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More From My Daily Bible Readings

After the last several months of Bible study — specifically from listening to various John MacArthur radio shows, plus his Revelation series (up to chapter 11 now), and all of Jim McClarty’s 112-part Eschatology series — I now am really enjoying my daily Bible readings of 12 lists (see my recent blog), as I notice and understand so much from simply reading so much of the Bible. After all the years of following “read the Bible in a year” plans, I see how limiting that was, to read the Bible “only” once in a year. As a fairly quick and good reader, there simply is no reason to restrict Bible reading to just that, and the frequency really helps to understand and remember more. I’ve heard that Charles Feinberg (seminary professor, great influence on John MacArthur) regularly read the Bible four times a year, for many years. I’m not sure if I want to do just beginning-to-end reading every three months, but certainly on my modified Horner Bible reading plan I’ll get through all parts of scripture at least twice, and most sections three or four times or more.

Now for a few observations from the last several days of reading:

God’s Sovereignty
The history books really show God’s sovereignty in action. Consider Joshua 11:20, about the conquest of Canaan: “For it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses.” In 1 Kings 11:14-17 we learn how God raised up an adversary for Solomon, in an event that required planning for many years before it happened; the young Edomite boy is spared from a battle fought in the time of David and Joab, to cause problems for Solomon, yet the planning began even before Solomon was made king and before he fell into sin.

History – Place Names and Tribal References
Through multiple readings of the history books I’m recognizing more place-names, as well as many references to the tribes of Israel and their importance. Genesis 14:14 mentions “Dan” as a place, long before the later tribes or sons of Jacob were born. Amos 1:2 says the “top of Carmel withers,” and in the same day I also read 1 Kings 18, today, which features Mt. Carmel in the story of Elijah and the false prophets. Joshua 17 mentions Gilead, a place received by the descendants of Manasseh, and the people thus named Gileadites. Then 1 Kings 17:1 tells us that Elijah the Tishbite was “from Tishbe in Gilead.” Genesis 14:1 mentions the name “Elassar;” the reference may be completely unrelated, yet I recall the name from Tolkien’s names in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

1 Kings 12:28-30 describes the sin of Jeroboam, the calf idolatry. This time I especially note the reference to Dan. I’ve learned from other reading and studying that the tribe of Dan was especially associated with idolatry (and a likely reason why Dan is omitted from the list of the 144,000 in Revelation 7), so here is one clear reference to their early idolatry.

Various Book and Chapter Themes
Matthew 12: here I recall what I heard from an Arnold Fruchtenbaum MP3, in which he explains how in Judaism the teachers had decided that there were three types of miracles that Messiah would be able to do: cast out a demon from a mute person; heal a leper, and heal a man born blind. In Matthew 12 Jesus does one of these very things: he casts a demon out of a mute person. As Fruchtenbaum explains, in the following verses where the Pharisees claim that Jesus casts out demons by Beelzebub, and Jesus mentions that blasphemy of the holy spirit will not be forgiven, Jesus is mentioning a particular sin committed by those Jewish leaders, a national sin of rejection. The people did wonder after Jesus did this great miracle (casting the demon from the mute), yet they followed their leaders. Then, as Fruchtenbaum well pointed out, starting in Matthew 13 Jesus started speaking in parables.

1 Kings 14 tells of two different men named Abijah: the first, the son of Jeroboam, who became sick and died and was the only good one found in Jeroboam’s house; and second, Abijah the son of Rehoboam, who later ruled and was wicked. Both kings apparently had named their firstborn son the same name.

Romans 15 has focus on Paul’s special ministry to the Gentiles

2 Timothy 2 has warnings against arguing, and arguing over useless words. Job 16 includes Job’s rebuke to Eliphaz for this very thing. Job 16:3: 3 “Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing?”

Angels are a big reference in the readings, including several chapters in Genesis; Hosea 12 with a reference to the Angel of the Lord (the Lord God, the angel, that Jacob wrestled with); and Acts 12. Acts 12 shows by example the use of angels for believers as well as unbelievers. In the same chapter, an angel rescues Peter from the clutches of Herod, and later another angel strikes Herod down and kills him.

Acts 18 describes meetings with many Jews of the diaspora, just as a matter of fact in their daily lives. Priscilla and Aquila are Jews from Italy; Apollo is from Alexandria. These are learned Jews, who know their scriptures and customs, even though they’ve always lived in these other parts of the world.

Special verses
Finally, several verses that “stand out” and grab my attention in the readings:

Job 12:11 — Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food?

Psalm 12:8 — The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men.

Proverbs 13:5 — The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked bring shame and disgrace.

Proverbs 13:24 — He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

Acts 14:14 — refers to “apostles Barnabas and Paul” — an interesting verse. Does this mean Barnabas was considered an apostle?

Romans 15:4 — For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

a great verse, “encouragement of the Scriptures”

2 Timothy 1:12 — great verse, and here I think of the song that has the KJV version of it.

For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Proverbs 16:6 — “Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil.”

Joel 2:13 — a verse I recognize from a song by the group Lamb, in its chorus:

“Rend your hearts and not your garments, turn again unto the Lord, Though your sins may be as scarlet, they’ll be as white as snow. Rend your hearts and cry aloud, let your voice be heard, those who call on His name will be saved.”

Joel 2:13 includes the first part of this chorus:

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

Acts 16:4 — shows the early church and accountability

As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey.

1 Cor. 1:30 — It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

2 Timothy 3:15 — and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. — the scriptures can make you wise for salvation

2 Timothy 4:5 — “work of an evangelist” —

But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

Here I think of the “biographical sketch” recently done of John MacArthur, in which Iain Murray ascribes the quality of evangelist to him. True Christian leaders do more than just stand up every Sunday and preach a message.

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