Thurs 21/2/19

Proverbs 8:22-31 … SOLOMON DECLARES THE PRE-EXISTENCE OF CHRIST AS CO-CREATOR.

Q.1. Who is the writer speaking

22 “The Lord possessed[a] me at the beginning of his work,[b]
    the first of his acts of old.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
    at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
    when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
    before the hills, I was brought forth,
26 before he had made the earth with its fields,
    or the first of the dust of the world.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there;
    when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above,
    when he established[c] the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,
    so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30     then I was beside him, like a master workman,
and I was daily his[d] delight,
    rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
    and delighting in the children of man.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. Who is the writer speaking about? How long has this One existed? Is there agreement between this revelation and Genesis chapter 1? How great is this Master Workman? What did He do? – (Prov.8:22-31) = Genesis never sets out to prove the existence of God, or to explain the mystery of the plurality of the Godhead, when – 26 God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness … 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen.1:26-27). Yet Solomon, under inspiration of God, gives us an amazing insight into the pre-existence of Christ – 22 “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. 23 “From everlasting I was established, from the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth (Prov.8:22-23). As John wrote generations later – In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Jn.1:1). Moses, Solomon, and John all received the same revelation. So did the writer of Hebrews who wrote – In these last days, God has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom He made the world … and the ages of time (Heb.1:2). Before there was water, dust, land, and mountains – I was brought forth (Prov.8:25 c.f. Prov.8:24-26). At the creation of the universe, that is – when He established the heavens, I was there. When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep (Prov.8:27). With absolute authority – He set for the sea its boundary so that the water would not transgress His command … (Prov.8:29). He enjoyed perfect oneness and unbroken fellowship – 29 When He marked out the foundations of the earth; 30 Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him (Prov.8:29-30). He shared totally in the delight God had in His creatures – Rejoicing in the world, His earth, And having my delight in the sons of men (Prov.8:31). This delight explains the love that held Him to the cross of Calvary!


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@oakdenbaptist.org.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

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Wed 20/2/19

1 Samuel 9:1-27 … GOD REVEALS TO SAMUEL THAT SAUL IS TO BE ISRAEL’S FIRST KING.

Q.1. What are we told about Saul? Why did Saul and his servant seek out a man of God? Was Saul familiar with the role of a prophet? How did seers survive? What directions were they given? – (1 Sam.9:1-14) =

Q.2. How did Samuel know the identity of the one to be anointed as king?  What transpired at the meeting between Samuel and Saul? How did Samuel honour Saul? What did Samuel plan to do? – (1 Sam.9:15-27) =

Saul Chosen to Be King

There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite, a man of wealth. And he had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.

Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to Saul his son, “Take one of the young men with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys.” And he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. And they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then they passed through the land of Benjamin, but did not find them.

When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant[a] who was with him, “Come, let us go back, lest my father cease to care about the donkeys and become anxious about us.” But he said to him, “Behold, there is a man of God in this city, and he is a man who is held in honor; all that he says comes true. So now let us go there. Perhaps he can tell us the way we should go.” Then Saul said to his servant, “But if we go, what can we bring the man? For the bread in our sacks is gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?” The servant answered Saul again, “Here, I have with me a quarter of a shekel[b] of silver, and I will give it to the man of God to tell us our way.” (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said, “Come, let us go to the seer,” for today’s “prophet” was formerly called a seer.) 10 And Saul said to his servant, “Well said; come, let us go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was.

11 As they went up the hill to the city, they met young women coming out to draw water and said to them, “Is the seer here?” 12 They answered, “He is; behold, he is just ahead of you. Hurry. He has come just now to the city, because the people have a sacrifice today on the high place.13 As soon as you enter the city you will find him, before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat till he comes, since he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now go up, for you will meet him immediately.” 14 So they went up to the city. As they were entering the city, they saw Samuel coming out toward them on his way up to the high place.

15 Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel:16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince[c] over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have seen[d] my people, because their cry has come to me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, “Here is the man of whom I spoke to you! He it is who shall restrain my people.” 18 Then Saul approached Samuel in the gate and said, “Tell me where is the house of the seer?” 19 Samuel answered Saul, “I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place, for today you shall eat with me, and in the morning I will let you go and will tell you all that is on your mind. 20 As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found. And for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father’s house?” 21 Saul answered, “Am I not a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel? And is not my clan the humblest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?”

22 Then Samuel took Saul and his young man and brought them into the hall and gave them a place at the head of those who had been invited, who were about thirty persons. 23 And Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion I gave you, of which I said to you, ‘Put it aside.’” 24 So the cook took up the leg and what was on it and set them before Saul. And Samuel said, “See, what was kept is set before you. Eat, because it was kept for you until the hour appointed, that you might eat with the guests.”[e]

So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25 And when they came down from the high place into the city, a bed was spread for Saul on the roof, and he lay down to sleep.[f] 26 Then at the break of dawn[g] Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Up, that I may send you on your way.” So Saul arose, and both he and Samuel went out into the street.

27 As they were going down to the outskirts of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to pass on before us, and when he has passed on, stop here yourself for a while, that I may make known to you the word of God.”

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What are we told about Saul? Why did Saul and his servant seek out a man of God? Was Saul familiar with the role of a prophet? How did seers survive? What directions were they given? – (1 Sam.9:1-14) = Saul belonged to the Kish family from the tribe of Benjamin, and was – 1 … a mighty man of valour. 2 … a choice and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people (1 Sam.9:1-2). He was sent on an errand with his servant to bring home some lost donkeys belonging to his father. But after a thorough search, they could not locate them (1 Sam.9:3-4). When Saul realised that his father would be worrying about his delay, his servant informed him – … there is a man of God in this city, and the man is held in honour; all that he says surely comes true. Now let us go there. Perhaps he can tell us about our journey on which we have set out (1 Sam.9:6). It was well known that prophets and seers were paid for their services, and Saul knew they had run out of resources. The servant told him not to worry because  – … I have in my hand a fourth of a shekel of silver; I will give it to the man of God and he will tell us our way (1 Sam.9:8 c.f. 1 Sam.9:5-9). Soon they came upon some young women drawing water who told them – 12 … He is; see, he is ahead of you. Hurry now, for he has come into the city today, for the people have a sacrifice on the high place today. 13 … go up for you will find him at once (1 Sam.9:12-13). So they went to the city.

Q.2. How did Samuel know the identity of the one to be anointed as king?  What transpired at the meeting between Samuel and Saul? How did Samuel honour Saul? What did Samuel plan to do? – (1 Sam.9:15-27) = A day prior to all this the Lord had told Samuel – About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over My people Israel; and he will deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have regarded My people, because their cry has come to Me (1 Sam.9:16). When Saul arrived the Lord said to Samuel – … Behold, the man of whom I spoke to you! This one shall rule over My people (1 Sam.9:17). Upon meeting Saul, Samuel identified himself and told him that the donkeys had been found (1 Sam.9:19-20). He also declared that God would give him much more than a few donkeys – … for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father’s household? (1 Sam.9:20). Saul humbly reminded Samuel about his humble beginnings – … Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then do you speak to me in this way? (1 Sam.9:21 c.f. 1 Sam.15:17). At the feast Samuel placed Saul at the head of the table in front of the invited guests (1 Sam.9:22). Not only this, but he set the best portion of meat before him (1 Sam.9:22-24). He got Saul to dismiss his servant, because he planned to proclaim the word of God to Saul about his future (1 Sam.9:25-27).


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@oakdenbaptist.org.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Tues 19/2/19

Exodus 1:1-22 … THE GROWTH AND OPPRESSION OF THE HEBREWS IN EGYPT.

Q.1. What is recorded about the sons of Jacob in Egypt? How did Israel’s circumstances change? Why did the Egyptians oppress the sons of Israel? How were the Hebrews treated by the Egyptians? – (Ex.1:1-14) =

Q.2. How did the Hebrew’s misery intensify? Why did the Egyptian midwives disobey their king? How did God reward their actions? What ruthless plan did Pharaoh devise to curb Israel’s growth? – (Ex.1:15-22) =

Israel Increases Greatly in Egypt

These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher.All the descendants of Jacob were seventy persons; Joseph was already in Egypt. Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation.But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.

Pharaoh Oppresses Israel

Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. 10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” 11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. 13 So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves 14 and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.

15 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16 “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” 17 But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. 18 So the king of Egypt called the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and let the male children live?”19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” 20 So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. 22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews[a] you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.”

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What is recorded about the sons of Jacob in Egypt? How did Israel’s circumstances change? Why did the Egyptians oppress the sons of Israel? How were the Hebrews treated by the Egyptians? – (Ex.1:1-14) = Exodus begins by reminding the readers that seventy direct descendants settled with Jacob in Egypt, including Joseph’s family who were already there (Exo.1:1-5 c.f. Gen.46:26-27). God had promised to make them a great nation, and to increase them beyond counting, AND HE DID! Our fruitfulness however, does not depend upon ideal conditions. God prevailed regardless of the outer circumstances (Exo.1:7, 12 20 c.f. Gen.15:4-6). There is a danger that each new generation wants to glory in its own achievements, and so often ignores the past. This Pharaoh was unaware of what he owed to Joseph. The growing significance of the Israelites posed a threat in his mind. Instead of treating them with honour, he instead oppressed them and sought to control them. He feared they might turn against the Egyptians and support their enemies (Exo.1:8-10). Pharaoh subjected them to slavery, and forced them to build massive storage cities – and they made their lives bitter with hard labour (Exo.1:14 c.f. Exo.1:11-14).

Q.2. How did the Hebrew’s misery intensify? Why did the Egyptian midwives disobey their king? How did God reward their actions? What ruthless plan did Pharaoh devise to curb Israel’s growth? – (Ex.1:15-22) = Hard labour and oppression did not reduce the strength of the Hebrews, so Pharaoh instituted a new policy of genocide – … When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birth-stool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live (Exo.1:16). The midwives disobeyed the edict of Pharaoh, because they feared God (Exo.1:17). They told Pharaoh that the Hebrew women were giving birth without midwives. The Lord also stepped in and – 20 so God was good to the midwives … 21 Because the midwives feared God, He established households for them (Exo.1:20-21). The Hebrews continued to multiply – and the people multiplied and became very mighty (Exo.1:20). Then Pharaoh persecuted the Hebrews and commanded that – …every son who is born you are to cast into the Nile, and every daughter you are to keep alive (Exo.1:22).


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Mon 18/2/19

Matthew 26:14-30 … JESUS FORESHADOWS A NEW COVENANT IN HIS BLOOD.

Q.1. What made the actions of Judas Iscariot unforgivable? Did Jesus normally partake of the Passover with His disciples? What arrangements were made for the meal? – (Mt.26:14-19 c.f. Zech.11:12; Lk.22:12) =

Q.2. What shocking news did Jesus announce? How did the disciples react? Did Jesus know the identity of His betrayer? Why was Christ’s death inevitable? How did Jesus treat Judas? – (Mt.26:20-25) =

Q.3. What would the disciples never forget about this Passover meal? What made the partaking of the cup unique? What startling prophecy did He make about this meal? – (Mt.26:26-30)

Judas to Betray Jesus

14 Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.

The Passover with the Disciples

17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?”18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.

20 When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve.[a] 21 And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” 23 He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” 25 Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

Institution of the Lord’s Supper

26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the[b] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial

30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What made the actions of Judas Iscariot unforgivable? Did Jesus normally partake of the Passover with His disciples? What arrangements were made for the meal? – (Mt.26:14-19 c.f. Zech.11:12; Lk.22:12) = Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve chosen apostles (Mt.10:1-4). To go behind the back of Jesus and his companions, was the ultimate treachery. All kinds of excuses have been given for his deception. Matthew identified it as greed, when he went to the chief priests and asked – What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you? (Mt.26:15 c.f. Jn.12:6). The price of 30 pieces of silver (about 120 day’s wages for a skilled labourer) was predicted by Zechariah generations before (Mt.26:15 c.f. Zech.11:12-13). Like ‘a snake in the grass’ – from then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus (Mt.26:16). From the disciples’ point of view, this was another Passover they would have with Jesus (Mt.26:17). For Jesus, this Passover would have immense significance, and He was a step ahead with the preparations. A spacious upper room was chosen for the Last Supper (Mt.26:18-19 c.f. Lk.22:12).

Q.2. What shocking news did Jesus announce? How did the disciples react? Did Jesus know the identity of His betrayer? Why was Christ’s death inevitable? How did Jesus treat Judas? – (Mt.26:20-25) = After Jesus had washed the feet of His disciples, the atmosphere was shattered when Jesus announced – Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me (Mt.26:21). Eleven of them were shocked and deeply grieved, while the heart of one must have skipped a beat fearing exposure (Mt.26:22). Jesus accepted His death because – the Son of Man is to go, just as it is written … (Mt.26:24). However, this did not absolve the perpetrator, as Jesus declared – … woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born (Mt.26:24). Jesus had quizzically stated – He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me (Mt.26:23). That had been all of them! Judas then brazenly asked Jesus point-blank – Surely it is not I, Rabbi? Jesus replied – You have said it yourself (Mt.26:25). John recorded the incident more fully, and explained that none suspected Judas because he had the money box, and they assumed Jesus had sent him on some legitimate business (c.f. Jn.13:21-29).

Q.3. What would the disciples never forget about this Passover meal? What made the partaking of the cup unique? What startling prophecy did He make about this meal? – (Mt.26:26-30) = It cannot be disputed that Jesus and His disciples prepared and shared in the Jewish Passover (Mt.26:19 & 26; Mk.14:12; Lk.22:14-16; Jn.13:1). At some time during this Passover, Jesus forever transformed the feast. When – 26 Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins (Mt.26:26-27). Luke recorded that Jesus told them to – do this in remembrance of Me (Lk.22:19). The synoptic Gospel writers all agree that the shedding of His blood would seal the New Covenant (Mt.26:28 c.f. Jer.31:31-34; Mk.14:24; Lk.22:25; 1 Cor.11:25; Heb.8:7-13). His death was no tragic accident, nor was it the end. Before He died, Jesus foretold His future reign in His Father’s kingdom (Mt.26:29).


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Sat 16/2/19

1 Corinthians 14:1-25 … PAUL CONTRASTS THE GIFT OF PROPHECY WITH TONGUES.

Q.1. With what premise does Paul begin this chapter? What is the difference between prophecy and tongues? What makes prophecy a greater gift? Why? – (1 Cor.14:1-5) =

Q.2. Under what circumstances may tongues be beneficial? How does he support this claim? To whom is a language profitable? What is the point he is making? – (1 Cor.14:6-12) =

Q.3. What is Paul’s first conclusion about the use of gifts? How are we to understand Paul’s claim about his own tongue speaking? Why should tongue speaking be limited in the church? – (1 Cor.14:13-19) =

Q.4. Was tongues contentious in the church at Corinth? To whom was the sign of tongues given? Did Paul accept the validity of everyone speaking in tongues? How would the church be edified? – (1 Cor.14:20-25) =

Prophecy and Tongues

14 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.

Now, brothers,[a] if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. 16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider[b] say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign[c]not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. On what premise does Paul begin this chapter? What is the difference between prophecy and tongues? What makes prophecy a greater gift? Why? – (1 Cor.14:1-5) = Paul sets out clearly what he wants to convey in this chapter –Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy (1 Cor.14:1). He will only contrast prophecy and tongues in this passage, and urges us to pursue love before all else. He also places the value of prophecy above tongues, and so any interpretation that reverses that order is false. The reason he gives is plain, since the – one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation (1 Cor.14:3). This agrees with the reason God gave spiritual gifts to the believers – so that the church may receive edifying (1 Cor.14:5). Comment must be made about the phenomenon of ‘tongue speaking’ that causes much confusion: (i) Tongue speaking recorded in the Acts was clearly known languages and not some kind of repetitious ‘babble’ that is not a language (c.f. Acts 2:1-11). (ii) Tongue speaking recorded later in Acts, was the same as what they had experienced at Pentecost (Acts 11:15-16). (iii) The interpretation that tongues is an angelic language ‘that no one understands’ defies the fact that angels only ever spoke in a real language known by the hearer (Acts 12:7-8; 27:23-24). It is obvious that the description of speaking in tongues means speaking in other known languages. To endorse speaking in a ‘non-language’ is not biblically supportable.

Q.2. Under what circumstances may tongues be beneficial? How does he support this claim? To whom is a language profitable? What is the point he is making? – (1 Cor.14:6-12) = Paul argues that tongues does not benefit -… unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching (1 Cor.14:6). That places a serious restriction upon the use of tongues in his day. He supports this with the example of the distinctive notes that turn noise into music (1 Cor.14:7-8). A tongue or language is only beneficial to those that understand that language. Otherwise it will valueless, and sound foreign (1 Cor.14:9-11). The whole point he wants to drive home is – … since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound in gifts that edify the church (1 Cor.14:12). Our aim must be to build up others.

Q.3. What is Paul’s first conclusion about the use of gifts? How are we to understand Paul’s claim about his own tongue speaking? Why should tongue speaking be limited in the church? – (1 Cor.14:13-19) = Paul does not advocate speaking or praying in tongues and concludes – … I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also (1 Cor.14:15). The exercising of our gifts should always be used to bless each other. As mentioned under Q.1. Paul as a missionary to the Gentiles could rightly claim – I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all (1 Cor.14:18). He could make himself understandable to many language groups. But what the Corinthians were doing was both selfish and confusing, and so he adds this proviso – however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue (1 Cor.14:19). Of course, he is only speaking comparatively, and would often speak for hours on end (c.f. Acts 20:7-11).

Q.4. Was tongues contentious in the church at Corinth? To whom was the sign of tongues given? Did Paul accept the validity of everyone speaking in tongues? How would the church be edified? – (1 Cor.14:20-25) = There is little doubt that the tongue speaking at Corinth coincided with the modern day phenomenon. So he tells them to grow up about the exercising of spiritual gifts (1 Cor.14:20). He reminds them to whom the sign of tongues was given … to unbelieving Israel Cor.14:21 c.f. Isa.28:11-12). It was a proof to unbelieving Israel that what the prophets had prophesied about the removal of the nation from the Promised Land had been true – So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe (1 Cor.14:22). Paul totally disapproves of the notion that all would exercise the same spiritual gift of tongues (1 Cor.12:30; 14:23). By contrast, prophecy is a powerful tool used by God – 24 if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you (1 Cor.14:24-25). That is because the message is understandable, and able to be used by the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit. Again, Paul is contrasting the benefit of prophecy over tongues but is not suggesting that everyone would have the gift of prophecy (c.f. 1 Cor.12:29).


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Fri 15/2/19

Isaiah 57:1-21 … GOD DENOUNCES THE WICKED BUT PROMISES PEACE FOR THE UPRIGHT.

Q.1. How differently will God treat the upright from those that forget God? What had Judah forgotten about God? To whom will God respond? – (Isa.57:1-15) =

Q.2. What makes God’s promise to Judah unexpected? How will He deal with the one who repents? Is this grace also available to the wicked? – (Isa.57:16-21) =

Israel’s Futile Idolatry

57 The righteous man perishes,
    and no one lays it to heart;
devout men are taken away,
    while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from calamity;
    he enters into peace;
they rest in their beds
    who walk in their uprightness.
But you, draw near,
    sons of the sorceress,
    offspring of the adulterer and the loose woman.
Whom are you mocking?
    Against whom do you open your mouth wide
    and stick out your tongue?
Are you not children of transgression,
    the offspring of deceit,
you who burn with lust among the oaks,[a]
    under every green tree,
who slaughter your children in the valleys,
    under the clefts of the rocks?
Among the smooth stones of the valley is your portion;
    they, they, are your lot;
to them you have poured out a drink offering,
    you have brought a grain offering.
    Shall I relent for these things?
On a high and lofty mountain
    you have set your bed,
    and there you went up to offer sacrifice.
Behind the door and the doorpost
    you have set up your memorial;
for, deserting me, you have uncovered your bed,
    you have gone up to it,
    you have made it wide;
and you have made a covenant for yourself with them,
    you have loved their bed,
    you have looked on nakedness.[b]
You journeyed to the king with oil
    and multiplied your perfumes;
you sent your envoys far off,
    and sent down even to Sheol.
10 You were wearied with the length of your way,
    but you did not say, “It is hopeless”;
you found new life for your strength,
    and so you were not faint.[c]

11 Whom did you dread and fear,
    so that you lied,
and did not remember me,
    did not lay it to heart?
Have I not held my peace, even for a long time,
    and you do not fear me?
12 I will declare your righteousness and your deeds,
    but they will not profit you.
13 When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!
    The wind will carry them all off,
    a breath will take them away.
But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land
    and shall inherit my holy mountain.

Comfort for the Contrite

14 And it shall be said,
“Build up, build up, prepare the way,
    remove every obstruction from my people’s way.”
15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
    who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
    and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
    and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 For I will not contend forever,
    nor will I always be angry;
for the spirit would grow faint before me,
    and the breath of life that I made.
17 Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry,
    I struck him; I hid my face and was angry,
    but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart.
18 I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
    I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners,
19     creating the fruit of the lips.
Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord,
    “and I will heal him.
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea;
    for it cannot be quiet,
    and its waters toss up mire and dirt.
21 There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. How differently will God treat the upright from those that forget God? What had Judah forgotten about God? To whom will God respond? – (Isa.57:1-15) = Only a few in Judah considered God. The Lord promised them – 1 … For the righteous man is taken away from evil, 2 He enters into peace; They rest in their beds, each one who walked in his upright way … and he who takes refuge in Me will inherit the land and will possess My holy mountain (Isa.57:1-2 & 13). However, Judah’s leaders were denounced for making sacrifices to God while consulting idols. God accused them of lying because they – did not remember Me nor give Me a thought (Isa.57:11). He urged them to remove their obstacles and reminded them of Who He is and how He operates – For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite (Isa.57:15). He will listen and respond to those who approach Him honestly and humbly.

Q.2. What makes God’s promise to Judah unexpected? How will He deal with the one who repents? Is this grace also available to the wicked? – (Isa.57:16-21) = Judah as a nation had abandoned God for other gods. You would expect the message to be unrelenting in its condemnation. However, God is not like that, and explains Himself – 16 For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; For the spirit would grow faint before Me, and the breath of those whom I have made. 17 Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry and struck him; I hid My face and was angry, and he went on turning away, in the way of his heart. 18 I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners (Isa.57:16-18). Moreover, His grace will be extended – Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near (Isa.57:19). However, this promise does not apply to the wicked, who experience continual disturbance (Isa.57:20-21). How amazing is our God!


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Thurs 14/2/19

Psalm 45:1-17 … THE CELEBRATION OF AN EXALTED GROOM AND HIS BRIDE.

Q.1. In whose honour is this psalm written? What is the character of the king? How powerful is he? For what benefit is his power used? Who best meets these qualities? – (Ps.45:1-5 c.f. Isa.9:6-7) =

Q.2. What is the identity of the groom? How glorious is the bride? What impact does the union of bride and groom have on the bridal party? – (Ps.45:6-17 c.f. Heb.1:8-9; Rev.19:7-9) =

Your Throne, O God, Is Forever

To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. A Maskil[a] of the Sons of Korah; a love song.

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

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

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

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

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

13 All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold.
14     In many-colored robes she is led to the king,
    with her virgin companions following behind her.
15 With joy and gladness they are led along
    as they enter the palace of the king.

16 In place of your fathers shall be your sons;
    you will make them princes in all the earth.
17 I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations;
    therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. In whose honour is this psalm written? What is the character of the king? How powerful is he? For what benefit is his power used? Who best meets these qualities? – (Ps.45:1-6 c.f. Isa.9:6-7) = This is a song of love, composed by a son of Korah. He waxes eloquent as he addresses a gracious warrior King (Ps.45:1-3). The psalmist has much more in mind than a mere earthly king and alludes to God, the King,  when he describes His reign as – forever and ever (Ps.45:6). The psalmist portrays Him as – 2 … fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever. 3 Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One, In Your splendour and Your majesty!  (Ps.45:2-3; Jn.1:14, 17). His description is of Jesus, when he writes – in Your majesty ride on victoriously, for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness … (Ps.45:4 c.f. Mt.11:29).

Q.2. What is the identity of the groom? How glorious is the bride? What impact does the union of bride and groom have on the bridal party? – (Ps.45:6-17 c.f. Heb.1:8-9; Rev.19:7-9) = If there was any doubt about the identity of the king, the writer of Hebrews ascribes this psalm to the Lord Jesus by quoting – But of the Son He says … 6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of Your kingdom. 7 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions (Ps.45:6-7 c.f. Heb.1:8-9). It was revealed to these sons of Korah that there would be a heavenly union between the King of glory, and His earthly bride. The remainder of this psalm focuses on the marriage of the bride – 10 Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear: Forget your people and your father’s house; 11 Then the King will desire your beauty. Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him (Ps.45:10-11). She will be beautifully adorned and her entrance is attended will be attended with joy and celebration (Ps.45:13-15). Paul teaches that marriage is to be a monogamous relationship (c.f. Eph.5:22-33). However, he then declares – This mystery is great: but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church (Eph.5:32). Our union with Christ must be personal, yet the bride of Christ is also corporate (c.f. Jn.15:1-5; Rev.19:7-9). To be fruitful, we must be joined to Christ while on earth – 16 In place of your fathers will be your sons; You shall make them princes in all the earth. 17 I will cause Your name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore the peoples will give You thanks forever and ever (Ps.45:16-17). Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb … Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb (Rev.19:7; 21:9).


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009