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NKJV Large Print Wide Margin Reference BIble

NKJV Large Print Wide Margin Reference BIble

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I have a very special relationship with Thomas Nelson’s NJKJV Wide Margin Reference Bible. My current is actually called The Precious because of the story behind its acquisition. I was delighted to find out that one would be offered in comfort print and I am ecstatic at the opportunity to review it.  (Thomas Nelson sent this copy free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.)

 

Translation

Naturally, this is offered in the New King James Version, a fastidiously literal update to the KJV.

Side note: NKJV has been my primary teaching translation for the last 14 years of the 24 years I have taught the Bible. I have used it in over 13,000 interactions with Scripture.

The New Testament is based on the Textus Receptus, just like its predecessor the KJV.

Cover and Binding

Like the rest of the Premier Collection, the cover is black goatskin. The cover is moderately grained, not ironed smooth but there is also not a pronounced grain on the cover.  As will all the Premier Collection’s Bibles, it is quite delightful to the touch. The edge  lined cover is quite limp and supple, a favorite feature of mine when it comes to the Premier Collection. I enjoy the fell of their covers more than most other goatskin Bibles. I would like to suggest a full-yapp offering from the Premier Collection but it is not a deal breaker that they do not have it.

If you guessed that the text block was smythe sewn, you would be correct. A sewn binding is not simply a mark of quality, it is an essential feature in a Bible that is designed to last a lifetime. It is also what causes the Bible to lay flat in both Genesis and Revelation.

Paper, Layout, & Font

The Large Print Wide Margin Bible is offered in Comfort Print at a 10.5-point with 11-point leading. Placed side by side  with the NKJV Preaching Bible reveals that it is the exact same font in both Bibles.

Like its cousin, the Preaching Bible, the Large Print Wide Margin Bible is laid out in a double column verse by verse format. Footnotes are placed beneath the Scripture text in the footer of the Bible. The wide margins are 1.25 inches, ample space for your annotations.

The paper is a mild white, 36 GSM I  believe. The opacity is wonderful. I cannot think of a modern Bible that is more ideal for writing in. My primary recommendation is Prismacolor for color coding notes and Papermate Sharpwriter Pencil for notes. If you like to use pen, I recommend Pilot Pen Company’s Better Retractable brand.

Helps

Cross-References

This Bible contains Thomas Nelson’s Complete Cross Reference System. There are 72,000 references, 4000 of which are redundancies/alternate reference points. As far as reference systems go, only two Bibles top the offerings of Thomas Nelson, The Thompson Chain Reference Bible and the Westminster Reference Bible.

Introductions

The Introductions are a couple paragraphs each. The usual material (author, historical background etc.) is included.  Each Introduction is around a half a page. I am glad to see that they do not inundate with information but I would like to see an outline, at least a basic one.

Complete Concordance

The full NKJV Topical Concordance is included. It is always good to see a full concordance rather than the abbreviated concordance that some publishers include. For the Sunday School Teacher or the everyday Christian, the Concordance is THE essential tool for answer ing the question, “What does the Bible teach?”

How do I use it?

There is no right or wrong way to use the Large Print Wide Margin. I, personally, pair the Large Print Wide Margin with the NKKJV Preaching Bible. They are similar enough that the Wide Margin is used for Study and annotation while the Preaching Bible is used in the pulpit.

As an every -day Bible

This Bible has some heft to it and may or may not suit you as a daily carry Bible. The size is not an issue for me but for some it is. It will work well on just about any desk.

As a preaching Bible

Being so similar as the Preaching Bible, this Bible works well for preaching, Some of my colleagues actually prefer to preach from a wide margin Bible so that they have all of their exegetical notes handy.

Final Thoughts

This is an excellent Bible. It is my favorit in the Premier Collection.

Jeremiah Essentials

Jeremiah Essentials

A little more than a century after Isaiah preached in Jerusalem, Nebuchad­nezzar king of Babylon launched his final invasion into the southern kingdom of Judah. After a terrible siege, he destroyed the city and its temple, wiped out its royal house, and deported its citizens as slaves and exiles to his own capital city. And Jeremiah the prophet was there in Jerusalem to witness it all and to explain to the people of Judah precisely why it was all happening: because they had broken faith with the Lord their God, shattering the covenant he had made with them and thereby calling that covenant’s curses down on their own heads.

Jeremiah’s book is very different from Isaiah’s. Where Isaiah is highly structured around a definite and easily recognizable plotline, Jeremiah’s book is more like an abstract painting. Images, oracles, visions, sermons, and narrative are thrown (somewhat chaotically and not always in chronological order) against the canvas, and the result is not so much a linear story as an impression of truth and emotion and meaning. But even if Jeremiah’s literary approach is somewhat unusual, his message comes through loud and clear: Judah has sinned by disobeying and ignoring the Lord’s word, and just as with her sister kingdom Israel to the north, the hammer blow of God’s wrath and justice is about to fall on them.

Theme: Jeremiah reminds us that faith demands action. Covenant living requires a faithful response to God in the form of proper worship and of helping, not exploiting, the weak and vulnerable.

Author: The book itself states that its contents are “the words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah” (Jeremiah 1:1). The prophet Jeremiah dictated most of his prophecies to his secretary, Baruch, who wrote them down word for word. Chapter 52 may have been added by a later editor.

Date of Writing: Jeremiah wrote these words over the course of his ministry (626–585 BC). Chapter 52 was added sometime after King Jehoiachin’s release from captivity (approximately 560 BC).

Encouragement From Jeremiah: “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11). God gives this promise to Israel while they are in captivity in Babylon- though they are in the midst of judgment, the Lord has not forgotten them and He reminds them that their chastisement is for their good. They are still God’s covenant people.

Challenge From Jeremiah: “‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 29:13–14).

Reflection From Jeremiah: “LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. Discipline me, LORD, but only in due measure—not in your anger, or you will reduce me to nothing” (Jeremiah 10:23–24).

 

Storyline

On the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus (the foretold “righteous Branch”) ate a final meal with his twelve disciples; during their time together, He declared that the new covenant spoken of in Jeremiah had arrived. Unlike the old covenant, which gave merely a picture of forgiveness through the sacrifice of bulls and goats, the new covenant, established through the precious blood of Christ, would accomplish true, enduring salvation. As the Lord declared through the prophet, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).

Key Verses: Jeremiah 7:23, 24 and 8:11, 12—“But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward” (7:23, 24).

“For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed, nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; in the time of their punishment they shall be cast down, says the LORD” (8:11, 12).

The Christ of Jeremiah

The Messiah is clearly seen in 23:1–8 as the coming Shepherd and righteous Branch who “shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (23:5, 6). He will bring in the new covenant (31:31–34), which will fulfill God’s covenants with Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3; 17:1–8), Moses and the people (Deut. 28–30), and David (2 Sam. 7:1–17).

The curse on Jehoiachin (Jeconiah, Coniah) in 22:28–30 meant that no physical descendant would succeed him to the throne. Matthew 1:1–17 traces the genealogy of Christ through Solomon and Jeconiah to His legal (but not His physical) father, Joseph. However, no son of Joseph could sit upon the throne of David, for he would be under the curse of Jehoiachin. Luke 3:23–38 t races Christ’s lineage backward from Mary (His physical parent) through David’s other son, Nathan (3:31), thereby avoiding the curse. The righteous Branch will indeed reign on the throne of David.

 

Key People in Jeremiah

King Josiah —sixteenth king of the southern kingdom of Judah; attempted to follow God (1:1–3; 22:11,18)

King Jehoahaz —evil son of Josiah and seventeenth king of the southern kingdom of Judah (22:9–11)

King Jehoiakim —evil son of Josiah and eighteenth king of the southern kingdom of Judah (22:18–23; 25:1–38; 26:1–24; 27:1–11; 35:1–19; 36:1–32)

King Jehoiachin (Coniah) —evil son of Jehoiakim and nineteenth king of the southern kingdom of Judah (13:18–27; 22:24–30)

King Zedekiah —evil uncle of Jehoiachin and twentieth king of the southern kingdom of Judah (21:1–14; 24:8–10; 27:12–22; 32:1–5; 34:1–22; 37:1– 21; 38:1–28; 51:59–64)

Baruch —served as Jeremiah’s scribe (32:12–16; 36:4–32; 43:3–45:4)

Ebed-Melech —Ethiopian palace official who feared God and helped Jeremiah (38:7–39:16)

King Nebuchadnezzar —greatest king of Babylon; led the people of Judah into captivity (21–52)

The Rechabites —obedient descendants of Jonadab; contrasted to the disobedient people of Israel (35:1–19)

Key Doctrines in Jeremiah

Sin —Israel’s sin demanded punishment from God (2:1–13, 23–37; 5:1–6; 7:16–34; 11:1–17; 17:1–4; 18:1–17; 23:9–40; Exodus 23:33; Deuteronomy 9:16; 1 Kings 11:39; Ezra 6:17; Job 1:22; Psalm 5:4; Micah 3:8; Matthew 5:30; Luke 17:1; Romans 1:29)

Judgment/Punishment (4:3–18; 9:3–26; 12:14–17; 15:1–9; 16:5–13; 19:1–15; 24:8–10; 25:1–38; 39:1–10; 44:1–30; 46:1–51:14; Exodus 12:12; Psalm 1:5; Hosea 5:1; Amos 4:12; John 12:31–32; Romans 14:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:7–10)

Restoration of Israel (23:3–8; chapters 30–33; Deuteronomy 30:1–5; Psalm 71:20–21; Isaiah 49:6; Nahum 2:2; Acts 1:6–8; 15:16; 1 Peter 5:10)

God’s Character in Jeremiah

God fills heaven and earth —23:24

God is good —31:12,14; 33:9,11

God is holy —23:9

God is just —9:24; 32:19; 50:7

God is kind —31:3

God is long-suffering —15:15; 44:22

God is loving —31:3

God is merciful —3:12; 33:11

God is omnipresent —23:23

God is powerful —5:22; 10:12; 20:11; 37:27

God is a promise keeper —31:33; 33:14

God is righteous —9:24; 12:1

God is sovereign —5:22, 24; 7:1–15; 10:12–16; 14:22; 17:5–10; 18:5–10, 25:15–38; 27:5–8; 31:1–3; 42:1–22; 51:15–19

God is true —10:10

God is unequaled —10:6

God is wise —10:7,12; 32:19

God is wrathful —3:12–13; 4:8; 7:19–20; 10:10; 18:7–8; 30:11; 31:18–20; 44:3

 

 

Teaching Outline

  1. JEREMIAH’S SPECIAL APPOINTMENT (1:1-19)
  2. THE PROPHET DELIVERS GOD’S MESSAGES (2:1–45:5)
  3. God’s Warnings to Judah (2:1–29:32)
  4. The Coming Exile and Restoration (30:1–33:26)
  5. The Fall of Jerusalem (34:1–45:5)
  6. GOD’S JUDGMENT ON THE NATIONS (46:1–51:64)
  7. A PAINFUL REMINDER OF PAINFUL DAYS (52:1-34)

 

 

Isaiah Essentials

Isaiah Essentials

Theme: Isaiah describes God’s judgment of sin, as well as God’s forgiveness, comfort and hope. Other than Psalms, Isaiah contains the most Messianic prophecies of any Old Testament book.

Author: The prophet Isaiah is identified as the book’s author, and other Scripture passages agree.

Date of Writing: The book of Isaiah was probably written between 700 and 680 BC.

Encouragement From Isaiah: “A bruised reed [the LORD] will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out” (Isaiah 42:3).

Challenge From Isaiah: “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:30–31).

Reflection From Isaiah: “Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, ‘Who sees us? Who will know?’” (Isaiah 29:15).

Storyline

New Testament writers quote Isaiah frequently because it contains many predictions of the Messiah. Best known are those of Isaiah 53, which declares that “like sheep” all humankind has “gone astray,” but that the Lord has “laid on him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all” (v. 6) so that He can “justify many” (v. 11). All those who trust in Jesus for salvation have the hope of “new heavens and the new earth” in which they will dwell forever with God (Isaiah 66:22).

 

The Christ of Isaiah

When he speaks about Christ, Isaiah sounds more like a New Testament writer than an Old Testament prophet. His messianic prophecies are clearer and more explicit than those in any other Old Testament book. They describe many aspects of the Person and work of Christ in His first and second advents, and often blend the two together. Here are a few of the Christological prophecies with their New Testament fulfillments: 7:14 (Matt. 1:22, 23); 9:1, 2 (Matt. 4:12–16); 9:6 (Luke 2:11; Eph. 2:14–18); 11:1 (Luke 3:23, 32; Acts 13:22, 23); 11:2 (Luke 3:22); 28:16 (1 Pet. 2:4–6); 40:3–5 (Matt. 3:1–3); 42:1–4 (Matt. 12:15–21); 42:6 (Luke 2:29–32); 50:6 (Matt. 26:67; 27:26, 30); 52:14 (Phil. 2:7–11); 53:3 (Luke 23:18; John 1:11; 7:5); 53:4, 5 (Rom. 5:6, 8); 53:7 (Matt. 27:12–14; John 1:29; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19); 53:9 (Matt. 27:57–60); 53:12 (Mark 15:28); 61:1, 2 (Luke 4:17–19, 21). The Old Testament has over three hundred prophecies about the first advent of Christ, and Isaiah contributes a number of them. The odds that even ten of them could be fulfilled by one person is a statistical marvel. Isaiah’s messianic prophecies that await fulfillment in the Lord’s second advent include: 4:2; 11:2–6, 10; 32:1–8; 49:7; 52:13, 15; 59:20, 21; 60:1–3; 61:2, 3.

Isaiah 52:13–53:12 is the central passage of the consolation section (40–66). Its five stanzas present five different aspects of the saving work of Christ: (1) 52:13–15—His wholehearted sacrifice (burnt offering); (2) 53:1–3—His perfect character (meal offering); (3) 53:4–6—He brought atonement that issues in peace with God (peace offering); (4) 53:7–9—He paid for the transgression of the people (sin offering); (5) 53:10–12—He died for the effects of sin (trespass offering).

 

Key Verses: Isaiah 9:6, 7 and 53:6—“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (9:6, 7).

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (53:6).

Key People in Isaiah

Isaiah —prophet who ministered throughout the reigns of four kings of Judah; gave both a message of judgment and hope (1–66)

Shear-Jashub —Isaiah’s son; name means “a remnant shall return,” denoting God’s promised faithfulness to His people (7:3; 8:18; 10:21)

Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz —Isaiah’s son; name means “hasting to the spoil, hurrying to the prey” denoting God’s coming punishment (8:1,3,18)

Key Doctrines in Isaiah

Christ as the Suffering Servant (49:1–57:21; Psalms 68:18; 110:1; Matthew 26:39; John 10:18; Acts 3:13–15; Philippians 2:8,9; Hebrews 2:9)

The first coming of the Messiah (7:14; 8:14; 9:2,6–7; 11:1–2; Ezekiel 11:16; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:31; 2:34; John 1:45; 3:16; Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:8; Revelation 12:5)

The second coming of the Messiah (4:2; 11:2–6,10; 32:1–8; 49:7; 52:13,15; 59:20–21; 60:1–3; 61:2–3; Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 3:8; Matthew 25:6; 26:64; Romans 13:11–12; Philippians 4:5; Revelation 3:11)

Salvation through Christ (9:6–7; 52:13–15; 53:1–12; Isaiah 12:2; Psalm 103:11–12; Luke 19:9; John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Romans 3:21–24; 1 Timothy 1:15)

God’s Character in Isaiah

God is accessible —55:3,6

God is eternal —9:6

God is faithful —49:7

God is glorious —2:10; 6:3; 42:8; 48:11; 59:19

God is holy —5:16; 6:3; 57:15

God is just —45:21

God is kind —54:8,10; 63:7

God is Light —60:19

God is long-suffering —30:18; 48:9

God is loving —38:17; 43:3–4; 49:15–16; 63:9

God is merciful —49:13; 54:7–8, 55:3,7

God is powerful —26:4; 33:13; 41:10; 43:13; 48:13; 52:10; 63:12

God is a promise keeper —1:18; 43:2

God is provident —10:5–17; 27:3; 31:5; 44:7; 50:2; 63:14

God is righteous —41:10

God is true —25:1; 38:19; 65:16

God is unequaled —43:10; 44:6; 46:5,9

God is unified —44:6,8,24; 45:5–8,18,21–22; 46:9–11

God is unsearchable —40:28

God is wise —28:29; 40:14,28; 42:9; 44:7; 46:10; 47:10; 66:18

God is wrathful —1:4; 3:8; 9:13–14,19; 13:9; 26:20; 42:24–25; 47:6; 48:9; 54:8; 57:15–16; 64:9

Key Words in Isaiah

Light: Hebrew ‘or —2:5; 5:30; 10:17; 13:10; 30:26; 45:7; 58:10; 60:20—refers to literal or symbolic light. This Hebrew word often denotes daylight or daybreak (Judges 16:2; Nehemiah 8:3), but it can also be symbolic of life and deliverance (Job 33:28,30; Psalm 27:1; 36:9; 49:19; Micah 7:8,9). In the Bible, light is frequently associated with true knowledge and understanding (42:6; 49:6; 51:4; Job 12:25), and even gladness, good fortune, and goodness (Job 30:26; Psalm 97:11). The Bible describes light as the clothing of God: a vivid picture of His honor, majesty, splendor, and glory (Psalm 104:2; Habakkuk 3:3–4). A proper lifestyle is characterized by walking in God’s light (2:5; Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 4:18; 6:20–23).

Blessing: Hebrew berakah —19:24,25; 44:3; 51:2; 61:9; 65:8,16; 66:3— comes from a verb expressing several significant ideas, namely “to fill with potency,” “to make fruitful,” or “to secure victory.” The word alludes to God’s promise to benefit all nations through Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 12:3). When people offer a blessing, they are wishing someone well or offering a prayer on behalf of themselves or someone else (Genesis 49; Deuteronomy 33:1). Old Testament patriarchs are often remembered for the blessings they gave to their children. When God gives a blessing, He gives it to those who faithfully follow Him (Deuteronomy 11:27), providing them with salvation (Psalm 3:8), life (Psalm 133:3), and success (2 Samuel 7:29).

Servant: Hebrew ‘ebed —20:3; 24:2; 37:35; 42:1; 44:21; 49:5; 53:11—derives from a verb meaning “to serve,” “to work,” or “to enslave.” While ‘ebed can mean “slave” (Genesis 43:18), slavery in Israel was different than in most places in the ancient Middle East. Slavery was regulated by the law of Moses, which prohibited indefinite slavery and required that slaves be freed on the Sabbath (seventh) year (Exodus 21:2) and the Year of Jubilee, the fiftieth year (Leviticus 25:25–28). Sometimes the Hebrew word can refer to the subjects of a king (2 Samuel 10:19). But usually the word is best translated “servant.” God referred to His prophets as “My servants” (Jeremiah 7:25) and spoke of the coming Messiah as His Servant, the One who would perfectly obey His will (see 42:1–4; 49:1–6; 50:4–9; 52:13– 53:12).

Salvation: Hebrew yeshu ‘ah —12:2; 25:9; 33:6; 49:6; 51:8; 59:11; 62:1— describes deliverance from distress and the resultant victory and well-being. The term occurs most often in Psalms and Isaiah, where it is frequently used along with the word righteousness , indicating a connection between God’s righteousness and His saving acts (45:8; 51:6,8; 56:1; 62:1; Psalm 98:2). This word can be used for a military victory (1 Samuel 14:45), but it is normally used of God’s deliverance (Exodus 15:2; Psalm 13:5,6). The expressions the salvation of the Lord and the salvation of our God speak of God’s work on behalf of His people. The expression the God of my salvation is more private in nature, referring to the deliverance of an individual (12:2; 52:10; Exodus 14:13; 2 Chronicles 20:17; Psalms 88:1; 98:3).

Teaching Outline

  1. God’s overture to his people (chs. 1-6)
  2. Threat and promises (ch. 1)
  3. Present failure and future hope (chs. 2-4)
  4. Lament for God’s vineyard (ch. 5)
  5. Isaiah’s call and ministry (ch. 6)
  6. The hope of Immanuel (chs. 7-12)
  7. The contrast with faithless King Ahaz (7:1-9:7)
  8. God’s discipline and promises (9:8-10:34)
  9. Cosmic hope (chs. 11-12)
  10. King of the nations (chs. 13-27)
  11. Babylon to Egypt (chs. 13-20)
  12. Babylon to Tyre (chs. 21-23)
  13. The world is judged and Israel renewed (chs. 24-27)
  14. Trust and obedience (chs. 28-39)
  15. God’s judgment pronounced on human rebellion (chs. 28-33)
  16. A choice of two destinies (chs. 34-35)
  17. The example of faithful King Hezekiah (chs. 36-39)
  18. The Servant King (chs. 40-55)
  19. Here is your God! (ch. 40)
  20. The glory of God and the futility of idols (chs. 41-48)
  21. The servant’s work accomplished (chs. 49-53)
  22. The growth of God’s eternal kingdom (chs. 54-55)
  23. The Sovereign Conqueror (chs. 56-66)
  24. Faithfulness and trust in the waiting time (chs. 56-59)
  25. The glories of the King and his eternal kingdom (60:1-63:6)
  26. The prayer of faith (63:7-64:12)
  27. The ultimate triumph (chs. 65-66)
1 Kings Essentials

1 Kings Essentials

Storyline

Solomon demonstrated that human wisdom is not sufficient to guarantee holiness and salvation. Of course, when used rightly, his wisdom did result in obedience and blessing. But Solomon’s vast knowledge of plants, animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, along with his collection of proverbs and songs (1 Kings 4:32–33) could not prevent him from disobeying God. He needed a transformed heart. Centuries later, the apostle Paul articulated the truth that Solomon illustrated when he declared in 1 Corinthians that the cross of Christ is the only means of salvation and called human wisdom “foolishness” in comparison (1 Corinthians 1:18–21).

 

Years of blessing

The transition of kingship from David to Solomon, just as promised (1 Chronicles 22:6-10), was somewhat unsteady (1:1-2:46). Solomon’s reign was characterised by:

Wisdom. When invited to choose his blessing, Solomon chose wisdom (3:5-15). His wisdom was both down-to-earth (3:16-28) and far-reaching (4:29-34). Proverbs records many of his sayings. Worship. Solomon built the temple David had planned (5:1-7:51). God’s presence filled it as Solomon dedicated it to God (8:1-66). God reaffirmed his covenant, but reminded Solomon to obey him (9:1-9). The temple remained the focus of worship until destroyed by Babylon in 586 bc. Wealth. Solomon became extremely wealthy (10:14-29), as the Queen of Sheba witnessed (10:1-13). Some wealth came from trade, but some from taxes. Wives. Solomon showed his wealth by having 700 wives and 300 concubines. This inability to rule his sexual appetite would be his downfall, for his foreign wives brought their foreign gods which stole Solomon’s heart (11:1-13).

Years of division

Sadly, Solomon sowed the seeds of Israel’s destruction, through crippling taxes and compulsory labour, which bore fruit in the reign of his son, Rehoboam. Rejecting the elders’ wisdom, he threatened to make things even harder for the northern tribes, on whom the greatest burden had fallen (12:1-15). They therefore rejected him, crowning instead Jeroboam, one of Solomon’s officials, and established a separate kingdom (12:16-24). God’s people split into two – Judah in the south and Israel in the north – never to come together again. To prevent people going to Jerusalem to worship, Jeroboam established shrines (12:25-33), a sin rebuked by prophets (13:1-14:20) and known thereafter as “the sin of Jeroboam”.

The author then deals with these two kingdoms in parallel – Judah first and then Israel. Israel’s kings were wicked; most of Judah’s were good.

Years of challenge

A major focus is Elijah (17:1-21:29; 2 Kings 2), who challenged Israel for adopting Baal worship, or at least trying to blend worshipping Baal with worshipping the living God. Miracles are associated with Elijah’s ministry, showing God’s provision (17:1-6), compassion (17:7-24; 21:1-29) and supremacy (18:16-46).

 

 

Key Verses: 1 Kings 9:4, 5; 11:11—“Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel’ ” (9:4, 5).

“Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, ‘Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant’ ” (11:11).

 

Key People in 1 Kings

David —king of Israel; appointed his son Solomon to be the next king to rule (1–2:10)

Solomon —son of Bathsheba and David; third king to rule Israel and builder of the temple; God made him the wisest man ever born (1:10–11:43)

Rehoboam —son of Solomon; succeeded him as king of Israel; his evil actions led to the division of Israel into two kingdoms; later became king of the southern kingdom of Judah (11:43–12:24; 14:21–31)

Jeroboam —evil king of the northern ten tribes of Israel; erected idols and appointed non-Levitical priests (11:24–14:20)

Elijah —prophet of Israel; accomplished extraordinary acts of faith against the prophets of Baal (17:1–19:21; 21:17–28)

Ahab —eighth and most evil king of Israel; committed more evil than any other Israelite king (16:28–17:1; 18:1–19:1; 20:1–22:40)

Jezebel —married Ahab and became queen of Israel; promoted Baal worship (16:31; 18:4–19; 19:1–2; 21:5–27)

 

Key Doctrines in 1 Kings

God’s judgment of the apostate nations (9:3–9; Deuteronomy 4:26; 28:37; 2 Samuel 14–16; 2 Chronicles 7:19–20; Psalm 44:14; 89:30; Jeremiah 24:9; Hosea 5:11–12; Matthew 23:33–36; John 3:18–19; 12:48; Romans 2:5–6; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 18:10)

Fulfilled prophecies of God (13:2–5; 22:15–28; Numbers 27:17; 2 Kings 23:15–20; 2 Chronicles 18:16; Matthew 9:36; Mark 6:34; John 2:18)

God’s faithfulness to His covenant with David (11:12–13,34–36; 15:4; 2 Samuel 7:12–16; Luke 1:30–33; Acts 2:22–36)

God’s Character in 1 Kings

God fills heaven and earth —8:27

God is glorious —8:11 God is merciful —8:23

God is a promise keeper —8:56

God is provident —21:19; 22:30,34,37–38

Christ in 1 Kings

The wisdom of Solomon typifies Christ who “became wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Yet, in the book of 1 Kings, Solomon led his kingdom into apostasy by marrying many foreign women (11:1). In contrast, Christ Himself proclaimed that He was “greater than Solomon” (Matthew 12:42). The future kingdom of Christ will not pass away.

Key Words in 1 Kings

Baal: Hebrew ba’al ––16:31; 18:19,21,26,40; 19:18; 22:53—literally means “master,” or “husband.” Baal refers to pagan gods of fertility and storms throughout the ancient Middle East. Canaanite literature links Baal with the fertility goddess Asherah, who is mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament (2 Kings 21:7). Worship of these pagan deities included self-mutilation, ritual prostitution, and infant sacrifice. God punished the Israelites for adopting the worship of Baal and Asherah (Judges 2:11–15; Jeremiah 19:4–6).

Supplication: Hebrew techinnah–– 8:28,33,45,47,52,54,59; 9:3—refers to the petitioning of God or a specific person for favor or mercy (Jeremiah 37:20; 38:26). Solomon uses this word repeatedly in his dedication prayer over the temple (8:23–9:3; 2 Chronicles 6:14–42). Supplication is often used in relation to impending distress in the midst of one’s enemies (Psalms 55:1–3; 119:70; Jeremiah 36:7). The Bible describes the supplications of David (Psalm 6:9), Solomon (9:3), and of wicked King Manasseh, who humbled himself before God (2 Chronicles 33:12–13).

Name: Hebrew shem ––1:47; 3:2; 5:5; 7:21; 8:17; 9:3; 11:36; 18:24—most likely means “to mark.” In biblical history, a person’s name often described personal characteristics such as destiny or position (see 1 Samuel 25:25 for the explanation of Nabal’s name, which meant “Fool”). Sometimes, God renamed people to reflect a change in their character or status (see Genesis 35:10). The various names of God reveal important aspects of His nature (for example, God Most High, Almighty God, I AM). The name of God should be used with honor and respect (Exodus 20:7). God shared His name with Israel to express His intimate covenantal relationship with them (Exodus 3:13–15).

Gold: Hebrew zahab ––6:21,28; 7:49; 9:28; 10:14; 12:28; 15:15; 20:3—describes both the substance and the color of gold (1 Kings 10:16; Zechariah 4:12). Gold, usually mentioned with silver, symbolized wealth (Genesis 13:2; 2 Chronicles 1:15; Ezekiel 16:13). Most references to gold in the Old Testament relate to Solomon’s temple and palace (Exodus 25:3; 2 Chronicles 2:7; 9:13–27). However precious gold appears, nothing compares to the value of wisdom (Job 28:17), loving favor (Proverbs 22:1), and the commandments of the Lord (Psalms 19:9–10; 119:72,127).

 

 

2 Samuel Essentials

2 Samuel Essentials

Storyline

At the height of his reign, David decided to honor God by building Him a great house: a temple to replace the more portable tabernacle. Surprisingly though, God rejected and reversed David’s offer. Instead of David’s building God a house, God promised to build David a house—a dynasty that would last forever with a king who would reign eternally (2 Samuel 7:1–17). Centuries later, when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would give birth to Jesus, he quoted that very promise and told her that the Lord would fulfill it through her child (Luke 1:32–33).

 

A New Covenant (The Davidic Covenant)

David felt it strange that, while he lived in a palace, God had only a tent (7:1-2). So he decided to build a temple. But God said that he didn’t want David to build a house for him; rather he would build a house for David (7:4-11), promising him an eternal kingdom (7:12-16). These words of promise are known as the Davidic covenant. David responded to God’s words with a prayer of humble gratitude and praise (7:18-29).

 

Even the man after God’s own heart fails

Failure in his personal life, through adultery and conspiracy to murder (11:1-27). Through confessing quickly, however (in contrast to Saul who excused sin or blamed others), David was forgiven (12:1-25).

 

Failure in his family life, through weak fathering. David failed to discipline Amnon when he raped Tamar (13:1-21), and Absalom when he avenged her (13:23-39). When David eventually allowed Absalom to return from self-imposed exile (14:1-33), Absalom interpreted this as weakness and gathered people (15:1-6), finally leading a coup (15:7-12). David fled, leaving his country in civil war (15:13-17:29). It fell to Joab to deal with Absalom (18:1-18) and persuade David to return (18:19-20:26). Failure in leadership, through counting his soldiers. Whether an act of pride, or lack of trust in God, he was judged for it (24:1-25). Not even the king was exempt from God’s discipline (7:14).

 

The Christ of 2 Samuel

As seen in the introduction to 1 Samuel, David is one of the most important types of Christ in the Old Testament. In spite of his sins, he remains a man after God’s own heart because of his responsive and faithful attitude toward God. He sometimes fails in his personal life, but he never flags in his relationship to the Lord. Unlike most of the kings who succeed him, he never allows idolatry to become a problem during his reign. He is a true servant of Yahweh, obedient to His law, and an ideal king. His rule is usually characterized by justice, wisdom, integrity, courage, and compassion. Having conquered Jerusalem, he sits upon the throne of Melchizedek, (“Righteous King”; see Gen. 14:18). David is the standard by which all subsequent kings are measured.

Of course, David’s life as recorded in chapters 1–10 is a far better portrayal of the future Messiah than is his life as it is seen in 11–24. Sin mars potential. The closest way in which he foreshadows the coming King can be seen in the important covenant God makes with him (7:4–17). David wants to build a house for God; but instead, God makes a house for David. The same three promises of an eternal kingdom, throne, and seed are later given to Christ (Luke 1:32, 33). There are nine different dynasties in the northern kingdom of Israel, but there is only one dynasty in Judah. The promise of a permanent dynasty is fulfilled in Christ, the “Son of David” (Matt. 21:9; 22:42), who will sit upon the throne of David (Is. 9:7; Luke 1:32).

 

Key Verses: 2 Samuel 7:12, 13; 22:21—“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (7:12, 13).

“The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me” (22:21).

 

Key People in 2 Samuel

David —greatest king of Israel; also a shepherd, musician, and poet; direct ancestor to Jesus Christ (1:1–24:25)

Joab —military commander of David’s army (2:13–3:39; 8:16; 10:7–12:27; 14:1–33; 18:2–24:9)

Bathsheba —committed adultery with David; became queen of Israel and mother of Solomon; direct ancestor of Jesus (11:1–26; 12:24)

Nathan —prophet and advisor to David; urged him to repent of his sin (7:2–17; 12:1–25)

Absalom —son of David; attempted to overthrow the throne of Israel (3:3; 13:1–19:10)

 

Key Doctrines in 2 Samuel

Davidic covenant —God’s promise to David to extend his throne and kingdom forever (7:12–16; 22:51; Genesis 49:8–12; Numbers 24:7–9,17–19; 2 Kings 8:19; 2 Chronicles 13:5; 21:7; Psalm 89:20–37; Isaiah 16:5; Acts 15:16–18; Revelation 22:16)

Sin —Israel’s sin created personal and national consequences (6:6–7; 12:13–14; Genesis 3; Numbers 4:15; 15:30–31; 1 Kings 11:38; 13:34; 2 Kings 21:12; Psalm 106:43; Isaiah 22:14; Jeremiah 19:3; Ezekiel 7:3; 18:30; John 8:34; Romans 2:5; Hebrews 10:4,26–31)

Messiah —foretold to David by Nathan to be the anointed king who will triumph over all nations opposed to God (7:12–16; 22:51; Matthew 1:16–17; 12:22; Mark 1:1; John 7:42; Acts 2:30–33)

God’s Character in 2 Samuel

God is kind —2:6

God is a promise keeper —7:12–13

God is provident —17:14–15

God is true —2:6

God is unequaled —7:22

God is unified —7:22

God is wise —7:20

God is wrathful —6:7; 21:1; 24:1,15,17

 

Key Words in 2 Samuel

Ark: Hebrew ‘aron ––6:2,4,10,12,17; 7:2; 11:11; 15:24—can be translated “chest” (2 Kings 12:9) or “sarcophagus” (Genesis 50:26), but most often appears in the phrase ‘aron haberith , which means “ark of the covenant.” The ark was a wooden chest overlaid with gold (Exodus 25:10–22), housing the Ten Commandments (Exodus 40:20), Aaron’s staff, and a pot of manna (Hebrews 9:4). It sat in the Most Holy Place as a reminder of Israel’s covenant with God and His presence among them. When the Israelites became careless with the ark (1 Samuel 4:1–11), God allowed it to be captured in order to demonstrate that His covenant relationship with them transcended symbols and superstitions. What He required was continual obedience to His covenant and a contrite heart surrendered to Him (Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 57:15).

Jerusalem: Hebrew yerushalaim ––5:5; 8:7; 11:1, 15:8,29; 16:15; 17:20; 19:19; 24:16—related to the word for “peace.” During the reign of King David, Jerusalem was made the political and religious capital of Israel and became central to the unfolding of God’s redemptive plan. Jerusalem is described variously in the Old Testament as the city of God (Psalm 87:1–3), the place where God has put His name (2 Kings 21:4), a place of salvation (Isaiah 46:13), the throne of God (Jeremiah 3:17), and a holy city (Isaiah 52:1). The prophets foresaw an approaching time when Jerusalem would be judged because of its iniquity (Micah 4:10–12), but in pronouncing judgment they could also see its glorious restoration (Isaiah 40:2; 44:25–28; Daniel 9:2; Zephaniah 3:16–20). This vision of a restored Jerusalem included the hope of a New Jerusalem in which God would gather all His people (Isaiah 65:17–19; Revelation 21:1–2).

Mighty Men: Hebrew gibbor ––1:25; 10:7; 16:6; 17:8; 20:7; 23:8,22—emphasizes excellence or unusual quality. In the Old Testament, it is used for the excellence of a lion (Proverbs 30:30), of good or bad men (Genesis 10:9; 1 Chronicles 19:8), of giants (Genesis 6:4), of angels (Psalm 103:20), or even God (Deuteronomy 10:17; Nehemiah 9:32). The Scriptures state that the mighty man is not victorious because of his strength (Psalm 33:16) but because of his understanding and knowledge of the Lord (Jeremiah 9:23–24). The phrase mighty God is used three times in the Old Testament, including Isaiah’s messianic prophecy of the birth of Jesus (Isaiah 9:6; 10:21; Jeremiah 32:18).

 

Teaching Outline

  1. David’s Triumphs (1:1–10:19)
  2. Saul’s Death (1:1–27)
  3. David Anointed King of Judah (2:1–7)
  4. Civil War Exists with Israel, Ruled by a Son of Saul (2:8–4:12)
  5. David Becomes King of All Israel (5:1–5)
  6. David Takes Jerusalem (5:6–16)
  7. David Defeats the Philistines (5:17–25)
  8. David Brings the Ark to Jerusalem (6:1–23)
  9. God Promises to Establish David’s Kingdom (7:1–29)
  10. David Defeats Enemies (8:1–18)
  11. David Keeps His Promise to Jonathan (9:1–13)
  12. David Defeats the Ammonites (10:1–19)
  13. David’s Troubles (11:1–20:26)
  14. Personal and Moral (11:1–12:31)
  15. Family (13:1–18:33)
  16. Nation (19:1–20:26)

III. David’s Trials (21:1–24:25)

  1. Famine (21:1–14)
  2. Warfare (21:15–22)
  3. Praise (22:1–51)
  4. Confidence (23:1–7)
  5. Control (23:8–39)
  6. Census (24:1–25)[1]

 

[1] Lawrence O. Richards, The Bible Reader’s Companion, electronic ed. (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991), 202.

1 Samuel Essentials

1 Samuel Essentials

The message

Even the best human leaders fail us, but God is faithful to his people and promised a king who would be powerful, wise, righteous and faithful.

At the beginning of 1 Samuel, Israel was suffering from internal corruption (particularly the sons of Eli, 1 Sam. 2:12-25) and external threats (particularly the Philistines, 1 Sam. 4:1-11). The books of Samuel tell the story of four leaders (Eli, Samuel, Saul and David), each of whom ultimately failed to secure the people from their enemies and establish a kingdom of justice and righteousness.

However, the Lord’s commitment to his people (1 Sam. 12:22; cf. 1:11; 2:9,10) never failed. His faithfulness was demonstrated in:

  1. promising that he would eventually establish a secure, permanent and good kingdom (esp. 1 Sam. 2:10; 2 Sam. 7:12-16);
  2. anticipating the ultimate fulfillment of that promise by:
  3. humiliating the enemies (see e.g., 1 Sam. 2:10a, b, c; 5{dec63} – {dec63}6);
  4. providing leaders who brought a measure of justice and righteousness to the situation (see e.g., 1 Sam. 2:10d, e; 7:15-17; 11:1-15; 2 Sam. 8:15).

These books anticipate the gospel of “Jesus the Messiah the son of David” (Matt. 1:1) by laying the foundation of the hope for a “son of David” who will finally fulfill the promise. The human leaders of Israel prove to be neither good, wise nor powerful enough to establish God’s kingdom of justice and righteousness. And yet, particularly in David, we see an imperfect anticipation of this kingdom in various ways.

 

A Little Historical Background

First Samuel follows on the heels of the book of Judges, which chronicles the time period after Joshua’s death and before Israel’s monarchy. During the time of the judges, the Israelites fell into repeated cycles of disobedience to the Lord, oppression by enemies, and deliverance by God-appointed judges. First Samuel opens in the eleventh century at the end of this period. The initial chapters describe the calling of Samuel to his ministry and the transition to a monarchy beginning with Saul. The final event in 2 Samuel (the building of David’s altar at the threshing floor of Araunah) occurred in about 975 BC.

 

Storyline

The conclusion of 1 Samuel may seem like the end of a dramatic story, but it is actually just the beginning. David went on to reign as king for forty years, inaugurating a dynasty that became the centerpiece of Israel’s history. After his son Solomon led the nation to its greatest wealth and influence, the kingdom divided in two with David’s descendants ruling the southern kingdom of Judah. Eventually Judah was overrun by foreign enemies, but the people maintained hope that a descendant of David would return to the throne. The Old Testament ends with that hope unmet. Yet the opening verse of the New Testament announces its fulfillment: “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David” (Matthew 1:1). Indeed, Jesus is the perfect descendant of David, the King who rules God’s people with righteousness, justice, and love.

 

 

The king

Until now, Israel had been ruled directly by God, through his appointed spokesmen (like Moses), but now, kings would govern Israel on his behalf. Unlike the nations around, however, their king was not free to do as he pleased; he too was subject to God’s Law and God’s prophetic word. It was when Saul showed he would not do this that God replaced him with “a man after his own heart” (13:14) – David.

Samuel felt that God didn’t want Israel to have a king (8:8), though this may simply have been self-pity, for God assured him it is not him they have rejected (8:7). However, God had already made provision for kingship in the Law given to Moses 400 years earlier (Deuteronomy 17:14-20); so it may have been, not that Israel asked for the wrong thing, but they asked it for the wrong reason – to bring them security.

 

 

The prophet

Miraculously born to a barren woman (1:1-20), Samuel quickly grew in faith (2:26) and prophetic gifting (3:19-21). His first prophetic word was really hard to deliver: he had to tell Eli, his friend and mentor, that his godless family would be judged (3:11-14). But Samuel was not only a prophet but also the last of the judges (7:15-17) and he led Israel in a significant battle against the Philistines (7:2-14). He was not afraid of challenging disobedience to God’s word, even disobedience by the king (13:13; 15:22-26). Throughout the Bible the prophet is given the task of boldly proclaiming what he believes God is saying, and God’s people, having tested it, are then to obey (Deuteronomy 18:14-21; 1 Corinthians 14:29-33).

 

The covenant

The appointment of a king was not the end of the covenant God made with Israel at Sinai, but rather a new expression of it. That was why Samuel called Israel to renew their allegiance to God when Saul was appointed king (11:14-12:25). Israel’s first obedience was still to God, but through the king; but the king himself also had to obey God and was not above the covenant. This is why Samuel wrote down rules for kingship, explaining them to both king and people and placing them before the Lord in the sanctuary as a covenant act (10:25). When Saul failed to obey that covenant, he was removed from office, for no one is higher than God’s word.

 

Key People in 1 Samuel

Eli —high priest and Israel’s judge for forty years; trained Samuel to be judge (1:3–28; 2:11–4:18)

Hannah —mother of Samuel; dedicated him to the Lord when he was a baby (1:2–2:11,21)

Samuel —priest, prophet, and greatest judge of Israel; anointed Israel’s first two kings (1:20; 2:11,18–26; 3:1–21; 7:3–13:15; 15:1–16:13; 19:18–24; 25:1; 28:3–16)

Saul —first king of Israel appointed by God; grew jealous of David and tried to kill him (9:2–11:15; 13:1–19:24; 20:24–33; 21:10–11; 22:6–24:22; 25:44–27:4; 28:3–31:12)

Jonathan —son of Saul; befriended David and protected him against Saul (13:1–14:49; 18:1–23:18; 31:2)

David —greatest king of Israel; also a shepherd, musician, and poet; direct ancestor to Jesus Christ (16:11–30:27)

 

Key Verses: 1 Samuel 13:14; 15:22—“But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you” (13:14).

“So Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams’ ” (15:22).

 

 

Key Doctrines in 1 Samuel

Davidic covenant —God’s promise to David to extend his throne and kingdom forever (2:10; Genesis 49:8–12; Numbers 24:7–9,17–19; 2 Kings 8:19; 2 Chronicles 13:5; 21:7; Psalm 89:20–37; Isaiah 16:5; Acts 15:16–18; Revelation 22:16)

 

Work of the Holy Spirit —empowers men for divinely appointed tasks (10:6,10; 16:13; Numbers 11:25,29; Judges 14:6; 27:18; Matthew 4:1; 28:19–20; Mark 13:11; Luke 1:35; John 14:16–17; Acts 1:8; 2:4; Romans 8:5–6; Galatians 5:16–18; James 4:5–6)

 

Sin —Israel’s sin created personal and national consequences (3:10–14; 4:17–18; 6:19; 13:9,13–14; 15:8–9,20–23; Genesis 3; Numbers 4:15; 15:30–31; 1 Kings 11:38; 13:34; 2 Kings 21:12; Psalm 106:43; Isaiah 22:14; Jeremiah 19:3; Ezekiel 7:3; 18:30; John 8:34; Romans 2:5; Hebrews 10:4,26–31)

 

God’s Character in 1 Samuel

God is holy —2:2

God is powerful —14:6

God is provident —2:7–8; 6:7–10,12; 30:6

God is righteous —12:7

God is sovereign —9:17; 16:12–13; 24:20

God is wise —2:3

God is wrathful —5:6; 6:19; 7:10; 31:6

 

Christ in 1 Samuel

Samuel is a type of Christ in that he is a prophet, priest, and judge. Highly revered by the people, he brings in a new age.

David is one of the primary Old Testament portrayals of the Person of Christ. He is born in Bethlehem, works as a shepherd, and rules as king of Israel. He is the anointed king who becomes the forerunner of the messianic King. His typical messianic psalms are born of his years of rejection and danger (see Ps. 22). God enables David, a man “after His own heart” (13:14), to become Israel’s greatest king. The New Testament specifically calls Christ the “seed of David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3) and “the Root and the Offspring of David” (Rev. 22:16).

 

Key Words in 1 Samuel

Hears: Hebrew shama’ ––1:13; 2:23; 4:14; 7:9; 8:18; 17:11; 23:11; 25:24— also means “to listen” or “to obey.” This important Old Testament word appears over 1,100 times. It implies that the listener is giving his or her total attention to the one who is speaking. In some cases, the word connotes more than listening and indicates obedience to what has been said. Abraham was blessed not only for hearing, but for obeying God’s voice (see Genesis 22:18, where the word is translated “obeyed”). In the third chapter of 1 Samuel, Samuel is listening for God’s Word and is determined to obey it. This young man is an example of the kind of person God delights to use—one who is always ready to receive His Word and follow it.

 

King: Hebrew melek ––2:10; 8:6; 10:24; 15:11; 18:22; 21:11,16; 24:20— may describe a petty ruler of a small city (Joshua 10:3) or a monarch of a vast empire (Esther 1:1–5). An ancient king’s jurisdiction included the military (8:20), the economy (1 Kings 10:26–29), international diplomacy (1 Kings 5:1–11), and the legal system (2 Samuel 8:15). He often served as a spiritual leader (2 Kings 23:1–24), although Israel’s kings were prohibited from some priestly functions (13:9–14). The Bible presents David as an example of the righteous king who set his heart on faithfully serving God (Acts 13:22). God’s promise to give David an everlasting kingdom (2 Samuel 7:16) has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, whose human ancestry is through the royal family of David (Luke 2:4).

Utterly Destroyed: Hebrew charam ––15:3,8–9,15,18,20—refers to the “setting apart” of inappropriate things, usually because of defilement associated with idol worship. In the ancient world, anything sacred or defiled was considered inappropriate for common use and was therefore subject to complete destruction. According to Deuteronomy 13:12–15, Israel was to destroy everyone and everything that was wicked enough to be considered defiled. Violation of this command cost Achan his life (Joshua 7) and Saul his throne (15:9–11). Paul reminds us that we are all wicked, and as a result are defiled and deserve destruction. Yet God in His mercy has chosen to save those who place their trust in Jesus (Romans 3:10–26).

Legacy Standard Bible Review: Translation with New Testament and Psalms

Legacy Standard Bible Review: Translation with New Testament and Psalms

 

Click Me for Photos of Legacy Standard Bible

Read Legacy Standard Bible (Scripture Search Page)

 

 

2021 has brought us one of the most important Bible events in my lifetime, the release of Legacy Standard Bible. I am delighted to be reviewing this Bible and this translation.

 

Note: I purchased this New Testament for review and for use in my Scriptural Studies. Neither Steadfast Bibles nor The Master’s Seminary were involved in this review choice. My opinions are my own.

 

John MacArthur, Master’s Seminary, and the Legacy Standard Bible

It is fitting that Dr. John MacArthur superintended this translation process. If you have ever listened to MacArthur, you know that there is no one more fastidious, technical, or precise in their exposition of the Scripture so, naturally, the most fastidious, technical, and precise Bible translation was overseen by him, along with his most excellent colleagues at the Master’s Seminary, a team lead by the eminent scholar and brilliant expositor, Dr. Abner Chou.

 

Master’s Seminary being involved in the translation endeavor’s is quite impressive, even when you consider that there is no more logical choice to lead the endeavor than Master’s Seminary. The men on the faculty of this seminary have taken the best English translation and have elevated it to absolute perfection.

 

The Translation

The Legacy Standard Bible is the crowning glory in the lineage of the KJV. That lineage looks something like this: KJV>ASV>NASB>NASBU (1995 Update)>Legacy Standard Bible. Legacy Standard Bible keeps the promise of the Lockman Foundation, The Most Literal English Translation. My friend, Dr. Gary Coombs, the President of Southern California Seminary had previously told me that, in his expert opinion (more than 50 years of teaching Greek) the NASB was the most accurate English Translation available. I had to put that into the past tense because of the Legacy Standard Bible.

 

LSB is a form based (word-for-word) translation. Its predecessor, NASB has been accused of being stilted, almost woodenly academic but that problem is not to be found here. LSB is quite readable despite being the most literal English translation presently available.

 

Many translations claim to be the most accurate but make changes to the language to accommodate certain translation traditions or people groups. Conversely, LSB does not make those changes ,thus making LSB both the most literal and the most accurate translation available.

Unique Feature: the Covenant Name, Yahweh

The Legacy standard Bible retains Yahweh, instead of LORD, where God’s Covenant name appears in Scripture. Previously, the Holman Christian Standard Bible attempted this but fell short of rendering the Covenant Name all 6800 times it occurs. To date, the complete translation is still in progress but if the Psalms are any indication, we will see the Divine Name appear all 6800 times.

Personally, this is my favorite feature; God is a title not a name and it is rather impersonal to use that when addressing our Lord. We have been given the  privilege to call God by His Name and we ought to use it.

Unique Feature Number 2: Translating doulos as slave as opposed to servant.

Thayer, Strong, and Vine’s all indicate that, while servant is an accurate translation, slave is to be preferred. In its most common context, servant is better left to translating diakonos instead of doulos.

 

I do not want to get into the politics of things, but slave has a rather negative connotation in the United States, often causing turmoil and, as such, causes most, if not all, translations to render doulos as servant. Understand our relationship to Christ properly entails that we understand that He is Master and we are slave, albeit willing slaves. Retaining slave as a translation was a bold move on the part of the translation team, one that I applaud. The Bible MUST always challenge us to conform to it and can never be compelled to conform to us.

 

On to the review of the physical book

 

The Cover and Binding

Legacy Standard Bible is available in Imitation Leather (I am reviewing today), Patina Cowhide, and Shamar Goatskin. To the best of my knowledge, all come with a paste down liner.

For a Bible designed to be carried in the pocket of one’s jeans, a paste down liner makes sense as it adds durability to the book. I opted to by the blue imitation leather precisely because I do carry this volume in my back pocket and if I damage this copy’s cover in so doing, there is no real harm. All three levels of product have a smythe sewn binding- an obvious choice for a New Testament designed to be carried in the pocket.  Sewing the binding ensures the text block will far outlast the cover.

 

Paper, Layout, Font

This is a French milled paper similar to the exquisite paper in the Lockman Foundation’s famed 2007 Editions. It is a crisp white and tremendously opaque. The paper has a very soft texture to it  which makes turning the page rather easy.

The text of the Scripture is laid out in a double column verse-by-verse format. At this time, the Translator’s footnotes and cross references are not provided, a non-issue for me. An ultraportable New Testament is not designed for the nuanced study that a pastor would engage in at his desk but instead is intended for real time on the go ministry. I am quite certain that at at a later time both tools will be offered.

 

I am not 100% certain as to the font family, but we have a very crisp black letter text. We have an 8-point font with 8.5 leading, It is quite easy on the eyes for such a small  font. Both font and paper performed incredible well in the bright Arizona sun. It even performed well in the lower light setting of my bedside chair.

 

Compared to Other Bibles

The LSB New Testament is similar in size to both the Cambridge Cameo and Pitt Minion Reference Bibles. While every bit as portable as the Pitt Minion, LSB New Testament is far and away the more readable Bible, having a font size that is 2-full points larger. The closer approximation in size, font, and reading experience is the Cameo Reference Bible. Both Bibles are in verse by verse formats, are nearly identical in dimensions  (cameo is thicker), and are surprisingly readable for their size. (I wear bi-focals and generally do not venture smaller than a 9-point font)

 

There are noticeable overtones of the majestic language found in  both KJV and ASV. The most recognizable carry over from the ASV is the rendering of the Divine Name, although LSB corrects it to Yahweh rather than Jehovah. The reverent language overtones in the LSB hearken us back to the olden days of KJV.

 

Legacy Standard Bible is very similar to the 1995 Update of the New American Standard Bible as it should since it is essentially an update of the NASB. It feels like a familiar old friend.

 

Over the course of a week of reading the Legacy Standard Bible, it has been  a natural transition. I have loved NASB for 25 years (2/20/1996 is when I received my first NASB) and moving to LSB just feels like a natural growth cycle.

 

LSB vs NASB 2020

I confess that while I will adopt the Legacy Standard Bible, I will not be adopting the NASB 2020. I find many of the changes to the NASB 2020 to be superfluous and irritating- their gender translations in particular do nothing to add value to the text. Happily, there are no superfluous translation changes when updating to the Legacy Standard Bible.

 

Transitioning to the Legacy Standard Bible

I had mentioned that I plan to transition to the Legacy Standard Bible as a teaching Bible and a couple of colleagues have asked if i thought it might  be difficult to transition. No, but maybe. A person who uses NASB as a main translation will transition relatively easily. (NASB is one of my two main). There will, doubtlessly, be an adjustment period for those using other translations but overall I do not think it will pose much of an issue.

 

For Study

Despite the layout of this particular Bible not having any study aids, the Legacy Standard Bible is very suitable for study. It continues in the NASB’s tradition of being extremely precise, which makes it ideal for word studies etc.

 

For Preaching

I have not yet preached from the LSB since my current series is taking me through the Old Testament. That being said, I have heard John MacArthur read the LSB from his pulpit and have read it aloud myself. The text feels like it has a better cadence than NASB. It is not as lyrical as the KJV but it still rolls off the tongue rather well.

 

Final Thoughts

Given that I love the NASB, it is only natural that I would endorse the Legacy Standard Bible. I have reviewed new translations in the past but not with the level of enthusiasm that I feel for the Legacy Standard Bible.

 

For those of us who stand in the pulpit Sunday after Sunday and enjoy the privilege of teaching the Scripture, I cannot think of a better translation to use.

Losing Your First Love (guest post by Jake Schotter)

Losing Your First Love (guest post by Jake Schotter)

The Lord, through the Apostle John, wrote the church at Ephesus a short yet direct letter detailing their spiritual condition as a congregation. We find this letter in Revelation 2:1-7 and the typical pattern emerges through each letter: we see the destination of the letter, a description of Jesus Christ, the diagnosis of the church (with commendation and condemnation), and a demand for the church based on its health. For the church at Ephesus, they were diagnosed with losing their original love for Christ.

The Ephesians read this letter and saw,

I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate                            evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are                              not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured                       for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that                           you have left your first love… (Revelation 2:2-5).

There was a lot that this church was commended for! Several great things could be said about the Ephesians:

They were a dynamic church (“I know your works”),

They were a dedicated church (“I know your… labor”),

They were a determined church (“you have persevered and have endured”)

They were a disciplined church (“you cannot bear those who are evil”)

They were a discerning church (“you have tested those who say… have found them..”)

But, they were also a declining church (“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love…”). The Christian life stresses the importance of love – not only in action, but in attitude. From Leviticus 19:18 to Psalm 119 to John 13:34-35 to 1 John 3 and in Revelation 2:4, we find the constant theme of loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

The Ephesian church had a great beginning. From Acts 20:27 and 31, we know that the Apostle Paul devoted three years of his ministry to teaching and working among the Ephesians. They did things right based on what they did. Certainly, their work was full of zeal, but they did not have love. Paul would elsewhere emphasize the fact that if you do not have love, it is meaningless to do what you do (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

The church at Ephesus is a great reminder for all Christians that we can lose our flame for Christ. Let us not become so busy and lost in our zealous activities in the name of the Lord that we forget to love the One whom we seek to glorify and serve. We cannot neglect the necessity of maintaining our relationship with God. If we do not pay attention, we will lose our first love and become spiritually apathetic, as well… just like the Ephesians. This is why we find their example in the Scriptures: to see what they did and to heed their example.

Perhaps, it is time to check your spiritual pulse… do you truly love God or are you just here to check your name on the attendance sheet and be seen by people?

 

Jake Schotter, a resident of Goodyear, Arizona, has been preaching the Gospel since he was 9 years old. He is currently working towards B.A. in Biblical Studies with an emphasis in preaching from Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee. He is available for preaching appointments and can be contacted at jakeschotter@gmail.com.

 

Election, Predestination and Foreordination

Election, Predestination and Foreordination

The following is a guest post from James Quiggle

These subjects keep coming up in posts here and there. This essay considers them all together.

God did not predestine anyone to salvation or election. Predestination is “God’s decree to conform the believer to be like Christ according to certain aspects of Christ’s spiritual character and physical form (Romans 8:29–30; 1 John 3:2), and to place the believer in the legal position of God’s son and heir (Ephesians 1:5, 11), so that the believer has an inheritance from God and is God’s heritage.” Predestination is a decree affecting believers only.

God did elect some sinners to salvation. Election is “the choice of a sovereign God, 1) to give the gift of grace-faith-salvation to effect the salvation of some sinners, and 2) to take no action, positive or negative, to either effect or deny salvation to other sinners.” Election is a decree affecting unsaved sinners only.

The word “elect” or “choose” (eklégō, eklektós, eklogé) in every use throughout Scripture never says anything about those not chosen. Jesus chose twelve disciples out of many disciples to be his apostles. There is no indication of future prejudice or bias against those not chosen. Those not chosen continued to be disciples, even though they were not chosen to be apostles. In Acts 6:5 the Jerusalem church chose seven men to make the daily distribution to the needy. Many males met the qualifications; seven were chosen. Those not selected continued as they were.

Election in an illustration, “The river of sinful humankind is justly racing toward the waterfall of death emptying into the lake of eternal fire; God reaches into the river and saves many; he prevents no one from swimming to the safety of the heavenly shore; he puts his saved people on the shore encouraging all to believe on Christ and be saved; he saves all that come to him by faith in Christ.”

God did not make anyone a sinner. This is the issue of foreordination: “the decree of God occurring between his decision to create and his act of creation as to which agents, events, and outcomes, out of all possible agents, events, and outcomes potential in the decision to create, would pass from possible to actual, in which the liberty or contingency of secondary causes is established, in which God is not the author of sin, and in which no violence is done to the free will of his creatures.” Foreordination is God choosing what kind of universe he would create, in order to fulfill his purpose in creating.

In foreordination, in regard to humankind, sin, and salvation, God decided Adam’s freely made choice to sin would pass from possible to actual. Could God have foreordained a different choice in Adam? Perhaps in all the possible choices Adam might make, there was a choice not to sin; perhaps all Adam’s possible choices were to commit his act of sinning? As created beings it is not within our authority to judge the sovereign God for his decisions. God decided Adam’s exercise of free will to choose to sin would pass from possible to actual.

Adam’s freely made choice to sin placed all his descendants in the state of sin. Because of Adam’s freely made choice to sin, God saw all human beings as sinners. In mercy and love God chose to give some sinners his gift of grace-faith-salvation (Ephesians 2:8) to save those particular sinners from their sins. All other sinners God justly left in their sins, never taking any action, neither for nor against, regarding their salvation. There is never any prejudice against those not chosen; they are left to continue as they were before the selection was made.

Why did God foreordain Adam’s freely made choice to sin to pass from possible to actual? God designed into human nature the moral authority to make decisions. God does not act contrary to what he has created. God allows human beings to exercise their free will to make morally right and wrong decisions. God justly warns against wrong decisions and warns against the consequences of wrong decisions. God justly as punishes morally wrong decisions, if not in the here and now, then in the hereafter. God regulates morally wrong decisions through his laws, commandments, providence, and grace. To try and make God culpable for human sin because he foreordained Adam’s choice is to say, “I would not have done it that way”; it is to judge God for being sovereign. As a created being I choose not to judge my Creator.

God foreordained Adam’s exercise of free will to choose to sin. God is not culpable for Adam’s freely made choice to sin, for it was Adam’s misuse of his free will. Nor is God culpable for the freely made choices of Adam’s descendants to reject God and his salvation, because it is the misuse of their free will. Sinners act according to their nature, making choices according to the spiritual boundaries of that nature. Sinning is the natural choice of the sinner, the free exercise of the will to rebel against God and reject his salvation.

God foreordained to save some, choosing to initiate faith in them by giving each his gift of grace-faith-salvation (the salvation principle, Ephesians 2:8, saved by grace through faith) at a particular moment in their personal history. God’s gift changes the rebellious human nature, gives spiritual perception of the issues of sin and death and faith and life, and the person now freed from the rebellion of sin chooses to exercise saving faith. God’s gift guarantees salvation; that is its purpose; that is God’s choice.

God does not act to prevent any non-elect from coming to him in faith and being saved. Their nature, fueled by the sin attribute–the principle of rebellion against God–chooses to reject God and his salvation. God would act savingly toward any non-elect person, if he/she would come to him through faith in God and his testimony of salvation. They need only overcome their sin.

But the person without God’s gift always chooses not to overcome their sin. The sinner freely chooses sinning because his will is of itself always inclined to choose sinning, and as being rebellious and disobedient toward God never desires to change its inclination to choose sinning to rebel against God, disobey his commandments, and seek a path in life apart from God.

There is no force, there is no fate, there are only choices: God’s freely made choices and the person’s freely made choices. God choose to give humankind free will. God choose to allow humankind to exercise their free will, for good or ill. God choose to rescue some from their choice to sin and thereby they freely exercise saving faith in him. God chose to leave others in their sin and chose not to prevent those others from freely deciding not to come to him to be saved. They freely choose to continue with sin, not God.

God gets glory from the exercise of all his attributes. In relation to this particular discussion, God gets glory from his mercy and love eternally rescuing sinners, and God gets glory from his holiness and justice in eternally punishing sinners. If you doubt, consider the cross, where Christ suffered God’s justice against sin (2 Corinthians 5:21) because of his mercy and love for sinners (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:4–5).

(Definitions from Quiggle, “Dictionary of Doctrinal Words”; explanation and illustration from Quiggle, “God’s Choices, The Doctrines of Foreordination, Election, and Predestination.”)

Deuteronomy Essentials

Deuteronomy Essentials

Summary

Deuteronomy follows the ancient pattern of a covenant renewal document:

 

Recollection

Covenant renewal treaties began by recounting the history of the parties involved, just like here. Moses looked back over the 38 years since leaving Mount Sinai, recalling key events, both good and bad (1:1-3:29), and urging continued obedience to God (4:1-40).

 

Requirements

Moses then outlined the terms Israel must follow as their part of the covenant. The Ten Commandments were given central place (5:1-33) and were then summed up in one short commandment: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (6:4-5). Jesus himself would say that this commandment summed up all the others (Mark 12:28-31).

 

This absolute allegiance to God was then underlined by instructions to destroy the Canaanites who might otherwise turn their hearts to their gods (7:1-26). (In fact, this was exactly what would happen.) Warned not to forget God and all he had done (8:1-20), they were reminded that they would conquer Canaan, not because of their own goodness or abilities, but because God was with them. If they feared God alone (10:12-22) and remained obedient, they would indeed be blessed (11:1-32).

 

Chapters 12-26 then give a wide range of religious, social and legal laws governing life in the Promised Land.

 

Ratification

Having outlined the terms of the covenant, Moses listed curses that would follow if they disobeyed (27:1-26; 28:15-68) and blessings if they obeyed (28:1-14). The covenant was then ratified (renewed) (29:1-30:20).

 

The covenant renewed, Moses’ work was complete and he handed over leadership to Joshua, who had been alongside him since leaving Egypt, encouraging him to be strong and courageous for the task ahead (31:1-8). He praised God for all he had done (32:1-43), blessed the twelve tribes (33:1-29) and then died, being buried on Mount Nebo on the very edge of the Promised Land (34:1-12) – so close, and yet so far.

 

 

 

The message

God’s people are called to respond to God’s salvation with love and loyalty, worshiping the one true God in the midst of surrounding cultural idolatries and living in the midst of the nations as a community shaped at every level of life by God’s character of grace, justice, purity, compassion and generosity.

 

Storyline

During His earthly ministry, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy more than any other Old Testament book, such as when he countered Satan’s temptations in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–11). When asked to name the greatest Old Testament commandment, again Jesus turned to Deuteronomy (Matthew 22:37). And when the Pharisees rebuked Him for failing to perform ceremonial washings, He quoted Deuteronomy to rebuke their hypocritical disobedience of God’s commands (Mark 7:10). It was certainly an appropriate book for Jesus to cite. For as does God the Father in Deuteronomy, Jesus promises life to all who follow Him, raises up a new generation of disciples, and never withdraws His offer of salvation, even when men and women rebel against Him.

 

Key Doctrines in Deuteronomy

The Promised Land of Israel (1:8; 6:10; 9:5; 29:13; 30:20; 34:4; Genesis 12:7; 15:5; 22:17; Exodus 33:1; Leviticus 18:24; Numbers 14:23; 34:1–15; Joshua 24:13; Psalm 105:44; Titus 3:5)

The Lord’s faithfulness to give Israel victory over its enemies (2:24–3:11; 29:2,7–8; Numbers 21:3,33–34; Joshua 1:7; 10:8–12; Judges 1:1–4; 1 Kings 2:3; Psalm 18:43; Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:54–57; 1 John 5:4)

 

Israel’s rebellion against the Lord (1:26–46; 9:7–10:11; Exodus 14:11; Numbers 14:1–4; Ezra 4:19; Psalm 106:24; Jeremiah 5:6; Ezekiel 18:31; Daniel 9:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; Jude 1:11,15)

The scattering of Israel as judgment from God (4:25–31; 29:22–30:10; 31:26–29; Leviticus 26:33; 1 Kings 14:15; Nehemiah 1:8; Psalm 106:25–27; Ecclesiastes 3:5; Jeremiah 9:15–16; Amos 9:8)

Holiness of God and His people —God declares Israel His chosen people (7:6–11; 8:6,11,18; 10:12,16–17; 11:13; 13:3–4; 14:1–2; Exodus 19:5–6; Proverbs 10:22; Amos 3: 2; Micah 6:8; Matthew 22:37; Romans 12:1; 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Peter 2:9)

 

God’s Character in Deuteronomy

God is accessible —4:7

God is eternal —33:27

God is faithful —7:9

God is glorious —5:24; 28:58

God is jealous —4:24

God is just —10:17; 32:4

God is loving —7:7–8:13; 10:15,18; 23:5

God is merciful —4:31; 32:43

God is powerful —3:24; 32:39

God is a promise keeper —1:11

God is provident —8:2,15,18

God is righteous —4:8

God is true —32:4

God is unequaled —4:35; 33:26

God is unified —4:32–35,39–40; 6:4–5; 32:39

God is wise —2:7

God is wrathful —29:20,27–28; 32:19–22

 

Christ in Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy speaks directly of the coming of a new Prophet similar to Moses: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear” (18:15). This Prophet is interpreted by both the Old and New Testaments as the Messiah or Christ (34:10; Acts 3:22–23; 7:37).

Moses illustrates a type of Christ in several ways: 1) Both were spared death as babies (Exodus 2; Matthew 2:13–23); 2) Both acted as priest, prophet, and leader over Israel (Exodus 32:31–35; Hebrews 2:17; 34:10–12; Acts 7:52; 33:4–5; Matthew 27:11).

 

Key Verses:

Deuteronomy 10:12, 13; 30:19, 20—“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” (10:12, 13).

 

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them” (30:19, 20).

 

Key Words in Deuteronomy

 

Statutes: Hebrew choq —4:1,14; 5:1; 6:1; 7:11; 10:13; 16:12; 28:15; 30:16—conveys a variety of meanings in the Old Testament, including a verb that means “to decree” or “to inscribe” (Proverbs 8:15; Isaiah 10:1; 49:16). It often refers to commands, civil enactments, legal prescriptions, and ritual laws decreed by someone in authority—whether by humans (Micah 6:16) or by God Himself (6:1). The Law of Moses includes commandments (miswah ), judgments (mispat ), and statutes (choq ) (4:1–2). Israel was charged to obey God’s statutes, and they had pledged to do so (26:16– 17).

 

Swore: Hebrew shaba ‘—6:13; 7:8; 10:20; 13:17; 19:8; 29:13; 31:7—the verb translated swore is related to the word used for the number seven. In effect, the verb means “to bind oneself fully”; that is, “seven times.” In ancient times, oaths were considered sacred. People were promising to be faithful to their word no matter what the personal cost. The Old Testament describes God as taking an oath (Genesis 24:7; Exodus 13:5). He was not forced to do this; He did not have to swear in order to ensure His own compliance with His word. Instead, He made an oath so that His people would be assured that His promises were completely trustworthy.

 

Worship: Hebrew shachah —4:19; 8:19; 11:16; 26:10; 30:17—this most common Hebrew word for worship literally means “to cause oneself to lie prostrate.” In ancient times, a person would fall down before someone who possessed a higher status. People would bow before a king to express complete submission to his rule. Following the example of the ancient people of faith, true Christian worship must express more than love for God; it must also express submission to His will.

 

Cursed: Hebrew ‘arar —7:26; 13:17; 27:15,20,23; 28:16,19—literally means “to bind with a curse.” A curse is the opposite of a blessing. It wishes or prays illness or injury on a person or an object. God cursed the serpent and the ground after the sin of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:14,17).

Jeremiah, in despair, cursed the man who brought news of his birth (Jeremiah 20:14–15). The seriousness of God’s covenant with His people is illustrated by the threat of a curse on any who violate it (28:60–61). In the New Testament, Paul taught that Jesus Christ became a “curse” for us, so that we might be freed form the curses of the Law (Galatians 3:13).

 

 

 

Teaching Structure

Deuteronomy has a covenant structure comparable to ancient treaties. There is a historical prologue (chs. 1-3), a call to loyalty (chs. 4-11), detailed stipulations (chs. 12-26), blessings and curses (chs. 27-28), and witnesses (e.g., 30:19; 31:19; 32). However, its literary structure is nicely balanced, as outlined below, with an outer frame setting the historical context (chs. 1-3; 31-34), an inner frame stressing covenant loyalty (chs. 4-11; 27-30), and a central section that, in broad terms, follows the flow of the Decalogue in “preaching” how Israel should live.

 

  1. Looking back: remembering the wilderness (chs. 1-3)
  • Warning from past failure (ch. 1)
  • Encouragement from past victories (chs. 2-3)
  1. Called to covenant love and loyalty (chs. 4-11)

Know the Lord and avoid idolatry (ch. 4)

  • Ten Words: the Decalogue recalled (ch. 5)
  • One Lord, one love, all of life (ch. 6)
  • The challenge of election (ch. 7)
  • Remember God in the bad times and in the good times (ch. 8)
  • Not because of your righteousness (ch. 9)
  • What does God require? (ch. 10)
  • The crucial choice: life or death; blessing or curse (ch. 11)
  1. Decalogue unpacked: guidance for the life and culture of God’s people (chs. 12-26)
  • Exclusive worship of the living God alone (chs. 12-13)
  • The sabbatical rhythms of life, meant for economic generosity (chs. 14-16)
  • The responsibility of social, religious and political authorities (chs. 17-18)
  • The sanctity of life in differing contexts (chs. 19-21)
  • Handling disordered sexuality (ch. 22)
  • The claims of justice and compassion in society (chs. 23-25)
  • Celebrating God’s grace and responding in practical obedience (ch. 26)
  1. Confirming the covenant relationship (chs. 27-30)
  • Blessings and curses sanction and protect the covenant (chs. 27-28)
  • Anticipated failure, future grace, present challenge (chs. 29-30)
  1. Looking forward: anticipating the Land (chs. 31-34)
  • Israel’s history in advance, in prophetic song (chs. 31-32)
  • The blessings, death and epitaph of Moses (chs. 33-34)