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Archive for February, 2011

Paul’s Prayer for the Ephesians.

Paul Prays for the Spiritual Growth of the Christians in Ephesus

Ephesians 3:14-21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (NIV)

Paul’s Prayer for Knowing God’s Will.

New Testament Prayer for Knowing God‘s Will

Colossians 1:9-12

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. (NIV)

Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom.

New Testament Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom

Ephesians 1:15-23

Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God‘s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called-his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else-not only in this world but also in the world to come

God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself. (NLT)

Profile of the Apostle Paul of Tarsus.

The Apostle Paul, who started as one of Christianity’s most zealous enemies, was hand-picked by Jesus Christ to become the gospel’s most ardent messenger. Paul traveled tirelessly through the ancient world, taking the message of salvation to the Gentiles. Paul towers as one of the all-time giants of Christianity.

The Apostle Paul’s Accomplishments:

When Saul of Tarsus, who was later renamed Paul, saw the resurrected Jesus Christ on the Damascus Road, Saul converted to Christianity. He made three long missionary journeys throughout the Roman Empire, planting churches, preaching the gospel, and giving strength and encouragement to early Christians. Of the 27 books in the New Testament, Paul is credited as the author of 13 of them. While he was proud of his Jewish heritage, Paul saw that the gospel was for the Gentiles as well. Paul was martyred for his faith in Christ by the Romans, about 64 or 65 A.D.

The Apostle Paul’s Strengths:

Paul had a brilliant mind, a commanding knowledge of philosophy and religion, and could debate with the most educated scholars of his day. At the same time, his clear, understandable explanation of the gospel made his letters to early churches the foundation of Christian theology. Tradition portrays Paul as a physically small man, but he endured enormous physical hardships on his missionary journeys. His perseverance in the face of danger and persecution has inspired countless missionaries since.

The Apostle Paul’s Weaknesses:

Before his conversion, Paul approved of the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:58), and was a merciless persecutor of the early church.

Life Lessons:

God can change anyone. God gave Paul the strength, wisdom, and endurance to carry out the mission Jesus entrusted Paul with. One of Paul’s most famous statements is: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV), reminding us that our power to live the Christian life comes from God, not ourselves.

Paul also recounted a “thorn in his flesh” that kept him from becoming conceited over the priceless privilege God had entrusted to him. In saying, “For when I am weak, then I am strong,” (2 Corinthians 12:2, NIV), Paul was sharing one of the greatest secrets of staying faithful: absolute dependence on God.

Much of the Protestant Reformation was based on Paul’s teaching that people are saved by grace, not works: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-“ (Ephesians 2:8, NIV) This truth frees us to stop striving to be good enough and to instead rejoice in our salvation, gained by the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ.


Tarsus, in Cilicia, in present-day southern Turkey.

Referenced in the Bible:

Acts 9-28; Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians,Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, 2 Peter 3:15.


Pharisee, tent maker, Christian evangelist, missionary, Scripture writer.


Tribe: Benjamin.
Party: Pharisee.
Mentor: Gamaliel, a famous rabbi.

Key Verses:

Acts 9:15-16
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” (NIV)

Romans 5:1
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (NIV)

Galatians 6:7-10
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (NIV)

2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (NIV)

Book of Exodus.

Introduction to the Book of Exodus

Book of Exodus:

The book of Exodus details God‘s call to the people of Israel to get up and leave their position of slavery in Egypt. Exodus records more miracles of God than any other book in the Old Testament. God rescues and delivers his people as he guides them into the unfamiliar desert. There God institutes his system of laws, gives instruction in worship and establishes his people as the nation of Israel. Exodus is a book of tremendous spiritual significance.

Author of the Book of Exodus:


Date Written:

1450-1410 B.C.

Written To:

The people of Israel and the people of God for all generations to come.

Landscape of the Book of Exodus:

Exodus begins in Egypt where the people of God have been living in slavery to Pharaoh. As God delivers the Israelites, they move into the desert by way of the Red Sea and eventually come to Mount Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula

Themes in the Book of Exodus:

There are several significant themes in the book of Exodus. Israel’s slavery is a picture of man’s slavery to sin. Ultimately only through God’s divine guidance and leadership can we escape our slavery to sin. However, God also directed the people through the godly leadership of Moses. Typically God also leads us into freedom through wise leadership and through his word.The people of Israel had been crying out to God for deliverance. He was concerned about their suffering and he rescued them. Yet Moses and the people had to exercise courage to obey and follow God.

Once free and living in the desert, the people complained and began to yearn for the familiar days of Egypt. Often the unfamiliar freedom that comes when we follow and obey God, feels uncomfortable and even painful at first. If we trust God he will lead us into our promised land.

The institution of the law and the Ten Commandments in Exodus reveals the emphasis and importance of choice and responsibility in God’s kingdom. God blesses obedience and punishes disobedience.

Key Characters in the Book of Exodus:

Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Pharaoh, Pharaoh’s daughter, Jethro, Joshua.

Key Verses:

    Exodus 3:7-10
    The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey … And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (NIV)
    Exodus 3:14-15
    God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ “God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God ofAbraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation. (NIV)
    Exodus 4:10-11
    Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? (NIV)

Outline of the Book of Exodus:

  • Israel Enslaved in Egypt – Exodus 1:1-22
  • God Chooses Moses – Exodus 2:1-4:31
  • God Sends Moses to Pharaoh – Exodus 5:1-7:13
  • The Plagues – Exodus 7:14-11:10
  • The Passover – Exodus 12:1-30
  • The Exodus from Egypt – Exodus 12:31-13:16
  • Crossing the Red Sea – Exodus 13:17-15:21
  • Complaining in the Desert – Exodus 15:22-18:27
  • The Ten Commandments and the Giving of the Law – Exodus 19:1-24:18
  • The Tabernacle Instructions – Exodus 25:1-31:18
  • Breaking the Law – Exodus 32:1-34:35
  • Tabernacle Construction – Exodus 35:1-40:38

Book of Genesis.

Introduction to the Book of Genesis

Book of Genesis:

The book of Genesis chronicles the creation of the world—the universe and the earth. It reveals the plan within God’s heart to have a people of his very own, set apart to worship him.

Author of the Book of Genesis:


Date Written:

1450-1410 B.C.

Written To:

The people of Israel.

Landscape of the Book of Genesis:

Genesis is set in the Middle East region. Places in Genesis include the of Garden of Eden, the Mountains of Ararat, Babel, Ur, Haran, Shechem, Hebron, Beersheba, Bethel and Egypt.

Themes in the Book of Genesis:

Genesis is the book of beginnings. The word means “origins” or “beginnings.” It sets the stage for the rest of the Bible, telling us God’s plan for his creation. Genesis reveals the nature of God as Creator and Redeemer; the value of a human life – created in God’s image and for his purpose; the terrible consequences of disobedience and sin – separating man from God; and the wonderful promise of salvation and forgiveness through the coming Messiah.

Key Characters in the Book of Genesis:

Adam and Eve , NoahAbraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, Joseph.

Key Verses:

    Genesis 1:27
    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (NIV)
    Genesis 2:18, 20b-24
    The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” …But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 

    The man said,
    “This is now bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
    she shall be called ‘woman,’
    for she was taken out of man.”

    For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (NIV)

    Genesis 12:2-3
    “I will make you into a great nation
    and I will bless you;
    I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
    I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
    and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”

Outline of the Book of Genesis:

  • Creation – Genesis 1:1-2:3
  • Adam and Eve‘s Story – Genesis 2:4-5:32
  • Noah’s Story – Genesis 6:1-11:32
  • Abraham‘s Story – Genesis 12:1-25:18
  • Isaac’s Story – Genesis 25:19-28:9
  • Jacob’s Story – Genesis 28:10-36:43
  • Joseph’s Story – Genesis 37:1-50:26


What is the Pentateuch?

The Pentateuch refers to the first five books of the Bible (Genesis – Deuteronomy). For the most part, both Jewish and Christian tradition credit Moses with primary authorship of the Pentateuch. These five books form the theological foundation of the Bible.The word pentateuch means “five vessels,” “five containers,” or “five-volumed book.” In Hebrew the Pentateuch is Torah, meaning “the law” or “instruction.” Another name for the Pentateuch is “the five books of Moses.”

The books of the Pentateuch introduce Bible readers to God’s divine purposes and plans, and explain how sin entered the world. In the Pentateuch we also see God’s response to sin, his relationship with mankind, and we gain insight into the character and nature of God.

Books of the Pentateuch

Pronunciation: PEN tuh tük


What is the Apocrypha?

The Apocrypha denotes a set of books not considered authoritative, or divinely inspired, inJudaism and Protestant Christian churches, and therefore, not accepted into the canon of Scripture. A large portion of the Apocrypha, however, was officially recognized by theRoman Catholic Church* as part of the biblical canon at the Council of Trent in A.D. 1546. Today, Coptic, Greek and Russian Orthodox churches also accept these books as divinely inspired by God.The word apocrypha means “hidden.” These books were written primarily in the time period between the Old and New Testaments.

Books of the Apocrypha

  • 1 and 2 Esdras
  • Tobit*
  • Judith*
  • Wisdom of Solomon*
  • Sirach* (also called Ecclesiasticus)
  • Baruch*
  • Letter of Jeremiah
  • Song of the Three Young Men
  • Susanna
  • Bel and the Dragon
  • Prayer of Manasseh
  • 1 and 2 Maccabees*
  • Additions to the book of Esther*
  • Additions to the book of Daniel*

Pronunciation: uh PAW kruh fuh


The Genealogy of Jesus (2).

Matthew’s Genealogy and Luke’s Genealogy

Matthew’s Genealogy
(From Abraham to Jesus)
Matthew 1:1-17

  • Abraham
  • Isaac
  • Jacob
  • Judah
  • Perez (whose mother was Tamar)
  • Hezron
  • Ram
  • Amminadab
  • Nahshon
  • Salmon
  • Boaz (whose mother was Rahab)
  • Obed (whose mother was Ruth)
  • Jesse
  • David
  • Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba)
  • Rehoboam
  • Abijah
  • Asa
  • Jehoshaphat
  • Johoram
  • Uzziah
  • Jotham
  • Ahaz
  • Hezekiah
  • Manasseh
  • Amon
  • Josiah
  • Jeconiah
  • Shealtiel
  • Zerubbabel
  • Abiud
  • Eliakim
  • Azor
  • Zadok
  • Achim
  • Eliud
  • Eleazer
  • Matthan
  • Jacob
  • Joseph (the husband of Mary)
  • Jesus

Luke’s Genealogy
(From Adam to Jesus*)
Luke 3:23-37

  • Adam
  • Seth
  • Enosh
  • Kenan
  • Mahalaleel
  • Jared
  • Enoch
  • Methuselah
  • Lamech
  • Noah
  • Shem
  • Arphaxad
  • Cainan
  • Shelah
  • Eber
  • Peleg
  • Reu
  • Serug
  • Nahor
  • Terah
  • Abraham
  • Isaac
  • Jacob
  • Judah
  • Perez
  • Hezron
  • Ram**
  • Amminadab
  • Nahshon
  • Salmon
  • Boaz
  • Obed
  • Jesse
  • David
  • Nathan
  • Mattatha
  • Menna
  • Melea
  • Eliakim
  • Jonam
  • Joseph
  • Judah
  • Simeon
  • Levi
  • Matthat
  • Jorim
  • Eliezer
  • Joshua
  • Er
  • Elmadam
  • Cosam
  • Addi
  • Melki
  • Neri
  • Shealtiel
  • Zerubbabel
  • Rhesa
  • Joanan
  • Joda
  • Josech
  • Semein
  • Mattathias
  • Maath
  • Naggai
  • Esli
  • Nahum
  • Amos
  • Mattathias
  • Joseph
  • Jannai
  • Melki
  • Levi
  • Matthat
  • Heli
  • Joseph
  • Jesus



The Genealogy of Jesus (1).

Compare Matthew’s Genealogy to Luke’s Genealogy of Jesus Christ

There are two records in the Bible of the genealogy of Jesus Christ.

One is in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 1, the other is in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 3.

Matthew’s account traces the line of descent from Abraham to Jesus, while Luke’s account follows the ancestry fromAdam to Jesus.

Quite a few differences and discrepancy exist between the two records.

Most startling is that from King David to Jesus the lineages are entirely different.

The Differences:

  • Matthew’s account traces the lineage from Abraham to Jesus (41 generations), while Luke records the ancestry from Adam to Jesus (76 generations). 
  • Matthew’s genealogy is condensed and divided into three groups of 14, representing a movement through three time periods. The first group lists the patriarchs, the second names the kings, and the third contains private citizens. The intent was not to give a strict record, but rather, present the historical progression. It begins by highlighting the family origin, then the rise to power through the Davidic throne, and eventually the decline from royalty to the humble birth of the promised Messiah.
  • Luke’s account is unusual in that is begins with Jesus and progresses backward through history, rather than following the order of chronological succession. Some suggest that Luke’s purpose in presenting a “regression” was to magnify attention on Jesus. 
  • Though nearly identical from Abraham to David, the two accounts are entirely different from David to Jesus. After David, only the names of Shealtiel and Zerubbabel appear on both lists.

Throughout the ages, scholars have pondered and argued over the reasons for the conflicting genealogies of Matthew and Luke, particularly since Jewish scribes were known for their precise and detailed record keeping. Skeptics are usually quick to attribute these differences to biblical errors.

Reasons For the Differing Accounts:

According to one of the oldest theories, some scholars assign the differences in genealogies to the “Levirate marriage” tradition.
This custom said that if a man died without bearing any sons, his brother could then marry his widow, and their sons would carry on the dead man’s name.
For this theory to hold up, it would mean that Joseph, the father of Jesus, had both a legal father (Heli) and a biological father (Jacob), through a Levirate marriage.
The theory suggests that Joseph’s grandfathers (Matthan according to Matthew; Matthat according to Luke) were brothers, both married to the same woman, one after the other.
This would make Matthan’s son (Jacob) Joseph’s biological father, and Matthat’s son (Heli) Joseph’s legal father.
Matthew’s account would trace Jesus’ primary (biological) lineage, and Luke’s record would follow Jesus’ legal lineage.

An alternative theory with very little acceptance among theologians and historians alike, proposes that Jacob and Heli are actually one and the same.

One of the most widely held theories suggests that Matthew’s account follows the lineage of Joseph, while Luke’s genealogy is that of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

This interpretation would mean that Jacob was Joseph’s biological father, and Heli (Mary’s biological father) became Joseph’s surrogate father, thus making Joseph Heli’s heir through his marriage to Mary.

If Heli had no sons, this would have been the normal custom.

Also, if Mary and Joseph lived under the same roof with Heli, his “son-in-law” would have been called “son” and considered a descendent. Although it would have been unusual to trace a genealogy from the maternal side, there was nothing usual about the virgin birth.

Additionally, if Mary (Jesus’ blood relative) was indeed a direct descendant of David, this would make her son “the seed of David” in keeping with Messianic prophecies.

There are other more complicated theories, and with each there seems to remain an unresolvable problem.

Yet in both genealogies we do see that Jesus is a descendant of King David, qualifying him, according to Messianic prophecies, as the Messiah.

One interesting commentary points out that by beginning with Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, Matthew’s genealogy shows the relationship of Jesus to all Jews—he is their Messiah.

This coincides with the overarching theme and purpose of the book of Matthew—to prove that Jesus is the Messiah.

On the other hand, the overriding purpose of the book of Luke is to give a precise record of the life of Christ as the perfect human Savior.

Therefore, the genealogy of Luke traces all the way back to Adam, demonstrating the relationship of Jesus to all of mankind—he is the Savior of the world.


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