Any ideas why Paul used the words “wisdom” and
“understanding” in verse 9?
According to verse 10, what is our expected response once we
know God’s will and possess spiritual wisdom and understanding?
In verse 11, Paul suggests we need something to be
able to live this life….what is it? When
was the last time you pleaded for God to give you strength?
Read the story of Simon Magus in Acts 8:9-24. With that story in mind, what do you think
could happen if we prayed for power before we had the complete word of
truth? Do you think there is an order to
Paul’s mention of Christian qualities in this opening chapter?
Is it more difficult for you to endure people with patience
or to endure situations with patience?
What quality mentioned in verse 1:4 could be defeated if we do not learn
to endure people with patience?
C.F.D. Moule said, “If joy is not rooted in the soil of
suffering, it is shallow.” Thoughts or
experiences about this?
Verse 13 reads that God has rescued us from what? Contrast this with the power mentioned in
We hear the word “kingdom” a lot in the New Testament. How would you define a kingdom? Use that definition to help you try to put
into words, “the Kingdom of his Beloved Son.”
leader in the church wrote a letter to you, describing ways for you to grow in
spiritual maturity, how would you respond? Would you be challenged? Bitter? Indifferent?
When you feel led to challenge/encourage a brother or sister in Christ, how do
you begin your approach? Do you begin
you grow in the knowledge of God and His will this week? Do any spiritual disciplines come to
mind? Do you need a brother or sister to
talk about it with halfway through the week to remain steadfast in the task?
This is an important passage of Scripture, because it helps
us understand how we should read the Bible. There are really a couple of ways
that we can read the Bible.
(1) one way to read the Bible is by reading it
as a gospel
story, from Genesis to Revelation.
(2) the other way to read the Bible is by looking
to Malachi as a historical account.
One can read the Bible without any preconceived notion of
any Christian belief. If we read the Bible like option two our question is
this: what does this passage mean in its day? If we read the Bible like option
one our question is this: what does this passage mean in light of the biblical
story and how do I faithfully live out this text? If Jesus is the goal of the
story from Genesis to Revelation, then reading the OT without reference to
Jesus will be a terrible misreading. Therefore, we need to understand how to
read the Bible.
Do not think that I have come to abolish the
law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Jesus is the one
that fulfills the law and the prophets. It is clear that Jesus has been accused
of abolishing the law and therefore he emphatically starts off by saying, “Do
not think….” It makes you wonder what they had such a problem with? Yet Jesus
doesn't want everything to be destroyed, but rather he wants everything to be
But really, who comes on the scene and tells them that they
are the fulfillment of everything they've hoped for and everything they've
believed in? Jesus does! In doing this, Jesus is claiming that he is the long
awaited Messiah. When we read the Bible, we need to see Jesus as the central
part of the story.
For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth
disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any
means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished.
When Jesus claims that he is the fulfillment of the law and
the prophets, many people believe we can get rid of the law, but this isn’t the
case. This passage shows us how serious Jesus is about fulfilling the law and
the prophets…not abolishing them. He says that everything in the law is true,
and every part of it will come to be just as it was written. Jesus is the one who
comes in order to show us how to understand the law.
Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the
least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in
the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be
called great in the kingdom of heaven.
The best way for us to understand this verse is by realizing
that Jesus believes that the best way for us to follow him is by following the
law. Those who follow Jesus (his teachings) will be called “great” in the
kingdom. Those who deny him (his teachings) and cause others to deny him will
be called “least” in the kingdom. This is not referring to a hierarchy in the
kingdom. It is contrasting those who “do” what Jesus says versus those who
“don't-do” what Jesus says. When we read the Bible it is important to
understand that following Jesus means to follow Jesus. Seems simple enough
For I tell you that unless your
righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you
will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus compares his
followers to the religious leaders of the day. I wish I had an easier way to
interpret this text, but it seems like Jesus is speaking plainly. What he says
is, “If your righteousness doesn't surpass the most righteous people of the
day, you will not be part of my kingdom.” It is like saying, “if your
righteousness doesn't surpass that of Mother Teresa, you cannot belong to my
kingdom.” This seems extreme, but Jesus wants to set up his kingdom and he
isn’t afraid to let people walk away.
READING THE BIBLE
If this passage
helps us to see the way in which we read the Bible, it is important to mention
that we ought to read the Bible. You and I ought to value this text enough to know
what it inside of it. I am afraid that most Christians aren’t even reading this
story. I am not telling you to become Bible scholars. But I am telling you to
read the text. See what the Bible has to say.
passage, we will see how Jesus calls us to read certain aspects of the OT. He
will talk about things like murder and adultery and loving our enemies. As a
heads up, Jesus doesn't make it easier to follow the law of the OT. If
anything, he seems to complicate it. For example, it’s easy to not murder
someone, but Jesus talks about anger and that’s a bit tougher. What I want us
to do is to take the Bible more serious in our lives. If we want to live like Jesus
we need to see what he does and the only way to do that is by reading the