1 Corinthians 1:25 [the apostle Paul, referring to the plan of salvation]: "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men."
God is not foolish or weak, but sometimes it may appear that way to us. We should never forget that God's wisdom and strength are far greater than ours.
Albert Barnes has an excellent commentary on this verse. If you want to read it, click on the link (www.godvine.com/bible/1-corinthians/1-25) and scroll down to "Barnes' Notes."
Matthew 13:54-58: "And when he [Jesus] was come into his own country [arrived in Nazareth], he taught them [his neighbors] in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man [from where did Jesus get] this wisdom, and [the ability to perform] these mighty works [miracles]? Is not this the carpenter's [Joseph's] son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren [brothers], James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man [gotten] all these things? And they were offended in [by] him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save [except] in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not [do] many mighty works there because of their unbelief."
Hebrews 11:24-26: "By faith Moses, when he was come to years [was grown up (at 40 years of age), became a man], refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter [his adopted mother]; Choosing rather to suffer affliction [pain and suffering, persecution] with the people of God [in Moses' case, the Israelites, who, at that time, were slaves in Egypt], than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season [for a while, temporarily]; Esteeming [regarding] the reproach of Christ [reproaches for the sake of Christ; i.e., disapproval or disappointment expressed by others when we decide to follow Jesus] greater riches [of more value] than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward [because he looked forward, instead, to the rewards and joy (great pleasure and happiness) that he would have in heaven someday]."
2 Timothy 2:24-26: "And the servant of the Lord [mainly, ministers (preachers), but also all born-again Christians] must not strive [argue, quarrel, fight] [with others]; but be gentle unto all men, apt [likely] to teach, patient, In meekness [mildness, humility] instructing [teaching] those that oppose themselves [to the truth of the gospel; i.e., those who resist and deny the truth or embrace (believe, accept) error]; if God peradventure [perhaps] will give them repentance [a change of mind] to the acknowledging [acceptance, belief] of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of [come to their senses and escape or be rescued from] the snare [trap, net] of the devil, who are taken captive [captured] by him [Satan, the devil] at [to do] his will."
Colossians 3:21: "Fathers, provoke not your children to anger [don't make them annoyed or angry by teasing or finding fault with them, being too strict and demanding, punishing out of anger rather than love, etc.], lest they be discouraged [or they'll become depressed and disheartened (having no hope or enthusiasm) and will stop trying to obey and please you]."
1 John 4:1-3 - The Apostle John's Advice for Christians:
Verse 1: "Beloved, believe not every spirit [don't believe everyone who claims to be under the influence or leading of the Holy Spirit], but try the spirits whether they are of God [examine the person's religious doctrines (beliefs) and 'works' or 'fruit' (things he or she has done because of those doctrines) to see if they conform to (agree with, follow) the word of God]: because many false prophets [false teachers and preachers] are gone out into the world."
Verses 2-3: "Hereby know ye the [Holy] Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh [was a human being; i.e., was both God and man] is of [from] God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist [spirit of error that exists in false teachers--forerunners of (those who come before) the real antichrist, who will be revealed after the rapture (taking away) of born-again Christians], whereof ye have heard that it [the spirit of antichrist] should come; and even now already is it in the world."
Luke 2:8-14 -Birth of Jesus:
Verses 8-9: "And there were in the same country [where Mary and Joseph went; i.e., Judea, the area around Bethlehem] shepherds abiding [dwelling, living, residing] in the field, keeping watch over their flock [of sheep] by night [to keep them from staying and protect them from harm]. And, lo, the angel of the Lord [perhaps Gabriel] came upon [appeared to] them, and the glory of the Lord [an extremely bright light] shone round about them: and they were sore afraid [frightened, terrified, filled with fear]."
Verses 10-12: "And the angel said unto them, Fear not [don't be afraid]: for, behold, I bring you good tidings [news] of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David [Bethlehem] a Saviour, which is [Jesus] Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe [baby, infant] wrapped in swaddling clothes[*], lying in a manger [feeding trough for horses and cattle]."
Verses 13-14: "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude [large number] of the heavenly host [angels] praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest [heavens], and on earth peace, good will toward men."
*Swaddling clothes are narrow bands of cloth formerly wrapped around a newborn child to restrain its movements and quiet it. Source: Google ("define swaddling clothes").
Matthew 1:18-25 - Birth of Jesus:
Verses 18-19: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise [in this manner]: When as his mother Mary was espoused [engaged to be married] to Joseph, before they came together [as husband and wife], she was found with child of the Holy Ghost [she was found to be pregnant with baby Jesus, whom the Holy Spirit had created (formed) in her womb]. Then Joseph her [future] husband, being a just [kind, tender, merciful] man, and not willing to make her a publick example [unwilling to embarrass Mary or humiliate her publicly], was minded to put her away privily [wanted to divorce her secretly]."
Verses 20-22: "But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord [probably Gabriel] appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son [descendant] of [King] David, fear not [don't be afraid] to take unto thee Mary [as] thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of [by] the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth [give birth to] a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins [his main reason for coming to earth]."
Verse 23: "Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled [brought about] which was spoken of the Lord [prophesied] by the prophet [Isaiah*], saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
Verses 24-25: "Then Joseph being raised from sleep [awakened] did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him [instructed], and took unto him [Mary as] his wife: And knew her not [they didn't have sex] till [until after] she had brought forth [given birth to] her firstborn [oldest] son: and he called his name JESUS."
*Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
Joshua 24:14-15 [Joshua, speaking to the nation of Israel]: "Now therefore fear [love and respect] the LORD [God Almighty], and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods [false gods, idols] which your fathers [forefathers, ancestors] served [worshiped] on the other side of the flood [Euphrates River], and in Egypt [when they were sojourners (temporary residents) there]; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil [hard, unreasonable, disagreeable] unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell [live]: but as for me and my house [household, family], we will serve the LORD."
Matthew 4:1-11 - Temptation of Jesus:
Verse 1: "Then [immediately after his baptism] was Jesus led up of [by] the [Holy] Spirit into the wilderness [uninhabited region (desert) on the Sinai Peninsula] to be tempted of [by] the devil [who was trying to get him to sin]."
Verses 2-4: "And when he [Jesus] had fasted [gone without food] forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred [hungry]. And when the tempter [Satan] came to him, he said, If thou be [you are] the Son of God, command that these stones be made [into] bread. But he [Jesus] answered and said, It is written [in Deuteronomy 8:3*], Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
Verses 5-7: "Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city [brought him to Jerusalem], and setteth [set] him on a pinnacle [or spire--the highest point] of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down [throw yourself down; i.e., jump]: for it is written [in Psalm 91:11-12*], He shall give his angels charge concerning thee [God's angels will protect you]: and in their hands they shall bear thee [hold you] up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone [so you won't hit your foot on the stones if you fall]. Jesus said unto him, It is written again [in Deuteronomy 6:16*], Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God [in this case, meaning that Jesus must not tempt his Father]."
Verses 8-10: "Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding [extremely] high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory [splendor, magnificence, beauty] of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt [you will] fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence [go away], Satan: for it is written [in Deuteronomy 6:13*], Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."
Verse 11: "Then the devil leaveth him [Jesus], and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him [waited on him, attended to his needs]."
As we can learn from the above verses:
1. Satan is very familiar with God's word, but he's also a master deceiver. By subtly omitting parts of, misquoting, or misapplying scripture, he is able to use it to his advantage.
2. Temptation does not result in sin unless and until we yield to it.
3. The best way to resist Satan and overcome temptation is by memorizing, believing, and using God's word (the "sword of the Spirit"--Ephesians 6:17*).
*Here are the verses referred to above:
-- Deuteronomy 8:3: "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."
-- Psalm 91:11-12: "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone."
-- Deuteronomy 6:16: "Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah."
-- Deuteronomy 6:13: "Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name."
-- Ephesians 6:17: "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:"
Matthew 3:13-17 - Baptism of Jesus:
Verses 13-15: "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee [from Nazareth, the city where he had lived for nearly 30 years] to [the river] Jordan unto John [the Baptist], to be baptized of [by] him. But John forbad [refused] him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [allow, permit] it to be so now: for thus it becometh us [it is suitable and proper] to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him."
Verses 16-17: "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway [immediately] out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him [John], and he saw the Spirit of God [the Holy Spirit] descending [coming down] like [in the shape of] a dove, and lighting [landing] upon him [Jesus]: And lo a voice from heaven [from God the Father] [was heard], saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Psalm 66:18: "If I regard [cherish, love, take pleasure and delight in] iniquity [sin, wickedness, evil] in my heart, the Lord will not hear me [when I pray]:"
Genesis 9:8-17 - God's Promise to Noah After the Flood Ended:
Verses 8-10: "And God spake unto [spoke to] Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant [agreement] with you, and with your seed [offspring, descendants] after you; And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl [birds and flying insects], of the cattle [domestic animals], and of every beast of the earth [wild animals] with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth."
Verses 11-13: "And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh [living things] be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token [symbol] of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual [never-ending] generations [i.e., continuing forever]; I do set my [rain]bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth."
Verses 14-16: "And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth."
Verse 17: "And God said unto Noah, This [rainbow] is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth."
Proverbs 3:11-12 [King Solomon, referring to afflictions]: "My son, despise not [don't resist, ignore, or consider unworthy of your attention] the chastening of [being disciplined or punished by] the LORD; neither be weary [sick and tired] of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father [corrects, disciplines] the son in whom he delighteth."
Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on these verses. If you want to read it, here's the link: www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch3_html/Prov.3.11.htm.
Matthew 5:38-41 [Jesus, speaking to the multitude about vengeance (revenge) during his Sermon on the Mount]: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil [men]: but whosoever shall smite thee [strike or hit hard with a hand, stick, or other weapon] on thy right cheek, turn to him the other [cheek] also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke [cloak: a loose outer garment, such as a cape] also. And whosoever shall compel [force] thee to go a mile, go with him twain [two]."
The expressions an eye for an eye and turn the other cheek come from this passage.
Albert Barnes has an excellent commentary on these verses. If you want to read it, click on the link (www.godvine.com/bible/matthew/5-38) and scroll down to "Barnes' Notes."
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 [the apostle Paul, in a letter to the church at Corinth]: "But if our gospel [the good news that Jesus died to pay for our sins so we could have eternal life] be hid [hidden], it is hid to them that are lost [unsaved, not born again]: In whom the god of this world [Satan, the devil] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not [don't believe], lest [to avoid the risk that] the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
Proverbs 18:24 [referring to casual acquaintances and close friends]: "A man that hath friends must shew [show] himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother [a true friend … someone who will stay with you through thick and thin; one example (for Christians) would be the Lord Jesus Christ]."
Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse. If you want to read it, here's the link: www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch18_html/Prov.18.24.htm.
1 Corinthians 2:14: "But the natural man [someone who is not born again] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God [has no interest in spiritual matters]: for they are foolishness unto him [he thinks they're stupid]: neither can he know [comprehend, understand] them, because they are spiritually discerned [only revealed (made known) by the Holy Spirit, who lives in the hearts of born-again Christians*]."
*In John 14:16-17, Jesus said: "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
Psalm 51:10 [King David, praying to God]: "Create in me a clean heart [make my heart clean again; forgive my sins], O God; and renew [restore, bring back] a right spirit [obedient attitude] within me."
David prayed the above prayer after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and tried to cover up that sin by having her husband murdered in battle. You can read that story in 2 Samuel 11:1-12:24, which you can also find in the "Previous Verses" section of my website (February 5-12, 2015).
James 1:5-7: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God [through prayer], that [who] giveth to all men liberally [is generous to everyone], and upbraideth not [does not criticize or scold]; and it shall be given [to] him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering [not hesitating or doubting]. For he that wavereth [can't make a decision, goes back and forth between two opinions or courses of action] is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed [about; i.e., is agitated and restless like the ocean]. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."
Amos 3:3 [God, speaking to the nation of Israel, through his prophet Amos]: "Can two [in this case, God and man] walk together, except they be agreed [in agreement]?"
In this verse and those that follow, Israel is being warned that unless they repent and obey God's commandments, they will no longer be protected and blessed by God but, instead, will be punished by him. Today, we hear politicians routinely end their speeches with, "May God bless the United States of America," … but he won't, because we're just as bad as rebellious Israel was in Bible times.
In Amos 3:11, God continues his warning: "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; An adversary there shall be even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled."
2 Corinthians 5:6-8 [the apostle Paul, in a letter to the Corinthian church, referring to born-again Christians]: "Therefore we are always confident [cheerful, happy, full of hope], knowing that, whilst we [while our souls] are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord [Jesus]: (For we walk [through life; i.e., live, are controlled] by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body [to die], and to be present with the Lord [in heaven]."
In other words, born-again Christians should enjoy life, but they should not fear death because the Bible promises, and (through faith) we know, that when we die, we'll be in heaven with the Lord.
The above sentiment is expressed very well when we sing the beginning words of a famous hymn: "This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through …" To view the whole song ("This World Is Not My Home," written by Albert E. Brumley), click here: http://hymnal.calvarybaptistsv.org/485.html.
Ephesians 5:11: "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness [stay away from people who do bad things], but rather [instead] reprove [express disapproval of, criticize, correct] them."
James 2:10-11: "For whosoever shall keep the whole [moral] law [i.e., the ten commandments], and yet offend in one point [break even one commandment], he is guilty of all [just as guilty as if he had broken all of them]. For he [God] that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law [violator of the law, lawbreaker, sinner]."
Albert Barnes has a good commentary on verse 10. If you want to read it, click on the link (www.godvine.com/bible/james/2-10) and scroll down to "Barnes' Notes."
2 Corinthians 5:21: "For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin [a sin offering] for us, who knew no sin [Jesus never sinned]; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
Because he never sinned, Jesus became the sacrifice for our sins when he died on the cross. As a result, those who receive him as Savior take on his righteousness (become righteous in God's eyes) and will be allowed to enter heaven when they die.
Leviticus 18:22: "Thou shalt not lie [down and have sex] with mankind [males], as with womankind [females]: it is abomination [a disgusting thing--to God]."
In other words, sexual relations are supposed to occur only between men and women--not men (or boys) with men (or boys), and women (or girls) with women (or girls).
Proverbs 14:31: "He that oppresseth the poor [he who abuses his power or authority and mistreats poor people or takes advantage of them] reproacheth his Maker [expresses disapproval or disappointment with God, the Creator]: but he that honoureth him [God] hath mercy [pity, compassion] on the poor."
Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse. If you want to read it, here's the link: www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch14_html/Prov.14.31.htm.
Proverbs 16:5: "Every one that is proud in heart [full of pride] is an abomination [object of extreme hatred] to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished [by God]."
Salem Bible Church has an excellent commentary on this verse. If you want to read it, here's the link: www.salembible.org/biblestudies/proverbs_notes/ch16_html/Prov.16.5.htm.
Verses 16-17 [the prophet Ezekiel speaking, seven days after he saw a vision]: "And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house [nation] of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me."
Verses 18-19: "When I [God] say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die [spiritually]; and thou givest him not warning [you don't tell him/her how to be saved], nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity [sins]; but his blood will I require at thine hand [but you will be held responsible]. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul [from blame; i.e., you will not be held responsible]."
Mark 10:46-52 - Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus:
Verses 46-48: "And they [Jesus and his disciples] came to Jericho: and as he [Jesus] went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people [a large crowd], blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out [shout], and say, Jesus, thou son of David [recognizing him as the Messiah], have mercy on me. And many charged [told] him that he should hold his peace [be quiet]: but he cried the more a great deal [shouted even louder], Thou son of David, have mercy on me."
Verses 49-52: "And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort [cheer up], rise [get up]; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment [loose outer garment, such as a cape or coat], rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole [your faith has healed you, spiritually and physically; i.e., it has saved you and restored your sight]. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way [to Jerusalem]."
Hebrews 13:4: "Marriage is honourable in all [things], and the [marriage] bed undefiled [pure and wholesome]: but whoremongers [customers of prostitutes] and adulterers [those who commit adultery (voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband)] God will judge [punish]."