Week of October 13 - Day 4

Day 4 Read: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. 

Reflect: What does it mean that “the sufferings of Christ overflow to us”? How do we share in Christ’s sufferings?

Consider: Because the Corinthians benefited when the apostles were distressed, Paul’s experiences had been the Corinthians’ comfort. As he ministered at great personal cost, he brought comfort and salvation to those who heard his message. At the same time, when the apostles were comforted by Christ, they received the encouragement they needed to bring the Corinthians comfort.

Further, the comfort believers received from Paul’s suffering produce[d] … patient endurance in the midst of their own sufferings. Christians must remain faithful to Christ, no matter how difficult circumstances become. Endurance (hypomone) describes how believers must continue in faithful service to the end. Yet, endurance will not last unless it is patient. Patience is the ability to wait for Christ to return and end all suffering. Comfort enables believers to find energy, which in turn makes them patient as they endure suffering.[1]

Respond: How does Christ comfort us in our affliction? Is it the same as how the Father comforts us? What are the sufferings that we all share in common? How do both affliction and comfort result in positive things?


[1] Richard L. Pratt Jr, I & II Corinthians, vol. 7, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 304.

 

Week of October 13 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: John 14:16-17

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 

Reflect: How does Jesus describe the coming Holy Spirit as He explains what is about to happen to his disciples?

Consider: The Holy Spirit is given two special names by our Lord: “another Comforter” and “the Spirit of truth.” The Greek word translated “Comforter” is parakletos and it is used only by John (14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7; 1 John 2:1). It means “called alongside to assist.” The Holy Spirit does not work instead of us, or in spite of us, but in us and through us.

Our English word comfort comes from two Latin words meaning “with strength.” We usually think of “comfort” as soothing someone, consoling him or her; and to some extent this is true. But true comfort strengthens us to face life bravely and keep on going. It does not rob us of responsibility or make it easy for us to give up. Some translations call the Holy Spirit “the Encourager,” and this is a good choice of words. Parakletos is translated “Advocate” in 1 John 2:1. An “advocate” is one who represents you at court and stands at your side to plead your case.[1]

Respond: When Jesus told the disciples that He would send “another,” He used the word that meant another of the same kind. The counselor will be like Jesus Himself. In what ways is the Holy Spirit like Jesus? How is the Holy Spirit our “helper”? In what ways does the spirit help us in our walk with Christ?


[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 352.

Week of October 13 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: Revelation 7:17

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” 

Reflect: What oxymoron do you find in 17a? How is it possible that the Lamb can also be the Shepherd?

Consider: God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. This great promise is found in the Bible only here and in Revelation 21:4. There the removal of tears symbolizes that God’s people will never again experience death, mourning, or pain.[1]

Respond: How do the truths that Jesus the Lamb “is at the center of the throne” and “will shepherd them” comfort you even now?

The primary responsibility of a shepherd is to find adequate watering. Jesus promises to lead us to a place where our thirst is quenched forever. How does this verse relate to Matthew 5:4?


[1] Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 132.

Week of October 13 - Day 1

Day 1 Read: Matthew 5:4

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 

Reflect: What kind of mourning do you think Jesus is talking about here?

Consider: “Mourn” remains unqualified and parallels Luke’s “weep” (Luke 6:21). In light of v. 3 and a probable allusion to Isa 61:2–3, however, we should again think of both spiritual and social concerns. Mourning includes grief caused by both personal sin and loss and social evil and oppression. God will comfort now in part and fully in the future.[1]

Respond: Why is this kind of brokenness over sin necessary for redemption? In what way do believers experience comfort when they mourn over sin? Why is your answer important to your relationship with Christ? In what way is the opposite of verse 4 also true: Those who do not mourn are not blessed, for they will not be comforted?


[1] Craig Blomberg, Matthew, vol. 22, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 99.

Week of October 6 - Day 5

Day 5 Read: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— 6 though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

Reflect: How do you see Paul’s poverty of spirit in these verses? What caused him to be poor in spirit?

Consider: Validation as God’s minister does not come from one’s own self-endorsement or from otherworldly experiences. The problem is that the Corinthians do not understand him fully (1:14), and what they have seen of him they have misread (10:1, 10; 11:21). He needs to bring them to understand that the life and power of God (13:4) pulse beneath his mask of death, weakness, and humiliation (4:7–12). What is important are not the transcendent moments when he has become spiritually airborne, but his obedience in the daily chore of preaching the gospel faithfully despite “weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties” (12:10).5

Respond: Have you ever felt like Paul did? That you prayed and asked God to change something, but He did not? How did you experience his grace during that season? Why, then, do you think being poor in spirit helps us to see God more clearly?


5 David E. Garland, 2 Corinthians, vol. 29, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 518.

 

Week of October 6 - Day 4

Day 4 Read: Psalm 32:1-2

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit. 

Reflect: What is the source of blessedness or happiness in this psalm?

Consider: In verses 1–2 three synonyms are used for sin: the first one (transgression) is generally taken to indicate disobedience, rebellion against the divine will; the second one (sin) is misconduct, faulty action; the third one (iniquity) is wrong, evil. In verse 2b deceit stands for lie, hypocrisy, fraud; and spirit represents the inner self, the person’s character. [1]

Respond: God freely forgives those who trust Him. This is His mercy in action. In what sense have we all been shown mercy and forgiveness from God? Describe one specific occasion when you have experienced the mercy of God.


[1] Robert G. Bratcher and William David Reyburn, A Translator’s Handbook on the Book of Psalms, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1991), 303.

 

Week of October 6 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: Isaiah 57:15

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
and to revive the heart of the contrite. 

Reflect: What experiences in your life have given you a glimpse of God’s majesty? What did that glimpse do for your relationship with God?

Consider: The pride and self-righteousness of the Jews were the stumbling block in the way of their acknowledging Christ. The contrition of Israel in the last days shall be attended with God’s interposition in their behalf. So their self-humiliation, in Is 66:2, 5, 10, precedes their final prosperity (Zec 12:6, 10–14); there will, probably, be a previous period of unbelief even after their return (Zec 12:8, 9).[1]

Respond: How has God been working in your heart as you’ve wrestled with the concept of spiritual poverty? How has the Holy Spirit challenged you? What areas of your life need renovation because of pride?


[1] Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 1 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 495.

Week of October 6 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: Isaiah 6:1-5

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Reflect: What do you think Isaiah would have felt when he saw this vision in chapter 6? What words are used to describe God? How do these words propel you in your desire to be spiritually poor?

Consider: Seeing all this, Isaiah immediately was aware of his own unworthiness (6:5) and the need for atonement (6:6–7). In the presence of God’s holiness Isaiah was not struck by his humanity or mortality, but by (a) his own impurity; (b) the uncleanness of the nation of Judah; and (c) the sight of the King, the Lord Almighty. Isaiah could not join the seraphs in praising God until his lips were purified. He cried out, “woe is me” (ʾōy lî) because he was in the presence of a holy God.[1]

Respond: When Isaiah saw God’s glory, he felt utterly lost. What does his reaction tell you about God? Based on Isaiah’s response, how do you think you might react to a glimpse of the Almighty?

 


[1] Gary V. Smith, Isaiah 1–39, ed. E. Ray Clendenen, The New American Commentary (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2007), 191.

Week of October 6 - Day 1

Day 1 Read: Matthew 5:3

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Reflect: How is the way Jesus defined blessing different than the way the world typically thinks of blessing? What does this difference tell us about the nature of God’s kingdom?

Consider: The poor in spirit (Matt. 5:3) are those who consciously depend on God, not on themselves; they are “poor” inwardly, having no ability in themselves to please God (Rom. 3:9–12).[1]

Respond: Read Matthew 5:3 again. What does it mean to be “poor in spirit” (v. 3)? What would the opposite of this quality be? In your opinion, what does our society treasure instead of being poor in spirit? The reward for those who are poor in spirit is that “the kingdom of heaven” is theirs. What does this mean, and why is it a reward?


[1] Louis A. Barbieri, Jr., “Matthew,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 29.

Week of September 29 - Day 5

Day 5 Read: Matthew 5:1-12

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Reflect: Each week, you will read through these twelve verses. Hopefully you are making good progress memorizing them. Which one brings you the most personal comfort?

Consider: This first section, the introduction of Jesus’ message, is typically called the Beatitudes. It amounts to a description of the character of those who are in the kingdom, servants of the king. Jesus always starts with the heart. These verses are progressive, following logically one after another, and they form something of an outline for the sermon in Matthew 5–7. Verses 3–5 deal with the individual’s heart personally, as does Matthew 5:13–20. Verse 6 deals with our genuine relationship with the Lord, as does Matthew 6. And verses 7–12 deal with our relationships with others—how we may impact them, and how they might relate to us—as does Matthew 7.4

Respond: How do these verses change your mind set for what is important in life? How might you live differently if you were to implement these more into your life?


4  Stuart K. Weber, Matthew, vol. 1, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 57–58.

 

Week of September 29 - Day 4

Day 4 Read: Acts 13:4-12

4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. 6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord. 

Reflect: What is the response of the proconsul to Paul’s teaching?

Consider: Verse 12 describes the effect of the miracle on the proconsul: he believed. He was not only impressed by the miracle but also by the teaching about the Lord. This familiar pattern already has been illustrated in Acts. The miracles wrought by the Spirit often provide an opening for faith. It is much as with the lame beggar of chap. 3. The crowds were attracted to the apostles by the healing (3:11). They believed in the Lord as the result of Peter’s preaching the gospel (4:4).4

Respond: What does the proconsul’s response to Paul imply about the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer? Are there circumstances in your life where you are hesitant to speak up or speak out? How can you be encouraged from this passage? 


4  John B. Polhill, Acts, vol. 26, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 294–295.

 

Week of September 29 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: Luke 4:16-22

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”

20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph's son?”  

Reflect: How do you think those who knew Jesus and watched Him grow up in Nazareth felt about Jesus’ proclamation here?

Consider: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” This is a PERFECT PASSIVE INDICATIVE. It speaks of the eschatological fulfillment of the promise of the coming of the Kingdom of God, which was now present in Jesus. What a shocking statement! The Kingdom of God is the focus of Jesus’ preaching. It is the reign of God in men’s hearts now that will one day be consummated over all the earth as it is in heaven. It is both here and now and yet future!3

Respond: Why do you think God inspired Isaiah to write that the Messiah’s ministry would be to the poor? What kind of freedom did the captives need? With what kind of blindness is God most concerned? How does Jesus, then, fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah?


3 Robert James Utley, The Gospel according to Luke, vol. Volume 3A, Study Guide Commentary Series (Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International, 2004), Lk 4:21.

Week of September 29 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: Matthew 7:28-29

28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. 

Reflect: As Jesus ended His Sermon on the Mount, why do you think the crowd found His teaching so astonishing?

Consider: As a result of this sermon, the crowds of people following Jesus were amazed at His teaching. “Amazed” (exeplēssonto, lit., “struck out”) means “overwhelmed.” It suggests a strong, sudden sense of being astounded, and is stronger than thaumazō (“to wonder or be amazed”). Matthew used exeplēssonto four times (7:28; 13:54; 19:25; 22:33). Jesus had just demonstrated the inadequacies of the Pharisees’ religious system. The righteousness they knew was not sufficient for entering His kingdom. The authority of Jesus is what amazed them, for He taught as a Spokesman from God—not as the teachers of His time who were simply reflecting the authority of the Law. The contrast between Jesus and the religious leaders was most pronounced.2

Respond: What is your source for instruction for living? Right and wrong? How to treat others? Are there any sources in your life (books, internet, TV/Radio personalities) that you allow to speak into your life in the same manner as scripture? Based on what we are reading about the life of Christ and His expectations of His followers, what adjustments do you need to make in this area?

 


2 Louis A. Barbieri, Jr., “Matthew,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 36.

Week of September 29 - Day 1

Day 1 Read: Matthew 5:1-2

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 

Reflect: Why do you think the disciples followed Jesus to the mountain? What might they have expected Him to do?

Consider: Jesus ascended a mountain when He saw the crowds because He deemed the mountainside to be a better setting for teaching a large group. As the new Moses, His delivery of God’s message from a mountaintop provides yet another parallel with the ancient Moses. The Greek words translated He went up on the mountain are used three times in the Greek OT (Ex 19:3; 24:18; 34:28), and all three fall in the section describing Moses’ ascent of Mount Sinai. This fits with Matthew’s repeated theme of drawing out parallels between Moses and Jesus. For instance, Jesus’ birth paralleled several events surrounding Moses’ birth. Herod attempted to kill the infant Christ by ordering the slaughter of Bethlehem’s boys (Mt 2:16-18) much as Pharaoh ordered the execution of newborn male Israelites (Ex 1:15-18,22). Furthermore, the angel’s pronouncement that danger had passed (“Those who sought the child’s life are dead,” Mt 2:20) is a clear echo of Ex 4:19, “All the men who wanted to kill you are dead”.

Respond: Jesus could have taught the crowd many different truths. Why do you think He chose to focus on His followers? How would hearing this teaching be different for someone who is just following the crowd and one who is a true disciple?

 

Week of September 22 - Day 5

Day 5 Read: 1 Corinthians 11:27-34

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. 33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— 34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come. 

Reflect: Why is it important that we examine ourselves before taking the Lord’s Supper? Read verse 29. What is the result of not taking the time to look at your own life before taking communion?

Consider: To avoid such serious offenses, every believer ought to examine himself. Christians must scrutinize their motives and actions to see that they match the significance of the Lord’s Supper. This self-examination is to take place before eating and drinking. The reason for taking time for self-examination is evident: He who participates without recognizing the body of the Lord brings divine judgment on himself.

This verse does not say that the Lord’s Supper should be observed introspectively, with participants focusing mainly on their own hearts. Rather, Paul offered this instruction as a corrective for a specific problem. In general, the Lord’s Supper should be a time of celebration in which Christians focus on Christ’s honor, the church’s unity, and the proclamation of the gospel. The focus should be on others, not on oneself. It is only in the preparation for the Lord’s Supper that individuals must turn their attention inward.5

Respond: Why do we celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a church family, and not as individuals? How does the Lord’s Supper encourage biblical community? Have you experienced this?


5 Richard L. Pratt Jr, I & II Corinthians, vol. 7, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 202.

Week of September 22 - Day 4

Day 4 Read: Matthew 26:26-28

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 

Reflect: What instructions does Jesus leave with his disciples? What does He declare about himself?

Consider: Verse 29 anticipates both Jesus’ departure and his return. He warns the disciples that he will not again be drinking (or eating or performing any other part of this Passover liturgy) in the immediate future, but he looks forward to rejoining them for the messianic banquet (recall the imagery of 22:1–14, and cf. Rev 19). The kingdom which is now inaugurated will then be consummated in all its fullness. Jesus’ words may suggest that he refused to drink the fourth and final cup of this particular meal.4

Respond: Why did Jesus choose to institute this meal for believers during Passover? How is the Lord’s Supper different from the Passover? What was Jesus trying to teach the disciples?


4 Craig Blomberg, Matthew, vol. 22, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 391.

Week of September 22 - Day 3

Day 3 Read: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 

Reflect: What do the bread and wine represent? What is their significance?

Consider: “You do show the Lord’s death” -- The word literally means, ye announce, or proclaim, with reference to the repetition of the actual words used by our Lord. It will be seen that St. Paul does not lend the smallest sanction to the “unfathomable superstition” of a material transubstantiation. “Till he come” --Accordingly the antiquity and unbroken continuance of this holy rite is one of the many strong external evidences of the truth of the gospel history. The ἂν is omitted in the Greek, to indicate the certainty of Christ’s coming. The same Greek idiom is hopefully and tenderly used in Gal. 4:19.3

Respond:  What do relationships with other believers communicate to the world about our relationships with Christ? Paul mentions that when we partake in the Lord’s Supper we “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (v. 26). What do you think Paul meant by this?


3 H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., 1 Corinthians, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 365.

Week of September 22 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: 1 Corinthians 11:20-22

When you come together, it is not the Lord's supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

Reflect: According to Paul, in what ways were the Corinthians missing the mark when they observed the Lord’s Supper? What effect did this have on the unity of the church?

Consider: The Corinthians thought they were advanced believers, when in reality they were but little children. Paul did not suggest that they abandon the feast, but rather that they restore its proper meaning. “Let the rich eat at home if they are hungry. When you abuse believers who are less fortunate than you are, then you are actually despising the church!” The “agape feast” should have been an opportunity for edification, but they were using it as a time for embarrassment.2

Respond: As followers of Jesus, why is our unity and commitment to the body so important? How have you experienced this personally?


2 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 605.

Week of September 22 - Day 1

Scripture to Memorize: 1 Corinthians 11:26

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 

Day 1 Read: 1 Corinthians 11:17-19

But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.

Reflect: What issue does Paul address in these verses? How is he certain of his accusation?

Consider: The church was divided at a celebration which was meant to express unity (cf. 10:17). If these divisions (schismata; 1:10; 12:25) were related to those noted earlier (1:10–4:21), then one factor contributing to those divisions is evident here, namely, economic differences in the church (11:21). Paul did not want to believe the report about their divisions (v. 18b), but he knew that sin was inevitable and would not pass unnoticed by God. God’s approval (dokimoi) resumed a point Paul had discussed earlier (1 Cor. 9:27–10:10), where he used in 9:27 the contrasting word “disqualified” (adokimos).1

Respond: What divisions are present in our church today? On what are those divisions based? In what ways do you contribute to those divisions? In what ways do you help break down division?


1 David K. Lowery, “1 Corinthians,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 530–531.

Week of September 15 - Day 5

Day 5 Read: 1 John 5:1-3

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 

Reflect: Why is loving people one of the clearest indicators of a person’s love for God?

Consider: In 5:1–5 John emphasizes the place of love in fellowship. He links love to faith (5:6–17; Ps. 85:10–11) in cyclical thought. Right belief and right conduct go together (v. 1). The one who believes the truth that Jesus is the divine Messiah (2:22; 4:2, 14–15; 5:5) gives evidence that he has been regenerated. Such faith also means love for both the divine Parent and the child born from him (a universal principle). Faith, doing right (2:29; 3:9–10), and love (4:7) are evidences of birth from God.[1]

Respond: Another indicator John mentions of a person’s love for God is obedience to His commands. Why is it important to remember that God’s commands are not burdensome? How does your obedience to God affect your love for others?

 


[1]5  James B. De Young, “1-3 John,” in Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, vol. 3, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1995), 1185.