NOVEMBER 30

Proverbs 30:12: "There is a generation
[a segment of society which is made up of a group of people who were born and grew up at around the same time] that are pure [clean, righteous (morally right), without fault] in their own eyes, and yet [in God's eyes (and in other people's eyes, too),] [this generation] is not washed from their filthiness [the filthiness of their hearts, which is the source of the bad things that they think, say, and do]."

According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, self-righteous people need to repent (change their way of thinking) and acknowledge the truth (see themselves as God sees them).

The pastor's commentary on this verse has many examples of people (both saved and unsaved) who are self-righteous hypocrites. He says that they can be found everywhere, including in Hollywood, in offices and homes, and in politics, education, business, and the marketplace. Even some believers (Christians) can be considered part of this group. If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-30-index/proverbs-30_12/.

Note:
Everyone on earth has inherited a sin nature from Adam and Eve, and consequently we were born with filthy hearts, which get dirtier and dirtier each time we sin as we go through life. We are 'washed from our filthiness' (cleansed from sin) for the first time when we, through faith, accept Jesus' death as full payment for our sins, ask him to come into our hearts, and receive him as our personal Savior. After that, whenever we sin, we need to pray and ask for God's forgiveness, and then our slate is wiped clean again.

NOVEMBER 29

John 16:21
[Jesus said to his disciples]: "A [pregnant] woman when she is in travail [labor] hath [has] sorrow [sadness, grief], because her hour [the time for childbirth] is come [has arrived]: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish [pain], for [because of, due to] [her] joy that a man [a human being--a baby boy or girl] is born into the world."

Jesus' statement that the pain of childbirth is forgotten when the baby arrives is true for most expectant mothers. However, according to John Gill, it was actually meant to comfort Jesus' disciples concerning his upcoming death and resurrection. Here's what the pastor said in his commentary on this verse:

"… Now our Lord, by this instance, illustrates the sorrow his disciples should have by his departure, and the joy that they should be possessed of upon his return to them; that as the pains of a woman in travail are very sharp and severe, and the distress of her mind, about the issue of things respecting herself and offspring, is very great, so would be the grief and trouble of the disciples on account of the death of their Lord and master: but as when a woman is safely delivered of a man child, she is so filled with joy, that her sorrow is remembered no more so should it be with them, when Christ should appear to them; all their trouble, concern, anxiety of mind, and fears, that attended them, would all vanish away, and they be distressed with them no more. "

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/16-21.html, "John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible")

NOVEMBER 28

Psalm 106:1: "Praise ye
[you] the LORD [God]. O give thanks unto the LORD [always, for all things]; for [because] he is good [morally good, righteous]: for his mercy [kindness, compassion, faithfulness, forgiveness] endureth [endures, lasts] for ever."

NOVEMBER 25-27

1 Corinthians 5:1-5 - An Example of Church Discipline in the Early Church
The Corinthian church had many problems. In one of his letters to them, the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 1: "It is reported commonly [Paul had 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 [is not even] named among the Gentiles [i.e., that type of behavior was unacceptable to everyone, including non-Jewish people], that one should have [as his wife … or 'should have sexual relations with'] his father's wife [referring to his mother or stepmother] [by marrying her or keeping her as his concubine or mistress]."

Verses 2-3: "And ye
[you] are puffed up [i.e., filled with pride despite the scandal], and have not rather mourned [expressed sorrow (sadness) or regret], that he that hath [has] done this deed [thing] might be taken away from among you [by excommunication, meaning the offender should be temporarily removed from the church)]. For I [Paul] 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 [committed this horrible sin],"

Verses 4-5: "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye
[you] are gathered together [as a church, in public], and my spirit [is with you, as if I (Paul) 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 (the fornicator) over to Satan] for the destruction of the flesh [perhaps to be caused by pain and/or bodily diseases], [so] that the spirit [of this man, referring to his soul,] may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus [on judgment day] [i.e., so the sinner (a born-again Christian) may be reformed and saved from ruin]."

In his commentary, Matthew Henry noted: "… The heinous [hateful, wicked] sins of professed Christians are quickly noted and noised abroad [broadcast, spread around, told to others]. We should walk circumspectly, for many eyes are upon us, and many mouths will be opened against us if we fall into any scandalous practice."

(Source for above quote: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/1-corinthians/5.html, "Verses 1-6," "v. 1")

Regarding the term for the destruction of the flesh in verse 5, Albert Barnes said that this type of punishment "… was an extraordinary and miraculous power. It was designed for the government of the church in its infancy, when everything was suited to show the direct agency of God; and it ceased [ended], doubtless, with the apostles. The church now has no such power. It cannot now work miracles; and all its discipline now is to be moral discipline, designed not to inflict bodily pain and penalties, but to work a moral reformation in the offender …"

(Source for Barnes quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-corinthians-5.html, "Verse 5")

NOVEMBER 23-24

Proverbs 23:13-14 - What the Bible Says About Spankings
King Solomon to parents: Sometimes it's necessary to spank your child.

Verse 13: "Withhold not correction from the child [don't hesitate to discipline your child]: for if thou beatest him [or her] with the rod [if you spank your child], he [or she] shall not die."

Verse 14: "Thou shalt
[you shall] beat him [or her--your child] with the rod, and shalt deliver his [or her] soul from hell [probable meaning in this case: you will save your child from a premature, untimely death (see explanation in the second commentary listed below)]."

Salem Bible Church has two commentaries on the above verses. Both are excellent and highly recommended (by me).

-- The first commentary discusses the importance of Solomon's main command to discipline our children and gives specific reasons why many parents don't spank their children (mainly due to human nature and choosing to follow advice from the "world" instead of the Bible).

-- The second commentary tells why we should obey the command to discipline our children and gives specific instructions on spanking, including what type of rod to use. (Both commentaries are good, but this is my favorite.)

Here are some excerpts from the second commentary:

In paragraph 2 under the heading "A. Beat Him With a Rod," Pastor Delany says:

"j. Because of the wild variations in the usage and connotation of this term ['beat'], it is not surprising that there is not unanimity concerning just how aggressive a parent should BE with spanking.

"k. A couple of things ARE clear:
" Solomon is speaking about corporal punishment (striking or hitting) and not a 'time out' or 'going to bed early' or 'no dessert tonight.'
" That corporal punishment (smiting) is supposed to hurt.
" That corporal punishment can be misapplied:
"» Either so lightly that it does not hurt and thus is ineffective.
"» So hard and brutal that it physically damages the child and is thus ineffective--because you have 'provoked your child to anger.'
"» It can also be misapplied when not used consistently--so that the child never knows what the limits really are.
"» It can be misapplied when the parent is angry and out of control. (wrong spirit)
"» It can be misapplied when the child is never told what it is for… or when the child is never told what the rules are.
"» It can be misapplied when a child is spanked for an unintentional accident.
"» It is also misapplied when the rod is continually threatened, but not used."

A little farther down the page, in paragraph 3 of the same section, Pastor Delany goes on to say:

"c. Again, note the wide range of meaning [of the term 'rod'].

"d. The Hebrew term for rod used here could refer to anything from a thin switch off a willow tree to a massive club used to crush someone's skull… to a dart or javelin used to kill someone.

"e. Obviously, a little common sense needs to be applied in choosing the kind of 'rod' to use in spanking your child.

"f. I recommend the small flexible 'rod' that comes with the mini blinds. It won't do any damage, (as a wooden spoon could do if it hit a bone accidently) but it sure does sting. It communicates the message that needs to be communicated.

"4. I would prefer to translate 'beat him with the rod' as 'strike him with a thin, flexible switch.'

"a. Or as others have said, 'Apply the board of knowledge to the seat of understanding.'

"b. It is not a beating in the sense that we use the term today.

"c. It is a striking of the rear end (where you are unlikely to do any real harm).

"d. It is a striking that inflicts enough pain to get the point across.

"e. Common sense needs to be applied on the part of the parent--and the parent needs to be under the control of the Holy Spirit.

"f. And as a side note, corporal punishment should not be applied for each and every tiny infraction. Other forms of punishment might well be applied in those situations.

"g. Corporal punishment [spanking] ought to be applied in cases of direct rebellion and disobedience… when that disobedience is done with full knowledge that they were breaking the rules.

"h. One man wrote, 'It is medicine, not food.' (For an occasional sickness that needs fixing; not for daily ingestion.)

"i. It should also be balanced with encouragement, praise, and even rewards for good behavior.

"j. Parents are to be to their children as God is to us: gracious, longsuffering, and loving, but firm and just. Parents are to be more like a loving father than a drill sergeant."

Near the end of the commentary, Pastor Delany says that Solomon's point in the proverb is this: "Spanking won't kill them [your children]. But not correcting their behavior via corporal punishment when they are young could set them off on a life of rebellion, sin, and violence that ends in a tragic death."

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

-- Commentary 1: "Withhold Not Correction"
    https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-23-index/proverbs-23_13-14/

-- Commentary 2: "The Benefits of Corporal Punishment"
    https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-23-index/proverbs-23_13b-14/

Note:
Most (if not all) of the Bible studies on Proverbs are outlines of sermons that Pastor Delany  preached to his congregation.

NOVEMBER 22

Isaiah 45:18: "For thus saith
[this said] the LORD [God,] that [who] created the heavens [the universe]; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath [has] established it, he created it not [he did not create it] in vain [without success, for no reason or purpose, simply to prove his power], [but instead] he formed it to be inhabited [occupied, lived in]: I am the LORD [the one true God]; and there is none else [no other true God]."

NOVEMBER 21

Proverbs 21:20: "There is treasure
[such as money, food, etc., for basic necessities] to be desired and oil [referring to olive oil in Bible times, representing expensive luxury items] in the dwelling [home] of the wise [person]; but a foolish man [or woman or child] spendeth it up."

This proverb is about saving and spending.

In the introduction to his commentary on this verse, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church wrote, "Perhaps we should send a copy of this proverb to the chairman of the Federal Reserve, and our treasury secretary… and to congress and to the White House."

Here are some more excerpts from Pastor Delany's commentary:

In paragraph 2 under "Treasure Saved":

"d. The wise man's view of prosperity is through the making of long range goals… planning ahead for the future.
" The wise man did not live lavishly for the moment.
" He had long range goals in his planning.
" Because he salted some away during good times, his dwelling place continually had a stockpile of the goods and funds he needed.

"e. His view of prosperity is to portion out today's income in order to salt some away for tomorrow.
" He was frugal today so that he will have enough for tomorrow.
" He pinched his pennies in order to make them last.
" He didn't spend more than he made.
" He didn't borrow more than he could pay back.
" He didn't live above his means.
" To use today's vernacular: he didn't buy more house than he could afford!
" Nobody had to bail him out."

And under the "Treasure Spent" section, we find:

In paragraph 3:

"b. The foolish man spends money as soon as he gets it.

"c. Money seems to fall through holes in his pockets.

"d. When good times come economically, instead of saving for bad times which will eventually come… he decides to blow his money on having a good time."

In paragraph 4:

"c. It [foolish spending] demonstrates a heart attitude of 'living for today'… a 'here and now' mentality."

"e. The fool cares only about feeding his desires NOW; he cares only about experiencing pleasure NOW."

In paragraph 5:

"5. The obvious point of the second part of this proverb (though not stated) is that the fool loves to 'spend it up' and as a result there is nothing left!

"a. He ends up poor. He doesn't have a storehouse of goods and supplies. He has nothing."

If you want to read the rest of Pastor Delany's commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-21-index/proverbs-21_20/.

Matthew Henry agrees with the above comments and adds: "Foolish children spend what their wise parents have laid up." (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/proverbs/21.html, "Verse 20")

NOVEMBER 20

Proverbs 20:11: "Even a child is known by his
[or her] doings [actions--what he (or she) does], whether his [or her] work [behavior] be pure [clean, acceptable, good], and whether it be right."

By observing children's behavior, we can usually determine what kind of adults those children will grow up to be.

Albert Barnes explained the verse like this: "The graces or the faults of children are not trifles. 'The child is father of the man;' and the earliest actions are prophecies of the future, whether it will be pure and right, or unclean and evil." (Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-20.html, "Verse 11")

Note: There is no commentary for this verse on the Salem Bible Church website.

NOVEMBER 18-19

2 Corinthians 6:2: "(For
[because] he [God the Father] saith [said] [to his Son, Jesus (the Messiah), in Isaiah 49:8--see note below*], I have heard thee [you, referring to Jesus' prayer that the people of the world could someday be saved] in a time accepted [at a time that was acceptable to God], and in the day of salvation have I [God] succoured thee [you, Jesus] [which means that God promised to help Jesus in his efforts to make salvation known during the gospel dispensation]: [consequently, in his letter to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul is telling everyone:] behold, now is the accepted time [for you to be saved]; behold, now is the day of salvation.)"

Bad things (illnesses, accidents, shootings, weather-related disasters, etc.) happen all the time, and we never know when our life will end. That's why Paul is encouraging us (if we have not yet been born again) to be saved today.

According to the Bible, it's easy to be 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.

You only need to do that once, and you're saved forever.

Note:
Detailed explanations of the plan of salvation can be found on the "Printable Gospel Tracts" page of my website. Here's a direct link to that page:
https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
_________________________

*Isaiah 49:8: "Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;"


Note: In case today's verse is hard to understand, I thought you would like to read a portion of what Albert Barnes says about it in his commentary:

"Behold, now is the accepted time … - The meaning of this passage is, the 'Messiah is come. The time referred to by Isaiah has arrived. It is now a time when God is ready to show compassion, to hear prayer, and to have mercy on mankind. Only through the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, does he show mercy, and people should therefore now embrace the offers of pardon.' The doctrine taught here, therefore. is, that through the Lord Jesus, and where he is preached, God is willing to pardon and save people; and this is true wherever he is preached, and as long as people live under the sound of the gospel. The world is under a dispensation of mercy, and God is willing to show compassion, and while this exists, that is, while people live, the offers of salvation are to he freely made to them. The time will come when it will not be an acceptable time with God. The day of mercy will be closed; the period of trial will be ended; and people will be removed to a world where no mercy is shown, and where compassion is unknown. This verse, which should be read as a parenthesis, is designed to be connected with the argument which the apostle is urging, and which he presented in the previous chapter. The general doctrine is, that people should seek reconciliation with God. To enforce that, he here says, that it was now the acceptable time, the time when God was willing to be reconciled to human beings. The general sentiment of this passage may be thus expressed:

"(1) Under the gospel it is an acceptable time, a day of mercy, a time when God is willing to show mercy to people.

"(2) there may be special seasons which may be especially called the acceptable, or accepted time:

"(a)When the gospel is pressed on the attention by the faithful preaching of his servants, or by the urgent entreaties of friends;

"(b)When it is brought to our attention by any striking dispensation of Providence;

"(c)When the Spirit of God strives with us, and brings us to deep reflection, or to conviction for sin;

"(d)In a revival of religion, when many are pressing into the kingdom - it is at all such seasons an accepted time, a day of salvation. a day which we should improve. It is 'now' such a season, because:

"(i)The time of mercy will pass by, and God will not be willing to pardon the sinner who goes unprepared to eternity.

"(ii)Because we cannot calculate on the future. We have no assurance, no evidence that we shall live another day, or hour.

"(iii)It is taught here, that the time will come when it will not be an accepted time. Now is the accepted time; at some future period it will not be.

"If people grieve away the Holy Spirit; if they continue to reject the gospel; if they go unprepared to eternity, no mercy can be found. God does not design to pardon beyond the grave. He has made no provision for forgiveness there; and they who are not pardoned in this life, must be unpardoned forever."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-corinthians-6.html, "Verse 2")

NOVEMBER 17

Proverbs 17:23: "A wicked man
[or woman or child] taketh a gift out of the bosom [from a hidden pocket in his or her clothing, meaning that evil people offer bribes (money, gifts, promises, etc.)] to pervert the ways of judgment [to pervert justice (prevent justice from taking place) and/or to keep secrets from being revealed]."

Bad people give and take bribes.

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. In it, Pastor Delany says, "Every offer of a bribe… every temptation to be dishonest is a test of our character."

Here is an excerpt from Pastor Delany's commentary (i.e., the section entitled "The One Receiving a Bribe"):

"4. Note also the secrecy involved here: out of the bosom.

"a. Bosom: refers to a fold in the garment used as a hidden pocket…

"b. When a bribe is covered up in the bosom and passed from the bosom to the one receiving it--BOTH parties realize that what they are doing is WRONG.

"c. The fact that they have to conceal it means they know what they are doing.

"d. When a bribe occurs BOTH parties are obviously guilty.
"→ They know WHAT they are doing (purposely perverting justice).
"→ And WHY they are doing it (to obtain an outcome favorable to the one offering the bribe).
"→ And they know it is WRONG (for they conceal it).

"e. Thus, they are guilty and accountable. No excuse.

"f. Of course hiding the gift in the bosom hides it from the sight of men, but certainly not from the eyes of the Lord."

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_23/
.

NOVEMBER 16

Deuteronomy 5:11: "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for
[because] the LORD will not hold him [or her] guiltless [innocent, without guilt] that taketh his name in vain."

This is commandment number three of the Ten Commandments, which were written on two tablets of stone with the "finger of God" and then given to Moses on Mount Sinai. These commandments are known as the moral law and still apply not only to Jewish people (for whom they were originally intended) but also to everyone else around the world.

In an article entitled "What does it mean to take the Lord's name in vain?" by GotQuestions.org, we are told that"[b]ecause of the greatness of the name of God, any use of God's name that brings dishonor on Him or on His character is taking His name in vain …"

Examples from the Got Questions article include:

-- Using God's name while swearing.
-- Not treating God with reverence and respect.
-- In the Old Testament: Failing to perform an oath or vow (i.e., keep a promise) made in God's name.
-- Professing Christians: Deliberately and continually disobeying the commands of Jesus Christ.
-- Misrepresenting Christ, either intentionally or through ignorance of the Christian faith.

(Source:
https://www.gotquestions.org/Lords-name-vain.html)

Another article answers the above question this way:

"… What does it mean to not take God's name in vain? 'In vain' it means to lack the proper respect and substance belongs in a statement and or intention or God's name is invoked. In other words, to take the Lord's name in vain means to use it in a manner that is not reverent. The phrase, 'the Lord's name,' includes words such as 'God,' 'Lord,' 'Jesus,' and 'Christ.' These words are never to be used in any form of exclamation, swearing, or disrespect such as 'Oh my ***.' They are always and only supposed to be used in a manner that glorifies God."

The article goes on to provide specific examples of taking God's name in vain:

"Swearing

"The entertainment industry is full of examples of people using the Lord's name in vain. A Christian needs only to watch TV, a sitcom, a movie, awards banquet, etc. for a short time in order to hear the name of God invoked by non-Christians in a casual or flippant way. Of course, this is not limited to the entertainment industry. People at work, school, and even our friends and family sometimes routinely use God's name and title in exclamations of amazement, ridicule, and other emotional, explosive situations. This is wrong.

"Humor

"Sometimes people will take God's name in vain by making a joke about God, or some situation dealing with the truth of God's word, the person of Christ, or God in general. Christians ought not participate in any situation where a joke, or in innuendo, or disrespectful intention about God is used in humor.

"God told me

"Sometimes Christians will invoke the name of God when they say 'God told me to...' or 'God told me that...' and it turns out that what they're stating is unbiblical. In that sense, they have used the name of God in vain. Unfortunately, too many Christians get a sensation and then immediately say that God told them something. Christians of all people ought to be extremely cautious about invoking God's name to further their own status, interests, or whatever it might be in relation to themselves and to other Christians.

"Misrepresenting God

"There are many instances where God is misrepresented by false religious systems, movies, radio, magazines, plays, etc. God has revealed himself in the Bible, and we should restrict our understanding and teachings about him to that which is revealed therein. We should never, for example, portray Jesus as being a homosexual or God the Father as being a female. The Lord has condemned homosexuality is a sin, and he has chosen to reveal himself and the male gender. Of course, we know that God the Father is not biologically male. The point is that we ought to refer to God as he refers to himself.

"God bless you

"Even the well-intended phrase 'God bless you' ought to be offered with care. That phrase should not be a casual declaration of well-meaning upon people. Though it is good to pray for others and to want them to be blessed, we should be careful when invoking God. For example, what if you are speaking with an unbeliever who is living in a sinful situation. Perhaps you've had a discussion with him or her and have gently urged repentance. But, the person has no desire to turn from sin. Should you then say to them 'God bless you' when you part? I think that, at this point, we should be careful and not urge God's blessing upon those who are living in rebellion against him. Instead, we should ask that God reveal himself to them so they might come to repentance.

"Then again, if you're talking to a Christian and in your parting, you say 'God bless you,' is that okay? I would say that it is if it was intended as a sincere request for God to bless the person. But, if it is a casual, automatic phrase offered just because it's something you do, then I would be concerned that that would be using God's name in vain.

"Conclusion

"We should only use God's name, title, etc. in a manner that shows reverence, respect, and honor. We should never be casual about it, never use it in swearing, never use it in humor or God is or his name is what is laughed at."

(Source:
https://www.carm.org/lords-name-vain)

And here is some interesting information from Dr. Thomas Constable, a Bible commentator:

"… The Jews took this command [to not take the Lord's name in vain] seriously. They did not even speak God's name 'Yahweh' to avoid abusing it. Instead they substituted the phrase 'the Name' for 'Yahweh' in conversation. They also spoke of 'heaven,' the place where God resides, rather than 'God.' This, by the way, explains why Matthew in writing his Gospel to Jews usually spoke of the 'kingdom of heaven' whereas the other Gospel writers, who wrote primarily for Gentiles, normally used the term 'kingdom of God.' According to Jewish tradition when a Jewish scribe wrote the name of God he would first bathe, change his clothes, and use a new quill with which to continue writing …"

(Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/deuteronomy/5-11.html, "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable")

NOVEMBER 13-15

2 Timothy 3:1-5 - Description of People Who Will Be Living in the "Last Days"
In his second letter to Timothy (whom he called his "son in the faith"), the apostle Paul warned of the coming apostasy (abandonment of the truth) in both the world and the Christian church:

Verse 1: "This know also, that in the last days [in gospel times, before Jesus returns to earth,] perilous [dangerous] times shall come."

Verses 2-4: "For
[because] men [and women and children] shall be

lovers of their own selves
[selfish],
covetous
[loving money and things, wanting to be rich],
boasters
[bragging about their achievements, possessions, and/or abilities],
proud
[arrogant],
blasphemers
[inclined to curse or take God's name in vain],
disobedient to parents
,
unthankful
,
unholy
[showing disregard for what is holy, or dedicated to God],
Without natural affection
[unloving],
trucebreakers
[refusing to honor agreements or keep their word],
false accusers
[making false statements about others and damaging their reputation],
incontinent
[lacking self-control (i.e., unable to resist feelings of passion, desire for food, etc.)],
fierce
[cruel],
despisers
[haters] of those that are good,
Traitors
[willing to betray their country and friends],
heady
[headstrong, reckless, stubborn, determined to have their own way],
highminded
[haughty, conceited],
lovers of pleasures
[pleasure] more than lovers of God;"

Verse 5: "
[Referring to the types of people listed above:] Having a form of godliness [a profession of religion], but denying the power thereof [or, as suggested by Adam Clarke, 'They have religion in their creed, but none in their hearts'--see note below*]: from such [people] turn away [i.e., don't associate with them]."

The sins in Paul's list (see verses 2-4 above) describe the current behavior of many of Earth's inhabitants. I'm sure you have noticed that morality around the world is bad and keeps getting worse on a daily basis. Unfortunately, it seems that there is very little or nothing anyone can do (or is willing to do) to change that fact.
_________________________

*Regarding verse 5:

-- Source for quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/2-timothy/3-5.html, "Adam Clarke Commentary"

-- GotQuestions.org has an article that answers this question (about apostasy in the church):"What does it mean to have a form of godliness but deny its power in 2 Timothy 3:5?" If you want to read it, here's the link:
https://www.gotquestions.org/form-of-godliness.html.

NOVEMBER 12

Proverbs 12:15: "The way of a fool is right
[correct] in his [or her] own eyes: but he [or she] that hearkeneth unto counsel [the person who heeds (listens and pays attention to) good advice] is wise."

Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse, especially when he talks about fools. Here's part of what he says in paragraph 3 in the section entitled "Right in his own eyes":

"d. Even Christians learn to justify their actions… and rationalize them.
" We watch things on TV and video that believers NEVER would have watched 25 years ago, and we justify it because, 'at least it's not as bad as that other show…'
" Christians are listening to the golden oldies radio station and are listening to the old rock songs--and justifying it, because, after all, the Beach Boys aren't nearly as bad as the Gangster Rappers are today.
" Churches are doing away with prayer meeting and justifying it because 'everybody's too tired'… it's too much trouble… and effort to come out mid week…
" Believers turn to drugs to calm down their nerves… and justify it because they have a prescription…
" Some believers begin dating an unsaved person--and rationalize that after they get married, my spouse will surely get saved…
" Some believers violate the biblical principle of separation and rationalize that they are doing it in order to lead someone to Christ. Separation will only turn them off…
" EVERY way of man can be rationalized away…

"e. And if believers can justify such evil things--surely men in the world will!
" Even terrorists justify their horrible plots and are RIGHT in their own eyes!
" Abortionists are right in their own eyes.
" One of the priests arrested in Boston was part of an organization that believes pedophilia is right!
" The violent animal rights groups have convinced themselves that they are right… and if they destroy businesses and lives in their crusade, so be it!
" When two countries fight in a war--usually both sides think that they are right. One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist."

If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link:
https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-12-index/proverbs-1215/.
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Another Bible commentator, John Gill, wrote:

"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,… Whether it be the way of open profaneness, or self-righteousness, it appears to him to be the right way; it seems to him a very plain one, and he finds it pleasant; and, trusting to carnal sense, corrupt reason, and a false judgment, and having a high opinion of himself and his own knowledge, never asks after the right way, nor takes the advice of others; …"

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/12-15.html, "John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible")

NOVEMBER 11

Deuteronomy 31:6 - God is Our Helper and Protector
After informing the people of Israel that they would be crossing over the Jordan River into the promised land without him, Moses said:

Verse 6: "Be strong [in the Lord, and in the power of his might] and of a good courage [be courageous, brave], fear not, nor [and don't] be afraid of them [your enemies--in this case, referring to the Canaanites--people who lived in the land of Canaan]: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth [does] go with thee [you]; he will not fail thee [let you down], nor forsake [leave] thee."

This verse also applies to born-again Christians.

TODAY IS VETERANS DAY.
If you're a veteran, thank you
very much for your service.
We appreciate you!

NOVEMBER 10

Job 26:7
[Regarding the process of creation, Job said]: "He [God] stretcheth out the north [referring to the heavens, as they appear to revolve around the north pole and seem to be stretched out like a curtain] over the empty place [upon emptiness], and hangeth the earth upon nothing [meaning it has nothing to support it]."

In his commentary, Albert Barnes said of this verse: "… had Job understood all that is now known of astronomy, his language would have been appropriate to express just conceptions of the greatness and majesty of God. It is proof of amazing power and greatness that he [God] has thus 'hung' the earth, the planets, the vast sun himself, upon nothing, and that by his own power he sustains and governs all."

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-26.html, "Verse 7")

NOVEMBER 9

Romans 14:19 - Strive for Peace and Edification
In a letter to the Christian church in Rome, encouraging its members (and all other Christians as well) to overlook their minor disagreements and live in harmony, the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 19: "Let us therefore [instead of judging others, because (in verses 1-18) Paul said not to do that--see note below*] follow after [do] the things which make for [promote (help further the progress of, actively encourage)] peace, and things wherewith [with which] one [person] may edify [instruct (teach, counsel, advise) or benefit, especially morally or spiritually; uplift (build up)] another."

Everyone should follow Paul's advice and try to be kind and loving, not critical and judgmental.
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*Chapter 14 of Romans can be found here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+14&version=KJV.

NOVEMBER 8

1 Corinthians 11:8-9: "For the man is not of
[made from] the woman; but the woman [is] of [made from] the man [i.e., from his rib, according to Genesis 2:21-22--see note below*]. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman [was created] for the man."

In his commentary, regarding the creation of the first woman (Adam's wife, Eve), Matthew Henry recorded these thoughts, which are commonly quoted by others:

"… 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 for quote: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/genesis/2.html, "Verses 21-25" )
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*Genesis 2:21-22: "And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he [God] took one of his [Adam's] ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man."

NOVEMBER 6-7

John 9:1-7 - Jesus Heals a Blind Man on the Sabbath Day

Verses 1-3: "And as Jesus passed by
[probably as he was leaving the temple], he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind [see note below*]? Jesus answered, Neither hath [has] this man sinned, nor his parents: but [he was born blind so] that the [powerful] works of God should be made manifest [made known, revealed] in him [the blind man]."

Verses 4-5: "I
[Jesus] must work [do] the works of him that sent me [to earth, meaning God the Father], while it is day [a period of time, not part of an actual 24-hour day--in this case, Jesus meant during his lifetime]: the night [another period of time--in this case, after our death] cometh, when no man [no one] can work. As long as I [Jesus] am in the world, I am the [spiritual] light of the world."

Verses 6-7: "When he
[Jesus] had thus spoken, he spat [spit] on the ground, and made clay of the spittle [saliva], and he anointed [gently rubbed] the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, [and] wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He [the blind man] went his way therefore, and washed [in the pool of Siloam], and came [back, to where he had met Jesus,] seeing [i.e., not blind, able to see]."

From this story of the miraculous healing of a blind man, we learn that there are other reasons for suffering besides sin. In this case, it was so that the miracle of the blind man's healing would be seen by others and, as a result, would bring glory to God.
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*Regarding the suffering of children as punishment for past sins, Albert Barnes wrote:

"… It was a universal opinion among the Jews that calamities of all kinds were the effects of sin. … Many of the Jews … believed in the doctrine of the transmigration of souls; or that the soul of a man, in consequence of sin, might be compelled to pass into other bodies, and be punished there. They also believed that an infant might sin before it was born … and that consequently this blindness might have come upon the child as a consequence of that. It was also a doctrine with many that the crime of the parent might be the cause of deformity in the child, particularly the violation of the command in Leviticus 20:18."

-- Leviticus 20:18: "And if a man shall lie [down and have sex] with a woman having her sickness [her menstrual period], and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain [of blood], and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people."

(Source for Barnes quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/9-2.html, "Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible")

Here are some interesting beliefs about transmigration (the movement of a soul into another body after death) from Adam Clarke's commentary:

"… Most of the Asiatic nations have believed in the doctrine of transmigration. The Hindoos [Hindus] still hold it; and profess to tell precisely the sin which the person committed in another body, by the afflictions which he endures in this: they profess also to tell the cures for these. For instance, they say the headache is a punishment for having, in a former state, spoken irrevently [irreverently] to father or mother. Madness is a punishment for having been disobedient to father or mother, or to one's spiritual guide [a demonic spirit]. The epilepsy is a punishment for having, in a former state, administered poison to any one at the command of his master. Pain in the eyes is a punishment for having, in another body, coveted another man's wife. Blindness is a punishment for having killed his mother: but this person they say, before his new birth, will suffer many years' torment in hell. …"

(Source for Clarke quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/9-2.html, "Adam Clarke Commentary")

Got Questions
discusses transmigration (also known as reincarnation) in the following article: "What is the transmigration of souls?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/transmigration-of-souls.html.

NOVEMBER 4-5

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 - Biblical Definition of "Gospel"
Gospel refers to the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It consists of three parts: (1) Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, (2) he was buried, and (3) he rose again (came back to life) three days later.

In a letter to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 1: "Moreover [in addition to what I have already said in my letter], brethren [fellow Christians], I declare unto you the gospel [I want to remind you of the good news] which I preached unto you [i.e., the fundamental (basic) truths of Christianity, which are the foundation of the Christian church], which also ye have received [embraced, believed, willingly accepted], and wherein ye stand [firm, or faithful and strong, as a Christian church … or, 'on which your faith is based'];"

Verse 2: "By which
[referring to the gospel] also ye are saved [born again, or saved from hell], if ye keep in memory [remember] what I preached unto you [concerning the gospel and salvation], unless ye have believed in vain [falsely, without meaning]." [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 [Paul] delivered unto you [in person, through preaching, or taught you] first of all [most importantly] that which I also received [from the Lord, meaning those doctrines or teachings that Paul received from God regarding the gospel; i.e.,], how that Christ [Jesus--the Son of God and Messiah] died for our sins according to the scriptures [in this case, referring to the Old Testament]; And that he [Jesus Christ] was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

The above verses stress the importance of Jesus' resurrection. According to Paul, if you don't believe the gospel, you can't be saved.

The following articles give additional information about the gospel and salvation:

-- "What are the essentials of the gospel message?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/gospel-message.html)

-- "Is it necessary to fully understand the Gospel to go to heaven?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/fully-understand.html)

NOVEMBER 1-3

Jeremiah 18:1-10 - Sometimes God "Changes His Mind"
(in response to our actions--see note below*)

Verses 1-2: "The word which came to
[the prophet] Jeremiah from the LORD [in other words, God spoke to Jeremiah], saying, Arise [get up], and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee [you] to hear my words."

Verses 3-4: "Then I
[Jeremiah] went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he [the potter] wrought a work [shaped some pottery] on the wheels [two stone wheels--see note below**]. And the vessel [a container--cup, bowl, vase, pitcher, etc.] that he made of clay was marred [damaged, ruined] in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it [i.e., he made something else by re-forming the clay]."

Verses 5-6: "Then the word of the LORD
[i.e., God] came to me [Jeremiah], saying, O house of Israel [referring to the Jewish people], cannot I do with you as this potter [does]? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye [you] in mine [my] hand, O house of Israel."

Verses 7-8: "At what instant
[moment of time] I [God] shall speak [of my intentions] concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck [pick] up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I [God] have pronounced [judgment, destruction], turn from their evil [ways or deeds], I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them [I will change my mind and not punish them]."

Verses 9-10: "And at what instant
[moment of time] I [God] shall speak [of my intentions] concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build [it up] and to plant it [e.g., to bless it (make it prosperous, protect it, etc.)]; If it [that nation] do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice [i.e., if the people of that nation don't do what I say], then I will repent of the good [things], wherewith I said I would benefit [do good to] them [i.e., I will change my mind and withdraw (remove) my blessings]."

The above verses apply to all nations, not just Israel.

According to Albert Barnes, we learn from this passage (specifically, verses 7-10) that God's dealings with mankind are conditional, based upon our conduct. (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/jeremiah-18.html, "Verse 8")
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*GotQuestions.org has an article that answers the following question: "Does God change His mind?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/God-change-mind.html.

**There is an interesting article on the Internet entitled "Potter's Wheel," which provides information on potter's wheels in Bible times. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://bible.org/illustration/potter%E2%80%99s-wheel.

There is also a short video on You Tube of a potter making a clay pot. It's called "In The Potter's Hands" and can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_vf7D_n-4o.



Previous Verses
November 2019
NOVEMBER 30

Proverbs 30:12: "There is a generation
[a segment of society which is made up of a group of people who were born and grew up at around the same time] that are pure [clean, righteous (morally right), without fault] in their own eyes, and yet [in God's eyes (and in other people's eyes, too),] [this generation] is not washed from their filthiness [the filthiness of their hearts, which is the source of the bad things that they think, say, and do]."

According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, self-righteous people need to repent (change their way of thinking) and acknowledge the truth (see themselves as God sees them).

The pastor's commentary on this verse has many examples of people (both saved and unsaved) who are self-righteous hypocrites. He says that they can be found everywhere, including in Hollywood, in offices and homes, and in politics, education, business, and the marketplace. Even some believers (Christians) can be considered part of this group. If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-30-index/proverbs-30_12/.

Note:
Everyone on earth has inherited a sin nature from Adam and Eve, and consequently we were born with filthy hearts, which get dirtier and dirtier each time we sin as we go through life. We are 'washed from our filthiness' (cleansed from sin) for the first time when we, through faith, accept Jesus' death as full payment for our sins, ask him to come into our hearts, and receive him as our personal Savior. After that, whenever we sin, we need to pray and ask for God's forgiveness, and then our slate is wiped clean again.

NOVEMBER 29

John 16:21
[Jesus said to his disciples]: "A [pregnant] woman when she is in travail [labor] hath [has] sorrow [sadness, grief], because her hour [the time for childbirth] is come [has arrived]: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish [pain], for [because of, due to] [her] joy that a man [a human being--a baby boy or girl] is born into the world."

Jesus' statement that the pain of childbirth is forgotten when the baby arrives is true for most expectant mothers. However, according to John Gill, it was actually meant to comfort Jesus' disciples concerning his upcoming death and resurrection. Here's what the pastor said in his commentary on this verse:

"… Now our Lord, by this instance, illustrates the sorrow his disciples should have by his departure, and the joy that they should be possessed of upon his return to them; that as the pains of a woman in travail are very sharp and severe, and the distress of her mind, about the issue of things respecting herself and offspring, is very great, so would be the grief and trouble of the disciples on account of the death of their Lord and master: but as when a woman is safely delivered of a man child, she is so filled with joy, that her sorrow is remembered no more so should it be with them, when Christ should appear to them; all their trouble, concern, anxiety of mind, and fears, that attended them, would all vanish away, and they be distressed with them no more. "

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/16-21.html, "John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible")

NOVEMBER 28

Psalm 106:1: "Praise ye
[you] the LORD [God]. O give thanks unto the LORD [always, for all things]; for [because] he is good [morally good, righteous]: for his mercy [kindness, compassion, faithfulness, forgiveness] endureth [endures, lasts] for ever."

NOVEMBER 25-27

1 Corinthians 5:1-5 - An Example of Church Discipline in the Early Church
The Corinthian church had many problems. In one of his letters to them, the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 1: "It is reported commonly [Paul had 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 [is not even] named among the Gentiles [i.e., that type of behavior was unacceptable to everyone, including non-Jewish people], that one should have [as his wife … or 'should have sexual relations with'] his father's wife [referring to his mother or stepmother] [by marrying her or keeping her as his concubine or mistress]."

Verses 2-3: "And ye
[you] are puffed up [i.e., filled with pride despite the scandal], and have not rather mourned [expressed sorrow (sadness) or regret], that he that hath [has] done this deed [thing] might be taken away from among you [by excommunication, meaning the offender should be temporarily removed from the church)]. For I [Paul] 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 [committed this horrible sin],"

Verses 4-5: "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye
[you] are gathered together [as a church, in public], and my spirit [is with you, as if I (Paul) 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 (the fornicator) over to Satan] for the destruction of the flesh [perhaps to be caused by pain and/or bodily diseases], [so] that the spirit [of this man, referring to his soul,] may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus [on judgment day] [i.e., so the sinner (a born-again Christian) may be reformed and saved from ruin]."

In his commentary, Matthew Henry noted: "… The heinous [hateful, wicked] sins of professed Christians are quickly noted and noised abroad [broadcast, spread around, told to others]. We should walk circumspectly, for many eyes are upon us, and many mouths will be opened against us if we fall into any scandalous practice."

(Source for above quote: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/1-corinthians/5.html, "Verses 1-6," "v. 1")

Regarding the term for the destruction of the flesh in verse 5, Albert Barnes said that this type of punishment "… was an extraordinary and miraculous power. It was designed for the government of the church in its infancy, when everything was suited to show the direct agency of God; and it ceased [ended], doubtless, with the apostles. The church now has no such power. It cannot now work miracles; and all its discipline now is to be moral discipline, designed not to inflict bodily pain and penalties, but to work a moral reformation in the offender …"

(Source for Barnes quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-corinthians-5.html, "Verse 5")

NOVEMBER 23-24

Proverbs 23:13-14 - What the Bible Says About Spankings
King Solomon to parents: Sometimes it's necessary to spank your child.

Verse 13: "Withhold not correction from the child [don't hesitate to discipline your child]: for if thou beatest him [or her] with the rod [if you spank your child], he [or she] shall not die."

Verse 14: "Thou shalt
[you shall] beat him [or her--your child] with the rod, and shalt deliver his [or her] soul from hell [probable meaning in this case: you will save your child from a premature, untimely death (see explanation in the second commentary listed below)]."

Salem Bible Church has two commentaries on the above verses. Both are excellent and highly recommended (by me).

-- The first commentary discusses the importance of Solomon's main command to discipline our children and gives specific reasons why many parents don't spank their children (mainly due to human nature and choosing to follow advice from the "world" instead of the Bible).

-- The second commentary tells why we should obey the command to discipline our children and gives specific instructions on spanking, including what type of rod to use. (Both commentaries are good, but this is my favorite.)

Here are some excerpts from the second commentary:

In paragraph 2 under the heading "A. Beat Him With a Rod," Pastor Delany says:

"j. Because of the wild variations in the usage and connotation of this term ['beat'], it is not surprising that there is not unanimity concerning just how aggressive a parent should BE with spanking.

"k. A couple of things ARE clear:
" Solomon is speaking about corporal punishment (striking or hitting) and not a 'time out' or 'going to bed early' or 'no dessert tonight.'
" That corporal punishment (smiting) is supposed to hurt.
" That corporal punishment can be misapplied:
"» Either so lightly that it does not hurt and thus is ineffective.
"» So hard and brutal that it physically damages the child and is thus ineffective--because you have 'provoked your child to anger.'
"» It can also be misapplied when not used consistently--so that the child never knows what the limits really are.
"» It can be misapplied when the parent is angry and out of control. (wrong spirit)
"» It can be misapplied when the child is never told what it is for… or when the child is never told what the rules are.
"» It can be misapplied when a child is spanked for an unintentional accident.
"» It is also misapplied when the rod is continually threatened, but not used."

A little farther down the page, in paragraph 3 of the same section, Pastor Delany goes on to say:

"c. Again, note the wide range of meaning [of the term 'rod'].

"d. The Hebrew term for rod used here could refer to anything from a thin switch off a willow tree to a massive club used to crush someone's skull… to a dart or javelin used to kill someone.

"e. Obviously, a little common sense needs to be applied in choosing the kind of 'rod' to use in spanking your child.

"f. I recommend the small flexible 'rod' that comes with the mini blinds. It won't do any damage, (as a wooden spoon could do if it hit a bone accidently) but it sure does sting. It communicates the message that needs to be communicated.

"4. I would prefer to translate 'beat him with the rod' as 'strike him with a thin, flexible switch.'

"a. Or as others have said, 'Apply the board of knowledge to the seat of understanding.'

"b. It is not a beating in the sense that we use the term today.

"c. It is a striking of the rear end (where you are unlikely to do any real harm).

"d. It is a striking that inflicts enough pain to get the point across.

"e. Common sense needs to be applied on the part of the parent--and the parent needs to be under the control of the Holy Spirit.

"f. And as a side note, corporal punishment should not be applied for each and every tiny infraction. Other forms of punishment might well be applied in those situations.

"g. Corporal punishment [spanking] ought to be applied in cases of direct rebellion and disobedience… when that disobedience is done with full knowledge that they were breaking the rules.

"h. One man wrote, 'It is medicine, not food.' (For an occasional sickness that needs fixing; not for daily ingestion.)

"i. It should also be balanced with encouragement, praise, and even rewards for good behavior.

"j. Parents are to be to their children as God is to us: gracious, longsuffering, and loving, but firm and just. Parents are to be more like a loving father than a drill sergeant."

Near the end of the commentary, Pastor Delany says that Solomon's point in the proverb is this: "Spanking won't kill them [your children]. But not correcting their behavior via corporal punishment when they are young could set them off on a life of rebellion, sin, and violence that ends in a tragic death."

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

-- Commentary 1: "Withhold Not Correction"
    https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-23-index/proverbs-23_13-14/

-- Commentary 2: "The Benefits of Corporal Punishment"
    https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-23-index/proverbs-23_13b-14/

Note:
Most (if not all) of the Bible studies on Proverbs are outlines of sermons that Pastor Delany  preached to his congregation.

NOVEMBER 22

Isaiah 45:18: "For thus saith
[this said] the LORD [God,] that [who] created the heavens [the universe]; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath [has] established it, he created it not [he did not create it] in vain [without success, for no reason or purpose, simply to prove his power], [but instead] he formed it to be inhabited [occupied, lived in]: I am the LORD [the one true God]; and there is none else [no other true God]."

NOVEMBER 21

Proverbs 21:20: "There is treasure
[such as money, food, etc., for basic necessities] to be desired and oil [referring to olive oil in Bible times, representing expensive luxury items] in the dwelling [home] of the wise [person]; but a foolish man [or woman or child] spendeth it up."

This proverb is about saving and spending.

In the introduction to his commentary on this verse, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church wrote, "Perhaps we should send a copy of this proverb to the chairman of the Federal Reserve, and our treasury secretary… and to congress and to the White House."

Here are some more excerpts from Pastor Delany's commentary:

In paragraph 2 under "Treasure Saved":

"d. The wise man's view of prosperity is through the making of long range goals… planning ahead for the future.
" The wise man did not live lavishly for the moment.
" He had long range goals in his planning.
" Because he salted some away during good times, his dwelling place continually had a stockpile of the goods and funds he needed.

"e. His view of prosperity is to portion out today's income in order to salt some away for tomorrow.
" He was frugal today so that he will have enough for tomorrow.
" He pinched his pennies in order to make them last.
" He didn't spend more than he made.
" He didn't borrow more than he could pay back.
" He didn't live above his means.
" To use today's vernacular: he didn't buy more house than he could afford!
" Nobody had to bail him out."

And under the "Treasure Spent" section, we find:

In paragraph 3:

"b. The foolish man spends money as soon as he gets it.

"c. Money seems to fall through holes in his pockets.

"d. When good times come economically, instead of saving for bad times which will eventually come… he decides to blow his money on having a good time."

In paragraph 4:

"c. It [foolish spending] demonstrates a heart attitude of 'living for today'… a 'here and now' mentality."

"e. The fool cares only about feeding his desires NOW; he cares only about experiencing pleasure NOW."

In paragraph 5:

"5. The obvious point of the second part of this proverb (though not stated) is that the fool loves to 'spend it up' and as a result there is nothing left!

"a. He ends up poor. He doesn't have a storehouse of goods and supplies. He has nothing."

If you want to read the rest of Pastor Delany's commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-21-index/proverbs-21_20/.

Matthew Henry agrees with the above comments and adds: "Foolish children spend what their wise parents have laid up." (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/proverbs/21.html, "Verse 20")

NOVEMBER 20

Proverbs 20:11: "Even a child is known by his
[or her] doings [actions--what he (or she) does], whether his [or her] work [behavior] be pure [clean, acceptable, good], and whether it be right."

By observing children's behavior, we can usually determine what kind of adults those children will grow up to be.

Albert Barnes explained the verse like this: "The graces or the faults of children are not trifles. 'The child is father of the man;' and the earliest actions are prophecies of the future, whether it will be pure and right, or unclean and evil." (Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-20.html, "Verse 11")

Note: There is no commentary for this verse on the Salem Bible Church website.

NOVEMBER 18-19

2 Corinthians 6:2: "(For
[because] he [God the Father] saith [said] [to his Son, Jesus (the Messiah), in Isaiah 49:8--see note below*], I have heard thee [you, referring to Jesus' prayer that the people of the world could someday be saved] in a time accepted [at a time that was acceptable to God], and in the day of salvation have I [God] succoured thee [you, Jesus] [which means that God promised to help Jesus in his efforts to make salvation known during the gospel dispensation]: [consequently, in his letter to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul is telling everyone:] behold, now is the accepted time [for you to be saved]; behold, now is the day of salvation.)"

Bad things (illnesses, accidents, shootings, weather-related disasters, etc.) happen all the time, and we never know when our life will end. That's why Paul is encouraging us (if we have not yet been born again) to be saved today.

According to the Bible, it's easy to be 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.

You only need to do that once, and you're saved forever.

Note:
Detailed explanations of the plan of salvation can be found on the "Printable Gospel Tracts" page of my website. Here's a direct link to that page:
https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
_________________________

*Isaiah 49:8: "Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;"


Note: In case today's verse is hard to understand, I thought you would like to read a portion of what Albert Barnes says about it in his commentary:

"Behold, now is the accepted time … - The meaning of this passage is, the 'Messiah is come. The time referred to by Isaiah has arrived. It is now a time when God is ready to show compassion, to hear prayer, and to have mercy on mankind. Only through the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, does he show mercy, and people should therefore now embrace the offers of pardon.' The doctrine taught here, therefore. is, that through the Lord Jesus, and where he is preached, God is willing to pardon and save people; and this is true wherever he is preached, and as long as people live under the sound of the gospel. The world is under a dispensation of mercy, and God is willing to show compassion, and while this exists, that is, while people live, the offers of salvation are to he freely made to them. The time will come when it will not be an acceptable time with God. The day of mercy will be closed; the period of trial will be ended; and people will be removed to a world where no mercy is shown, and where compassion is unknown. This verse, which should be read as a parenthesis, is designed to be connected with the argument which the apostle is urging, and which he presented in the previous chapter. The general doctrine is, that people should seek reconciliation with God. To enforce that, he here says, that it was now the acceptable time, the time when God was willing to be reconciled to human beings. The general sentiment of this passage may be thus expressed:

"(1) Under the gospel it is an acceptable time, a day of mercy, a time when God is willing to show mercy to people.

"(2) there may be special seasons which may be especially called the acceptable, or accepted time:

"(a)When the gospel is pressed on the attention by the faithful preaching of his servants, or by the urgent entreaties of friends;

"(b)When it is brought to our attention by any striking dispensation of Providence;

"(c)When the Spirit of God strives with us, and brings us to deep reflection, or to conviction for sin;

"(d)In a revival of religion, when many are pressing into the kingdom - it is at all such seasons an accepted time, a day of salvation. a day which we should improve. It is 'now' such a season, because:

"(i)The time of mercy will pass by, and God will not be willing to pardon the sinner who goes unprepared to eternity.

"(ii)Because we cannot calculate on the future. We have no assurance, no evidence that we shall live another day, or hour.

"(iii)It is taught here, that the time will come when it will not be an accepted time. Now is the accepted time; at some future period it will not be.

"If people grieve away the Holy Spirit; if they continue to reject the gospel; if they go unprepared to eternity, no mercy can be found. God does not design to pardon beyond the grave. He has made no provision for forgiveness there; and they who are not pardoned in this life, must be unpardoned forever."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-corinthians-6.html, "Verse 2")

NOVEMBER 17

Proverbs 17:23: "A wicked man
[or woman or child] taketh a gift out of the bosom [from a hidden pocket in his or her clothing, meaning that evil people offer bribes (money, gifts, promises, etc.)] to pervert the ways of judgment [to pervert justice (prevent justice from taking place) and/or to keep secrets from being revealed]."

Bad people give and take bribes.

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. In it, Pastor Delany says, "Every offer of a bribe… every temptation to be dishonest is a test of our character."

Here is an excerpt from Pastor Delany's commentary (i.e., the section entitled "The One Receiving a Bribe"):

"4. Note also the secrecy involved here: out of the bosom.

"a. Bosom: refers to a fold in the garment used as a hidden pocket…

"b. When a bribe is covered up in the bosom and passed from the bosom to the one receiving it--BOTH parties realize that what they are doing is WRONG.

"c. The fact that they have to conceal it means they know what they are doing.

"d. When a bribe occurs BOTH parties are obviously guilty.
"→ They know WHAT they are doing (purposely perverting justice).
"→ And WHY they are doing it (to obtain an outcome favorable to the one offering the bribe).
"→ And they know it is WRONG (for they conceal it).

"e. Thus, they are guilty and accountable. No excuse.

"f. Of course hiding the gift in the bosom hides it from the sight of men, but certainly not from the eyes of the Lord."

If you want to read the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-17-index/proverbs-17_23/
.

NOVEMBER 16

Deuteronomy 5:11: "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for
[because] the LORD will not hold him [or her] guiltless [innocent, without guilt] that taketh his name in vain."

This is commandment number three of the Ten Commandments, which were written on two tablets of stone with the "finger of God" and then given to Moses on Mount Sinai. These commandments are known as the moral law and still apply not only to Jewish people (for whom they were originally intended) but also to everyone else around the world.

In an article entitled "What does it mean to take the Lord's name in vain?" by GotQuestions.org, we are told that"[b]ecause of the greatness of the name of God, any use of God's name that brings dishonor on Him or on His character is taking His name in vain …"

Examples from the Got Questions article include:

-- Using God's name while swearing.
-- Not treating God with reverence and respect.
-- In the Old Testament: Failing to perform an oath or vow (i.e., keep a promise) made in God's name.
-- Professing Christians: Deliberately and continually disobeying the commands of Jesus Christ.
-- Misrepresenting Christ, either intentionally or through ignorance of the Christian faith.

(Source:
https://www.gotquestions.org/Lords-name-vain.html)

Another article answers the above question this way:

"… What does it mean to not take God's name in vain? 'In vain' it means to lack the proper respect and substance belongs in a statement and or intention or God's name is invoked. In other words, to take the Lord's name in vain means to use it in a manner that is not reverent. The phrase, 'the Lord's name,' includes words such as 'God,' 'Lord,' 'Jesus,' and 'Christ.' These words are never to be used in any form of exclamation, swearing, or disrespect such as 'Oh my ***.' They are always and only supposed to be used in a manner that glorifies God."

The article goes on to provide specific examples of taking God's name in vain:

"Swearing

"The entertainment industry is full of examples of people using the Lord's name in vain. A Christian needs only to watch TV, a sitcom, a movie, awards banquet, etc. for a short time in order to hear the name of God invoked by non-Christians in a casual or flippant way. Of course, this is not limited to the entertainment industry. People at work, school, and even our friends and family sometimes routinely use God's name and title in exclamations of amazement, ridicule, and other emotional, explosive situations. This is wrong.

"Humor

"Sometimes people will take God's name in vain by making a joke about God, or some situation dealing with the truth of God's word, the person of Christ, or God in general. Christians ought not participate in any situation where a joke, or in innuendo, or disrespectful intention about God is used in humor.

"God told me

"Sometimes Christians will invoke the name of God when they say 'God told me to...' or 'God told me that...' and it turns out that what they're stating is unbiblical. In that sense, they have used the name of God in vain. Unfortunately, too many Christians get a sensation and then immediately say that God told them something. Christians of all people ought to be extremely cautious about invoking God's name to further their own status, interests, or whatever it might be in relation to themselves and to other Christians.

"Misrepresenting God

"There are many instances where God is misrepresented by false religious systems, movies, radio, magazines, plays, etc. God has revealed himself in the Bible, and we should restrict our understanding and teachings about him to that which is revealed therein. We should never, for example, portray Jesus as being a homosexual or God the Father as being a female. The Lord has condemned homosexuality is a sin, and he has chosen to reveal himself and the male gender. Of course, we know that God the Father is not biologically male. The point is that we ought to refer to God as he refers to himself.

"God bless you

"Even the well-intended phrase 'God bless you' ought to be offered with care. That phrase should not be a casual declaration of well-meaning upon people. Though it is good to pray for others and to want them to be blessed, we should be careful when invoking God. For example, what if you are speaking with an unbeliever who is living in a sinful situation. Perhaps you've had a discussion with him or her and have gently urged repentance. But, the person has no desire to turn from sin. Should you then say to them 'God bless you' when you part? I think that, at this point, we should be careful and not urge God's blessing upon those who are living in rebellion against him. Instead, we should ask that God reveal himself to them so they might come to repentance.

"Then again, if you're talking to a Christian and in your parting, you say 'God bless you,' is that okay? I would say that it is if it was intended as a sincere request for God to bless the person. But, if it is a casual, automatic phrase offered just because it's something you do, then I would be concerned that that would be using God's name in vain.

"Conclusion

"We should only use God's name, title, etc. in a manner that shows reverence, respect, and honor. We should never be casual about it, never use it in swearing, never use it in humor or God is or his name is what is laughed at."

(Source:
https://www.carm.org/lords-name-vain)

And here is some interesting information from Dr. Thomas Constable, a Bible commentator:

"… The Jews took this command [to not take the Lord's name in vain] seriously. They did not even speak God's name 'Yahweh' to avoid abusing it. Instead they substituted the phrase 'the Name' for 'Yahweh' in conversation. They also spoke of 'heaven,' the place where God resides, rather than 'God.' This, by the way, explains why Matthew in writing his Gospel to Jews usually spoke of the 'kingdom of heaven' whereas the other Gospel writers, who wrote primarily for Gentiles, normally used the term 'kingdom of God.' According to Jewish tradition when a Jewish scribe wrote the name of God he would first bathe, change his clothes, and use a new quill with which to continue writing …"

(Source:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/deuteronomy/5-11.html, "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable")

NOVEMBER 13-15

2 Timothy 3:1-5 - Description of People Who Will Be Living in the "Last Days"
In his second letter to Timothy (whom he called his "son in the faith"), the apostle Paul warned of the coming apostasy (abandonment of the truth) in both the world and the Christian church:

Verse 1: "This know also, that in the last days [in gospel times, before Jesus returns to earth,] perilous [dangerous] times shall come."

Verses 2-4: "For
[because] men [and women and children] shall be

lovers of their own selves
[selfish],
covetous
[loving money and things, wanting to be rich],
boasters
[bragging about their achievements, possessions, and/or abilities],
proud
[arrogant],
blasphemers
[inclined to curse or take God's name in vain],
disobedient to parents
,
unthankful
,
unholy
[showing disregard for what is holy, or dedicated to God],
Without natural affection
[unloving],
trucebreakers
[refusing to honor agreements or keep their word],
false accusers
[making false statements about others and damaging their reputation],
incontinent
[lacking self-control (i.e., unable to resist feelings of passion, desire for food, etc.)],
fierce
[cruel],
despisers
[haters] of those that are good,
Traitors
[willing to betray their country and friends],
heady
[headstrong, reckless, stubborn, determined to have their own way],
highminded
[haughty, conceited],
lovers of pleasures
[pleasure] more than lovers of God;"

Verse 5: "
[Referring to the types of people listed above:] Having a form of godliness [a profession of religion], but denying the power thereof [or, as suggested by Adam Clarke, 'They have religion in their creed, but none in their hearts'--see note below*]: from such [people] turn away [i.e., don't associate with them]."

The sins in Paul's list (see verses 2-4 above) describe the current behavior of many of Earth's inhabitants. I'm sure you have noticed that morality around the world is bad and keeps getting worse on a daily basis. Unfortunately, it seems that there is very little or nothing anyone can do (or is willing to do) to change that fact.
_________________________

*Regarding verse 5:

-- Source for quote:
https://www.studylight.org/commentary/2-timothy/3-5.html, "Adam Clarke Commentary"

-- GotQuestions.org has an article that answers this question (about apostasy in the church):"What does it mean to have a form of godliness but deny its power in 2 Timothy 3:5?" If you want to read it, here's the link:
https://www.gotquestions.org/form-of-godliness.html.

NOVEMBER 12

Proverbs 12:15: "The way of a fool is right
[correct] in his [or her] own eyes: but he [or she] that hearkeneth unto counsel [the person who heeds (listens and pays attention to) good advice] is wise."

Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse, especially when he talks about fools. Here's part of what he says in paragraph 3 in the section entitled "Right in his own eyes":

"d. Even Christians learn to justify their actions… and rationalize them.
" We watch things on TV and video that believers NEVER would have watched 25 years ago, and we justify it because, 'at least it's not as bad as that other show…'
" Christians are listening to the golden oldies radio station and are listening to the old rock songs--and justifying it, because, after all, the Beach Boys aren't nearly as bad as the Gangster Rappers are today.
" Churches are doing away with prayer meeting and justifying it because 'everybody's too tired'… it's too much trouble… and effort to come out mid week…
" Believers turn to drugs to calm down their nerves… and justify it because they have a prescription…
" Some believers begin dating an unsaved person--and rationalize that after they get married, my spouse will surely get saved…
" Some believers violate the biblical principle of separation and rationalize that they are doing it in order to lead someone to Christ. Separation will only turn them off…
" EVERY way of man can be rationalized away…

"e. And if believers can justify such evil things--surely men in the world will!
" Even terrorists justify their horrible plots and are RIGHT in their own eyes!
" Abortionists are right in their own eyes.
" One of the priests arrested in Boston was part of an organization that believes pedophilia is right!
" The violent animal rights groups have convinced themselves that they are right… and if they destroy businesses and lives in their crusade, so be it!
" When two countries fight in a war--usually both sides think that they are right. One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist."

If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link:
https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-12-index/proverbs-1215/.
_________________________

Another Bible commentator, John Gill, wrote:

"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,… Whether it be the way of open profaneness, or self-righteousness, it appears to him to be the right way; it seems to him a very plain one, and he finds it pleasant; and, trusting to carnal sense, corrupt reason, and a false judgment, and having a high opinion of himself and his own knowledge, never asks after the right way, nor takes the advice of others; …"

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/proverbs/12-15.html, "John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible")

NOVEMBER 11

Deuteronomy 31:6 - God is Our Helper and Protector
After informing the people of Israel that they would be crossing over the Jordan River into the promised land without him, Moses said:

Verse 6: "Be strong [in the Lord, and in the power of his might] and of a good courage [be courageous, brave], fear not, nor [and don't] be afraid of them [your enemies--in this case, referring to the Canaanites--people who lived in the land of Canaan]: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth [does] go with thee [you]; he will not fail thee [let you down], nor forsake [leave] thee."

This verse also applies to born-again Christians.

TODAY IS VETERANS DAY.
If you're a veteran, thank you
very much for your service.
We appreciate you!

NOVEMBER 10

Job 26:7
[Regarding the process of creation, Job said]: "He [God] stretcheth out the north [referring to the heavens, as they appear to revolve around the north pole and seem to be stretched out like a curtain] over the empty place [upon emptiness], and hangeth the earth upon nothing [meaning it has nothing to support it]."

In his commentary, Albert Barnes said of this verse: "… had Job understood all that is now known of astronomy, his language would have been appropriate to express just conceptions of the greatness and majesty of God. It is proof of amazing power and greatness that he [God] has thus 'hung' the earth, the planets, the vast sun himself, upon nothing, and that by his own power he sustains and governs all."

(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-26.html, "Verse 7")

NOVEMBER 9

Romans 14:19 - Strive for Peace and Edification
In a letter to the Christian church in Rome, encouraging its members (and all other Christians as well) to overlook their minor disagreements and live in harmony, the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 19: "Let us therefore [instead of judging others, because (in verses 1-18) Paul said not to do that--see note below*] follow after [do] the things which make for [promote (help further the progress of, actively encourage)] peace, and things wherewith [with which] one [person] may edify [instruct (teach, counsel, advise) or benefit, especially morally or spiritually; uplift (build up)] another."

Everyone should follow Paul's advice and try to be kind and loving, not critical and judgmental.
_________________________

*Chapter 14 of Romans can be found here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+14&version=KJV.

NOVEMBER 8

1 Corinthians 11:8-9: "For the man is not of
[made from] the woman; but the woman [is] of [made from] the man [i.e., from his rib, according to Genesis 2:21-22--see note below*]. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman [was created] for the man."

In his commentary, regarding the creation of the first woman (Adam's wife, Eve), Matthew Henry recorded these thoughts, which are commonly quoted by others:

"… 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 for quote: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/genesis/2.html, "Verses 21-25" )
_________________________

*Genesis 2:21-22: "And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he [God] took one of his [Adam's] ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man."

NOVEMBER 6-7

John 9:1-7 - Jesus Heals a Blind Man on the Sabbath Day

Verses 1-3: "And as Jesus passed by
[probably as he was leaving the temple], he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind [see note below*]? Jesus answered, Neither hath [has] this man sinned, nor his parents: but [he was born blind so] that the [powerful] works of God should be made manifest [made known, revealed] in him [the blind man]."

Verses 4-5: "I
[Jesus] must work [do] the works of him that sent me [to earth, meaning God the Father], while it is day [a period of time, not part of an actual 24-hour day--in this case, Jesus meant during his lifetime]: the night [another period of time--in this case, after our death] cometh, when no man [no one] can work. As long as I [Jesus] am in the world, I am the [spiritual] light of the world."

Verses 6-7: "When he
[Jesus] had thus spoken, he spat [spit] on the ground, and made clay of the spittle [saliva], and he anointed [gently rubbed] the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, [and] wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He [the blind man] went his way therefore, and washed [in the pool of Siloam], and came [back, to where he had met Jesus,] seeing [i.e., not blind, able to see]."

From this story of the miraculous healing of a blind man, we learn that there are other reasons for suffering besides sin. In this case, it was so that the miracle of the blind man's healing would be seen by others and, as a result, would bring glory to God.
_________________________

*Regarding the suffering of children as punishment for past sins, Albert Barnes wrote:

"… It was a universal opinion among the Jews that calamities of all kinds were the effects of sin. … Many of the Jews … believed in the doctrine of the transmigration of souls; or that the soul of a man, in consequence of sin, might be compelled to pass into other bodies, and be punished there. They also believed that an infant might sin before it was born … and that consequently this blindness might have come upon the child as a consequence of that. It was also a doctrine with many that the crime of the parent might be the cause of deformity in the child, particularly the violation of the command in Leviticus 20:18."

-- Leviticus 20:18: "And if a man shall lie [down and have sex] with a woman having her sickness [her menstrual period], and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain [of blood], and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people."

(Source for Barnes quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/9-2.html, "Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible")

Here are some interesting beliefs about transmigration (the movement of a soul into another body after death) from Adam Clarke's commentary:

"… Most of the Asiatic nations have believed in the doctrine of transmigration. The Hindoos [Hindus] still hold it; and profess to tell precisely the sin which the person committed in another body, by the afflictions which he endures in this: they profess also to tell the cures for these. For instance, they say the headache is a punishment for having, in a former state, spoken irrevently [irreverently] to father or mother. Madness is a punishment for having been disobedient to father or mother, or to one's spiritual guide [a demonic spirit]. The epilepsy is a punishment for having, in a former state, administered poison to any one at the command of his master. Pain in the eyes is a punishment for having, in another body, coveted another man's wife. Blindness is a punishment for having killed his mother: but this person they say, before his new birth, will suffer many years' torment in hell. …"

(Source for Clarke quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/9-2.html, "Adam Clarke Commentary")

Got Questions
discusses transmigration (also known as reincarnation) in the following article: "What is the transmigration of souls?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/transmigration-of-souls.html.

NOVEMBER 4-5

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 - Biblical Definition of "Gospel"
Gospel refers to the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It consists of three parts: (1) Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, (2) he was buried, and (3) he rose again (came back to life) three days later.

In a letter to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 1: "Moreover [in addition to what I have already said in my letter], brethren [fellow Christians], I declare unto you the gospel [I want to remind you of the good news] which I preached unto you [i.e., the fundamental (basic) truths of Christianity, which are the foundation of the Christian church], which also ye have received [embraced, believed, willingly accepted], and wherein ye stand [firm, or faithful and strong, as a Christian church … or, 'on which your faith is based'];"

Verse 2: "By which
[referring to the gospel] also ye are saved [born again, or saved from hell], if ye keep in memory [remember] what I preached unto you [concerning the gospel and salvation], unless ye have believed in vain [falsely, without meaning]." [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 [Paul] delivered unto you [in person, through preaching, or taught you] first of all [most importantly] that which I also received [from the Lord, meaning those doctrines or teachings that Paul received from God regarding the gospel; i.e.,], how that Christ [Jesus--the Son of God and Messiah] died for our sins according to the scriptures [in this case, referring to the Old Testament]; And that he [Jesus Christ] was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

The above verses stress the importance of Jesus' resurrection. According to Paul, if you don't believe the gospel, you can't be saved.

The following articles give additional information about the gospel and salvation:

-- "What are the essentials of the gospel message?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/gospel-message.html)

-- "Is it necessary to fully understand the Gospel to go to heaven?"
    (https://www.gotquestions.org/fully-understand.html)

NOVEMBER 1-3

Jeremiah 18:1-10 - Sometimes God "Changes His Mind"
(in response to our actions--see note below*)

Verses 1-2: "The word which came to
[the prophet] Jeremiah from the LORD [in other words, God spoke to Jeremiah], saying, Arise [get up], and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee [you] to hear my words."

Verses 3-4: "Then I
[Jeremiah] went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he [the potter] wrought a work [shaped some pottery] on the wheels [two stone wheels--see note below**]. And the vessel [a container--cup, bowl, vase, pitcher, etc.] that he made of clay was marred [damaged, ruined] in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it [i.e., he made something else by re-forming the clay]."

Verses 5-6: "Then the word of the LORD
[i.e., God] came to me [Jeremiah], saying, O house of Israel [referring to the Jewish people], cannot I do with you as this potter [does]? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye [you] in mine [my] hand, O house of Israel."

Verses 7-8: "At what instant
[moment of time] I [God] shall speak [of my intentions] concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck [pick] up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I [God] have pronounced [judgment, destruction], turn from their evil [ways or deeds], I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them [I will change my mind and not punish them]."

Verses 9-10: "And at what instant
[moment of time] I [God] shall speak [of my intentions] concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build [it up] and to plant it [e.g., to bless it (make it prosperous, protect it, etc.)]; If it [that nation] do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice [i.e., if the people of that nation don't do what I say], then I will repent of the good [things], wherewith I said I would benefit [do good to] them [i.e., I will change my mind and withdraw (remove) my blessings]."

The above verses apply to all nations, not just Israel.

According to Albert Barnes, we learn from this passage (specifically, verses 7-10) that God's dealings with mankind are conditional, based upon our conduct. (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/jeremiah-18.html, "Verse 8")
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*GotQuestions.org has an article that answers the following question: "Does God change His mind?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/God-change-mind.html.

**There is an interesting article on the Internet entitled "Potter's Wheel," which provides information on potter's wheels in Bible times. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://bible.org/illustration/potter%E2%80%99s-wheel.

There is also a short video on You Tube of a potter making a clay pot. It's called "In The Potter's Hands" and can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_vf7D_n-4o.


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