JULY 28-31

Matthew 18:23-35 - Parable of the Unforgiving, or Unmerciful, Servant
Jesus told this story to teach his disciples about forgiveness:

Verse 23: "Therefore is the kingdom of heaven [also known as the kingdom of God (see Note 1 below), referring to how God will deal with Christians, or members of his church] likened unto a certain king, which would take account of [or check on the amounts of money owed to him by] his servants [see Note 2 below]."

Verses 24-27: "And when he
[the king] had begun to reckon [settle the accounts], one [servant] was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents [a sum of money based on the weight of silver or gold; in this case, an amount equivalent (equal) to millions of our dollars--see Note 3 below]. But forasmuch as [since] he had not [did not have] [enough money] to pay [what was due], his lord [the king] commanded him to be sold, and [also] his wife, and children, and all that he had [all of his possessions], and payment to be made [to the king]. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him [the king--not in a religious way, but in a humble and reverent manner], saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all [that I owe]. Then the lord of that servant [i.e., the king] was moved with compassion [for the servant, meaning he had pity on him], and loosed him [let him go], and forgave him the debt."

Verses 28-30: "But the same servant
[the one whose debt had been forgiven by the king] went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence [a relatively small amount, since, in Bible times, one pence, or denarius, was a day's wage (about sixteen cents)--see Note 3 below]: and he laid hands on [grabbed] him, and took him by the throat [in a violent and rough manner, almost choking him], saying, Pay me that thou owest [what you owe]. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought [begged] him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all [that I owe]. And he [the first servant] would not [grant the request]: but [instead] went and cast [threw, put] him [the second servant] into prison, till [until] he should pay the debt."

Verses 31-34: "So when his
[the first servant's] fellowservants saw what was done [what had happened], they were very sorry [sad], and came and told unto their lord [the king] all that was done [to the second servant]. Then his lord [the king], after that he had called him [the first servant], said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that [your] debt, because thou desiredst me [you asked me] [to be patient]: Shouldest not thou [shouldn't you] also have had compassion on thy fellowservant [i.e., the second servant, whom the first servant had cast into prison], even as I had pity on thee [you]? And his lord [the king] was wroth [very angry], and delivered him [the first servant] to the tormentors [in other words, the king put the wicked servant in prison, where criminals were sometimes tortured by the jailers], till he [the wicked servant] should pay all that was due unto him [the king]."

Verse 35:
[Jesus speaking:] "So likewise [just like the king did to the wicked servant who wouldn't forgive the debt of his fellow servant] shall my heavenly Father [God] do also unto you [i.e., punish you], if ye from your hearts forgive not [do not forgive] every one his [or her] brother [or sister (or other relative), friend, neighbor, etc.--in other words, all people] [for] their trespasses [sins, misdeeds, offences] [against you] [see Note 4 below]."
_________________________

Note 1: For further information, see: "What is the difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven?" (https://www.gotquestions.org/kingdom-heaven-God.html).

Note 2: From Albert Barnes' commentary: "… The word 'servants' here means, probably, petty princes, or, more likely, collectors of the revenue or taxes. Among the ancients kings often farmed out, or sold for a certain sum, the taxes of a particular district or province. Thus, when Judea was subject to Egypt or Rome, the kings frequently sold to the high priest the taxes to be raised from Judea on condition of a much smaller sum being paid to them. This secured to them a certain sum, but it gave occasion to much oppression in the collection of the taxes. It is probable that some such persons are intended by the word servants." (Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-18.html, "Verse 23")

Note 3: Money values were taken from the following article: "What is the meaning of the Parable of the Unforgiving / Unmerciful Servant?" (
https://www.gotquestions.org/parable-unforgiving-servant.html, paragraph 2).

Note 4: From Albert Barnes' commentary: "This verse [35] contains the sum or moral of the parable. When Christ has explained one of his own parables, we are to receive it just as he has explained it, and not attempt to draw spiritual instruction from any parts or circumstances which he has not explained. The following seems to be the particulars of the general truth which he meant to teach:

"1. that our sins are great.
"2. that God freely forgives them.
"3. that the offences committed against us by our brethren are comparatively small.
"4. that we should therefore most freely forgive them.
"5. that if we do not, God will be justly angry with us, and punish us."

(Source for quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-18.html, "Verse 35")

JULY 27

Matthew 6:7: "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions
[don't keep repeating the same, memorized words over and over again, especially if you don't mean what you say], as [like] the heathen [people, which, in Bible times, referred to Gentiles, or non-Jews] do: for they think that they shall be heard [by God] for their much speaking [long prayers]."

"Pray from the heart" is good advice for everyone, not just Jewish people. Most prayers should be short and simple, and all should be sincere.

Regarding the above verse, one Bible commentator said: "Do not use a lot of meaningless words. It is not a torrent of prayer, nor long prayer which is forbidden (Jesus did both), but the making of the number of prayers said, their length, and the amount of time spent in prayer--a thing of merit … Some religious people still believe there is special merit in repeating certain prayers a set number of times." (Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/6-7.html, "The Bible Study New Testament")

JULY 26

Proverbs 26:2: "As the bird
[any small bird, especially a sparrow] [does no harm] by wandering [flying around aimlessly], [and] as the swallow [another small bird] [also does no harm] by flying, so the curse causeless [a curse spoken without reason, referring to idle (empty) threats made by others, vicious words spoken by mean people, etc.] shall not come [to injure us, or shall not come true, shall not happen, shall not reach its destination]."

According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, "This proverb is designed to encourage the faint of heart … [and] bring comfort to the hearts of those who worry needlessly about the 'causeless curse.'"

In his commentary, Pastor Delany explains what the word curse means (and also what it doesn't mean) when applied to this verse and why Solomon used birds to illustrate his point.

Here are some excerpts from the end of the commentary:

"c. There are many timid souls in the world who hear words of cursing and condemnation and take those words to heart.
" Ex[ample]: 'You're nothing but a dumb Irishman and you'll never amount to anything!'
" A timid soul might take that to heart… and actually believe it… and it can become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
" Solomon says that since the curse is causeless and unfounded, it should not be feared.
" It will not come to pass. It is as harmless as a loud, chirping swallow flying overhead.

"b. What a good message for young people in the Facebook generation to hear.
" We have heard of several stories of young people who were threatened or cursed or ridiculed on the internet, and were so devastated, they committed suicide.
" To those cursed and ridiculed, Solomon has words of encouragement: don't fear the mocker."

And we are reminded that:

" Most of the things we worry about never come to pass …"

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-26-index/proverbs-26_2/.

JULY 25

John 3:17: "For God
[the Father] sent not his Son [Jesus] into the world [i.e., God didn't send Jesus to earth, to be born of the virgin Mary] [in order] to condemn [judge, punish] the [nations of the] world; but [he did it so] that the world [that is, the people in it] through him [Jesus, because of his death on the cross to pay for our sins] might be saved [from hell]."

Adam Clarke explains the above verse as follows: "It was the opinion of the Jews that the Gentiles, whom they often term the world, …, were to be destroyed in the days of the Messiah. Christ corrects this false opinion; and teaches here a contrary doctrine. God, by giving his Son, and publishing his design in giving him, shows that he purposes the salvation, not the destruction, of the world - the Gentile people: nevertheless, those who will not receive the salvation he had provided for them, whether Jews or Gentiles, must necessarily perish; for this plain reason, There is but one remedy, and they refuse to apply it."

(Source for quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/3-17.html, "Adam Clarke Commentary")

JULY 23-24

Luke 10:17-20 - Jesus Sends His Disciples to Preach the Gospel and Heal the Sick
The following event occurred after Jesus sent seventy of his disciples, in pairs (groups of two), into every city where he was planning to go, and they found that, in addition to healing sick people, they were able to cast out demons.

Verse 17: "And the seventy [disciples] returned again [to Jesus] with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name [meaning the demons had obeyed when the disciples commanded them, in Jesus' name, to come out of people who were possessed]."

Verse 18: "And he
[Jesus] said unto them, I beheld [mentally viewed] Satan as [quickly as a flash of] lightning fall from heaven [meaning Jesus saw the devils leave immediately when they were cast out by his disciples, or he remembered the time when Satan and his followers (the wicked angels) were thrown out of heaven for rebelling against God, or he was referring to the power of the gospel to defeat Satan's kingdom on earth]."

Verse 19: "Behold, I
[Jesus] [also] give unto you power to tread [step, trample] on serpents [snakes] and scorpions [see description below*] [in other words, Jesus promised that his disciples wouldn't be harmed if they were bitten or stung by these poisonous creatures], and [power to tread] over all the power of the enemy [meaning they would be victorious over Satan and his servants (demons, false teachers, etc.)]: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."

Verse 20: "Notwithstanding
[nevertheless] in this [thing, or for this reason] rejoice not [don't rejoice or be overly glad or happy], [i.e.,] that the [evil] spirits are subject unto you [obey you]; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven [in the Lamb's book of life (see note below**), which proves that you are born again, or saved]."

Has your name been written in the book of life? If you're saved, the answer is yes. If not, this is what you must do:

1. Believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins, and that he was buried and rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

2. Ask Jesus to come into your heart and save you so you can go to heaven when you die.

If you ask Jesus to save you, and your prayer is sincere, your name will be written in the book of life.

For a more detailed explanation of the plan of salvation, please read one or more of my gospel tracts. You'll find them on the "Printable Gospel Tracts" page of my website. Here's the link: www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
_________________________

*"Scorpions - The scorpion is an animal with eight feet, eight eyes and a long jointed tail, ending in a pointed weapon or sting. It is found in tropical climates, and seldom exceeds 4 inches in length. Its sting is extremely poisonous, and it is sometimes fatal to life. It is in Scripture the emblem of malicious and crafty men. When rolled up it has some resemblance to an egg …" (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-10.html, "Verse 19")

**Jesus is also known as the "Lamb of God," as confirmed by John 1:29: "The next day John [the Baptist] seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."

JULY 22

Psalm 5:3
[King David's prayer to God]: "My voice [in prayer, either silently or out loud] shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and [I] will look up [to heaven] [for an answer] [i.e., when praying, we should watch and wait for an answer from God, in the same way that an archer would shoot his or her arrow toward the target and then look up to see where it has landed--see note below*]."

Although praying at all times is acceptable and good, a great time to pray and ask God for his guidance and protection (among other things) is in the morning. We should all try to develop that habit.
_________________________

*In his commentary, Charles Spurgeon used archery to explain how we should pray: "Adjust your prayer as the archer fits his arrow on the bow, look up as you shoot it, and keep on looking up and looking out for an answer to your supplication. You cannot expect God to open the windows of heaven to pour you out a blessing if you do not open the windows of your expectation to look for it. If you look up in asking, God will look down in answering. It is well always to take good aim in prayer; some prayers are like random shots, they cannot be expected to hit the target; but David's prayer was well aimed, and he expected it to prevail with God: 'In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.'" (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/psalms-5.html, "Verses 1-12," "Psalms 5:3")

JULY 21

1 Corinthians 10:14
[In a letter to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Wherefore [i.e., to avoid temptation and sin], my dearly beloved [Christians], flee [run away] from idolatry [which is the worship of, or excessive devotion to, people (such as Mary, saints, and the pope) or things (statues, images, false gods, etc.) instead of the one true God]."

God hates idoatry, so to avoid offending him, all Christians should heed Paul's warning in the above verse. Basically, he said: Don't join in or encourage the worship of idols. Don't participate in sacrifices or feasts celebrated in their honor, and avoid places where they are worshiped.

GotQuestions.org has some good articles about idolatry. Here are their titles and links:

-- "What is the definition of idolatry?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/idolatry-definition.html)
-- "What are some modern forms of idolatry?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/idolatry-modern.html)
-- "Is religious iconography considered idolatry? What is an icon?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/religious-iconography.html)
-- "Do Catholics worship idols / practice idolatry?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/Catholic-idolatry.html)

JULY 18-20

Ephesians 6:11-17 - The Apostle Paul's Spiritual Advice to "Christian Soldiers"

Verse 11: "Put on the whole armour of God
[a complete suit of armor, the parts of which are similar to Greek armor--see note below*], [so] that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [methods, tricks, schemes] of the devil."

Verse 12: "For we wrestle not
[we don't struggle with or fight] against flesh and blood [i.e., people], but against principalities [principal rulers in Satan's kingdom], against powers [powerful fallen (bad) angels], against the rulers of the darkness of this [sinful] world, [and] against spiritual wickedness in high places [all other evil and wicked spirits]. [In other words, our fight is against very powerful invisible enemies, all of whom are evil spirits, and many of whom hold positions of authority in Satan's kingdom.]

Verse 13: "Wherefore [for that reason (i.e., because our opponents are so powerful)] take unto you [put on] the whole armour of God, [so] that ye may be able to withstand [be victorious] in the evil day [the day of temptation], and having done all [having won the fight], [you will be able] to stand [firm, or stand your ground]."

Verse 14: "Stand therefore
[resist every attack], having your loins girt about [like the soldiers did, in Bible times, when they wore a "girdle," or sash or belt, to keep every piece of armor in place and to hold their swords and other weapons] with truth [sincerity and truthfulness, the truth of God], and having on [wearing] the breastplate of righteousness [i.e., the righteousness of Christ that was imputed (given) to you the moment you got saved];"

Verse 15: "And
[having] your feet shod [covered, as when you wear shoes or boots] with the preparation of the gospel of peace [probably called that because, through the gospel, you can have peace in your heart, peace with God, and peace with mankind];"

Verse 16: "Above all
[in addition to the things just mentioned, as protection for your entire body], taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench [put out, extinguish] all the fiery darts of the wicked [one (referring to Satan), including evil thoughts and temptation--anything that may cause you to stumble and sin]."

Verse 17: "And take the helmet of salvation
[representing hope for a bright future, and the assurance of eternal life in heaven], and the sword of the [Holy] Spirit, which is the word of God [referring to the Bible, and everything that is contained in it]:"

To sum up the above, in order to have victory over Satan and his kingdom (i.e., everyone and everything under Satan's control), we need to put on (and keep wearing) the whole armor of God, which consists of:

The girdle (or belt) of truth
The breastplate of righteousness
The boots (or shoes) of the gospel of peace
The shield of faith
The helmet of salvation
The sword of the Spirit (the word of God)
_________________________

*Adam Clarke's commentary includes a description of the various parts of Greek armor. Basically, it says:

"As there is here allusion to some of the most important parts of the Grecian armor, I shall give a short account of the whole. It consisted properly of two sorts:

"Defensive armor, or that which protected themselves.

"Offensive armor, or that by which they injured their enemies. The apostle refers to both.

"I. Defensive Armor

"… the Helmet; this was the armor for the head, and was of various forms, and embossed with a great variety of figures. Connected with the helmet was the crest or ridge on the top of the helmet, adorned with several emblematic figures; some for ornament, some to strike terror. For crests on ancient helmets we often see the winged lion, the griffin, chimera, etc. St. Paul seems to refer to one which had an emblematical representation of hope.

"… the Girdle; this went about the loins, and served to brace the armor tight to the body, and to support daggers, short swords, and such like weapons, which were frequently stuck in it …

"… the Breast-Plate; this consisted of two parts … one covered the whole region of the thorax or breast, in which the principal viscera of life are contained; and the other covered the back, as far down as the front part extended.

"… Greaves or brazen boots, which covered the shin or front of the leg; a kind of solea was often used, which covered the sole, and laced about the instep, and prevented the foot from being wounded by rugged ways, thorns, stones, etc.

"… Gauntlets; a kind of gloves that served to defend the hands, and the arm up to the elbow.

"… Shield; it was perfectly round, and sometimes made of wood, covered with bullocks' hides; but often made of metal …

"II. Offensive Armor, or Weapons; the Following Were Chief:"

Section II lists the following items: spear, lance, sword, battle-axe, iron club, and bow and arrows.

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/ephesians/6-13.html, "Adam Clarke Commentary")

Note:
If you want to see a picture of someone wearing a suit of armor, go to https://www.studylight.org/commentary/ephesians/6-11.html and scroll down to the section entitled "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible."

JULY 17

Proverbs 17:11: "An evil man
[person] seeketh only rebellion [resistance to authority, disobedience] [against God and/or mankind]: therefore a cruel messenger [a message of justice--see note below for examples*] shall be sent against him [or her]."

This is another verse about the consequences of our actions.
_________________________

*According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, "The cruel messenger here refers to a message of JUSTICE and judgment to be meted out against the one who sought rebellion."

In his commentary on this verse, Pastor Delany discusses various types of cruel messages that people might receive for being disobedient to God and man. They include the following: "Your son ran awayYour 14 year old daughter is pregnantYou're fired!you're staying back a year at school!you're going to jail!"

 If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_11/.

JULY 16

Proverbs 16:7: "When a man's
[or woman's or child's] ways please the LORD, he [God] maketh even his [that person's] enemies to be at peace with him [or her]."

In his commentary on the above verse, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church said, "In a roundabout way, Solomon is teaching in this passage that much of the turmoil we have to endure in life is self-inflicted!" He goes on to give many examples of how the things that we say and do can affect how our enemies (and God!) will react.

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-16-index/proverbs-16_7/.

JULY 15

Proverbs 15:29: "The LORD is far
[away] from the wicked [person--meaning, in this verse, that the prayers of unbelievers, or unsaved sinners (i.e., people who have not been born again according to the Bible), and the prayers of disobedient Christians, are usually ignored by God]: but he [God] heareth the prayer of the righteous [person, referring to born-again Christians who love God and have a desire to read and obey his word--see note below*]."

In his commentary on this verse, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church explains when and why God would choose to hear and answer prayer. If you want to read it, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-15-index/proverbs-15_29/.
_________________________

*For the definition and explanation of righteousness, please read "What is righteousness?" Here's the link: www.gotquestions.org/righteousness.html.

JULY 14

Proverbs 14:13: "Even in laughter
[sometimes when a person appears to be happy and having fun] the heart is sorrowful [full of grief]; and the end of that mirth [laughter, cheerfulness--referring, in this case, to the person's true, hidden feelings] is heaviness [sadness]."

According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, "Solomon's point in this proverb is that laughter isn't always what it seems." In his commentary, he says, "Solomon observed that often times people attempt to cover up their deep inner grief with the outward appearance of laughter" and that "clowns [and comedians, too] are often very sad people."

Pastor Delany says "the very thing we try to block out [in public] [i.e., sorrow] is GOOD for us!" That's because:

" God uses sorrow to get our attention… to cause us to look to Him… to stop and think…
" God uses sorrow to strengthen the inner man. It is in a time of grief that we take the time to reflect upon life… on the important things…
" This sorrow and sober reflection often leads to repentance… a change of mind followed by a turning in the right direction.
" People are much more likely to think soberly about the real issues of life at a funeral than at a party."

The commentary ends with:

" So there is no point in covering up sorrow… or pretending to be always happy.
" If you are going through a period of grief or sorrow… let God USE that period for good in your life."

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-14-index/proverbs-14_13/.

JULY 13

Romans 6:6
[In a letter to the saints (born-again Christians) in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Knowing this, that our old man [our sinful and corrupt nature] is crucified [put to death, as if on the cross] with him [Jesus], [so] that the body of sin might be destroyed [become inoperative and powerless], [and so] that henceforth [from now on, after salvation] we should not serve [be a slave to or be controlled by] sin [personified (likened to a person)--as a master]."

This is true for all people who are saved, or born again.

JULY 12

James 1:13-15 - We Shouldn't Blame God for Our Temptation and Sin

Verse 13: "Let no man
[person] say when he [or she] is tempted [to sin], I am tempted of [by] God: for God cannot be tempted with [to do] evil [things], neither tempteth he any man [or woman or child] [to do wrong]:"

Verse 14: "But every man
[person] is tempted, when he [or she] is drawn away of [lured by] his [or her] own lust [intense desire for something], and [is] enticed [seduced, persuaded to do evil, led astray by promises of pleasure or profit]."

Verse 15: "Then when lust hath conceived
[taken over, meaning that when a desire is indulged in an improper manner, as with adultery and fornication (sex outside of marriage), gluttony (eating too much), greed (desiring to be rich), covetousness (wanting what someone else has), etc.], it bringeth forth [results in] sin: and sin, when it is finished [committed, especially when repeated and continued], bringeth forth death [or destruction, meaning it will ruin your life]."

According to one Bible commentator, in reference to verse 13, "…  he [God] tempted Abraham [in a good way], to try his faith, love, and obedience to him; he tempted the Israelites in the wilderness, to try them and humble them, and prove what was in their hearts; and he tempted Job, and tried his faith and patience; and so he tempts [in a good way] and tries all his righteous ones, by afflictions, more or less: but he never tempts [in a bad way] or solicits them to sin …"

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/james/1-13.html, "John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible")

JULY 11

1 John 5:7: "For there are three
[persons] that bear record [witness] in heaven [to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God], [they include] the Father [God the Father], the Word [Jesus Christ--the Son], and the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit]: and these three are one [i.e., one God, meaning that the Godhead (or Trinity) consists of three separate and equal persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) with distinct personalities]."

JULY 8-10

Mark 1:14-15: "Now after
[the day] that John [the Baptist] was put in prison [by King Herod], Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel [good news] of the kingdom of God [referring to the Messiah's upcoming reign on earth], And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand [drawing near, approaching]: repent ye [Jesus was speaking to the nation of Israel--see note below*], and believe the gospel [good news, the meaning of which was understood by the Jews but not explained by Jesus--see note below*]."
_________________________

*Like many people, you may have thought that the above verse is saying that we need to repent in order to be saved. However, according to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, "This was NOT a message of individual salvation, but of national repentance."

Pastor Delany explains what he meant by that statement in his excellent article entitled "The Gospel of the Kingdom: What is the Gospel of the Kingdom?" (www.salembible.org/the-gospel-of-the-kingdom/). Here are some excerpts:

"4.) While Peter & the other disciples preached a 'gospel', it is clear that the content of that message was NOT: that Jesus died for your sins and rose again. Nor was it even that Jesus was GOING to die for your sins!

"* At that point they did not expect Jesus to die. They expected that He would establish the Kingdom and reign forever!"
_____

"3.) This gospel was never explained to the disciples. They were simply told to go out and preach it. (Matt.10:1-7) The disciples announced this good news to the people without explanation."
_____

"B.) This Message Needed No Explanation

"1.) How did the Jews know what this 'good news' of the Kingdom meant? How were they to understand the CONTENT of the good news if it was not explained to them??? They didn't NEED any explanation. They had been waiting for this message to come for over 400 years!

"2.) Mal.4:5-6 - The last message of the Old Testament told the Jews to be expecting: an Elijah-like prophet to come to Israel and TURN hearts in a right direction!

"3.) They were expecting someone to come an tell them to: 'turn around'… change your mind… repent! That is exactly what John [the Baptist] & Jesus did.

"4.) Mal.3:1 - They were expecting a: 'messenger' to come with a message! This messenger would tell the people to TURN to God… repent… and he would prepare the way for the Messiah/King. This is exactly what John [the Baptist] did."
_____

"i. The very last word of God in the Old Testament was a reminder to wait and watch and be ready for this Elijah-like prophet to come on the scene and TURN the people back to God… a message of national repentance to prepare the people for the coming King & the theocratic Kingdom - God ruling on earth - the Kingdom of heaven on earth - thy kingdom come! (Mal.4:5-6)"
_____

"C.) John 1:19-23 - The King's Forerunner: John [the Baptist] said that he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, announcing the coming of the Messiah-King, and was calling on the nation to prepare for the coming of the King and His Kingdom. The Jews understood that. This is what their most noteworthy prophet had told them to expect! (Cf. Isa.40:3)

"1. In his day, the Jews understood what he meant. In our day, the problem is one of reading NT [New Testament] truth back into the OT [Old Testament]. That is always dangerous.

"a. When John [the Baptist] & Jesus spoke of their message as a 'gospel', it did not have Christian meaning, but a Jewish meaning!

"b. It had nothing to do with the death, burial, & resurrection of Christ!

"c. The Christian church, the NT [New Testament] revelation was still a mystery. There was no possible way the people to whom they preached would have understood the term 'gospel' as we do, after the cross.

"d. They understood what God had revealed up to that point. The Christian church and Christian doctrine were not yet revealed."
_____

"6. This message, calling the nation of Israel exclusively to repent and obey His commands is clearly NOT the same message as the gospel of God's grace, calling on individuals to believe that Jesus died and rose again and if they believe they will receive eternal life!"
_____

"IV. Relationship To Lordship salvation

"A. Lordship salvation views the teachings of Jesus to Israel as equal to God's plan of salvation for the world today.

"B. They view the ministry of Christ (& even the OT [Old Testament] prophets!) as a gospel ministry virtually the same as a Christian missionary.

"1. Yes, Jesus did tell individual men how to be saved.

"2. BUT, His main ministry was to Israel to confirm the covenants made with their fathers. (Rom.15:8)

"3. The Sermon on the Mount is NOT the plan of salvation! …

"4 When Jesus said, 'Follow me and I will make you fishers of men', that is not the plan of salvation! Men are not saved by 'following' but by 'believing.'
_____

"C. As a result of that kind of thinking: They emphasize 'repentance' and a 'turning from sin' as a pre-requisite for salvation

"Lordship people call upon men to 'stop sinning' before they can receive Christ. That is backwards. A man must BELIEVE and be saved before he is ever ABLE to stop sinning!

"Interesting note: the purpose of the gospel of John is to teach men what we must do in order to obtain eternal life. While the words 'faith' and 'believe' occur throughout that gospel, yet the term 'repent' does not appear even once!"

* * * * *

J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton seem to agree with Pastor Delany on the meaning of verse 15. You can read their commentary here, https://www.studylight.org/commentary/mark/1-15.html, under the heading "The Fourfold Gospel."

In addition, if you're confused about lordship salvation or want to know more about it, you may want to read Pastor Delany's article entitled "Introduction to Lordship Salvation: Is It Another Gospel?" Here's the link: www.salembible.org/lordship-salvation/.

JULY 7

Matthew 5:14-16 - Letting Our Spiritual Lights Shine
During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said to his disciples:

Verses 14-15: "Ye [born-again Christians] are the [spiritual] light of the world. [That's because, by spreading the gospel, we enlighten people's minds, just as the sun illuminates the earth by shining on it.] A city that is set [situated] on an hill [or mountain] cannot be hid [hidden]. Neither do men light a candle [or turn on a lamp], and put it under a bushel [a large container (about two gallons), like those used for measuring dry goods, such as grains and peas], but on a candlestick; and it [the candle or lamp] giveth light unto all that are in the house."

Verse 16: "Let your light
[Christian conduct] so shine before men [people], that they may see your good works, and glorify [honor, praise, worship, and obey] your Father which is in heaven [God]."

In his commentary on verse 16, Albert Barnes, in part:

"We learn here:

"1.that religion, if it exists, cannot be concealed.

"2.that where it is not manifest in the life, it does not exist.

"3.that 'professors' of religion, who live like other people, give evidence that they have never been truly converted.

"4.that to attempt to conceal or hide our Christian knowledge or experience is to betray our trust, injure the cause of piety, and to render our lives useless. And,

"5.that good actions will be seen, and will lead people to honor God. If we have no other way of doing good - if we are poor, and unlearned, and unknown yet we may do good by our lives. No sincere and humble Christian lives in vain. The feeblest light at midnight is of use."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-5.html, "Verse 16")

JULY 5-6

Titus 3:5-7 - We're Saved Through Faith, Not Works
In this letter, the apostle Paul is writing to born-again Christians:

Verse 5: "Not by works of righteousness [not through good works, or because of the good things] which we have done, but according to his mercy [kindness and compassion] he [God the Father] saved us [from hell and the lake of fire], by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost [i.e., through spiritual rebirth, or the process of being 'born again,' whereby we are cleansed from sin and become new 'creatures' (2 Corinthians 5:17--see below*)];"

Verse 6: "Which
[referring to the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit] he [God the Father] shed [poured out, like rainwater] on us abundantly [plentifully, indicating a daily 'renewing of the Holy Ghost'] through Jesus Christ [the Son of God, who is also] our Saviour;"

Verse 7: "
[God saved us so] That being justified [freed from sin, declared righteous] by his grace, we should be made heirs [of his, which means we should be adopted into the family of God] according to the hope of [having] eternal [never-ending] life [in heaven]."

Some Bible commentators think that the phrase by the washing of regeneration in verse 5 refers to baptism, but others do not. This is what Peter Pett said in his commentary:

"'Not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,'

"And this work of salvation which He has wrought in us if we are Christians, was not because of any works that we had done in righteousness. It was not deserved in any way. It simply resulted from His compassion and mercy. And it was through 'the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit'. This does not mean that it was outwardly through baptism and inwardly through the Holy Spirit. That is totally to misunderstand the picture. (How we love to bring baptism in when water is mentioned as though water was never used for anything else. Even in a context like this we still have to keep God under our control). It is a picture drawn from the Old Testament where the coming of the Holy Spirit was likened to the pouring out of rain from above, washing the earth and regenerating it … And the result was to be life and fruitfulness. It was to be the renewal of the Holy Spirit which had been so long awaited.

"Alternately the washing of regeneration may have in mind the Old Testament examples of the washing away of sin (not defilement) … where it is a picture of the removal of sin, not of a ritual washing. The new birth washed away all their old sins and their old ways … and they became new creatures in Christ Jesus … In this case the regeneration is seen in terms of the positive removal of their sin, not of ritual washing.

"All the Gospels emphasise that it was a prime ministry of Jesus, to drench men in the Holy Spirit … And it is this work of Jesus that Paul is describing here, a work that began while He was on earth … continued in the Upper Room … flowered at Pentecost … and has gone on ever since, a work that takes place in men and women when they hear the Gospel and truly believe …

"In fact baptism is never described as 'washing' (Acts 22:16, the only possible exception, is debatable). It is always seen as an indicator of life from the dead through the Holy Spirit. Nor did ritual washings in the Old Testament ever cleanse ('you shall not be clean until the evening' was the constant refrain). They simply washed away earthly defilement so that men could then reach out to God, and Peter makes clear that that is not what baptism is all about … What baptism does of course signify is the working of the Holy Spirit, picturing it in terms of the heavenly rain. The Christian is baptised as a picture of what has happened to him, and as an act of his resulting total commitment to Christ as his Lord."

Note: Most references in the above quote have been omitted.

(Source for quoted material: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/titus/3-5.html, "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible")
_________________________

*2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

JULY 4

Galatians 5:1
[In a letter to the Christian churches in Galatia, warning them to beware of false teachers, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Stand fast [be firm and unwavering] therefore in the liberty [freedom] [of the gospel (referring to salvation)] wherewith [by which] Christ [Jesus] hath made us free [from religious rites and ceremonies], and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage [meaning, in this case, don't go back to being a slave to Jewish ceremonial law]."

Dictionary.com's definition of yoke: a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plow or cart that they are to pull.

JULY 1-3

Matthew 6:25-33 - If You Are Born Again, God Will Supply Your Basic Needs
During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said to his disciples (and--via the Bible--to all Christians):

Verse 25: "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life [don't worry about the necessities of life], what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on [wear]. Is not the life more [valuable] than meat [food], and the body [more valuable] than raiment [clothing]?"

Verse 26: "Behold
[look at, observe, consider] the fowls of the air [the birds]: for they sow not [they don't plant or scatter seeds], neither do they reap [harvest crops], nor [do they] gather [the crops] into barns; yet your heavenly Father [God] feedeth [feeds] them. Are ye not much better [more important] than they [are]?"

Verse 27: "Which of you by taking thought
[by worrying] can add one cubit [the length of a forearm--about 18 inches] unto his [or her] stature [height*]?"

Verses 28-30: "And why take ye thought for
[why do you worry about] raiment [clothing]? Consider the lilies of the field [wildflowers], how they grow; they toil not [they don't work], neither do they spin [make yarn or thread by twisting fibers of wool, cotton, etc.]: And yet I say unto you, That even [King] Solomon in all his glory [splendor (i.e., while wearing his finest royal robes)] was not arrayed [clothed, dressed] like one of these [beautiful flowers]. Wherefore, if God so clothe [dress] the grass of the field [such as wheat], which to day is [alive and growing], and to morrow is cast [thrown or inserted] into the oven [and baked into bread], shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?"

Verses 31-33: "Therefore take no thought
[don't worry] [about the things that you need], saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal [with what] shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles [non-Jews] seek:) for your heavenly Father [God] knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God [heaven], and his [God's] righteousness [in other words, make sure that you are saved, or 'born again']; and all these things [i.e., food and clothing] shall be added unto you."
_________________________

*According to some commentaries, stature can also mean age in the Bible, so if that applies to this verse, it means there is nothing that man can do to increase the length of his life.

Previous Verses
July 2018
JULY 28-31

Matthew 18:23-35 - Parable of the Unforgiving, or Unmerciful, Servant
Jesus told this story to teach his disciples about forgiveness:

Verse 23: "Therefore is the kingdom of heaven [also known as the kingdom of God (see Note 1 below), referring to how God will deal with Christians, or members of his church] likened unto a certain king, which would take account of [or check on the amounts of money owed to him by] his servants [see Note 2 below]."

Verses 24-27: "And when he
[the king] had begun to reckon [settle the accounts], one [servant] was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents [a sum of money based on the weight of silver or gold; in this case, an amount equivalent (equal) to millions of our dollars--see Note 3 below]. But forasmuch as [since] he had not [did not have] [enough money] to pay [what was due], his lord [the king] commanded him to be sold, and [also] his wife, and children, and all that he had [all of his possessions], and payment to be made [to the king]. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him [the king--not in a religious way, but in a humble and reverent manner], saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all [that I owe]. Then the lord of that servant [i.e., the king] was moved with compassion [for the servant, meaning he had pity on him], and loosed him [let him go], and forgave him the debt."

Verses 28-30: "But the same servant
[the one whose debt had been forgiven by the king] went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence [a relatively small amount, since, in Bible times, one pence, or denarius, was a day's wage (about sixteen cents)--see Note 3 below]: and he laid hands on [grabbed] him, and took him by the throat [in a violent and rough manner, almost choking him], saying, Pay me that thou owest [what you owe]. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought [begged] him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all [that I owe]. And he [the first servant] would not [grant the request]: but [instead] went and cast [threw, put] him [the second servant] into prison, till [until] he should pay the debt."

Verses 31-34: "So when his
[the first servant's] fellowservants saw what was done [what had happened], they were very sorry [sad], and came and told unto their lord [the king] all that was done [to the second servant]. Then his lord [the king], after that he had called him [the first servant], said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that [your] debt, because thou desiredst me [you asked me] [to be patient]: Shouldest not thou [shouldn't you] also have had compassion on thy fellowservant [i.e., the second servant, whom the first servant had cast into prison], even as I had pity on thee [you]? And his lord [the king] was wroth [very angry], and delivered him [the first servant] to the tormentors [in other words, the king put the wicked servant in prison, where criminals were sometimes tortured by the jailers], till he [the wicked servant] should pay all that was due unto him [the king]."

Verse 35:
[Jesus speaking:] "So likewise [just like the king did to the wicked servant who wouldn't forgive the debt of his fellow servant] shall my heavenly Father [God] do also unto you [i.e., punish you], if ye from your hearts forgive not [do not forgive] every one his [or her] brother [or sister (or other relative), friend, neighbor, etc.--in other words, all people] [for] their trespasses [sins, misdeeds, offences] [against you] [see Note 4 below]."
_________________________

Note 1: For further information, see: "What is the difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven?" (https://www.gotquestions.org/kingdom-heaven-God.html).

Note 2: From Albert Barnes' commentary: "… The word 'servants' here means, probably, petty princes, or, more likely, collectors of the revenue or taxes. Among the ancients kings often farmed out, or sold for a certain sum, the taxes of a particular district or province. Thus, when Judea was subject to Egypt or Rome, the kings frequently sold to the high priest the taxes to be raised from Judea on condition of a much smaller sum being paid to them. This secured to them a certain sum, but it gave occasion to much oppression in the collection of the taxes. It is probable that some such persons are intended by the word servants." (Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-18.html, "Verse 23")

Note 3: Money values were taken from the following article: "What is the meaning of the Parable of the Unforgiving / Unmerciful Servant?" (
https://www.gotquestions.org/parable-unforgiving-servant.html, paragraph 2).

Note 4: From Albert Barnes' commentary: "This verse [35] contains the sum or moral of the parable. When Christ has explained one of his own parables, we are to receive it just as he has explained it, and not attempt to draw spiritual instruction from any parts or circumstances which he has not explained. The following seems to be the particulars of the general truth which he meant to teach:

"1. that our sins are great.
"2. that God freely forgives them.
"3. that the offences committed against us by our brethren are comparatively small.
"4. that we should therefore most freely forgive them.
"5. that if we do not, God will be justly angry with us, and punish us."

(Source for quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-18.html, "Verse 35")

JULY 27

Matthew 6:7: "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions
[don't keep repeating the same, memorized words over and over again, especially if you don't mean what you say], as [like] the heathen [people, which, in Bible times, referred to Gentiles, or non-Jews] do: for they think that they shall be heard [by God] for their much speaking [long prayers]."

"Pray from the heart" is good advice for everyone, not just Jewish people. Most prayers should be short and simple, and all should be sincere.

Regarding the above verse, one Bible commentator said: "Do not use a lot of meaningless words. It is not a torrent of prayer, nor long prayer which is forbidden (Jesus did both), but the making of the number of prayers said, their length, and the amount of time spent in prayer--a thing of merit … Some religious people still believe there is special merit in repeating certain prayers a set number of times." (Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/6-7.html, "The Bible Study New Testament")

JULY 26

Proverbs 26:2: "As the bird
[any small bird, especially a sparrow] [does no harm] by wandering [flying around aimlessly], [and] as the swallow [another small bird] [also does no harm] by flying, so the curse causeless [a curse spoken without reason, referring to idle (empty) threats made by others, vicious words spoken by mean people, etc.] shall not come [to injure us, or shall not come true, shall not happen, shall not reach its destination]."

According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, "This proverb is designed to encourage the faint of heart … [and] bring comfort to the hearts of those who worry needlessly about the 'causeless curse.'"

In his commentary, Pastor Delany explains what the word curse means (and also what it doesn't mean) when applied to this verse and why Solomon used birds to illustrate his point.

Here are some excerpts from the end of the commentary:

"c. There are many timid souls in the world who hear words of cursing and condemnation and take those words to heart.
" Ex[ample]: 'You're nothing but a dumb Irishman and you'll never amount to anything!'
" A timid soul might take that to heart… and actually believe it… and it can become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
" Solomon says that since the curse is causeless and unfounded, it should not be feared.
" It will not come to pass. It is as harmless as a loud, chirping swallow flying overhead.

"b. What a good message for young people in the Facebook generation to hear.
" We have heard of several stories of young people who were threatened or cursed or ridiculed on the internet, and were so devastated, they committed suicide.
" To those cursed and ridiculed, Solomon has words of encouragement: don't fear the mocker."

And we are reminded that:

" Most of the things we worry about never come to pass …"

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-26-index/proverbs-26_2/.

JULY 25

John 3:17: "For God
[the Father] sent not his Son [Jesus] into the world [i.e., God didn't send Jesus to earth, to be born of the virgin Mary] [in order] to condemn [judge, punish] the [nations of the] world; but [he did it so] that the world [that is, the people in it] through him [Jesus, because of his death on the cross to pay for our sins] might be saved [from hell]."

Adam Clarke explains the above verse as follows: "It was the opinion of the Jews that the Gentiles, whom they often term the world, …, were to be destroyed in the days of the Messiah. Christ corrects this false opinion; and teaches here a contrary doctrine. God, by giving his Son, and publishing his design in giving him, shows that he purposes the salvation, not the destruction, of the world - the Gentile people: nevertheless, those who will not receive the salvation he had provided for them, whether Jews or Gentiles, must necessarily perish; for this plain reason, There is but one remedy, and they refuse to apply it."

(Source for quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/3-17.html, "Adam Clarke Commentary")

JULY 23-24

Luke 10:17-20 - Jesus Sends His Disciples to Preach the Gospel and Heal the Sick
The following event occurred after Jesus sent seventy of his disciples, in pairs (groups of two), into every city where he was planning to go, and they found that, in addition to healing sick people, they were able to cast out demons.

Verse 17: "And the seventy [disciples] returned again [to Jesus] with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name [meaning the demons had obeyed when the disciples commanded them, in Jesus' name, to come out of people who were possessed]."

Verse 18: "And he
[Jesus] said unto them, I beheld [mentally viewed] Satan as [quickly as a flash of] lightning fall from heaven [meaning Jesus saw the devils leave immediately when they were cast out by his disciples, or he remembered the time when Satan and his followers (the wicked angels) were thrown out of heaven for rebelling against God, or he was referring to the power of the gospel to defeat Satan's kingdom on earth]."

Verse 19: "Behold, I
[Jesus] [also] give unto you power to tread [step, trample] on serpents [snakes] and scorpions [see description below*] [in other words, Jesus promised that his disciples wouldn't be harmed if they were bitten or stung by these poisonous creatures], and [power to tread] over all the power of the enemy [meaning they would be victorious over Satan and his servants (demons, false teachers, etc.)]: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."

Verse 20: "Notwithstanding
[nevertheless] in this [thing, or for this reason] rejoice not [don't rejoice or be overly glad or happy], [i.e.,] that the [evil] spirits are subject unto you [obey you]; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven [in the Lamb's book of life (see note below**), which proves that you are born again, or saved]."

Has your name been written in the book of life? If you're saved, the answer is yes. If not, this is what you must do:

1. Believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins, and that he was buried and rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

2. Ask Jesus to come into your heart and save you so you can go to heaven when you die.

If you ask Jesus to save you, and your prayer is sincere, your name will be written in the book of life.

For a more detailed explanation of the plan of salvation, please read one or more of my gospel tracts. You'll find them on the "Printable Gospel Tracts" page of my website. Here's the link: www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
_________________________

*"Scorpions - The scorpion is an animal with eight feet, eight eyes and a long jointed tail, ending in a pointed weapon or sting. It is found in tropical climates, and seldom exceeds 4 inches in length. Its sting is extremely poisonous, and it is sometimes fatal to life. It is in Scripture the emblem of malicious and crafty men. When rolled up it has some resemblance to an egg …" (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-10.html, "Verse 19")

**Jesus is also known as the "Lamb of God," as confirmed by John 1:29: "The next day John [the Baptist] seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."

JULY 22

Psalm 5:3
[King David's prayer to God]: "My voice [in prayer, either silently or out loud] shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and [I] will look up [to heaven] [for an answer] [i.e., when praying, we should watch and wait for an answer from God, in the same way that an archer would shoot his or her arrow toward the target and then look up to see where it has landed--see note below*]."

Although praying at all times is acceptable and good, a great time to pray and ask God for his guidance and protection (among other things) is in the morning. We should all try to develop that habit.
_________________________

*In his commentary, Charles Spurgeon used archery to explain how we should pray: "Adjust your prayer as the archer fits his arrow on the bow, look up as you shoot it, and keep on looking up and looking out for an answer to your supplication. You cannot expect God to open the windows of heaven to pour you out a blessing if you do not open the windows of your expectation to look for it. If you look up in asking, God will look down in answering. It is well always to take good aim in prayer; some prayers are like random shots, they cannot be expected to hit the target; but David's prayer was well aimed, and he expected it to prevail with God: 'In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.'" (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/psalms-5.html, "Verses 1-12," "Psalms 5:3")

JULY 21

1 Corinthians 10:14
[In a letter to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Wherefore [i.e., to avoid temptation and sin], my dearly beloved [Christians], flee [run away] from idolatry [which is the worship of, or excessive devotion to, people (such as Mary, saints, and the pope) or things (statues, images, false gods, etc.) instead of the one true God]."

God hates idoatry, so to avoid offending him, all Christians should heed Paul's warning in the above verse. Basically, he said: Don't join in or encourage the worship of idols. Don't participate in sacrifices or feasts celebrated in their honor, and avoid places where they are worshiped.

GotQuestions.org has some good articles about idolatry. Here are their titles and links:

-- "What is the definition of idolatry?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/idolatry-definition.html)
-- "What are some modern forms of idolatry?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/idolatry-modern.html)
-- "Is religious iconography considered idolatry? What is an icon?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/religious-iconography.html)
-- "Do Catholics worship idols / practice idolatry?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/Catholic-idolatry.html)

JULY 18-20

Ephesians 6:11-17 - The Apostle Paul's Spiritual Advice to "Christian Soldiers"

Verse 11: "Put on the whole armour of God
[a complete suit of armor, the parts of which are similar to Greek armor--see note below*], [so] that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [methods, tricks, schemes] of the devil."

Verse 12: "For we wrestle not
[we don't struggle with or fight] against flesh and blood [i.e., people], but against principalities [principal rulers in Satan's kingdom], against powers [powerful fallen (bad) angels], against the rulers of the darkness of this [sinful] world, [and] against spiritual wickedness in high places [all other evil and wicked spirits]. [In other words, our fight is against very powerful invisible enemies, all of whom are evil spirits, and many of whom hold positions of authority in Satan's kingdom.]

Verse 13: "Wherefore [for that reason (i.e., because our opponents are so powerful)] take unto you [put on] the whole armour of God, [so] that ye may be able to withstand [be victorious] in the evil day [the day of temptation], and having done all [having won the fight], [you will be able] to stand [firm, or stand your ground]."

Verse 14: "Stand therefore
[resist every attack], having your loins girt about [like the soldiers did, in Bible times, when they wore a "girdle," or sash or belt, to keep every piece of armor in place and to hold their swords and other weapons] with truth [sincerity and truthfulness, the truth of God], and having on [wearing] the breastplate of righteousness [i.e., the righteousness of Christ that was imputed (given) to you the moment you got saved];"

Verse 15: "And
[having] your feet shod [covered, as when you wear shoes or boots] with the preparation of the gospel of peace [probably called that because, through the gospel, you can have peace in your heart, peace with God, and peace with mankind];"

Verse 16: "Above all
[in addition to the things just mentioned, as protection for your entire body], taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench [put out, extinguish] all the fiery darts of the wicked [one (referring to Satan), including evil thoughts and temptation--anything that may cause you to stumble and sin]."

Verse 17: "And take the helmet of salvation
[representing hope for a bright future, and the assurance of eternal life in heaven], and the sword of the [Holy] Spirit, which is the word of God [referring to the Bible, and everything that is contained in it]:"

To sum up the above, in order to have victory over Satan and his kingdom (i.e., everyone and everything under Satan's control), we need to put on (and keep wearing) the whole armor of God, which consists of:

The girdle (or belt) of truth
The breastplate of righteousness
The boots (or shoes) of the gospel of peace
The shield of faith
The helmet of salvation
The sword of the Spirit (the word of God)
_________________________

*Adam Clarke's commentary includes a description of the various parts of Greek armor. Basically, it says:

"As there is here allusion to some of the most important parts of the Grecian armor, I shall give a short account of the whole. It consisted properly of two sorts:

"Defensive armor, or that which protected themselves.

"Offensive armor, or that by which they injured their enemies. The apostle refers to both.

"I. Defensive Armor

"… the Helmet; this was the armor for the head, and was of various forms, and embossed with a great variety of figures. Connected with the helmet was the crest or ridge on the top of the helmet, adorned with several emblematic figures; some for ornament, some to strike terror. For crests on ancient helmets we often see the winged lion, the griffin, chimera, etc. St. Paul seems to refer to one which had an emblematical representation of hope.

"… the Girdle; this went about the loins, and served to brace the armor tight to the body, and to support daggers, short swords, and such like weapons, which were frequently stuck in it …

"… the Breast-Plate; this consisted of two parts … one covered the whole region of the thorax or breast, in which the principal viscera of life are contained; and the other covered the back, as far down as the front part extended.

"… Greaves or brazen boots, which covered the shin or front of the leg; a kind of solea was often used, which covered the sole, and laced about the instep, and prevented the foot from being wounded by rugged ways, thorns, stones, etc.

"… Gauntlets; a kind of gloves that served to defend the hands, and the arm up to the elbow.

"… Shield; it was perfectly round, and sometimes made of wood, covered with bullocks' hides; but often made of metal …

"II. Offensive Armor, or Weapons; the Following Were Chief:"

Section II lists the following items: spear, lance, sword, battle-axe, iron club, and bow and arrows.

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/ephesians/6-13.html, "Adam Clarke Commentary")

Note:
If you want to see a picture of someone wearing a suit of armor, go to https://www.studylight.org/commentary/ephesians/6-11.html and scroll down to the section entitled "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible."

JULY 17

Proverbs 17:11: "An evil man
[person] seeketh only rebellion [resistance to authority, disobedience] [against God and/or mankind]: therefore a cruel messenger [a message of justice--see note below for examples*] shall be sent against him [or her]."

This is another verse about the consequences of our actions.
_________________________

*According to Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church, "The cruel messenger here refers to a message of JUSTICE and judgment to be meted out against the one who sought rebellion."

In his commentary on this verse, Pastor Delany discusses various types of cruel messages that people might receive for being disobedient to God and man. They include the following: "Your son ran awayYour 14 year old daughter is pregnantYou're fired!you're staying back a year at school!you're going to jail!"

 If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_11/.

JULY 16

Proverbs 16:7: "When a man's
[or woman's or child's] ways please the LORD, he [God] maketh even his [that person's] enemies to be at peace with him [or her]."

In his commentary on the above verse, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church said, "In a roundabout way, Solomon is teaching in this passage that much of the turmoil we have to endure in life is self-inflicted!" He goes on to give many examples of how the things that we say and do can affect how our enemies (and God!) will react.

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-16-index/proverbs-16_7/.

JULY 15

Proverbs 15:29: "The LORD is far
[away] from the wicked [person--meaning, in this verse, that the prayers of unbelievers, or unsaved sinners (i.e., people who have not been born again according to the Bible), and the prayers of disobedient Christians, are usually ignored by God]: but he [God] heareth the prayer of the righteous [person, referring to born-again Christians who love God and have a desire to read and obey his word--see note below*]."

In his commentary on this verse, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church explains when and why God would choose to hear and answer prayer. If you want to read it, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-15-index/proverbs-15_29/.
_________________________

*For the definition and explanation of righteousness, please read "What is righteousness?" Here's the link: www.gotquestions.org/righteousness.html.

JULY 14

Proverbs 14:13: "Even in laughter
[sometimes when a person appears to be happy and having fun] the heart is sorrowful [full of grief]; and the end of that mirth [laughter, cheerfulness--referring, in this case, to the person's true, hidden feelings] is heaviness [sadness]."

According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, "Solomon's point in this proverb is that laughter isn't always what it seems." In his commentary, he says, "Solomon observed that often times people attempt to cover up their deep inner grief with the outward appearance of laughter" and that "clowns [and comedians, too] are often very sad people."

Pastor Delany says "the very thing we try to block out [in public] [i.e., sorrow] is GOOD for us!" That's because:

" God uses sorrow to get our attention… to cause us to look to Him… to stop and think…
" God uses sorrow to strengthen the inner man. It is in a time of grief that we take the time to reflect upon life… on the important things…
" This sorrow and sober reflection often leads to repentance… a change of mind followed by a turning in the right direction.
" People are much more likely to think soberly about the real issues of life at a funeral than at a party."

The commentary ends with:

" So there is no point in covering up sorrow… or pretending to be always happy.
" If you are going through a period of grief or sorrow… let God USE that period for good in your life."

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-14-index/proverbs-14_13/.

JULY 13

Romans 6:6
[In a letter to the saints (born-again Christians) in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Knowing this, that our old man [our sinful and corrupt nature] is crucified [put to death, as if on the cross] with him [Jesus], [so] that the body of sin might be destroyed [become inoperative and powerless], [and so] that henceforth [from now on, after salvation] we should not serve [be a slave to or be controlled by] sin [personified (likened to a person)--as a master]."

This is true for all people who are saved, or born again.

JULY 12

James 1:13-15 - We Shouldn't Blame God for Our Temptation and Sin

Verse 13: "Let no man
[person] say when he [or she] is tempted [to sin], I am tempted of [by] God: for God cannot be tempted with [to do] evil [things], neither tempteth he any man [or woman or child] [to do wrong]:"

Verse 14: "But every man
[person] is tempted, when he [or she] is drawn away of [lured by] his [or her] own lust [intense desire for something], and [is] enticed [seduced, persuaded to do evil, led astray by promises of pleasure or profit]."

Verse 15: "Then when lust hath conceived
[taken over, meaning that when a desire is indulged in an improper manner, as with adultery and fornication (sex outside of marriage), gluttony (eating too much), greed (desiring to be rich), covetousness (wanting what someone else has), etc.], it bringeth forth [results in] sin: and sin, when it is finished [committed, especially when repeated and continued], bringeth forth death [or destruction, meaning it will ruin your life]."

According to one Bible commentator, in reference to verse 13, "…  he [God] tempted Abraham [in a good way], to try his faith, love, and obedience to him; he tempted the Israelites in the wilderness, to try them and humble them, and prove what was in their hearts; and he tempted Job, and tried his faith and patience; and so he tempts [in a good way] and tries all his righteous ones, by afflictions, more or less: but he never tempts [in a bad way] or solicits them to sin …"

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/james/1-13.html, "John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible")

JULY 11

1 John 5:7: "For there are three
[persons] that bear record [witness] in heaven [to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God], [they include] the Father [God the Father], the Word [Jesus Christ--the Son], and the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit]: and these three are one [i.e., one God, meaning that the Godhead (or Trinity) consists of three separate and equal persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) with distinct personalities]."

JULY 8-10

Mark 1:14-15: "Now after
[the day] that John [the Baptist] was put in prison [by King Herod], Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel [good news] of the kingdom of God [referring to the Messiah's upcoming reign on earth], And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand [drawing near, approaching]: repent ye [Jesus was speaking to the nation of Israel--see note below*], and believe the gospel [good news, the meaning of which was understood by the Jews but not explained by Jesus--see note below*]."
_________________________

*Like many people, you may have thought that the above verse is saying that we need to repent in order to be saved. However, according to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, "This was NOT a message of individual salvation, but of national repentance."

Pastor Delany explains what he meant by that statement in his excellent article entitled "The Gospel of the Kingdom: What is the Gospel of the Kingdom?" (www.salembible.org/the-gospel-of-the-kingdom/). Here are some excerpts:

"4.) While Peter & the other disciples preached a 'gospel', it is clear that the content of that message was NOT: that Jesus died for your sins and rose again. Nor was it even that Jesus was GOING to die for your sins!

"* At that point they did not expect Jesus to die. They expected that He would establish the Kingdom and reign forever!"
_____

"3.) This gospel was never explained to the disciples. They were simply told to go out and preach it. (Matt.10:1-7) The disciples announced this good news to the people without explanation."
_____

"B.) This Message Needed No Explanation

"1.) How did the Jews know what this 'good news' of the Kingdom meant? How were they to understand the CONTENT of the good news if it was not explained to them??? They didn't NEED any explanation. They had been waiting for this message to come for over 400 years!

"2.) Mal.4:5-6 - The last message of the Old Testament told the Jews to be expecting: an Elijah-like prophet to come to Israel and TURN hearts in a right direction!

"3.) They were expecting someone to come an tell them to: 'turn around'… change your mind… repent! That is exactly what John [the Baptist] & Jesus did.

"4.) Mal.3:1 - They were expecting a: 'messenger' to come with a message! This messenger would tell the people to TURN to God… repent… and he would prepare the way for the Messiah/King. This is exactly what John [the Baptist] did."
_____

"i. The very last word of God in the Old Testament was a reminder to wait and watch and be ready for this Elijah-like prophet to come on the scene and TURN the people back to God… a message of national repentance to prepare the people for the coming King & the theocratic Kingdom - God ruling on earth - the Kingdom of heaven on earth - thy kingdom come! (Mal.4:5-6)"
_____

"C.) John 1:19-23 - The King's Forerunner: John [the Baptist] said that he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, announcing the coming of the Messiah-King, and was calling on the nation to prepare for the coming of the King and His Kingdom. The Jews understood that. This is what their most noteworthy prophet had told them to expect! (Cf. Isa.40:3)

"1. In his day, the Jews understood what he meant. In our day, the problem is one of reading NT [New Testament] truth back into the OT [Old Testament]. That is always dangerous.

"a. When John [the Baptist] & Jesus spoke of their message as a 'gospel', it did not have Christian meaning, but a Jewish meaning!

"b. It had nothing to do with the death, burial, & resurrection of Christ!

"c. The Christian church, the NT [New Testament] revelation was still a mystery. There was no possible way the people to whom they preached would have understood the term 'gospel' as we do, after the cross.

"d. They understood what God had revealed up to that point. The Christian church and Christian doctrine were not yet revealed."
_____

"6. This message, calling the nation of Israel exclusively to repent and obey His commands is clearly NOT the same message as the gospel of God's grace, calling on individuals to believe that Jesus died and rose again and if they believe they will receive eternal life!"
_____

"IV. Relationship To Lordship salvation

"A. Lordship salvation views the teachings of Jesus to Israel as equal to God's plan of salvation for the world today.

"B. They view the ministry of Christ (& even the OT [Old Testament] prophets!) as a gospel ministry virtually the same as a Christian missionary.

"1. Yes, Jesus did tell individual men how to be saved.

"2. BUT, His main ministry was to Israel to confirm the covenants made with their fathers. (Rom.15:8)

"3. The Sermon on the Mount is NOT the plan of salvation! …

"4 When Jesus said, 'Follow me and I will make you fishers of men', that is not the plan of salvation! Men are not saved by 'following' but by 'believing.'
_____

"C. As a result of that kind of thinking: They emphasize 'repentance' and a 'turning from sin' as a pre-requisite for salvation

"Lordship people call upon men to 'stop sinning' before they can receive Christ. That is backwards. A man must BELIEVE and be saved before he is ever ABLE to stop sinning!

"Interesting note: the purpose of the gospel of John is to teach men what we must do in order to obtain eternal life. While the words 'faith' and 'believe' occur throughout that gospel, yet the term 'repent' does not appear even once!"

* * * * *

J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton seem to agree with Pastor Delany on the meaning of verse 15. You can read their commentary here, https://www.studylight.org/commentary/mark/1-15.html, under the heading "The Fourfold Gospel."

In addition, if you're confused about lordship salvation or want to know more about it, you may want to read Pastor Delany's article entitled "Introduction to Lordship Salvation: Is It Another Gospel?" Here's the link: www.salembible.org/lordship-salvation/.

JULY 7

Matthew 5:14-16 - Letting Our Spiritual Lights Shine
During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said to his disciples:

Verses 14-15: "Ye [born-again Christians] are the [spiritual] light of the world. [That's because, by spreading the gospel, we enlighten people's minds, just as the sun illuminates the earth by shining on it.] A city that is set [situated] on an hill [or mountain] cannot be hid [hidden]. Neither do men light a candle [or turn on a lamp], and put it under a bushel [a large container (about two gallons), like those used for measuring dry goods, such as grains and peas], but on a candlestick; and it [the candle or lamp] giveth light unto all that are in the house."

Verse 16: "Let your light
[Christian conduct] so shine before men [people], that they may see your good works, and glorify [honor, praise, worship, and obey] your Father which is in heaven [God]."

In his commentary on verse 16, Albert Barnes, in part:

"We learn here:

"1.that religion, if it exists, cannot be concealed.

"2.that where it is not manifest in the life, it does not exist.

"3.that 'professors' of religion, who live like other people, give evidence that they have never been truly converted.

"4.that to attempt to conceal or hide our Christian knowledge or experience is to betray our trust, injure the cause of piety, and to render our lives useless. And,

"5.that good actions will be seen, and will lead people to honor God. If we have no other way of doing good - if we are poor, and unlearned, and unknown yet we may do good by our lives. No sincere and humble Christian lives in vain. The feeblest light at midnight is of use."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-5.html, "Verse 16")

JULY 5-6

Titus 3:5-7 - We're Saved Through Faith, Not Works
In this letter, the apostle Paul is writing to born-again Christians:

Verse 5: "Not by works of righteousness [not through good works, or because of the good things] which we have done, but according to his mercy [kindness and compassion] he [God the Father] saved us [from hell and the lake of fire], by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost [i.e., through spiritual rebirth, or the process of being 'born again,' whereby we are cleansed from sin and become new 'creatures' (2 Corinthians 5:17--see below*)];"

Verse 6: "Which
[referring to the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit] he [God the Father] shed [poured out, like rainwater] on us abundantly [plentifully, indicating a daily 'renewing of the Holy Ghost'] through Jesus Christ [the Son of God, who is also] our Saviour;"

Verse 7: "
[God saved us so] That being justified [freed from sin, declared righteous] by his grace, we should be made heirs [of his, which means we should be adopted into the family of God] according to the hope of [having] eternal [never-ending] life [in heaven]."

Some Bible commentators think that the phrase by the washing of regeneration in verse 5 refers to baptism, but others do not. This is what Peter Pett said in his commentary:

"'Not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,'

"And this work of salvation which He has wrought in us if we are Christians, was not because of any works that we had done in righteousness. It was not deserved in any way. It simply resulted from His compassion and mercy. And it was through 'the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit'. This does not mean that it was outwardly through baptism and inwardly through the Holy Spirit. That is totally to misunderstand the picture. (How we love to bring baptism in when water is mentioned as though water was never used for anything else. Even in a context like this we still have to keep God under our control). It is a picture drawn from the Old Testament where the coming of the Holy Spirit was likened to the pouring out of rain from above, washing the earth and regenerating it … And the result was to be life and fruitfulness. It was to be the renewal of the Holy Spirit which had been so long awaited.

"Alternately the washing of regeneration may have in mind the Old Testament examples of the washing away of sin (not defilement) … where it is a picture of the removal of sin, not of a ritual washing. The new birth washed away all their old sins and their old ways … and they became new creatures in Christ Jesus … In this case the regeneration is seen in terms of the positive removal of their sin, not of ritual washing.

"All the Gospels emphasise that it was a prime ministry of Jesus, to drench men in the Holy Spirit … And it is this work of Jesus that Paul is describing here, a work that began while He was on earth … continued in the Upper Room … flowered at Pentecost … and has gone on ever since, a work that takes place in men and women when they hear the Gospel and truly believe …

"In fact baptism is never described as 'washing' (Acts 22:16, the only possible exception, is debatable). It is always seen as an indicator of life from the dead through the Holy Spirit. Nor did ritual washings in the Old Testament ever cleanse ('you shall not be clean until the evening' was the constant refrain). They simply washed away earthly defilement so that men could then reach out to God, and Peter makes clear that that is not what baptism is all about … What baptism does of course signify is the working of the Holy Spirit, picturing it in terms of the heavenly rain. The Christian is baptised as a picture of what has happened to him, and as an act of his resulting total commitment to Christ as his Lord."

Note: Most references in the above quote have been omitted.

(Source for quoted material: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/titus/3-5.html, "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible")
_________________________

*2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

JULY 4

Galatians 5:1
[In a letter to the Christian churches in Galatia, warning them to beware of false teachers, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Stand fast [be firm and unwavering] therefore in the liberty [freedom] [of the gospel (referring to salvation)] wherewith [by which] Christ [Jesus] hath made us free [from religious rites and ceremonies], and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage [meaning, in this case, don't go back to being a slave to Jewish ceremonial law]."

Dictionary.com's definition of yoke: a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plow or cart that they are to pull.

JULY 1-3

Matthew 6:25-33 - If You Are Born Again, God Will Supply Your Basic Needs
During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said to his disciples (and--via the Bible--to all Christians):

Verse 25: "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life [don't worry about the necessities of life], what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on [wear]. Is not the life more [valuable] than meat [food], and the body [more valuable] than raiment [clothing]?"

Verse 26: "Behold
[look at, observe, consider] the fowls of the air [the birds]: for they sow not [they don't plant or scatter seeds], neither do they reap [harvest crops], nor [do they] gather [the crops] into barns; yet your heavenly Father [God] feedeth [feeds] them. Are ye not much better [more important] than they [are]?"

Verse 27: "Which of you by taking thought
[by worrying] can add one cubit [the length of a forearm--about 18 inches] unto his [or her] stature [height*]?"

Verses 28-30: "And why take ye thought for
[why do you worry about] raiment [clothing]? Consider the lilies of the field [wildflowers], how they grow; they toil not [they don't work], neither do they spin [make yarn or thread by twisting fibers of wool, cotton, etc.]: And yet I say unto you, That even [King] Solomon in all his glory [splendor (i.e., while wearing his finest royal robes)] was not arrayed [clothed, dressed] like one of these [beautiful flowers]. Wherefore, if God so clothe [dress] the grass of the field [such as wheat], which to day is [alive and growing], and to morrow is cast [thrown or inserted] into the oven [and baked into bread], shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?"

Verses 31-33: "Therefore take no thought
[don't worry] [about the things that you need], saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal [with what] shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles [non-Jews] seek:) for your heavenly Father [God] knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God [heaven], and his [God's] righteousness [in other words, make sure that you are saved, or 'born again']; and all these things [i.e., food and clothing] shall be added unto you."
_________________________

*According to some commentaries, stature can also mean age in the Bible, so if that applies to this verse, it means there is nothing that man can do to increase the length of his life.

Previous Verses: