FEBRUARY 28

Proverbs 28:13: "He [or she] that covereth [tries to cover up, conceal, or hide] his [or her] sins [by denying them, blaming others for them, making excuses for them, etc.] shall not prosper [succeed]: but whoso [whoever] confesseth [to God, in prayer, and perhaps even to people, in public] and forsaketh [gives up, renounces] them [those sins] shall have mercy [compassion and forgiveness] [from God--and, hopefully, also from mankind]."

If we want to have peace with God, and freedom from a guilty conscience, we need to confess and forsake our sins.

According to the Bible, only God can forgive sins. For example, Luke 5:21 says: "And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying [in regard to Jesus], Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?"

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on today's verse. In it, Pastor Delany says that following Adam and Eve's example of covering their sin (when they ate the forbidden fruit and then tried to run and hide from God, cover their nakedness with fig leaves, and blame the serpent [who was really the devil in disguise] for their disobedience) is not a good idea. He adds: "This has been the consistent method man has used in dealing with his sin ever since: cover it up and run and hide… and pretend it never happened… or pretend that it wasn't that bad…" Instead, we should acknowledge (admit) our sins, forsake them, and ask for God's forgiveness. That's the only way that our fellowship with God can be restored.

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-28-index/proverbs-28_13/.

FEBRUARY 27

Proverbs 27:10: "Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not [i.e., don't abandon, desert, or forget about your close friends and your family friends, especially in a time of need]; neither go into thy brother's [or distant relative's] house in the day of thy calamity [tribulation, trouble]: for [because] better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off [which means that in a crisis, when you need help right away, a friend or neighbor who lives nearby is better than a relative who lives far away]."

At the end of his commentary on this verse, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church says the point of this proverb is that "… all throughout life, there is great value in maintaining relationships with friends and family."

In addition, he says that in the second half of this verse, the phrase a brother far off can "… be applied not only to one who is far away physically, but also one who is far off in the sense of being alienated [from his/her family in terms of affection (meaning the relatives no longer like or love that person or get along with him or her)]."

If you want to read Pastor Delany's commentary, here's the link:
https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-27-index/proverbs-27_10/.

James Burton Coffman, another Bible commentator, explains the second half of the verse like this: "What is related here is a sad fact that brothers (or sisters) may sometimes be quite unwilling to aid each other in times of misfortune or distress. Cook revised the proverb here as follows: 'Better is the neighbor who is really "near" in heart and spirit than a brother who is "near" by blood but "far off" in brotherly feeling.'" (Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/27-10.html, "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible")

FEBRUARY 26

Psalm 28:7 [King David wrote]: "The LORD [God] is my strength and my shield [meaning he gives me strength and protects me]; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."

In both word and song, we Christians should remember to thank and praise God for his protection and help and for all the other good things that he does for us on a daily basis.

FEBRUARY 25

Proverbs 25:28: "He [or she] that hath [has] no rule [restraint, control] over his [or her] own spirit [temper, or state of mind, referring to that person's thoughts, desires, inclinations, resentments, etc.] is like a city that is broken down, and without walls."

In his commentary on this verse, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church said: "This proverb speaks of the danger of lacking self-control."

The first section of the commentary tells how a lack of self-control can adversely (in a bad or harmful way) affect people's lives. Examples include Anger, The tongue, and Sexual desire.

In the next section of the commentary, Pastor Delany explains how a man without self-control can be compared, first, to a city without walls and, second, to a broken down city:

"2. A man without self control is like a city without walls.

"a. In Solomon's day, city walls spoke of a city's main layer of security.

"b. Cities built walls around them to keep out invading armies.

"c. This might not be as meaningful to us today as it was in ancient times.

"d. Today planes can fly over cities and drop bombs. Walls are more decorative for us today.

"e. But in ancient times, before planes, walls were the major obstacle to an invading army. The taller and wider they were, the better!

"f. Cities like Babylon had a double wall around the city and their walls were wide enough for chariots to ride upon. That gave the Babylonians a sense of safety and security.

"g. Thus, a city without walls was not safe. They were wide open to attacks from their enemies.

"h. Their city walls served as a layer of protection; but without walls they were vulnerable. They were unprotected. They were in a weakened condition. They were defenseless and hopelessly exposed to invaders. The enemies could march right in with nothing to stop them. And the enemy can march right in from any direction they want. There are no walls!"

"3. A man without self-control is like a broken down city.

"a. A broken down city is a city that was invaded, defeated, and destroyed from within."

In this proverb, "Solomon simply points out the problem [i.e., a lack of self-control]; he does not offer a solution to the problem… because the Law (under which he lived) [in Old Testament times] did not have the solution we know today." That solution is in the New Testament book of Galatians:

"f. Gal. [Galatians] 5:22-23 - The fruit of the Spirit is "temperance" - or self-control.
" A life yielded and surrendered to God will be fortified and strong… self-controlled… like a city with massive walls over which no enemy can enter.
" Instead of attempting the impossible-attempting to put out a thousand fires of anger, lust, pride, etc., God's answer is to be FILLED (controlled by) the Spirit… and thus HE will work in us and produce the fruit of the Spirit-temperance.
" Temperance, the fruit of the Spirit[,] serves as a city wall over which no enemy can scale.
" The person who dwells there (by walking in the Spirit day by day) is safe and secure. The one who walks in the Spirit will NOT fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
" God's Holy Spirit enables the believer to have control over his spirit such that he is able to take offence, insult, verbal abuse, without blowing up and without striking back."

If you want to read the rest of Pastor Delany's commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-25-index/proverbs-25_28/.

Matthew Henry also has a good commentary on this verse. It says:

"Here is, 1. The good character of a wise and virtuous man implied. He is one that has rule over his own spirit; he maintains the government [i.e., control] of himself, and of his own appetites and passions, and does not suffer them to rebel against reason and conscience. He has the rule of his own thoughts, his desires, his inclinations, his resentments, and keeps them all in good order. 2. The bad case of a vicious man, who has not this rule over his own spirit, who, when temptations to excess in eating or drinking are before him, has no government of himself, when he is provoked breaks out into exorbitant passions, such a one is like a city that is broken down and without walls. All that is good goes out, and forsakes him; all that is evil breaks in upon him. He lies exposed to all the temptations of Satan and becomes an easy prey to that enemy; he is also liable to many troubles and vexations; it is likewise as much a reproach to him as it is to a city to have its walls ruined …"

(Source for quote: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/proverbs/25.html, "Verse 28")

FEBRUARY 24

Proverbs 24:29: "Say not [don't say], I will do so [the same thing] to him [or her, meaning another person (neighbor, friend, companion, etc.)] as he [or she] hath done to me: I will render [return] to the man [or woman or child] according to his [or her] work [action, deed … or, 'according to what he/she has done to me']."

This verse is about revenge and teaches that if someone does us wrong, we shouldn't try to "get even." Romans 12:19 says, "…Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord," so we should let God take care of the matter.

Note: In paragraph 2d of the introduction to his commentary on this verse, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church says that there is some debate as to "whether verses 28 and 29 are to be considered as individual thoughts or if they are both speaking of the same theme."

Pastor Delany goes on to say:

"3. If they stand alone, then:
    "a. Verse 28 speaks about perjury = lying in court.
    "b. Verse 29 speaks of revenge.
"4. If they are to be taken as a unit of thought then:
    "a. They are both speaking about lying in court.
    "b. Verse 28 forbids lying and deception in court
    "c. Verse 29 forbids lying in court to take revenge on an enemy."

Then he comes to the following conclusion:

"5. It is probably best to understand these two proverbs as one proverbial thought [i.e., as applied to court]… acknowledging that even as a unit, each passage can have many applications on its own-beyond the courtroom scene."

For today's verse, I chose to focus on the subject of revenge in general.

If you want to read one or both of the above-mentioned commentaries, here are the links:

-- Verse 28: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-24-index/proverbs-24_28/
-- Verse 29: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-24-index/proverbs-24_29/

FEBRUARY 23

Leviticus 19:16 [Through Moses, God told the people of Israel]: "Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer [a person who spreads gossip or rumors] among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood [life] of thy neighbour [by testifying as a false witness or false accuser against someone (and perhaps sending an innocent person to jail), or by failing to speak up in defense of an accused person who you know is innocent, or by failing to help someone whose life is in danger]: [you should obey these commandments because] I am the LORD."

Don't be a busybody or false witness.

In his commentary on Leviticus 19, Matthew Henry points out that "[w]e are all forbidden to do any thing injurious to our neighbour's good name (v. 16), either, 1. In common conversation … Or, 2, In witness-bearing …" (Source for quote: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/leviticus/19.html
)

FEBRUARY 22

Proverbs 22:15: "Foolishness [sin] is bound in the heart of a child [meaning children are born with the sin nature, and a tendency to misbehave]; but the rod of correction [referring to spankings--given in love, not anger] shall drive it [the foolishness] far from him [or her]."

When Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church wrote his commentary on the above verse, he said (in the introduction): "… Corporal punishment [i.e., spanking children] in the home is still legal in America in all 50 states … However, it is illegal in 24 countries around the world."

Despite God's desire that we use the "rod of correction" to discipline our children, some people may question why Proverbs 27:22 says that spankings don't work. In the section of his commentary regarding the rod of correction, Pastor Delany offers the following explanation:

"5. Prov. [Proverbs] 27:22 - 'Even if a fool were pounded with a pestle in a mortar along with the grain, he would not be corrected.'

"a. This passage says that physical punishment will NOT correct the fool; while [Proverbs] 22:15 says that the rod WILL correct the fool and drive his folly away.

"b. Clearly two different outcomes are listed in these two proverbs. One says it works; the other says it does not work.

"c. That's why some see this as a contradiction to 22:15.

"d. However, this passage actually emphasizes the importance of the rod of correction.

"e. By comparing these two proverbs, we learn that if the folly is not removed when he is a child, when he is older, and has become more set in his ways, then it may NEVER be driven out!

"f. Therefore, it is all the more essential that the rod be applied to children… while there is time… while there is hope… while they are still teachable.

"g. Kids are like wet cement. Wet cement is easily formed and shaped. But once it hardens, it is much more difficult to shape."

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-22-index/proverbs-22_15/.

Note: A good article about biblical discipline is called "How should Christians discipline their children? What does the Bible say?'" Here's the link, if you want to read it: https://www.gotquestions.org/disciplining-children.html.

FEBRUARY 21

Proverbs 21:4: "An high look [i.e., haughtiness, arrogance, conceit], and a proud heart [pride], and the plowing of the wicked [people--men, women, and children] [referring to their hard hearts and everything that comes from them, especially their bad intentions and actions, or evil schemes and deeds], is sin."

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-21-index/proverbs-21_4/.

Regarding the first part of the proverb, another Bible commentary said: "… The former [phrase; i.e., An high look] is a sign of the latter [phrase; i.e., a proud heart], and commonly go together … sometimes there may be a proud heart under a disguise of humility; but the pride of the heart is often discovered by the look of the eyes …" [Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/21-4.html, "John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible")

FEBRUARY 20

Proverbs 20:20: "Whoso [whoever] curseth [which, in this case (rather than 'swears at'), means belittles (puts down, treats as unimportant), disregards, insults, does not respect] his [or her] father or his [or her] mother, his [or her] lamp shall be put out [extinguished] in obscure [total, complete] darkness."

This is a proverb about rebellious children, who will probably treat other people in authority (teachers, bosses, police officers, etc.) the way they treat their parents and, as a result, will suffer the consequences of their attitudes and actions throughout their lives.

According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church (in paragraph 3 of his commentary):

"e. This rebellious, self-willed young person cannot expect much good in life.

"f. His life will ramble on from bad to worse…

"g. Things will NOT go well for him. His life will be miserable.

"h. He should not expect much comfort, rest, or success in life.

"i. The days of his life are likely to be short but not sweet."

In paragraph 5 at the end of the commentary, we learn that:

"b. The point of the proverb is to be a WARNING to young people NOT to follow that route [i.e., rebellion]!

"c. The message to young people is: HONOR your mother and father! Things will go well with you.

"d. If you DISHONOR them… expect to have your lights put out… one way or another… sooner or later…"

If you want to read Pastor Delany's commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-20-index/proverbs-20_20/.

Note: In Old Testament times, under the law of Moses, disobedience and rebellion were not tolerated. One Bible verse that confirms this is Exodus 21:17, which says: "And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death."

FEBRUARY 19

Proverbs 19:27 [King Solomon said]: "Cease [stop], my son, to hear [listening to] the instruction [any teaching] that causeth [you] to err [be led astray] from the words of knowledge [i.e., God's words, as contained in the Bible]."

In other words, stop listening to bad advice and false teachings about the Bible. This warning applies not only to Solomon's son but also to everyone else in the world.

According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, this proverb may be worded differently from the King James Version in some Bibles, but it has the same basic meaning in both places. For example:

-- The King James Version says: "Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge."

-- The New King James Version says: "Cease listening to instruction, my son, And you will stray from the words of knowledge."

Both are explained in the pastor's commentary on the above verse. Basically:

"b. What is implied in each [translation or version of the Bible] is this:
" KJV [King James Version]: stop listening to bad instruction…
" Others [such as the New King James Version]: don't stop listening to good instruction"

Here are some excerpts from the "KJV (King James Version)" part of the commentary:

"2. Words can be helpful or harmful…

"a. Not everyone who offers you advice is offering that which is good for you.

"b. There is such a thing as BAD advice… and bad advice can lead you astray.

"c. This kind of warning is necessary because Satan has his emissaries out in the world seeking to lead us astray. They fill pulpits. They write books. They have talk shows. They are on TV and radio. They are out for your ear and your heart.

"d. This is one of the reasons the doctrine of separation is so important. God wants us to AVOID those whose doctrinal positions can lead us astray. Stay away… don't listen to… avoid!"

"3. Why do you think the Jehovahs Witnesses continue to knock on doors?

"a. Because some people let them in and listen to them.

"b. Even some believers let them in and listen to them (in spite of what John said!)

"c. And they are well versed in their twisted concept of sonship… and most believers are not able to answer their questions… and are easily deceived by them.

"4. This is good advice when it comes to many of the popular speakers on TV and radio too.

"a. Don't buy their books. Don't listen to their tapes and CD's.

"b. Don't listen to what they have to say.

"c. The danger is that they mingle truth with error, and many new or untaught believers don't have the discernment to be able to separate the truth from the error.

"d. That's why Solomon said CEASE TO HEAR…

"5. And what good advice this proverb is to our young people away at secular colleges and universities!

"a. Don't listen to words that will cause you to err from your faith in Christ and in the Word of God!

"b. Don't give credence to them. Sift everything through the Word of God. Put everything you hear to the test of God's Word.

"c. They will try to convince our young people about variations to morality… the origins of the earth… new forms of family… spanking… roles of husbands and wives…

"d. They have an agenda to replace every last ounce of Christian influence in this country with their own program. Don't hear them!

"e. Solomon urged his son to RESIST every assault against the words of knowledge he received from his father and from the Lord."

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-19-index/proverbs-19_27/.

FEBRUARY 18

Proverbs 18:22: "Whoso [whoever] findeth a wife [of his own, meaning a woman to marry] findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD [obtains acceptance, approval, and blessings from God]."

About this verse, the Salem Bible Church commentary says,"A wife is an expression of God's favor, grace, kindness, blessing, and goodness towards man…"

The commentary lists characteristics of good wives (e.g., they are helpers and hard workers, have good morals, and are honest, reliable, and trustworthy) and examples of bad ones (i.e., Jezebel and Herod's wife). Then, in paragraph 3 at the bottom of the page, it ends with this:

"g. A good wife is God's answer for that which is NOT good: that man should be alone.

"h. So every time you are blessed by your wife…
" Every time she does something that benefits you…
" Every time she does good for you…
" Every time her actions benefit you or your family…
" Every time she cooks a meal… cleans a room… washes clothes… takes care of the kids… etc…
" Every time she tells you that you can't wear that tie with that shirt…
" Every time she reminds you of a temper out of control…
" Every time she rebukes, corrects, OR edifies and encourages…
" Every time goodness in one form or another flows from her-
" THANK her for it…
" And thank God too… for HE is the ultimate source of that goodness.
" A good wife is a good gift FROM GOD.
" The goodness she does is an expression of HER love and care for you.
" It is also an expression of God's love and care as well."

 If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-18-index/proverbs-18_22/.

FEBRUARY 14-17

1 Corinthians 13:1-7, 13 - Characteristics of True Love
The apostle Paul wrote about agape love (which he calls charity) in this letter to the Corinthian church. It means love for God and people. In verses 1-3, when Paul said "I" and "me," referring to himself , he also could have said "you," meaning us, or everyone else in the world.

Verse 1: "Though I speak with the tongues [languages] of men and of angels, and have not charity [love], I am become as sounding brass [i.e., musical instruments made of brass, like trumpets], or a tinkling cymbal [referring to the sound that cymbals make]."

Verse 2: "And though I have the gift of prophecy
[the ability to predict future events], and understand all mysteries [hidden things, secrets] [of religion], and [have] all knowledge [i.e., know everything about everything]; and though I have all [a strong, wonder-working] faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity [love], I am nothing [in God's eyes]."

Verse 3: "And though I bestow
[distribute in small portions] all my goods [money, property, possessions] to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned [for example, as when martyrs (people who are willing to die rather than renounce, or give up, their religious beliefs) are 'burned at the stake'], and have not charity [love], it profiteth me nothing [does me no good]."

Verse 4: "Charity
[love] suffereth long [is long-suffering, or patiently endures hardship], and is kind; charity envieth not [is not envious]; charity vaunteth not itself [is not boastful], is not puffed up [not full of pride],"

Verse 5: "
[Charity, or love,] Doth not behave itself unseemly [does not behave inappropriately or in an indecent manner], seeketh not her own [things, meaning 'is not selfish'], is not easily provoked [to anger], thinketh no evil [about others--regarding their motives and conduct];"

Verse 6: "
[Charity, or love,] Rejoiceth not in iniquity [unrighteousness, injustice; i.e., does not applaud the sins, wickedness, or evil deeds of others and is not glad to hear that someone has done bad things and must suffer the consequences of those actions], but rejoiceth in the truth [of the gospel and in the virtues (goodness, moral excellence) of others];"

Verse 7: "
[Charity, or love,] Beareth all things [privately; doesn't publicize (make known to the public) or avenge (seek vengeance, or revenge, for) the faults of others], believeth all things [i.e.,has good thoughts about others; always gives people 'the benefit of the doubt'], hopeth all things [i.e., hopes that everything will turn out well], endureth [endures, or bears up under,] all things [such as persecution, harassment, etc.]."

Verse 13: "And now abideth
[remain forever--after the spiritual gifts of 'prophecy,' 'tongues' (the ability to speak foreign languages without learning them), and 'knowledge' are gone--see verse quoted below*] faith, hope, charity, these three [things]; but the greatest of these [three things that remain forever: faith, hope, and charity] is charity [love]."

You may have noticed that sometimes these verses are read during wedding ceremonies. That's because marriage is about love, and 1 Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter of the Bible.
_________________________

*1 Corinthians 13:8: "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease [stop, end]; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away."


Note: Agape love and many of the characteristics mentioned in the above verses are explained in detail in the following articles:

-- "What is agape love?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/agape-love.html

-- "What does it mean that love is kind (1 Corinthians 13:4)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-is-kind.html

-- "What does it mean that love does not envy (1 Corinthians 13:4)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-does-not-envy.html

-- "What does it mean that love does not boast (1 Corinthians 13:4)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-does-not-boast.html

-- "What does it mean that love is not proud (1 Corinthians 13:4)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-is-not-proud.html

-- "What does it mean that love is not rude (1 Corinthians 13:5)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-is-not-rude.html

-- "What does it mean that love is not self-seeking (1 Corinthians 13:5)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-is-not-self-seeking.html

-- "What does it mean that love is not easily angered (1 Corinthians 13:5)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-is-not-easily-angered.html

-- "What does it mean that love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-keeps-no-record-of-wrongs.html

-- "What does it mean that love always protects (1 Corinthians 13:7)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-always-protects.html

-- "What does it mean that love always trusts (1 Corinthians 13:7)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-always-trusts.html

-- "What does it mean that love always hopes (1 Corinthians 13:7)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-always-hopes.html

-- "What does it mean that love always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:7)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-always-perseveres.html

-- "What does it mean that love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-never-fails.html

-- "What does it mean that faith, hope, and love remain (1 Corinthians 13:13)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/faith-hope-love.html

FEBRUARY 13

Proverbs 13:3: "He [or she] that keepeth [guards] his [or her] mouth [i.e., the person who keeps his (or her) mouth shut, or watches what he (or she) says] keepeth his [or her] life [under control]: but he [or she] that openeth wide his [or her] lips [i.e., talks too much and/or says whatever pops into his (or her) mind without considering the consequences] shall have destruction [or trouble and grief--see examples in the note below*]."

In other words, we should always think before speaking.
_________________________

*In paragraph 2 of the "destruction" part of his commentary on this verse, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church says, "The things people SAY can get them in more trouble and cause more pain, suffering, grief, and unrest in their lives than the things they DO."

Then, in paragraph 3, he goes on to give specific examples of how the things that we say can cause destruction in our lives. Here they are, in shortened form:

"3 Examples of such destruction…

"a. Saying YES to a salesman too soon…
" Financial destruction: more bills than you are able to pay!

"b. Spreading gossip…
" Destruction to your friendships… you may separate chief friends…

"c. Betraying confidences…
" Destruction of your trust: you may lose friends… lose trust…

"d. Speaking before getting all the facts…
" Destruction: you may earn a reputation for being a fool… a liar and a troublemaker…

"e. Saying whatever is on your mind…
" Destruction: what's on our mind is not always worth saying!

"f. Pride… self-exalting speech…
" Destruction: you might become obnoxious in the eyes of others… and of the Lord!

"g. Sin
" Destruction: there is no shortage of sin that comes from a mouth that is unbridled and ungoverned.

"h. Hurt
" Destruction: saying something that hurts others… and then regretting it… but not being able to take it back…

"i. Trouble
" We can dig a big hole for ourselves with our tongues.

"j. Give place to the devil
" We give place to the Devil through our mouths at times…
" We give the devil opportunity to divide brethren… churches…
" We give the devil opportunity to destroy our testimony before the world…
" We give the devil opportunity to do harm to the cause of Christ-because of our ungoverned tongues.

"k. Hasty - trouble!
" When we speak hastily, we usually come out with thoughtless, insensitive, hurtful words…
" Then, because of our rash words, we have to deal with the aftermath-the wrath of others… broken relationships… hurt feelings…
" We make rash promises we can't keep…
" We end up offending others because of a careless choice of words

"l. Speaking evil of a person… may come back to bite you!
" Speak evil of the king and he will likely find out!
" Speak evil of any man and he might find out.
" Then we deal with the destructive effects.

"m. A mouth wide open could bring destruction:
" To our reputation…
" To our credibility….
" To our friendships…
" To our career…
" To our finances…
" To our marriage…
" To our testimony for the Lord…"

If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-13-index/proverbs-13_3/.

FEBRUARY 12

Proverbs 12:22: "Lying lips are abomination [a hateful, detestable, disgusting thing] to the LORD: but they that deal truly [honestly, truthfully] are his [God's] delight."

As usual, Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse, including many examples of when and why people lie, how God feels about lying, and the types of people who are guilty of lying. Here are some excerpts:

"1. What does man think of lying?

"a. We often hear lies referred to as a 'little white lie'-as if it wasn't so bad…

"b. 'As long as it doesn't hurt anybody, who cares?'

"c. 'Sometimes the end justifies the means. It's OK to use a lie in order to accomplish a good end.' (If you can get somebody out of trouble; or save a few bucks; save face; prevent a fight… if some good can come out of it… why not?)

"d. 'Everybody does it…'

"e. 'My intentions were good…'

"f. Men are so accustomed to lies that they no longer seem like such a big deal. Politicians lie. Presidents lie. Lawyers lie. Even deacons and pastors have been caught in lies.

"g. Somehow, men have put the sin of lying into a kind of innocuous category… not quite so bad…

"2. What does God think about lying?

"a. It is an abomination to the Lord.

"b. Abomination:
" Strong's defines it as 'a disgusting thing'.
" Dictionary of Biblical Languages: that which is detested, abhorred, loathed, despised, degraded, i.e., have a hate or very strong dislike for an object, implying contempt; repulsive; vile; shameful.
" Detestable

"c. Things God calls 'an abomination.'
" Lev. [Leviticus] 18:22 - homosexuality
" Lev. [Leviticus] 18:23 - bestiality
" Deut. [Deuteronomy] 7:26 - idolatry is called an abomination
" Deut. [Deuteronomy] 17:1 - offering a BLEMISHED sacrifice to the Lord (why?)
" Deut. [Deuteronomy] 17:3-4 - worshipping the sun, moon, and stars
" Deut. [Deuteronomy] 18:10-11- children burnt on idols; witchcraft
" Deut. [Deuteronomy] 22:5 - cross-dressing-wearing clothing of the opposite sex
" Deut [Deuteronomy] 23:18 - using money made through prostitution as a payment of a vow to the Lord in the holy place!
" Prov. [Proverbs] 15:8 - the sacrifices of the wicked-religious hypocrisy
" In this despicable camp God places 'lying lips.'"

"5. Could WE [believers] be guilty of abomination?"

"d. Let's be honest. We have ALL lied… stretched the truth… embellished… added to… subtracted from… purposely left out pertinent details…half truths…"

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link:
https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-12-index/proverbs-12_22/.

FEBRUARY 11

Proverbs 11:15: "He [or she] that is surety for a stranger [meaning he (or she) agrees to guarantee payment of or become legally responsible for another person's debt (money owed), default (failure to repay a loan), or delinquency (overdue payments), especially someone he (or she) doesn't know very well] shall smart [feel pain; bear the penalty or consequences] for it: and he [or she] that hateth suretiship [i.e., avoids assuming someone else's obligations] is sure [or safe from trouble]."

James Burton Coffman summarized the above verse as follows: "If you promise to pay a stranger's debt, you will regret it. You are better off if you don't get involved." (Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/11-15.html, "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible")

In his Bible study notes on Proverbs, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church summarized the verse like this: "… don't risk YOUR personal, financial security in order to provide financial security for someone else-especially a stranger!" However, he says that there are times when co-signing a note may be the right thing to do (e.g., your son's first car, student loans).

In the first section of his commentary, Pastor Delany says:

"4. Thus, Solomon gives some advice when it comes to signing for a loan.

"a. He warns us NOT to do it under the following circumstances:
" For a stranger… or a casual acquaintance…
" Don't enter into a pledge hastily… or out of pressure…
" Don't do it out of pride (to be seen as the good guy or a hero)
" Don't do it if you can't afford it… if you are not financially able."

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-11-index/proverbs-11_15/.

FEBRUARY 10

Romans 5:1: "Therefore being justified [having been made righteous in God's sight] by faith [which happens when we believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, and that he was buried and rose again, and we trust him to save us from hell and the lake of fire], we [born-again Christians] have peace with God through [his Son,] our Lord Jesus Christ [i.e., because of his death and resurrection]:"

If you want peace with God, you need to be saved.

FEBRUARY 8-9

Galatians 4:4-7 - Born-Again Christians Are Children of God

Verse 4: "But when the fulness of the time was come
[when the appointed (chosen) time arrived], God sent forth his Son [from heaven to earth], [referring to Jesus, who was] made of a woman [i.e., born to the virgin Mary], [and was] made under the law [meaning he had a human nature and was subject to the law of Moses, or the Law of God],"

Verse 5:
[God sent Jesus to earth:] To redeem [pay the sin debt for, save from hell] them that were under the law [i.e., all sinners] [through his death on the cross], [so] that we [saved people--men, women, and children] might receive the adoption of sons [might be adopted into the family of God]."

Verse 6: "And because ye
[born-again Christians, both male and female] are sons [in this case, meaning children] [of God], God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son [referring to Jesus' Spirit, in the person of the Holy Spirit,] into your hearts, crying, Abba [Father], Father."

Verse 7: "Wherefore
[for this reason, or because you are saved] thou art [you are] no more [no longer] a servant [of sin and of the law], but [you are] a son [in this case, a child] [of God]; and if [you are] a son [a child] [of God], then [you are also] an heir of God through [Jesus] Christ."

At salvation, when we receive the free gift of eternal life, we become children of God, the Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts, and we know that someday we will enjoy all of the privileges and blessings that await us in heaven.

Other things also happen at salvation. While searching for something on the Internet, I found a list of "38 Things that Happen when We get Saved," which was compiled by a Baptist pastor named Dr. Bob Ream. If you want to read it, here's the link:
https://www.biblebelievers.com/ream_b1.html.

In addition, the following articles contain information about heirs and inheritances:

-- "What is an heir in the Bible?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/heir-Bible.html)

-- "What does it mean to be co-heirs/joint heirs with Christ?
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/co-heirs-with-Christ.html)

FEBRUARY 7

1 Samuel 15:23 [Samuel, an Old Testament prophet, said to King Saul]: "For rebellion is as [bad as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as [bad as] iniquity [sin] and idolatry [or, 'the sin of idolatry,' which is the worship of false gods]. Because thou hast [you have] rejected [refused to accept--or, in this case, obey] the word of the LORD [i.e., God's commands, which, in this case, were to kill the Amalekites and destroy all of their possessions--see note below*], he [God] hath also rejected thee [you, Saul] from being king […] [and, as a result, God eventually brought his reign to an end]."

This shows what can happen to people who are stubborn and rebellious and refuse to obey God's word, as recorded in the Bible.
_________________________

*Earlier in Chapter 15, we were told how King Saul disobeyed God's commands:

-- Verse 3 [Through the prophet Samuel, God told King Saul]: "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."

-- Verse 9: "But Saul and the people spared Agag [the king of the Amalekites], and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly."

FEBRUARY 6

Proverbs 6:30-31 - Theft

Verse 30: "Men
[and women and children] do not despise [hate] a thief, if he [or she] steal to satisfy his [or her] soul [body] [or to preserve his (or her) life] when he [or she] is hungry;"

Verse 31: "But if he
[or she] be found, he [or she, meaning the thief] shall restore [repay] sevenfold [or shall make restitution by paying back seven times as much as he (or she) took]; [if necessary,] he [or she] shall give all the substance of his [or her] house [i.e., all that he (or she) owns] [to pay the debt]."

In other words, most of us are inclined to show compassion (pity and sympathy) rather than hatred for poor people who steal food because they're hungry. However, theft is still a sin in God's eyes and must be punished according to the law.

This verse, which is combined with verses 32-35 in the Salem Bible Church commentary, was included in King Solomon's teachings about adultery because the topics are similar, as they both involve stealing, which is a sin. The subject of verses 30 and 31 is an honest man who steals a loaf of bread because he (and probably his family, too) is hungry and has no food. The other verses involve a man "stealing" another man's wife and having sex with her.

According to the commentary (i.e., in the second section):

"3. BOTH sins are in essence, stealing… a loaf of bread… and stealing a man's wife.

"4. BOTH acts are sinful.

"5. BOTH are forbidden in the Ten Commandments: 'Thou shalt not steal.' 'Thou shalt not commit adultery.'

"6. BOTH sins can be forgiven by God upon repentance.

"7. However, there is one huge difference.

"a. Men won't despise a thief who steals bread when hungry… when he hungers and lusts for food.

"b. But men WILL despise the man who hungers and lusts after his neighbor's wife… and commits adultery!"

The commentary goes on to explain why committing adultery is worse than stealing a loaf of bread and why its consequences are far worse and longer lasting.

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-6-index/proverbs-6_30-35/.

FEBRUARY 5

Psalm 50:10-12 - Everything Belongs to God
In this psalm, God is telling the people of Israel that, although he is pleased with their sacrifices, he doesn't really need those sacrifices and consequently is under no obligation to the people because of them (see note below*). He explains why:

Verses 10-11: "For every beast of the forest is mine, and [so are] the cattle [that roam] upon a thousand hills. I [God] know all the fowls [flying creatures--birds, insects, etc.] of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine." [In other words, all animals, both wild and domesticated (tame), belong to God.]

Verse 12: "If I [God] were hungry, I would not tell thee [you, referring specifically to the Jewish people and also to everyone else]: for the world is mine, and [so is] the fulness thereof [i.e., everything that the world contains].

The earth and everything in it and on it belong to God, who created them. Consequently, we must realize that we are dependent upon God, not the other way around.
_________________________

*Concerning their sacrifices, Albert Barnes said: "… a charge was brought against them [the people of Israel] … because they supposed that they laid God under obligation by so constant and so expensive offerings, as if they did not already belong to him, or as if he needed them; and because, while they did this, they withheld the very offering which he required, and without which all other sacrifices would be vain and worthless - a sincere, humble, thankful heart." (Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-50.html, "Verse 8")

FEBRUARY 4

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 - Using Our Experience to Help Others

Verse 3: "Blessed be
[praise and thanks go to] God, [who is] even [also] the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies [compassion], and the God of all comfort [because he gives us strength and support in times of weakness, danger, anxiety, illness, pain, etc.];"

Verse 4: "Who
[referring to God] comforteth us in all our tribulation [affliction, distress, suffering], [so] that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the [same] comfort wherewith [by which] we ourselves are comforted of [by] God."

When God answers our prayers, protects us, and helps us with our troubles (illness, pain, sorrow, etc.), we can use our own experiences to help other people in similar situations.

FEBRUARY 3

Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trusting God for Wisdom and Guidance
This was King Solomon's advice to his son--and also to born-again Christians:

Verse 5: "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart [completely and sincerely, wholeheartedly]; and lean not unto [don't depend upon] thine [your] own understanding."

Verse 6: "In all thy ways
[in everything that you say and do] acknowledge him [God; i.e., recognize his importance (by reading your Bible, praying for wisdom, etc.), and be aware of his presence and power], and he [God] shall direct thy paths [meaning he will guide you]."

Once again, Salem Bible Church has excellent commentaries on these verses, including (for verse 5) many examples of things and people that we usually trust to be safe (chairs, cars, food, airplanes, elevators, doctors, etc.). Some of them may let us down, but God never will.

In the section entitled "In All Thy Ways," the commentary for verse 6 says (in part):

"c. We make grandiose plans-and perhaps well thought out plans… but what about God? What does HE want us to do? Sometimes praying is the last thing we resort to-long after the plans are already made! We simply pray and ask God to bless what we have determined we are going to do. That is not acknowledging God."

"d. Are you looking for a new job? Considering buying a new house? Thinking of changing careers? Thinking of serving in the choir? Considering quitting a ministry? Looking for a mate? A Pet? A new doctor? Thinking of putting up a church building? Let's not leave God out!"

If you want to read one or both of the commentaries, here are the links:

-- Verse 5: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-3-index/proverbs-3_5-6/
-- Verse 6: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-3-index/proverbs-3_6/

FEBRUARY 2

Proverbs 2:6: "For the LORD giveth wisdom [as much as is needed] [to everyone who really wants it, searches for it, and asks for it]: out of his mouth [via the Bible] cometh knowledge and understanding."

We get wisdom by asking God for it (through prayer) and by studying and obeying his word (as recorded in the Bible).

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. It's combined with verses 7-9. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-2-index/proverbs-2_6-9/.

FEBRUARY 1

Romans 13:1-2 - Respect for Those in Authority

Verse 1: "Let every soul
[every person] be subject unto [submit to, obey] the higher powers [referring to people in authority, such as rulers and government leaders]. For there is no power [no ruler, government office or leader, etc.] but of God [except by his permission]: the powers that be [i.e., rulers, government leaders, etc.] are ordained of [appointed or ordered by] God."

Verse 2: "Whosoever
[whoever] therefore resisteth the power [refuses to obey the law, tries to overthrow the government, etc.], resisteth [resists, opposes] the ordinance of God [i.e., what and whom he has put in place]: and they that resist [the ordinance of God] shall receive to themselves damnation [shall be punished--by the government (judges, courts, etc.) and/or by God]."

We all need to obey the law and respect our leaders.

Regarding rulers, Adam Clarke said: "… [I]t has been asked: If the ruler be an immoral or profligate man, does he not prove himself thereby to be unworthy of his high office, and should he not be deposed [removed from office]? I answer, No: if he rule according to the constitution, nothing can justify rebellion against his authority. He may be irregular in his own private life; he may be an immoral man, and disgrace himself by an improper conduct: but if he rule according to the law; if he make no attempt to change the constitution, nor break the compact between him and the people; there is, therefore, no legal ground of opposition to his civil authority, and every act against him is not only rebellion in the worst sense of the word, but is unlawful and absolutely sinful."

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/romans/13-1.html, "Adam Clarke Commentary")

Previous Verses
February 2019
FEBRUARY 28

Proverbs 28:13: "He [or she] that covereth [tries to cover up, conceal, or hide] his [or her] sins [by denying them, blaming others for them, making excuses for them, etc.] shall not prosper [succeed]: but whoso [whoever] confesseth [to God, in prayer, and perhaps even to people, in public] and forsaketh [gives up, renounces] them [those sins] shall have mercy [compassion and forgiveness] [from God--and, hopefully, also from mankind]."

If we want to have peace with God, and freedom from a guilty conscience, we need to confess and forsake our sins.

According to the Bible, only God can forgive sins. For example, Luke 5:21 says: "And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying [in regard to Jesus], Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?"

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on today's verse. In it, Pastor Delany says that following Adam and Eve's example of covering their sin (when they ate the forbidden fruit and then tried to run and hide from God, cover their nakedness with fig leaves, and blame the serpent [who was really the devil in disguise] for their disobedience) is not a good idea. He adds: "This has been the consistent method man has used in dealing with his sin ever since: cover it up and run and hide… and pretend it never happened… or pretend that it wasn't that bad…" Instead, we should acknowledge (admit) our sins, forsake them, and ask for God's forgiveness. That's the only way that our fellowship with God can be restored.

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-28-index/proverbs-28_13/.

FEBRUARY 27

Proverbs 27:10: "Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not [i.e., don't abandon, desert, or forget about your close friends and your family friends, especially in a time of need]; neither go into thy brother's [or distant relative's] house in the day of thy calamity [tribulation, trouble]: for [because] better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off [which means that in a crisis, when you need help right away, a friend or neighbor who lives nearby is better than a relative who lives far away]."

At the end of his commentary on this verse, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church says the point of this proverb is that "… all throughout life, there is great value in maintaining relationships with friends and family."

In addition, he says that in the second half of this verse, the phrase a brother far off can "… be applied not only to one who is far away physically, but also one who is far off in the sense of being alienated [from his/her family in terms of affection (meaning the relatives no longer like or love that person or get along with him or her)]."

If you want to read Pastor Delany's commentary, here's the link:
https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-27-index/proverbs-27_10/.

James Burton Coffman, another Bible commentator, explains the second half of the verse like this: "What is related here is a sad fact that brothers (or sisters) may sometimes be quite unwilling to aid each other in times of misfortune or distress. Cook revised the proverb here as follows: 'Better is the neighbor who is really "near" in heart and spirit than a brother who is "near" by blood but "far off" in brotherly feeling.'" (Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/27-10.html, "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible")

FEBRUARY 26

Psalm 28:7 [King David wrote]: "The LORD [God] is my strength and my shield [meaning he gives me strength and protects me]; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."

In both word and song, we Christians should remember to thank and praise God for his protection and help and for all the other good things that he does for us on a daily basis.

FEBRUARY 25

Proverbs 25:28: "He [or she] that hath [has] no rule [restraint, control] over his [or her] own spirit [temper, or state of mind, referring to that person's thoughts, desires, inclinations, resentments, etc.] is like a city that is broken down, and without walls."

In his commentary on this verse, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church said: "This proverb speaks of the danger of lacking self-control."

The first section of the commentary tells how a lack of self-control can adversely (in a bad or harmful way) affect people's lives. Examples include Anger, The tongue, and Sexual desire.

In the next section of the commentary, Pastor Delany explains how a man without self-control can be compared, first, to a city without walls and, second, to a broken down city:

"2. A man without self control is like a city without walls.

"a. In Solomon's day, city walls spoke of a city's main layer of security.

"b. Cities built walls around them to keep out invading armies.

"c. This might not be as meaningful to us today as it was in ancient times.

"d. Today planes can fly over cities and drop bombs. Walls are more decorative for us today.

"e. But in ancient times, before planes, walls were the major obstacle to an invading army. The taller and wider they were, the better!

"f. Cities like Babylon had a double wall around the city and their walls were wide enough for chariots to ride upon. That gave the Babylonians a sense of safety and security.

"g. Thus, a city without walls was not safe. They were wide open to attacks from their enemies.

"h. Their city walls served as a layer of protection; but without walls they were vulnerable. They were unprotected. They were in a weakened condition. They were defenseless and hopelessly exposed to invaders. The enemies could march right in with nothing to stop them. And the enemy can march right in from any direction they want. There are no walls!"

"3. A man without self-control is like a broken down city.

"a. A broken down city is a city that was invaded, defeated, and destroyed from within."

In this proverb, "Solomon simply points out the problem [i.e., a lack of self-control]; he does not offer a solution to the problem… because the Law (under which he lived) [in Old Testament times] did not have the solution we know today." That solution is in the New Testament book of Galatians:

"f. Gal. [Galatians] 5:22-23 - The fruit of the Spirit is "temperance" - or self-control.
" A life yielded and surrendered to God will be fortified and strong… self-controlled… like a city with massive walls over which no enemy can enter.
" Instead of attempting the impossible-attempting to put out a thousand fires of anger, lust, pride, etc., God's answer is to be FILLED (controlled by) the Spirit… and thus HE will work in us and produce the fruit of the Spirit-temperance.
" Temperance, the fruit of the Spirit[,] serves as a city wall over which no enemy can scale.
" The person who dwells there (by walking in the Spirit day by day) is safe and secure. The one who walks in the Spirit will NOT fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
" God's Holy Spirit enables the believer to have control over his spirit such that he is able to take offence, insult, verbal abuse, without blowing up and without striking back."

If you want to read the rest of Pastor Delany's commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-25-index/proverbs-25_28/.

Matthew Henry also has a good commentary on this verse. It says:

"Here is, 1. The good character of a wise and virtuous man implied. He is one that has rule over his own spirit; he maintains the government [i.e., control] of himself, and of his own appetites and passions, and does not suffer them to rebel against reason and conscience. He has the rule of his own thoughts, his desires, his inclinations, his resentments, and keeps them all in good order. 2. The bad case of a vicious man, who has not this rule over his own spirit, who, when temptations to excess in eating or drinking are before him, has no government of himself, when he is provoked breaks out into exorbitant passions, such a one is like a city that is broken down and without walls. All that is good goes out, and forsakes him; all that is evil breaks in upon him. He lies exposed to all the temptations of Satan and becomes an easy prey to that enemy; he is also liable to many troubles and vexations; it is likewise as much a reproach to him as it is to a city to have its walls ruined …"

(Source for quote: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/proverbs/25.html, "Verse 28")

FEBRUARY 24

Proverbs 24:29: "Say not [don't say], I will do so [the same thing] to him [or her, meaning another person (neighbor, friend, companion, etc.)] as he [or she] hath done to me: I will render [return] to the man [or woman or child] according to his [or her] work [action, deed … or, 'according to what he/she has done to me']."

This verse is about revenge and teaches that if someone does us wrong, we shouldn't try to "get even." Romans 12:19 says, "…Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord," so we should let God take care of the matter.

Note: In paragraph 2d of the introduction to his commentary on this verse, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church says that there is some debate as to "whether verses 28 and 29 are to be considered as individual thoughts or if they are both speaking of the same theme."

Pastor Delany goes on to say:

"3. If they stand alone, then:
    "a. Verse 28 speaks about perjury = lying in court.
    "b. Verse 29 speaks of revenge.
"4. If they are to be taken as a unit of thought then:
    "a. They are both speaking about lying in court.
    "b. Verse 28 forbids lying and deception in court
    "c. Verse 29 forbids lying in court to take revenge on an enemy."

Then he comes to the following conclusion:

"5. It is probably best to understand these two proverbs as one proverbial thought [i.e., as applied to court]… acknowledging that even as a unit, each passage can have many applications on its own-beyond the courtroom scene."

For today's verse, I chose to focus on the subject of revenge in general.

If you want to read one or both of the above-mentioned commentaries, here are the links:

-- Verse 28: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-24-index/proverbs-24_28/
-- Verse 29: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-24-index/proverbs-24_29/

FEBRUARY 23

Leviticus 19:16 [Through Moses, God told the people of Israel]: "Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer [a person who spreads gossip or rumors] among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood [life] of thy neighbour [by testifying as a false witness or false accuser against someone (and perhaps sending an innocent person to jail), or by failing to speak up in defense of an accused person who you know is innocent, or by failing to help someone whose life is in danger]: [you should obey these commandments because] I am the LORD."

Don't be a busybody or false witness.

In his commentary on Leviticus 19, Matthew Henry points out that "[w]e are all forbidden to do any thing injurious to our neighbour's good name (v. 16), either, 1. In common conversation … Or, 2, In witness-bearing …" (Source for quote: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/leviticus/19.html
)

FEBRUARY 22

Proverbs 22:15: "Foolishness [sin] is bound in the heart of a child [meaning children are born with the sin nature, and a tendency to misbehave]; but the rod of correction [referring to spankings--given in love, not anger] shall drive it [the foolishness] far from him [or her]."

When Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church wrote his commentary on the above verse, he said (in the introduction): "… Corporal punishment [i.e., spanking children] in the home is still legal in America in all 50 states … However, it is illegal in 24 countries around the world."

Despite God's desire that we use the "rod of correction" to discipline our children, some people may question why Proverbs 27:22 says that spankings don't work. In the section of his commentary regarding the rod of correction, Pastor Delany offers the following explanation:

"5. Prov. [Proverbs] 27:22 - 'Even if a fool were pounded with a pestle in a mortar along with the grain, he would not be corrected.'

"a. This passage says that physical punishment will NOT correct the fool; while [Proverbs] 22:15 says that the rod WILL correct the fool and drive his folly away.

"b. Clearly two different outcomes are listed in these two proverbs. One says it works; the other says it does not work.

"c. That's why some see this as a contradiction to 22:15.

"d. However, this passage actually emphasizes the importance of the rod of correction.

"e. By comparing these two proverbs, we learn that if the folly is not removed when he is a child, when he is older, and has become more set in his ways, then it may NEVER be driven out!

"f. Therefore, it is all the more essential that the rod be applied to children… while there is time… while there is hope… while they are still teachable.

"g. Kids are like wet cement. Wet cement is easily formed and shaped. But once it hardens, it is much more difficult to shape."

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-22-index/proverbs-22_15/.

Note: A good article about biblical discipline is called "How should Christians discipline their children? What does the Bible say?'" Here's the link, if you want to read it: https://www.gotquestions.org/disciplining-children.html.

FEBRUARY 21

Proverbs 21:4: "An high look [i.e., haughtiness, arrogance, conceit], and a proud heart [pride], and the plowing of the wicked [people--men, women, and children] [referring to their hard hearts and everything that comes from them, especially their bad intentions and actions, or evil schemes and deeds], is sin."

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-21-index/proverbs-21_4/.

Regarding the first part of the proverb, another Bible commentary said: "… The former [phrase; i.e., An high look] is a sign of the latter [phrase; i.e., a proud heart], and commonly go together … sometimes there may be a proud heart under a disguise of humility; but the pride of the heart is often discovered by the look of the eyes …" [Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/21-4.html, "John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible")

FEBRUARY 20

Proverbs 20:20: "Whoso [whoever] curseth [which, in this case (rather than 'swears at'), means belittles (puts down, treats as unimportant), disregards, insults, does not respect] his [or her] father or his [or her] mother, his [or her] lamp shall be put out [extinguished] in obscure [total, complete] darkness."

This is a proverb about rebellious children, who will probably treat other people in authority (teachers, bosses, police officers, etc.) the way they treat their parents and, as a result, will suffer the consequences of their attitudes and actions throughout their lives.

According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church (in paragraph 3 of his commentary):

"e. This rebellious, self-willed young person cannot expect much good in life.

"f. His life will ramble on from bad to worse…

"g. Things will NOT go well for him. His life will be miserable.

"h. He should not expect much comfort, rest, or success in life.

"i. The days of his life are likely to be short but not sweet."

In paragraph 5 at the end of the commentary, we learn that:

"b. The point of the proverb is to be a WARNING to young people NOT to follow that route [i.e., rebellion]!

"c. The message to young people is: HONOR your mother and father! Things will go well with you.

"d. If you DISHONOR them… expect to have your lights put out… one way or another… sooner or later…"

If you want to read Pastor Delany's commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-20-index/proverbs-20_20/.

Note: In Old Testament times, under the law of Moses, disobedience and rebellion were not tolerated. One Bible verse that confirms this is Exodus 21:17, which says: "And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death."

FEBRUARY 19

Proverbs 19:27 [King Solomon said]: "Cease [stop], my son, to hear [listening to] the instruction [any teaching] that causeth [you] to err [be led astray] from the words of knowledge [i.e., God's words, as contained in the Bible]."

In other words, stop listening to bad advice and false teachings about the Bible. This warning applies not only to Solomon's son but also to everyone else in the world.

According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, this proverb may be worded differently from the King James Version in some Bibles, but it has the same basic meaning in both places. For example:

-- The King James Version says: "Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge."

-- The New King James Version says: "Cease listening to instruction, my son, And you will stray from the words of knowledge."

Both are explained in the pastor's commentary on the above verse. Basically:

"b. What is implied in each [translation or version of the Bible] is this:
" KJV [King James Version]: stop listening to bad instruction…
" Others [such as the New King James Version]: don't stop listening to good instruction"

Here are some excerpts from the "KJV (King James Version)" part of the commentary:

"2. Words can be helpful or harmful…

"a. Not everyone who offers you advice is offering that which is good for you.

"b. There is such a thing as BAD advice… and bad advice can lead you astray.

"c. This kind of warning is necessary because Satan has his emissaries out in the world seeking to lead us astray. They fill pulpits. They write books. They have talk shows. They are on TV and radio. They are out for your ear and your heart.

"d. This is one of the reasons the doctrine of separation is so important. God wants us to AVOID those whose doctrinal positions can lead us astray. Stay away… don't listen to… avoid!"

"3. Why do you think the Jehovahs Witnesses continue to knock on doors?

"a. Because some people let them in and listen to them.

"b. Even some believers let them in and listen to them (in spite of what John said!)

"c. And they are well versed in their twisted concept of sonship… and most believers are not able to answer their questions… and are easily deceived by them.

"4. This is good advice when it comes to many of the popular speakers on TV and radio too.

"a. Don't buy their books. Don't listen to their tapes and CD's.

"b. Don't listen to what they have to say.

"c. The danger is that they mingle truth with error, and many new or untaught believers don't have the discernment to be able to separate the truth from the error.

"d. That's why Solomon said CEASE TO HEAR…

"5. And what good advice this proverb is to our young people away at secular colleges and universities!

"a. Don't listen to words that will cause you to err from your faith in Christ and in the Word of God!

"b. Don't give credence to them. Sift everything through the Word of God. Put everything you hear to the test of God's Word.

"c. They will try to convince our young people about variations to morality… the origins of the earth… new forms of family… spanking… roles of husbands and wives…

"d. They have an agenda to replace every last ounce of Christian influence in this country with their own program. Don't hear them!

"e. Solomon urged his son to RESIST every assault against the words of knowledge he received from his father and from the Lord."

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-19-index/proverbs-19_27/.

FEBRUARY 18

Proverbs 18:22: "Whoso [whoever] findeth a wife [of his own, meaning a woman to marry] findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD [obtains acceptance, approval, and blessings from God]."

About this verse, the Salem Bible Church commentary says,"A wife is an expression of God's favor, grace, kindness, blessing, and goodness towards man…"

The commentary lists characteristics of good wives (e.g., they are helpers and hard workers, have good morals, and are honest, reliable, and trustworthy) and examples of bad ones (i.e., Jezebel and Herod's wife). Then, in paragraph 3 at the bottom of the page, it ends with this:

"g. A good wife is God's answer for that which is NOT good: that man should be alone.

"h. So every time you are blessed by your wife…
" Every time she does something that benefits you…
" Every time she does good for you…
" Every time her actions benefit you or your family…
" Every time she cooks a meal… cleans a room… washes clothes… takes care of the kids… etc…
" Every time she tells you that you can't wear that tie with that shirt…
" Every time she reminds you of a temper out of control…
" Every time she rebukes, corrects, OR edifies and encourages…
" Every time goodness in one form or another flows from her-
" THANK her for it…
" And thank God too… for HE is the ultimate source of that goodness.
" A good wife is a good gift FROM GOD.
" The goodness she does is an expression of HER love and care for you.
" It is also an expression of God's love and care as well."

 If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-18-index/proverbs-18_22/.

FEBRUARY 14-17

1 Corinthians 13:1-7, 13 - Characteristics of True Love
The apostle Paul wrote about agape love (which he calls charity) in this letter to the Corinthian church. It means love for God and people. In verses 1-3, when Paul said "I" and "me," referring to himself , he also could have said "you," meaning us, or everyone else in the world.

Verse 1: "Though I speak with the tongues [languages] of men and of angels, and have not charity [love], I am become as sounding brass [i.e., musical instruments made of brass, like trumpets], or a tinkling cymbal [referring to the sound that cymbals make]."

Verse 2: "And though I have the gift of prophecy
[the ability to predict future events], and understand all mysteries [hidden things, secrets] [of religion], and [have] all knowledge [i.e., know everything about everything]; and though I have all [a strong, wonder-working] faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity [love], I am nothing [in God's eyes]."

Verse 3: "And though I bestow
[distribute in small portions] all my goods [money, property, possessions] to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned [for example, as when martyrs (people who are willing to die rather than renounce, or give up, their religious beliefs) are 'burned at the stake'], and have not charity [love], it profiteth me nothing [does me no good]."

Verse 4: "Charity
[love] suffereth long [is long-suffering, or patiently endures hardship], and is kind; charity envieth not [is not envious]; charity vaunteth not itself [is not boastful], is not puffed up [not full of pride],"

Verse 5: "
[Charity, or love,] Doth not behave itself unseemly [does not behave inappropriately or in an indecent manner], seeketh not her own [things, meaning 'is not selfish'], is not easily provoked [to anger], thinketh no evil [about others--regarding their motives and conduct];"

Verse 6: "
[Charity, or love,] Rejoiceth not in iniquity [unrighteousness, injustice; i.e., does not applaud the sins, wickedness, or evil deeds of others and is not glad to hear that someone has done bad things and must suffer the consequences of those actions], but rejoiceth in the truth [of the gospel and in the virtues (goodness, moral excellence) of others];"

Verse 7: "
[Charity, or love,] Beareth all things [privately; doesn't publicize (make known to the public) or avenge (seek vengeance, or revenge, for) the faults of others], believeth all things [i.e.,has good thoughts about others; always gives people 'the benefit of the doubt'], hopeth all things [i.e., hopes that everything will turn out well], endureth [endures, or bears up under,] all things [such as persecution, harassment, etc.]."

Verse 13: "And now abideth
[remain forever--after the spiritual gifts of 'prophecy,' 'tongues' (the ability to speak foreign languages without learning them), and 'knowledge' are gone--see verse quoted below*] faith, hope, charity, these three [things]; but the greatest of these [three things that remain forever: faith, hope, and charity] is charity [love]."

You may have noticed that sometimes these verses are read during wedding ceremonies. That's because marriage is about love, and 1 Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter of the Bible.
_________________________

*1 Corinthians 13:8: "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease [stop, end]; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away."


Note: Agape love and many of the characteristics mentioned in the above verses are explained in detail in the following articles:

-- "What is agape love?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/agape-love.html

-- "What does it mean that love is kind (1 Corinthians 13:4)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-is-kind.html

-- "What does it mean that love does not envy (1 Corinthians 13:4)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-does-not-envy.html

-- "What does it mean that love does not boast (1 Corinthians 13:4)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-does-not-boast.html

-- "What does it mean that love is not proud (1 Corinthians 13:4)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-is-not-proud.html

-- "What does it mean that love is not rude (1 Corinthians 13:5)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-is-not-rude.html

-- "What does it mean that love is not self-seeking (1 Corinthians 13:5)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-is-not-self-seeking.html

-- "What does it mean that love is not easily angered (1 Corinthians 13:5)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-is-not-easily-angered.html

-- "What does it mean that love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-keeps-no-record-of-wrongs.html

-- "What does it mean that love always protects (1 Corinthians 13:7)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-always-protects.html

-- "What does it mean that love always trusts (1 Corinthians 13:7)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-always-trusts.html

-- "What does it mean that love always hopes (1 Corinthians 13:7)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-always-hopes.html

-- "What does it mean that love always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:7)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-always-perseveres.html

-- "What does it mean that love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/love-never-fails.html

-- "What does it mean that faith, hope, and love remain (1 Corinthians 13:13)?"
    https://www.gotquestions.org/faith-hope-love.html

FEBRUARY 13

Proverbs 13:3: "He [or she] that keepeth [guards] his [or her] mouth [i.e., the person who keeps his (or her) mouth shut, or watches what he (or she) says] keepeth his [or her] life [under control]: but he [or she] that openeth wide his [or her] lips [i.e., talks too much and/or says whatever pops into his (or her) mind without considering the consequences] shall have destruction [or trouble and grief--see examples in the note below*]."

In other words, we should always think before speaking.
_________________________

*In paragraph 2 of the "destruction" part of his commentary on this verse, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church says, "The things people SAY can get them in more trouble and cause more pain, suffering, grief, and unrest in their lives than the things they DO."

Then, in paragraph 3, he goes on to give specific examples of how the things that we say can cause destruction in our lives. Here they are, in shortened form:

"3 Examples of such destruction…

"a. Saying YES to a salesman too soon…
" Financial destruction: more bills than you are able to pay!

"b. Spreading gossip…
" Destruction to your friendships… you may separate chief friends…

"c. Betraying confidences…
" Destruction of your trust: you may lose friends… lose trust…

"d. Speaking before getting all the facts…
" Destruction: you may earn a reputation for being a fool… a liar and a troublemaker…

"e. Saying whatever is on your mind…
" Destruction: what's on our mind is not always worth saying!

"f. Pride… self-exalting speech…
" Destruction: you might become obnoxious in the eyes of others… and of the Lord!

"g. Sin
" Destruction: there is no shortage of sin that comes from a mouth that is unbridled and ungoverned.

"h. Hurt
" Destruction: saying something that hurts others… and then regretting it… but not being able to take it back…

"i. Trouble
" We can dig a big hole for ourselves with our tongues.

"j. Give place to the devil
" We give place to the Devil through our mouths at times…
" We give the devil opportunity to divide brethren… churches…
" We give the devil opportunity to destroy our testimony before the world…
" We give the devil opportunity to do harm to the cause of Christ-because of our ungoverned tongues.

"k. Hasty - trouble!
" When we speak hastily, we usually come out with thoughtless, insensitive, hurtful words…
" Then, because of our rash words, we have to deal with the aftermath-the wrath of others… broken relationships… hurt feelings…
" We make rash promises we can't keep…
" We end up offending others because of a careless choice of words

"l. Speaking evil of a person… may come back to bite you!
" Speak evil of the king and he will likely find out!
" Speak evil of any man and he might find out.
" Then we deal with the destructive effects.

"m. A mouth wide open could bring destruction:
" To our reputation…
" To our credibility….
" To our friendships…
" To our career…
" To our finances…
" To our marriage…
" To our testimony for the Lord…"

If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-13-index/proverbs-13_3/.

FEBRUARY 12

Proverbs 12:22: "Lying lips are abomination [a hateful, detestable, disgusting thing] to the LORD: but they that deal truly [honestly, truthfully] are his [God's] delight."

As usual, Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse, including many examples of when and why people lie, how God feels about lying, and the types of people who are guilty of lying. Here are some excerpts:

"1. What does man think of lying?

"a. We often hear lies referred to as a 'little white lie'-as if it wasn't so bad…

"b. 'As long as it doesn't hurt anybody, who cares?'

"c. 'Sometimes the end justifies the means. It's OK to use a lie in order to accomplish a good end.' (If you can get somebody out of trouble; or save a few bucks; save face; prevent a fight… if some good can come out of it… why not?)

"d. 'Everybody does it…'

"e. 'My intentions were good…'

"f. Men are so accustomed to lies that they no longer seem like such a big deal. Politicians lie. Presidents lie. Lawyers lie. Even deacons and pastors have been caught in lies.

"g. Somehow, men have put the sin of lying into a kind of innocuous category… not quite so bad…

"2. What does God think about lying?

"a. It is an abomination to the Lord.

"b. Abomination:
" Strong's defines it as 'a disgusting thing'.
" Dictionary of Biblical Languages: that which is detested, abhorred, loathed, despised, degraded, i.e., have a hate or very strong dislike for an object, implying contempt; repulsive; vile; shameful.
" Detestable

"c. Things God calls 'an abomination.'
" Lev. [Leviticus] 18:22 - homosexuality
" Lev. [Leviticus] 18:23 - bestiality
" Deut. [Deuteronomy] 7:26 - idolatry is called an abomination
" Deut. [Deuteronomy] 17:1 - offering a BLEMISHED sacrifice to the Lord (why?)
" Deut. [Deuteronomy] 17:3-4 - worshipping the sun, moon, and stars
" Deut. [Deuteronomy] 18:10-11- children burnt on idols; witchcraft
" Deut. [Deuteronomy] 22:5 - cross-dressing-wearing clothing of the opposite sex
" Deut [Deuteronomy] 23:18 - using money made through prostitution as a payment of a vow to the Lord in the holy place!
" Prov. [Proverbs] 15:8 - the sacrifices of the wicked-religious hypocrisy
" In this despicable camp God places 'lying lips.'"

"5. Could WE [believers] be guilty of abomination?"

"d. Let's be honest. We have ALL lied… stretched the truth… embellished… added to… subtracted from… purposely left out pertinent details…half truths…"

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link:
https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-12-index/proverbs-12_22/.

FEBRUARY 11

Proverbs 11:15: "He [or she] that is surety for a stranger [meaning he (or she) agrees to guarantee payment of or become legally responsible for another person's debt (money owed), default (failure to repay a loan), or delinquency (overdue payments), especially someone he (or she) doesn't know very well] shall smart [feel pain; bear the penalty or consequences] for it: and he [or she] that hateth suretiship [i.e., avoids assuming someone else's obligations] is sure [or safe from trouble]."

James Burton Coffman summarized the above verse as follows: "If you promise to pay a stranger's debt, you will regret it. You are better off if you don't get involved." (Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/11-15.html, "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible")

In his Bible study notes on Proverbs, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church summarized the verse like this: "… don't risk YOUR personal, financial security in order to provide financial security for someone else-especially a stranger!" However, he says that there are times when co-signing a note may be the right thing to do (e.g., your son's first car, student loans).

In the first section of his commentary, Pastor Delany says:

"4. Thus, Solomon gives some advice when it comes to signing for a loan.

"a. He warns us NOT to do it under the following circumstances:
" For a stranger… or a casual acquaintance…
" Don't enter into a pledge hastily… or out of pressure…
" Don't do it out of pride (to be seen as the good guy or a hero)
" Don't do it if you can't afford it… if you are not financially able."

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-11-index/proverbs-11_15/.

FEBRUARY 10

Romans 5:1: "Therefore being justified [having been made righteous in God's sight] by faith [which happens when we believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, and that he was buried and rose again, and we trust him to save us from hell and the lake of fire], we [born-again Christians] have peace with God through [his Son,] our Lord Jesus Christ [i.e., because of his death and resurrection]:"

If you want peace with God, you need to be saved.

FEBRUARY 8-9

Galatians 4:4-7 - Born-Again Christians Are Children of God

Verse 4: "But when the fulness of the time was come
[when the appointed (chosen) time arrived], God sent forth his Son [from heaven to earth], [referring to Jesus, who was] made of a woman [i.e., born to the virgin Mary], [and was] made under the law [meaning he had a human nature and was subject to the law of Moses, or the Law of God],"

Verse 5:
[God sent Jesus to earth:] To redeem [pay the sin debt for, save from hell] them that were under the law [i.e., all sinners] [through his death on the cross], [so] that we [saved people--men, women, and children] might receive the adoption of sons [might be adopted into the family of God]."

Verse 6: "And because ye
[born-again Christians, both male and female] are sons [in this case, meaning children] [of God], God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son [referring to Jesus' Spirit, in the person of the Holy Spirit,] into your hearts, crying, Abba [Father], Father."

Verse 7: "Wherefore
[for this reason, or because you are saved] thou art [you are] no more [no longer] a servant [of sin and of the law], but [you are] a son [in this case, a child] [of God]; and if [you are] a son [a child] [of God], then [you are also] an heir of God through [Jesus] Christ."

At salvation, when we receive the free gift of eternal life, we become children of God, the Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts, and we know that someday we will enjoy all of the privileges and blessings that await us in heaven.

Other things also happen at salvation. While searching for something on the Internet, I found a list of "38 Things that Happen when We get Saved," which was compiled by a Baptist pastor named Dr. Bob Ream. If you want to read it, here's the link:
https://www.biblebelievers.com/ream_b1.html.

In addition, the following articles contain information about heirs and inheritances:

-- "What is an heir in the Bible?"
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/heir-Bible.html)

-- "What does it mean to be co-heirs/joint heirs with Christ?
    (
https://www.gotquestions.org/co-heirs-with-Christ.html)

FEBRUARY 7

1 Samuel 15:23 [Samuel, an Old Testament prophet, said to King Saul]: "For rebellion is as [bad as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as [bad as] iniquity [sin] and idolatry [or, 'the sin of idolatry,' which is the worship of false gods]. Because thou hast [you have] rejected [refused to accept--or, in this case, obey] the word of the LORD [i.e., God's commands, which, in this case, were to kill the Amalekites and destroy all of their possessions--see note below*], he [God] hath also rejected thee [you, Saul] from being king […] [and, as a result, God eventually brought his reign to an end]."

This shows what can happen to people who are stubborn and rebellious and refuse to obey God's word, as recorded in the Bible.
_________________________

*Earlier in Chapter 15, we were told how King Saul disobeyed God's commands:

-- Verse 3 [Through the prophet Samuel, God told King Saul]: "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."

-- Verse 9: "But Saul and the people spared Agag [the king of the Amalekites], and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly."

FEBRUARY 6

Proverbs 6:30-31 - Theft

Verse 30: "Men
[and women and children] do not despise [hate] a thief, if he [or she] steal to satisfy his [or her] soul [body] [or to preserve his (or her) life] when he [or she] is hungry;"

Verse 31: "But if he
[or she] be found, he [or she, meaning the thief] shall restore [repay] sevenfold [or shall make restitution by paying back seven times as much as he (or she) took]; [if necessary,] he [or she] shall give all the substance of his [or her] house [i.e., all that he (or she) owns] [to pay the debt]."

In other words, most of us are inclined to show compassion (pity and sympathy) rather than hatred for poor people who steal food because they're hungry. However, theft is still a sin in God's eyes and must be punished according to the law.

This verse, which is combined with verses 32-35 in the Salem Bible Church commentary, was included in King Solomon's teachings about adultery because the topics are similar, as they both involve stealing, which is a sin. The subject of verses 30 and 31 is an honest man who steals a loaf of bread because he (and probably his family, too) is hungry and has no food. The other verses involve a man "stealing" another man's wife and having sex with her.

According to the commentary (i.e., in the second section):

"3. BOTH sins are in essence, stealing… a loaf of bread… and stealing a man's wife.

"4. BOTH acts are sinful.

"5. BOTH are forbidden in the Ten Commandments: 'Thou shalt not steal.' 'Thou shalt not commit adultery.'

"6. BOTH sins can be forgiven by God upon repentance.

"7. However, there is one huge difference.

"a. Men won't despise a thief who steals bread when hungry… when he hungers and lusts for food.

"b. But men WILL despise the man who hungers and lusts after his neighbor's wife… and commits adultery!"

The commentary goes on to explain why committing adultery is worse than stealing a loaf of bread and why its consequences are far worse and longer lasting.

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-6-index/proverbs-6_30-35/.

FEBRUARY 5

Psalm 50:10-12 - Everything Belongs to God
In this psalm, God is telling the people of Israel that, although he is pleased with their sacrifices, he doesn't really need those sacrifices and consequently is under no obligation to the people because of them (see note below*). He explains why:

Verses 10-11: "For every beast of the forest is mine, and [so are] the cattle [that roam] upon a thousand hills. I [God] know all the fowls [flying creatures--birds, insects, etc.] of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine." [In other words, all animals, both wild and domesticated (tame), belong to God.]

Verse 12: "If I [God] were hungry, I would not tell thee [you, referring specifically to the Jewish people and also to everyone else]: for the world is mine, and [so is] the fulness thereof [i.e., everything that the world contains].

The earth and everything in it and on it belong to God, who created them. Consequently, we must realize that we are dependent upon God, not the other way around.
_________________________

*Concerning their sacrifices, Albert Barnes said: "… a charge was brought against them [the people of Israel] … because they supposed that they laid God under obligation by so constant and so expensive offerings, as if they did not already belong to him, or as if he needed them; and because, while they did this, they withheld the very offering which he required, and without which all other sacrifices would be vain and worthless - a sincere, humble, thankful heart." (Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-50.html, "Verse 8")

FEBRUARY 4

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 - Using Our Experience to Help Others

Verse 3: "Blessed be
[praise and thanks go to] God, [who is] even [also] the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies [compassion], and the God of all comfort [because he gives us strength and support in times of weakness, danger, anxiety, illness, pain, etc.];"

Verse 4: "Who
[referring to God] comforteth us in all our tribulation [affliction, distress, suffering], [so] that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the [same] comfort wherewith [by which] we ourselves are comforted of [by] God."

When God answers our prayers, protects us, and helps us with our troubles (illness, pain, sorrow, etc.), we can use our own experiences to help other people in similar situations.

FEBRUARY 3

Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trusting God for Wisdom and Guidance
This was King Solomon's advice to his son--and also to born-again Christians:

Verse 5: "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart [completely and sincerely, wholeheartedly]; and lean not unto [don't depend upon] thine [your] own understanding."

Verse 6: "In all thy ways
[in everything that you say and do] acknowledge him [God; i.e., recognize his importance (by reading your Bible, praying for wisdom, etc.), and be aware of his presence and power], and he [God] shall direct thy paths [meaning he will guide you]."

Once again, Salem Bible Church has excellent commentaries on these verses, including (for verse 5) many examples of things and people that we usually trust to be safe (chairs, cars, food, airplanes, elevators, doctors, etc.). Some of them may let us down, but God never will.

In the section entitled "In All Thy Ways," the commentary for verse 6 says (in part):

"c. We make grandiose plans-and perhaps well thought out plans… but what about God? What does HE want us to do? Sometimes praying is the last thing we resort to-long after the plans are already made! We simply pray and ask God to bless what we have determined we are going to do. That is not acknowledging God."

"d. Are you looking for a new job? Considering buying a new house? Thinking of changing careers? Thinking of serving in the choir? Considering quitting a ministry? Looking for a mate? A Pet? A new doctor? Thinking of putting up a church building? Let's not leave God out!"

If you want to read one or both of the commentaries, here are the links:

-- Verse 5: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-3-index/proverbs-3_5-6/
-- Verse 6: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-3-index/proverbs-3_6/

FEBRUARY 2

Proverbs 2:6: "For the LORD giveth wisdom [as much as is needed] [to everyone who really wants it, searches for it, and asks for it]: out of his mouth [via the Bible] cometh knowledge and understanding."

We get wisdom by asking God for it (through prayer) and by studying and obeying his word (as recorded in the Bible).

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. It's combined with verses 7-9. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-2-index/proverbs-2_6-9/.

FEBRUARY 1

Romans 13:1-2 - Respect for Those in Authority

Verse 1: "Let every soul
[every person] be subject unto [submit to, obey] the higher powers [referring to people in authority, such as rulers and government leaders]. For there is no power [no ruler, government office or leader, etc.] but of God [except by his permission]: the powers that be [i.e., rulers, government leaders, etc.] are ordained of [appointed or ordered by] God."

Verse 2: "Whosoever
[whoever] therefore resisteth the power [refuses to obey the law, tries to overthrow the government, etc.], resisteth [resists, opposes] the ordinance of God [i.e., what and whom he has put in place]: and they that resist [the ordinance of God] shall receive to themselves damnation [shall be punished--by the government (judges, courts, etc.) and/or by God]."

We all need to obey the law and respect our leaders.

Regarding rulers, Adam Clarke said: "… [I]t has been asked: If the ruler be an immoral or profligate man, does he not prove himself thereby to be unworthy of his high office, and should he not be deposed [removed from office]? I answer, No: if he rule according to the constitution, nothing can justify rebellion against his authority. He may be irregular in his own private life; he may be an immoral man, and disgrace himself by an improper conduct: but if he rule according to the law; if he make no attempt to change the constitution, nor break the compact between him and the people; there is, therefore, no legal ground of opposition to his civil authority, and every act against him is not only rebellion in the worst sense of the word, but is unlawful and absolutely sinful."

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/romans/13-1.html, "Adam Clarke Commentary")

Previous Verses: