Jeremiah 23

Jer 23:1 Woe to shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture, says Jehovah.
Jer 23:2 Because of this, so says Jehovah the God of Israel against the shepherds who shepherd My people: You have scattered My flock, and have driven them away, and have not visited them. Behold, I will visit on you the evil of your doings, says Jehovah.
Jer 23:3 And I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the lands where I have driven them there, and I will bring them again to their fold. And they shall be fruitful and multiply.
Jer 23:4 And I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them. And they will fear no more, nor be terrified; nor will they be missing anything, says Jehovah.
Jer 23:5 Behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and act wisely, and He shall do justice and righteousness in the earth.
Jer 23:6 In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely. And this is His name by which He shall be called, Jehovah our Righteousness.
Jer 23:7 Behold, so the days come, says Jehovah, that they shall no more say, As Jehovah lives who brought the sons of Israel up out of the land of Egypt;
Jer 23:8 but, As Jehovah lives who brought up and led the seed of the house of Israel out of the land of the north, and from all the lands where I have driven them there. And they shall dwell on their own land.
Jer 23:9 My heart within me is broken concerning the prophets; all my bones shake. I am like a drunken man, and like a man overcome by wine, because of Jehovah, and because of the Words of His holiness.
Jer 23:10 For the land is full of adulterers. For the land mourns because of a curse. The pastures of the wilderness are dried up. And their course is evil, and their might is not right.
Jer 23:11 For both prophet and priest are ungodly; yea, I have found their evil in My house, says Jehovah.
Jer 23:12 So their way shall be to them as slippery places in the darkness; they shall be driven out and fall by it. For I will bring evil on them, the year of their judgment, says Jehovah.
Jer 23:13 And I have seen frivolity among the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied by Baal and led astray My people Israel.
Jer 23:14 I have also seen a horrible thing among the prophets of Jerusalem; they commit adultery and walk in falsehood. And they make the hands of evildoers strong, so that not a man returns from his evil. They are all of them like Sodom to Me, and those living in her like Gomorrah.
Jer 23:15 So Jehovah of Hosts says this concerning the prophets: Behold, I will feed them wormwood, and make them drink poisonous water, for ungodliness has gone forth from the prophets of Jerusalem into all the land.
Jer 23:16 So says Jehovah of Hosts, Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you; they make you vain; they speak a vision of their own heart, not out of the mouth of Jehovah.
Jer 23:17 They say to those who despise Me, Jehovah has said, You shall have peace. And they say to everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, Evil shall not come on you.
Jer 23:18 For who has stood in the counsel of Jehovah, and has seen and heard His Word? Who has listened to His Word and heard?
Jer 23:19 Behold, the tempest of Jehovah has gone forth in fury, even a whirling tempest. It will whirl on the head of the wicked.
Jer 23:20 The anger of Jehovah shall not turn back until He has executed, and until He has set up the purposes of His heart. In latter days you shall understand it perfectly.
Jer 23:21 I have not sent the prophets, yet they ran; I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
Jer 23:22 But if they had stood in My counsel and had caused My people to hear My Words, then they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.
Jer 23:23 Am I a God near by, says Jehovah, and not a God from afar?
Jer 23:24 Or can anyone hide himself in secret places so that I do not see him, says Jehovah? Do I not fill the heavens and the earth, says Jehovah?
Jer 23:25 I have heard what the prophets said, those who prophesy lies in My name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.
Jer 23:26 How long is this there in the heart of the prophets, the prophets of lies; yea, the prophets of the deceit of their own heart?
Jer 23:27 They plot to cause My people to forget My name by their dreams which they tell, each one to his neighbor, even as their fathers have forgotten My name for Baal.
Jer 23:28 The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream. And he who has My Word, let him speak My Word faithfully. What has the chaff to do with the wheat, says Jehovah?
Jer 23:29 Is not My Word thus like fire, says Jehovah, and like a hammer which breaks a rock in pieces?
Jer 23:30 Then, Jehovah says, Behold, I am against the prophets who steal My Words, each one from his neighbor.
Jer 23:31 Jehovah says, Behold, I am against the prophets who use their tongues and say, He says.
Jer 23:32 Jehovah says, Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams, and tell them, and cause My people to go astray by their lies, and by their frivolity. Yet I did not send them nor command them. And they will not profit this people at all, says Jehovah.
Jer 23:33 And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask you, saying, What is the burden of Jehovah? You shall then say to them, What burden? I will even forsake you, says Jehovah.
Jer 23:34 And the prophet, and the priest, and the people who shall say, The burden of Jehovah, I will even punish that man and his house.
Jer 23:35 And you shall say each one to his neighbor, and each one to his brother, What has Jehovah answered? And what has Jehovah spoken?
Jer 23:36 And you shall not mention the burden of Jehovah again, for each man’s word shall be his burden. But you have perverted the Words of the living God, of Jehovah of Hosts, our God.
Jer 23:37 So you shall say to the prophet, What has Jehovah answered you? And what has Jehovah spoken?
Jer 23:38 But if you say, The burden of Jehovah, therefore so says Jehovah: Because you say this word, the burden of Jehovah; and I have sent to you saying, You shall not say, The burden of Jehovah;
Jer 23:39 therefore, behold! I, even I will utterly forget you and cast you off and the city that I gave to you and your fathers, away from My face.
Jer 23:40 And I will put on you an everlasting reproach and never ending shame on you, which shall not be forgotten.

Jeremiah 22

Jer 22:1 So says Jehovah, Go down to the house of the king of Judah and speak this Word there,
Jer 22:2 and say, Hear the Word of Jehovah, O king of Judah who sits on the throne of David, you and your servants, and your people who enter in by these gates.
Jer 22:3 So says Jehovah, Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one robbed from the oppressor’s hand. And do not oppress the alien, the widow, or the orphan, and do not do violence nor shed innocent blood in this place.
Jer 22:4 For if you indeed do this thing, then there shall enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he and his servants and his people.
Jer 22:5 But if you will not hear these Words, I swear by Myself, says Jehovah, that this house shall become a ruin.
Jer 22:6 For so says Jehovah concerning the king of Judah’s house, You are Gilead to Me, the head of Lebanon; yet surely I will make you a wilderness, cities not inhabited.
Jer 22:7 And I will consecrate destroyers against you, each one with his weapons; and they will cut down your choice cedars and make them fall into the fire.
Jer 22:8 And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall each say to one another, Why has Jehovah done this to this great city?
Jer 22:9 Then they will answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of Jehovah their God and worshiped other gods and served them.
Jer 22:10 Weep not for the ones who died nor moan for him; weep bitterly for him who goes away, for he shall return no more, nor see the land of his birth.
Jer 22:11 For so says Jehovah concerning Shallum the son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned in his father Josiah’s place, who went forth from this place: he shall not return there any more.
Jer 22:12 But he shall die there in the place where they have exiled him, and he will see this land no more.
Jer 22:13 Woe to him who builds his house without righteousness, and his upper rooms without justice. His neighbor serves without pay, and he does not give him for his work;
Jer 22:14 who says, I will build myself a wide house and large upper rooms. And he cuts out windows for it and covers with cedar, and paints with vermilion.
Jer 22:15 Do you reign because you lust to excel in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well for him.
Jer 22:16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy, then it was well. Was this not to know Me, says Jehovah?
Jer 22:17 But your eyes and your heart lust for nothing but your unjust gain, and to shed innocent blood, and oppression, and to do violence.
Jer 22:18 So Jehovah says this concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, They shall not mourn for him, saying, Ah, my brother! Or, Ah, sister! They shall not mourn for him, saying, Ah, lord! Or, Ah, his glory!
Jer 22:19 He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn beyond the gates of Jerusalem and thrown out.
Jer 22:20 Go up to Lebanon and cry. And lift up your voice in Bashan, and cry out from Abarim; for all those loving you are destroyed.
Jer 22:21 I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, I will not hear. This has been your way from your youth, for you have not obeyed My voice.
Jer 22:22 Those feeding you shall feed the wind, and those loving you shall go into captivity. Surely then you will be ashamed and will blush for all your wickedness.
Jer 22:23 One dwelling in Lebanon, nested in the cedars, how you will groan when pangs come to you, the pain as of a woman in labor!
Jer 22:24 As I live, says Jehovah, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah were the signet on My right hand, yet I would tear you out of there!
Jer 22:25 And I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of those whose face you fear, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans.
Jer 22:26 And I will cast you and your mother who bore you into another country, there where you were not born; and there you shall die.
Jer 22:27 But concerning the land which they lift up with their soul, to return there, they shall not return there.
Jer 22:28 Is this man Coniah a despised, broken jar, or a vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they hurled, he and his seed, and are cast into the land which they do not know?
Jer 22:29 O earth, earth, earth! Hear the Word of Jehovah!
Jer 22:30 So says Jehovah, Write this man childless, a man who will not prosper in his days. For not one from his seed will succeed, a man sitting on the throne of David and ruling any more in Judah.

Jeremiah 21

Jer 21:1 The Word which was to Jeremiah from Jehovah, when King Zedekiah sent Pashur the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest to him, saying,
Jer 21:2 Please inquire of Jehovah for us. For Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is warring against us. Perhaps Jehovah will deal with us according to all His wonderful works, that he may go up from us.
Jer 21:3 Then Jeremiah said to them, You shall say this to Zedekiah,
Jer 21:4 So says Jehovah, the God of Israel: Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war in your hand, with which you fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans who besiege you outside the wall. And I will gather them together in the middle of the city.
Jer 21:5 And I Myself will fight against you with an outstretched arm and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath.
Jer 21:6 And I will strike the people of this city, both man and beast. They shall die of a great plague.
Jer 21:7 And afterward, says Jehovah, I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and those who remain in this city from the plague, from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life. And he shall strike them with the mouth of the sword; he shall not spare them, nor have pity, nor have compassion.
Jer 21:8 And you shall say to this people, So says Jehovah, Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.
Jer 21:9 He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the plague. But he who goes out and falls to the Chaldeans who are besieging you, he shall live, and his life shall be for a prize to him.
Jer 21:10 For I have set My face against this city for evil, and not for good, says Jehovah. It shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.
Jer 21:11 And concerning the house of the king of Judah, say, Hear the Word of Jehovah,
Jer 21:12 O house of David, so says Jehovah: Do justice in the morning, and deliver the plundered one out of the hand of the oppressor, that My fury not go out like fire and burn so that none can put it out, because of the evil of your doings.
Jer 21:13 Behold, I am against you, one dwelling in the valley, rock of the plain, says Jehovah, those who say, Who can come down against us? Or, Who can enter our dwellings?
Jer 21:14 But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings, says Jehovah. And I will kindle a fire in its forest, and it shall devour all things around it.

Jeremiah 20

Jer 20:1 When Pashur the son of Immer, the priest (he also was chief officer in the house of Jehovah), heard Jeremiah prophesying these things,
Jer 20:2 then Pashur struck Jeremiah the prophet and put him in the stocks in the upper Benjamin Gate, which was by the house of Jehovah.
Jer 20:3 And it was on the next day that Pashur made Jeremiah go out from the stocks. Then Jeremiah said to him, Jehovah has not called your name Pashur, but Terror from All Around.
Jer 20:4 For so says Jehovah, Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends. And they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and your eyes shall see. And I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall exile them into Babylon and kill them with the sword.
Jer 20:5 And I will give all the wealth of this city, and all its produce, and all its precious things, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah, even I will give them into the hand of their enemies who will strip them and take them, and carry them to Babylon.
Jer 20:6 And you, Pashur, and all who live in your house, shall go into captivity. And you shall come to Babylon; and you shall die there. And you shall be buried there, you and all loving you to whom you have prophesied lies.
Jer 20:7 O Jehovah, You have deceived me; yea, I was deceived. You are stronger than I, and You have prevailed. I am in derision all the day; everyone laughs at me.
Jer 20:8 For whenever I speak, I cry out, I proclaim violence and ruin; for the Word of Jehovah has been to me a reproach and derision all the day.
Jer 20:9 And I said, I will not mention Him or speak any more in His name. But His Word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary of holding in, and I was not able.
Jer 20:10 For I heard the slanders of many, Terror is all around! Expose! Yea, let us expose him! Every man of my peace watched for my fall, saying, Perhaps he will be lured away, and we shall prevail against him; and we shall take revenge on him.
Jer 20:11 But Jehovah is with me like a mighty, awesome one. On account of this my persecutors shall stumble and will not prevail. And they shall be greatly ashamed. For they have not acted wisely; they are an everlasting disgrace that will not be forgotten.
Jer 20:12 But, O Jehovah of Hosts, who tries the righteous, who sees the reins and the heart, let me see Your vengeance on them; for I have revealed my cause to You.
Jer 20:13 Sing to Jehovah. Praise Jehovah. For He has delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.
Jer 20:14 Cursed is the day in which I was born; let not the day in which my mother bore me be blessed.
Jer 20:15 Cursed is the man who brought news to my father, saying, A man child is born to you, making him very glad.
Jer 20:16 And let that man be as the cities which Jehovah overthrew and did not repent. And let him hear a cry in the morning and the shouting at noontime;
Jer 20:17 because he did not kill me from the womb; and that my mother would have been my grave, and her womb always great with me.
Jer 20:18 Why did I come forth from the womb to see toil and sorrow, and my days consumed in shame?

Jeremiah 19

Jer 19:1 So says Jehovah, Go and buy a potter’s earthen jar, and gather from the elders of the people, and from the elders of the priests.
Jer 19:2 And go out to the valley of the son of Hinnom by the entry of Potsherd Gate. And there declare the Words that I will speak to you.
Jer 19:3 And say, Hear the Word of Jehovah, O kings of Judah, and those living in Jerusalem. So says Jehovah of Hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring evil on this place by which all who hear it will have tingling ears.
Jer 19:4 Because they have forsaken Me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents.
Jer 19:5 They have also built the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I never commanded nor spoke, nor did it come into My heart.
Jer 19:6 So, behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that this place shall be no more called Tophet, or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but Valley of Slaughter.
Jer 19:7 And I will make the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem come to nothing in this place. And I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life. And I will give their dead bodies for food to the birds of the heavens, and for the animals of the earth.
Jer 19:8 And I will make this city a waste and a hissing. Everyone who passes by shall be amazed and shall hiss because of all its plagues.
Jer 19:9 And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters. And they shall each one eat the flesh of his friend in the siege and distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life shall distress them.
Jer 19:10 And you shall break the jar before the eyes of the men who go with you,
Jer 19:11 and shall say to them, So says Jehovah of Hosts, Even so I will break this people and this city, as one breaks the potter’s vessel that cannot be restored again. And they shall bury in Tophet, since no place is left to bury.
Jer 19:12 I will do this to this place, says Jehovah, and to those living in it, and give this place to be as Tophet.
Jer 19:13 And the houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah shall be defiled as the place of Tophet, because of all the roofs of the houses on which they have burned incense to all the host of the heavens, and have poured out drink offerings to other gods.
Jer 19:14 Then Jeremiah came from Tophet, where Jehovah had sent him there to prophesy. And he stood in the court of the house of Jehovah, and he said to all the people,
Jer 19:15 So says Jehovah of Hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will bring to this city, and on all its towns, all the evil that I have spoken against it, because they have stiffened their necks in order not to hear My Words.

UNDAUNTED RADIANCE

     Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors

     through Him that loved us.

     — Romans 8:37

Paul is speaking of the things that might seem likely to separate or wedge in between the saint and the love of God; but the remarkable thing is that nothing can wedge in between the love of God and the saint. These things can and do come in between the devotional exercises of the soul and God and separate individual life from God; but none of them is able to wedge in between the love of God and the soul of the saint. The bedrock of our Christian faith is the unmerited, fathomless marvel of the love of God exhibited on the Cross of Calvary, a love we never can and never shall merit. Paul says this is the reason we are more than conquerors in all these things, super-victors, with a joy we would not have but for the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us.

The surf that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider the super-joy of going clean through it. Apply that to our own circumstances, these very things – tribulation, distress, persecution, produce in us the super-joy; they are not things to fight. We are more than conquerors through Him in all these things, not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. The saint never knows the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it – “I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation,” says Paul.

Undaunted radiance is not built on anything passing, but on the love of God that nothing can alter. The experiences of life, terrible or monotonous, are impotent to touch the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jeremiah 18

Jer 18:1 The Word which was to Jeremiah from Jehovah, saying,
Jer 18:2 Rise up and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My Words.
Jer 18:3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he was working a work on the wheel.
Jer 18:4 And the vessel that he made in clay was ruined in the hand of the potter. So repeating he made it, another vessel, as it seemed good in the potter’s eyes to make it.
Jer 18:5 And the Word of Jehovah was to me, saying,
Jer 18:6 O house of Israel, can I not do to you as this potter? says Jehovah. Behold, as the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.
Jer 18:7 The instant I speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, or to break down, or to destroy;
Jer 18:8 if that nation against whom I have spoken will turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do to it.
Jer 18:9 And the instant I speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
Jer 18:10 if it does evil in My eye, not to obey My voice, then I will repent of the good which I had said to do good to it.
Jer 18:11 Now then, please speak to the men of Judah and to those living in Jerusalem, saying, So says Jehovah, Behold, I am forming evil against you, and devising a plan against you. Now each one turn from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.
Jer 18:12 And they say, It is hopeless. For we will walk after our own thoughts, and we will each one do according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.
Jer 18:13 So Jehovah says this: Ask now among the nations, Who has heard things like these? The virgin of Israel has done a very horrible thing.
Jer 18:14 Does the snow of Lebanon cease from the rock of the field? Or are the cold flowing waters that come from another place uprooted?
Jer 18:15 But My people have forgotten Me. They have burned incense to vain idols; and they have caused them to stumble in their ways, from the old paths, to walk in bypaths, not on the highway;
Jer 18:16 to make their land a desolation, a hissing forever. Everyone who passes by will be amazed and will shake his head.
Jer 18:17 I will scatter them like an east wind before the enemy; I will make them see the back, and not the face in the day of their calamity.
Jer 18:18 Then they said, Come and let us plot schemes against Jeremiah. For the Law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor word from the prophet. Come and let us strike him with the tongue, and let us not attend to any of his words.
Jer 18:19 O Jehovah, pay attention to me, and pay attention to the voice of my foes.
Jer 18:20 Should evil be repaid for good? For they have dug a pit for my soul. Remember, I stood before You to speak good concerning them, to turn Your wrath from them.
Jer 18:21 So give their sons to the famine, and make them run onto the hand of the sword. And let their wives be bereaved, and be widows, and let their men be the slain of death, their young men be those struck by the sword in battle.
Jer 18:22 Let a cry be heard from their houses when You suddenly bring a raiding band on them. For they have dug a pit to seize me, and have hidden snares for my feet.
Jer 18:23 Yet, O Jehovah, You know all their counsel to death against me. Do not atone for their iniquity, nor blot out their sin from Your face, but let them be those made to stumble before You; deal with them in the time of Your anger.

Jeremiah 17

Jer 17:1 The sin of Judah is engraved with an iron pen. It is carved on the tablet of their heart with the point of a diamond, and on the horns of your altars,
Jer 17:2 even while their sons remember their altars and their Asherahs by the green trees on the high hills.
Jer 17:3 O My mountain in the field! I will give your wealth, all your treasures, for prey, your high places for sin throughout all your borders.
Jer 17:4 And you, even through yourself, will let drop from your inheritance which I gave you. And I will cause you to serve your enemies in a land which you do not know. For you have kindled a fire in My anger; it will burn forever.
Jer 17:5 So says Jehovah, Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and who makes flesh his arm, and who turns aside his heart from Jehovah.
Jer 17:6 For he shall be like a juniper in the desert, and shall not see when good comes. But he shall live in parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land that is not inhabited.
Jer 17:7 Blessed is the man who trusts in Jehovah, and Jehovah is his refuge.
Jer 17:8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters. It sends out its roots by the stream, and it will not fear when the heat comes; but its foliage will be green; and it is not anxious in the year of drought, nor will it cease from yielding fruit.
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is incurable; who can know it?
Jer 17:10 I, Jehovah, search the heart, I try the reins, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.
Jer 17:11 As a partridge broods and does not hatch, so is he who makes riches, and not by right; it will leave him in the middle of his days, and in his end he will be a fool.
Jer 17:12 A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.
Jer 17:13 O Jehovah, the Hope of Israel, all who forsake You shall be ashamed. Those who depart from Me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken Jehovah, the Fountain of living waters.
Jer 17:14 Heal me, O Jehovah, and I will be healed; save me, and I will be saved; for You are my praise.
Jer 17:15 Behold, they say to me, Where is the Word of Jehovah? Let it come now.
Jer 17:16 And I have not hurried away from shepherding after You, nor have I desired the woeful day. You surely know that the utterance of my lips was before Your face.
Jer 17:17 Do not be a terror to me; You are my refuge in the day of evil.
Jer 17:18 Let those who persecute me be ashamed, but do not let me be ashamed. Let them be terrified, but do not let me be terrified. Bring on them the day of evil, and break them with double breaking.
Jer 17:19 So said Jehovah to me, Go and stand in the gate of the sons of the people, that by which the kings of Judah come in, and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem.
Jer 17:20 And say to them, Hear the Word of Jehovah, kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the residents of Jerusalem who enter in by these gates.
Jer 17:21 So says Jehovah, Take heed for the sake of your lives, and do not carry a burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem.
Jer 17:22 And do not carry a burden from your houses on the sabbath day, nor do any work, but keep the sabbath day holy, as I commanded your fathers.
Jer 17:23 But they did not obey nor bow down their ear, but they made their neck stiff, not to hear, nor to receive instruction.
Jer 17:24 And it shall be, if you carefully listen to me, says Jehovah, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but keep the sabbath day holy, to do no work in it,
Jer 17:25 even kings and rulers sitting on the throne of David shall enter into the gates of this city, riding on chariots and on horses, they and their rulers, the men of Judah, and those living in Jerusalem. And this city will be inhabited forever.
Jer 17:26 And they will come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the lowland, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and grain offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of thanksgiving to the house of Jehovah.
Jer 17:27 But if you will not listen to Me to keep the sabbath day holy, and to not carry a burden and enter at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in her gates. And it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem; yea, it shall not be put out.

Jeremiah 16

Jer 16:1 The Word of Jehovah came to me, saying,
Jer 16:2 You shall not take a wife for yourself, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place.
Jer 16:3 For so says Jehovah concerning the sons and concerning the daughters who are born in this place, and concerning their mothers who bore them, and concerning their fathers who fathered them in this land:
Jer 16:4 They shall die of deadly diseases; they shall not be mourned nor shall they be buried; they shall be as dung on the face of the earth. And they shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, and their bodies shall be food for the birds of the heavens, and for the beasts of the earth.
Jer 16:5 For so says Jehovah, Do not enter into the house of mourning. Do not go to weep or moan for them. For I have removed My peace with loving-kindness and compassions from this people says Jehovah.
Jer 16:6 Both the great and the small shall die in this land. They shall not be buried, nor shall men mourn for them, nor cut himself, nor make himself bald for them.
Jer 16:7 Nor shall anyone break for them in mourning, to comfort him for ones who died. Nor shall they give them the cup of comfort to drink for one’s father or one’s mother.
Jer 16:8 Also you shall not go into the house of feasting, to sit with them to eat and drink.
Jer 16:9 For so says Jehovah of Hosts the God of Israel: Behold I will cause to cease out of this place, before your eyes, and in your days, the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.
Jer 16:10 And it shall be, when you declare to this people all these Words, they will say to you, Why has Jehovah spoken all this great evil against us? Or what is our iniquity, or what our sin that we have committed against Jehovah our God?
Jer 16:11 Then you shall say to them, Because your fathers have forsaken Me, says Jehovah, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshiped them, and have forsaken Me, and have not kept My Law.
Jer 16:12 And you have done more evil than your fathers. For, behold, you each one walk after the stubbornness of his evil heart, without listening to Me.
Jer 16:13 And I will cast you out of this land into a land that you do not know, you nor your fathers. And there you shall serve other gods day and night, where I will not grant you favor.
Jer 16:14 So, behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that it shall no more be said, As Jehovah lives who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt.
Jer 16:15 But rather, As Jehovah lives who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands, there where He had driven them. And I will bring them again into their land that I gave to their fathers.
Jer 16:16 Behold, I will send for many fishermen, says Jehovah. And they shall fish them. And after this I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them, from every mountain and from every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks.
Jer 16:17 For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face; their iniquity is not hidden from My eyes.
Jer 16:18 And first I will repay double their iniquity and their sin, because they have defiled My land with the bodies of their hateful things. Yea, their hateful idols have filled My inheritance.
Jer 16:19 O Jehovah, my strength and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the nations shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, Our fathers have inherited only lies, vanity, and there is no profit in them.
Jer 16:20 Can a man make gods to himself? But they are not gods!
Jer 16:21 And, behold, I will make them know; this time I will cause them to know My hand and My might; and they shall know that My name is Jehovah.

Micah 2:13

“The breaker is come up before them.”

— Micah 2:13

Inasmuch as Jesus has gone before us, things remain not as they would have been had he never passed that way. He has conquered every foe that obstructed the way. Cheer up now thou faint-hearted warrior. Not only has Christ travelled the road, but he has slain thine enemies. Dost thou dread sin? He has nailed it to his cross. Dost thou fear death? He has been the death of Death. Art thou afraid of hell? He has barred it against the advent of any of his children; they shall never see the gulf of perdition. Whatever foes may be before the Christian, they are all overcome. There are lions, but their teeth are broken; there are serpents, but their fangs are extracted; there are rivers, but they are bridged or fordable; there are flames, but we wear that matchless garment which renders us invulnerable to fire. The sword that has been forged against us is already blunted; the instruments of war which the enemy is preparing have already lost their point. God has taken away in the person of Christ all the power that anything can have to hurt us.

Well then, the army may safely march on, and you may go joyously along your journey, for all your enemies are conquered beforehand. What shall you do but march on to take the prey? They are beaten, they are vanquished; all you have to do is to divide the spoil. You shall, it is true, often engage in combat; but your fight shall be with a vanquished foe. His head is broken; he may attempt to injure you, but his strength shall not be sufficient for his malicious design. Your victory shall be easy, and your treasure shall be beyond all count.

“Proclaim aloud the Saviour’s fame,

Who bears the Breaker’s wond’rous name;

Sweet name; and it becomes him well,

Who breaks down earth, sin, death, and hell.”

Introduction to Hebrews

Introduction to the Book of Hebrews

The Book of Hebrews

Author
The writer of this letter does not identify himself, but he was obviously well known to the original recipients. Though for some 1,200 years (from c. a.d. 400 to 1600) the book was commonly called “The Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews,” there was no agreement in the earliest centuries regarding its authorship. Since the Reformation it has been widely recognized that Paul could not have been the writer. There is no disharmony between the teaching of Hebrews and that of Paul’s letters, but the specific emphases and writing styles are markedly different. Contrary to Paul’s usual practice, the author of Hebrews nowhere identifies himself in the letter- except to indicate that he was a man (see note on 11:32). Moreover, the statement “This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him” (2:3), indicates that the author had neither been with Jesus during his earthly ministry nor received special revelation directly from the risen Lord, as had Paul (Gal 1:11-12).

The earliest suggestion of authorship is found in Tertullian’s De Pudicitia, 20 (c. 200), in which he quotes from “an epistle to the Hebrews under the name of Barnabas.” From the letter itself it is clear that the writer must have had authority in the apostolic church and was an intellectual Hebrew Christian well versed in the OT. Barnabas meets these requirements. He was a Jew of the priestly tribe of Levi (Ac 4:36) who became a close friend of Paul after the latter’s conversion. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the church at Antioch commissioned Barnabas and Paul for the work of evangelism and sent them off on the first missionary journey (Ac 13:1-4).

The other leading candidate for authorship is Apollos, whose name was first suggested by Martin Luther and who is favored by many interpreters today. Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, was also a Jewish Christian with notable intellectual and oratorical abilities. Luke tells us that “he was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures” (Ac 18:24). We also know that Apollos was associated with Paul in the early years of the church in Corinth (1Co 1:12; 3:4-6,22).

One thing is evident: The author was a master of the Greek language of his day, and he was thoroughly acquainted with the pre-Christian Greek translation of the OT (the Septuagint), which he regularly quotes.

Date
Hebrews must have been written before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in a.d. 70 because: (1) If it had been written after this date, the author surely would have mentioned the temple’s destruction and the end of the Jewish sacrificial system; and (2) the author consistently uses the Greek present tense when speaking of the temple and the priestly activities connected with it (see 5:1-3; 7:23,27; 8:3-5; 9:6-9,13,25; 10:1,3-4,8,11; 13:10-11).

Recipients
The letter was addressed primarily to Jewish converts who were familiar with the OT and who were being tempted to revert to Judaism or to Judaize the gospel (cf. Gal 2:14). Some have suggested that these professing Jewish Christians were thinking of merging with a Jewish sect, such as the one at Qumran near the Dead Sea. It has also been suggested that the recipients were from the “large number of priests who became obedient to the faith” (Ac 6:7).

Theme
The theme of Hebrews is the absolute supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus Christ as revealer and as mediator of God’s grace. The prologue (1:1-4) presents Christ as God’s full and final revelation, far surpassing the revelation given in the OT. The prophecies and promises of the OT are fulfilled in the “new covenant” (or “new testament” ), of which Christ is the mediator. From the OT itself, Christ is shown to be superior to the ancient prophets, to angels, to Moses (the mediator of the former covenant) and to Aaron and the priestly succession descended from him. Hebrews could be called “the book of better things” since the two Greek words for “better” and “superior” occur 15 times in the letter. A striking feature of this presentation of the gospel is the unique manner in which the author employs expositions of eight specific passages of the OT Scriptures:

2:5-9: Exposition of Ps 8:4-6

3:7- 4:13: Exposition of Ps 95:7-11

4:14- 7:28: Exposition of Ps 110:4

8:1- 10:18: Exposition of Jer 31:31-34

10:1-10: Exposition of Ps 40:6-8

10:32- 12:3: Exposition of Hab 2:3-4

12:4-13: Exposition of Pr 3:11-12

12:18-24: Exposition of Ex 19:10-23

Practical applications of this theme are given throughout the book. The readers are told that there can be no turning back to or continuation in the old Jewish system, which has been superseded by the unique priesthood of Christ. God’s people must now look only to him, whose atoning death, resurrection and ascension have opened the way into the true, heavenly sanctuary of God’s presence. To “ignore such a great salvation” (2:3) or to give up the pursuit of holiness (12:10,14) is to face the anger of the “living God” (10:31). Five times the author weaves into his presentation of the gospel stern warnings (see note on 2:1-4) and reminds his readers of the divine judgment that came on the rebellious generation of Israelites in the desert.

Literary Form
Hebrews is commonly referred to as a letter, though it does not have the typical form of a letter. It ends like a letter (13:22-25) but begins more like an essay or sermon (1:1-4). The author does not identify himself or those addressed, which letter writers normally did. And he offers no manner of greeting, such as is usually found at the beginning of ancient letters. Rather, he begins with a magnificent statement about Jesus Christ. He calls his work a “word of exhortation” (13:22), the conventional designation given a sermon in a synagogue service (see Ac 13:15, where “message of encouragement” translates the same Greek words as “word of exhortation” ). Like a sermon, Hebrews is full of encouragement, exhortations and stern warnings. It is likely that the author used sermonic materials and sent them out in a modified letter form.

Outline

Prologue: The Superiority of God’s New Revelation (1:1-4)

The Superiority of Christ to Leading Figures under the Old Covenant (1:5- 7:28)

Christ Is Superior to the Angels (1:5- 2:18)

Scriptural proof of his superiority (1:5-14)

Exhortation not to ignore the revelation of God in his Son (2:1-4)

Jesus was made a little lower than the angels (2:5-9)

Having been made like us, Jesus was enabled to save us (2:10-18)

Christ Is Superior to Moses (3:1- 4:13)

Demonstration of Christ’s superiority (3:1-6)

Exhortation to enter salvation-rest (3:7- 4:13)

Christ Is Superior to the Aaronic Priests (4:14- 7:28)

Jesus is the great high priest (4:14-16)

Qualifications of a priest (5:1-10)

Exhortation to press on toward maturity (5:11- 6:12)

The certainty of God’s promise (6:13-20)

Christ’s superior priestly order (ch. 7)

The Superior Sacrificial Work of Our High Priest (8:1- 10:18)

A New Sanctuary and a New Covenant (ch. 8)

The Old Sanctuary (9:1-10)

The Better Sacrifice (9:11- 10:18)

A Call to Follow Jesus Faithfully and with Perseverance (10:19- 12:29)

Having Confidence to Enter the Sanctuary (10:19-25)

A Warning against Persistence in Sin (10:26-31)

C. Persevering in Faith under Pressure (10:32- 12:3)

As in the past, so in the future (10:32-39)

Faith and its many outstanding examples (ch. 11)

Jesus, the supreme example (12:1-3)

Encouragement to Persevere in the Face of Hardship (12:4-13)

Exhortation to Holy Living (12:14-17)

Crowning Motivation and Warning (12:18-29)

Conclusion (ch. 13)

Rules for Christian Living (13:1-17)

Request for Prayer (13:18-19)

Benediction (13:20-21)

Personal Remarks (13:22-23)

Greetings and Final Benediction (13:24-25)

Introduction to 2 Corinthians

Introduction to the Books of the Bible

The Book of 2 Corinthians

Author
Paul is the author of this letter (see 1:1; 10:1). It is stamped with his style and contains more autobiographical material than any of his other writings.

Date
The available evidence indicates that the year a.d. 55 is a reasonable estimate for the writing of this letter. From 1Co 16:5-8 it may be concluded that 1 Corinthians was written from Ephesus before Pentecost (in the late spring) and that 2 Corinthians may have been written later that same year before the onset of winter. 2Co 2:13; 7:5 indicate that it was probably written from Macedonia (see chart, p. 2261).

Recipients
The opening greeting of the letter states that it was addressed to the church in Corinth and to Christians throughout Achaia (the Roman province comprising all of Greece south of Macedonia; see map, 2288).

Occasion
It seems that Paul wrote as many as four letters to the church at Corinth: (1) the letter referred to in 1Co 5:9 (see note there); (2) 1 Corinthians; (3) the ?severe? letter (see 2Co 2:3-4; see also below); (4) 2 Corinthians. After writing 1 Corinthians Paul continued his ministry at Ephesus until he heard that his letter had not completely accomplished its purpose. A group of men had come to Corinth who presented themselves as apostles. They were false teachers who were challenging, among other things, Paul?s personal integrity and his authority as an apostle (see 11:4; 12:11).

In the face of this serious situation, Paul decided to make a quick trip to Corinth (12:4; 13:1-2) to see whether he could remedy the situation. The visit turned out to be painful and did not accomplish its purpose. So when Paul returned to Ephesus, he wrote the Corinthians a severe letter ?out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears? (2:4), probably sending it by Titus (12:8). Some identify this letter with 2Co 10-13. Others think it has been lost.

After writing the severe letter, Paul had second thoughts. He was deeply concerned about how the Corinthians might react to it. So after the riot caused by Demetrius and his fellow silversmiths (see Ac 19:23-41), he left Ephesus and set out for Macedonia by way of Troas. He expected to meet Titus in Troas to get news of the effect of his severe letter on the Corinthian church, but Titus was not there (see 2Co 2:12-13). Still deeply concerned and despite the fact that the Lord had opened up an opportunity to preach the gospel at Troas, Paul said good-by to the believers there and moved on to Macedonia, where he met Titus. To his relief, the news from the Corinthian church was basically good. The severe letter had brought its intended results (7:5-16). The encouraging report of Titus of the improved situation at Corinth is the immediate occasion of the writing of 2 Corinthians.

How, then, does one explain the harsh tone of chs. 10-13, which is so different from the rest of the letter? Some think that when Paul had just completed writing the first nine chapters, a report came to him that a strong and vocal minority was still causing trouble at Corinth. So before sending off the letter he added the last four chapters to address this troublemaking group. Others hold that chs. 10-13 were written some time after Paul had sent the first nine chapters and that they constitute a separate letter. There is, however, no manuscript evidence that warrants splitting 2 Corinthians into two parts.

Purposes
Because of the occasion that prompted this letter, Paul had a number of purposes in mind:

To express the comfort and joy Paul felt because the Corinthians had responded favorably to his painful letter (1:3-4; 7:8-9,12-13).

To let them know about the trouble he went through in the province of Asia (1:8-11).

To explain why he had changed his travel plans (1:12-2:4).

To ask them to forgive the offending party (2:5-11).

To warn them not to be ?yoked together with unbelievers? (6:14-7:1).

To explain to them the true nature (its joys, sufferings and rewards) and high calling of Christian ministry. This is the so-
called great digression, but it turns out to be in some ways the most important section of the letter (2:14-7:4; see note on 2:14).

To teach the Corinthians about the grace of giving and to make sure that they complete the collection for the poor Christians at Jerusalem (chs. 8-9).

To deal with the minority opposition in the church (chs. 10-13).

To prepare the Corinthians for his upcoming visit (12:14; 13:1-3,10).

Structure
The structure of the letter relates primarily to Paul?s impending third visit to Corinth. The letter falls naturally into three sections:

Paul explains the reason for the changes in his itinerary (chs. 1-7).
Paul encourages the Corinthians to complete their collection in preparation for his arrival (chs. 8-9).
Paul stresses the certainty of his coming, his authenticity as an apostle and his readiness to exercise discipline if necessary (chs. 10-13).

Unity
Some have questioned the unity of this letter (see above), but it forms a coherent whole, as the structure above shows. Tradition has been unanimous in affirming its unity (the early church fathers, e.g., knew the letter only in its present form). Furthermore, none of the early Greek manuscripts breaks up the book.

Outline
Apologetic: Paul?s Explanation of His Conduct and Apostolic Ministry (chs. 1-7)

Greetings (1:1-2)

Thanksgiving for Divine Comfort in Affliction (1:3-11)

The Integrity of Paul?s Motives and Conduct (1:12-2:4)

Forgiving the Offending Party at Corinth (2:5-11)

God?s Direction in Ministry (2:12-17)

The Corinthian Believers-a Letter from Christ (3:1-11)

Seeing the Glory of God with Unveiled Faces (3:12-4:6)

Treasure in Clay Jars (4:7-16a)

The Prospect of Death and What It Means for the Christian (4:16b-5:10)

The Ministry of Reconciliation (5:11-6:10)

A Spiritual Father?s Appeal to His Children (6:11-7:4)

The Meeting with Titus (7:5-16)

Hortatory: The Collection for the Christians at Jerusalem (chs. 8-9)

Generosity Encouraged (8:1-15)

Titus and His Companions Sent to Corinth (8:16-9:5)

Results of Generous Giving (9:6-15)

Polemical: Paul?s Vindication of His Apostolic Authority (chs. 10-13)

Paul?s Defense of His Apostolic Authority and the Area of His Mission (ch. 10)

Paul Forced into Foolish Boasting (chs. 11-12)

Final Warnings (13:1-10)

Conclusion, Final Greetings and Benediction (13:11-14)

Introduction to 1 Corinthians

Introduction to the Books of the Bible

The Book of 1 Corinthians

Corinth in the Time of Paul
The city of Corinth, perched like a one-eyed Titan astride the narrow isthmus connecting the Greek mainland with the Peloponnese, was one of the dominant commercial centers of the Mediterranean world as early as the eighth century b.c.

No city in Greece was more favorably situated for land and sea trade. With a high, strong citadel at its back, it lay between the Saronic Gulf and the Ionian Sea, with ports at Lechaion and Cenchrea. A diolkos, or stone road for the overland transport of ships, linked the two seas. Crowning the Acrocorinth was the temple of Aphrodite, served, according to Strabo, by more than 1,000 pagan priestess-prostitutes.

By the time the gospel reached Corinth in the spring of a.d. 52, the city had a proud history of leadership in the Achaian League, and a spirit of revived Hellenism under Roman domination after 44 b.c. following the destruction of the city by Mummius in 146 b.c.

Paul’s lengthy stay in Corinth brought him directly in contact with the major monuments of the agora, many of which still survive. The fountain-house of the spring Peirene, the temple of Apollo, the macellum or meat market (1Co 10:25) and the theater, the bema (Ac 18:12), and the unimpressive synagogue all played a part in the experience of the apostle. An inscription from the theater names the city official Erastus, probably the friend of Paul mentioned in Ro 16:23 (see note there).

Author and Date
Paul is acknowledged as the author both by the letter itself (1:1-2; 16:21) and by the early church fathers. His authorship was attested by Clement of Rome as early as a.d. 96, and today practically all NT interpreters concur. The letter was written c. 55 (see chart, p. 2261) toward the close of Paul’s three-year residency in Ephesus (see 16:5-9; Ac 20:31). It is clear from his reference to staying at Ephesus until Pentecost (16:8) that he intended to remain there somewhat less than a year when he wrote 1 Corinthians.

The City of Corinth
Corinth was a thriving city; it was at the time the chief city of Greece both commercially and politically. See map and diagram, p. 2355.

Its commerce. Located just off the Corinthian isthmus (see map, p. 2288), it was a crossroads for travelers and traders. It had two harbors: (1) Cenchrea, six miles to the east on the Saronic Gulf, and (2) Lechaion, a mile and a half to the north on the Corinthian Gulf. Goods were transported across the isthmus on the Diolkos, a stone road by which smaller ships could be hauled fully loaded across the isthmus, and by which cargoes of larger ships could be transported by wagons from one side to the other. Trade flowed through the city from Italy and Spain to the west and from Asia Minor, Phoenicia and Egypt to the east.

Its culture. Although Corinth was not a university town like Athens, it was characterized nevertheless by typical Greek culture. Its people were interested in Greek philosophy and placed a high premium on wisdom.
Its religion. Corinth contained at least 12 temples. Whether they were all in use during Paul’s time is not known for certain. One of the most infamous was the temple dedicated to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, whose worshipers practiced religious prostitution. About a fourth of a mile north of the theater stood the temple of Asclepius, the god of healing, and in the middle of the city the sixth-century b.c. temple of Apollo was located. In addition, the Jews had established a synagogue; the inscribed lintel of it has been found and placed in the museum at old Corinth.
Its immorality. Like any large commercial city, Corinth was a center for open and unbridled immorality. The worship of Aphrodite fostered prostitution in the name of religion. At one time 1,000 sacred (priestess) prostitutes served her temple. So widely known did the immorality of Corinth become that the Greek verb “to Corinthianize” came to mean “to practice sexual immorality.” In a setting like this it is no wonder that the Corinthian church was plagued with numerous problems.

Occasion and Purpose
Paul had received information from several sources concerning the conditions existing in the church at Corinth. Some members of the household of Chloe had informed him of the factions that had developed in the church (1:11). There were three individuals- Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus- who had come to Paul in Ephesus to make some contribution to his ministry (16:17), but whether these were the ones from Chloe’s household we do not know.

Some of those who had come had brought disturbing information concerning moral irregularities in the church (chs. 5-6). Immorality had plagued the Corinthian assembly almost from the beginning. From 5:9-10 it is apparent that Paul had written previously concerning moral laxness. He had urged believers “not to associate with sexually immoral people” (5:9). Because of misunderstanding he now finds it necessary to clarify his instruction (5:10-11) and to urge immediate and drastic action (5:3-5,13).

Other Corinthian visitors had brought a letter from the church that requested counsel on several subjects (see 7:1 and note; cf. 8:1; 12:1; 16:1).

It is clear that, although the church was gifted (see 1:4-7), it was immature and unspiritual (3:1-4). Paul’s purposes for writing were: (1) to instruct and restore the church in its areas of weakness, correcting erroneous practices such as divisions (1:10- 4:21), immorality (ch. 5; 6:12-20), litigation in pagan courts (6:1-8) and abuse of the Lord’s Supper (11:17-34); (2) to correct false teaching concerning the resurrection (ch. 15); and (3) to answer questions addressed to Paul in the letter that had been brought to him (see previous paragraph).

Theme
The letter revolves around the theme of problems in Christian conduct in the church. It thus has to do with progressive sanctification, the continuing development of a holy character. Obviously Paul was personally concerned with the Corinthians’ problems, revealing a true pastor’s (shepherd’s) heart.

Relevance
This letter continues to be timely for the church today, both to instruct and to inspire. Christians are still powerfully influenced by their cultural environment, and most of the questions and problems that confronted the church at Corinth are still very much with us- problems like immaturity, instability, divisions, jealousy and envy, lawsuits, marital difficulties, sexual immorality and misuse of spiritual gifts. Yet in spite of this concentration on problems, Paul’s letter contains some of the most familiar and beloved chapters in the entire Bible- e.g., ch. 13 (on love) and ch. 15 (on resurrection).

Outline

Introduction (1:1-9)

Divisions in the Church (1:10- 4:21)

The Fact of the Divisions (1:10-17)

The Causes of the Divisions (1:18- 4:13)

A wrong conception of the Christian message (1:18- 3:4)

A wrong conception of Christian ministry and ministers (3:5- 4:5)

A wrong conception of the Christian (4:6-13)

The Exhortation to End the Divisions (4:14-21)

Moral and Ethical Disorders in the Life of the Church (chs. 5-6)

Laxity in Church Discipline (ch. 5)

Lawsuits before Non-Christian Judges (6:1-11)

Sexual Immorality (6:12-20)

Instruction on Marriage (ch. 7)

General Principles (7:1-7)

The Problems of the Married (7:8-24)

The Problems of the Unmarried (7:25-40)

Instruction on Questionable Practices (8:1- 11:1)

The Principles Involved (ch. 8)

The Principles Illustrated (ch. 9)

A Warning from the History of Israel (10:1-22)

The Principles Applied (10:23- 11:1)

Instruction on Public Worship (11:2- 14:40)

Propriety in Worship (11:2-16)

The Lord’s Supper (11:17-34)

Spiritual Gifts (chs. 12-14)

The test of the gifts (12:1-3)

The unity of the gifts (12:4-11)

The diversity of the gifts (12:12-31a)

The necessity of exercising the gifts in love (12:31b- 13:13)

The superiority of prophecy over tongues (14:1-25)

Rules governing public worship (14:26-40)

Instruction on the Resurrection (ch. 15)

The Certainty of the Resurrection (15:1-34)

The Consideration of Certain Objections (15:35-57)

The Concluding Appeal (15:58)

Conclusion: Practical and Personal Matters (ch. 16)

Introduction to Romans

Introduction to the Books of the Bible

The Book of Romans

The writer of this letter was the apostle Paul (see 1:1 and note). No voice from the early church was ever raised against his authorship. The letter contains a number of historical references that agree with known facts of Paul’s life. The doctrinal content of the book is typical of Paul, which is evident from a comparison with other letters he wrote.

Date and Place of Writing
The book was probably written in the early spring of a.d. 57 (see chart, p. 2261). Very likely Paul was on his third missionary journey, ready to return to Jerusalem with the offering from the mission churches for poverty-stricken believers in Jerusalem (see 15:25-27 and notes). In 15:26 it is suggested that Paul had already received contributions from the churches of Macedonia and Achaia, so he either was at Corinth or had already been there. Since he had not yet been at Corinth (on his third missionary journey) when he wrote 1 Corinthians (cf. 1Co 16:1-4) and the collection issue had still not been resolved when he wrote 2 Corinthians (2Co 8-9), the writing of Romans must follow that of 1,2 Corinthians (dated c. 55).

The most likely place of writing is either Corinth or Cenchrea (about six miles away) because of references to Phoebe of Cenchrea (see 16:1 and note) and to Gaius, Paul’s host (see 16:23 and note), who was probably a Corinthian (see 1Co 1:14). Erastus (see 16:23 and note) may also have been a Corinthian (see 2Ti 4:20).

Recipients
The original recipients of the letter were the people of the church at Rome (1:7), who were predominantly Gentile. Jews, however, must have constituted a substantial minority of the congregation (see 4:1; chs. 9-11; see also note on 1:13). Perhaps Paul originally sent the entire letter to the Roman church, after which he or someone else used a shorter form (chs. 1-14 or 1-15) for more general distribution. See note on 2Pe 3:15; see also map, p. 2314.

Major Theme
Paul’s primary theme in Romans is the basic gospel, God’s plan of salvation and righteousness for all humankind, Jew and Gentile alike (see 1:16-17 and notes). Although justification by faith has been suggested by some as the theme, it would seem that a broader theme states the message of the book more adequately. “Righteousness from God” (1:17) includes justification by faith, but it also embraces such related ideas as guilt, sanctification and security.

Purpose
Paul’s purposes for writing this letter were varied:

He wrote to prepare the way for his coming visit to Rome and his proposed mission to Spain (1:10-15; 15:22-29).
He wrote to present the basic system of salvation to a church that had not received the teaching of an apostle before.
He sought to explain the relationship between Jew and Gentile in God’s overall plan of redemption. The Jewish Christians were being rejected by the larger Gentile group in the church (see 14:1 and note) because the Jewish believers still felt constrained to observe dietary laws and sacred days (14:2-6).
Occasion

When Paul wrote this letter, he was probably at Corinth (see Ac 20:2-3 and notes) on his third missionary journey. His work in the eastern Mediterranean was almost finished (see 15:18-23), and he greatly desired to visit the Roman church (see 1:11-12; 15:23-24). At this time, however, he could not go to Rome because he felt he must personally deliver the collection taken among the Gentile churches for the poverty-stricken Christians of Jerusalem (see 15:25-28 and notes). So instead of going to Rome, he sent a letter to prepare the Christians there for his intended visit in connection with a mission to Spain (see 15:23-24 and note on 15:24). For many years Paul had wanted to visit Rome to minister there (see 1:13-15), and this letter served as a careful and systematic theological introduction to that hoped-for personal ministry. Since he was not acquainted directly with the Roman church, he says little about its problems (but see 14:1- 15:13; cf. also 13:1-7; 16:17-18).

Content
Paul begins by surveying the spiritual condition of all people. He finds Jews and Gentiles alike to be sinners and in need of salvation. That salvation has been provided by God through Jesus Christ and his redemptive work on the cross. It is a provision, however, that must be received by faith- a principle by which God has always dealt with humankind, as the example of Abraham shows. Since salvation is only the beginning of Christian experience, Paul moves on to show how believers are freed from sin, law and death- a provision made possible by their union with Christ in both death and resurrection and by the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Paul then shows that Israel too, though presently in a state of unbelief, has a place in God’s sovereign redemptive plan. Now she consists of only a remnant, allowing for the conversion of the Gentiles, but the time will come when “all Israel will be saved” (11:26; see note there). The letter concludes with an appeal to the readers to work out their Christian faith in practical ways, both in the church and in the world. None of Paul’s other letters states so profoundly the content of the gospel and its implications for both the present and the future.

Special Characteristics
The most systematic of Paul’s letters. It reads more like an elaborate theological essay than a letter.
Emphasis on Christian doctrine. The number and importance of the theological themes touched upon are impressive: sin and death, salvation, grace, faith, righteousness, justification, sanctification, redemption, resurrection and glorification.
Widespread use of OT quotations. Although Paul regularly quotes from the OT in his letters, in Romans the argument is sometimes carried along by such quotations (see especially chs. 9-11).
Deep concern for Israel. Paul writes about her present status, her relationship to the Gentiles and her final salvation.

Outline

Introduction (1:1-15)

Theme: Righteousness from God (1:16-17)

The Unrighteousness of All People (1:18- 3:20)

Gentiles (1:18-32)

Jews (2:1- 3:8)

Summary: All People (3:9-20)

Righteousness Imputed: Justification (3:21- 5:21)

Through Christ (3:21-26)

Received by Faith (3:27- 4:25)

The principle established (3:27-31)

The principle illustrated (ch. 4)

The Fruits of Righteousness (5:1-11)

Summary: Humanity’s Unrighteousness Contrasted with God’s Gift of Righteousness (5:12-21)

Righteousness Imparted: Sanctification (chs. 6-8)

Freedom from Sin’s Tyranny (ch. 6)

Freedom from the Law’s Condemnation (ch. 7)

Life in the Power of the Holy Spirit (ch. 8)

God’s Righteousness Vindicated: The Justice of His Way with Israel (chs. 9-11)

The Justice of God’s Rejection of Israel (9:1-29)

The Cause of That Rejection (9:30- 10:21)

The Rejection Is Neither Complete nor Final (ch. 11)

There is even now a remnant (11:1-10)

The rejection is only temporary (11:11-24)

God’s ultimate purpose is mercy (11:25-36)

Righteousness Practiced (12:1- 15:13)

In the Body- the Church (ch. 12)

In the World (ch. 13)

Among Weak and Strong Christians (14:1- 15:13)

Conclusion (15:14-33)

Commendation, Greetings and Doxology (ch. 16)

Isaiah 30

Isa 30:1 Woe to rebellious sons, declares Jehovah, to make counsel, but not from Me; and to weave a covering web, but not of My Spirit, in order to add sin on sin;
Isa 30:2 who are walking to go down to Egypt, but have not asked at My mouth, to take refuge in the stronghold of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt.
Isa 30:3 And the stronghold of Pharaoh shall become a shame to you; and relying on the shadow of Egypt shall be a disgrace.
Isa 30:4 For his rulers were in Zoan, and his ambassadors reached to Hanes.
Isa 30:5 Every one is ashamed over a people who do not profit them; they are not for a help, and not for profiting, but for a shame; yea, also for a reproach.
Isa 30:6 The burden of the beasts of the south: Into the land of trouble and constraint. The lioness and the lion are from them; the viper and fiery flying serpent. They carry their riches on the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures on the humps of camels, to a people who cannot profit them.
Isa 30:7 And Egypt; vainly and emptily they help. So I have called to this: Their strength is to sit still.
Isa 30:8 Now come, write it before them on a tablet, and note it on a book, so that it may be for the latter day, until forever;
Isa 30:9 that this is a rebellious people, lying sons; sons who are not willing to hear the Law of Jehovah;
Isa 30:10 who say to the seers, Do not see; and to visioners, Do not have a vision for right things to us; speak smooth things to us; have a vision of trifles.
Isa 30:11 Turn aside from the way; stretch from the path; cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.
Isa 30:12 For this reason, so says the Holy One of Israel, Because of your rejection of this Word, and your trust in oppression and perversity, even resting on it;
Isa 30:13 So this iniquity shall be to you as a broken section falling, like the bulging out of a high wall, the breaking of which comes suddenly, in an instant.
Isa 30:14 And its smashing is as the smashing of a potter’s vessel; when broken in pieces, he has no pity; for in its breaking there is not found a shard to carry fire from the hearth, nor to skim water from a well.
Isa 30:15 For so says the Lord Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, In returning and rest you shall be saved; and in quietness and hope shall be your strength. But you were not willing.
Isa 30:16 For you said, No! For we will flee on horseback. On account of this you shall flee. Also, you say, We will ride on swift ones. On account of this, those who pursue you shall be swift.
Isa 30:17 One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one. You shall flee from the rebuke of five, until you are left like a pole on the top of the mountain, and like a sign on a hill.
Isa 30:18 And so Jehovah waits to be gracious to you. And for this He is exalted to have mercy on you; for Jehovah is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him.
Isa 30:19 For the people shall live in Zion, at Jerusalem; you shall surely cry no more. He surely will be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. When He hears, He will answer you.
Isa 30:20 And the Lord gives you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction; but your teachers shall not be hidden any more; but your eyes shall be able to see your teachers.
Isa 30:21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, when you go right, or when you go left.
Isa 30:22 And you shall defile the covering of your carved images of silver; and the covering of your molten images of gold. You shall strew them as a menstruous cloth; you shall say to it, Go out!
Isa 30:23 Then He shall give rain for your seed, with which you sow the ground. And the bread of the produce of the earth also shall be fat and plentiful. In that day your livestock shall feed in a pasture made wide.
Isa 30:24 Also, the oxen and the young asses that till the ground shall eat seasoned fodder which one winnows with the shovel and with the fork.
Isa 30:25 And on every high mountain, and on every high hill, shall be rivulets lifted up, streams of water, in a day of great slaying, when towers fall.
Isa 30:26 And the moonlight shall be like the light of the sun. And the sun’s light shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day of binding up, Jehovah binding the break of His people, and healing the wound of His blow.
Isa 30:27 Behold, the name of Jehovah comes from afar; His anger burns; and is heavy as the uplifting of smoke; His lips are full of fury, and His tongue like a devouring fire.
Isa 30:28 And like an overflowing torrent, His breath shall divide to the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity, and a misleading bridle on the jaws of the peoples.
Isa 30:29 The song shall be to you, as the night when the feast is sanctified, and gladness of heart, as one going with the flute, to come into the mount of Jehovah, to the Rock of Israel.
Isa 30:30 And Jehovah shall make the majesty of His voice heard; and He causes His arm to be seen coming down with raging anger and flame of consuming fire, cloudburst and storm, and hailstones.
Isa 30:31 For through the voice of Jehovah, Assyria shall be crushed, the rod with which He strikes.
Isa 30:32 And every passage of the appointed staff that Jehovah causes to rest on him will be with timbrels and with harps. And in brandishing battles He fights with her.
Isa 30:33 For Topheth is ordained from yesterday. Also, it is prepared for the king; He deepened; He widened its pyre; He makes great with fire and wood. The breath of Jehovah burns in it like a torrent of brimstone.

Isaiah 29

Isa 29:1 Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David camped. Add year on year; let feasts run their circle.
Isa 29:2 Then I will compress Ariel, and there shall be mourning and sorrow; and it shall be to Me as Ariel.
Isa 29:3 And I will camp as a circle on you, and will lay siege work on you; and I will raise up ramparts on you.
Isa 29:4 And you shall be brought low; you shall speak from the ground; and your speech shall be bowed down; and your voice shall be from the ground, like a medium; and your speech shall chirp out of the dust.
Isa 29:5 And the host of your strangers shall be as fine powder, and as chaff passing, the host of terrifying ones; and it will be suddenly, instantly;
Isa 29:6 you shall be visited from Jehovah of Hosts; with thunder and earthquake, and great noise, tempest and storm, and flame of devouring fire.
Isa 29:7 And the multitude of all the nations who fight against Ariel, even all battling her and compressing her and her stronghold, shall be like a dream of a night vision.
Isa 29:8 It shall even be as when a hungry one dreams; and, behold, he is eating; but when he awakes, his soul is empty. Or it shall be as when a thirsty one dreams; and, behold, he is drinking, but when he awakes, he is faint, and his soul is longing. So shall be the multitude of all the nations who fight against Mount Zion.
Isa 29:9 Wait and wonder! Blind yourselves, and be blind! They are drunk, but not with wine! They stagger, but not with fermented drink!
Isa 29:10 For Jehovah has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes. He has covered the prophets and your heads, the seers.
Isa 29:11 And the whole vision to you is like the words of a sealed book which they give to one knowing books, saying, Please read this. Then he says, I am not able, for it is sealed.
Isa 29:12 And the book is given to one who does not know books, saying, Please read this. Then he says, I do not know books.
Isa 29:13 And the Lord says, Because this people draws near with its mouth, and they honor Me with its lip; but its heart is far from Me, and their fear of Me is taught by the commandments of men;
Isa 29:14 So, behold, I am adding to do wonderfully with this people, the wonder, even a wonder. For the wisdom of his wise ones shall perish, and the wit of his witty ones shall be hidden.
Isa 29:15 Woe to those who go deep to hide their purposes from Jehovah; yea, their works are in the dark; and they say, Who sees us? And, Who knows us?
Isa 29:16 Oh your perversity! Shall the former be counted as the clay? For shall the work of its maker say, He did not make me? Or shall the thing formed say to him who formed it, He does not understand?
Isa 29:17 Is it not yet a little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field; and the fruitful field shall be counted for the forest?
Isa 29:18 And in that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book; and the eyes of the blind shall see out of their gloom and out of darkness.
Isa 29:19 And the humble ones shall increase joy in Jehovah, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
Isa 29:20 For the terrible one is brought to nothing; and the scorner is ended; and all that watch for iniquity are cut off;
Isa 29:21 those who make a man sin by a word, even laying a trap for the reprover in the gate, and turn aside the just for a worthless thing.
Isa 29:22 So Jehovah says this: He who redeemed Abraham, as to the house of Jacob: Jacob shall not be ashamed now, nor shall his face become pale now.
Isa 29:23 But when he sees his children in his midst, the work of My hands, they shall sanctify My name. They shall sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.
Isa 29:24 Those who erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and those who murmured shall learn the instruction.

Isaiah 28

Isa 28:1 Woe to the crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower on the head of the fat valley of those who are overcome with wine!
Isa 28:2 Behold, the Lord is a mighty and strong one; like a hailstorm, a destroying storm; like a storm of mighty waters overflowing; He sets down to the earth with His hand.
Isa 28:3 The crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim shall be trampled down.
Isa 28:4 And the glorious beauty which is on the head of the fat valley shall be a fading flower, like the first ripe fig before summer which the seeing one sees; while it is yet in his hand, he swallows it.
Isa 28:5 In that day Jehovah of Hosts shall become a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty to the rest of His people,
Isa 28:6 and a spirit of justice to him who sits on the judgment seat; and for might to those turning back the battle toward the gate.
Isa 28:7 But they also have gone astray by wine, and have erred through fermented drink; priest and prophet have erred through fermented drink; they have been swallowed by wine; they strayed from fermented drink; they err in vision; they stumble in judgment;
Isa 28:8 for all tables are full of vomit and filth, without a clean place.
Isa 28:9 To whom shall He teach knowledge? And to whom shall He explain the message? Those weaned from milk, those moving from breasts?
Isa 28:10 For precept must be on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a little, there a little.
Isa 28:11 For with stammering lip and other languages, He will speak to this people;
Isa 28:12 to whom He said, This is the rest; cause the weary to rest. Also, This is the repose. But they willed not to hear.
Isa 28:13 Yet the Word of Jehovah was to them, precept on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a little, there a little; that they might go, and stumble, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
Isa 28:14 So hear the Word of Jehovah, scornful men, rulers of this people in Jerusalem.
Isa 28:15 Because you have said, We have cut a covenant with death; and, We have made a vision with Sheol, when the overwhelming rod passes through it will not come to us for we have made the lie our refuge, and we have hidden in falsehood.
Isa 28:16 So, the Lord Jehovah says this: Behold, I place in Zion a Stone for a foundation, a tried Stone, a precious Cornerstone, a sure Foundation; he who believes shall not hasten.
Isa 28:17 And I will lay justice for a line, and righteousness for a plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of the lie; and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.
Isa 28:18 And your covenant with death shall be covered; and your vision with Sheol shall not rise up. When the overwhelming whip passes through, then you shall be for a trampling to it.
Isa 28:19 As often as it passes, it shall take you; for morning by morning it shall pass; and by day and by night, it shall only be a terror to understand the message.
Isa 28:20 For the bed is shorter than one can stretch himself on; and the cover is narrower than one can wrap himself in.
Isa 28:21 For Jehovah shall rise up, as at Mount Perazim; He shall be stirred as in the Gibeon Valley; to do His work, His strange work; and to perform His task, His alien task.
Isa 28:22 So, then, do not be mockers, that your bonds not be made strong. For I have heard from the Lord Jehovah of Hosts that a full end is decreed on all the earth.
Isa 28:23 Give ear and hear My voice; pay attention and hear My Word:
Isa 28:24 Does the plowman plow all day to sow? Does he open and break the clods of his ground?
Isa 28:25 When he has leveled its surface, does he not strew black cummin, and scatter cummin, and place wheat in rows, and barley in its place, and spelt in its border?
Isa 28:26 And He instructs him for the right; his God teaches him.
Isa 28:27 For black cummin is not threshed with the sledge; nor is a cartwheel turned on cummin. But black cummin is beaten out with the staff, and cummin with the rod.
Isa 28:28 Bread is crushed, but not always does one thresh it with threshing; and he drives the wheel of his cart; and his horses do not beat it small.
Isa 28:29 This also comes from Jehovah of Hosts, doing wonders in counsel, making sound wisdom great.

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