Genesis 2:20-24 - Adam and Eve
Verse 20: "And Adam 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 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] 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 and live with] his wife: and they shall be one flesh [i.e., the two of them shall be just like one person]."
*According to Matthew Henry's commentary: "… 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: www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/genesis/2.html)
John 15:13 [Jesus, speaking to his disciples at the Last Supper]: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life [sacrifice his life, be willing to die] for his friends."
Jesus himself is a great example of this truth, as he willingly suffered an excruciating death on the cross to save the souls of mankind--not only his friends (disciples) but also his enemies and people he never met.
Throughout history, many men and women have
lost their lives on the battlefield while defending our country.
Today (Memorial Day) is a special day in the United States
that has been set aside by our government
to remember and honor them.
1 Chronicles 10:13-14:
Verse 13: "So [King] Saul died for his transgression [sin] which he committed against the LORD [i.e., disobedience--see note below*], even against the word [command] of the LORD, which he kept not [didn't obey], and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit [supernatural spirit or demon who acts as that person's servant (in this case, the witch of Endor, who brought the prophet Samuel back from the dead)--see note below**], to inquire of it;"
Verse 14: "And inquired not of the LORD: therefore he [God] slew him [killed Saul], and turned the kingdom unto [over to] David the son of Jesse."
*The sin this is referring to is probably Saul's refusal to obey God's instructions to kill everything (people and animals) in the city of Amalek:
-- 1 Samuel 15:3-9: "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. … And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. … And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly."
**For more information on familiar spirits and the witch of Endor, read these articles:
-- "What are familiar spirits?" (www.gotquestions.org/familiar-spirits.html)
-- "Did the witch of Endor really summon Samuel from the dead (1 Samuel 28:7-20)?" (www.gotquestions.org/witch-of-endor.html)
Romans 2:6-11 - God as Righteous Judge on Judgment Day
Verse 6: "Who [God] will render to [reward or punish] every man according to his deeds:"
In heaven one day, all people (both saved and unsaved) will stand before God and be rewarded or punished as they deserve, according to their deeds. This includes past conduct (what they have done on earth), as well as their thoughts, motives (reasons for doing things), and principles (standards of behavior).
Verse 7: "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality [to those who are truly saved, have tried to do things that are pleasing to God, and look forward to having a home in heaven someday], [God will give] eternal life:"
Verses 8-9: "But unto them that are contentious [who have rebelled against God], and do not obey the truth [of the gospel] [i.e., are not saved], but obey unrighteousness [have been the 'servants of sin'], [God will show his] indignation [strong displeasure] and wrath [anger], [and send] Tribulation [severe trials or suffering] and anguish [extreme pain or misery] [in hell], upon every soul of man that doeth evil [every person who is not saved], of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile [non-Jew];"
Verse 10: "But glory, honour, and peace, [will be given] to every man that worketh good [to every person who is saved and has tried to obey God's word], to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:"
Verse 11: "For there is no respect of persons with God [i.e., God treats everyone equally; he doesn't show favoritism]."
2 Corinthians 12:2-4 - The Apostle Paul's Experience in Heaven
Verses 2-3: "I [Paul] knew a man in Christ [a Christian--referring to himself] above [more than] fourteen years ago, (whether [he was] in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body [i.e., in the spirit], I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven [where God is--see note below*]."
Verse 4: "And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he [Paul] was caught up into paradise [heaven], and heard unspeakable [secret] words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter [speak] [i.e. he was not given permission to tell others what he saw and heard--see note below**]."
*According to Albert Barnes, there are three heavens:
-- The atmosphere and clouds, from the earth to the stars
-- The starry heavens, where the sun, moon, and stars are located
-- The heavens beyond the stars, where we find God, angels, and the souls of Christians who have died
(Source: www.godvine.com/bible/2-corinthians/12-2, "Barnes Notes")
**In the Bible, nobody who went to heaven told others on earth about their experiences. Here's what Albert Barnes said about that in his commentary:
(Note: All references in the following quoted material have been omitted.)
"The transaction here referred to is very remarkable. It is the only instance in the Scriptures of anyone who was taken to heaven, either in reality or in vision, and who returned again to the earth and was then qualified to communicate important truths about the heavenly world from personal observation. Enoch and Elijah were taken to heaven; but they returned not to converse with people. Elijah appeared with Moses in conversation with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration; but they conversed with him only about his decease, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. … Lazarus was raised from the dead, and many of the saints which had slept in their graves arose at the death of Jesus, but there is no intimation that they communicated any thing to the living about the heavenly world.
"Of all the million who have been taken to heaven, not one has been permitted to return to bear his testimony to its glories; to witness for God that he is faithful to his promises; to encourage his pious friends to persevere; or to invite his impenitent friends to follow him to that glorious world. And so fixed is the Law; so settled is the principle, that even Lazarus was not permitted to go, though at the earnest request of the rich man in hell, and warn his friends not to follow hint to that world of woe. Muhammed indeed feigned that he had made a journey to heaven, and he attempts to describe what he saw; and the difference between true inspiration and false or pretended inspiration is strikingly evinced by the difference between Paul's dignified silence … and the puerilities of the prophet of Mecca."
(For a description of Muhammad's journey to heaven, see the commentary.)
"The fact that Paul was not permitted to communicate what he had seen is very remarkable. It is natural to ask why it is so? Why has not God sent down departed saints to tell people of the glories of heaven? Why does he not permit them to come and bear testimony to what they have seen and enjoyed? Why not come and clear up the doubts of the pious; why not come and convince a thoughtless world; why not come and bear honorable testimony for God that he is faithful to reward his people? And especially why did he not suffer Paul, whom he had permitted to behold the glories of paradise, to testify simply to what he had seen, and tell us what was there?"
"… the following may have been some of the reasons why Paul was not permitted to communicate what he saw to human beings:
"(1) It was designed for the support of Paul himself in view of the very remarkable trials which he was about to endure. …
"(2) it is probable that if there were a full revelation of the glories of heaven we should not be able to comprehend it; or even if we did, we should be incredulous in regard to it. …
"(3) there are great truths which it is not the design of God to reveal to human beings. …
"(4) there is enough revealed of heaven for our guidance and comfort in this world. God has told us what it will be in general. …
"(5) … his purpose is that we shall here walk by faith and not by sight. … It may be added:
"(a) That we have all the truth which we shall ever have about heaven here below. No other messenger will come; none of the pious dead will return. If people, therefore, are not willing to be saved in view of the truth which they have, they must be lost. God will communicate no more."
(The above numbered paragraphs only contain the highlights of each point. For detailed explanations, see the commentary.)
If you want to read the entire commentary, click on the link (www.godvine.com/bible/2-corinthians/12-4) and scroll down to "Barnes' Notes."
Luke 16:15 [Jesus, speaking to the Pharisees*]: "And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves [attempt to appear just, or righteous (morally right)] before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed [respected and admired] among men is abomination [disgusting and hated] in the sight of God [see note below**]."
*Pharisees were members of a religious sect (group) who considered themselves to be more righteous than other Jews. They believed in strict observance of religious ceremonies and practices, adherence to oral laws and traditions, and belief in an afterlife and the coming of a Messiah.
Jesus made this statement to the Pharisees because they had mocked him (made fun of something he said) while he was preaching to his disciples (followers).
**According to Albert Barnes, "… There are many things esteemed among people which are 'not' abomination in the sight of God; as, for example, truth, parental and filial affection, industry, etc. But many things, much sought and admired, 'are' hateful in his sight. The love of wealth and show, ambition and pride, frivolous and splendid vices, and all the wickedness that people contrive to 'gild' and to make appear like virtue - external acts that 'appear' well while the heart is evil - are abominable in the sight of God, and 'should be' in the sight of people."
(Source: www.godvine.com/bible/luke/16-14, "Barnes' Notes")
Proverbs 21:23: "Whoso[ever] keepeth [guards] his mouth and his tongue [i.e., is careful of what he or she says] keepeth his soul from troubles [stays out of trouble]."
In his Bible study notes on Proverbs, Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church summarizes the above verse as follows: "… keep your mouth shut and you will stay out of trouble!"
If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch21_html/Prov.21.23.htm.
Galatians 3:24-25 - Purpose of the Law:
Verse 24: "Wherefore the law [God's law, as given to the Jewish nation through the prophet Moses] was our schoolmaster [teacher] to bring us unto Christ [Jesus] [i.e., to make us realize that we have sinned (broken God's law*) and need a Savior], [so] that we might be justified [made righteous] by faith."
Verse 25: "But after that faith is come [after we are born again, or saved], we are no longer under a schoolmaster [teacher]."
Note re Verse 25: In other words, when a person is saved, he or she is free from the ceremonial law (no longer in bondage to religious ceremonies and rites) but must still obey the moral part of the law, as summarized in the Ten Commandments. For your convenience, I am listing them here:
Exodus 20:2-17 - Ten Commandments
I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
 Thou shalt not kill.
 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
 Thou shalt not steal.
 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."
*James 2:10: "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."
Proverbs 20:18: "Every purpose [intention or plan to do something] is established by counsel [advice]: and with good advice make war."
Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse, including many examples of why we should always seek good advice and direction (from people, the Bible, and God himself), not only before going to war but before making any big life decisions.
If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch20_html/Prov.20.18.htm.
1 Timothy 4:12 [the apostle Paul's advice to Timothy, a minister of the gospel]:
"Let no man despise thy youth [don't let people think you are too young to preach; i.e., act like an adult, not like a child]; but be thou an example of the believers [in Christ] [ i.e., show how born-again Christians (in this case, the members of Timothy's church) should behave],
in word [speech],
in conversation [lifestyle],
in charity [love of God and man],
in spirit [disposition, temperament (mild, meek, forgiving, etc.)],
in faith [belief or trust in God],
in purity [of heart and life] [i.e., innocence; freedom from immorality, especially of a sexual nature]."
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 - Definition of "Gospel"
[The apostle Paul, in a letter to the church at Corinth]:
Verse 1: "Moreover [in addition to what I have already said], brethren [fellow Christians], I declare unto you the gospel [I want to remind you of the good news] which I preached unto you, which also ye have received [embraced (willingly accepted)], and wherein ye stand [i.e., the fundamental (basic) truths of Christianity, foundation of the Christian church];"
Verse 2: "By which also ye are saved [born again, or saved from hell], if ye keep in memory [remember] what I preached unto you [i.e., the gospel], unless ye have believed in vain [without success]."
[Verse 2: In other words, your salvation depends upon your belief in the gospel, unless you believed a story that Paul made up (which he didn't, as everything that he said was based on facts) or your profession of faith in Christ was false, or not sincere.]
Verses 3-4: "For I delivered unto you first of all [most importantly] [i.e., one of the first things that I taught you was] that which I also received [those doctrines or teachings that I received from God], how that Christ [Jesus] died for our sins according to the scriptures [in this case, the Old Testament]; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"
Proverbs 31:6-7: "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish [die--due to illness or injury], and [give] wine unto those that be of heavy hearts [those who are depressed because they are so sick]. Let him drink, and forget his poverty [in this case, his poor condition of life, because he will probably die soon], and remember his misery no more."
These verses were written in Bible days, when strong drink was used for medicinal purposes (as a pain killer or form of anesthesia). Contrary to common belief, they do not condone (give approval for) social drinking.
Salem Bible Church has a detailed explanation of these verses in their commentary. If you want to read it, here's the link: www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch31_html/Prov.31.6.htm.
1 Corinthians 5:1-5 [the apostle Paul, in a letter to the Corinthian church]:
Verse 1: "It is reported commonly [I heard a rumor] that there is fornication [sexual immorality; in this case, incest] among you [members of the congregation], and such fornication as is not so much as [not even] named among the Gentiles [i.e., the type that is not tolerated (allowed) by non-Jewish people], that one should have [as his wife … or have sexual relations with] his father's wife [his mother or stepmother] [i.e., by marrying her or keeping her as his concubine]."
Verses 2-3: "And ye are puffed up [filled with pride], and have not rather mourned [expressed sorrow (sadness) or regret], that he that hath done this deed [thing] might be taken away from among you [be excommunicated (temporarily removed) from the church]. For I verily [truly], as [being] absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged [made a decision] already, as though I were present [with you in person], concerning him that hath so done this deed,"
Verses 4-5: "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together [as a church, in public], and my spirit [with me, as if I were present in person], with the power [under the power and authority] of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan [to turn him over to Satan] for the destruction of the flesh [to be afflicted with pain and/or bodily diseases], [so] that the spirit [his soul] may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus [on judgment day] [i.e., so he may be reformed and saved from ruin]."
Proverbs 23:13-14 [advice to parents]: "Withhold not correction from the child [don't hesitate to discipline your child]: for if thou beatest him with the rod [if you spank him], he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell [probable meaning in this case: you will save him from a premature, untimely death (see explanation in second commentary below)]."
Salem Bible Church has two commentaries on the above verses. Both are excellent and highly recommended (by me).
-- The first commentary (www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch23_html/Prov.23.13.htm) pertains to Solomon's main command to discipline our children.
-- The second one (www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch23_html/Prov.23.13b.htm) tells why we should obey the command to discipline our children and gives specific instructions on spanking, including what type of rod to use. (In my opinion, both commentaries are good, but this is the best.)
Note: Most (if not all) of the Bible studies on Proverbs are outlines of sermons that Pastor Delany delivered to his congregation.
Psalm 11:5: "The LORD trieth the righteous [God puts Christians through trials to prove their sincerity, love, and faithfulness to him]: but the wicked [person] and him that loveth violence his soul [i.e., God] hateth."
In other words, when Christians go through difficult times, it is usually meant to test their faith, but God punishes wicked and violent people.
2 Corinthians 5:10 [the apostle Paul, and Timothy, in a letter to born-again Christians in the church at Corinth]: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ [in heaven]; [so] that every one may receive [what is due for] the things done in his body [during his lifetime], according to that [which] he hath done, whether it be good [meaningful] or bad [worthless] [to God]."
There is a good explanation of this verse in the article entitled "Judgment Seat Of Christ." Here's the link, if you want to read it: www.raptureready.com/abc/Judgment_Seat_of_Christ.html.
John 5:39 [Jesus said]: "Search the scriptures [carefully study the books of the Bible]; for in them ye think ye have eternal life [see note below*]: and they [the scriptures] are they which testify [serve as evidence of proof, bear witness] of me."
*At the time this was written, many Jews thought they could gain eternal life by simply reading and memorizing scripture. (Source: Matthew Henry's commentary, v. 39 -- www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/john/5.html) … But they were mistaken.
According to the Bible, the only way that a person can be saved is through faith in Christ (i.e., trusting in Jesus as his or her personal Savior). This is stated in different ways throughout the Bible. Here is an important one, that you may have heard before:
-- Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Proverbs 27:4: "Wrath [extreme anger, rage] is cruel [merciless], and anger is outrageous [intense, overwhelming, and perhaps even uncontrollable]; but who is able to stand before envy?"
The answer to the above question is "No one," since envy is more powerful than wrath.
As usual, Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse, including many examples of envy and cruelty, with explanations of how those feelings affect us and what to do about them. If you want to read it, here's the link: www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch27_html/Prov.27.4.htm.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 [the apostle Paul, Silas, and Timothy, writing to the church of the Thessalonians]: "For even when we were with you [in person], this we commanded you, that if any[one] would not work [if he or she is able to do so], neither should he eat [at public expense]."
Laziness should not be excused or rewarded.
Hebrews 10:28-31 - Written to the Jewish people as a warning against apostasy (abandonment or renunciation of their Christian faith):
Verse 28: "He that despised [hated, disregarded, ignored] Moses' law died without mercy [compassion] under [based on the testimony of] two or three witnesses:"
Verse 29: "Of how much sorer [worse] punishment, suppose ye [do you think], shall he [a born-again Christian] be thought worthy [of receiving] [i.e., what worse punishment does he deserve], who hath [if he has] trodden under foot [trampled on] the Son of God [Jesus Christ] [i.e., treated him with contempt], and hath counted the blood of the covenant [the blood that Jesus shed on the cross], wherewith he [with which he (the saved person)] was sanctified [cleansed from sin, set apart for service to God], an unholy [a common] thing, and hath done despite unto [has insulted] the Spirit of grace [i.e., the Holy Spirit]?"
Verses 30-31: "For we [born-again Christians] [personally] know him [God] that hath said [who has said, in Deuteronomy 32:35-36--see below*], Vengeance [punishment] belongeth unto me, I will recompense [repay], saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
In other words, if someone has done you wrong, let God take care of it.
Also, salvation is a serious thing, so treat it with respect. When Christians sin or backslide, they can be forgiven by God. However, if people wilfully reject Jesus and renounce their faith after being born again, they can't be saved a second time.**
*Deuteronomy 32:35-36: "To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. For the LORD shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left."
**Here's a good explanation of the consequences of apostasy, quoted from "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible" (www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/hebrews-10.html):
Hebrews 10:26-27. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
Here the truth taught is that, if a Christian apostatizes, if he renounces his faith, and goes back to the world, it is impossible to reclaim him. A backslider may be restored, but anyone who should wilfully, after receiving the truth, reject it, has rejected the only Saviour; he has rejected the only regeneration; and, consequently, he is without the pale of the possibilities of restoration. The question is, "Will any true child of God so apostatize?" That question is answered in this very chapter; but the truth here taught is that, if he does, he goes into a state of absolute hopelessness.
In another section of the same commentary, Mr. Spurgeon goes on to say:
"… No man was ever born again twice; no man was ever washed twice in the precious blood of Jesus. The one washing makes us so clean that 'he that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet,' for which Jesus provides by daily cleansing; but the one grand atoning act never fails. If it did fail, there would remain 'no more sacrifice for sins.'"
Proverbs 28:24: "Whoso[ever] robbeth [steals from] his father or his mother [even though what they have will probably belong to him when they die], and saith, It is no transgression [crime, wrongdoing, sin]; the same is the companion of a destroyer [he is no better than a common thief--who destroys the victim's peace of mind, happiness, security, etc.]."
Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse, including examples of the many ways that children rob their parents (i.e., actual theft, wasting their goods, fraud, debt, heartstrings, borrowing, spending their inheritance, and sloth [laziness]).
If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch28_html/Prov.28.24.htm.
1 Corinthians 15:57: "But thanks be to God, which giveth us [born-again Christians] the victory [over Satan, sin, death, hell, and the grave] through our Lord Jesus Christ [i.e., through his death on the cross (in payment for our sins), burial, and resurrection (rising from the dead) a few days later*]."
*Matthew 12:40: "For as Jonas [Jonah] was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man [Jesus] be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
Matthew 22:15-22 - After Jesus told two parables while teaching in the temple:
Verse 15: "Then went the Pharisees [members of a religious sect (group), who considered themselves more righteous than other Jews], and took counsel [sought advice, asked one another, discussed] how they might entangle [trap] him [Jesus] in his talk [conversation with them] [i.e., catch him in his words]."
Verses 16-17: "And they sent out unto him their disciples [along] with the Herodians [members of a Jewish political party], saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man [i.e., Jesus always taught the truth from God, whether the listeners agreed or not]: for thou regardest not the person of men [you are not partial or biased (influenced by what people do and say)]. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou [what do you think]? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar [pay taxes to the Roman government], or not?"
Verses 18-21: "But Jesus perceived [recognized, understood] their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me [why do you test me], ye hypocrites [you pretenders]? Shew [show] me the tribute [tax] money. And they brought unto him a penny [a denarius (small silver coin in ancient Rome)]. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription [whose picture, name, and title are engraved on the coin]? They say unto him, Caesar's [the Roman emperor's]. Then saith he unto them, Render [give] therefore unto Caesar [i.e., the government] the things which are Caesar's; and [give] unto God the things that are God's."
Verse 22: "When they had heard these words [Jesus' answer], they marvelled [were amazed, astonished, filled with wonder], and left him, and went their way."
You could say that Jesus' response in verse 21 is the true, biblical meaning of "separation of church and state."
Deuteronomy 5:16 [Moses to the Israelites, reminding them of the fifth commandment]: "Honour thy father and thy mother [treat them with love and respect], as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; [so] that thy days may be prolonged [you may live a long time], and that it may go well with thee [you will be happy], in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee [i.e., Canaan]."
To all the moms throughout the world,
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
Psalm 101:3 [King David wrote this psalm]: "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work [motives, plans, and deeds] of them that turn aside [from righteousness]; it ['the work'] shall not cleave [stick, cling] to me."
In other words, we shouldn't look at--or have anything to do with--ungodly things. An example would be pornography.
Leviticus 19:12 [God's instructions, through Moses, to the children of Israel]: "And ye shall not swear by my name falsely [for example, by lying on the witness stand in court after you've taken an oath to tell the truth], neither shalt thou [and don't] profane [treat with irreverence or contempt] the name of thy God: I am the LORD."
In other words, we should always treat God's name with respect.
John 9:31-33 [the blind man's reply to the Pharisees after Jesus healed him and they had accused Jesus of being a sinner (in this case, an imposter or false prophet)]:
Verse 31: "Now we know that God heareth not sinners [when they pray]: but if any man be a worshipper of God [a born-again Christian], and doeth his will [obeys God's word], him he heareth."
Verses 32-33: "Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes [restored the sight] of one that was born blind. If this man [Jesus] were not of [from] God, he could do nothing [could not perform miracles]."
Regarding prayer: If you're not a Christian, you need to be saved. (That's the only prayer from sinners that God will hear.) If you're already a Christian and want God to hear and answer your prayers, be sure to ask his forgiveness whenever you realize that you have sinned against him.
-- 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Isaiah 53:1-2 [the prophet Isaiah, prophesying about the Messiah]:
Verse 1: "Who hath believed our [the prophets'] report [message about the Messiah]? and to whom is the arm of the LORD [the power of God] revealed?"
Verse 2: "For he [Messiah] shall grow up before him [Yahweh, or God] as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground [as a humble person, not like someone who is descended from royalty]: he [Jesus Christ] hath no form [will not be handsome] nor comeliness [and will not wear fancy clothes] [i.e., he will be plain-looking and will dress like normal people]; and when we [Jewish people] shall see him, there is [will be] no beauty [in his outward appearance] that we should desire [want to be around] him."
Because Jesus didn't look or dress like a king during his earthly ministry; most of the Jewish people rejected him as their Messiah.
Proverbs 26:21: "As coals [pieces of charcoal] are to burning coals, and wood [is] to fire [i.e., they're needed in order to start a fire and keep it going]; so is a contentious man [a quarrelsome (argumentative) person] [needed in order] to kindle strife [start a fight]."
In Salem Bible Church's commentary on Proverbs 26, verse 21 is combined with verse 20. If you want to read it, click on the link (www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch26_html/Prov.26.20.htm) and scroll down almost to the bottom of the page until you see "How to Start a Fight (vs.21)" in bold type.
Verse 20 is not quoted in a prominent place in the above commentary, so for your reference, I'm including it here :
-- Proverbs 26:20: "Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth."
Verses 1-2: "O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock [source] of our salvation. Let us come before his presence [before him] with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms [songs of praise]."
Verse 3: "For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods [i.e., he is greater than everyone and everything else that is worshiped]."
Verses 4-5: "In his hand [under his control] are the deep [unseen, underground] places of the earth: the strength of the hills is [the hills and mountains, all the way to the top, are] his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land."
Verse 6: "O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker [creator]."
2 Timothy 2:19: "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure [the foundation of the Christian church remains strong, steady, firm], having this seal [these inscriptions], The Lord [Jesus Christ] knoweth them that are his [those who have received him as their Savior]. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ [i.e., born-again Christians] depart from iniquity [wickedness, sin].
Albert Barnes has an excellent commentary on this verse. If you want to read it, click on the link (www.godvine.com/bible/2-timothy/2-19) and scroll down to "Barnes' Notes."