Daily Bible Readings – Monday, March 10, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 44

Prayer Point. Jesus spoke of two enemies: the rocks and the thorns . When we are successful (the thorns) we forget that we need  God. When we struggle (the rocks), we blame God. This is a psalm for both the rocky and thorny periods of our lives. Are you struggling? Focus on verses 9-26 and cry for help. If life is good, worship God by meditating on verses 1-8.

Mark 1:1-13

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 the Baptist Prepares the Way

It is believed that the Gospel of Mark was written by John Mark, a member of both Paul’s and later Peter’s ministry teams. Church tradition teaches us that Mark was asked by the church in Rome to write down Peter’s teaching and compile them in a book so that they would not be forgotten after Peter’s death.

Mark is the shortest, simplest, and focused most directly on the actions of Jesus.

Mark quotes two Jewish prophets. Malachi 2:1 in verse 2 and Isaiah 40:3 in verse 3.

How is John the Baptist the fulfillment of these prophecies? How is John’s ministry connected to Jesus?

John’s baptism was one of repentance. Repentance had to precede baptism, and thus baptism was not the means by which sins were forgiven but rather was a sign indicating that one had truly repented. We see here that God was working on people’s hearts, calling them to turn back to himself, in preparation for the coming Messiah (ESV Study Bible Notes).

What were the people coming to John for? What was John’s message to the people? What was the purpose of John the Baptist’s ministry?

The Baptism of Jesus

Notice that Jesus identifies with mankind by being baptized. He was sinless and therefore did not need to be baptized, yet he was baptized anyway. At his baptism we see the heavens being torn open and the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus like a dove. His Father’s voice comes from heaven and delivers the message that Jesus is his beloved Son.

Why does Jesus need to hear this from His Father at this time?

The Temptation of Jesus

Notice that it was the Spirit who drove Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan.Why do you think God allowed his Son to be tempted for forty days by Satan?

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.

1 Corinthians 1:1-19

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. Corinth was located in a commercially strategic location in Greece with ports providing access to Rome in the west and Asia Minor (Turkey) in the east. Consequently, the church in Corinth was among the wealthiest churches in the Roman Empire. See if their struggles mirror the challenges that we face as Christians in America as we are also among the wealthiest churches of our time.

How does Paul identify himself as the author of this letter (along with Sosthenes who was most likely an assistant / missionary intern serving with Paul)? The word ‘apostle’ means ‘one who is sent.’

How does Paul identify the recipients of the letter, the Christians in Corinth? The word sanctified here means to be made holy or set apart by God. So what Paul is saying here is that God has made you holy (sanctified – past tense) now go and be holy. That is a common theme in the Bible. God has made you who you are. Now go and be who you are.

What is it about the Corinthian church that causes Paul to give thanks to God? Why is Paul confident that the Corinthian church will be ‘strong to the end’?

What does Paul see in the Corinthian church that troubles him? What do you think Paul would think of the state of the church today with its many denominations and divisions? Who or what is to be unifying force in the church? How does Paul view the rejection of the gospel by the the wise and the intelligent?

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 37:1-11

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 background to help guide you.

Background. We are told that Joseph is seventeen when he comes on the scene.  The last time we saw Joseph he had just been born of Rachel.  We find Joseph with his brothers “the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah.”  To find out who they are we have to look back; but to save the time let me just tell you: the sons of Bilhah are Dan and Naphtali; the sons of Zilpah are Gad and Asher.

What was the special nature of Joseph’s relationship with his father Jacob?
[“Now Israel {Jacob} loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age.” (Gen. 37:3 NIV)]

How did Jacob (Israel) demonstrate his preference for Joseph?
[He had made him “a richly ornamented robe”.  (Gen. 37:3 NIV)]

How did this action enhance Joseph’s standing with his brothers?
[It didn’t.  Joseph’s brothers hated him because Israel had shown favor to him over the others. v. Gen. 37:4)]

Describe Joseph’s first dream and opine (speculate, or form an opinion) why this was not the best public relations maneuver.  
[Since Joseph was already very unpopular among his brothers, Joseph’s dream about how the brothers’ sheaves bow down to his sheaf will not advance his standing among them.]

Did Joseph learn from this experience?
[Unhappily, no.  Joseph had another dream, far more overreaching than the first, which he also shared with his brothers.  In this dream “the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.  When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, ‘What is this dream you had?  Will your mother {who by this time was dead} and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” (Gen. 37:9-10 NIV)]

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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