Daily Bible Readings – Monday, January 13, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 4

Prayer Point. Try praying this psalm right before you go to bed as it is a prayer to close the day. Start by unloading to God the frustrations of the day and the injustices you have seen (verses 1-2). Pray for faith (verse 3). Search your own heart and quiet yourself before God (verse 4). Place yourself in the hands of God and drift off to sleep (verses 5-8).

John 1:1-18

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following background to guide you.

Background. John begins his gospel or biography of Jesus by retelling the story of creation which is recorded in Genesis chapter 1. From Genesis we learn that God spoke the universe into existence. We understand through John that the Word God spoke was an actual person, “the Word,” whom we know as Jesus. Jesus will be compared to light (verses 6-9). There are two groups of people mentioned in verses 10 and 11. The world refers to humanity in general, while “his own” refers to Israel, God’s chosen people.

John introduces us to another John, John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus and not the author of this book.

Pay close attention to …

  • The Word’s (Jesus’) role in the creation of the world.
  • How Jesus the light is received by a world that is plunged in darkness. How Jesus is received by his own people.
  • What is promised to all those who receive Jesus.
  • What the Word does in verse 14 and how it changes the way we know God.
  • John the Baptist’s relationship with Jesus the Word. How he understands himself, how he understands Jesus.

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

Hebrews 1:1-14

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points?You can use the following background to guide you.

Background. The book of Hebrews, or more properly the letter to the Hebrews, was written to a group of discouraged Christians. They were Jewish and experiencing persecution because of their new faith in Jesus. Their suffering was so severe that they were considering abandoning their faith in Christ and returning to Judaism. The letter’s purpose is to show these Christians that Jesus was the fulfillment of their Jewish faith and if they left Jesus, they would have nothing to return to.

Pay close attention to …

  • How God spoke to the Jewish people in the past and how he now speaks to his people in these “last days.”
  • Jesus’ identity in relation to God [the Father].
  • How Jesus the Son is superior to the prophets of the Old Testament and even the angels.

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

Genesis 2:4-25

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points?You can use the following background to guide you.

Background. What is the pivotal word in the first sentence of verse 4? Why is it pivotal? [Account. It is pivotal because the term “account” indicates fact over opinion.] How does the earth appear in this account? [Barren and unattended; without vegetation.] What is the difference between the description of the creation of man in Chapter one and that of Chapter two? [In Chapter one there is no description of man’s creation but rather God’s desire to make man in His own image. In Chapter two, the creation of man involves God “humbling” himself by becoming “one” with the dust of the ground. (Later we will see that the serpent will be consigned to the dust of the earth. What questions does that imagery invite?)] What is the most significant event of verse 7? [And the LORD God … breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.]

In verse 8 the LORD placed the man in the midst of the garden he had created in Eden. Why? [In verse five we learn that it was to work the ground.] What is the purpose of all of the trees which were pleasing to the eye? [They were for food. It happens that “tree” will become a rather frequent metaphor throughout the bible.] What two trees were located in the middle of the garden and what is their significance? (v. 9) [The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The significance of the two trees is that they draw attention to two of the most basic aspects of life: the eternal (tree of life) and the temporal (tree of the knowledge of good and evil) “… where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8b NIV)] Refer to Revelation Chapter 22 for another connection to the tree of life.

What is so tantalizing about verses 10 – 14? [What is so tantalizing about verses 10 – 14 is that they tease us into thinking that we can actually still find the Garden of Eden on earth.] Can you name the two rivers mentioned in these verses which can be found? [The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers] What limitations does the LORD place on the man he puts in the Garden of Eden? [There was but one limitation: do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.] What was the consequence of breaking this one command? [“For when you eat of it you will surely die.” v. 17] What was unsaid? [That the man was not forbidden to eat of the tree of life.] What does this say about God? [That God was more interested in life than death.] What is the LORD’s next project? [To find the man a “helper suitable for him.” v. 18] The next part sounds like an exercise in trial and error. Why? [The Lord creates all the living creatures but finds none as a suitable mate for the man. v. 20] What is the first thing that the man actually does? [He gives names to all the beasts of the field and the birds of the air.] How does the Lord solve the mate “problem”? What might the next event be styled as? [The Lord creates the woman, whom the man names “woman” from bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. (I now pronounce you man and wife!) v. 24-25] What, to us today, is the most distinguishing feature about these two people? [They were naked and appeared to be unaware of it.]

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

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