Romans, Lesson 9: The Hope We Have in Christ


Paul showed the absurdity of turning what God originally did to bring someone into His Old Covenant into what people did for God.  “If the adherents of the Law are to be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is nullified” (Romans 3:14).  Someone is an heir because he inherits, not by what he does.  […]

The “Lament” Psalms, Lesson 5: Psalm 51


Structure This psalm is a straightforward confession of rebellion against God with a plea for Him to restore David and the promise of a faithful life in the future.  Intimacy with God reigns within this psalm: It is in direct address, with 45 appearances of either the pronoun “You” or an imperative verb directed to […]

Luke 18:1-8: Persistence in Prayer


Oh, how discouragement settles in our bones.  We quit when details don’t go our way.  We leave when life gets uncomfortable.  The pain stabs us, our lungs burn, our legs become a lead weight, and we stop running the race.  We pray, but when God doesn’t deliver on our terms, we pout and quit talking […]

Romans, Lesson 8: Not Works but Faith


Earlier in Romans chapter 3, Paul transitioned from using “Law” to mean “Torah” (when he was addressing the Jewish Christian in the congregation) now to mean “God’s standard of righteousness for everyone” (Romans 3:19).  Paul’s point?  No one, whether Jew or Gentile, is righteous before God by what he does because no one can meet […]

Ruth 1:1-19a: A Faith Within is a Faith Without


“In those days, there was no king in Israel.  Each did whatever looked right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).  So reveals the last verse in the book of Judges, before the book of Ruth begins.  Why?  Famine struck the land, and the pangs of hunger controlled too many a man.  Life became chaotic, and […]

The “Lament” Psalms: Lesson 3, Psalm 32


Structure This psalm has a pattern, revealed by its grammatical switching of “person”: Verses 1-2: Being blessed. This is the “third person,” which refers to someone else, not the writer or the audience (you). Verses 3-5: Confession and forgiveness. This is in the “first person,” from the writer of the psalm speaking to the congregation. […]

Luke 17:1-10, Acts 2:42-47: Faith


What is faith?  What is its source?  How does faith become yours?  Do you create it within yourself, or does someone give it to you? How we answer changes the way we worship.  Our understanding of faith affects the how we tell others of Jesus and shapes the way we live.  Our understanding of faith […]

Romans: Lesson 7: God’s Righteousness for Us


In Romans 3:1, Paul started focusing on the Jewish Christians’ sin of insisting on circumcision when Christ fulfilled it on the cross, then instituting His baptism.  The Jewish Christians’ insistence reveals that a works righteousness had taken hold of them.  They saw circumcision as their work for God (viewed from an Old-Covenant template) instead of […]

The “Lament” Psalms: Lesson 2, Psalm 6


Structure This psalm has a four-part pattern.  The psalm’s first part consists of 24 words in the Hebrew, which make up the first three verses.  The second part contains 15 words, made up of two verses.  Part three is, again, 24 words, consisting of three verses.  The final part comprises 15 words, the last two […]

1 King 17:7-16, Mark 12:38-44, 1 Timothy 6:17-19: Christ’s Stewardship for Us

The problem with the money in our lives is not the money, but how we handle it.  We think, “Now if only we had more money, we could live!”  We believe wealth can make us “take hold of the life that is real.” But we leave God out of the picture.  We turn gold into […]