The Studies

  

2 Corinthians Chapter 11

Verse 1: Foolishness can be found in the simplicity of the gospel, requiring simple faith in Christ. - see Matthew 17 vs. 17; 2 Corinthians 5 vs. 13

Verse 2: This simple faith is soiled and spoiled when churches open themselves to all sorts of other teachings and theologies - see Hosea 2 vs. 19; Ephesians 5 vs. 26 and 27; 2 Corinthians 4 vs. 14
              Christ will come again for His unsullied Bride - see John 3 vs. 29; Revelation 19 vs. 7; Ephesians 1 vs. 22 and 23; Matthew 16 vs. 18; Hebrews 12 vs. 23.
              There is only one true Church - see Luke 14 vs. 15.  Note also Matthew 22 vs. 1-14 - the parable of the wedding feast. Some refuse the invitation; some try to attend under false pretences (nominality, religiosity).

Verse 3: The devil is crafty, subtle and cunning and easily outwits those who lack a simple faith in Christ. - see John 8 vs. 44; 1 Timothy 2 vs. 14; 2 Thessalonians 2 vs. 9; Revelation 20 vs. 7 and 8.

Verse 4: There is only one foundation - Jesus Christ; only one gospel, through His crucifixion and resurrection, and only one Spirit, the Holy Spirit, who encourages us to weigh carefully what we are hearing, to discern what is of God, what is of human invention and what is of satan. - see 1 Corinthians 3 vs. 11; Romans 8 vs. 15; Galations 1 vs. 6-9. If these early followers were being deceived, how much more shall we?

Verse 5: Beware! There will always be 'super-apostles' who people will place all there hopes in and revere their charisma. - see 2 Corinthians 12 vs. 11. The marks of a true apostle are hard work and humility. - see 1 Corinthians vs, 10; Luke 17 vs. 10

Verse 6: Paul was an educated and knowledgeable writer. - see Ephesians 3 vs. 4. he may not have been a brilliant speaker, but he expressed his knowledge through the way he lived. - see 2 Corinthians 10 vs. 10 and 11. The ability to speak well and draw a crowd is not necessarily a gift from God.

Verse 7: There is no disgrace for being paid to preach, in fact, the Church should support its preachers. But the gospel of salvation is free. We are saved by grace alone, so the message should be preached free of charge whenever necessary. - see 1 Corinthians 9 vs. 18; 2 Corinthians 12 vs. 13. Remember, Paul didn't avoid hard work. - see Acts 18 vs. 3; 1 Corinthians 4 vs. 12

Verse 8: Each local church should financially support those who lead and teach - see Philippians 4 vs. 15 and 18. The church in Corinth didn't support Paul, who encouraged all the churches as an apostle - see vs. 28.

Verse 9: Paul repeatedly makes the point that has never and will never ask for financial support. Far more important is winning their souls for Christ. - see 2 Corinthians 12 vs. 13, 14 and 16.

Verse 10: Paul is sure of his message - a message from God. - see Romans 9 vs. 1. he will preach it in spite of opposition. - see Acts 18 vs. 12. He is not afraid to die rather than preach. - see 1 Corinthians 9 vs. 15. Where are the leaders who preach unflinchingly to the world today?

Verse 11: The driving force is God's love for Mankind - to open peoples' eyes to see His grace, His salvation, His love - see 2 Corinthians 12 vs. 15; Galatians 5 vs. 6

Verse 12: There are others who preach with impure motives - bringing honour to themselves rather than God, or promoting a technique, a style or a tradition.

Verse 13: We should constantly discern between the true preachers and those who are unrighteous - flase, deceitful, twist the Word of God to their own ends - see 2 Peter 2 vs. 1; Titus 1 vs. 10; Revelation 2 vs. 2; Matthew 7 vs. 15; Matthew 24 vs. 11 and 24; 1 John 4 vs. 1-3. Some deceptions are subtle.

Verse 14: Demonstrates how subtle satan can be - see Revelation 20 vs. 10. These warnings tell us we should be constantly on our guard.

Verse 15: More warnings of subtle deceit - Philippians 3 vs. 19. Some may preach righteousness without recognizing that only true salvation can lead to a righteous life. By God's grace alone can the Christian live righteously, because he has been made righteous - see Romans 3 vs. 22.

Verse 16: If people think us fools, all the more incentive to preach the gospel.

Verse 17: We are daily bombarded with advertisements, but we are far more sure about the genuiness of our product.

Verse 18: We can boast more confidently than the world boasts.

Verse 19: See 1 Corinthians 3 vs. 18-23. This is what the world considers as wisdom, which gives plaudits and honours to men and women. God's wisdom seems foolish in comparison. The Corinthian church would rather honour men than God, which is why Paul is so cynical. There are churches and church denominations today which clearly do the same.

Verse 20: It is so easy to become enslaved to a tradition, a system or a leader e.g. the vicar or the charismatic leader, rather than relying on God's wisdom - see Galatians 2 vs. 4 and 5; Matthew 23 vs. 13 and 14; Luke 20 vs. 46 and 47; Acts 20 vs. 29-31.

Verse 21: Paul admits that he lacks the charisma of others - see 2 Corinthians 10 vs. 1 and 10. he had every reason to boast about the law, and all he had achieved in the flesh, but he recognized this counted for nothing. All he would boast about was his faith in Christ - see Philippians 3 vs. 2-14.

Verse 22: In the flesh, Paul has all the qualifications others boast about - see Philippians 3 vs. 5; Romans 9 vs. 1-4. Do we similarly boast about our church, our leaders, great preachers, our worship leaders?

Verse 23: Neither should we boast about what we have done - see 1 Corinthians 15 vs. 10. Paul had plenty of experiences to boast about - see Acts 16 vs. 23; 2 Corinthians 6 vs. 4 and 5. Paul is a servant, purely by the grace of God. Christ, and Him alone, should be our boast - see 2 Corinthians 3 vs. 6; Ephesians 3 vs. 7 and 8; Colossians 1 vs. 23. 

Verse 24: 'The forty lashes minus one' - see Deuteronomy 25 vs. 3

Verse 25: 'Stoned' - see Acts 14 vs.19; 'beaten with rods' - see Acts 16 vs. 22 and 23; 'shipwrecked' - see Acts 27.

Verse 26: A further list of all that Paul had been through - see Acts 9 vs. 23-25; Acts 14 vs. 5-7; Acts 9 vs. 23; Acts 21 vs. 31; Galatians 2 vs. 4
                Where are the men of Paul's stature in the churches today, who speak the truth and preach the gospel in every situation, whether to Christians or non-Christians, regardless of the consequences? God's grace is sufficient to bring us through every trial.

Verse 27: There is a blessing of endurance through persecution - see 1 Corinthians 4 vs. 11 and 12; 2 Corinthians 6 vs. 3-10. Similarly, a spiritual blessing comes from fasting - see Acts 13 vs. 2 and 3; Acts 14 vs. 23.

Verse 28: Paul's concern reflects Christ's concern, and should be our concern - see Acts 20 vs. 31; 1 Thessalonians 3 vs. 10. We should be daily anxious for the state of our churches - see 2 Corinthians 12 vs. 20

Verse 29: We should deplore and burn with anger over the weakness and sinfulness of many of the churches today - see 2 Corinthians 2 vs. 4

Verse 30: To preach Christ alone can make you tremble, even fearful, but that allows God to have pre-eminence, rather than the person preaching - see 1 Corinthians 2 vs. 1-5. In our weakness lies our strength - see 2 Corinthians 12 vs. 7-10. Beware those who come with boldness, confidence, self-assurance - the future of the Body of Christ is in the hands of the meek and humble.

Verse 31: This is the inspired Word of God which Paul has delivered from Christ.

Verse 32 and 33: We may be weak, but He is strong and will confound the enemy - see Acts 9 vs. 23-25.

 

Jonah Chapter 1

Verse 1: Jonah means 'Dove'. He was the first foreign missionary. - see Matthew 12 vs. 38-41 where Jesus refers to Jonah. See 2 Kings 14 vs. 23-27. Jonah was a prophet in an undistinguished period of Israel's history. He lived in Gath-hepher of Zebulun (north of Nazareth in Galilee) - see John 7 vs. 52.  Jonah's character, and God's delaing with him foreshadow the subsequent history of Israel.

Verse 2: Nineveh was built by Cush, son of Ham - see Genesis 10 vs. 8-12. For Nineveh's size see Jonah 4 vs.11. How easily we forget when God speaks to us!

Verse 3: It's impossible to run away from God - see Psalm 139 vs. 7-10. But it is possible to be out of His presence - see Genesis 4 vs. 16 (Cain had also been disobedient). Out of His presence means out of His protection, provision and purpose. See Jonah's prayer of repentance in chapter 2.

Verse 4: See Psalm 107 vs. 23-32. God (Jesus) can calm the storm, or cause the storm, when He speaks - why would He want to do that? Do we ignore God's Word of correction/judgement at our peril? - see Psalm 148 vs. 8

Verse 5: See Acts 27 vs. 18-26 - Paul's concern was for what God was saying/doing. He had complete confidence in God. The sailors, however, were more concerned with saving their lives and their ship.
              Sometimes we sleep because things are out of control (Jonah) - avoiding any possible action. At other times we sleep because we are confident that He is in control. - see Luke 8 vs. 22-25 and then we are in control, and able to take action when necessary to meet the storms.

Verse 6: Many, however, can testify to God's intervention when we cry put to Him. see Psalm 107 vs. 28

Verse 7: God even used the 'casting of lots' to His own purpose. Note that these were pagan sailors - see Proverbs 16 vs. 33

Verse 8: These are the questions which should have been asked before they set sail! Anyone becoming a Christian should be encouraged to ask questions. Asking questions shows maturity.

Verse 9: Our God is the One true God - all other gods are made by men. We cannot compromise this! - see Acts 17 vs. 24; Psalm 146 (especially verse 6). Christianity is pointless if we believe otherwise. Likewise, there is only one way to know God - Jesus saves. God rescued Jonah; God rescues us. We do not have to work our way up to God; He came down and rescued us.

Verse 10: Their fear was the product of not listening carefully, and not asking questions. Ask, seek, knock - you will discern what is and what is not of the Kingdom of God.

Verse 11 and 12: Jonah knew that judgement was for him alone. The beginning of repentance is to face God's judgement and admit to sin. This challenges us, and also gives us guidance over what to do with those who are obviously avoiding repentance in our churches - give them to God. - see 1 Chronicles 21 vs. 17.

Verse 13: See Proverbs 21 vs. 30. Is it for us to interfere when God would judge someone for their rebellion? How do we feel about giving people into God's hands and withdrawing our assistance and counsel?

Verse 14 to end: See Psalm 115 vs. 3. Does the thought of withdrawing our help or counsel make us afraid that God will judge us for not helping? Withdrawing can sometimes do more good than wasting time pursuing a lost cause.
                            Ultimately we have no right to tell God what He should do. His ways are not ours. His thoughts are not ours. He is God. -see Daniel 4 vs. 35; Genesis 9 vs. 5 and 6. These sailors, although they worshipped other gods, understood the law of God. 

 

John Chapter 11

Verses 1 and 2: Mary of Bethany is one of six Mary's mentioned in the New Testament. She is the sister of Martha and Lazarus - see Luke 10 vs. 38-42. Could it be that in the Kingdom of God it is more valuable to be worshipping rather than doing? - see John 12 vs. 1-3. Martha is serving, but there is a world of difference between the 'work' of Luke 10, and the serving of Luke 12. In the latter, worship is made up of a) humility and honour in His presence (Lazarus) b) Serving (Martha) c) Adoration (Mary)
                          This incident probably took place at Simon the Tanner's house. - see Mark 14 vs. 3 and Luke 7 vs. 36-50. What is Jesus looking for - political correctness? (she was the wrong person to do the anointing); adherence to the law?; repectability?; knowledge and application? - No, He saw humility, repentance and adoration.
                           Our church structures, outreach programmes, childrens work etc. are often far removed from what God is looking for.

Verse 3: 'the one You love' - His love for Lazarus was clearly evident - see verses 5 and 36 - although His tears in verse 35 may not have been emotional at the death of lazarus, but more prompted by the lack of faith of those around Him. Nevertheless, He hurt to see those He loved hurting - see verse 33. 

Verse 4: There are moments when God chooses to dramatically demonstrate His power and His glory - His power over sin - see John 9 vs. 1-3, and over sickness and death, as in the case of Lazarus. We should never discount this possibility (vs. 40).
               The result is always that Jesus is glorified - see John 14 vs. 13 and 17 vs. 1 (neither should we be eager to uncover a person's sins, or the sins of their parents, as the cause of their sickness.)
                How important it is, therefore, to hear what God is saying as we pray with the sick.

Verses 5, 6 and 7: Love knows what is best, is not hurried into spontaneous action, and is not under duty to rerspond.

 Verse 8: How refreshing that Jesus did not decide on the obvious or sensible course of action, i.e. stay away from Judea - see John 8 vs. 59 and 10 vs. 31 for instances when the Jews had tried to stone Him. Neither was He persuaded by the majority.

Verses 9 and 10: Here was a Man closely in touch with, and ever ready to pursue, His Father's will. Jesus, the light of the world, can be followed securely.

Verse 11: Why 'fallen asleep', not, 'died'? - see Matthew 9 vs. 24; Acts 7 vs. 60 and 1 Corinthians 15 vs. 51. Death has a finality, falling asleep does not. - see 1 Thessalonians 4 vs. 13-18.

Verses 12 and 13: Either Jesus is a) deliberately misleading the disciples, or b) looking at death from a different dimension. The disciples use Man's wisdom i.e. sleep is a good healer. Jesus sees from God's point of view.

Verses 14 and 15: Jesus is to use this incident to increas the faith of the disciples.

Verse 16: Thomas remained convinced that Jesus would die if He returned to Judea. It seemed that the mention of the death of Lazarus only confirmed this conviction.

Verses 17 and 18: On arrival, Lazarus had not just died, but had been dead for four days.

Verse 19: Was there a sense in which the Jewish mourners came out of a sense of duty? - see verse 31. Mary left without announcing where she was going. Comforting from a sense of duty cannot replace the presence of the Comforter. We must have the humility to stand aside and allow the mourner to meet the Comforter.

Verse 20: Why didn't Mary also go out immediately to meet Jesus? In Luke 10 vs. 38-42 she sat at His feet while Martha busied herself. - see Isaiah 26 vs. 3. Mary is thoughtful, unhurried - there is room for both.

Verse 21: No-one considered that Lazarus would be raised from the dead, but only thought about what Jesus might have done had He come earlier. - see vs. 32 and 37.

Verse 22: Yet in Martha there is a glimmer of understanding that nothing is impossible with God. God will do whatever Jesus asks, because He is the spotless Son of God. - see John 9 vs. 30-33

Verse 23: 'Do not be anxious'

Verse 24: Martha understood the promise of resurrection at the final judgement, but did not perceive it could happen now, even though she stood before the One who could authorize resurrection.

Verses 25 and 26: Jesus - the source of all life. - see John 1 vs. 4. All who believe receive this life. He declares 'I am' - see John 8 vs. 58 - with the power to give life - see John 5 vs. 21; John 6 vs. 39-40; Revelation 1 vs. 18. He is talking about eternal life - see John 12 vs. 25; John 3 vs. 16. 'Never die' - here is our assurance and security - see John 14 vs. 19; Jude vs.1.

Verse 27: Martha re-echoes Peter's words in Matthew 16 vs. 16 - many people declared Jesus to be the Messiah (see John 6 vs. 14) without fully understanding the significance of this declaration.

Verse 28: Consequently, Martha tells Mary the teacher/master is here. Although Jesus referred to Himself by these terms (see Matthew 26 vs. 18; John 13 vs. 13) they do not encompass the power of the One who declares resurrection from the dead.

Verse 29: Mary is quick to respond.

Verse 30: But why did she stay at home in the first place? - see vs. 20

Verse 31: Perhaps here we have the answer to the question above - she accepted the comfort of the Jews, but was not satisfied by it! often we content ourselves with the ritual, but yearn for the 'Life'.

Verse 32: Mary echoes the words of Martha in vs. 21. However, 'fell down at His feet' conveys much more of the power of His Lordship. - see Revelation 1 vs. 17

Verse 33:Comforting and re-assuring to know that Jesus is 'deeply moved' and troubled. - see vs. 38; John 12 vs. 27. He responded to the weeping.

Verse 34: They took Him to the place, not merely answered His question. Prayer is most effective if we take Jesus to the place where prayer is needed, not just pray from afar.

Verses 35 and 36: See Luke 19 vs. 41. Did He weep because of the sin of humanity which had caused the penalty of death? Or was He weeping for a friend He loved - who was not one of the chosen disciples, and was not part of the religious structure, but simply a friend He loved?

Verse 37: They believed He could have healed him, but did not consider the possibility of resurrection.

Verse 38: Perhaps foreshadowed His own tomb - see Matthew 27 vs. 60; Luke 24 vs. 2; John 20 vs. 1.

Verse 39: This time He called for people to roll away the stone, not angels. Martha - forever practical, down-to-earth, logical thinking - seemingly forgetting who Jesus is.

Verse 40: See vs. 4. Martha is to learn the 'immediacy' of the Word of God - God's glory revealed NOW.

Verse 41: He was completely sure of the outcome before He prayed - thus, He simply gave thanks. This is where our doubts cause us to stumble. We end up asking, because we are unsure whether we will be receiving.

Verse 42: He defers to the Father for the sake of the people, even though He has complete authority.

Verse 43: When He commands it is clear, concise and effective. - see Luke 7 vs. 14; Matthew 8 vs. 8; John 5 vs. 25; 1 Thessalonians 4 vs. 16.

Verse 44: Again, foreshadows His own burial. - see John 19 vs. 40 and 20 vs. 7. Suddenly, Romans 8 vs. 1 and 2 have a physical significance, not just spiritual. - see Galatians 5 vs. 1.

Verse 45: Miracles are difficult to argue with - see John 2 vs. 23; John 7 vs. 31; Exodus 14 vs. 31.

Verse 46: Never forget a) the enemy b) the doubters.

Verse 47: A meeting will always ensure safety in numbers - even if some disagree with the decisions of the meeting (many will be afraid to voice their disagreement anyway).

Verse 48: They feared the consequences of Roman interference, and completely misunderstood Jesus' intentions. - see John 6 vs. 15.

Verses 49 and 50: Caiaphas has persuasive authority.

Verse 51: He backs this up with fulfillment of prophecy according to Scripture. - see Isaiah 49 vs. 6

Verse 52: It is easy to use Scripture to strengthen you own self-centred desires.

Verse 53: No-one questioned Caiaphas.

Verses 54 - 57: The timing of His death was important. He was in control throughout. He would die at the right time.

 

 Job Chapter 16

Verses 1 and 2: 'miserable comforters' - his friends have obviously made judgements and assumptions without facts - this comforts no-one. - see Job 13 vs. 4

Verse 3: Listen to those who are suffering - what they have to say is important - don't dismiss their cries and insert your own reasoning. - see Job 6 vs. 26

Verse 4: Being critical/running someone down is the easy option. - see Psalm 22 vs. 7; Psalm 109 vs. 25. It is easier also, to go along with the crowd. - see Matthew 27 vs. 39

Verse 5: We must always bring encouragement and comfort.

Verse 6: We reach a point in suffering where neither talking to someone, or silence, can bring comfort.

Verse 7: There is no-one to turn to - there seems to be no help, no encouragement. - see Job 7 vs. 3; Job 19 vs. 13-15. It reminds us of Christ on the cross. - see Matthew 27 vs. 46.

Verse 8: There seems no doubt to Job that God is responsible for his physical/emotional condition. - see Job 19 vs. 20

Verse 9: A fearsome picture of God's anger. - see Hosea 6 vs. 1.

Verse 10: Added to this is the mockery of men. - see Psalm 35 vs. 15; Isaiah 50 vs. 6; Psalm 22 vs. 13. - again a reminder of Christ's death.

Verse 11: God uses evil to bring about His purposes.

Verse 12: From our point of view, our suffering appears senseless and unreasonable. - see Job 9 vs. 17; Job 7 vs. 20. Why me Lord?

Verses 13 and 14: There is simply no rest from the constant torment.

Verse 15, 16 and 17: Neither does deep repentance bring relief - emptied totally of 'self', as far as is humanly possible.

Verse 18: Cherished sin can lead to God's anger. - see Psalm 66 vs. 18-19.

Verse 19: Job knows that God will find no conscious fault in him. - see Job 19 vs. 25-27.

Verse 20: His response to God far outways the importance of his response to his friends.

Verse 21: See Job 31 vs. 35 and 9 vs. 33. Having a friend to intercede is helpful, when you are in deep distress.

Verse 22: In this reflection there seems the desire to make something worthwhile of life before it ends. - see Job 10 vs. 20-21.