I’m reading through the Bible in a year, and every month I (try to) post about what I’ve read.
Three months down, nine to go. This past month, more than in the previous two, I had to fight familiarity. Anyway, now I’m in Leviticus, so things are going to be a little different. 😉
Back to the recap: In March, I completed 1 Corinthians, Luke, Job, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Exodus and John in that order. I began and hadn’t completed by month’s end Proverbs, Leviticus and Colossians.
For my reflections of 1 Corinthians, as well as the first parts of Exodus, Job and Luke, see last month’s post.
Exodus: It took a night to part the Red Sea, and not 2 minutes like in the movies (14:21)?
It is so easy to judge the Israelites for their fickleness; even after all the spectacular displays of God’s power and provision, they complain. We’re not immune, though.
Why should people who have witnessed so spectacular a display of the grace and power of God slip so easily into muttering and complaining and slide so gracelessly into listless disobedience? The answer lies in the fact that many of them see God as existing to serve them. He served them in the Exodus; he served them when he provided clean water. Now he must serve not only their needs but their appetites. Otherwise they are entirely prepared to abandon him. While Moses has been insisting to Pharaoh that the people needed to retreat into the desert in order to serve and worship God, the people themselves think God exists to serve them.
—D. A. Carson, For the Love of God, entry for March 5.
Another “discovery”: In 24:10, Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the seventy elders “…saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself.” Sound familiar?
Another parallel: Both Moses (Ex 32:32) and Paul (Rom 9:3) were willing to be cut off from God for the sake of their people.
Job: Why isn’t Elihu mentioned in chapter 42?
Luke: I’m sure I’m not the only one perplexed by parts of chapters 16 and 17. The parable of the shrewd manager is weird, and, at face value, is borderline unChristian. As for 17:10, we certainly don’t hear too many sermons based on it.
I found it interesting how Luke describes certain people: Simeon was waiting for the consolation of Israel (2:25); Joseph of Arimathea was waiting for the kingdom of God (23:51); the Emmaus pair were hoping for the redemption of Israel (24:21).
Speaking of the two on the road to Emmaus : they hurried back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples that they had seen Jesus, only to be told, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” (24:33-34). The words were taken out of their mouths. What an anticlimax! (Though I don’t think they minded).
John: The chapter divisions in the Bible (added sometime after 1000 AD) can be less than helpful:
But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man. Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. (John 2:24-3:1)
Puts Nicodemus in a different light from the Sunday School version, doesn’t it?
One theme John brings up in his gospel is belief in Christ. It’s the reason he wrote it (20:31). Anyway, there’s an interesting exchange in 8:31-59. He starts off by telling us that Jesus was speaking to “the Jews who had believed in him,” and ends with the Jews picking up stones to stone Jesus. There is no indication that Jesus’ audience changed in the intervening verses. Had they or hadn’t they believed?
Also worth noting: only after Judas leaves (13:30) does Jesus start an intensive lesson (chs 14-16).
John describes himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved”. Mary and Martha sent a message to Jesus telling Him, “Lord, the one you love is sick” (John11:3). Paul exults, “…the Son of God, who loved me…” (Gal 2:20). Jesus has a way of making people feel especially loved.
2 Corinthians: In chapter 9, I “discovered” something.Verse 8 is often quoted, but not verses 11-14, which give important context. The reason God makes all grace abound to us is so that we can be generous, and that the generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. It’s not about me or you.
In 4:17, Paul speaks of “light and momentary troubles”. Are those the same as what he describes in 11:23-27? I’d have to say so. The only way he could be so dismissive of them is found in 4:18—he had an eternal perspective. How do I get one?
A Corinthian mystery: who is the unnamed exemplary brother mentioned in 8:18 and 12:18?
Go to Part 2.
Sources: Covenant Theological Seminary, Crossway Community Church, D.A. Carson, myself and maybe someone else.