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Overview of Reading August 26, 2014-September 6, 2014 Judges

 

Overview of Judges

The author of Judges is unknown but the Talmud identifies the author as Samuel. Judges cover the period from Joshua to the time of the Samuel and the kings. God warns Israel by not driving out the Canaanites as He commanded, the Canaanites “will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you” (2:3). This sets up a persistent cyclical pattern of apostasy and spiritual renewal. The nation falls into rebellion to God by serving the Canaanite Baals. God lifts His hand from the nation, they are defeated in battle and they end up in bondage. So they would cry out to the Lord and God would send a deliverer, a judge, to bring them to renewal and restoration. After that judges is off the scene another generation arises that forgets the Lord and the pattern is repeated. Through the book is a sense of the refrain “Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord”; and “In those days there was no kind in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (17:6; 21:25; 18:1; 19:1).

A judge in the book is not a judicial magistrate but a warrior and rescuer. It’s interesting to notice many shortcomings seen in the lives of most of the judges. Yet, God still uses them to fulfill His purpose of delivering Israel. Yahweh loves and cares for His people and He is the true hero and rescuer behind every story. Despite the Lord’s constant deliverance of His people, the situation in Israel continues to spiral down until the time of Samuel.  The book of Judges reminds us that sin and idolatry will bring us into bondage. Yet, God loves and cares for us and if we will truly repent and turn to Him, He will deliver us. Jesus Christ is the only perfect hero and He is our true deliverer and rescuer.

Overview of Reading August 13, 2014-August 25, 2014 Joshua

Overview of Joshua

 

The author is unknown but the book has been attributed to Joshua, himself, who certainly contributed to the book (Joshua 24:26). The use of the pronoun “we” throughout indicates the author was an eyewitness.
Joshua records Israel’s history with the purpose of instructing and explaining God’s perspective on the events. There are three divisions of the book.

  • Chapters 1:1–5:12 preparation for conquest and entrance into the land by miraculously crossing the Jordan River.
  • Chapters 5:13–12:24 tell the story of the conquest of the land. It begins with the miraculous divine overthrow of Jericho, followed by the surprising defeat at Ai. These two initial battles show us this is Yahweh’s battle and Israel’s devotion to Him will be more important than the size or strength of its army.
  • Chapters 13–21 narrate the distribution of the land. These chapters are the least captivating reading in the book but they demonstrate God’s faithfulness in fulfilling His Promises.

 

Not only does God have them invade to acquire the land but to eliminate the current possessors of the land. The Canaanites were a wicked and depraved people the Lord is graciously removing from the earth, as a surgeon removes cancer from a patient. These battles were not just military battles but behind the other nations were the demon gods of Canaan. The stories in Joshua, therefore, become an analogy for us of the spiritual battles we face and the book of Ephesians becomes a New Testament corollary to Joshua (Eph. 6:12-18).

 

The name Joshua is the Hebrew equivalent to the Greek name Jesus. Joshua serves as a type of Christ, who leads His people into victory over dark powers. There are many lessons for spiritual warfare that can be derived from the physical battles Israel faces. The battles are won, not by might, or power but by God’s Spirit (Zech. 4:6). The red cord in the window of the house of Rahab that saved her and her family, reminds us of the blood Jesus shed to save us.

 

Overview of Reading July 26-August 12, 2014 Deuteronomy

Overview of Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy is attributed to Moses and is a rehearsal and review of the Covenant of Sinai and the Law of Moses for the next generation. The title means a “second giving of the law”. The book of Deuteronomy greatly influences the rest of the Scripture. Deuteronomy’s key verse is the Shema found in chapter 6, verses 4-5. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Jesus called it the Great Commandment (Matt. 22:36-38).

God reminds Israel that they will possess the land promised to Abraham. They are to worship only Yahweh and reject idolatry. Chapters 27 and 28 rehearse the blessings and cursing of following or rejecting God’s law. The book ends with the succession of leadership to Joshua. Joshua will take up where Deuteronomy left of, charging Joshua to be strong and of good courage (31:23).

Overview of Reading June 30-July 25, 2014 Numbers

Overview of Numbers

 

Numbers is attributed to Moses and the title derives from the census in the book. Yet, it’s not all numbers. There is narrative that includes the story of the wizard Balaam and the spies making a reconnaissance mission into Canaan. We find more laws and the powerful Aaronic blessing. Numbers it the story of Israel’s journey from Mount Sinai, through the wilderness to the plains of Moab. Due to their unbelief they are unable to go into the land of Promise and the next generation will carry out the conquest. God has made a promise of the land and he will fulfill it, despite their reluctance and failures. Though the people are complaining, disobedient and unfaithful, God is faithful.

Overview of Reading June 14-27, 2014 Leviticus

 Overview of Leviticus

 

The word Leviticus means, “matters pertaining to the Levites.” Yet, the book covers items beyond those dealing with the tribe of the priests. Leviticus was the first book taught to Jewish children. It is a continuation of Exodus, as God continues giving instructions to the nation. Chapters 1-16 deal with the Tabernacle. Beginning June 28-29, Radiant Church will launch a study of the Tabernacle on the weekends. Chapter 17-25 is a code of holiness. A theme of this section is to “be holy, because I am holy.” To be holy means to be “set apart.” The Lord has set apart His people from all people on the earth. Another key verse in the book is “love your neighbor as yourself” (19:18). Israel has been set apart for a vertical relationship with God that influences their horizontal relationship with one another. This is still the Lord’s plan for His people.

Week of May 19, 2014 – May 25, 2014 Genesis 48-Exodus 10

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of May 19, 2014 – May 25, 2014

Genesis 48-Exodus 10

 

Overview of Exodus

 

The book of Exodus covers the time from the death of Joseph to Israel’s encampment at Mount Sinai. We read of God’s miraculously delivering Israel from Egyptian captivity (demonstrating God’s faithful love and great power), giving them His law at Sinai (establishing a covenant with them) and providing the tabernacle (where God can dwell with His people). Despite the miracles the people regularly complain and rebel against God and are disciplined. Chapters 1-20, 32-35 is narrative, while by chapters 21-31, 35-40 deals with laws and instructions for the tabernacle. This summer (beginning June 28-29) Radiant Church will be doing a study on The Tabernacle). The book ends with God’s glory filling the tabernacle and preparation for moving to the Promised Land.

 

 

Exodus 1-10

 

Joseph has been forgotten and Israel brought into Egyptian servitude. Moses escapes the imposed infanticide in a basket, to grow up as a privileged member of the house of Pharaoh. When he sees an Egyptian mistreating an Israelite, he steps in to protect the Jewish man and in so doing accidently kills the Egyptian. He is forced to flee to the desert, where God calls him to return to Egypt and deliver His people. God reveals His name to Moses as YAHWEH (the self-existent one). Moses confronts Pharaoh with a power encounter where YAHWEH is shown to be superior to the dark occult arts of Egypt. This initial confrontation results in a greater burden on the Israelite slaves. What follows are the ten mighty plagues on Egypt.

 

Invoking God’s Name

 

Invoking God’s Name

 

“May the LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” 

Numbers 6:24-26

 

May you know Elohim’s sovereign rule in your life. When you don’t understand what’s going on, may He grant you the grace to still trust Him. May you know He is at work, even when you can’t see it.

May El Shaddai be more than enough for You. May you find your fulfillment and contentment in Him.

May Adonai be your Lord, Master and Ruler. May you love Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.

May Yahweh reveal Himself to you, so that everyday you come to know Him better and come to love Him more.

May Jehovah Tsidkenu be your righteousness. May you experience the fullest joy in knowing your sins have been wiped away and you stand before God as if you had never sinned. May you know you are accepted by God, as if you were Jesus.

May Jehovah Maccaddesh be your sanctifier. May you know that you are set apart for His purpose and be sanctified spirit, soul and body. May you experience a reverential fear of God and have a holy hatred for sin. May God be at work in you both to will and do of His good pleasure. May you walk in holiness, purity and wholeness.

May Jehovah Shalom be your peace. May you intimately know the God of peace, experience peace with God and walk in the peace of God that passes human understanding. May you have peace like a river in your mind, your emotions and your relationships.

May Jehovah Shammah be with you. May you be a person of the presence who knows, moment by moment, intimate fellowship with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Even when you are unable to sense God’s presence may you know to the core of your being that He will never leave you and never forsake you. May His hand be with you and upon you in all you do for His glory.

May Jehovah Rapha be your healer. May you experience His healing and wholeness in your mind, will, emotions and in every cell of your body. May you be made whole and made well from sickness and disease. May you lay hands on the sick and see them recover.

May Jehovah Jireh meet your every need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. May you always look to Him as Your provider. May you prize Him above every material possession and may you experience a contentment that doesn’t require more to be satisfied. May you know a heart of generosity and have more than enough to meet your needs and to supply the needs of others.

May Jehovah Roi be your Shepherd. May you follow His guidance and His leadership in every area of your life. May you know His good and perfect will for Your life. May His Word be a light unto your path and a lamp unto your feet.

May Jehovah Nissi be your victory. May you always know that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. May you be more than a conqueror in every situation of life through Him who loves you. May you walk out into life with an expectation of God’s blessing and favor in all that you do for the glory of God.

Now may you be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy. In the name above all names, the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Prayers of Blessing by a Father and a Mother

A father’s blessing:

 

Lord, I come before You today to call down a blessing on my son and my daughter.

 

I thank You for blessing me with this son and daughter.  I know that they are a gift from You to me and their mother — but that ultimately they belong to You and You love them far more than I ever could.  But today I come before You in my position as the spiritual head of this home, to seek Your blessing on them and to impart my blessing upon them.

 

My son, my precious son, I am so proud of the person you are becoming.  You are so special to me, and I know God has a marvelous plan for your life.

 

So as your earthly father, I speak a blessing over you.  By faith, I call into being those things which are not yet seen.  By faith, I call forth all that God has gifted you with and called you to be and to do.

 

By faith, I speak peace and prosperity into your life.  By faith, I claim divine protection over you and divine provision for you all the days of your life.

 

My daughter, my beautiful, lovely daughter.  You are precious in God’s eyes and precious to me.  You are such a delight and joy to me.  I am so grateful that God brought you into my life, but I know He has an even greater purpose for your life.

 

So as your earthly father, I speak a special blessing over you tonight.  By faith, I call forth all the potential that God has placed in you and all the promises and plans He had for you from the time you were in your mother’s womb. 

 

By faith, I claim – and proclaim – the peace of God in your life, the love of God to you and through you, and the protection of Almighty God upon you all the days of your life.

 

Though you will always be my precious little girl, I release you into the care of Your heavenly father and into His plans and purposes for your life.

 

Father God, take my dear son and my precious daughter and lead them on the unique paths You have laid out for them.  Bless them and protect them until they see you face to face.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

A mother’s blessing

 

 

Father God, I come before You tonight to call down a blessing on my son and my daughter.

 

I thank You for entrusting these precious treasures to me and for giving me the opportunity to provide them with nurture, comfort and teaching in their formative years.

 

Though they will always have a special place in my heart, I know they belong to You and that You have plans for them that are so much greater than what I could ever imagine.

 

And so, I come before You tonday in my God-given position as their mother to seek Your blessing on them and to impart my blessing upon them as well.  Father God, from my mother’s heart I cry out to You on behalf of my son and daughter.

 

My son, my precious son.  I am so proud of the man you are becoming, and I can’t wait to see all that God is going to accomplish, in you and through you.  You are a special person, a one-of-a-kind, and I know you’re going to change the world.

 

And so, as your earthly mother, I speak a special blessing over you tonight.  By faith, I call forth a mighty enabling and a mighty anointing in your life. 

 

By faith, I call forth physical strength, strength of character, Godly wisdom and Godly direction in all your pursuits. By faith, I speak success and prosperity into your life.   May all that your hand touches be blessed of the Lord.

 

Though a part of me will always see you as my little boy, I want more than anything to see you as a mighty man of God.   And so I release you into the will of God, and the hands of God.    Go forth and do great exploits for the Lord.

 

My daughter, my darling daughter.   You have been my joy and my delight.  I have loved being your mother, and now I hope that I can be your friend for the rest of your life.  Though I love you with all my heart, I can never be a friend to you like Jesus.  I know He has a marvelous plan for your life.

 

But as your earthly mother, I will never stop praying for you and praying blessings over you.  And so as your mother, I speak a special blessing over you tonight.

 

By faith, I call forth all the plans and promises of God for your life.  May you become the mighty woman of God that He has called you and gifted you to be.   May you delight His heart as you have brought delight to me.

 

May you continually know the peace of God in your heart and the power of God in your life.  May you sow peace in the lives of others.  May you always know the prosperity and provision of Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our provider. Go forth, my daughter, and make a difference in this world.

 

Father God, I release my precious son and my darling daughter into Your loving hands. Post Your mighty guardian angels around them.  Keep them safe from physical harm and safe from the evil one.  

 

Oh God, bless my son and daughter.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

 

Week of May 12, 2014 – May 18, 2014 Genesis 37-47

Overview of Genesis

 

The word “genesis” means beginnings and it begins the Bible. Genesis covers a period from creation until the death of Joseph in Egypt. The book includes the creation story, the fall of man and man’s rebellion against God and God’s response to bring redemption. It also provides insight into the founding of the nation of Israel through the Patriarchs. How God purpose for Israel is to be blessing in order to bless the whole world (Gen. 12:1-3). Chapter 1-11 is considered a “prehistory” that chronicles man sin and God’s enduring faithfulness, by intervening in human history to fulfill His loving purpose. History is really His-story. Chapter 12-50 tells the story of the Patriarchs, particularly Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.

 

 

Genesis 37-47

 

The last part of the book of Genesis focuses on the story of Jacob’s son Joseph. It is the longest narrative about a single person in the Hebrew Scripture. The Joseph narrative is interrupted only briefly by other issues important to the story of the covenant family. Interestingly God against overturns the law of primogeniture by primarily working in the life of a younger son, rather than the oldest son. Joseph story provides powerful lessons in how the Heavenly Father grows us up, takes His people through times where our faith is tested, uses favor to fulfill His purposes and can bring a miraculous reversal for those who trust Him. As we trace the carrier of the Messianic Seed we learn the Promised One will come not through Joseph but through Judah. Despite the exposure of many flaws in his character, God is also profoundly at work in Judah’s life. From Judah will come the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:8-12), the Lord Jesus Christ.

Overview of Week of May 5, 2014 – May 11, 2014 Genesis 16-26

Overview of Genesis

 

The word “genesis” means beginnings and it begins the Bible. Genesis covers a period from creation until the death of Joseph in Egypt. The book includes the creation story, the fall of man and man’s rebellion against God and God’s response to bring redemption. It also provides insight into the founding of the nation of Israel through the Patriarchs. How God purpose for Israel is to be blessing in order to bless the whole world (Gen. 12:1-3). Chapter 1-11 is considered a “prehistory” that chronicles man sin and God’s enduring faithfulness, by intervening in human history to fulfill His loving purpose. History is really His-story. Chapter 12-50 tells the story of the Patriarchs, particularly Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.

 

 

Genesis 27-35

 

We read of Isaac and his two sons Jacob and Esau. The account of God’s dealing with Jacob as he moves from a deceiver (Jacob) to a Prince with God (Israel) is a powerful narrative with life-transforming lessons. We will read through them this week and the following. The twelve sons of Israel will become the twelve tribes we read of throughout the Bible. You can see  characteristics of the young Jacob in the actions of many of the sons.

 

Week of April 28, 2014 – May 4, 2014 Genesis 16-26

Overview of Genesis

 

The word “genesis” means beginnings and it begins the Bible. Genesis covers a period from creation until the death of Joseph in Egypt. The book includes the creation story, the fall of man and man’s rebellion against God and God’s response to bring redemption. It also provides insight into the founding of the nation of Israel through the Patriarchs. How God purpose for Israel is to be blessing in order to bless the whole world (Gen. 12:1-3). Chapter 1-11 is considered a “prehistory” that chronicles man sin and God’s enduring faithfulness, by intervening in human history to fulfill His loving purpose. History is really His-story. Chapter 12-50 tells the story of the Patriarchs, particularly Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.

 

 

Genesis 16-27

 

The story of Abraham continues as we see is human failures, his strong faith and his committed obedience. Through faith God counts him as righteous (Gen. 15:27). Yet we see that even when men are faithless, God is still faithful. We read of Isaac and his two sons Jacob and Esau. The account of God’s dealing with Jacob as he moves from a deceiver (Jacob) to a Prince with God (Israel) is a powerful narrative with life-transforming lessons. We will read through them this week and the following.

 

Overview of April 21, 2014 – April 28, 2014 Genesis 1-15

Overview of Genesis

 

The word “genesis” means beginnings and it begins the Bible. Genesis covers a period from creation until the death of Joseph in Egypt. The book includes the creation story, the fall of man and man’s rebellion against God and God’s response to bring redemption. It also provides insight into the founding of the nation of Israel through the Patriarchs. How God purpose for Israel is to be blessing in order to bless the whole world (Gen. 12:1-3). Chapter 1-11 is considered a “prehistory” that chronicles man sin and God’s enduring faithfulness, by intervening in human history to fulfill His loving purpose. History is really His-story. Chapter 12-50 tells the story of the Patriarchs, particularly Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.

 

 

Genesis 1-15

 

There are two accounts of creation in Genesis 1-2. Genesis 1 appears to be an overview, while Genesis 2 gives details. Many see Genesis 1 as written poetry form as a kind of song of creation. God spoke creation into existence. It is easy to see what scientists call the Big Bang, where suddenly something came out of nothing, in Genesis 1:3. The very good creation of Genesis 1-2 quickly falls in Genesis 3. Paradise lost in Genesis 3 is Paradise found and restored in Revelation 22. Two family trees are traced, the godly line of Seth and the ungodly line of Cain both ending with much different Lamechs (Gen. 5). From the fall, humankind degenerates to the point that the only hope of saving the race is to destroy it in judgment and start over again with one man who found grace (Gen. 6). The flood of Noah renders the earth without form and void once again. It isn’t long before mankind demonstrates great defiance to God once again, reaching a pinnacle at Babel, where the nations are scattered (Gen. 11). From the line of Shem, God calls and blesses Abraham (originally Abram) to be a blessing to all nations (Gen. 12). God makes a covenant with Abraham to give him the land of Canaan, a multitude of descendants and one descendent through whom all nations of the earth will be blessed, speaking of the Messiah. This promise is given to Abraham despite his wife Sarah being barren and the land of Canaan being possessed by the Canaanites. It will require faith to trust the invisible God.

 

Overview of Proverbs 21-31

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of April 14, 2014 – April 20, 2014

Proverbs 21-31

 

 

Overview of Proverbs

 

The book of Proverbs is Hebrew poetry and is made up of six collections of wisdom sayings on living wisely in this world. Wisdom is not less than moral goodness but it is more. Proverbs takes a broad view of life. Throughout the Proverbs the reader is encouraged to embrace wisdom (righteousness) and reject folly (wickedness). Yet, wisdom only truly profits when it operates on the foundation of the fear of the Lord (Prov. 1:7. 9:10). The book was originally written to young men to teach them godly wisdom. The Proverbs are not ironclad guarantees but explain how life generally works. Proverbs should be taken as a whole, as many of the proverbs will bring a counter balance to one another, in unison revealing the whole truth.

 

 

Proverbs

 

This section includes more Proverbs from Solomon (20-29) and a saying from Agur in chapter 30. Proverbs chapter 31 is one of the most well known proverbs. The author identifies himself as Lemuel but many believe it is a pen name for Solomon. It is an acrostic with each verse beginning with a succeeding letter of the 22-letter Hebrew alphabet. The woman described exemplifies the virtues taught throughout the book of Proverbs.

Overview of Proverbs 8-20

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of April 7, 2014 – April 13, 2014

Proverbs 8-20

Overview of Proverbs

 

The book of Proverbs is Hebrew poetry and made up of six collections of wisdom sayings on living wisely in this world. Wisdom is not less than moral goodness but it is more. Proverbs takes a broad view of life. Throughout the Proverbs the reader is encouraged to embrace wisdom (righteousness) and reject folly (wickedness). Yet, wisdom only truly profits when it operates on the foundation of the fear of the Lord (Prov. 1:7. 9:10). The book was originally written to young men to teach them godly wisdom. The Proverbs are not ironclad guarantees but explain how life generally works. Proverbs should be taken as a whole, as many of the proverbs will bring a counter balance to one another, in unison revealing the whole truth.

 

 

Proverbs 8-20

 

Wisdom is personified in chapter 8 and invites people to her feast in chapter 9.  Chapters 10-15 are proverbs of Solomon where wisdom and folly along with righteousness and wickedness are compared and contrasted. Throughout these proverbs there is also basic instruction on wealth accumulation, work, words, relationships and emotions.

Overview of Psalms 140-Proverbs 7


Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of March 31, 2014 – April 6, 2014

Psalms 140-Proverbs 7

 

Psalm 140-150

 

138-145 – These Psalms are a final collection attributed to King David. They are wonderful Psalms of praise and worship.

 

146-150 – God is to be praised! He is the Helper of the helpless (146), the Creator and Restorer (147) and is to be praised from heaven above and earth beneath (148), with dancing with our voice, in our actions (149); and with music and dancing (150).

 

 

Overview of Proverbs

 

The book of Proverbs is Hebrew poetry and made up of six collections of wisdom sayings on living wisely in this world. Wisdom is not less than moral goodness but it is more. Proverbs takes a broad view of life. Throughout the Proverbs the reader is encouraged to embrace wisdom (righteousness) and reject folly (wickedness). Yet, wisdom only truly profits when it operates on the foundation of the fear of the Lord (Prov. 1:7. 9:10). The book was originally written to young men to teach them godly wisdom. The Proverbs are not ironclad guarantees but explain how life generally works. Proverbs should be taken as a whole, as many of the proverbs will bring a counter balance to one another, in unison revealing the whole truth.

 

 

Proverbs 1-9

 

The preamble of the book (1:1-7) tells us the Proverbs began with Solomon, and are given to teach the young to live a wise, righteous and just life. The books prologue is found in Proverbs 1:8-9:18. It is a father explaining to a son the general principles of how life works. The remainder of the book will explain exceptions to the rule.

Overview of Psalms 119-139

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of March 24, 2014 – March 30, 2014

Psalms 119-139

 

Overview of Psalms

 

The 150 Psalms are a picture of God’s revelation of Himself to Israel and their response to Him. The Psalter covers many centuries of history from the oldest Psalm, written by Moses (Ps. 90), to Psalms written during the Babylonian captivity (Ps. 137). It is the longest book of the Bible containing both the longest chapter (Ps. 119) and the shortest chapter (Ps. 117). There are Psalms of worship, praise, prayer and lament. They are grouped in a specific order that include collections from David, Asaph and the sons of Korah. The Psalms were written with the expectation that they would be sung. They have provided comfort, strength, wisdom and words of praise for worshipers of the One True God for thousands of years.

 

Psalm 119

 

119 – The longest chapter in the Bible with 176 verses. It reflects the heart of the first Psalm, extolling God’s Word. It is an alphabet acrostic with the 8 lines of poetry for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

 

120-137 – Psalm 120-134 are a collection of Psalms called Song of Ascent in reference to the pilgrimage to Zion for the annual feasts. Psalm 135-137 are a response to the Ascent.

 

138-145 – These Psalms are a final collection attributed to King David. They are wonderful Psalms of praise and worship.

 

 

 

 

Psalms 103-118

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of March 17, 2014 – March 23, 2014

Psalms 103-118

 

Overview of Psalms

 

The 150 Psalms are a picture of God’s revelation of Himself to Israel and their response to Him. The Psalter covers many centuries of history from the oldest Psalm, written by Moses (Ps. 90), to Psalms written during the Babylonian captivity (Ps. 137). It is the longest book of the Bible containing both the longest chapter (Ps. 119) and the shortest chapter (Ps. 117). There are Psalms of worship, praise, prayer and lament. They are grouped in a specific order that include collections from David, Asaph and the sons of Korah. The Psalms were written with the expectation that they would be sung. They have provided comfort, strength, wisdom and words of praise for worshipers of the One True God for thousands of years.

 

Psalm 107-118

 

Psalm 107 opens the final book of the Psalter with a Psalm of thanksgiving. This set of Psalms look forward to the renewal of the David Kingdom – which we now know has its fulfillment in Christ’s Kingdom.

 

107-109 – Praise God for rescuing His people and also provides laments for the current situation.

 

110-118 – This set is framed by Messianic Psalms that are prophecies of the ministry of Jesus and His church. Psalm 118 was the hymn Jesus sang with his disciples before his passion. Reading it with that in mind is moving and powerful.

Overview of Psalms 81-102

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of March 10, 2014 – March 16, 2014

Psalms 81-102

 

Overview of Psalms

 

The 150 Psalms are a picture of God’s revelation of Himself to Israel and their response to Him. The Psalter covers many centuries of history from the oldest Psalm, written by Moses (Ps. 90), to Psalms written during the Babylonian captivity (Ps. 137). It is the longest book of the Bible containing both the longest chapter (Ps. 119) and the shortest chapter (Ps. 117). There are Psalms of worship, praise, prayer and lament. They are grouped in a specific order that include collections from David, Asaph and the sons of Korah. The Psalms were written with the expectation that they would be sung. They have provided comfort, strength, wisdom and words of praise for worshipers of the One True God for thousands of years.

 

Psalm 81-102

 

Psalm 84-89– As you read through the Psalms that Zion is more than a piece of real estate. It includes a way of approaching God in worship. The lament of “how long, O Lord” is prominent.

 

Psalm 90-106 – This group of Psalms begins book four and they are a response to the destruction of Jerusalem and the absence of the Davidic dynasty. Yahweh is praised as Israel’s dwelling place, king and restorer.

 

 

Earnest Pursuit

This is a great reminder for us all to be earnest in our pursuit of God. Matthew 11:12 (ESV) From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.

“He that will take, get possession of the kingdom of righteousness, peace, and spiritual joy, must be in earnest: all hell will oppose him in every step he takes; and if a man be not absolutely determined to give up his sins and evil companions, and have his soul saved at all hazards, and at every expense, he will surely perish everlastingly. This requires a violent earnestness.” Clarks Commentary

Overview of Psalms 64-80

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of March 3, 2014 – March 10, 2014

Psalms 64-80

 

Overview of Psalms

 

The 150 Psalms are a picture of God’s revelation of Himself to Israel and their response to Him. The Psalter covers many centuries of history from the oldest Psalm, written by Moses (Ps. 90), to Psalms written during the Babylonian captivity (Ps. 137). It is the longest book of the Bible containing both the longest chapter (Ps. 119) and the shortest chapter (Ps. 117). There are Psalms of worship, praise, prayer and lament. They are grouped in a specific order that include collections from David, Asaph and the sons of Korah. The Psalms were written with the expectation that they would be sung. They have provided comfort, strength, wisdom and words of praise for worshipers of the One True God for thousands of years.

 

Psalm 64-80

 

Psalm 65-68– Giving thanks to God for His powerful presence and his awesome deeds. He is the God who reigns in Zion.

 

Psalm 69-72 – Three prayers for help. Then Psalm 72 is an enthronement psalm of King Solomon.

 

Psalm 73-80 – The 73rd begins book three of the Psalms. This group of psalms contains laments following the invasion and destruction of Jerusalem. In 79-80 there is the question of “how long?”

Revealing Identity with 5 W’s and an H

I counsel people regularly at the church and one thing that I have recognized that comes up time and time again is an issue with identity.  People don’t know who they are!  Many people wrap their identity up in what they do (or what they have done), in what others think about them, in how others have treated them, or some other earthly quality that is ever changing.  How can people live a life with meaning when they don’t even know who they are?

As a father, I have recognized the importance of speaking identity into my children.  While both mother and father have a huge impact in this area, I believe that God designed the father to be the primary source for identity revelation.  Think about it…
Even before a child is born, the father is already speaking identity into this precious life.  (OK, here is my biology background kicking in).  It is the father, not the mother, who determines the gender of the child.  The sperm, not the egg, is the one that contributes either the x (girl) or y (boy) chromosome.  The egg can only contribute an x chromosome.  So even before birth, the father is speaking identity into what the gender of the child is.
This identity revelation is intended to continue throughout childhood until the child is confident of who they are in Christ and able to move forward on their own in their relationship with God.
Here is something that I regularly ask my children to help instill identity within them.  It is a common model found in information gathering and you are probably familiar with it.  I simply ask these questions to them: who, what, when, where, why, how.
Who are you?
-Try to get your children to understand that first and foremost they are children of God.  Their identity needs to be completely wrapped up in Him and Him alone.
What are you?
-Once again this is the Male/Female question.  Many children have sexual identity issues because their parents fail to show them the difference between the two and how wonderful each one is.
When are you?
-In other words, let them know of the special time in history that they are living.  They have been created to live in this world “for such a time as this.”
Where are you?
-Help them to see their significance in the place that God has placed them.  Start Big (world, nation, state) and move to the smaller (city, neighborhood, school, church, family)
Why are you?
-Your children need to know that they are here on this earth to bring glory to their heavenly Father who loves them unconditionally.
How are you?
-This gives great practical ideas of what all of this might look like when applied to their life.  It is usually a great time to share your own personal experiences (victories and failures).
Scott Fravel
Associate Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO 

Overview of Revelation – Psalms 41-63

Overview of Psalms

The 150 Psalms are a picture of God’s revelation of Himself to Israel and their response to Him. The Psalter covers many centuries of history from the oldest Psalm, written by Moses (Ps. 90), to Psalms written during the Babylonian captivity (Ps. 137). It is the longest book of the Bible containing both the longest chapter (Ps. 119) and the shortest chapter (Ps. 117). There are Psalms of worship, praise, prayer and lament. They are grouped in a specific order that include collections from David, Asaph and the sons of Korah. The Psalms were written with the expectation that they would be sung. They have provided comfort, strength, wisdom and words of praise for worshipers of the One True God for thousands of years.

Psalm 42-63

Psalm 42-45– Psalm 42-43 are actually one Psalm divided in two and the psalmist is longing to join the pilgrimage to Zion. Psalm 44 is a lament for national defeat. Psalm 45 was written to celebrate the king’s wedding.

Psalm 46-48 – These three Psalms celebrate Zion and Yahweh as King over all.

Psalm 49-53 – How to approach God.

Psalm 54-59 – Prayers for help from slanderous enemies. 

Psalm 60-64– Prayers from the king for help and deliverance.

Dr. Todd Hudnall

Lead Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO

Overview of Psalms 20-40

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of February 17, 2014 – February 24, 2014

Revelation – Psalms 20-40

Overview of Psalms

The 150 Psalms are a picture of God’s revelation of Himself to Israel and their response to Him. The Psalter covers many centuries of history from the oldest Psalm, written by Moses (Ps. 90), to Psalms written during the Babylonian captivity (Ps. 137). It is the longest book of the Bible containing both the longest chapter (Ps. 119) and the shortest chapter (Ps. 117). There are Psalms of worship, praise, prayer and lament. They are grouped in a specific order that include collections from David, Asaph and the sons of Korah. The Psalms were written with the expectation that they would be sung. They have provided comfort, strength, wisdom and words of praise for worshipers of the One True God for thousands of years.

Psalm 20-40

Psalm 15-24 – They ask the question, “Who can access the temple of Yahweh?” The answer is, “Those who keep His righteous law.” These Psalms extol Yahweh the loving, divine warrior and offer pray and praise for His deliverance.

Psalm 25-33 – These Psalms offer hymns of prayer and praise that extol Yahweh.

Psalm 34-37 – Instruction in Godly wisdom and appeals to God against the wicked.

Psalm 38-41 – Laments: Prayer and Confession of Sins

Dr. Todd Hudnall

Lead Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO

Overview of Revelation & Psalms 1-19

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of February 10, 2014 – February 16, 2014

Revelation – Psalms 1-19

Overview of Revelation

Written by the Apostle John in 95 AD (though there is disagreement) to the churches in Asia. It was written during a time of severe persecution of the church and John is shown more suffering is yet to come. The book of Revelation is an apocalyptic prophecy that reminds us God is ultimately in control of history and “the Lord God Omnipotent reigns.” Chapters 2-3 give instruction for the churches. Some scholars point to over 250 echoes or illusions from the Hebrew Scripture in the book. In the end the curse is reversed and Eden is restored, as Heaven and the new earth are united.

 Overview of Psalms

The 150 Psalms are a picture of God’s revelation of Himself to Israel and their response to Him. The Psalter covers many centuries of history from the oldest Psalm, written by Moses (Ps. 90), to Psalms written during the Babylonian captivity (Ps. 137). It is the longest book of the Bible containing both the longest chapter (Ps. 119) and the shortest chapter (Ps. 117). There are Psalms of worship, praise, prayer and lament. They are grouped in a specific order that include collections from David, Asaph and the sons of Korah. The Psalms were written with the expectation that they would be sung. They have provided comfort, strength, wisdom and words of praise for worshipers of the One True God for thousands of years.

Psalm 1-19

Psalm 1-2 – They introduce the Psalter. Psalm 1 the primary purpose and Psalm 2 the chief concerns.

Psalm 3-7 – Psalms of Lament and cries for help.

Psalm 8 – Echoes Genesis 1-2 as it extols Yahweh the God of creation who cares for mankind.

Psalm 9-13 – Laments for deliverance. Psalm 9 and 10 are an acrostic pray for deliverance, using the different letters of the Hebrew alphabet to start each successive line.

Psalm 14 – The folly and wickedness of humanity

Psalm 15-24 – They ask the question, “Who can access the temple of Yahweh?” The answer is, “Those who keep His righteous law.” These Psalms extol Yahweh the loving, divine warrior and offer pray and praise for His deliverance.

Dr. Todd Hudnall

Lead Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO

Overview of 2 John – Revelation 9

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of February 3, 2014 – February 9, 2014

2 John – Revelation 9

 Overview of 2 John

Written by the Apostle John about 90 AD to “the elect lady” – either a woman who hosts a house church or a congregation that has been given that designation – and the congregation of “the elect lady.” John is writing to warn of traveling false teachers/prophets. John again emphasizes the incarnation of Christ and the necessity of Christian love.

 

Overview of 3 John

 Written by the Apostle John about 90 AD to Gaius asking him to welcome Demetrius, who Diotrephes rejected. The letter urges Christian hospitality, particularly to genuine ministers of the Gospel. 3 John is the shortest book of the Bible.

Overview of Jude

Written by the Jude (the half brother of the Lord Jesus) sometime after 70 to Jewish Christians warning them of itinerant false ministers who are turning grace into license and immorality. Judes warns of the judgment to those who live carelessly, the importance of holiness and God’s faithfulness to those who persevere.

 

Overview of Revelation

Written by the Apostle John in 95 AD (though there is disagreement) to the churches in Asia. It was written during a time of severe persecution of the church and John is shown more suffering is yet to come. The book of Revelation is an apocalyptic prophecy that reminds us God is ultimately in control of history and “the Lord God Omnipotent reigns.” Chapters 2-3 give instruction for the churches. Some scholars point to over 250 echoes or illusions from the Hebrew Scripture in the book. In the end the curse is reversed and Eden is restored, as Heaven and the new earth are united.

Dr. Todd Hudnall

Lead Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO

RADIANT WORD: James 1 – 1John 5:21

RADIANT WORD: James 1 – 1John 5:21

Week of January 27, 2014 – February 3, 2014

Group Focus: Taming the tongue

Comments to Leader:

Well, the fast is officially completed! This was one of the more difficult and challenging fasts for me personally for several reasons but primarily, because it’s hard to deny my flesh! Yet, I feel that it was significant and I did experience breakthroughs. One area of breakthrough came so “out of the blue” and unexpectedly. A family member of mine (who lives in another state) called me, sobbing, weeping, asking me for forgiveness and thanking me for showing him “true Christian love”. This is a family member whom we have been praying for, for decades. He has distanced himself from us b/c his lifestyle is so blatantly contrary to Christ’s. Yet, we have continued to pray for him, speak the Truth in love and reach out to him with God’s love. God is working deeply in his heart right now and I was able to hear that clearly through his sobs and heartfelt words. Another breakthrough for us as a church family is that our attendance has grown to average 1900 over the past three weekends (during the time of the fast). These numbers are significant because they represent more people who are being reached with The Message of God’s love and transformed by His grace. Now we need to continue to pray for the new additions to our worship services to connect to God and others in Biblical community.

Please take some time to talk about the breakthroughs that are being experienced in the church and specifically in the lives of those in your group. Praise God together for the great things He has done and is doing.

Encourage each person to keep praying and believing God for great things and answered prayer even beyond the fast. My personal experience has always been that evidence of God’s work tends to continue to be revealed long after an extended fast.

Intro Time:

Before moving into the Radiant Word study you may want to consider allowing people to share any meaningful part of the weekend message on the

Scandal of Grace Part 3: Rescued

Ice Breaker:

What is one of the most meaningful things that a person has even spoken to you?

Why were/are these words so significant to you?

How have they impacted your life?

Leader: If you have a large group you have some different options

1) Have them break into groups of 2-3 people to share their experiences within

their smaller groups

2) Keep the large group but have only a few (1-3) people share their experience

(in order to manage time effectively)

Don’t take too much time on this.

TEACHING & INTERACTION

James 3:1-12

New King James Version (NKJV)

1. Read James 3:1-2 What stands out to you in these verses? why?

“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.

a. Don’t aspire to be a teacher unless you know God has called you and you are willing to live according to a higher standard

i. Do you think that teachers/pastors/leaders should be held to a higher standard? Why or why not?

b. v. 2 “For we all stumble in many things.” We ALL stumble in many things! No one is perfect! How does this revelation impact the way we look at ourselves and each other?

2. Read James 3:3-5

“3 Indeed,[a] we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.”

a. How do we turn a horse’s whole body? How is a ship directed or redirected even when fierce winds are blowing against it?

b. How does this apply to us and our tongue or our mouths?

c. These verses are implying that we have the power to change the course or direction of our lives by controlling our tongue (our words).

How can our words direct the course of our lives? Please explain.

d. Take a moment to think about the words you have spoken recently to others and even to yourself. What direction are your words taking you? Are they leading you in a positive direction or a negative one?

e. Do you need to change the way you tend to speak?

3. Read James 3:5-9 James warns us of the dangers of our tongue.

“5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.

a. This is intense! I recently watched a video about the dangers of 9V batteries. A man was warning people to carefully store them because if two 9V batteries touch together they can create an electrical spark and result in a fire or an explosion. This particular man had a bag of 9V batteries in his garage. They created a spark that resulted in a fire that destroyed his family’s home.

b. James is warning that this is the kind of major damage that can result from careless, negative, evil words.

c. Pastor Todd talked about words in his message last weekend. He mentioned the African proverb, “sticks and stones may break my bones buy words will never hurt me”. This is absolutely incorrect. Words can and do hurt deeply. All of us have been deeply wounded by the words of others. Sometimes people unintentionally speak words that wound. They didn’t mean for them to come across as they did; but they still hurt. Other times people intentionally try to wound us with their words. Even in these situations it’s important to remember that “hurt people, hurt people” or wounded people wound people. Nevertheless…words can and do hurt DEEPLY. And undoubtedly, there is someone here tonight who is still carrying the wounds of words spoken to you or about you. So, let’s take a few minutes to pray for healing for anyone who may need this tonight.

Leader, please feel free to use your own words; here is a sample prayer:

Father, if I am carrying wounds or hurts from damaging words, please reveal that to me now so that I can bring it to You and be healed. I acknowledge the pain, the heartbreak, the anguish and the rejection from the words inflicted upon me. And I also acknowledge that You know very well what this feels like because You have had evil words spoken to You and about You as well. You know very well the pain that words can bring. You have felt the pain of evil words and You died for the sin of evil words spoken. You shed Your very own blood to pay the price for every harsh, angry, condemning, sinful word spoken. I confess tonight that Your Blood was more than enough to cover over all sin; my sin and the sins of others against me. So, I ask tonight that You would cover over and wash away every evil word spoken by me, to me…about me. Forgive me and forgive those who have sinned against me. And Lord, right now, I choose to forgive those who spoke hurtful words to me and I also choose to forgive myself for evil words that I have spoken. Thank You that Your grace is sufficient and Your Blood is more than enough to wash away all sin and heal my wounded heart.

4. Read James 3:10-12

“10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth freshwater and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.”

a. All of us stumble at times with our words. If we are honest, most of us would have to confess that we struggle a LOT with speaking right words.

(Read v.10 one more time.) God is calling us to consecrate our tongues to Him in a new way this year. What are some thoughts on how to redirect our speaking so that we speak words of blessing rather than cursing? Understanding that “cursing” in this context is not limited to profanity but rather it is referring to words that bring about a negative, destructive flow versus a positive, uplifting force.

5. Finally, I want to leave you with this verse in Proverbs 18:21(NKJV)

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

a. What do these words mean to you personally? How have they or will they change the way you speak; even in the midst of difficult circumstances?

b. I recommend memorizing this verse and meditating on it day and night in order to consecrate your tongue (your words) to God; and to speak words that bring blessing and life rather than death and destruction.

Closing Remarks: Encourage your group to come to the chili cook off on Saturday for another time of fellowship and community. Close in prayer and encourage them to keep drawing near to God. James 4:8

Kelly Hudnall

Co-Lead Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO

Overview of James – 1 and 2 Peter – 1 John

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of January 27, 2014 – February 2, 2014

James – 1 and 2 Peter

Overview of James

Written by James, the half-brother of our Lord (Gal. 1:19) and the long time pastor of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15, Gal 2:1-13). There is a wide diversity of opinion on when it was written – likely the early 50’s. It was written to followers of Christ living among the Jewish Diaspora. James challenges believers to endure hardship with joy and patience, as well as to live responsibly, authentically and in harmony. It is a book encouraging a very practical faith lived out in a church community. James has some powerful and vivid words concerning the use of our words, caring for the poor and the power of effectual prayer. The message is that our faith is demonstrated by the way we live.

Overview of 1 Peter

The author of the book is the Apostle Peter. 1 Peter is a letter of encouragement to Christians enduring suffering. The letter was written in 64-65 AD in Rome (Babylon). It was written to Gentile believers in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). Peter deals with the reality that suffering for the sake of righteousness should not come as a surprise. Followers of Jesus should respond to unjust suffering the way Jesus did. Peter calls his readers to a holy life. In a Pagan world we can be a witness as we submit to Pagan authorities, though we will be required to endure suffering in doing so (the Bible also makes it clear you can submit without necessarily being obedient to unbiblical requirements). God has a redemptive purpose in our suffering. Peter constantly reminds his reader that we are strangers, pilgrims and aliens in this world. The modern reader needs to remember (as in every book of the Bible) that the author is speaking into situations in the context of the culture of that day. Chapter five provides some helpful and practical instruction to pastors.

Overview of 2 Peter

The author of the book of 2 Peter is again the Apostle Peter and was written in 64 AD. This is a farewell address by Peter before his martyrdom. He urges Christians to continue to grow in Christ, to live a godly life and to endure in the face of false teaching. 2 Peter is set upon the backdrop of false teaching that the Lord is not returning. Peter strongly argues and proclaims that Jesus is coming back and believers must be prepared. Despite opposition, followers of Christ are to grow in godliness. God will judge those who have rejected Him. Their rejection of Christ is witnessed by their ungodly living.

Overview of 1 John

 The author of the book is the Apostle John, probably written to the church in Ephesus, around 90 AD. John is dealing with false teachers and false prophets. God is love, Jesus came as God in the flesh to demonstrate that love and we are to love God and love one another. The incarnation and loving one another are John’s main focus. He also explains that though God’s children do not continue in sin, neither have we been perfected but we have an advocate, in Jesus, who we can turn to for forgiveness and cleansing.

Dr. Todd Hudnall

Lead Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO

Overview of Philemon and Hebrews

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of January 20, 2014 – January 27, 2014

Philemon – Hebrews

 Overview of Philemon

Written by the Apostle Paul about 60 AD to a Gentile believer name Philemon for the purposes of securing forgiveness and restoration for his runaway slave Onesimus. Onesimus has received conversion and is serving Paul while the apostle is in a Roman prison. He is carrying Paul’s letter back to Philemon in Colosse. Paul appeals to Philemon on the basis of Christian love. He points out that Onesimus has been serving Philemon by serving Paul and is Onesimus is returning as a brother in Christ. In reading the book it is important to understand the clear difference between First Century Roman slavery and Pre-Civil War New World slavery. A person was likely a slave, not due to kidnapping (slave trade) or race, but due to indebtedness (indentured servants), captured in military conquest or birth into a slave family.  Church tradition tells us Philemon did partner Onesimus and the former slave went on to become a church bishop.

Overview of Hebrews

The author of the book of Hebrews is unknown and the date of writing is uncertain but likely before 70 AD. Hebrews is an exhortation, encouraging a Jewish Christian community to faithfully persevere in the faith despite suffering. The key word in Hebrews it the word better. Jesus is better than anything in their former Jewish religion. Jesus is a better word (expression) of God than anything provided by the Hebrew prophets. He is better than angels. He is better than Moses. He is a better High Priest and a better sacrifice for sin. In light of Christ’s superiority the Hebrew Christians must continue following Him despite all persecution and all pressure to turn away.

Dr. Todd Hudnall

Lead Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO

Overview of 1 Thessalonians – Titus

Overview of this Weeks Reading
Week of January 13, 2014 – January 20, 2014
1 Thessalonians – Titus

Overview of 1 Thessalonians

Written by the Apostle Paul about 50 AD and possibly the earliest document of the New Testament. It is a letter providing information but also encouragement, exhortation and thanksgiving. In loving concern Paul shares with them about Christians suffering, sexual purity, the value of work, the resurrection of the believer and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The book is designed to build up the church as we await the Lord’s return. 4:13-18 provides such wonderful comfort in Christ’s return.

Overview of 2 Thessalonians

Written by the Apostle Paul in about 51 AD. Thought not quite as loving and warm as 1 Thessalonians it carries on similar themes. Despite his clear instruction, some believe the return of Christ has already taken place and there are still issues with well-bodied people living off of others in the church. Chapter 2 is a fascinating explanation of what occurs before the return of Jesus Christ. The book reminds us to leave end time matters in God’s hands and in the meantime to live lives of responsibility and love.

Overview of 1 Timothy

Written by the Apostle Paul about 62 AD to Timothy and the church he pastors in Ephesus. The letters to Timothy and Titus are often called the pastoral epistles. In the letter Paul confronts false teachers and their teaching. These false teachers love controversy and are greedy. Their teaching is a misuse of the Hebrew Bible and includes extremes of Greek asceticism. Paul explains the qualifications for church leadership. Timothy is exhorted to stand firm in the Gospel and to be a model of Biblical leadership. The passage on women not being allowed to teach needs to be understood in relation to the issues with the young widows. There were local problems in Ephesus that require unique instruction on this matter. At the same time Paul gives instruction for women deacons.

Overview of 2 Timothy

Written by the Apostle Paul from a Roman prison in about 64 AD to Timothy (and the church in Ephesus) exhorting him to be loyal to Jesus Christ and His Gospel and his servant Paul. There are again words opposing false teachers. This is the final letter we have from Paul and he is anticipating his execution, yet is triumphant in the face of death.

Overview of Titus

Written by the Apostle Paul in about 62 AD to Titus (and the church in Crete) instructing him on setting the new churches of the area in order. He gives important instruction on the qualifications of church leaders. In Titus Paul is again forced to oppose false teachers. The book emphasizes how believers are to live in the grace of God

Dr. Todd Hudnall / Lead Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs

Overview of Ephesians 1:1 – Colossians 2:23

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of January 6, 2014 – January 12, 2014

Ephesians 1:1 – Colossians 2:23

 Overview of Ephesians

Overview of Ephesians

 

Written by the Apostle Paul about 61-62 AD, Ephesians was probably a circular letter to the church in Ephesus and the surrounding area of Asia Minor. Watchmen Nee has a helpful division of the book in his book Sit, Walk, Stand. Ephesians starts by explaining our position sitting with Christ in Heavenly Place, next we learn how we are to walk that out in every area of life and finally we are told how to stand against the powers of darkness. In the book you discover the themes of God joining Jews and Gentiles together as one body in Christ, Christ’s victory over the powers of darkness and our calling to stand in His victory. In the other parts of Paul’s writings we read of the great spiritual conflict he experienced in Ephesus and in the book we learn much about our spiritual battle.

 

 Overview of Philippians

 

Written by the Apostle Paul about 62 AD from Rome to the church in Philippi. This book, written by a man in prison, is bubbling with joy and victory. He emphasizes the Philippians partnership with him in the Gospel, as Jesus Christ being the meaning and integration point of life, rejoicing in suffering and obtaining the final prize. Paul’s deep, committed friendship with the Philippians is a key theme. He encourages them to be like him and fully know Christ, and therefore being able to walk in joyful unity in the midst of suffering. The book is filled with meaningful, memorable and powerful passages.

Overview of Colossians

 

Written by the Apostle Paul about 60-61 AD to the church in Colosse. The book of Colossians focuses on the absolute supremacy and all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Paul encourages the church to stand firm in the truth of the Gospel they have been taught. He deals with the error of legalistic teaching that has crept into the church. Christ and His finished work are to be exalted and take preeminence over all philosophies and religious rules. Paul explains how we are then to live as part of Christ’s new community, reflecting Him.

 

Dr. Todd Hudnall

Lead Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO

Overview of 2 Corinthians 4 – Galatians 6

Overview of this Weeks Reading
Week of December 30, 2013 – January 5, 2014
2 Corinthians 4 – Galatians 6

2 Corinthians 4-13 – In this section Paul challenges the Corinthians to let the reality of Christ’s finished work (death, burial, resurrection and ascension) change their total worldview. They are to live for the glory of God. In chapter 8:1-9:15 Paul explains a collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem. It’s a wonderful exposition on generosity and Christian sharing. Chapter 10:1-13:14 is a defense of Paul’s ministry against false apostles. Uncomfortable defending himself Paul resort to a “fool’s” speech. In the Greek theatre a playwright would become the “fool” to boldly but safely speak to his audience. 2 Corinthians proclaims the power of the cross.

Overview of Galatians

Radiant Church is launching a new study on Galatians called “Scandal of Grace” beginning Big Day Weekend, January 11-12.

Author:  The Apostle Paul (1:1. 6:11) dictated the letter through 6:10 and then wrote with his own hand to further authenticate his authorship.

Date:

Paul wrote Galatians after his first missionary journey (Acts 13-14) and before the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). Since the Jerusalem Council was in 49 AD, and isn’t mentioned in the book, Galatians was likely written in 48 AD while Paul was in Antioch. It was the first Bible Epistle Paul wrote. Others date it later and see it as the fifth letter.

Setting:

Galatia is not a city but a region of Asia Minor. Paul is sending the letter to the churches in the various towns of Galatia. Paul’s ministry to the Galatians is chronicled in Acts 13-14 and 16:1-5. Soon after Paul left the cities of Galatia, following his first missionary journey, Judaizers (Christian legalists) arrived and told the new converts that they had not heard the whole gospel (1:6-7). They said salvation was through faith in Christ plus participation in the Jewish law, including circumcision (2:3, 5:2-3), holy days (4:10) and food laws (2:11-14). In other words, they had to live like Jews if they wanted to be Christians. To propagate this alien message they had to discredit Paul. They told the Galatians Paul’s apostleship was inferior to the original apostles and that he was compromising the Gospel to make it more acceptable to Gentiles.

Purpose:

Paul is writing: 1) to expose the false teaching of the Judaizers 2) to defend his apostleship, 3) to emphasize that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, 4) having begun in the Spirit to continue in the Spirit, and 5) to instruct the Galatians in Christian liberty by walking in the Spirit instead of the flesh.

Special Characteristics:

Paul is blisteringly angry and it comes out in the epistle to the Galatians. The letter is absent his typical congratulations and praise. He uses his most caustic and strong language. Twice in the opening chapter he writes, “Let him be accursed.”

Survey:

The first two chapters of Galatians is Paul sharing his story that explains God being the one who called and authenticated his ministry. His message didn’t come from man or by man but was a revelation from Jesus Christ Himself. Paul explains how the church leaders in Jerusalem endorsed his calling to the Gentiles. Then on his third meeting with Peter, Paul rightly confronted the apostle when he deviated from the Gospel of Grace. Chapter 3 and 4 are the doctrinal center of the book. In them he explains the purpose of the law and how the law was our tutor leading us to Christ and to life in the spirit, which produces Christian liberty. Chapter 5 describes walking in the Spirit and producing spiritual fruit.

Key Ideas:

• The Holy Spirit now replaces keeping the law as the mark of a follower of Christ (4:6-7).
• Those led by the Spirit are no longer under the law (5:18).
• The believer having Christ living within and following the Holy Spirit’s leadership allows them to fulfill the law and produce the life of Christ (5:18, 22-25).
• The Christian life is impossible apart from the finished work of Jesus and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 1-6 – In chapter 1 Paul immediately expresses his frustration with the Galatians and the Judaizers who have infiltrated their community. He follows with the biographical defense of his apostolic authority. His defense continues through chapter 2. In chapter 3 and 4 Paul defends the Gospel using the Galatians own experience of the Spirit and the Hebrew Scripture (particularly Abraham). He then explains the true purpose of the law. Chapter 5 is practical teaching on walking in the Spirit and living in Christian liberty. Through the Spirit a person can experience righteousness in way they never could by the law. Chapter 6 warns the Galatians against legalism and challenges them to keep the work of Christ central. He concludes with another attack on the Judaizers but a blessing on those who live by the rule of the New Creation.

Dr. Todd Hudnall

Lead Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO

Overview of 1 Corinthians 8 – 2 Corinthians 3

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of December 23 – December 30

1 Corinthians 8 – 2 Corinthians 3

 

1 Corinthians 8-16 – In chapter 8-10 Paul deal with idols, Paul’s apostolic authority and the need for spiritual discipline/self control – using himself as a positive example and Israel as a negative example. Chapter 10 concludes with issues concerning food, forbidding eating in Pagan Temples and permitting buying food in the marketplace if it does not bother the conscience of others. A good application is to consider how this chapter applies to any participation in the Pagan culture and the impact of our Christian liberty on others. Chapter 11 begins by dealing with the culture issue of head-coverings. A well-known section follows, on the Covenant Meal of Communion. Paul is specifically dealing with the issue of the rich misusing the poor in their corporate meals that accompanied the Lord’s Table. The subject of spiritual gifts is examined in chapter 12 and 14. Chapter 14 focuses on the Corinthians misuse of the gift of tongues. Seeing it as an angelic language (13:1), the Corinthians were overemphasizing the gift and their misuse was disrupting the corporate worship gatherings. Paul places a high value on tongues in private devotion but sets guidelines for its use in worship services. The beautiful 13th chapter on love is sandwiched in between these two sections on spiritual gifts. Paul is making it clear that spiritual gifts are to operate on the pathway of love. Chapter 15 is an explanation of resurrection. Some in the church were denying the bodily resurrection of saints and Paul is again correcting them. This is another beautiful and powerful section that answers some of the questions that believers still have on the subject. Chapter 16 concludes the book with instruction on giving to the poverty stricken church in Jerusalem and ends with final regards/commendations.

 

Overview of 2 Corinthians

Author

The Apostle Paul – the letter is the most personal and autobiographical of all Paul’s epistles.

Purpose

The issues covered in 2 Corinthians are significantly different than those in 1 Corinthians. The one continued theme is Paul’s relationship with the Corinthians and his acceptance as an apostle. In the letter he encourages the faithful, to expose false prophets and to confront the attacks of his opponents in the church who question his apostleship. Paul addresses the issue of suffering and how to glory in weakness.

Date and Place

AD 54-57, likely from Philippi in Macedonia (2:13, 7:5).

Key Word and Verse

The words glory and ministry appear in some form about twenty times. 

2 Corinthians 1-3 – In this section Paul explains his recent change of plans (1:12-17) and recounts what has transpired and led to the current situation. In chapter 3 Paul speaks of the character of his ministry in comparison to those who are opposing him.

 

Dr. Todd Hudnall

Lead Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO

Overview of Romans 9 – 1 Corinthians 7

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of December 16 – December 22

Romans 9 – 1 Corinthians 7

Romans 9-16 – Chapters 9-11 many see as a parenthetical section that deals with Israel. God has been faithful in bringing Jews and Gentiles together as one in Christ but the Jewish people as a whole have rejected their Messiah. Despite their rejection of Him, God has not rejected Israel. They have stumbled but they have not fallen. The first eight chapters were very doctrinal, the next three chapters focus on Israel and the remainder of the book is how you practically live as a member of the new righteous community of faith.

 

Overview of 1 Corinthians

Author

 The authenticity of 1 Corinthians as a Pauline epistle has never seriously been challenged.  Both internal and external evidence strongly conclude the Apostle Paul is the books author.

 Purpose

 1 Corinthians is a pastoral letter, written to resolve doctrinal and practical problems within the local church.  Paul’s authorship gives the letter apostolic application to all “the churches of God” (11:16). The individual church is made up of all believers, whether alive or dead, who are members of Christ’s Body (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23,25-27); the visible church at large is a constituency of all believers living at any one time (Acts 8:3); the visible church is a fellowship of true believers who worship in a given locality (1 Cor. 1:2). 1 Corinthians focuses on the operation of the local church. It immediately follows Romans in the New Testament canon, though in point of time it was written just before Romans. Their location in the canon shows a topical progression when one considers general emphasis. The Gospels and Acts emphasis the historical facts; Romans gives the interpretation of those facts; and the Corinthian letters apply the facts.

 The City of Corinth

Corinth was the most important city in Greece and the capital of the Roman province of Achaia. It was the first city in Greece to admit gladiatorial games. The two great athletic festivals of that day were the Olympian and the Isthumian games; Corinth was the host of the latter.  The total population is estimated to be from 400,000 to 600,000, making it the fourth largest city in the Roman Empire.  In ancient times, all north and south overland traffic had to pass through Corinth.  Consequently, it became a major trade center. Corinth was also given to idolatry. They honored Poseidon, the god of the sea. The demonic powers behind Poseidon promised this seaport city lucrative commerce in exchange for worship and sacrifice. The other demonic power they were enslaved to was Aphrodite, the spirit of free love.  Her temple, atop a hill prominent in the city, was said to feature 1,000 female slaves who served as temple prostitutes. In addition, there was a temple to Apollo, which featured male prostitutes. As such, immorality was promoted as a virtue and Corinth was a center of licentiousness. The Greeks even invented a new word to express extreme sexual immorality, it was to Corinthianize. Their perverse concept of love is likely part of the reason Paul defines God’s love to the Corinthians in such detail in this letter (13).  Satan used Poseidon to attract people to materialism and the world; while Aphrodite drew them to hedonism and the flesh.  To impact Corinth required great spiritual warfare. The Lord had called the church to influence the world around us toward godliness (Acts 1:8). In Corinth the worldly lives of the Corinthian society made its way into the church. This problem is strongly addressed by the Apostle (5:9-13; 6:9-10).

 Date and Place

Paul wrote this letter on his third missionary journey, toward the end of his three-year ministry in the city of Ephesus (1 Cor. 16:18).  The year of writing would have likely been AD 53 to 56.

Occasion

While in Ephesus on his third missionary journey, Paul had received a distressing report of moral problems in Corinth. It is apparently in response to these charges that he sent the “lost letter” (5:9-11).  Then a delegation from the household of Chloe, a member of the church, told Paul of factions and division in the Corinthian body (1:11).  Immediately Paul sent Timothy to Corinth to help correct the problems (4:17).  Next, Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus arrived with a letter asking specific questions  (7:1; 16:17).  He then wrote his second letter to the Corinthians, which we know as 1 Corinthians. The problems of factionalism and immorality are strongly dealt with in 1 Corinthians. There is an unmistakable parallel between the problem in the Corinthian church and the problems many churches face today. Paul addresses the subject of lawsuits between believers (6:1-11), incest (5:1-13), immorality (6:12-20) and the abuse of our liberty in Christ (8:1-11:1).  In chapters 7-15 Paul answers their questions on marriage (7); properly handling the Lord’s supper (11:17-34); the operation of the gifts of the Spirit (12,14); the Biblical definition of love (13); and the resurrection from the dead (15).

 

Key Word and Verse

The key word in 1 Corinthians is the cross, which has fourteen direct and indirect references in the book. The key verse lets us recognize in the midst of all the pressures and problems there is great hope as Paul writes in 1 Cor. 15:57, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is difficult to summarize 1 Corinthians, as Paul covers eleven different major issues in the book. The book is primarily Paul correcting abuses within the church. Paul is also countering opposition to him that has arisen within the Corinthian congregation.

1 Corinthians 1-7 – Despite all of the problems and abused in the church Paul starts the letter by expressing his admiration and appreciation for the Corinthian church. Then the rest of his letter is dealing with issues of a church filled with carnal believers, who are imitating the Pagan culture and the various problems that have arise because of it. In chapter 1-4 Paul deals with divisions that were within the church in Corinth. In chapters 5-6 he speaks to moral problems that had infiltrated the church. The remainder of the book Paul addresses questions the Corinthian church had written him about. Chapter 7 is devoted to questions concerning marriage, celibacy and remarriage.

Dr. Todd Hudnall

Lead Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO

 

Overview of Acts 25:1 – Romans 8:39

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of December 9 – December 15

Acts 25:1 – Romans 8:39

 Acts 25:1-28:31 – Twice Paul defends himself, once before a mob and then before government officials. On three occasions the church is found “not guilty” of crimes against Rome. The Acts 1:8 pattern is carried out in the book. The Gospel begins in Jerusalem and by the end it has gone all the way to the center of the Roman Empire.

Overview of Romans – Romans is Paul’s longest, most doctrinal and most influential work. It is a proclamation of God’s righteousness for both Jews and Gentiles, received by faith (Rom 1:16-17). Paul wrote the letter to the church in Rome from Corinth in 57 AD. The book is written as a diatribe with proposed questions that are then answered by Paul.

Romans 1:1 – 8:39 – Chapter 1 demonstrates the need the Gentiles have for God’s righteousness. Chapter 2 follows with the need the Jews have for God’s righteousness. Both Gentiles and Jews are under sin. Chapter 3 explains that God provides justification for both through faith. In chapter 4 Paul uses the father of the Jewish faith, Abraham, as an example of justification by faith. Chapter 5 explains that we should exalt in the blessing and assurance we have in a righteousness that is imputed through faith. Paul then goes back to demonstrate the universal condemnation and death due to Adams transgression and the universal offer of justification and life due to the second Adam’s (Jesus Christ) obedience. In chapter 6 Paul provides three analogies of baptism, slavery/freedom and death in marriage to explain the ramifications of our death, burial and resurrection in Christ. Chapter 7 explains that though the law is good and serves a purpose there is a great conflict that occurs when we endeavor to live under the law. This section culminates with the great eighth chapter of Romans. Chapter 8 is packed with memorable passages and life-changing truth. Instead of living under the law of sin and death, the believer is to live by the Spirit that leads to life. It is the Spirit of God who fulfills the law in us, enabling us to overcome the sinful nature, leading us, assuring us, aiding us and conforming us into the image of Christ. This makes us more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.

Dr. Todd Hudnall

Senior Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO

Overview of Acts 25:1 – Romans 8:39

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of December 9 – December 15

Acts 25:1 – Romans 8:39

 

Acts 25:1-28:31 – Twice Paul defends himself, once before a mob and then before government officials. On three occasions the church is found “not guilty” of crimes against Rome. The Acts 1:8 pattern is carried out in the book. The Gospel begins in Jerusalem and by the end it has gone all the way to the center of the Roman Empire.

Overview of Romans – Romans is Paul’s longest, most doctrinal and most influential work. It is a proclamation of God’s righteousness for both Jews and Gentiles, received by faith (Rom 1:16-17). Paul wrote the letter to the church in Rome from Corinth in 57 AD. The book is written as a diatribe with proposed questions that are then answered by Paul.

Romans 1:1 – 8:39 – Chapter 1 demonstrates the need the Gentiles have for God’s righteousness. Chapter 2 follows with the need the Jews have for God’s righteousness. Both Gentiles and Jews are under sin. Chapter 3 explains that God provides justification for both through faith. In chapter 4 Paul uses the father of the Jewish faith, Abraham, as an example of justification by faith. Chapter 5 explains that we should exalt in the blessing and assurance we have in a righteousness that is imputed through faith. Paul then goes back to demonstrate the universal condemnation and death due to Adams transgression and the universal offer of justification and life due to the second Adam’s (Jesus Christ) obedience. In chapter 6 Paul provides three analogies of baptism, slavery/freedom and death in marriage to explain the ramifications of our death, burial and resurrection in Christ. Chapter 7 explains that though the law is good and serves a purpose there is a great conflict that occurs when we endeavor to live under the law. This section culminates with the great eighth chapter of Romans. Chapter 8 is packed with memorable passages and life-changing truth. Instead of living under the law of sin and death, the believer is to live by the Spirit that leads to life. It is the Spirit of God who fulfills the law in us, enabling us to overcome the sinful nature, leading us, assuring us, aiding us and conforming us into the image of Christ. This makes us more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.

Dr. Todd Hudnall

Radiant Church / Senior Pastor / Colorado Springs, CO

 

 

 

Overview of Acts 14:18-24:27

Overview of this Weeks Reading
Week of December 2 – December 8
Acts 14:18-24:27

In Acts 14 the confused and fickle crowd first sees the apostles as gods to be worshiped and then as criminals to be executed. Paul is apparently stoned to death but rises up and is able to continue the ministry. Acts 15 is a pivotal moment in the history of the church, where it is determined that Gentiles can become Christians by grace through faith, apart from observing all the ordinances of the Jewish law. In Acts 16 through 19, the Gospel spreads from Antioch into Europe. This missionary initiative is the result of the leadership of the Holy Spirit (16:1-10). Beginning in verse 10 the personal pronoun changes from “they” to “we” as the author Luke joins the missionary journey. Having set a demon-possessed girl free, Paul and Silas are placed in prison. In the midst of this ordeal they are supernaturally set free and their jailer and his family come to Christ. In Acts 17 Paul speaks to an intellectual Pagan audience. Paul’s ministry to the Corinthians is chronicled in Acts 18, while Acts 19 records the powerful awakening Paul leads in Ephesus that spreads throughout Asia Minor. Acts 20 begins the story of Paul’s journey to Rome via arrest in Jerusalem, imprisonment, court trials and dangerous travel.

Dr. Todd Hudnall
Senior Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO

Overview of Acts 5:12 – 14:7

Overview of this Weeks Reading

Week of November 25-December 1

Acts 5:12-14:7

  

Acts 5:12-14:7 – Following the judgment of Ananias and Sapphire, people no longer joined the church flippantly but the true church grew even more rapidly (5:13-14). Chapter 6 reveals the potential for division between the Greek-speaking (Hellenistic) Jews and the Aramaic speaking (Jerusalem) Jews. The church wisely handled the matter by putting the disgruntled Hellenistic minority in charge of the food distribution to widows. After delegating these responsibilities, the apostles are able to fully give themselves to prayer and the Scripture and through it the church has another season of extraordinary growth. In chapter 7, a Hellenistic Jew, Stephen, becomes the first martyr of the church. In chapter 8 the Gospel spreads from Jerusalem to Samaria through the ministry of a Hellenistic Jew, Philip the evangelist, who had served as a deacon in the Jerusalem church. Chapter 9 is a pivotal moment in the history of the church, as Saul of Tarsus (the persecutor of the church) is radically converted on the road to Damascus. He will become God’s spearhead for moving the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Acts 9:31 provides another summary statement of the progress of the church and the chapter ends with God still doing mighty works through His followers, with Peter being the focus. In chapter 10, for the first time the Gospel is being delivered to the Gentiles. It comes not through a Hellenist but through the reluctant Apostle Peter, who is compelled by the powerful, sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. The story is so critical to the future of the church, it is retold in chapter 11. In chapter 13, the center of Gospel ministry shifts from Jerusalem to the church in Antioch. The Antioch church is a multi-cultural church that, by the leadership of the Holy Spirit, becomes the first church to intentionally send out missionaries. In chapter 13, Saul’s name is changed to Paul (signifying his calling to the Gentiles) and he becomes the leader of the mission effort (his name is now listed first).

 

Dr. Todd Hudnall

Senior Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO

 

 

 

Overview of this Week’s Reading

John 14:1- John 21:25 – In chapter 14 Jesus explains that He will be leaving, entrusting them with His ministry but giving them the Holy Spirit to enable them to complete it. The world that hates Jesus will also hate the disciples. Chapter 17 contains Jesus’ prayer for his followers. Jesus, Israel’s Messiah and King of the Kingdom of God, is crucified at the same time the Passover lambs are sacrificed, becoming the ultimate and final Passover Lamb. On the cross Jesus declares, “It is finished” as the debt of the sin of the human race has been paid in full and His mission on earth is complete. After His resurrection Jesus appears to his disciples. The book ends as Jesus meets with Peter and then the other disciples on the beach.

 

Background of Acts – The Gospel of John is written by the Apostle John, though John 21:24 may suggest the involvement of a second author. The date of writing is about AD 90.

 

Acts Overview –The book of Acts is structured around Acts 1:8 as the church moves the Gospel from Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria and then to Rome and the world. Summary statements referring to the progress of the Gospel are made through the book (6:7, 9:32, 12:24, 15:5 and 19:20). Jesus had promised the Holy Spirit and by the power of the Spirit the church continues the ministry of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is responsible for every major turning point in the book of Acts. I’ve provided an extensive overview of the book of Acts. Select what you find most pertinent for your study.

 

Title – Originally no title was attached to the book. The name Acts of the Apostles (or Acts of Apostolic Men in the literal Greek) was probably given it in the second century A.D. The Gospel of Luke and The Acts are two volumes of a single work. Acts speaks of actions or deeds, because it is a book full of action. The longer title of Acts of the Apostles likely comes from the predominance of apostles in the book, particularly Peter and Paul. Yet, the book does not describe the authority of an elite group of leaders, but the work of the Holy Spirit through the lives of common believers. It has rightly been suggested a better and enlarged title for the book would be “The Acts of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit In and Through the Church.”

 

Author -Neither the book of Luke nor the book of Acts identify their author, yet most authorities agree Luke was the author of both. Extant ancient witnesses, dating as early as A.D. 170, are practically unanimous in identifying Luke. here is significant internal evidence to suggest Lucan authorship. First, both books are addressed to Theophilus, and Acts mentions a “first account,” which obviously was the third gospel. Second, there are three “we” sections, where the narrative is written in the first person plural (Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:16). Church tradition falls in line in identifying Luke as Paul’s fellow traveler. Third, the writings of Luke have similar style and language, as well as a natural flow between each other.

 

DateLuke probably wrote Acts while in Rome, toward the end of Paul’s two-year imprisonment in A.D. 61-63. It couldn’t have been earlier, due to the record of Paul’s imprisonment (Acts 28:30), which is dated around A.D. 59-61. The book was probably not written at a later time because the Jewish wars (A.D. 66-70), the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70) and Nero’s great persecution of Christians (A.D. 64) are not even alluded to. The book spans approximately a 31-year period.

 

SourceThe gospel of Luke begins by saying, “Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed” (Luke 1:1-4). In these verses we learn, that in his two works, Luke compiled significant research in preparing his writing of the accounts. He could be seen as a First Century investigative report. By the three “we” sections, it is evident he witnessed portions of the events himself. Luke’s main source must have been Paul, who was able to supply events of his conversion, missionary journeys and early church history. His remaining sources probably included prominent characters throughout his account (Peter, John, James, Mark, Mnason, Paul, Philip and Barnabas). Since Luke was in Palestine during Paul’s Caesarean imprisonment (21:18: 27:1), he had the opportunity to gather information from these eyewitness, including Mary, the mother of Jesus.

 

Purpose – Luke wrote his gospel to Theophilus “that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed” (Luke 1:1-4). Acts provides a follow-up to the Gospels. It is a look at the post-resurrection ministry of Jesus, through the key figures of the early church. In the strictest sense, Acts is not a history of the early church. There are many events of the first thirty years of Christendom that are excluded. His is primarily telling the story of the movement of the church from its origins in Jerusalem to the heart of the Roman Empire.

 

The Acts gives the Roman world a clear understanding of the origins of Christianity. It tells of the rejection of the Gospel by the Jews and the reception of the gospel by the Gentiles. In so doing, it demonstrates the definite distinction between “The Way” and Judaism. Acts provides evidence for the apostleship of Paul, Peter, James and John, allowing their writings greater acceptance. Because it vindicates Christianity and the New Testament writers, Acts is a pivotal book in the New Testament.

 

The primary purpose of the book as all scripture is described in 2 Tim 3:16-17,  “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  The book of Acts gives us great instruction on how a passionate follower of Jesus Christ is to live.

 

Acts and the New TestamentThe gospels and the epistles are joined together by Acts. It stands as a sequel to the gospels and gives background, as well as attestation to the writings of the apostles. In chronicling the first 31 years of the church, it gives testimony to the living out of the New Testament scripture. Both the gospel and the apostolic writers give great attention to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Acts details the actual experiential working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Fifty-one times the Spirit is mentioned or referred to.

 

SurveyIn the book of Acts the key verse, key word and basic outline are found in the same passage. The key verse is Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  The key word is witness, which appears in various forms about twenty time. The basic outline is the witness in Jerusalem (1:1-8:3); the witness in Judea and Samaria (8:4-12:25) and the witness to the end of the earth (12:25-28:31).

 

Chapters 1-7 emphasize the ministry of Peter, with all of the action transpiring in Jerusalem. Stephen’s testimony to the Sanhedrin and his ensuing martyred end this section. Chapters 8-12 show the progression of the church from a sect within Judaism, to a movement which would sweep across the known world within three decades. In chapter 9 the conversion of Saul occurs, transforming him from the great persecutor of the church (Saul) to the great apostle of the church (who became Paul). This event is so significant it is detailed on three occasions in the book of Acts (9:1-31; 22:6-16; 26:12-18).

 

Chapters 13-28 emphasis the ministry of Saul. During a ten year period (A.D. 47-56), Paul lead three critical missionary journeys. All three evangelistic crusades begin from the headquarters of Antioch in Syria. The first trip takes him to the Island of Cyprus (Salamis and Paphos), through the region of Galatia (Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lysra, and Derbe) and back through that area (Lystra, Iconium and Antioch) to Perga and Attalia, and then home to Antioch of Syria. The second journey he travels to Asia Minor (Syria and Cilicia), Galatia (Derbe, Lystra, Iconium and Antioch of Pisidia), Troas, Macedonia (Neapolis, Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea), Achaia (Athens and Corinth) and then back through Ephesus and on to Jerusalem, eventually returning to Antioch. On Paul’s third missions crusade he once again goes to Galatia and Phrygia, then on to Ephesus, back to Macedonia and then to Greece, Troas and finally to Jerusalem, where he is arrested and imprisoned. (These are general itineraries and do not cover every city Paul traveled to).

 

As a prisoner Paul often appeared for examination. During these examinations he was able to give powerful witness to the Lord Jesus. In Jerusalem before the mob (22:1-21) and the council of the Sanhedrin (23:1-6). In Caesarea before governors (24:10-21; 25:8-11) and before a king (26:2-29). In Rome to the Jews and those who came to visit him (28:17-31). The book of Acts concludes with these words, “Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.” (Acts 28:30-31).

 

Acts 1:1-5:11 – The book of Acts picks up where Luke left off. Acts 1:8 is the key verse of the book that summarizes what is coming in the rest of the book. In chapter one Divine Order is achieved as a new twelfth apostle – symbolizing a new twelve that symbolize a new Israel of God (not displacing Israel but becoming a new community). As John the Baptist foretold (Luke 3:16), in Acts 2 Jesus baptizes his followers in the Holy Spirit, to empower them to carry out His mission. It is a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. Acts 2:42-47 portrays the church as God’s New Community in the Spirit. In Acts 3 the apostle continue the ministry of Jesus healing the sick and in Acts 4 are unmoved by the threats of the kingdoms of this world. God is doing a unique and powerful work in His new community and God deals with the infiltration of sin harshly (Acts 5).

 

Dr. Todd Hudnall

Lead Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO

Overview of John 7:45 – 13:38

John 7:45-13:38 – Jesus fulfills the feast of Tabernacles; 1) water from the rock, 2) the light (pillar of cloud and fire) that led the children of Israel through the wilderness and 3) giving of the divine name. The story of the healing of the man born blind is an extraordinary and humorous story that demonstrates Jesus is the light of the world. John 9 shows the division now caused by the rejection of Jesus, as people who believe in him are being thrown out of the synagogue. In chapter 10 Jesus announces that He is Ezekiel’s Great Messianic Shepherd. In chapter 11 we read the extraordinary even of Jesus’ resuscitating Lazarus from the dead, which leads to Jesus’ own death. Jesus rides triumphantly into Jerusalem in chapter 12. John 13 is the instructive lesson of Jesus washing feet that begins the last chapter discourse.

Dr. Todd Hudnall

Senior Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO

This Week’s Overview of Radiant Word

Matthew 1-11

Background of Matthew – The book was written by the disciple Matthew (also called Levi). The focus audience is the Jews. Matthew’s emphasis is that Jesus is the Son of God, Israel’s Messiah and the King of the Jews. Yet the Gospel of the Kingdom is for both Jew and Gentile.

Overview – Matthew ties the New Testament to the Old Testament. He also ties the story of Jesus to the story of Israel and fulfilled prophecy. Matthew was the most often used Gospel in the early church. Within the narrative there are five major teaching blocks. Jesus is often seen confronting the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. The Lord is portrayed as both the King of the Jews (Matt. 27:37) and Isaiah’s Suffering Servant (20:28). For Matthew Jesus is the center of everything and His followers are to live like Him (7:15-23) and proclaim His Kingdom, in His authority (28:18-20).

Matthew 1-11 – Jesus is the unique God-man (1:1-2:23). Jesus is introduced by John the Baptist, baptized in the river Jordan and led into the wilderness for 40-days to be tested (3:1-4:11). Jesus is a type of Israel who went through the water of the Red Sea and then was tested during 40-years of wilderness wanderings. Israel failed the test, while Jesus prevailed. Jesus proclaims the Kingdom of God. His Sermon on the Mount is the Magna Carta of the Kingdom (4:12-7:29). Jesus carries out his Kingdom mission in the power of the God (8:1-10:42). There are a succession of 8 miracle stories and 9 miracles. Jesus sends out the twelve disciples to carry out His ministry in His authority.

 

–Dr. Todd Hudnall
Senior Pastor / Radiant Church / Colorado Springs, CO