

REVELATION 20 The great story begins all over again, starting with Christ’s First Coming to earth and ending with his Second.  But the emphasis is very different this time.  Each of the seven ‘sections’ of between two and four chapters in Revelation – according to the commentator William Hendriksen – covers this gospel age inContinue reading “Thursday 29th December 2022”

Wednesday 28th December 2022

REVELATION 19 “When justice is done, the righteous rejoice”, says Proverbs 21:15.  We see, in Rev 19, that the great multitude of believers in heaven has raised a mighty shout of joy.  God has finally judged ‘The Great Prostitute’ and has avenged the blood of his faithful servants.  Justice has been done and God’s righteousnessContinue reading “Wednesday 28th December 2022”

Tuesday 27th December 2022

NEHEMIAH 7 and 8 “Please, please, please will you read us the bible and talk to us about what it means?” – so begged the people of Jerusalem to Ezra.  Now that is probably a ‘first’ for the people of God!  Sadly, it seems not to occur very much in the UK’s churches these daysContinue reading “Tuesday 27th December 2022”

Monday 26th December 2022

REVELATION 18 “Babylon is fallen – we told you so”.  This seems to be the theme of today’s reading.  The announcement is made as though it has already occurred, and it echoes the prophetic announcements made in Isaiah and Jeremiah.  But there is a future sense that the ‘Babylon of today’ will fall, even thoughContinue reading “Monday 26th December 2022”

Sunday 25th December 2022

“A HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL MY READERS!!!” REVELATION 17 “Babylon, the Prostitute on the Beast!”  This is an attention-catching title to chapter 17.  What is it referring to? We have seen that there are five main enemies of Christ – in the Book of Revelation: the Dragon, the Beast from the Sea, the Beast fromContinue reading “Sunday 25th December 2022”

Saturday 24th December 2022

REVELATION 16 We now come face to face with those seven bowls of wrath!  God himself orders that these be emptied out over the earth onto the ungodly.  Notice the striking resemblance to some of the plagues of Egypt here.  If anyone has failed to heed the warning of those previous trumpets of judgment, thenContinue reading “Saturday 24th December 2022”

Friday 23rd December 2022

REVELATION 15 Seven angels with seven plagues!  That’s an apt title of this next section of just two chapters in the Book of Revelation.  Previous sections have focussed successively on: Now the focus is firmly upon the fate of the wicked and unrepentant person and nation in the world (15-16) We must avoid thinking thatContinue reading “Friday 23rd December 2022”

Thursday 22nd December 2022

REVELATION 14 We now meet another group in heaven who have not been sealed with the ‘mark of the beast’, but instead have the name of the Lamb and of his Father on their foreheads.  (Verses 1-5).  Who are they?  Surely the same ‘sealed multitude’ as in chapter 7.  Both are called the 144,000 andContinue reading “Thursday 22nd December 2022”

Wednesday 21st December 2022

REVELATION 13 It is at this time of the year that we talk about “Santa’s little helpers”.  Well, in this next chapter, we read about Satan’s little helpers! Out of the sea thunders a beast of indescribable horror and viciousness.  Ten horns, seven heads, ten crowns with a body represented by leopard, bear, and lion. Continue reading “Wednesday 21st December 2022”

Tuesday 20th December 2022

REVELATION 12 “The Woman and the Dragon” is the title of this chapter (at least in the NIV).  According to Hendriksen, we begin a new 3-chapter section that again covers the entire time period from the first to the second coming of Christ.  Each section focuses on a new aspect of this crucial timespan.  InContinue reading “Tuesday 20th December 2022”

Monday 19th December 2022

REVELATION 11 In this next vision, before the seventh trumpet sounds, two “Witnesses” appeared.  Who or what are they?  Before we go there, what is happening when the apostle is commanded to measure the temple and altar of God  – excluding the outer court, the court of the Gentiles?  This is clearly symbolic – JohnContinue reading “Monday 19th December 2022”

Sunday 18th December 2022

REVELATION 9 We have had four trumpets sound already, and the previous chapter ends with a very severe warning that the last three trumpets will cause ‘woes’ or catastrophes that are far worse than the first four.  This time around, John describes spiritual attack… Trumpet 5: The first ‘woe’!  A ‘star’ falls to earth; clearlyContinue reading “Sunday 18th December 2022”

Saturday 17th December 2022

REVELATION 8 If Revelation were a great piece of music, then chapter 8 would be the start of a new ‘movement’ within it.  According to the commentator William Hendriksen, there would be seven such ‘movements’ and we are now in the third, chapters 8-10.  But similar to a great piece of music, there is aContinue reading “Saturday 17th December 2022”

Friday 16th December 2022

REVELATION 7 “Once the righteous have been removed to a safe place…” is the phrase I ended yesterday’s blog with.  The story seems to continue in chapter 7 with 144,000 from the ‘tribes of Israel’ – a very precise number indeed!  These people are ‘sealed’ on their foreheads by God’s angel to prevent them beingContinue reading “Friday 16th December 2022”

Thursday 15th December 2022

REVELATION 6 Dragons, locusts, fearsome mysterious beasts, seals, trumpets, and bowls – what on earth do they all mean?  How are we supposed to interpret all these details and apply them to our daily lives?  Who are the 144,000 who are sealed?  What about the great multitude that no-one can count?  The content of RevelationContinue reading “Thursday 15th December 2022”

Wednesday 14th December 2022

REVELATION 5 Almost the same vision appears in chapter 5, but this time the Lion of Judah, the Lamb, the Son of God appears and is accorded exactly the same degree of worship that the Father receives.  (Show that to the next Jehovah’s Witness that knocks on your door!).  But the Lamb has a furtherContinue reading “Wednesday 14th December 2022”

Tuesday 13th December 2022

REVELATION 4 Chapters 4 and 5 are a ‘webcam’ into heaven itself, showing the Great Throne of God (notice that God the Father is unseen and undescribed) and the powerful divine worship that continues day and night.  “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is and is to come”.  “Come upContinue reading “Tuesday 13th December 2022”

Monday 12th December 2022

REVELATION 3 Sardis: This city was built even higher than Pergamum: it rose 1,500 feet about its surrounding valley and was a natural fortress.  As a city it was wealthy and famous.  Like the city, its church had fame too.  But Jesus knew better: this lively church was, in fact, dead!  In spiritual terms, beingContinue reading “Monday 12th December 2022”

Sunday 11th December 2022

ESTHER 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 God is not mentioned once in the Book of Esther; neither is prayer or worship.  What are mentioned are a lot of feasting and fasting, Gentiles and genocide, jealousy, pride, and power.  The absence of any reference to God did cause some theologians to question whether Esther shouldContinue reading “Sunday 11th December 2022”

Saturday 10th December 2022

REVELATION 2 The Seven Churches of chapters 2 and 3 are symbolic of the worldwide church but highlight particular issues and sins that might appear in any local church today.  In each letter, Jesus greets them by emphasising some aspect of His character or glory.  Then he usually pinpoints some sin that offends him andContinue reading “Saturday 10th December 2022”

Friday 9th December 2022

THE BOOK OF REVELATION – “An Introduction” If you are complacent, comfortable, over-fed, and ‘fat’ as a Christian, then the Book of Revelation is not for you, and you won’t appreciate it nor understand it.  It was not written for ‘armchair theologians’ or fair-weather disciples who enjoy having a good time at church.  It isContinue reading “Friday 9th December 2022”

Thursday 8th December 2022

JUDE None of Jesus’ biological brothers labelled themselves as such – probably out of a sense of humility and perhaps a lingering shame for having rejected him for longer than his other disciples.  Jude calls himself a brother of James, but a ‘servant’ of Jesus Christ.  It is also possible that he realised that biologicalContinue reading “Thursday 8th December 2022”

Wednesday 7th December 2022

3 JOHN “John the Elder” – who was he?  Clearly, from the context, it was John, the Apostle, the “Disciple that Jesus Loved”.  In both these short letters he styles himself as “The Elder”.  This one is probably to a church in western (modern-day) Turkey, in which John had a pastoral role, in addition toContinue reading “Wednesday 7th December 2022”

Tuesday 6th December 2022

2 JOHN John writes his shortest letter to: “…the lady chosen by God and to her children…”.  Who can he possibly mean?  And he signs off with: “The children of your sister, who is chosen by God, send their greetings”.  Of all the New Testament writers, John was probably the most comfortable with allegory andContinue reading “Tuesday 6th December 2022”

Monday 5th December 2022

1 JOHN 5 “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (5:1).  Do you believe this or not?  It determines your eternal destiny!  This statement by John was also aimed at being a ‘slap in the face’ for the Gnostic heretics in their midst.  “In fact, this is love for God:Continue reading “Monday 5th December 2022”

Sunday 4th December 2022

DANIEL 10, 11 and 12 Dull stuff today: regional demons, an archangel, perhaps an appearance by Christ himself to Daniel, some complicated earthly battles, the appearance of the Antichrist, and a sneak preview of the End of the Age! We are in the third year of Cyrus King of Persia’s reign.  Daniel was prompted toContinue reading “Sunday 4th December 2022”

Saturday 3rd December 2022

1 JOHN 4How do we know if a prophecy or body of teaching is genuinely from God?  How can we really know what is true?  How can we avoid being both gullible and cynical – both equally dangerous characteristics in a Christian?  (It is interesting that almost everyone would rather be known as cynical ratherContinue reading “Saturday 3rd December 2022”

Friday 2nd December 2022

1 JOHN 3“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (3:2).  What a wonderful hope!  It is a free gift that arises from knowingContinue reading “Friday 2nd December 2022”

Thursday 1st December 2022

1 JOHN 2“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.  But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins…” (2:1-2).  John makes it clear that Christians should quickly identify and acknowledge toContinue reading “Thursday 1st December 2022”

Wednesday 30th November 2022

1 JOHN 1John, son of Zebedee, was the ‘disciple whom Jesus loved’, one of the inner circle of Jesus’ three best friends, and possibly Jesus’ first cousin.  He almost certainly wrote John’s Gospel in about 85AD, the Book of Revelation in 95 AD, and the three anonymous letters 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John,Continue reading “Wednesday 30th November 2022”

Tuesday 29th November 2022

2 PETER 3Our thought life is very important.  Ultimately, it is a matter of life and death.  Consequently, we experience a ‘battle for the mind’ resulting – we hope – in progress and maturity as our mindset becomes transformed over time (Romans 1:2).  Rarely is this a smooth upward curve, though; more usually we fluctuateContinue reading “Tuesday 29th November 2022”

Monday 28th November 2022

2 PETER 2Both Peter and – as we will see in a few days – Jude warn their readers of the dangers of false prophets and false teachers, who introduce destructive heresies and manipulate the faithful for their own ends.  2 Peter 2 and Jude 1 have some very similar sentences, and most scholars reckonContinue reading “Monday 28th November 2022”

Sunday 27th November 2022

2 PETER 1We’ve said ‘goodbye’ to Paul, and now we say ‘goodbye’ to Peter.  Even if we count the Gospel of Mark as essentially Peter’s words, he did not write nearly as much as Paul, and only authored two letters in his own name.  Peter was a man of the spoken word and of action,Continue reading “Sunday 27th November 2022”

Saturday 26th November 2022

1 PETER 5 “Young men: submit yourselves to your elders” – have some respect!  “Elders” is simply a label for church leaders, and Peter counted himself amongst that crowd!  The metaphor of ‘shepherd’ is a very apt one for Peter: recall when, after the Resurrection, Jesus commanded Peter to “Feed my Sheep” and “Feed myContinue reading “Saturday 26th November 2022”

Friday 25th November 2022

1 PETER 4 If you suffer for being a Christian believer, then be proud that you are counted worthy of joining your Saviour in a precious elite group.  (Actually, this group is probably going to grow quite fast!).  But don’t be proud if you suffer for being a criminal, or just for being a ‘painContinue reading “Friday 25th November 2022”

Thursday 24th November 2022

1 PETER 3 Some wise words to husbands: “…in the same way, be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (3:7).  What does “in the same way” mean? Continue reading “Thursday 24th November 2022”

Wednesday 23rd November 2022

1 PETER 2 The next step from ‘New Birth’ leads us logically to new babies growing up, eagerly desiring the ‘milk’ of the word of God and a close relationship with the Lord.  For us, these are just as essential as milk is to a young child. Jesus is like the cornerstone, the keystone ofContinue reading “Wednesday 23rd November 2022”

Tuesday 22nd November 2022

1 PETER 1 It is pretty certain that the Apostle Peter wrote 1 Peter.  Just about the entire early church and the ‘Church Fathers’ agreed on this point.  It carries the weight of his authority but may not entirely be his own words: towards the end of the letter, he gives Silas credit for helpingContinue reading “Tuesday 22nd November 2022”

Monday 21st November 2022

JAMES 5 Who are these ‘rich people’ in verses 1-6?  Probably not Christians actually, since the promised judgments against them are extremely severe and show none of the grace that believers would obtain.  Many Old Testament prophets cried out God’s judgment upon the wealthy pagan nations.  And, in general, the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, forContinue reading “Monday 21st November 2022”

Sunday 20th November 2022

JAMES 4 Greed is a strange thing!  It is wrong, not because what it is aimed at, but because of the way in which that aim is obtained.  “God… richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17), is a foundational biblical truth.  God is very generous and wants us, his beloved children,Continue reading “Sunday 20th November 2022”

Saturday 19th November 2022

JAMES 3 If yesterday was about faith in action, then today is about faith in words.  The human tongue – our speech – speaks volumes about our faith.  James ranks it as the most accurate and sensitive indicator of our spiritual condition: “Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, ableContinue reading “Saturday 19th November 2022”

Thursday 17th November 2022

JAMES 1 We now read an ‘epistle’ (letter) written by one of Jesus’ biological brothers, James.  In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 13, verses 55-56, we read: “When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there.  Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed.  “Where did thisContinue reading “Thursday 17th November 2022”

Wednesday 16th November 2022

HEBREWS 13 “Whatever you do to the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do to me” – so Jesus said in Matthew 25.  Treat your fellow believers the very best way you can – and you may be in for some pleasant surprises!  One of the key aspects of Christian fellowship isContinue reading “Wednesday 16th November 2022”

Tuesday 15th November 2022

EZEKIEL 28, 29, 30 and 31 Who WERE the ruler (or ‘prince’) of Tyre and the King of Tyre?  The first sound like one of its kings, proud of heart, who claimed “I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas”.  The Lord replies:  “But youContinue reading “Tuesday 15th November 2022”

Monday 14th November 2022

HEBREWS 12 The time has come for our Olympic Games!  We are lined up on the running track, ready for the starter’s gun to sound.  The stadium is packed full of thousands upon thousands of people, all completely engrossed in the outcome of our great race!  Who are they?  Who are they supporting?  “Therefore, sinceContinue reading “Monday 14th November 2022”

Sunday 13th November 2022

EZEKIEL 24, 25, 26 and 27 The Lord is very precise in his timing.  “Make sure you record this date, Ezekiel”, he instructed in chapter 24.  On the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year of King Zedekiah’s reign in Jerusalem (January 15th 588 BC, in our calendar), the King of BabylonContinue reading “Sunday 13th November 2022”

Saturday 12th November 2022

HEBREWS 11 Today we learn about ‘blue-sky thinking’!  Hebrews 11 is one of the most critical chapters in the whole Bible.  We read in 6:19: “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf”. Continue reading “Saturday 12th November 2022”

Friday 11th November 2022

EZEKIEL 20 and 21 Today, God tells a story (via his prophet Ezekiel) to the exiled elders of Judah/Israel to illustrate the ‘problem’ that he has with them and with the majority of the nation.  “Let’s examine the facts of the matter”, God says, “I chose Israel and revealed myself to them first in Egypt…Continue reading “Friday 11th November 2022”

Thursday 10th November 2022

HEBREWS 10 Yesterday’s reading ended with the triumphant message that Christ’s sacrifice was once for all time, sufficient to do away with sin, at the culmination of the ages.  He ushered in the gospel age, which spans the entire period between his first and second comings. Today’s chapter continues to major on the ineffectiveness ofContinue reading “Thursday 10th November 2022”

Wednesday 9th November 2022

EZEKIEL 16 and 17 What would you do if you found a new-born baby girl abandoned in an open field?  God did once.  Ezekiel 16 is an allegory – a story with a deeper meaning, where each event translates into a teaching point.  (This is where a parable is different: a parable has generally onlyContinue reading “Wednesday 9th November 2022”

Tuesday 8th November 2022

HEBREWS 9 Worship under the Old Covenant was complicated and ‘gory’!  It involved much ornate furniture, gold and silver, curtains and veils, associated equipment and utensils, and a pair of very exclusive rooms.  Into one room, only the priests ‘on duty’ were permitted to go (v6) – that was the ‘Outer Room’ or the ‘HolyContinue reading “Tuesday 8th November 2022”

Monday 7th November 2022

HEBREWS 8 In the previous chapter, the Law of Moses was described as ‘weak and useless, making nothing perfect’.  (7:18-19).  Today, the Old Covenant is ditched as being ‘obsolete, outdated, and soon to disappear’!  (8:13).  First the rituals and ceremonies are described as mere ‘copies’ and ‘shadows’ of the reality that is found in heaven. Continue reading “Monday 7th November 2022”

Sunday 6th November 2022

HEBREWS 7 The Jews were completely wedded to their Levitical priesthood, so it was vital that Jesus was not seen as just another priest in Aaron’s long genealogy.  It was necessary to the Holy Spirit’s plan that the Old Covenant priesthood be undermined and quickly abolished.  The destruction by the Romans of the Jerusalem templeContinue reading “Sunday 6th November 2022”

Saturday 5th November 2022

EZEKIEL 5, 6, 7 and 8 First, a further thought about yesterday’s reading: (1:26) “…High above on the throne was a figure like that of a man”.  And the reason it was like a man is that it was a man.  Our God is not a passionless force or a robotic tyrant, he is alsoContinue reading “Saturday 5th November 2022”

Friday 4th November 2022

HEBREWS 6 These basic foundational doctrines mentioned in the previous chapter included repentance, faith in God, instruction about baptisms (that had been an original ‘sticking point’ for Apollos before Ananias and Saphira had sorted him out Acts 18:24-26), the laying on of hands (for baptism, appointing elders, healing or just imparting blessing), and doctrines ofContinue reading “Friday 4th November 2022”

Thursday 3rd November 2022

HEBREWS 5 We begin with a basic explanation of what a high priest’s role and necessary qualities were.  Israel required an empathic representative, appointed by God, who could offer the required forgiveness-sacrifices for the sins of the nation and – crucially – for his own sins too. The author then goes on to show howContinue reading “Thursday 3rd November 2022”

Wednesday 2nd November 2022

HEBREWS 4 No rest for the wicked!  So the old-fashioned saying goes!  It is actually a quote from the last verses of Isaiah chapters 48, 57, and 66.  But it is also a development of Psalm 95 that is referenced here.  The term ‘Rest’ might have meant the seventh day of creation, when God restedContinue reading “Wednesday 2nd November 2022”

Tuesday 1st November 2022

HEBREWS 3 The previous chapter ended with a reference to Jesus representing us as God’s true High Priest.  This theme continues in today’s chapter, telling us believers to “… fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.  He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as MosesContinue reading “Tuesday 1st November 2022”

Monday 31st October 2022

HEBREWS 2 You have been warned!  Rejection of God’s Messiah was, and is, spiritual suicide.  These Jewish believers and those Jews who were perhaps near to coming to faith needed to understand something fundamental:  there was no alternative route to salvation.  Jesus was and is the only way!  Our God is a great Judge asContinue reading “Monday 31st October 2022”

Sunday 30th October 2022

HEBREWS 1 The Letter to the Hebrews is anonymous.  For centuries people thought it was by Paul, but the writing styles are very different, and Paul always identified himself as the ‘shepherd’ with a message to his flock.  Some theologians ascribe the letter to Barnabas – who knew his Old Testament exceedingly well.  However, IContinue reading “Sunday 30th October 2022”

Saturday 29th October 2022

PHILEMON This is another of Paul’s so-called ‘Prison Letters’ – probably written in AD 60 whilst he was under house arrest in Rome, under appeal to the emperor (Acts 28).  It is likely that it was sent at exactly the same time as the letter to the Colossian church, since Philemon was a key memberContinue reading “Saturday 29th October 2022”

Friday 28th October 2022

TITUS 3 Are you obedient to your government, the police, and the local authorities?  (Romans 13:1 and 1 Peter 2:13-17 concur with this command).  There are no examples of civil disobedience encouraged in the New Testament!  We are expected to be model citizens of earth, on the basis that our true citizenship is elsewhere (PhilippiansContinue reading “Friday 28th October 2022”

Thursday 27th October 2022

TITUS 2 All theology is practical if it affects you thinking, your attitudes, your faith, or your lifestyle.  Today’s is very lifestyle orientated. Older women are not to be timewasters and gossips (as many with time on their hands are tempted to be) but models (in a mentoring sense!) and teachers of the younger women. Continue reading “Thursday 27th October 2022”

Wednesday 26th October 2022

TITUS 1 Today we intercept another spiritual ‘e-mail’ from Paul to one of his best mates – this time, Titus.  This young man was a Gentile (unlike Timothy) who again deputized for Paul when his mentor was off on his missionary travels.  Titus also carried the letters from Paul to the church in Corinth andContinue reading “Wednesday 26th October 2022”

Tuesday 25th October 2022

2 TIMOTHY 4 In this last chapter, we come to the core of Paul’s ‘will and testament’, his final instructions: preach the gospel in favourable situations and in tricky ones; teach and apply the scriptures even in times when Christian doctrine is ‘out of fashion’ amongst the Christians!  Avoid trying to be ‘popular’ in whatContinue reading “Tuesday 25th October 2022”

Monday 24th October 2022

2 TIMOTHY 3 “There will be terrible times in the last days!”  The term ‘last days’ means the entire period between Christ’s first coming – as a baby – and his return later as the Living God.  The entire ‘Christian’ era represents these days, and there will be no subsequent ‘phase’ of earthly life beforeContinue reading “Monday 24th October 2022”

Sunday 23rd October 2022

2 TIMOTHY 2 Discipleship is key to church growth: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (v2).  In once sentence, four generations of believers are identified: Paul, Timothy, Timothy’s disciples, and the disciples of those disciples. Continue reading “Sunday 23rd October 2022”

Saturday 22nd October 2022

2 TIMOTHY 1 This was the Apostle Paul’s final letter ever – before his death!  It therefore reads like a last will and testament.  He had a parting legacy for his ‘son’ (in the faith) Timothy – in fact, an entire inheritance!  “Timothy, I’m handing over to you the Gospel; please look after it withContinue reading “Saturday 22nd October 2022”

Friday 21st October 2022

1 TIMOTHY 6 If you are a slave, then you may not be reading these notes!  But if you an ‘employee’ then you must give one hundred percent to your employer.  If they are a Christian too, then give them one hundred and fifty percent!  Treat your employment as though God were your employer.  AndContinue reading “Friday 21st October 2022”

Thursday 20th October 2022

1 TIMOTHY 5 Social action played a vital part in the First Century Church.  Children and grandchildren need to put their faith into action by caring for their own parents and grandparents, especially vulnerable widows; this is a way of repaying them in part for the many sacrifices they made for you earlier in life,Continue reading “Thursday 20th October 2022”

Wednesday 19th October 2022

1 TIMOTHY 4 Some false teachers had moved into the area.  “You must not marry”, “You must avoid certain foods” – these were some of the ascetic heresies that they tried to plant in the local church.  This was the beginning of Gnosticism, which included the belief that the material world was inherently evil andContinue reading “Wednesday 19th October 2022”

Tuesday 18th October 2022

1 TIMOTHY 3 It is OK to ‘aspire’ to be a church leader, since it is a ‘noble’, serving role in God’s church.  One of Timothy’s chief tasks was now to appoint a group of ‘Overseers’ or ‘Elders’ for each local church.  With Paul elsewhere and Timothy now moving from region to region, these appointmentsContinue reading “Tuesday 18th October 2022”

Monday 17th October 2022

1 TIMOTHY 2 We are urged to pray together.  Requests, prayers, intercession, thanksgiving – prayer in all its ‘flavours’.  Do it alone and do it together.  Surprisingly, Paul tells us to pray for all rulers, including the evil Emperor Nero, who was in power at the time that Paul wrote this letter.  Why?  Because theContinue reading “Monday 17th October 2022”

Sunday 16th October 2022

1 TIMOTHY 1 Discipleship is not the best way to grow the church… it is the only way!  Large worship meetings, slick Alpha courses, well-equipped buildings, powerful preaching, miracles, great youth work and a missional emphasis are all highly desirable, but they are not the core of our faith and not the ‘engine’ of ourContinue reading “Sunday 16th October 2022”

Saturday 15th October 2022

2 THESSALONIANS 3 “Deliver us from the Evil One” – this is a basic part of the prayer pattern that Jesus himself taught us.  Paul begins this chapter in that frame of mind too.  Pray that the gospel message he speaks will be honoured and obeyed.  Pray that he, and all God’s people, will beContinue reading “Saturday 15th October 2022”

Friday 14th October 2022

2 THESSALONIANS 2 God is not simply ‘love’, but ‘justice’ too.  Paul does not ‘pull any punches’ here.  The previous chapter paints a fearsome landscape of what will be done to those who are disobedient to the gospel and who have rejected Christ.  Those people are implicitly challenging the Lord to exercise justice in hisContinue reading “Friday 14th October 2022”

Thursday 13th October 2022

2 THESSALONIANS 1 This letter was sent for the same reason that 1 Thessalonians was written – and as a follow-up and reinforcement to it.  A church in the middle of persecution needs a great deal of encouragement, with reasons for enduring and persevering emphasised strongly. God will not let us be tested nor temptedContinue reading “Thursday 13th October 2022”

Wednesday 12th October 2022

1 THESSALONIANS 5 “Save the date!”  Now that’s something that God will never say to you.  Why should he tell you the date when Jesus will return – He didn’t even tell his own Son when on earth (see Mark 13:32).  Jesus, after his Resurrection also told his disciples directly: “It is not for youContinue reading “Wednesday 12th October 2022”

Tuesday 11th October 2022

1 THESSALONIANS 4 “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage ofContinue reading “Tuesday 11th October 2022”

Monday 10th October 2022

1 THESSALONIANS 2 (and 3) Today, Paul is talking about motives and perception.  There are few more powerful things on earth than these, in directing people’s will and actions.  If you believe that someone loves you, you will do almost anything they ask of you – trusting that their motives are pure and that theyContinue reading “Monday 10th October 2022”

Sunday 9th October 2022

1 THESSALONIANS 1 Both letters of this name were written from AD 51 to AD 52 by Paul to the mainly Gentile church of the Greek city of Thessalonica (now in North-Eastern Greece).  They were written to encourage new believers in trials and persecutions, and to give assurance over the future of believers who diedContinue reading “Sunday 9th October 2022”