This February, I am focusing on the writings of John. I am going to read 1 John thirty times this month. I am planning on reading John, Revelation, 2 John, and 3 John a handful of times as well. This is my fourth (and probably final) week. I happened to read 1 John eight times. (I believe that makes thirty-four times for the whole month!!!) This week I read it in the HCSB (1), NKJV (2), RSV (1), ESV (3), NASB (1).
From the ESV Student Study Bible
- Matthew 3-28
- Acts 1-4
From the Living Insights Bible (NIV)
- Psalms 1-45
- Proverbs 1-7
- Genesis 1-36
- Isaiah 1-44
- Mark 1-13
- 1 Corinthians
- 2 Corinthians
- 1 Thessalonians
- 2 Thessalonians
- 1 John (3)
- 1 John
- 2 John
- 3 John
- 1 John
- 1 John
- 1 John
Instead of sharing "key verses" with you this week, I think I'll try a little something different.
Did You Know?!
1) The gospels comprise 46% of the New Testament, and that the Gospels and Acts make up 60% of the New Testament. (Living Insights, Introduction to Matthew, p. 1005)
2) There are five divisions in Psalms. And each book focuses on something different! And that each book concludes in a doxology... (Living Insights, Introduction to Psalms, p. 550-552)
- Book 1 (1-41) Humanity
- Book 2 (42-72) Deliverance
- Book 3 (73-89) Sanctuary
- Book 4 (90-106) God's Righteous Reign Over Earth
- Book 5 (107-150) Revelation of God Through His Works and His Word
3) One out of every thirty verses in the Bible mentions the subject of Jesus' return or the end of time. In the Old Testament, such well-known, reliable men of God as Job, Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and most of the minor prophets spoke of the Lord's return. In the 260 chapters in the New Testament there are well over three hundred references to Jesus' return. Only 4 of the 27 New Testament books fail to mention Jesus' return. Jesus emphasized His return often, especially after He had revealed His death. Those who followed Jesus' teachings, established churches and wrote the Scriptures frequently mentioned His return in their preaching and in their writings. The Bible teaches that Jesus will come again. The prophets predicted it. The Lord Jesus Himself testified that He would return. The apostles declared it and wrote about it. The creeds include it and affirm it. Quite obviously, Jesus' return has not been considered an insignificant issue through the centuries. But the strange thing is that many in this generation, even a large number of believers, either ignore it or are confused by it. Too bad. It is a marvelous truth that only gains significance as each of us moves closer to death. ("The Call to Readiness", Living Insights Bible, p. 1286)
Samuel Taylor Coleridge called the letter to the Romans, "the profoundest piece of writing in existence."
Martin Luther said, "It's the chief book of the New Testament. It deserves to be known by heart by every Christian."
John Chrysostom, never to be outdone in eloquence, called it "the cathedral of the Christian faith."
J. Sidlow Baxter wrote, "This is Paul's magnum opus--the most important book in the Bible; more than any other it has determined the course of Christian thought." (Introduction to Romans, Living Insights Bible, 1189)
The great theologian Charles Hodge once said, "If anyone thinks he has a simple solution to the problem of pain and suffering he should hold a tiny infant screaming with pain. And as he holds that baby in his arms, any simple solution will fly out the window." (Introduction to Job, Living Insights Bible, 521)
C.S. Lewis gives us a wonderful way to understand hell when he says, "Heaven is the place where man says to God, 'Thy will be done,' and hell is that place where God says to man, 'Thy will be done." Hell is the place where we get more and more of what we have been seeking to quench our thirst. Hell is the place where we get more than we ever wanted of those things that we are trying to stuff into our souls. ("I Am Thirsty" by Joseph "Skip" Ryan, Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross, p. 82)
You need to fill your head with Scripture and think of your life in terms of the promises of Scriptures now. If you do not do it now, how will you ever find strength to do it when you come to die? You must live by Scripture, committing your spirit into the hands of God day by day if you are to yield your spirit into God's loving hands trustingly at the last. ("Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit" by James Montgomery Boice, Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross, p. 100)
The English language has about eight hundred thousand words. Most of us get by with around two thousand words. That means about 788,000 words are sitting on the shelves, just waiting to be dusted off and used. The top ten most frequently used English words "are," "the," "of," "and," "to," "a," "in," "that," "is," "I," and "it"--but not propitiation. When was the last time you heard that word? When was the last time you used it? We don't hear it on the radio or television, because we've lost the vocabulary of God. But it's the most important word in universe. We need to recover not only the Word of God but the words of God. His words define relevance.
The word "propitiation" comes from the Latin propitio, meaning "to render favorable, to appease, to conciliate." To propitiate God means to appease his anger. Propitiation is all about God's wrath.
God's wrath? Wait a minute. Is God a fuming, frustrated person? Does he have a temper? Is he subject to mood swings? Is biblical propitiation like the pagan concept of throwing a virgin into the volcano to placate the pineapple god? And what if God changes back to anger? After all, we keep sinning--in the same old ways, too.
The first thing to say is that the wrath of God is a part of the gospel. It's the part we tend to ignore. Yet we don't mind our own anger. There is a lot of anger in us, a lot of righteous indignation. Listen to talk radio. In our culture it's acceptable to vent our moral fervor at one another. We watch it on cable TV news every night. It's our entertainment. But the thought of God being angry--well, who does he think he is?
Great question. Who is God? He's the most balanced personality imaginable. He is normal. His wrath is not an irrational outburst. God's wrath is worthy of God. It is his morally appropriate, carefully considered, justly intense reaction to our evil demeaning his worth and destroying our own capacity to enjoy him....
The God you have offended doesn't demand your blood; he gives his own in Christ Jesus. He knows what you deserve, but he wants to give you what you don't deserve. He himself has opened the way. He took the initiative. ("The Most Important Word in the Universe," Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross, 115-116, 117)
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible