"Verse of the Day" Bible Verses - December 2023
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Notes from Linda:

12/1/22: I just found out that most of the commentaries on the Bible Study Tools website are no longer free. That's where most of the quotes that appear on the "Verse of the Day" and "Previous Verses" pages of my website are taken from, so from now on, many of the "Source:" links that I provide on those pages will not contain the quoted text.

I was disgusted to read about the organization's new "PLUS" membership, and the only thing I can say about it is that the Bible has this warning in 1 Timothy 6:10 for the owner of Bible Study Tools: "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

Something is wrong with my Christian forum. Everything seems to be working normally (i.e., the articles are there, and the links work), but for some reason, the forum's format has changed slightly, and I am currently unable to post anything new.

I'm really sorry for the inconvenience. Hopefully, the problem is only temporay and will be fixed soon.
"Verse of the Day"
Bible Verses

"Verse of the Day"
Bible Verses

Previous Verses
December 2023

In a letter to a Christian man named Gaius, the apostle John wrote:

3 John 1:11: "Beloved
[friend], follow not [don't imitate] that which is evil [in this case, referring to the unchristian conduct of Diotrephes, a man in Gaius's church--see note below*], but [copy] that [behavior] which is good. He [or she--the person] that doeth [does] good [things, naturally and willingly,] is [probably a child] of God [see note below**]: but he [or she] that [intentionally and habitually] doeth evil [things] hath [has] [most likely] not seen [or known] God [in a spiritual sense, which means that he (or she) does not know God personally and consequently is not saved, or born again]."

John's advice to Gaius applies to everyone, especially born-again Christians: We should imitate good--not bad--behavior.

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*For background information on the troublemaker referred to above, read "Who was Diotrephes in the Bible?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/Diotrephes-in-the-Bible.html.

*  *  *  *  *

**The answer to the question "What does it mean to be a child of God?" can be found here: https://www.gotquestions.org/be-a-child-of-God.html.


Referring to the Bible, a man named Agur wrote:

Proverbs 30:6: "Add thou not unto his
[God's] words [i.e., don't add to, subtract from, or change the meaning of God's words, as recorded in the Bible], lest he [God] [or 'otherwise, he will'] reprove thee [accuse you of wrongdoing, express strong disapproval for what you have done, charge you with a crime or offense], and thou [you] [will] be found [to be] a liar."

As usual, Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church has done a good job, in his commentary, explaining the meaning of this verse. Here's part of what it says:

"1. The first command Agur gives is 'add not thou unto His Words.'

"a. It should go without saying, but evidently God knows that it needs to be said. God knows human nature.

"b. Adding unto God's Word was part of the original temptation in the Garden of Eden. Satan added to what God said.
" God said: 'But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it.' (Gen.2:17)
" Satan said: 'Ye shall not eat of it neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.' (Gen.3:3)
" Gen. 3:5 -- Clearly Satan's purpose was to confuse Eve into adding to God's Word and to cause her to think ill
[unpleasant things] of [about] God. (He's too restrictive! He doesn't want me to know good and evil; He doesn't want me to become a god like Him.'

"c. Satan's ministers (false teachers) have been adding to and subtracting from God's Word ever since.

"d. The Jews added the Talmud -- doctrines and commandments of men!

"e. Then there are the pseudo
[not genuine, pretend] -gospels added to the New Testament.

"f. The Mormons added the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price.

"g. The Catholics added the 15 books of the Apocrypha to the Scriptures between the
[Old and New] Testaments.

"h. The 7th Day Adventists have added the writings of Ellen White.

"i. The cults love to add to God's Word.

"j. Even the charismatics today add to God's Word by asserting
[stating a belief] that God is still revealing truth to modern-day prophets.

"2. This command does not forbid any future GENUINE revelation from God.

"a. At the time of the writing of Proverbs, the canon of Scripture
[the group of genuine books of the Bible] was not yet complete.

"b. There were more books to be added.

"c. There were many more prophets and prophetesses who would receive additional revelation from the Lord.

"d. There was a whole New Testament to be written.

"e. The command is for the readers not to add to the revelation God has already given.

"f. In other words, no one was to add to the writings of Moses or to
[King] David's Psalms. They were part of the Word of God and were not to be altered [changed].

"g. But in the future, God would reveal new truth to other prophets and apostles as part of the progress of revelation.

"h. But once God's Word is recorded--it is pure -- perfect--and it is not to be tampered
[interfered] with.

"i. Man's responsibility is not to fix God's word or to try to improve it. Our job is to teach it as is and to obey it!"

At the end of the commentary, explaining the last part of the verse (Proverbs 30:6), Pastor Delany says:

"And thou be found a liar.

"1. Those arrogant
[conceited] men who dare to put their thoughts on par with [or 'equal to'] God's thoughts (by adding to His Word) are called 'liars' by God Himself.

"2. Those who attempt to add to God's Word with new thoughts, new visions, new revelations, or new and fresh ideas also open the door to endless error.

"3. They are guilty of forgery and counterfeiting the Word of God; they are cheaters--liars!"

If you want to read the rest of the commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-30-index/proverbs-30_6/.


Proverbs 29:8: "Scornful men [and women, referring to people, especially political and religious leaders, who are arrogant (conceited) and brag about themselves and who make a habit of ridiculing and mocking (making fun of) others] bring a city [or country or nation] into a snare [meaning they stir up trouble--by fanning the flames of anger and division, which could lead to war, riots, bloodshed, destruction, etc.]: but wise men [and women] turn away wrath [anger (of God and people)--through prayer, and by being kind and considerate of others and trying to promote peace]."

According to Matthew Henry:

"… Proud and foolish men kindle
[start burning] the fires which wise and good men must extinguish [put out]."

(Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/proverbs/29.html, "Verse 8")

*  *  *  *  *

Salem Bible Church has a good commentary on this verse. It ends with: "Let's be peacemakers rather than troublemakers."

If you want to read the rest of that commentary, here's the link: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-29-index/proverbs-29_8/.


Jeremiah 23:24: "Can any [person] hide himself [or herself] in secret places [so] that I shall not see him [or her]? saith [says] the LORD [God]. [The answer to this question is no.] Do not I fill heaven and earth [with my providence (divine guidance and care), power, and justice]? saith the LORD. [The answer to this question is yes,]"

Since God is everywhere, he sees and hears everything.


The Wise Men Come to Bethlehem with Gifts for Jesus

Matthew 2:1-2: "Now when Jesus was born in Beth-lehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men
[probably more than three--see Note 1 below] from the east [most likely Persia, or modern-day Iran] to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews [i.e., Jesus]? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."

Matthew 2:3-4: "When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled
[worried], and [so were] all [of the people of] Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them [or 'asked them'] where [Jesus] Christ should be born."

Matthew 2:5-6: "And they
[the chief priests and scribes] said unto him [King Herod], [The Christ child will be born] In Beth-lehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet [Micah, in Micah 5:2, speaking for God], And thou [you] Beth-lehem, in the land of Juda [Judah], art [are] not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee [you] shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel."

Matthew 2:7,8: "Then Herod, when he had privily
[privately] called the wise men, enquired [asked] of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Beth-lehem, and said, Go and search diligently [carefully, persistently] for the young child; and when ye [you] have found him, bring me word again, [so] that I may come and worship him also [which wasn't true--Herod was lying]."

Matthew 2:9-10: "When they
[the wise men] had heard the king, they departed [went away from] [Jerusalem]; and, lo [look! see!], the star [of Bethlehem--see Note 2 below], which they saw in the east, went before them, till [until] it came and stood over where the young child [Jesus] was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy."

Matthew 2:11: "And when they were come into the house
[not 'stable'], they saw the young child [Jesus] with Mary his mother, and fell down [on the ground], and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh [see Note 3 below]."

Matthew 2:12: "And being warned of
[by] God in a dream that they should not return to [King] Herod, they [the wise men] departed into [returned to] their own country another way."

Matthew 2:13: "And when they were departed
[or 'after they left'], behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth [appeared] to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise [get up], and take the young child [Jesus] and his mother [Mary], and flee [run away] into Egypt, and be thou [or 'you be,' or 'stay'] there until I bring thee [you] word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him."

Matthew 2:14-15: "When he
[Joseph] arose, he took the young child [Jesus] and his mother [Mary] by night, and departed into Egypt: And [he--Joseph (and his family)] was there until the death of Herod: [so] that it might be fulfilled [that] which was spoken of the Lord [God] by the prophet [Hosea], saying [in Hosea 11:1], Out of Egypt have I [God] called my son."

Matthew 2:16: "Then
[King] Herod, when he saw that he was [or 'had been'] mocked of [ridiculed, or made fun of, by] the wise men, was exceeding wroth [very angry], and sent forth [soldiers], and slew [killed] all the children that were in Beth-lehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men [because that's how old Jesus was at the time this occurred]."

Matthew 2:17-18: "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy
[Jeremiah] the prophet [in Jeremiah 31:15--see Note 4 below], saying, In Rama [Ramah, a town near Bethlehem] was there a voice heard, lamentation [cries of grief], and weeping, and great mourning [sadness, sorrow], Rachel [in this case, representing many Jewish mothers] weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not [alive]."

Matthew 2:19-20: "But when
[King] Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth [appeared] in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise [get up], and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life [referring to King Herod and his men]."

Matthew 2:21,22: "And he
[Joseph] arose, and took the young child [Jesus] and his mother [Mary], and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither [there]: notwithstanding, being warned of [by] God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:"

Matthew 2:23: "And he
[Joseph--and his family] came and dwelt [lived] in a city called Nazareth: [so] that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He [Jesus] shall be called a Nazarene [see Note 5 below]."


The fact that no one knows for sure how many wise men there actually were is explained in the following article: "What does the Bible say about the three wise men (Magi)?"  If you want to read it, here's the link:

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GotQuestions.org has an interesting article that answers the question "What was the star of Bethlehem?" If you want to read it, click here:

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The meaning of each of the wise men's gifts is detailed in the following article: "Why did the Magi bring gold, frankincense, and  myrrh to Jesus?" You can find it here:

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Jeremiah's prophecy as applied to the murder of little boys under the age of two in Bethlehem is explained in the article entitled: "How does Jesus fulfill the prophecy that begins 'a voice was heard in Ramah' (Matthew 2:18)?" Here's the link:

*  *  *  *  *


"What prophecy is Matthew 2:23 referring to regarding Jesus being a Nazarene?" is answered in the GotQuestions.org article by the same name. If you want to read it, here's the link:


Jesus' Birth Was Accompanied by Fear, Joy, and Praise to God

Luke 2:6-7: "And so it was, that, while they
[Mary and Joseph] were there [in Bethlehem], the days were accomplished that she [the virgin Mary] should be delivered [of her child, meaning it was time for her pregnancy to end]. And she brought forth [gave birth to] her firstborn son [Jesus], and wrapped him in swaddling clothes [see note below*], and laid him in a manger [a feeding trough for animals]; because there was no room for them in the inn [see note below**]."

Luke 2:8: "And there were in the same country
[i.e., Judea, the area around Bethlehem, where Mary and Joseph had gone to be 'taxed'--or, in this case, counted in the census,] shepherds abiding [dwelling, living, residing] in the field, [taking turns] keeping watch over their flock by night [to prevent the sheep from straying (wandering) and to protect them from wild animals and thieves]."

Luke 2:9: "And, lo
[see], the angel of the Lord [perhaps Gabriel] came upon [stood over or appeared to] them [the shepherds], and the glory of the Lord [an extremely bright light] shone round about [around] them: and they were sore afraid [frightened, terrified, filled with fear]."

Luke 2:10-11,12: "And the angel said unto them
[the shepherds], 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 [i.e., in Bethlehem] a [referring to the promised and long-awaited] Saviour, which is [Jesus] Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you [shepherds]; Ye [you ] shall find the babe [baby, infant, newborn child] wrapped in swaddling clothes, [and] lying in a manger."

Luke 2:13-14: "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 [because Jesus' future death on the cross to pay for 'the sin of the world' (as stated by John the Baptist in John 1:29, meaning all of the sins of everyone in the world) would make it possible for us to have peace with God and with one another], [and also, on earth,] good will toward men [mankind, all human beings]."

*According to online dictionaries, swaddling clothes are narrow bands of cloth formerly wrapped around a newborn child to restrain its movements and quiet it.

The reason Mary wrapped her son in swaddling clothes is explained in the article entitled "What does it mean that baby Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes?" If you want to read it, here's the link:

*  *  *  *  *

**"Where was Jesus born?" discusses why there was no room at the inn and why baby Jesus was placed in a manger. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/where-was-Jesus-born.html.

*  *  *  *  *

Although the Bible mentions what happened on the day that Jesus was born, it does not state the date of his birth. GotQuestions.org has written an article in response to the questions "Was Jesus born on December 25? Is December 25 Jesus' birthday?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/December-25.html.


Names of (or Descriptive Titles for) Jesus and Their Meanings

Following his vision of future events, the Old Testament prophet Isaiah wrote this about the birth of the Savior:

Isaiah 9:6: "For unto us
[both the Jewish people and everyone else in the world,] [for our benefit,] a child [named Jesus] is born [of (to) the virgin Mary], [and] unto us a son [the Lord Jesus Christ--Son of God (or God the Son) and Messiah] is given [by God the Father, to become a sacrifice for the sins of the world (i.e., Jesus' reason for coming to earth was to die on the cross to pay for our sins, save us from hell, and purchase the gift of eternal life)]: and the government shall be upon his [Jesus'] shoulder [because he will eventually be crowned King]:

and his
[Jesus'] name shall be called

[because he will inspire wonder, amazement, and adoration due to the circumstances surrounding his birth, death, resurrection, and everything that he'll do throughout his life],

[because he will have great wisdom and consequently will be highly qualified to guide and direct the entire human race],

The mighty God
[because he will be both human and divine (i.e., fully God and fully man); in other words, he'll be 'God in the flesh'--see note below*],

The everlasting Father
[because he will rule over his people forever],

The Prince of Peace
[because he will be the true source of peace, meaning peace with God, and peace with people]."

*For an explanation of why Isaiah said that Jesus would be called "The mighty God," read "Is Jesus God in the flesh?" You can find it here: https://www.gotquestions.org/God-in-the-flesh.html.

*  *  *  *  *

GotQuestions.org also has articles on the other names listed above. They are as follows:

-- "What does it mean that Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6)?"

-- "What is the meaning of 'Everlasting Father' in Isaiah 9:6?"

-- "What does it mean that Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)?"


Before Jesus is Born, Mary and Joseph Travel to Bethlehem to be Taxed

Luke 2:1-3: "And it came to pass in those days
[when the virgin Mary was pregnant], that there went out a decree [an official order] from Caesar Augustus [the Roman emperor], that all the world [referring to everyone in the land of Palestine] should be taxed [see note below*]. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all [of the people] went to be taxed, every one into his own city."

Luke 2:4-5: "And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David
[i.e., where King David was born], which is called Beth-lehem; (because he [Joseph] was of the house and lineage of David [meaning he was a descendant of King David]:) [he (Joseph) went there] To be taxed with Mary his [fianceé, or] espoused [soon-to-be] wife, being great [or heavy or big] with child [meaning she was in the last stage of pregnancy]."

*According to Albert Barnes:

"… Our word 'tax' means to levy and raise money for the use of the government. This is not the meaning of the original word here. It means rather to 'enroll' or take a 'list' of the citizens, with their employments
[jobs], the amount of their property, etc., equivalent to what was meant by census …"

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/luke-2.html, "Verse 1")


While Pregnant With Jesus, Mary Visits Her Cousin Elizabeth

This took place soon after the virgin Mary was informed by the angel Gabriel that she had been chosen to give birth to the Messiah (God's Son, Jesus). At the time, Elizabeth was six months pregnant with John the Baptist (see note below*).

Luke 1:39-40:  "And
[the virgin] Mary arose [got up and started out on a journey] in those days [i.e., during her early pregnancy], and went into the hill country [of Judea, or Judah] with haste [quickly], into a city of Juda [probably, the city of Hebron]; And entered into the house of Zacharias [Elizabeth's husband], and saluted [greeted] [her cousin] Elisabeth."

Luke 1:41-42: "And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation
[greeting] of Mary, the babe [baby, referring to Elizabeth's unborn child, who would later be called John the Baptist] leaped in her [Elizabeth's] womb [uterus]; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit]: And she spake out [spoke out, cried out, exclaimed] with a loud voice, and said [to Mary], Blessed art thou [blessed (and to be honored) are you] among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy [your] womb [referring to baby Jesus]."

Luke 1:43-44,45: "And whence
[from where] is this to me [Elizabeth] [or 'why is it'], that the mother of my Lord [referring to Mary, who was the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ] should come to [visit] me? For, lo [take note:], as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine [my] ears, the babe [my baby (John)] leaped in my womb for joy. [Note: This was not a normal 'kick' from an unborn child.] And blessed [happy] is she [referring to Mary] that believed [the angel Gabriel]: for there shall be a performance [fulfillment] of those things which were told [to] her [Mary] from the Lord [i.e., that she would conceive and give birth to the Son of God]."

Luke 1:46-47: "And Mary said, My soul doth
[does] [or 'I do'] magnify [praise] the Lord [God], And my spirit hath [has] rejoiced in God my Saviour [referring to Mary's soon-to-be firstborn child, Jesus, who was (and is and always will be) the Messiah and Savior of the world]."

Like Mary and her cousin Elisabeth, we all need a Savior to pay our sin debt. That's why Jesus was born.

*  *  *  *  *

In his commentary, Albert Barnes wrote:

"… From these expressions of Elizabeth
[i.e., 'blessed is she that believed,' in Luke 1:45,] we may learn:

"I.That the spirit of prophecy had not entirely ceased
[ended] among the Jews.

"II.That the Holy Spirit is the source of light, comfort, and joy.

"III.That everything about the birth of Jesus was remarkable, and that he must have been more than a mere
[or 'normal'] man.

"IV.That the prospect of the coming of the Messiah
[to earth] was one of great joy and rejoicing to ancient saints [older believers]; and,

"V.That it was a high honor to be 'the mother' of him that should redeem
[die to save] mankind [human beings].

"It is from 'that honor' that the Roman Catholics have determined that it is right to worship the Virgin Mary and to offer prayers to her - an act of worship as idolatrous as any that could be offered to a creature
[created being]. Because:

[worshiping Mary] is not anywhere commanded in the Bible.

"II.It is expressly forbidden to worship any being
[any living thing] but God, [as stated in] Exodus 34:14; Exodus 20:4-5; Deuteronomy 6:13-14; Isaiah 45:20.

"III.It is idolatry to worship or pray to a creature.

"IV.It is absurd
[ridiculous] to suppose that the Virgin Mary can be in all places at the same time to hear the prayers of thousands [of people] at once, or to aid [assist, help] them. There is no idolatry more gross [outrageous], and of course more wicked, than to worship the creature more than the Creator, Romans 1:25."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/luke-1.html,"Verse 45")

*  *  *  *  *

*For background information on Elizabeth, read "What is the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/Zechariah-and-Elizabeth.html.


Joseph Discovers That His Fiancée (the Virgin Mary) is Pregnant

Matthew 1:18: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise
[in this manner]: When as his [Jesus'] mother [the virgin] Mary was espoused [engaged to be married] to Joseph, before they came together [sexually, as husband and wife], she was found [to be] with child of the Holy Ghost [meaning she was found to be pregnant with baby Jesus, whom the Holy Spirit had created (formed) in her womb (uterus)]."

Matthew 1:19: "Then Joseph
[who was] her [Mary's] [future] husband, being a just [or kind, tender, merciful] man, and [because he was] not willing to make her a publick [public] example [meaning he didn't want to embarrass Mary, humiliate her publicly, or cause her harm--see note below*], [he] was minded [had decided] to put her away [or 'separate himself from her'] privily [privately] [by breaking off their engagement]."

Matthew 1:20,21: "But while he
[Joseph] thought on [about] these things, behold, the angel of the Lord [probably Gabriel] appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou [you] son [or--in this case--descendant] of [King] David, fear not [don't be afraid] to take unto thee [yourself] Mary [as] thy [your] wife: for that [baby] which is conceived in her is of [by] the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth [give birth to] a son, and thou shalt [you shall] call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people [referring, at that time, to the Israelites, or Jewish people] from their sins [which was Jesus' main reason for coming to earth]."

Matthew 1:22,23: "Now all this was done,
[so] that it might be fulfilled [brought about] [that] which was spoken of [by] the Lord [God] [and prophesied] by the prophet [Isaiah, in Isaiah 7:14], 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."

Matthew 1:24-25: "Then Joseph being raised from sleep
[or 'having been awakened'] did as the angel of the Lord had bidden [instructed] him, and took unto him [Mary as] his wife: And knew her not [did not have sex with her] till [until after] she had brought forth [given birth to] her firstborn [child, a] son: and he [Joseph] called his [the baby's] name JESUS."

*Thankfully, we don't live in Bible times because, as Albert Barnes noted in his commentary on Matthew 1:19:

"… Adultery has always been considered a crime of a very heinous
[evil or wicked] nature. In Egypt, it was punished by cutting off the nose of the adulteress [the woman who had committed adultery]; in Persia, the nose and ears [of the adulteress] were cut off; in Judea, the punishment was death by stoning … This punishment was also inflicted [used] where the person was not married, but betrothed [engaged] … In this case, therefore, the regular punishment would have been death [for Mary] in this painful and ignominious [disgraceful, shameful] manner. Yet Joseph was a religious man - mild and tender [gentle and kind]; and he was not willing to complain of her [Mary] to the magistrate [someone who administers the law, like a judge], and expose her to death, but sought to avoid the shame, and to put her away privately."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-1.html, "Verse 19")


Exciting News for the Virgin Mary: She Was Chosen to Give Birth to God's Son

When Elisabeth was six months pregnant with John the Baptist, an angel was sent to the city of Nazareth to deliver an important message to Elisabeth's cousin Mary, a virgin who was betrothed to (engaged to marry) a man named Joseph.

Luke 1:30-31: "And the angel
[Gabriel] said unto her [the virgin Mary], Fear not [don't be afraid], Mary: for thou hast [you have] found favour [favor] with God. And, behold, thou shalt [you shall] conceive [a child] in thy [your] womb [uterus] [which meant that she would become pregnant], and bring forth [give birth to] a son [who is the promised Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world], and [you] shalt [shall] call his name JESUS [meaning 'Jehovah (the Lord) is Salvation']."

Luke 1:32,33: "He
[Jesus] shall be great [in word and deed (i.e., things that he says and does), and in power, wisdom, influence, etc.], and shall be called the Son of the Highest [or 'the Son of God']: and the Lord God shall give unto him [Jesus] the throne [kingdom] of his [earthly] father [referring to Jesus' ancestor, King] David [note: Mary and Joseph (Jesus' earthly mother and father) were both related to King David, which meant that Jesus would also be a descendant of King David and consequently could inherit his throne--see note below*]: And he [Jesus] shall reign [rule] over the house [family] of Jacob [referring to all of the descendants of Jacob, who were also known as the children of Israel,] for ever; and of his [Jesus'] kingdom [both on earth and in heaven, which includes born-again Christians] there shall be no end."

Luke 1:34: "Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be
[or 'how can I become pregnant and bear a child'], seeing [that] I know not [have not known, or--in this case--have not had sexual relations with] a man?"

Luke 1:35: "And the angel answered and said unto her
[Mary], The Holy Ghost [the Holy Spirit] shall come upon thee [you], and the power of the Highest [or 'the most high God'] shall overshadow thee [which meant that Jesus' earthly body would be created supernaturally, by the power of God--see note below**]: therefore also that holy thing [that holy child] which shall be born of thee [referring to baby Jesus] shall be called the Son of God [in regard to his human nature]."

*The article entitled "What does it mean that Jesus is the Son of David?" explains Jesus' relationship to King David. If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-son-of-David.html.

*  *  *  *  *

**Definition of overshadow, according to Strong's Concordance:

"… Used of the Holy Spirit exerting creative energy upon the womb of the virgin Mary and impregnating it (a use of the word which seems to have been drawn from the familiar OT
[Old Testament] idea of a cloud as symbolising the immediate presence and power of God)"

(Source: https://www.godrules.net/library/kjvstrongs/kjvstrongsluk1.htm, "1:35," "overtshadow--1982")

*  *  *  *  *

Regarding the virgin birth, Donald C. Flemming, a Bible commentator, wrote:

"… Mary's pregnancy would come about not through any sexual relations with Joseph, but through the direct creative power of the Spirit of God
[i.e., the Holy Spirit]. The son born to her [Mary] would be of Adam's race [i.e., the human race] but free of [or 'without'] any trace of Adam's sin. He [Jesus] would not be one whom God merely adopted as his son, but one who was actually God's Son …"

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/luke/1-30.html, "Bridgeway Bible Commentary")


We Should Glory in (or Boast About) God Rather Than Ourselves

Jeremiah 9:23: "Thus saith
[says] the LORD [God], Let not [don't let] the wise man [or woman or child] glory [take pride] in his [or her] wisdom, neither [and don't] let the mighty [strong and brave] man [or woman or child] glory in his [or her] might, [and] let not the rich man [or woman or child] glory in his [or her] riches:"

Jeremiah 9:24: "But let him
[or her] that glorieth [glories in (boasts or brags about) something, such as wisdom, might (strength), or riches] glory in this [thing:], that he [or she] understandeth [understands] and knoweth [knows] me [God], [and] that I am the LORD which exercise [or who exercises, accomplishes, brings about, produces] lovingkindness [kindness and mercy], judgment [justice], and righteousness [morality], in the earth: for [because] in these things [i.e., lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness] I [do] delight [have much pleasure and satisfaction], saith the LORD.

No matter how wise, strong, or rich we are, we can always use God's help, and we should praise him for it.

*  *  *  *  *

GotQuestions.org has an article that answers the question "What does it mean to not let the wise man glory in his wisdom (Jeremiah 9:23)?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/let-not-the-wise-man-glory-in-his-wisdom.html.


Psalm 48:14: "For this God [referring to Almighty God, the one true God, who, according to the writer of the 48th psalm (which you can read here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+48&version=KJV), protects the city of Jerusalem ('Zion') and chose it as his earthly dwelling place] is our God [i.e., of both the Jewish people and born-again Christians] for ever and ever: he [Almighty God] will be our guide [throughout our lives,] even unto [until] death."

In his commentary, Albert Barnes said that "… as long as we live on the earth, we may have the assurance [promise, confidence] that he [God] will lead and guide us. This he will do in behalf of those who put their trust in him

"(a) by the counsels
[advice] of His word [as recorded in the Bible];

"(b) by the influences of His
[Holy] Spirit;

"(c) by His providential
[miraculous] interpositions [interventions];

"(d) by special help in special trials;

"(e) by shedding light upon our path when
[we are] in perplexity [confusion] and doubt; and

"(f) by support and direction when we tread
[walk] that dark and to us unknown way which conducts [leads] to the grave.

"Man needs nothing more for this life than the confident assurance that he has the Eternal God for his guide, and that he will never be left or forsaken
[abandoned, deserted] by Him in any possible situation in which he may be placed. If God, by His own hand, will conduct me through this world, and lead me safely through the dark valley [of the shadow of death--Psalm 23:4] - that valley which lies at the end of every traveler's path - I have nothing to fear beyond [the grave]."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-48.html, "Verse 14")


To King Saul, who had been trying to kill him, David said:

1 Samuel 24:12: "The LORD
[God] [will] judge between me [David] and thee [you, Saul], and the LORD [will] avenge me [David] of thee [you, Saul] [in other words, David was saying that God would punish Saul, if necessary]: but mine [my] hand shall not be upon thee [which meant that David would not harm Saul in any way]."

This verse also applies to born-again Christians. From it, we learn not to retaliate or seek revenge when we are treated badly or unfairly by others. Instead, as stated in Romans 12:19, we should leave any punishment up to God.


Amos 3:7: "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing [in regard to judgment, punishment, destruction, etc.], but [except, unless] he revealeth [reveals] his secret [or gives a warning] unto his servants the prophets [who, in turn, will warn everyone else]."

Warnings are given for a reason. People who take risks and ignore warnings are guilty of taking their life into their own hands--sometimes literally. When you "play with fire," there is no one but yourself to blame for what happens.

*  *  *  *  *

Biblical examples for the above verse include the following:

-- God warned Noah to prepare for a worldwide flood .

-- God warned Abraham and Lot that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and everyone in them, would be destroyed.

-- God warned Joseph that there would be a seven-year famine (shortage of food) in the land of Egypt.

-- God warned Moses about the coming plagues.

-- God warned Jonah that Nineveh would be destroyed.

*  *  *  *  *

Some of the prophets' warnings contained in the Bible have not yet occurred. These include the "rapture" of the church (when Christians are taken to heaven in the "twinkling of an eye," according to 1 Corinthians 15:52) and the seven-year "tribulation," when the Antichrist will be revealed and will come to power on Earth. The rapture only applies to born-again Christians; everyone else will be "left behind" to go through a horrifying seven-year period of tribulation (described in the GotQuestions.org "end times tribulation" article listed below).

Here are links to some articles about the coming rapture and tribulation:

-- "What is the rapture of the church?"

-- "How can I be sure I won't be left behind in the rapture?"

-- "What is the end times tribulation?"

-- "What is the end times timeline?"

*  *  *  *  *

To miss the tribulation, you must be saved God's way, as explained in the Bible.

Hopefully, you are already saved, or born again. If not, and you would like to be, you'll find detailed instructions in the gospel tracts that are located in the "Printable Gospel Tracts" section of my website. Here's a direct link to that page:


After Moses died, the Lord said to Joshua:

Joshua 1:9: "Have not I
[God] commanded thee [you] [to do the things that are outlined in Note 1 below]? Be strong and of a good courage [or 'be strong and courageous (brave)']; be not afraid [don't be afraid], neither be thou dismayed [and don't be worried, or discouraged]: for [because] the LORD thy [your] God is with thee [you] whithersoever [wherever] thou goest [you go]."

Like he did with Joshua, when God wants Christians to do something, we can be sure that he'll protect us and help us get it done.

*  *  *  *  *


After Moses died, God commanded Joshua to study and obey his (God's) word and to take Moses' place and lead the "children of Israel" (see Note 2 below regarding this name) over the Jordan river to take possession of the land (Canaan) that he promised to give them, which is described in Note 3 below.

*  *  *  *  *


In the Old Testament, the Jewish people were called children of Israel because they were the descendants of Jacob, a grandson of Abraham, who, after wrestling with an angel one night, was renamed Israel by God

The following articles include background information on Jewish names:

-- "Who are the children of Israel in the Bible?"

-- "What are the different names for the Israelites, and what do they mean?"

*  *  *  *  *


The article entitled "What is the land that God promised to Israel?" has some interesting (and very surprising) facts. If you want to read it, here's the link:


Do Not Use "Vain Repetitions" in Prayer

To the people who were listening to his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:

Matthew 6:7: "But when ye
[you] pray, use not [do not use] vain repetitions [i.e., don't say the same things over and over without meaning them], as the heathen [Gentiles, non-Jewish people] do: for they think that they shall be heard [by God] for their much speaking [or for their many words, as when memorized words and phrases are repeated thoughtlessly and often--see note below*]."

Matthew 6:8: "Be not ye therefore like unto them
[or 'Therefore, do not be like them (the 'heathens')]: for your Father [in heaven--God] knoweth [knows] what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."

Answers to prayer depend on many things, one of which is not on how many times we use the same words or how often we repeat our requests but on how sincere we are when we ask God for help.

*  *  *  *  *

*Regarding Matthew 6:7, Charles Spurgeon said:

" It is not very easy to repeat the same words often without it becoming a vain repetition. A repetition, however, is not forbidden, but a 'vain' repetition
[is] …"

(Source: https://ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/sermons60/sermons60.v.html, "Exposition by C. H. Spurgeon: Matthew 6:1-24," "6, 7")

To learn  more about the subject of vain repetitions, read the article entitled "What does it mean to use vain repetitions in prayer?" Here's the link:

*  *  *  *  *

Regarding Matthew 6:8, one Bible commentator wrote:

"… A God who needs to be told what men need could certainly not help if told! …"

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/6-8.html, "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible")


In a letter to Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote:

 Romans 8:6: "For
[a person] to be carnally minded [focused on worldly, or fleshly, desires (especially pleasurable things)] is death [both spiritual and eternal, which suggests that the person may be unsaved and headed for hell]; but to be spiritually minded [guided by the Holy Spirit, or focused mainly on spiritual things] is [what usually happens when people are saved, or born again, and have eternal] life and peace [both here (on earth) and hereafter (in heaven)]."

If you're wondering whether or not Christians can be carnal, GotQuestions.org has an answer for that. It's in their article entitled "What is a carnal Christian?" You can find it here: https://www.gotquestions.org/carnal-Christian.html.


Eliphaz Offers His Opinion on the Reason for Job's Suffering

Eliphaz the Temanite was with his friend Job while he was being attacked by Satan (the devil). Eliphaz thought that Job was "reaping what he had sown" (i.e.,. being punished for something he had done wrong), but that wasn't true. In this case, the real reason for Job's suffering was to test Job's faithfulness to God.

This is what Eliphaz said:

Job 4:8: "Even as I
[Eliphaz] have seen [observed or noticed], they that plow iniquity [referring to people who devise evil plots, or plan to cause trouble], and sow wickedness [do bad things], reap [harvest, receive--as a consequence of their actions] the same [things (iniquity and wickedness, based on or similar to the trouble or harm that they cause to others) as punishment]."

Job 4:9: "By the blast
[judgment] of God [which comes suddenly, like violent winds in a tornado,] they [those who 'plow iniquity and sow wickedness'] perish [are destroyed], and by the breath of his [God's] nostrils [comparing God's anger to the smoke and flames that come from the noses and mouths of fire-breathing dragons] are they [the aforementioned bad people] consumed [destroyed] [i.e., quickly, as by fire]."

As Eliphaz noted above, in most cases (but not always!), suffering is caused by sin.

*  *  *  *  *

Here are links to two GotQuestions.org articles that give some background information on Job:

-- "Who was Job in the Bible?"

-- "What was Eliphaz the Temanite's message to Job?"


In a letter to Titus, the apostle Paul wrote:

 Titus 3:8: "This is a faithful
[true] saying, and these things [listed below--see note*] I will that thou [or 'I want you (Titus) to'] affirm [declare, confirm] constantly [in your preaching], that they which have believed in God [referring to people who have received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and been 'born again'] might be careful to maintain good works [or 'try to be good and do good'; i.e., do good to others, and try to lead an honest and holy life]. These things [the doctrines listed below--see note*] are good and profitable unto men [all people] [because they promote well-being and happiness]."

According to the Bible, it's impossible to be saved by doing good works (Ephesians 2:8-9), but following salvation, good works is one way to express our gratitude (appreciation, thankfulness) to God for his wonderful gift of eternal life (James 2:26).

*  *  *  *  *

In one of their articles (entitled "Why is faith without works dead?), GotQuestions.org writes:

"Works are not the cause of salvation; works are the evidence of salvation. Faith in Christ always results in good works."

To find out more about the subject of good works, read the rest of the article. You can find it here:

*  *  *  *  *

*According to Adam Clarke:

"… The things to which the apostle
[Paul] refers are those of which he had just been writing, and may be thus summed up:-

"1. The ruined state of man
[mankind, human beings], both in soul and body.

"2. The infinite
[unlimited, endless] goodness of God which devised [came up with, planned] his [mankind's] salvation.

"3. The manifestation
[realization] of this goodness, by the incarnation [birth] of Jesus Christ.

"4. The justification
[ability to become righteous in the sight of God] which they who believed received through his [Jesus'] blood.

"5. The mission of the Holy Spirit, and the purification of the heart by his influence.

"6. The hope of the resurrection of the body, and the final glorification
[removal of sin] of both it [the body] and the soul through all eternity.

"7. The necessity of obedience to the will of God, and of walking worthy of the vocation
[occupation] wherewith they [believers, Christians] had been called.

"8. And all these points he
[Paul] wills him [Titus] to press continually on the attention of believers; and to keep constantly in view, that all good comes from God's infinite kindness, by and through Christ Jesus."

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/titus/3-8.html, "Clarke's Commentary")


These verses were written by a man named James (perhaps the apostle James, or Jesus' brother) to Jewish Christians.:

James 5:14: "Is any
[person] sick among you? let him [or her] call [send] for the elders [leaders, pastors] of the church [see Note 1 below]; and let them pray over [or 'with and for'] him [or her--the sick person], [while] anointing him [or her] with oil [usually, olive oil--see Note 2 below] in the name of [i.e., by the authority or direction of] the Lord [Jesus Christ]:"

James 5:15: "And
[unless it is against God's will,] the prayer of [the elders, offered in] faith [see Note 3 below] shall save [heal] the sick [person], and the Lord shall raise him [or her] up [from the bed]; and if he [or she--the sick person] have committed sins [or has done something bad, which caused the illness], they [those sins] shall be forgiven him [or her] [by God]."


In his commentary on verse 14, while discussing people calling for elders when they're sick, Albert Barnes wrote:

"… It may be added, as worthy of note, that the apostle says they should 'call' for the elders of the church; that is, they should send for them. They should not wait for them to hear of their sickness, as they might happen to, but they should cause them to be informed of it, and give them an opportunity of visiting them and praying with them. Nothing is more common than for persons - even members of the church - to be sick a long time, and to presume
[assume] that their pastor must know all about it; and then they wonder that he does not come to see them, and [they] think hard [bad] of him because he does not. A pastor cannot be supposed to know everything; nor can it be presumed that he knows when persons are sick, any more than he can know anything else, unless he is apprized [apprised, told] of it; and many hard thoughts, and many suspicions [thoughts] of neglect would be avoided, if, when persons are sick, they would in some way inform their pastor of it. It should always be presumed of a minister of the gospel that he is ready to visit the [people who are] sick. But how can he go unless he is in some way apprized of the illness of those who need his counsel [advice] and his prayers? The sick [people] send for their family physician [doctor]; why should they presume that their pastor will know of their illness any more than that their physician will?"


In the same commentary, Mr. Barnes also said this in regard to anointing people with oil:

"… Oil, or unguents
[ointments (lotions, creams, salves)] of various kinds, were much used among the ancients [old people], both in health and in sickness. The oil which was commonly employed was olive oil … The custom of anointing [rubbing or smearing] the sick with oil still prevails in the East [referring to countries in the Eastern Hemisphere, such as , Asia, Africa, and most of Europe], for it is believed to have medicinal or healing properties …"

(Source for above quotes: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/james-5.html, "Verse 14")

*  *  *  *  *


Some people are confused by the meaning of the phrase prayer of faith in today's verse. It is explained in the following article: "What is the prayer of faith?" If you want to read it, click here:


Obey God or Else!

In the Old Testament, this was God's warning to the Jewish people via (by means of, through) his prophet Zechariah:

Zechariah 7:9: "Thus speaketh
[speaks] the LORD of hosts [or 'the God of the armies of heaven' (i.e., angels), referring to Almighty God] [through the former prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, etc.], saying, Execute true judgment [judge fairly], and shew [show] mercy [kindness] and compassions [sympathy and concern for the misfortune and sufferings of others] every man [and woman and child] to his (or her) brother [and sister, and everyone else in the world]:"

Zechariah 7:10: "And oppress not
[don't mistreat (treat badly) or persecute] the widow, nor the fatherless [child], [nor] the stranger, nor the poor [person]; and let none of you imagine evil against [or have bad thoughts about, wish bad things upon, or plan evil actions against] his (or her) brother [or sister, or 'another human being'] in your heart."

Zechariah 7:11: "But they
[the Jews] refused to hearken [listen], and pulled away the shoulder [turned away], and stopped [up] their ears, [so] that they should not hear [the words of the Lord]."

Zechariah 7:12: "Yea
[yes], they made their hearts as an adamant [impenetrable, extremely hard, unbreakable] stone [like a diamond], lest they should [so they shouldn't] hear the law [of God], and the words which the LORD of hosts hath [has] sent in his spirit [by his Holy Spirit] by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath [anger] from the LORD of hosts."

The above verses teach us two things:

1. We should be kind to others.

2. If we want to please God, we must be willing to obey him.


Keeping Our Promises to God

This is part of what Moses said to the children of Israel before they entered the promised land (Canaan):

Deuteronomy 23:21: "When thou shalt
[you shall] vow a vow [make a promise] unto the LORD thy [your] God [to do something for him and/or give something to him--see examples below*], thou shalt not slack [you shall not delay] to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee [you]; and it [i.e., not keeping your promise] would be sin in thee [to you]."

Deuteronomy 23:22: "But if thou shalt forbear
[refuse, decline] to [make a] vow [in the first place], it shall be no [not be] sin in thee."

Deuteronomy 23:23: "That which is gone out of thy lips
[i.e., your promises to God] thou shalt keep and perform; even [including] a freewill [voluntary] offering, according as thou hast [you have] vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth."

In other words (just like the people of Israel were told), we shouldn't make promises to God unless we intend to keep them.

*  *  *  *  *

For more information about making vows and promises (to God and/or people), read one or both of the following articles:

-- "What does the Bible say about keeping your vows / oaths?"

-- "Should a Christian make a promise?'

*  *  *  *  *

*Examples of promises that people might make to God are that they will:

-- Obey his commandments.
-- Read the Bible.
-- Pray.
-- Go to church.
-- Preach the gospel (i.e., do street preaching, become a pastor).
-- Hand out tracts, tell others how to be saved.
-- Become a missionary.
-- Offer sacrifices (as they did in Bible times).
-- Give money to help support God's work and/or church.