JANUARY 24

Proverbs 24:17-18: "Rejoice not
[don't gloat (be joyful in an arrogant way)] when thine [your] enemy falleth [experiences physical suffering, pain, and/or death], and let not thine heart be glad [don't be glad] when he [or she] stumbleth [or 'when bad things happen to your enemy']: Lest [or] the LORD [will] see it [your rejoicing], and it [will] displease him, and he [will] turn away his wrath [anger] from him [or her, meaning the enemy]."

In other words, we shouldn't be happy when others suffer, including our enemies. As long as we don't gloat over our enemies' misfortunes, God will take care of any revenge and punishment that is necessary for them. If we do gloat, not only will God 'turn away his wrath' from our enemies, but he may punish us instead.

Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on these verses, including an explanation of the important difference between rejoicing and gloating. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-24-index/proverbs-24_17-18/.

JANUARY 23

Psalm 120:2
[King David's prayer to God]: "Deliver my soul [rescue and protect me], O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue."

According to Matthew Henry, when King David wrote this psalm, "There were those that sought his ruin, and had almost effected [achieved] it, by lying …  In this distress … he appealed to him who has all men's hearts in his hand [i.e., God], who has power over the consciences of bad men, and can, when he pleases, bridle [control] their tongues …" David asked "… to be kept from being belied [lied about] by others, and from the ill consequences of it …" And God answered his prayer.

(Source for quote: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/psalms/120.html, "Verses 1-4")

King David's example in this psalm shows that when other people's attempts at lying and deception are causing a problem for us, we should ask God for help.

JANUARY 18-22

Luke 5:17-26 - Jesus Heals the Man With the Palsy (i.e., the man who was paralyzed)

Verse 17: "And it came to pass on a certain day, as he
[Jesus] was teaching [in a house, probably in Capernaum], that there were Pharisees [members of a Jewish sect, distinguished by strict observance of traditional and written law] and doctors of the law [scribes, religious teachers] sitting by [him], which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them."

Verses 18-19: "And, behold,
[four] men brought in a bed [probably something like a thin mattress or heavy blanket that could be rolled up and carried, like a sleeping bag] [upon which] a man which was taken with a palsy [i.e., a paralyzed man] [was lying]: and they sought means [looked for a way] to bring [carry] him in, and to lay him [set him down] before him [Jesus]. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him [the paralyzed man] in because of the multitude [crowd], they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch [bed] into the midst [middle] [of the house--see note below*] before [in front of] Jesus."

Verses 20-21 "And when he
[Jesus] saw their faith [referring to the faith of the paralyzed person and his friends], he said unto him [the paralyzed person], Man, thy [your] sins are forgiven thee [you]. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason [in their hearts (minds)], saying [to themselves], Who is this [person--Jesus] which speaketh blasphemies [things that insult God, as claiming that a human being can do what only God can do]? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?"

Verses 22-25: "But when Jesus perceived
[read] their thoughts [or 'knew what the scribes and Pharisees were thinking'], he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts [why are you wondering]? Whether [it] is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up [stand] and walk? But [so] that ye may know that [I, Jesus, who am not only] the Son of man [but also the Son of God] hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he [Jesus] said unto the [man who was] sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch [bed], and go into thine house. And immediately he [the paralyzed man] rose up before them [the scribes and Pharisees and everyone else in the crowd], and took up that whereon he lay [i.e., his bed], and departed [went] to his own house, glorifying [praising] God."

Verse 26: "And they
[the people in the crowd] were all amazed, and they glorified [praised] God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange [unexpected, incredible, wonderful] things to day."
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*This incident is told in different ways by the apostles Matthew, Mark, and Luke (see Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 2:1-12, and Luke 5:17-26), and Albert Barnes has a detailed explanation of it in his commentary on Matthew 9, especially the part, in verse 2, about lowering the man through the roof and why Jesus forgave his sins. Here's what it says:

"Lying on a bed - This was probably a mattress, or perhaps a mere blanket spread to lie on, so as to be easily borne. Being light, Jesus might with propriety command him to take it up and walk, Matthew 9:6.

"Mark says 'they uncovered the roof,' Mark 2:4. Luke says 'they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling,' Luke 5:19. To us it would appear that much injury must have been done to the house where Jesus was, and that they must be much incommoded by the removal of tiles and rafters, etc. An acquaintance, however, with the mode of building in the East removes every difficulty of this nature. Houses in Eastern countries are commonly square in their form, and of a single story. On approaching them from the street a single door is seen in the center, and usually, directly above it, a single latticed window. This destitution of doors and lights from the streets, though it gives their dwellings a sombre appearance, is yet adapted to the habits of retirement and secrecy among the people of the East, where they are desirous of keeping their 'females' from observation … On entering the only door in front, the first room is a small square room, surrounded with benches, called the 'porch.' In this room the master of the family commonly transacts business, and on private occasions receives visits. Passing through the porch, you enter a large square room directly in the center of the building, called the court. Luke says that the 'paralytic' was let down 'into the midst;' not in the midst of the 'people,' but of the 'building' - the 'middle place' of the house. This 'court' is paved commonly with marble; and, if possible, a fountain of water is formed in the center, to give it beauty, and to diffuse a grateful coolness. This room is surrounded by a gallery or covered walk on every side. From that covered walk doors open into the other apartments of the house.

"This center room, or court, is commonly uncovered or open above. In wet weather, however, and in times of great heat of the sun, it is covered with an awning or canvas, stretched on cords and capable of being easily removed or rolled up. This is what Mark means when he says 'they uncovered the roof.' They 'rolled up' or removed this awning.

"From the court to the roof the ascent is by flights of stairs, either in the covered walk or gallery or in the porch. The roof is nearly flat. It is made of earth; or, in houses of the rich, is a firmly; constructed flooring, made of coals, chalk, gypsum, and ashes, made hard by repeated blows. On those roofs spears of grass. wheat, or barley sometimes spring up; but these are soon withered by the sun, Psalm 129:6-8. The roof is a favourite place for walking, for repose in the cool of the day, for conversation, and for devotion … On such a roof Rahab concealed the spies Joshua 2:6, Samuel talked with Saul 1 Samuel 9:25, David walked at eventide 2 Samuel 11:2), and Peter went up to pray Acts 10:9. This roof was surrounded with a 'balustrade,' or railing, breast-high, on the sides; but where a house was contiguous to another, and of the same height, the railing was lower, so as to walk from one roof to another. In cities where the houses were constructed in this manner, it was possible to walk through a considerable part of the city on the roofs. A breastwork or railing was of course built in the same manner around the 'open space' in the center, to prevent persons from falling into the court below. This railing, or breastwork, is what Luke Luke 5:19 says they let him down through. They removed it, probably, so that the couch could be conveniently let down with cords; and, standing on the roof 'over' the Saviour, they let the man down directly before him. The perseverance they had manifested was the evidence of their faith or confidence in his power to heal the sick man.

"Be of good cheer: thy sins be forgiven thee - It may seem remarkable, since the man came only to be 'healed,' that Jesus should have first declared his sins forgiven. For this the following reasons may be suggested:

"1. The man might have brought on this disease of the palsy by a long course of vicious indulgence. Conscious of guilt, he may have feared that he was so great a sinner that Christ would not regard him. He [Jesus] therefore assured him [the paralyzed man] that his offences were pardoned, and that he might lay aside his fears.

"2. Jesus might be willing to show his power to forgive sins. Had he stated it without any miracle, the Jews would not have believed it, and even his disciples might have been staggered. In proof of it, he worked a miracle; and no one, therefore, could doubt that he had the power. The miracle was performed in 'express attestation' of the assertion that he had power to forgive sins. As God would not work a miracle to confirm a falsehood or to deceive people, the miracle was a solemn confirmation, on the part of God, that Jesus had the power to forgive sins.

"3. The Jews regarded disease as the effect of sin, John 9:2; James 5:14-15. There is a 'real' connection between sin and suffering, as in the case of gluttony, intemperate drinking, lewdness, debauchery. Jesus might be willing to direct the minds of the spectators 'to this fact;' and, by pointing them to a manifest instance of the effect of sin, to lead them to hate and forsake it. Diseases are sometimes the direct judgment of God for sin, 1 Corinthians 5:3-5; 1 Corinthians 11:30; 2 Samuel 24:10-14. This truth, also, Christ might have been desirous of impressing on the people."

If you want to read the entire commentary, here's the link:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-9.html, "Verse 2")

JANUARY 17

Proverbs 17:15: "He
[or she] that justifieth the wicked [i.e., the person who excuses wickedness (evil, sinful behavior), or declares a criminal or bad person to be righteous, or 'good'], and he [or she] that condemneth the just [condemns (expresses strong disapproval of, or sentences to punishment) a morally upright or innocent person], even they both [meaning both kinds of people--those who 'justify the wicked' and those who 'condemn the just'] are abomination [a disgusting or repulsive thing] to the LORD."

According to the Bible commentaries that I read, the above verse pertains mainly to injustice in our legal system--when bad people are intentionally set free and innocent people are sent to prison--but it also refers to the "court" of public opinion (i.e., when we, the general public, call evil good, and good evil).

Once again, the commentary by Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church is excellent and contains many examples of unintentional injustice (honest mistakes due to human error) and intentional injustice (things done on purpose to pervert the law), both inside and outside the courtroom. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_15/.

Regarding this verse, Matthew Henry wrote: "… When those that are entrusted with the administration of public justice, judges, juries, witnesses, prosecutors, counsel, do either acquit the guilty or condemn those that are not guilty, or in the least contribute to either; this defeats the end of government, which is to protect the good and punish the bad …" (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/proverbs/17.html, "Verse 15")

JANUARY 16

Proverbs 16:4: "The LORD
[God] hath [has] made all things for himself [for his own purpose; for his honor, glory, and pleasure]: yea [yes], even the wicked [people, referring to sinners who end up rebelling against God and refuse to accept his free gift of eternal life] [were created] for the day of [the punishment of] evil [i.e., judgment day, when God will demonstrate his holiness, justice, and righteousness]."

In other words, God created everything for his pleasure (not ours!) and to show his handiwork, demonstrate his power and greatness, serve his purposes, and bring glory (praise and honor) to his name.

In the introduction to his commentary, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church says that in the above verse:

"1. Solomon states a difficult concept in one terse statement.

"2. By difficult I do not mean that it is hard to understand. Rather, it is easy to understand, just hard for us self-centered creatures to accept and believe.

"3. We are inclined to think that the world revolves around us and that it was created for our good pleasure.

"4. Solomon lays that kind of thinking to rest."

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-16-index/proverbs-16_4/.

JANUARY 15

Proverbs 15:27: "He that is greedy of gain
[the person who wants to be rich and tries to get things dishonestly, through cheating or violence] troubleth his [or her] own house [household, family]; but he [or she] that hateth [refuses to take] gifts [in this case, bribes--to do something unjust or wrong, or to obtain money unlawfully] shall live [a long, fulfilling (satisfying, happy), and peaceful life]."

Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse, including the following examples of how we can be "greedy of gain" and cause trouble for our families: cheating on our tax returns, embellishing our resumes, becoming involved in shady business deals, taking bribes, and gambling.

Especially interesting and eye-opening is how this behavior affects our children. Here's what the commentary says in paragraph 4 under "B. Troubling One's Own House":

"4. There are various WAYS in which a dishonest, greedy man troubles his house.

"a. He may trouble his family with the hardships they experience because of him being arrested… losing his job… being imprisoned… losing their house… etc.

"b. But he may also trouble his house for years to come by TEACHING HIS CHILDREN to follow his behavior.
"→ Our kids pick up on our values by observation.
"→ The dishonest, greedy man demonstrates his character not only when he robs a bank. His kids will pick up on as they are growing up.
"→ Often those values (or lack thereof) are passed on to the next generation.

"c. This may go on for many generations. (Ex. 34:7)
" Alcoholism and drug abuse is often passed on in a family. Partly perhaps to genetics… but mostly through LEARNED and observed behavior!
" You don't have to worry about a genetic predisposition to alcoholism if you don't take your first drink!
" If the parents are involved in lying, cheating, stealing, those poor kids don't stand a chance of growing up honest!
" Domestic violence is also learned and passed on.
" Trouble brought into the home is often kept there… and passed on to future generations to CONTINUE to trouble that household…

"d. Kids are like sponges and they are watching and observing everything their parents do.
" And more often than not, those qualities are repeated in their lives.

"e. A man who is greedy for gain can trouble his own household even if he does nothing illegal!
" If a man is so driven to succeed materially that he works so many hours that he never has any TIME for his family, he too troubles his house.
" Those kids will grow up with many toys and nice clothes, but will RESENT that dad never spent any time with them.
" Kids grow up fast… and if they grow up angry, bitter, and resentful because Dad was more interested in material gain than in them… that exacerbates the trouble in the home…"

Concerning bribes, Pastor Delany says that people (including politicians, judges, police, and CEO's) can sometimes be bought off by money, and justice can also be perverted by money. Many people are willing to lie, cheat, look the other way, and refuse to blow the whistle when offered money or other things to keep quiet.

If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-15-index/proverbs-15_27/.

JANUARY 14

Psalm 121:2
[King David wrote]: "My help cometh [comes] from the LORD [God], which [who] made [created] heaven and earth."

If you're a born-again Christian, King David's helper (God) is your helper, too.

JANUARY 13

Proverbs 13:7: "There is
[the person] that maketh himself [or herself] [appear to be] rich, yet hath nothing [but he (or she) really is poor]: there is [the person] that maketh himself [or herself] [appear to be] poor, yet hath [but he (or she) really has] great riches."

According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, this verse is about people who pretend to be what they're not (i.e., rich when poor, poor when rich).

In his commentary, Pastor Delany provides many examples of the ways in which greedy, covetous people live beyond their means in order to make others believe that they're rich, and he tells what can happen to them as a result. He also shows how misers (selfish, cheap, stingy, penny-pinching people) might pretend to be poor in order to keep more of their money. Both cases illustrate the meaning of "the love of money is the root of all evil" in 1 Timothy 6:10.

If you want to read the pastor's commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-13-index/proverbs-1_37/.

JANUARY 8-12

Acts 5:1-11 - Ananias and Sapphira
This took place during the time when many members of the early Christian church willingly (and voluntarily) shared their possessions with those who were poor.

Verses 1-2: "But a certain man named Ananias, [along] with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession [some land], And kept back [withheld for himself] part of the price [the amount he received], his wife also being privy to it [knowing about it], and brought a certain part [of the money], and laid it at the apostles' feet."

Verses 3-4: "But Peter
[one of the apostles] said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart [impelled (persuaded) you] to lie to the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit (i.e., the third person of the Trinity)], and to keep back [withhold] part of the price of the land? Whiles it [while the land] remained [in your possession], was it not thine [your] own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power [to keep the money or give it away]? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart [referring to Ananias' plan to pretend that he was giving all of the money to the church]? thou hast not [you have not] lied unto men [people], but unto God."

Verses 5-6: "And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost
[died]: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up [in bandages, or in grave clothes (linen cloths, many folds of linen), like a mummy], and carried him out, and buried him."

Verses 7-8: "And it was about the space of three hours after
[the death of Ananias], when his wife, not knowing what was done [what had happened to her husband], came in. And Peter answered unto her [said], Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much [i.e., a specific price that he stated]? And she said, Yea [yes], for so much [that amount]."

Verses 9-10: "Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together
[with your husband] to tempt the Spirit of the Lord [i.e., the Holy Spirit]? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and [those young men] shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway [immediately she fell down] at his [Peter's] feet, and yielded up the ghost [died]: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth [away], buried her by her husband."

Verse 11: "And great fear came upon all the
[members of the] church, and upon as many [other people] as heard these things."

In his commentary on verse  9, Albert Barnes answers the question of why Ananias and Sapphira were punished in such a severe and awful manner for their sins of deception and hypocrisy. In part, this is what he said:

"(1) This was an atrocious crime - a deep and dreadful act of iniquity. It was committed knowingly, and without excuse … It was important that sudden and exemplary [an excellent example of] punishment should follow it, because the society of Christians was just then organized, and it was designed that it should be a 'pure' society, and should be regarded as a body of holy men. Much depended on making an 'impression' on the people that sin could not be allowed in this new community, but would be detected and punished.

"(2) God has often, in a most solemn manner, shown his abhorrence of [feeling of disgust for] hypocrisy and insincerity. By awful declarations and fearful judgments he has declared his displeasure at it. In a particular manner, no small part of the preaching of the Saviour was employed in detecting the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees, and denouncing heavy judgments on them … In the very beginning of the Christian church it was important, by a decided and awful act, to impress upon the church and the world the danger and guilt of hypocrisy. Well did the Saviour know that it would be one of the most insidious and deadly foes to the purity of the church; and at its very 'threshold,' therefore, he set up this solemn warning to guard it, and laid the bodies of Ananias and Sapphira in the path of every hypocrite that would enter the church. If they enter and are destroyed, they cannot plead that they were not fully warned. If they practice iniquity 'in' the church, they cannot plead ignorance of the fact that God intends to detect and punish them.

"(3) the apostles were just then establishing their authority. They claimed to be under the influence of inspiration. To establish that, it was necessary to show that they could know the views and motives of those who became connected with the church. If easily imposed on, it would go far to destroy their authority and their claim to infallibility. If they showed that they could detect hypocrisy, even where most artfully concealed, it would establish the divine authority of their message. At the 'commencement' of their work, therefore, they gave this decisive and most awful proof that they were under the guidance of an infallible Teacher.

"(4) this case does not stand alone in the New Testament. It is clear from other instances that the apostles had the power of punishing sinners, and that a violation of the commands of Christ was attended by sudden and fearful judgments. See 1 Corinthians 11:30, and the case of Elymas the sorcerer in Acts 13:8-11.

"(5) neither does this event stand alone in the history of the world. Acts of judgment sometimes occur as sudden and decided, in the providence of God, as in this case. The profane [irreverent] man, the drunkard, the profligate offender [i.e., spendthrift] is sometimes suddenly stricken down, as in this instance. Cases have not been uncommon where the blasphemer has been smitten in death with the curse on his lips; and God often thus comes forth in judgment to slay [kill] the wicked, and to show that there is a God that reigns in the earth. This narrative cannot be objected to as improbable until 'all' such cases are disposed of, nor can this infliction be regarded as unjust until all the instances where people die by remorse of conscience, or by the direct judgment of heaven, are 'proved' to be unjust also.

"In view of this narrative, we may remark:

"(1) That God searches the heart, and knows the purposes of the soul …

"(7) sinners should fear and tremble before God. He holds their breath in his hands …

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/acts-5.html, "Verse 9")

JANUARY 6-7

Genesis 2:20-24 - Adam and Eve

Verse 20: "And Adam
[the first person that God ever created] gave names to all cattle [livestock], and to the fowl of the air [birds, flying insects, etc.], and to every beast of the field [wild animals]; but for Adam [out of all of the creatures mentioned] there was not found an help meet [helpmate (helpful companion or partner)] for him."

Verses 21-22:  "And the LORD God caused a deep sleep
[like when you're given anesthesia for surgery] to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he [God] took [out] one of his [Adam's] ribs [see note below*], and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And [from] the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man [removed from Adam], made he a woman [Eve], and brought her unto the man."

Verses 23-24: "And Adam said, This
[person, Eve,] is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore [for this reason] shall a man leave his father and his mother [i.e., not live with them any more], and shall cleave unto [adhere or stick to, join together in marriage and live with] his wife: and they shall be one flesh [body, referring to the development of a strong marriage bond between the man and woman]."
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*Commenting on these verses, Matthew Henry said: "… the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved." (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/genesis/2.html, "Verses 21-25")

JANUARY 5

Psalm 145:8: "The LORD
[God] is gracious [kind, good, friendly], and full of compassion [sympathy and concern for people who are suffering and/or experiencing misfortune]; [he is also] slow to anger [not easily angered], and of great mercy [unwilling to cause pain, not cruel, willing to forgive]."

In his commentary, Matthew Henry summarizes the above verse as follows:"The Lord is gracious to those that serve him; he is full of compassion to those that need him, slow to anger to those that have offended him, and of great mercy to all that seek him …" [Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/psalms/145.html, "Verses 1-9," "(v.8)"]

JANUARY 3-4

John 6:66-69 - True Believers (Christians) Keep Following Jesus

Verse 66: "From that time
[i.e., after Jesus explained why he is the 'living bread which came down from heaven'--see note below*] many of his disciples [followers] went back [went away, departed, left], and walked no more with him."

Verse 67: "Then said Jesus unto the twelve
[apostles], Will ye [you] also go away?"

Verses 68-69: "Then Simon Peter answered him
[Jesus] [by saying], Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast [you have] the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art [you are] that Christ [the promised Messiah], the Son of the living God."

The people in verse 66 who stopped following Jesus had apparently made a false profession of salvation. In other words, they had been "saved" for the wrong reason (selfishness, excitement, etc.). Albert Barnes explains this in his commentary as follows:

"Many of his disciples - Many who had followed him professedly as his disciples and as desirous of learning of him …

"Went back - Turned away from him and left him. From this we may learn,

"1.Not to wonder at the apostasy of many who profess to be followers of Christ. Many are induced to become his professed followers by the prospect of some temporal benefit, or under some public excitement, as these were; and when that temporal benefit is not obtained, or that excitement is over, they fall away.

"2.Many may be expected to be offended by the doctrines of the gospel. Having no spirituality of mind, and really understanding nothing of the gospel, they may be expected to take offence and turn back. The best way to understand the doctrines of the Bible is to be a sincere Christian, and aim to do the will of God, John 7:17.

"3.We should examine ourselves. We should honestly inquire whether we have been led to make a profession of religion by the hope of any temporal advantage, by any selfish principle, or by mere excited animal feeling. If we have it will profit us nothing, and we shall either fall away of ourselves, or be cast away in the great day of judgment."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-6.html, "Verse 66")
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*In verses 26-65 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+6%3A26%2D65&version=KJV), Jesus said he was (and is) the "living bread which came down from heaven." For some people, this is a hard concept to grasp (understand), as it is meant in the spiritual, not physical (or literal), sense. That's why many of the people in verse 66 stopped following him.

In their article entitled "What did Jesus mean when He said we must eat His flesh and drink His blood?" GotQuestions.org explains why Jesus referred to himself as "living bread" and what he meant by it. If you want to read the article, you'll find it here: https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-eat-flesh-drink-blood.html.

JANUARY 2

Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by
[God's] grace are ye saved [from eternal death (punishment) in hell and given eternal life in heaven] through faith [in the Lord Jesus Christ and his death on the cross to pay for your sins]; and that [referring to salvation and eternal life] [is] not of [earned by] yourselves: it is the gift of God [as confirmed by Romans 6:23]: [it is] Not of [due to] [good] works, lest any man [or woman or child, or 'so that no person'] should [be able to] boast [brag]."

In other words, salvation is based on faith, not works, so that nobody will be ever able to say, "I got to heaven because of my own righteousness (what a person I was, how many good deeds I did during my life on earth, etc.)."
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*For an explanation of what it means to have faith in Jesus and believe in Jesus, I recommend the following articles:

-- "What does it mean to have faith in Jesus?" (https://www.gotquestions.org/faith-in-Jesus.html)
-- "What does it mean to believe in Jesus?" ((https://www.gotquestions.org/believe-in-Jesus.html)

JANUARY 1

2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man
[or woman or child] be in Christ [is united to Jesus Christ by faith, which means the person has been saved, or born again, according to the Bible--see important note below*], he [or she] is a new creature [created being, creation--in a moral sense]: old things are passed away; behold, all things [in regard to the mind; i.e., thoughts, principles, and practices] are become new."

Albert Barnes has a good commentary on this verse. Here are some excerpts:

"Therefore if any man be in Christ - … The affirmation here is universal, 'if any man be in Christ;' that is, all who become true Christians - undergo such a change in their views and feelings as to make it proper to say of them that they are new creatures. No matter what they have been before, whether moral or immoral; whether infidels or speculative believers; whether amiable, or debased, sensual and polluted yet if they become Christians they all experience such a change as to make it proper to say they are a new creation.

"A new creature - … It means, evidently, that there is a change produced in the renewed heart of man that is equivalent to the act of creation, and that bears a strong resemblance to it - a change, so to speak, as if the man was made over again, and had become new. The mode or manner in which it is done is not described, nor should the words be pressed to the quick, as if the process were the same in both cases - for the words are here evidently figurative. But the phrase implies evidently the following things:

"(1)That there is an exertion of divine power in the conversion of the sinner as really as in the act of creating the world out of nothing, and that this is as indispensable in the one case as in the other.

"(2)that a change is produced so great as to make it proper to say that he is a new man. He has new views, new motives, new principles, new objects and plans of life. He seeks new purposes, and he lives for new ends.

"If a drunkard becomes reformed, there is no impropriety in saying that he is a new man. If a man who was licentious becomes pure, there is no impropriety in saying that he is not the same man that he was before. Such expressions are common in all languages, and they are as proper as they are common. There is such a change as to make the language proper. And so in the conversion of a sinner. There is a change so deep, so clear, so entire, and so abiding, that it is proper to say, here is a new creation of God - a work of the divine power as decided and as glorious as when God created all things out of nothing. There is no other moral change that takes place on earth so deep, and radical, and thorough as the change at conversion. And there is no other where there is so much propriety in ascribing it to the mighty power of God.

"Old things are passed away - … It was true of all who were converted that old things had passed away. And it may include the following things:

"(1) In regard to the Jews - that their former prejudices against Christianity, their natural pride, and spirit of seducing others; their attachment to their rites and ceremonies, and dependence on them for salvation had all passed away. They now renounced that independence, relied on the merits of the Saviour, and embraced all as brethren who were of the family of Christ.

"(2) in regard to the Gentiles - their attachment to idols, their love of sin and degradation, their dependence on their own works, had passed away, and they had renounced all these things, and had come to mingle their hopes with those of the converted Jews, and with all who were the friends of the Redeemer.

"(3) in regard to all, it is also true that old things pass away. Their former prejudices, opinions, habits, attachments pass away. Their supreme love of self passes away. Their love of sins passes away. Their love of the world passes away. Their supreme attachment to their earthly friends rather than God passes away. Their love of sin, their sensuality, pride, vanity, levity, ambition, passes away. There is a deep and radical change on all these subjects - a change which commences at the new birth; which is carried on by progressive sanctification; and which is consummated at death and in heaven.

"Behold, all things are become new - That is, all things in view of the mind. The purposes of life, the feelings of the heart, the principles of action, all become new. The understanding is consecrated to new objects, the body is employed in new service, the heart forms new attachments. Nothing can be more strikingly. descriptive of the facts in conversion than this; nothing more entirely accords with the feelings of the newborn soul. All is new. There are new views of God, and of Jesus Christ; new views of this world and of the world to come; new views of truth and of duty; and everything is seen in a new aspect and with new feelings. Nothing is more common in young converts than such feelings, and nothing is more common than for them to say that all things are new. The Bible seems to be a new book, and though they may have often read it before, yet there is a beauty about it which they never saw before, and which they wonder they have not before perceived. The whole face of nature seems to them to be changed, and they seem to be in a new world. The hills, and vales, and streams; the sun, the stars, the groves, the forests, seem to be new. A new beauty is spread over them all; and they now see them to be the work of God, and his glory is spread over them all, and they can now say:

"'My Father made them all.'

"The heavens and the earth are filled with new wonders, and all things seem now to speak forth the praise of God. Even the very countenances of friends seem to be new; and there are new feelings toward all people; a new kind of love to kindred and friends; and a love before unfelt for enemies; and a new love for all mankind."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-corinthians-5.html, "Verse 17")
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*Note: Unless you're already a Christian, a wonderful way to start the new year would be to get saved.

If you believe that Jesus Christ (God's Son) died on the cross to pay for your sins and that he was buried and rose again, all you need to do is sincerely ask him, through prayer (either silently or out loud), to come into your heart and save you so you can go to heaven when you die. If your prayer is sincere (i.e., if you really mean what you pray), you will be the "new creature" described above.

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:
https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.


Previous Verses
January 2020
JANUARY 24

Proverbs 24:17-18: "Rejoice not
[don't gloat (be joyful in an arrogant way)] when thine [your] enemy falleth [experiences physical suffering, pain, and/or death], and let not thine heart be glad [don't be glad] when he [or she] stumbleth [or 'when bad things happen to your enemy']: Lest [or] the LORD [will] see it [your rejoicing], and it [will] displease him, and he [will] turn away his wrath [anger] from him [or her, meaning the enemy]."

In other words, we shouldn't be happy when others suffer, including our enemies. As long as we don't gloat over our enemies' misfortunes, God will take care of any revenge and punishment that is necessary for them. If we do gloat, not only will God 'turn away his wrath' from our enemies, but he may punish us instead.

Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on these verses, including an explanation of the important difference between rejoicing and gloating. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-24-index/proverbs-24_17-18/.

JANUARY 23

Psalm 120:2
[King David's prayer to God]: "Deliver my soul [rescue and protect me], O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue."

According to Matthew Henry, when King David wrote this psalm, "There were those that sought his ruin, and had almost effected [achieved] it, by lying …  In this distress … he appealed to him who has all men's hearts in his hand [i.e., God], who has power over the consciences of bad men, and can, when he pleases, bridle [control] their tongues …" David asked "… to be kept from being belied [lied about] by others, and from the ill consequences of it …" And God answered his prayer.

(Source for quote: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/psalms/120.html, "Verses 1-4")

King David's example in this psalm shows that when other people's attempts at lying and deception are causing a problem for us, we should ask God for help.

JANUARY 18-22

Luke 5:17-26 - Jesus Heals the Man With the Palsy (i.e., the man who was paralyzed)

Verse 17: "And it came to pass on a certain day, as he
[Jesus] was teaching [in a house, probably in Capernaum], that there were Pharisees [members of a Jewish sect, distinguished by strict observance of traditional and written law] and doctors of the law [scribes, religious teachers] sitting by [him], which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them."

Verses 18-19: "And, behold,
[four] men brought in a bed [probably something like a thin mattress or heavy blanket that could be rolled up and carried, like a sleeping bag] [upon which] a man which was taken with a palsy [i.e., a paralyzed man] [was lying]: and they sought means [looked for a way] to bring [carry] him in, and to lay him [set him down] before him [Jesus]. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him [the paralyzed man] in because of the multitude [crowd], they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch [bed] into the midst [middle] [of the house--see note below*] before [in front of] Jesus."

Verses 20-21 "And when he
[Jesus] saw their faith [referring to the faith of the paralyzed person and his friends], he said unto him [the paralyzed person], Man, thy [your] sins are forgiven thee [you]. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason [in their hearts (minds)], saying [to themselves], Who is this [person--Jesus] which speaketh blasphemies [things that insult God, as claiming that a human being can do what only God can do]? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?"

Verses 22-25: "But when Jesus perceived
[read] their thoughts [or 'knew what the scribes and Pharisees were thinking'], he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts [why are you wondering]? Whether [it] is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up [stand] and walk? But [so] that ye may know that [I, Jesus, who am not only] the Son of man [but also the Son of God] hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he [Jesus] said unto the [man who was] sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch [bed], and go into thine house. And immediately he [the paralyzed man] rose up before them [the scribes and Pharisees and everyone else in the crowd], and took up that whereon he lay [i.e., his bed], and departed [went] to his own house, glorifying [praising] God."

Verse 26: "And they
[the people in the crowd] were all amazed, and they glorified [praised] God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange [unexpected, incredible, wonderful] things to day."
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*This incident is told in different ways by the apostles Matthew, Mark, and Luke (see Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 2:1-12, and Luke 5:17-26), and Albert Barnes has a detailed explanation of it in his commentary on Matthew 9, especially the part, in verse 2, about lowering the man through the roof and why Jesus forgave his sins. Here's what it says:

"Lying on a bed - This was probably a mattress, or perhaps a mere blanket spread to lie on, so as to be easily borne. Being light, Jesus might with propriety command him to take it up and walk, Matthew 9:6.

"Mark says 'they uncovered the roof,' Mark 2:4. Luke says 'they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling,' Luke 5:19. To us it would appear that much injury must have been done to the house where Jesus was, and that they must be much incommoded by the removal of tiles and rafters, etc. An acquaintance, however, with the mode of building in the East removes every difficulty of this nature. Houses in Eastern countries are commonly square in their form, and of a single story. On approaching them from the street a single door is seen in the center, and usually, directly above it, a single latticed window. This destitution of doors and lights from the streets, though it gives their dwellings a sombre appearance, is yet adapted to the habits of retirement and secrecy among the people of the East, where they are desirous of keeping their 'females' from observation … On entering the only door in front, the first room is a small square room, surrounded with benches, called the 'porch.' In this room the master of the family commonly transacts business, and on private occasions receives visits. Passing through the porch, you enter a large square room directly in the center of the building, called the court. Luke says that the 'paralytic' was let down 'into the midst;' not in the midst of the 'people,' but of the 'building' - the 'middle place' of the house. This 'court' is paved commonly with marble; and, if possible, a fountain of water is formed in the center, to give it beauty, and to diffuse a grateful coolness. This room is surrounded by a gallery or covered walk on every side. From that covered walk doors open into the other apartments of the house.

"This center room, or court, is commonly uncovered or open above. In wet weather, however, and in times of great heat of the sun, it is covered with an awning or canvas, stretched on cords and capable of being easily removed or rolled up. This is what Mark means when he says 'they uncovered the roof.' They 'rolled up' or removed this awning.

"From the court to the roof the ascent is by flights of stairs, either in the covered walk or gallery or in the porch. The roof is nearly flat. It is made of earth; or, in houses of the rich, is a firmly; constructed flooring, made of coals, chalk, gypsum, and ashes, made hard by repeated blows. On those roofs spears of grass. wheat, or barley sometimes spring up; but these are soon withered by the sun, Psalm 129:6-8. The roof is a favourite place for walking, for repose in the cool of the day, for conversation, and for devotion … On such a roof Rahab concealed the spies Joshua 2:6, Samuel talked with Saul 1 Samuel 9:25, David walked at eventide 2 Samuel 11:2), and Peter went up to pray Acts 10:9. This roof was surrounded with a 'balustrade,' or railing, breast-high, on the sides; but where a house was contiguous to another, and of the same height, the railing was lower, so as to walk from one roof to another. In cities where the houses were constructed in this manner, it was possible to walk through a considerable part of the city on the roofs. A breastwork or railing was of course built in the same manner around the 'open space' in the center, to prevent persons from falling into the court below. This railing, or breastwork, is what Luke Luke 5:19 says they let him down through. They removed it, probably, so that the couch could be conveniently let down with cords; and, standing on the roof 'over' the Saviour, they let the man down directly before him. The perseverance they had manifested was the evidence of their faith or confidence in his power to heal the sick man.

"Be of good cheer: thy sins be forgiven thee - It may seem remarkable, since the man came only to be 'healed,' that Jesus should have first declared his sins forgiven. For this the following reasons may be suggested:

"1. The man might have brought on this disease of the palsy by a long course of vicious indulgence. Conscious of guilt, he may have feared that he was so great a sinner that Christ would not regard him. He [Jesus] therefore assured him [the paralyzed man] that his offences were pardoned, and that he might lay aside his fears.

"2. Jesus might be willing to show his power to forgive sins. Had he stated it without any miracle, the Jews would not have believed it, and even his disciples might have been staggered. In proof of it, he worked a miracle; and no one, therefore, could doubt that he had the power. The miracle was performed in 'express attestation' of the assertion that he had power to forgive sins. As God would not work a miracle to confirm a falsehood or to deceive people, the miracle was a solemn confirmation, on the part of God, that Jesus had the power to forgive sins.

"3. The Jews regarded disease as the effect of sin, John 9:2; James 5:14-15. There is a 'real' connection between sin and suffering, as in the case of gluttony, intemperate drinking, lewdness, debauchery. Jesus might be willing to direct the minds of the spectators 'to this fact;' and, by pointing them to a manifest instance of the effect of sin, to lead them to hate and forsake it. Diseases are sometimes the direct judgment of God for sin, 1 Corinthians 5:3-5; 1 Corinthians 11:30; 2 Samuel 24:10-14. This truth, also, Christ might have been desirous of impressing on the people."

If you want to read the entire commentary, here's the link:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-9.html, "Verse 2")

JANUARY 17

Proverbs 17:15: "He
[or she] that justifieth the wicked [i.e., the person who excuses wickedness (evil, sinful behavior), or declares a criminal or bad person to be righteous, or 'good'], and he [or she] that condemneth the just [condemns (expresses strong disapproval of, or sentences to punishment) a morally upright or innocent person], even they both [meaning both kinds of people--those who 'justify the wicked' and those who 'condemn the just'] are abomination [a disgusting or repulsive thing] to the LORD."

According to the Bible commentaries that I read, the above verse pertains mainly to injustice in our legal system--when bad people are intentionally set free and innocent people are sent to prison--but it also refers to the "court" of public opinion (i.e., when we, the general public, call evil good, and good evil).

Once again, the commentary by Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church is excellent and contains many examples of unintentional injustice (honest mistakes due to human error) and intentional injustice (things done on purpose to pervert the law), both inside and outside the courtroom. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_15/.

Regarding this verse, Matthew Henry wrote: "… When those that are entrusted with the administration of public justice, judges, juries, witnesses, prosecutors, counsel, do either acquit the guilty or condemn those that are not guilty, or in the least contribute to either; this defeats the end of government, which is to protect the good and punish the bad …" (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/proverbs/17.html, "Verse 15")

JANUARY 16

Proverbs 16:4: "The LORD
[God] hath [has] made all things for himself [for his own purpose; for his honor, glory, and pleasure]: yea [yes], even the wicked [people, referring to sinners who end up rebelling against God and refuse to accept his free gift of eternal life] [were created] for the day of [the punishment of] evil [i.e., judgment day, when God will demonstrate his holiness, justice, and righteousness]."

In other words, God created everything for his pleasure (not ours!) and to show his handiwork, demonstrate his power and greatness, serve his purposes, and bring glory (praise and honor) to his name.

In the introduction to his commentary, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church says that in the above verse:

"1. Solomon states a difficult concept in one terse statement.

"2. By difficult I do not mean that it is hard to understand. Rather, it is easy to understand, just hard for us self-centered creatures to accept and believe.

"3. We are inclined to think that the world revolves around us and that it was created for our good pleasure.

"4. Solomon lays that kind of thinking to rest."

If you want to read more of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-16-index/proverbs-16_4/.

JANUARY 15

Proverbs 15:27: "He that is greedy of gain
[the person who wants to be rich and tries to get things dishonestly, through cheating or violence] troubleth his [or her] own house [household, family]; but he [or she] that hateth [refuses to take] gifts [in this case, bribes--to do something unjust or wrong, or to obtain money unlawfully] shall live [a long, fulfilling (satisfying, happy), and peaceful life]."

Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse, including the following examples of how we can be "greedy of gain" and cause trouble for our families: cheating on our tax returns, embellishing our resumes, becoming involved in shady business deals, taking bribes, and gambling.

Especially interesting and eye-opening is how this behavior affects our children. Here's what the commentary says in paragraph 4 under "B. Troubling One's Own House":

"4. There are various WAYS in which a dishonest, greedy man troubles his house.

"a. He may trouble his family with the hardships they experience because of him being arrested… losing his job… being imprisoned… losing their house… etc.

"b. But he may also trouble his house for years to come by TEACHING HIS CHILDREN to follow his behavior.
"→ Our kids pick up on our values by observation.
"→ The dishonest, greedy man demonstrates his character not only when he robs a bank. His kids will pick up on as they are growing up.
"→ Often those values (or lack thereof) are passed on to the next generation.

"c. This may go on for many generations. (Ex. 34:7)
" Alcoholism and drug abuse is often passed on in a family. Partly perhaps to genetics… but mostly through LEARNED and observed behavior!
" You don't have to worry about a genetic predisposition to alcoholism if you don't take your first drink!
" If the parents are involved in lying, cheating, stealing, those poor kids don't stand a chance of growing up honest!
" Domestic violence is also learned and passed on.
" Trouble brought into the home is often kept there… and passed on to future generations to CONTINUE to trouble that household…

"d. Kids are like sponges and they are watching and observing everything their parents do.
" And more often than not, those qualities are repeated in their lives.

"e. A man who is greedy for gain can trouble his own household even if he does nothing illegal!
" If a man is so driven to succeed materially that he works so many hours that he never has any TIME for his family, he too troubles his house.
" Those kids will grow up with many toys and nice clothes, but will RESENT that dad never spent any time with them.
" Kids grow up fast… and if they grow up angry, bitter, and resentful because Dad was more interested in material gain than in them… that exacerbates the trouble in the home…"

Concerning bribes, Pastor Delany says that people (including politicians, judges, police, and CEO's) can sometimes be bought off by money, and justice can also be perverted by money. Many people are willing to lie, cheat, look the other way, and refuse to blow the whistle when offered money or other things to keep quiet.

If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-15-index/proverbs-15_27/.

JANUARY 14

Psalm 121:2
[King David wrote]: "My help cometh [comes] from the LORD [God], which [who] made [created] heaven and earth."

If you're a born-again Christian, King David's helper (God) is your helper, too.

JANUARY 13

Proverbs 13:7: "There is
[the person] that maketh himself [or herself] [appear to be] rich, yet hath nothing [but he (or she) really is poor]: there is [the person] that maketh himself [or herself] [appear to be] poor, yet hath [but he (or she) really has] great riches."

According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, this verse is about people who pretend to be what they're not (i.e., rich when poor, poor when rich).

In his commentary, Pastor Delany provides many examples of the ways in which greedy, covetous people live beyond their means in order to make others believe that they're rich, and he tells what can happen to them as a result. He also shows how misers (selfish, cheap, stingy, penny-pinching people) might pretend to be poor in order to keep more of their money. Both cases illustrate the meaning of "the love of money is the root of all evil" in 1 Timothy 6:10.

If you want to read the pastor's commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-13-index/proverbs-1_37/.

JANUARY 8-12

Acts 5:1-11 - Ananias and Sapphira
This took place during the time when many members of the early Christian church willingly (and voluntarily) shared their possessions with those who were poor.

Verses 1-2: "But a certain man named Ananias, [along] with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession [some land], And kept back [withheld for himself] part of the price [the amount he received], his wife also being privy to it [knowing about it], and brought a certain part [of the money], and laid it at the apostles' feet."

Verses 3-4: "But Peter
[one of the apostles] said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart [impelled (persuaded) you] to lie to the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit (i.e., the third person of the Trinity)], and to keep back [withhold] part of the price of the land? Whiles it [while the land] remained [in your possession], was it not thine [your] own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power [to keep the money or give it away]? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart [referring to Ananias' plan to pretend that he was giving all of the money to the church]? thou hast not [you have not] lied unto men [people], but unto God."

Verses 5-6: "And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost
[died]: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up [in bandages, or in grave clothes (linen cloths, many folds of linen), like a mummy], and carried him out, and buried him."

Verses 7-8: "And it was about the space of three hours after
[the death of Ananias], when his wife, not knowing what was done [what had happened to her husband], came in. And Peter answered unto her [said], Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much [i.e., a specific price that he stated]? And she said, Yea [yes], for so much [that amount]."

Verses 9-10: "Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together
[with your husband] to tempt the Spirit of the Lord [i.e., the Holy Spirit]? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and [those young men] shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway [immediately she fell down] at his [Peter's] feet, and yielded up the ghost [died]: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth [away], buried her by her husband."

Verse 11: "And great fear came upon all the
[members of the] church, and upon as many [other people] as heard these things."

In his commentary on verse  9, Albert Barnes answers the question of why Ananias and Sapphira were punished in such a severe and awful manner for their sins of deception and hypocrisy. In part, this is what he said:

"(1) This was an atrocious crime - a deep and dreadful act of iniquity. It was committed knowingly, and without excuse … It was important that sudden and exemplary [an excellent example of] punishment should follow it, because the society of Christians was just then organized, and it was designed that it should be a 'pure' society, and should be regarded as a body of holy men. Much depended on making an 'impression' on the people that sin could not be allowed in this new community, but would be detected and punished.

"(2) God has often, in a most solemn manner, shown his abhorrence of [feeling of disgust for] hypocrisy and insincerity. By awful declarations and fearful judgments he has declared his displeasure at it. In a particular manner, no small part of the preaching of the Saviour was employed in detecting the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees, and denouncing heavy judgments on them … In the very beginning of the Christian church it was important, by a decided and awful act, to impress upon the church and the world the danger and guilt of hypocrisy. Well did the Saviour know that it would be one of the most insidious and deadly foes to the purity of the church; and at its very 'threshold,' therefore, he set up this solemn warning to guard it, and laid the bodies of Ananias and Sapphira in the path of every hypocrite that would enter the church. If they enter and are destroyed, they cannot plead that they were not fully warned. If they practice iniquity 'in' the church, they cannot plead ignorance of the fact that God intends to detect and punish them.

"(3) the apostles were just then establishing their authority. They claimed to be under the influence of inspiration. To establish that, it was necessary to show that they could know the views and motives of those who became connected with the church. If easily imposed on, it would go far to destroy their authority and their claim to infallibility. If they showed that they could detect hypocrisy, even where most artfully concealed, it would establish the divine authority of their message. At the 'commencement' of their work, therefore, they gave this decisive and most awful proof that they were under the guidance of an infallible Teacher.

"(4) this case does not stand alone in the New Testament. It is clear from other instances that the apostles had the power of punishing sinners, and that a violation of the commands of Christ was attended by sudden and fearful judgments. See 1 Corinthians 11:30, and the case of Elymas the sorcerer in Acts 13:8-11.

"(5) neither does this event stand alone in the history of the world. Acts of judgment sometimes occur as sudden and decided, in the providence of God, as in this case. The profane [irreverent] man, the drunkard, the profligate offender [i.e., spendthrift] is sometimes suddenly stricken down, as in this instance. Cases have not been uncommon where the blasphemer has been smitten in death with the curse on his lips; and God often thus comes forth in judgment to slay [kill] the wicked, and to show that there is a God that reigns in the earth. This narrative cannot be objected to as improbable until 'all' such cases are disposed of, nor can this infliction be regarded as unjust until all the instances where people die by remorse of conscience, or by the direct judgment of heaven, are 'proved' to be unjust also.

"In view of this narrative, we may remark:

"(1) That God searches the heart, and knows the purposes of the soul …

"(7) sinners should fear and tremble before God. He holds their breath in his hands …

(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/acts-5.html, "Verse 9")

JANUARY 6-7

Genesis 2:20-24 - Adam and Eve

Verse 20: "And Adam
[the first person that God ever created] gave names to all cattle [livestock], and to the fowl of the air [birds, flying insects, etc.], and to every beast of the field [wild animals]; but for Adam [out of all of the creatures mentioned] there was not found an help meet [helpmate (helpful companion or partner)] for him."

Verses 21-22:  "And the LORD God caused a deep sleep
[like when you're given anesthesia for surgery] to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he [God] took [out] one of his [Adam's] ribs [see note below*], and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And [from] the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man [removed from Adam], made he a woman [Eve], and brought her unto the man."

Verses 23-24: "And Adam said, This
[person, Eve,] is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore [for this reason] shall a man leave his father and his mother [i.e., not live with them any more], and shall cleave unto [adhere or stick to, join together in marriage and live with] his wife: and they shall be one flesh [body, referring to the development of a strong marriage bond between the man and woman]."
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*Commenting on these verses, Matthew Henry said: "… the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved." (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/genesis/2.html, "Verses 21-25")

JANUARY 5

Psalm 145:8: "The LORD
[God] is gracious [kind, good, friendly], and full of compassion [sympathy and concern for people who are suffering and/or experiencing misfortune]; [he is also] slow to anger [not easily angered], and of great mercy [unwilling to cause pain, not cruel, willing to forgive]."

In his commentary, Matthew Henry summarizes the above verse as follows:"The Lord is gracious to those that serve him; he is full of compassion to those that need him, slow to anger to those that have offended him, and of great mercy to all that seek him …" [Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/psalms/145.html, "Verses 1-9," "(v.8)"]

JANUARY 3-4

John 6:66-69 - True Believers (Christians) Keep Following Jesus

Verse 66: "From that time
[i.e., after Jesus explained why he is the 'living bread which came down from heaven'--see note below*] many of his disciples [followers] went back [went away, departed, left], and walked no more with him."

Verse 67: "Then said Jesus unto the twelve
[apostles], Will ye [you] also go away?"

Verses 68-69: "Then Simon Peter answered him
[Jesus] [by saying], Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast [you have] the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art [you are] that Christ [the promised Messiah], the Son of the living God."

The people in verse 66 who stopped following Jesus had apparently made a false profession of salvation. In other words, they had been "saved" for the wrong reason (selfishness, excitement, etc.). Albert Barnes explains this in his commentary as follows:

"Many of his disciples - Many who had followed him professedly as his disciples and as desirous of learning of him …

"Went back - Turned away from him and left him. From this we may learn,

"1.Not to wonder at the apostasy of many who profess to be followers of Christ. Many are induced to become his professed followers by the prospect of some temporal benefit, or under some public excitement, as these were; and when that temporal benefit is not obtained, or that excitement is over, they fall away.

"2.Many may be expected to be offended by the doctrines of the gospel. Having no spirituality of mind, and really understanding nothing of the gospel, they may be expected to take offence and turn back. The best way to understand the doctrines of the Bible is to be a sincere Christian, and aim to do the will of God, John 7:17.

"3.We should examine ourselves. We should honestly inquire whether we have been led to make a profession of religion by the hope of any temporal advantage, by any selfish principle, or by mere excited animal feeling. If we have it will profit us nothing, and we shall either fall away of ourselves, or be cast away in the great day of judgment."

(Source for above quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-6.html, "Verse 66")
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*In verses 26-65 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+6%3A26%2D65&version=KJV), Jesus said he was (and is) the "living bread which came down from heaven." For some people, this is a hard concept to grasp (understand), as it is meant in the spiritual, not physical (or literal), sense. That's why many of the people in verse 66 stopped following him.

In their article entitled "What did Jesus mean when He said we must eat His flesh and drink His blood?" GotQuestions.org explains why Jesus referred to himself as "living bread" and what he meant by it. If you want to read the article, you'll find it here: https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-eat-flesh-drink-blood.html.

JANUARY 2

Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by
[God's] grace are ye saved [from eternal death (punishment) in hell and given eternal life in heaven] through faith [in the Lord Jesus Christ and his death on the cross to pay for your sins]; and that [referring to salvation and eternal life] [is] not of [earned by] yourselves: it is the gift of God [as confirmed by Romans 6:23]: [it is] Not of [due to] [good] works, lest any man [or woman or child, or 'so that no person'] should [be able to] boast [brag]."

In other words, salvation is based on faith, not works, so that nobody will be ever able to say, "I got to heaven because of my own righteousness (what a person I was, how many good deeds I did during my life on earth, etc.)."
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*For an explanation of what it means to have faith in Jesus and believe in Jesus, I recommend the following articles:

-- "What does it mean to have faith in Jesus?" (https://www.gotquestions.org/faith-in-Jesus.html)
-- "What does it mean to believe in Jesus?" ((https://www.gotquestions.org/believe-in-Jesus.html)

JANUARY 1

2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man
[or woman or child] be in Christ [is united to Jesus Christ by faith, which means the person has been saved, or born again, according to the Bible--see important note below*], he [or she] is a new creature [created being, creation--in a moral sense]: old things are passed away; behold, all things [in regard to the mind; i.e., thoughts, principles, and practices] are become new."

Albert Barnes has a good commentary on this verse. Here are some excerpts:

"Therefore if any man be in Christ - … The affirmation here is universal, 'if any man be in Christ;' that is, all who become true Christians - undergo such a change in their views and feelings as to make it proper to say of them that they are new creatures. No matter what they have been before, whether moral or immoral; whether infidels or speculative believers; whether amiable, or debased, sensual and polluted yet if they become Christians they all experience such a change as to make it proper to say they are a new creation.

"A new creature - … It means, evidently, that there is a change produced in the renewed heart of man that is equivalent to the act of creation, and that bears a strong resemblance to it - a change, so to speak, as if the man was made over again, and had become new. The mode or manner in which it is done is not described, nor should the words be pressed to the quick, as if the process were the same in both cases - for the words are here evidently figurative. But the phrase implies evidently the following things:

"(1)That there is an exertion of divine power in the conversion of the sinner as really as in the act of creating the world out of nothing, and that this is as indispensable in the one case as in the other.

"(2)that a change is produced so great as to make it proper to say that he is a new man. He has new views, new motives, new principles, new objects and plans of life. He seeks new purposes, and he lives for new ends.

"If a drunkard becomes reformed, there is no impropriety in saying that he is a new man. If a man who was licentious becomes pure, there is no impropriety in saying that he is not the same man that he was before. Such expressions are common in all languages, and they are as proper as they are common. There is such a change as to make the language proper. And so in the conversion of a sinner. There is a change so deep, so clear, so entire, and so abiding, that it is proper to say, here is a new creation of God - a work of the divine power as decided and as glorious as when God created all things out of nothing. There is no other moral change that takes place on earth so deep, and radical, and thorough as the change at conversion. And there is no other where there is so much propriety in ascribing it to the mighty power of God.

"Old things are passed away - … It was true of all who were converted that old things had passed away. And it may include the following things:

"(1) In regard to the Jews - that their former prejudices against Christianity, their natural pride, and spirit of seducing others; their attachment to their rites and ceremonies, and dependence on them for salvation had all passed away. They now renounced that independence, relied on the merits of the Saviour, and embraced all as brethren who were of the family of Christ.

"(2) in regard to the Gentiles - their attachment to idols, their love of sin and degradation, their dependence on their own works, had passed away, and they had renounced all these things, and had come to mingle their hopes with those of the converted Jews, and with all who were the friends of the Redeemer.

"(3) in regard to all, it is also true that old things pass away. Their former prejudices, opinions, habits, attachments pass away. Their supreme love of self passes away. Their love of sins passes away. Their love of the world passes away. Their supreme attachment to their earthly friends rather than God passes away. Their love of sin, their sensuality, pride, vanity, levity, ambition, passes away. There is a deep and radical change on all these subjects - a change which commences at the new birth; which is carried on by progressive sanctification; and which is consummated at death and in heaven.

"Behold, all things are become new - That is, all things in view of the mind. The purposes of life, the feelings of the heart, the principles of action, all become new. The understanding is consecrated to new objects, the body is employed in new service, the heart forms new attachments. Nothing can be more strikingly. descriptive of the facts in conversion than this; nothing more entirely accords with the feelings of the newborn soul. All is new. There are new views of God, and of Jesus Christ; new views of this world and of the world to come; new views of truth and of duty; and everything is seen in a new aspect and with new feelings. Nothing is more common in young converts than such feelings, and nothing is more common than for them to say that all things are new. The Bible seems to be a new book, and though they may have often read it before, yet there is a beauty about it which they never saw before, and which they wonder they have not before perceived. The whole face of nature seems to them to be changed, and they seem to be in a new world. The hills, and vales, and streams; the sun, the stars, the groves, the forests, seem to be new. A new beauty is spread over them all; and they now see them to be the work of God, and his glory is spread over them all, and they can now say:

"'My Father made them all.'

"The heavens and the earth are filled with new wonders, and all things seem now to speak forth the praise of God. Even the very countenances of friends seem to be new; and there are new feelings toward all people; a new kind of love to kindred and friends; and a love before unfelt for enemies; and a new love for all mankind."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-corinthians-5.html, "Verse 17")
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*Note: Unless you're already a Christian, a wonderful way to start the new year would be to get saved.

If you believe that Jesus Christ (God's Son) died on the cross to pay for your sins and that he was buried and rose again, all you need to do is sincerely ask him, through prayer (either silently or out loud), to come into your heart and save you so you can go to heaven when you die. If your prayer is sincere (i.e., if you really mean what you pray), you will be the "new creature" described above.

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:
https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.


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