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 Kevin 2017-2019 NTS Class Notes

Recap 01 New Testament Survey (Introduction) 8-2-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

It is great to be back together as we resume our studies. Next Thursday we will get into the New Testament proper as we cover the gospel of Matthew.

Assignment for Thursday, August 9th:  

  • Read the book of Matthew

  • Go to manual p. 36, and from Matthew chapters 1 through 6, choose one passage and in one sentence write the main idea taught by the passage.

Be encouraged, you all are now among the minority of believers in the US to have been through all 39 books of the Old Testament! (10-30% say they have read the entire Bible depending on what poll you read)

And thank you for your participation Thursday night as we introduced New Testament Survey. Roughly 6 months from now, counting our long Christmas break, we will have worked our way through the 27 books of the New Testament.

Our goals for last night were:

  • That we cement the major truths, events, and principles of the books of the Old Testament in our minds, as we:

  • Prepare our minds to move to New Testament Survey

  • That we increase our awe of God’s self revelation as presented in both the Old and New Testaments

Introduction to New Testament Survey:
On p. 8 in your course manual, we went over several goals for the course, note especially #1 and #6.
#1: That we gain a deeper understanding of the “faith once for all entrusted to the saints”. (Jude 3-4).
#6 That we grow in our understanding of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Jn.:1-4, Jn. 20:30-3121:25) It is concerning either the person of Christ or His work that cults err.

Look in your NIV Study Bible for, “The Time Between the Testaments”. Also, look at the chart near Daniel 7 in the NIV Study Bible and notice the progression of Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman control of the region of the Middle East.

Look at the upper left hand corner of this map. Hadrian’s wall in Britain is still walkable today!

As well, see the map of “Palestine” on manual p. 27 and key locations and cities for Jesus’ ministry. Over the next few weeks we will become better acquainted with these sites.

On pp. 17-18, note the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. Notice the comparisons of the Old and the New Covenants, from Ex. 24:3Luke 22:14-20Romans 8:1-4Gal. 3:6-18.  Remember that the Lord Jesus initiated the New Covenant promised in Jer. 31:31-37. The ultimate fulfillment of that promise will be in the day when the Lord deals directly again with Israel, i.e. the physical descendants of Abraham through Isaac and his son Jacob (Israel).

On p. 19, the fact is stressed that “the Bible is a unified whole containing the full divine, progressive, redemptive revelation of God in two successive stages.” (See: Heb. 1:1-3)

The Gospels as presented on p. 23 show that the synoptic gospels are like three photos taken of the same person from different angles.

Bonus resources:

As we continue our New Testament Survey, may the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, make our time  together profitable so that we may more effectively minister to others.

See you on Thursday Lord willing.



Recap 02 New Testament Survey (Intro-Matthew 1-25) 8-9-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

Thank you for your participation Thursday night as we look at Matthew, the gospel presenting the King to the Jews.

Our goals for the night were:

Dear BTCL Class,

Thank you for your work Monday night on Matthew, the gospel presenting the King to the Jews.

Our goals for the night were:

  • to understand Matthew’s unique presentation of the Lord Jesus as the promised Messiah-King

  • that we would be challenged to change any behavior that belies the fact that we belong to Him, i.e. that we are subjects of the King

  • that we have courage to present the Lord Jesus as He truly is to Jews and Gentiles

Look at 1 Cor. 1:10-12 and Phil. 1:12-14 and note the differences in the way the epistles (letters to churches or individuals) are written and the way the gospels are written. The gospels being narrative literature, presenting historical facts; the epistles being teaching literature, also called “discourse”. The gospel accounts are foundational to the teaching and practical exhortations of the epistles, the epistles rely on the historical truth of the facts presented in the gospels. Without the historical records, the “letter-writers” would have little to say. Notice the significance of the gospel accounts to 1 Cor. 15:3-8. How can what Paul says is of, “first importance”, be so if the facts, on which the statement is made, are not historically true?

By way of introduction to the gospels (and specifically the gospel of Matthew):

Note Matthew’s use of “Immanuel” in 1:22-23. “God with us”. Here is man’s fulfilled expectation; God living among men. It is a preview of the return to what was lost in the Garden when man fell. We will see its final and complete fulfillment when Christ comes back.

In contrast with Matthew, who does not state his purpose, look at the purposes stated by the authors in:

Luke 1:1-4 “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

John 20:30-31 “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

We noted that the gospel (that is the “good news”) is to the Jew first, then to the Gentile. In Matt. 10:6, the Lord Jesus sends the 12 out to drive our evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness with the command, “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.” This is restated in the Lord’s encounter with the Canaanite woman, a Gentile. He says, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
Paul picks this idea up in Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” Remember that the gospel is literally the “good message” of the coming Kingdom of God, and ultimately of God’s provision of forgiveness of sin through the Messiah.

The word “kingdom” is used 54 x’s in Matthew, 43 x’s in Luke, 20 x’s in Mark, and only 4 x’s in John. The emphasis is plain, Matthew is the gospel of the King and the Kingdom.

For Matthew’s gospel, of the 47 Old Testament quotes in the book, note that there are five Old Testament prophesies specifically fulfilled in Matthew. They each have the formulaic phrase attached, “in order to fulfill” or “to fulfill”. Matt. 1:224:148:1712:1721:4.

Development of the expectation of “the Messiah” from Davis Bible Dictionary:

Messiah in Authorized Version of the New Testament, Messias (John 1:414:25) the Greek form [anointed one]. A Hebrew word, to which the Greek word Christos answers. It was applicable to any person anointed with the holy oil; as the high priest (Lev. 4:35161 Sam. 12:35 Hebrew) or the king (2 Sam. 1:1416). The title is given to the patriarchs Abraham and Isaac and to the Persian king Cyrus, as chosen ones to administer the kingdom of God (Ps. 105:15Is 14: 1). When God promised David that the throne and scepter should remain in his family forever (2 Sam. 7: 13), the title acquired a special reference and denoted the representative of the royal line of David (Ps. 2:218: 5084:989: 3851132:1017Lam. 4:20Hab. 3:13). And when prophecy began to tell of a king who should appear in this line and be the great deliverer of his people (Jer. 23:5-6), whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting (Mic. 5:2-5), and who should uphold the throne and kingdom of David forever (Is. 9:6-7), the title of the Messiah, par excellence, naturally became attached to him (Dan. 9:25-26);  (Num. 24:17-19), and ultimately became a customary designation of him, being as common as the title son of David (John 1:414:25; and in the form “Christ”, Mat. 1:1 and following.
So… we see the development from a general word to the expectation of an individual person/king/ruler/savior. That person is the one to whom Matthew and the other gospel writers point.

We also discussed the use of the term, Kingdom of God, or Kingdom of heaven as used in the New Testament. 
Charles Ryrie in his Basic Theology explains the use of the terms in four senses:

  1. The universal kingdom, i.e. the LORD God is King and Ruler of all things: 1 Chronicles 29:10-11; Dan. 2:37

  2. The Davidic/Messianic kingdom, i.e. there is a future Messianic earthly kingdom in fulfillment of the covenant with David in 2 Sam. 7:12-16

  3. There is a “mystery” form of the kingdom presented in Matt. 13:11, 39-40, that exists between His first and second comings. It began as He taught his disciples information that was previously unknown, and ends at His second coming.

  4. There is a spiritual kingdom, that is the church, composed of those who have been placed in this kingdom by the new birth, Col. 1:13

Norman Geisler, in his Systematic Theology, Vol.4, pp. 461 and following, notes that the “kingdom of heaven” and the “kingdom of God” are used interchangeably. See Matt. 3:2 and Mk. 1:15. He classifies the use of God’s kingdom as, “God’s kingdom means God’s reign, and the various times, spheres, and purposes of His overall reign have taken on different forms”. Then he lists the following:

  1. God’s Universal Kingdom, Ps. 145:13

  2. God’s Messianic Kingdom, 2 Sam. 7; Rev. 20:4

  3. God’s Spiritual Kingdom, i.e. the Kingdom of God including Old Testament believers and believers after Pentecost, that is the church. Lk. 13:28; Eph. 3:3-6; Col. 1:26-27

Bottom line on this subject, it seems easiest to remember, Universal–over all men and things; Messianic–that which will commence with the return of the Lord Jesus; and Spiritual–those in the pre-Christian era who are believers in the One True God, and after the first coming of Christ, believers in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

Note from the book chart on p. 30 of your manual the six major discourses around which Matthew is constructed. These teachings show how subjects of the King are to live.

As contributing to Matthew’s presentation of the life of the Lord, note several “distinctive features” of Matthew on p. 40:

  • The flight to Egypt in Mat. 2:15

  • Peter’s walking on water in 14:27

  • Christ’s response to Peter’s confession of faith in 16:13-16

  • Judas’ suicide 27:1-10; with Acts 1:18

  • Emphasis on Israel’s rejection of Jesus in 23:37-39

We did not get to it Thursday, but note the promise of the Lord in 28:20, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The book ends with the facing bookend of, “I am with you”. The beginning bookend was in 1:22-23, “Immanuel, God with us”. We moved from man’s perspective, “God with us” to God’s perspective, “I am with you”. So people of the Kingdom, rejoice, the Lord has promised to be with us!

As we think of the severe and grievous rejection on the part of the Jews of their Messiah-King, may we determine to represent Him to all men; Jews and Gentiles, by living authentic lives before them and by accurately sharing the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Assignment for Thursday, August 16, 2018:

  • read the text below to the Christmas carol, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and listen to a version on the web or another source.

  • please read the book of Mark and note the difference between Matthew’s and Mark’s “style”

  • read the appropriate pages in your course manual

  • find the central truth for one passage from the assignment on p. 45.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.


Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel. Refrain

O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.


O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.


I am grateful for you and treasure the time we have to study God’s Word together!

See you Thursday, Lord willing.



Northside BTCL – Recap 03 New Testament Survey (Mark) 8-16-2018

Hello everyone. Thanks for your participation this week. I am sorry I was unable to be with you due to the funeral of my sister’s father-in-law. Thanks to Joe Crum for filling in on short notice so I could have the freedom to attend the funeral and encourage my family.

Recap of Thursday, August 16, 2018:

Matthew and Luke each have material that is unique. While only 3 percent of Mark is not found in either Matthew or Luke, approximately 20-25% of Matthew and 35% of Luke is unique to their accounts. The material that is found in all three Synoptics is called the Triple Tradition. This refers to the fact that 90 percent of Mark’s content is also found in Matthew, and about 65 percent of Mark is found in Luke. The material that is found in both Matthew and Luke, but not in Mark, is called the Double Tradition. The Triple Tradition is mostly narrative material while the Double Tradition material is mostly sayings of Jesus.


We might ponder the “worth” of studying Mark when so much of this gospel is contained in Matthew and Luke. It is important to recognize that it’s unique, condensed nature make several themes more evident. Only 3% of the Gospel of Mark is unique, but that 3% is Scripture! It makes as much sense to skip that 3% as it would to skip 1 John or Jude. The length of the material is not what is important, the authority is. Also note in the attached file a handy reference to the unique elements of Mark’s Gospel

Unique in Mark

Some major themes from Mark are:

  • Jesus’ and the disciples needed to have down time and solitude.

  • Jesus is the prophesied Suffering Servant

  • Jesus is the Son of God

  • Jesus came to serve rather than to be served.

  • A key verse of is Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

  • Jesus’ absolute authority over demons. We saw that Satan is the “strong man” but Jesus is clearly the “stronger man.” Later we saw how strong the Demoniac “Legion” was (Samson-strong, capable of breaking chains) and yet the demons needed to ask Jesus for permission to leave and go into the swine.

  • Jesus “could/would not” heal some people because of their unbelief. He was capable but to heal against someone’s will would violate His character.

  • Compare Herod’s offer to give anything to Solome with James and John’s request to be granted anything they asked for. This is a danger for us. God has the power to grant us what we wish but He loves us enough to say no when we have in mind the things of man rather than the things of God.

  • To better understand the “believe and receive” verse in Mark 11:23-24 compare Scripture with Scripture to get a fuller understanding of prayer. James 1 and James 4 helped us see the issue more clearly. Notice v. 22 which begins the passage, “Have faith in God.”

  • Jesus trial before the Sanhedrin where He was accused of blasphemy. The major categories for blasphemy were:

    • 1) To ascribe something false to God

    • 2) To subtract something true from God

    • 3) To claim equality with God

In the end, the members of the Sanhedrin were guilty of points 1 and 2.

  • Jesus legal trial was over the issue of treason and yet the Jews actually petitioned to have an insurrectionist murderer freed.

  • If you look at the disputed end of Mark 16 you will see that by comparing Scripture with Scripture there is nothing out of biblical character there. If it is authentic, we have slightly more emphasis on what we learn from other Scriptures. If it was a late addition, it does not violate or change what we know from other scripture. The tomb is empty and Jesus is risen! That is the centerpiece of the Gospel and it is quite present in Mark 16 with or without the “long ending.”

  • As to the practice of snake handling; By looking at context and comparing Scripture with Scripture it is clear that voluntarily entering into such practices is “Putting God to the test.” Paul and the apostles suffered hardship as they were going and spreading the Gospel. There is not even a hint of a command to deliberately put yourself at risk as you go out much less while you are gathered with other believers. We need to take time to see what may have been exceptional and what is normative.

Assignment for Thursday, August 23, 2018:

  • Read the gospel of Luke and the accompanying manual pages

  • Look for aspects of the Lord Jesus’ humanity in Luke’s account.

  • Look for differences in what we have read in Matthew’s account, (the Lord as the Messiah-King), and Mark’s account, (the Suffering Servant).

  • Look for the Gentile writer’s perspective in Luke.

  • Choose one of these passages in Luke from pp. 55-56 and fill in the assignment box on page 56:

Introduction and Advent:
Ministry as Messiah:
Rejection and Response:
Accomplishment of His mission:

Thanks again for being such a great class! We have already been together for more than a year and I look forward to our next year together as we continue to learn and grow by studying God’s Word!



Northside BTCL – Recap 04 New Testament Survey (Luke) 8-23-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

Thank you for working through Luke with me Thursday night.

Suggestion: Now that we have surveyed Luke you may want to watch the Jesus Film since it is based on the life of Christ from the Gospel of Luke. It should make the Gospel of Luke come alive to you.

Assignment for Thursday, August 30, 2018:

  • Read the gospel of John and the appropriate pages in the course manual

  • Make note of any differences you see between the synoptic gospels and John

  • Do the assignment on p. 56

Recap of Luke:
Our objectives for the night were:

  • that we understand Luke’s gospel in contrast to Matthew, Mark, and John

  • that we will be motivated to continue to serve the Lord Jesus as we see His person and work more clearly

  • that we love the Lord Jesus Christ more as a result of reading Luke’s account of His life, ministry, death, resurrection and ascension

Look back at the “Comparison of the 4 Gospels” on p. 24 in your manual. Note the purposes of each and read select verses from the four gospel writers, also often called, “the evangelists”, i.e. those who recorded the “good news”. Also look at the Harmony of the Gospels, in your NIV Study Bibles between John and Acts, and the chart on “Parables of Jesus” near Luke 16. The parables, so prominent in Luke, are absent in John.

In Matthew 1:1-18 Matthew opens his book with the genealogy of the Lord beginning with David, ending with Joseph, thus the legal line of Jesus’ adoptive father. Then in 1:22, he gives us the phrase that bookends the gospel, “God with us”, echoed in 28:20 in the Lord’s statement, “I am with you always, even to the very end of the age”.

Mark 1:1 and 10:45. Mark jumps right into his account with the messenger, John the Baptist, announcing the coming of the Messiah. Mark’s purpose is to present the Son of Man who, “did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many”. When we look at the styles of the documents, Matthew, Luke, and John are comprised of more long narrative passages while Mark is more concise and immediate.

Luke 1:1-4 and 19:10. Luke begins with his purpose for writing, “. . . so that you (Theophilus: God-lover or lover of God) may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” Then in 19:10 he gives the Lord’s declaration, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost”. In the genealogy Luke presents in chapter 3, the lineage of the Lord is traced from Mary’s blood line (so it is thought) to Adam, thus emphasizing the “Son of Man” aspect of Jesus’ personhood. See the good study note at Lk.3:23.

“Most conservative Bible scholars today take a different view, namely, that Luke is recording Mary’s genealogy and Matthew is recording Joseph’s. Matthew is following the line of Joseph (Jesus’ legal father), through David’s son Solomon, while Luke is following the line of Mary (Jesus’ blood relative), through David’s son Nathan. Since there was no Greek word for “son-in-law,” Joseph was called the “son of Heli” by marriage to Mary, Heli’s daughter. Through either Mary’s or Joseph’s line, Jesus is a descendant of David and therefore eligible to be the Messiah. Tracing a genealogy through the mother’s side is unusual, but so was the virgin birth. Luke’s explanation is that Jesus was the son of Joseph, “so it was thought” (Luke 3:23).” Excerpted from http://www.gotquestions.org/jesus-genealogy.html

John 1:1-2 and 20:30. In chapter 1, John goes to eternity past to begin his gospel and shows the preexistent aspect of the person of Lord Jesus. In 20:30 he gives his purpose for writing, “…that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name”.

Luke wrote both Luke and Acts; together they make up over 20% of the New Testaments content. That means that Luke wrote more of the New Testament (by total words) as a human author than anyone else . . . even Paul. There are more parables in Luke than the other Gospels, in all 28 are listed in the NIV Study Bible chart near Luke 16. (Again, see the chart on the Parables of Jesus, in the NIV Study Bible found near Luke 16.)

In his gospel, Luke emphasizes the person of the Holy Spirit and according to NT Scholar A.T. Roberson, uses the exact phrase, “the Holy Spirit ” 53 times in Luke/Acts, 12 times in the gospel; 41 times in Acts. Matthew uses this designation 5 times, Mark and John, 4 times each. (There are other uses of “Spirit, the Spirit, the Spirit of Christ” meaning the Holy Spirit).

The Gospel of Luke is divided into four main sections:
1. Introduction and Advent of Christ 1:1 – 4:13
2. Ministry as Messiah 4:14 – 9:50
3. Rejection and Response 9:51 – 19:27
4. Accomplishment of Mission 19:28 – 24:53

We can boil the book down to two categories: 1:1-19:27 deals with Jesus seeking the lost; 19:28-24:53 deals with Him saving the lost.

Key verse: 19:10
An easy anchor for remembering the theme is the section of chapter 15 containing the three parables; lost sheep, lost coin, lost son. (The last known as the “Prodigal Son”; prodigal simply means, “exceedingly or recklessly wasteful”.) In terms of “lostness” these extended metaphors move in sequence from a 1-out-of-100, to 1-out-of-10, to one-out-of-one. Luke masterfully takes us to the bottom line; the son is lost, the father loves him and receives his repentant son back. That which was lost is now found. A loving father receives his wayward son. Theologically, it took the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus to make such a reconciliation possible.

One application an earlier BTCL participant made from the book of Luke was that we should have the attitude that Mary had in Luke 1:38 when she said, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said”. This was a declaration of the presenting of herself to the Lord for His purposes rather than her own. (See also Romans 12:1-2)

Thank you for your work as we continue our journey through the gospels. Lord willing, we will see you Thursday as look at the Gospel of John.



Northside BTCL – Recap 05 New Testament Survey (John) 8-30-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

Thank you for your work on John’s gospel last night. This coming Thursday, September 6, 2018, we will begin our study of the Book of Acts.Assignment for Monday, September 6:

  • Read the appropriate manual pages on the Book of Acts, and the book of Acts. (We will cover Acts over two Monday nights)

  • Take one passage from Acts on page 82 in the manual and state the main idea taught by that passage.

  • Be on the lookout for the connection with the end of Luke to Acts, and for the relationship of John chapters 13-17 with Acts.

Recap of John:

Our objectives for the night were:

  • to understand that the evidence in the Gospel of John for Jesus being who He claimed to be is overwhelming and demands a response.

  • that we respond to the Lord with a maturing faith and remain His disciples for life.

  • that we see the wonder of the Word of God and the person of Christ presented in it.

  • That we see everything from an eternal and spiritual perspective as Jesus did.

Note the approximate time when John was written on page 21 compared to the time the synoptic gospels were written and John’s stated purpose for writing his gospel, Jn. 20:30 “. . . that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Also note some unique aspects of the gospel of John:

  • the emphasis on the deity of Christ in John’s portrait

  • the lack of of parables, see chart on parables in the NIV near Luke 15

  • John’s use of the words, “sign, believe, and life”. The word “truth” is also used 52 times in the Gospel of John.

  • As we look toward the study of the Book of Acts, notice also John’s emphasis on the Holy Spirit, see John 14:16, 25-26; 15:26; 16:8. We had previously seen the emphasis on the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of Luke as well.

John has 21 chapters and is divided into five sections:

1. Chapter 1 is the prologue which presents Jesus as God and John the Baptist as the messenger preparing the way for Jesus.

2. Chapters 2 – 12 cover the public ministry of Jesus. During His public ministry, He demonstrates who He is through seven miraculous signs and five of the seven “I Am” statements:

Miraculous Sign Passage Demonstrates Power Over:

  • Changed water to wine 2:1 – 11 – Natural elements

  • Son of Capernaum official healed 4:46 -54 – Distance

  • Healing of the paralytic (pool) 5:1 – 15 – Sickness

  • Feeding the 5,000 6:1 – 14 – Scarcity of provision

  • Walking on water 6:16 – 21 – Laws of nature

  • Healing of blind man 9:1 – 41 – Blindness

  • Raising Lazarus from the dead 11:1 – 45 – Death

“I Am” Statement Passage Illustrates:

  • The Bread of Life 6:35 – Provision for physical needs

  • The Light of the World 8:12 – Provision for salvation

  • The Gate for the Sheep 10:7 – Portal

  • The Good Shepherd 10:11 – Protector

  • The Resurrection and the Life 11:25 – Power

The argument is that only God can do these miraculous signs. Jesus did these miraculous signs so Jesus is God. In John 8:58 – 59, Jesus said, “Before Abraham was born, I Am!” The Jews understood He was referring back to Exodus 3:14 in which God told Moses to tell the Israelites that “I Am has sent you.” In John 8:59, we know the audience made the connection because the Jews picked up stones to stone Him for blasphemy. In case there was any doubt, Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” in John 10:30. Again the Jews picked up stones to stone Him.

Additionally, we learned in John 8:31 that if we hold to His teachings, we are really His disciples.

3. Chapters 13 – 17 include the private ministry of Jesus with the twelve, known as the Upper Room Discourse. The last two “I Am” statements are made during this time.

“I Am” Statement Passage Illustrates:

  • The Way the Truth and the Life 14:6 – Pathway

  • The True Vine 15:1 – Provision spiritually

In John 13:35, we learned that if we love one another, we are His disciples. We learned that it is to God’s glory if we bear much fruit, and when we bear much fruit, we prove ourselves to be His disciples. The issue is how do we bear much fruit? Read John15:1 – 8 and consider what is necessary to move from “no fruit” to “fruit”, “fruit” to “more fruit”, and “more fruit” to “much fruit”. If we as believers produce “no fruit” then we will be disciplined (John 15:2). He prunes those who bear “fruit” so they can bear “more fruit” (John 15:2). And we move from “more fruit” to “much fruit” by remaining or abiding in Him (John 15:5). The concept of “remaining” in John 15 is translated, “abide” in the older translations and has the concept of being in vibrant, active and intimate relationship; in current lingo, “staying connected”. We are members of God’s household; this is achieved by becoming a child of God through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. (See John 1:12). That faith establishes a familial, positional relationship that cannot be broken. (See John 10:25-30).

The health, vibrancy, and intimacy with God of those of us who are in the family of God, is to be maintained by faith but can be broken by our sin. As John points out in his letter, 1 John 1:9, our confession restores the fellowship that was broken by our sinful action, words, attitude, or motives.

4. Chapters 18 – 19 present the passion including:

  • Betrayal

  • Trial

  • Denial

  • Crucifixion

Refer to the Passion Week Chart found at Mark 14 in the NIV Study Bible.

4. Postlude of Chapter 20 – 21 Including:

a. Resurrection

b. Appearances of Jesus

Geographical Review:

Greater Atlanta would be essentially 120 miles north to south and 60 miles east to west. Israel, including Galilee, Samaria, and Judea is approximately 140 miles north to south and 35 miles east to west at its widest point.

1. Phoenicia: 10 x 125 mile piece of land NE of Galilee.

  • called “land of purple”, populated by a seafaring people

  • Jezebel’s father Ethbaal ruled the area of Tyre and Sidon; through the marriage of Ahab and Jezebel, Phoenician idolatry was imported to Israel, c.874-853BC

  • miracles performed in the region: at Zaraphath, between Tyre and Sidon, God used Elijah to raise the widow’s son back to life; in the region of Tyre and Sidon, the Lord Jesus healed the Canaanite woman’s daughter. Note: both were Gentiles that were healed.

2. Galilee: 50 miles north to south x 25 miles east to west

  • approximate former territory of OT tribes of Naphtali, Issachar, Zebulun, and Asher

  • from Babylonian Captivity onward, the actual Israelite (Jewish) population was but a minority among the dominant Gentiles.

  • therefore, the district was suspect ideologically, John 1:46; 7:41, 52 and differed linguistically, Matt. 26:73

  • significant from a prophetic perspective,”. . . Galilee of the Gentiles – the people living in darkness have seen a great light . . .” Matt. 4:15-16 quoting Is. 9:1-2

3. Samaria: 40 miles north to south x 35 miles eat to west

  • called “the Hill Country of Ephraim”

  • Shechem was there, where in Gen.11:7 the LORD appeared to Abram and promised to give the land to his offspring.

  • Mount Ebal and Gerazim were there. Remember the blessings and the curses were shouted from them in Deut. 11

  • “Samaritans” considered “half-breeds” due to the policy of the Assyrian rulers beginning with Sargon II, 722-705 BC, of replacing the Israelites with people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim. (2 Kings 17:24-34) see also Lk. 9:52, John 4:9; 8:48 (John 4 is the woman at the well…a Samaritan)

4. Judea: 50 miles north to south

  • formerly, “the Hill Country of Judah”

  • negligible role until David’s capture of Jebus, a 12 acre site, later called Jerusalem, see 2 Sam 5

  • post Babylonian exile and moving forward, Judah was called “Judea”

  • place of the Passion Week events, including the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus

Closing thought:

As we see in Luke that Mary’s words in 1:38, “I am the Lord’s servant”, are appropriate for us, so too we see in John’s gospel another sentence to put on our mirrors:

“He must become greater; I must become less.” John the Baptist, said this in John 3:30. Also stated in the New American Standard Bible, “He must increase, but I must decrease”. Lord willing, we will see you on Thursday as we begin to cover Acts. Be praying for one another and for our time together in class.



Northside BTCL – Recap 06 New Testament Survey (Acts 1-12) 9-6-2018

Dear Northside BTCL Class,

Assignment for this Thursday, September 13th, 2018:

  • Make sure you have read the entire Book of Acts

  • Read pp. 75-87 in your New Testament Survey manual

  • Complete the assignment on p. 83 by choosing at least one of the passages listed and stating the central truth for that passage. Send me that assignment via e-mail for feedback.

Thus far in New Testament Survey, we have studied the Gospels:

  • Matthew: the gospel presenting the Lord Jesus to the Jews as the Son of David, the King of the Jews promised in 2 Samuel 7:13-14. “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is near”. Key verse in Matthew: 4:17.

  • Mark: the gospel presenting the Lord Jesus as the the Son of Man, the Servant who came not to be served but to serve. Key verse in Mark: 10:45.

  • Luke: the gospel presenting the Lord Jesus as the perfect man who came to seek and to save the lost. Key verse in Luke 19:10.

  • John: the gospel presenting the Lord Jesus as the Son of God. Key verse in John 20:31.

Review of the Book of Acts:

Our goals for our study of the Book of Acts are:

  • That we understand the founding and growth of New Testament Church and the transitional nature of the book of Acts

  • That we be encouraged to be bold in our declaration of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus

  • That we grow in our trust in the Holy Spirit to enable us to serve the Lord Jesus in worship and service to His people

Key words and phrases used in the book of Acts:

  • The Holy Spirit, used 57 times; His ministry of indwelling and empowering believers in the New Testament era.

  • Repentance and forgiveness of sins, see Acts 5:31, notice the tie-in to Lk. 24:47. Repentance: “To change one’s mind about Him (Christ) and believe in Him for the forgiveness of sins.”

  • Resurrection, see Acts 4:33. In the New Testament, there are more mentions of the resurrection in the book of Acts than any other book.

  • Testify, testified, testimony, appears 16 times, see Acts 4:33; “Firsthand account of whatever he or she knows.”

  • Witness, witnesses, is used 9 times, see Acts 1:8, 2:32; “One who offers evidence of actual events; evidence based on personal knowledge.” We get our word “martyr” from the Greek word.

Other things to look at:

It is important to note that Acts is a narrative. Therefore, we learn truth indirectly. The book is descriptive of the events that occurred but not necessarily prescriptive in every aspect for the Church. Some events occurred which are not or cannot be normative for the Church at this time.

For reference: The timeline of Paul’s life is found near Acts 11 in your NIV Study Bible.

Look at the key transitions or “pivot points” and understand their significance:
1. Acts 11:19-26 Ecclesiastical pivot: The headquarters and sending location of the church moves from Jerusalem to Antioch (of Syria)
2. Acts 2:4; 8:14-17; 10:44-46; 19:4-7 The pivotal events in the Holy Spirit’s ministry, i.e. His being given to Jews and to Gentiles.
3. Acts 15:12-21 Theological Pivot: The Counsel at Jerusalem’s decision regarding Gentiles and observance of the Law.
4. Acts 16:6-10 The Geographic Pivot: The Gospel moves West rather than East. (Macedonian Call)
5. Acts 16:13-15 The Societal Pivot: From ministry primarily to men, to both men and women. (Lydia’s conversion in Philippi)
6. Acts 1:8; 8:1; 13:2-5 The Gospel Expansion Pivots: From Jerusalem, to Judea/Samaria, to the “uttermost parts of the earth.”In Chapters 1-12
We studied the founding of the Church at Pentecost, Peter’s ministry to the Jews and his ministry to the Gentile, Cornelius.Romans 1:16-17 gives us the priority and progression of the gospel message: “. . . for the Jew first, and then for the gentile.” In Acts we see this manifested as predominantly Jews come to faith, then Samaritans, and then “even” Gentiles. Also, we see in the stoning of Stephen the final rejection by “official Judaism” of the offer of the Kingdom.We read the key prophetic and transitional statement in Dr. Luke’s first book, the Gospel According to Luke, verse 24:45-49;” . . . and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. . . . but stay in the city until . . . ”

Summary statements:
The Book of Acts is a transitional one, bridging the theological, geographical, and time frame issues from the Four Gospels to the New Testament Epistles.

It is the true and captivating story of the birth and growth of the Church, and of the new ministry of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers individually and collectively.

Summary of Content of the Book of Acts: (See chart on p. 75-76)
Three sections: Chapters 1-7, 8-12, 13-28.
Three persons: the Holy Spirit, Peter, Paul.
Three emphases: Pentecost, Peter’s ministry, Paul’s ministry.
Three geographic emphases: Jerusalem, Judea/Samaria, to the ends of the earth.

Chapters 1 – 12:
Chapter 1. a key verse: 1:8, the outline to the book of Acts; key word: Ascends.

Chapter 2. a key verses: 2:4, the new ministry of the Holy Spirit, i.e. His permanent indwelling and coming on NT believers in power; 2:42-46, the characteristics of the early Church; key word: Spirit.

Chapter 3. a key verse: 3:24-25, Peter’s connection of the events to the Abrahamic Covenant and challenge to the Jews to turn in belief to the Lord Jesus; key word: Cure.

Chapter 4. a key verse: 4:8, Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, reflects the fulfillment of the promise in Lk. 12:11-12, “when you are brought before synagogues, rulers, and authorities…” See also: chapters 7, 16, 19-21, 22, 24, 25, 26.

Chapter 5. a key verse: 5:3, Ananias and Sapphira and the seriousness of sin in the early Church and how God dealt with it to encourage “fear of the Lord”; key words: Embezzlement, Night release.

Chapter 6. a key verses: 6:4-5, division of labor for effectiveness in ministry; key word: Deacons.

Chapter 7. a key verse: 7:51, the stiff-necked people, the Jews and the resisting of the Holy Spirit, Stephen the first martyr; key word: Stephen.

Chapter 8. a key verse: 8:36, the Gentile Ethiopian Eunuch and Philip; key words: Persecution and Philip’s preaching.

Chapter 9. a key verse: 9:5, “Who are you Lord?”; key words: Saul’s conversion.

Chapter 10. a key verse: 10:43, the Gospel valid for the Gentiles, i.e. “All the prophets testify about Him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.”; key words Peter’s vision.

Chapter 11. a key verses: 11:25-27 the Church moves significantly to Antioch, disciples first called Christians at Antioch.

Chapter 12. a key verses: 12:7, 23-24, Peter’s escape from prison, “.., and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.” Herod Agrippa dead…the Word of God spread.

We briefly discussed the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the specific events of His being given to new believers. We will deal more thoroughly with a Biblical understanding of the Holy Spirit and His ministry in Bible Doctrine Survey, our next course.

Overview of the times when the giving of the Holy Spirit to believers is highlighted in Acts (Also note the handout which is attached as a PDF to this e-mail):
Chapter 2: the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Jewish disciples at Pentecost (only instance where visible tongues of fire are seen), tongues accompany the gift
Chapter 8 the Spirit given to Samaritans, laying on of hands by Peter and John, no tongues mentioned accompanying the gift
Chapter 10 the giving of the Holy Spirit to Gentiles (Cornelius and his household) as Peter preaches, tongues accompany the gift
Chapter 19 the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles at Ephesus at the laying on of Paul’s hands, tongues accompany the gift

In Chapters 13-28 we will highlight of the missionary journeys of Paul:

Missionary Journey #1Acts 13-14: Lasts approximately 2 years, one epistle written, Galatians. The Holy Spirit moves the church at Antioch to send Paul and Barnabas off as missionaries. They returned and, “reported all God had done through them and how He opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.”

Missionary Journey #2Acts 15:40-18:22 Lasts approximately 3 years, two epistles written, 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Paul carries the good news all the way from Antioch to Achaia and returns to Jerusalem then to Antioch.

Missionary Journey #3Acts 18:23-21:17: Lasts approximately 4 years, three epistles written, 1 and 2 Corinthians and Romans. Again he travels from Antioch through Asia and on to Achaia, then back to Jerusalem.

After the missionary journeys, there are the trials in Jerusalem under Felix, Festus, and Agrippa; and the journey from Jerusalem to Rome in Acts 23:31 – 28. The book ends there with Paul under house arrest for two years preaching the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ.

I hope that as you read through Acts and see the lives and words of the Apostles and first believers that you are encouraged and challenged. As we observe the presence and power of the Holy Spirit working through those men and women, we are motivated to trust in Him to empower us to serve the Lord Jesus and to testify to His resurrection from the dead. I look forward to seeing you next week as we continue to be more effectively equipped to walk with the Lord and serve Him.


Can the various resurrection accounts from the four Gospels be harmonized

Holy Spirit from Charles Ryrie – Basic Theology



Northside BTCL – Recap 07 New Testament Survey (Acts 13-28) 9-13-2018

Dear Northside BTCL Class,

I hope you have enjoyed our time together transitioning from the Gospels and into the history of the early church as we have studied Acts.

Reminder! – We will not have class on Thursday September 20th

Assignment for this Thursday, September 27th, 2018:

  • Read the book of Romans

  • Read pp. 91-104 in your New Testament Survey manual

  • Complete the assignment on p. 99 by choosing one of the passages listed and stating the central truth for that passage.

Review of the Book of Acts:

Our goals for our study of the Book of Acts were:

  • That we understand the founding and growth of New Testament church and the transitional nature of the book of Acts

  • That we that we be encouraged to be bold in our declaration of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus

  • That we grow in our trust in the Holy Spirit to enable us to serve the Lord Jesus in worship and service to his people

Another reminder of the things to look for in Acts:

  • The promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit on all believers given in John 15:26 and 16:12-15

  • The gift He is to all believers as seen in Rom. 5:5; 1 Cor. 2:12; and 2 Cor. 5:5

  • The Lord’s promise and the fulfillment of His promise that the Holy Spirit would give the apostles the words to say in defense of the Gospel, Luke 12:11; Acts 5-10; 7:1-2

  • The time line of Paul’s life found near Acts 11 in your NIV Study Bible

  • Key transitions or “pivot points”:

    • 1. Acts 11:19-26 Ecclesiastical pivot: The headquarters and sending location of the church moves from Jerusalem to Antioch (of Syria)

    • 2. Acts 2:4; 8:14-17; 10:44-46; 19:4-7 The pivotal events in the Holy Spirit’s ministry, i.e. His being given to Jews and to Gentiles.

    • 3. Acts 15:12-21 Theological Pivot: The Counsel at Jerusalem’s decision regarding Gentiles and observance of the Law.

    • 4. Acts 16:6-10 The Geographic Pivot: The Gospel moves West rather than East. (Macedonian Call)

    • 5. Acts 16:13-15 The Societal Pivot: From ministry to men only, to men and women. (Lydia’s conversion in Philippi)

    • 6. Acts 1:8; 8:1; 13:2-5 The Gospel Expansion Pivots: From Jerusalem, to Judea/Samaria, to the “utter most parts of the earth.”

As you read Acts I hope that as we discussed you saw that most of it was “descriptive” and not “prescriptive”. We will fill out our understanding of what is prescribed for the Church in the Epistles which were written beginning during the time of Acts and extending later into the New Testament Church era.

In Chapters 1-12
We studied the founding of the Church at Pentecost, Peter’s ministry to the Jews, his ministry to the Gentile Cornelius, and Philip’s ministry to the Ethiopian Eunuch.

Chapters 13-28
Highlights of the missionary journeys of Paul:

  • Missionary Journey #1: Acts 13-14: One epistle written, Galatians. The Holy Spirit moves the church at Antioch to send Paul and Barnabas off as missionaries. They returned and, “reported all God had done through them and how He opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.”

  • Missionary Journey #2: Acts 15:40 -18:22 Two epistles written, 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Paul carries the good news all the way from Antioch to Achaia and returns to Jerusalem then to Antioch.

  • Missionary Journey #3: Acts 18:23 – 21:17: Three epistles written, 1 and 2 Corinthians and Romans. Again he travels from Antioch through Asia and on to Achaia, then back to Jerusalem.

After the missionary journeys we have the events in Jerusalem and the journey from Jerusalem to Rome in Acts 23:31 – 28. The book ends here with Paul under house arrest for two years, preaching the Kingdom of God, and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ.

May we be as bold as the early church by being witnesses to Jesus Christ in our culture and setting.

I look forward to seeing you all  in two weeks as we cover Paul’s “Summa Theologica” (Summation of his Theology) which is presented in Romans and as we continue to be more effectively equipped to walk with the Lord and serve Him.



Northside BTCL – Recap 08 New Testament Survey (Romans) 9-27-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

Thanks for working through Romans with me Thursday night. Joe Crum will lead you through 1 Corinthians next Thursday.

 Assignment for Thursday, October 4, 2018: 

  • Read the book of 1 Corinthians and the pp. 105-117 in your manual

  • As you read the book, notice in 7:1, “Now about the matters you wrote about:”, refers to 7:1; 8:1; 12:1; and 16:1.

  • Take one of the following passages from 1 Corinthians on p. 113 and in the assignment box, write out the main idea of the passage: 1:10-17, 3:1-8, 5:6-13, 6:1-8, 8:5-8, 9:19-27, 10:23-11:1, 12:12-27, 14:1-9, 15:1-11, 16:13-14

Recap of Romans: The Gospel Explained and Applied
Our goals for the our study in the book of Romans were:

  • that we understand the gospel and how and to whom it is available

  • that we understand key concepts presented in the book

  • that we grow in Christ-likeness as we walk in light of who we are in Him

  • that we grow in gratitude for what the Lord has done for us

Where Romans fits in several categories:

  • Theology – Romans is important to our understanding of the “faith once entrusted to the saints” Jude 3

  • Chronology – Paul probably wrote at the close of the 3rd missionary journey during the “three months” he was in Greece, (i.e. place of writing either Corinth or Cenchrea), and preparing to head to Jerusalem with an offering for the church there, See Acts 24:17; Rom.15:25-27.

    • Place/time of writing: from Corinth/Cenchrea in Winter of 57-58AD. See color map in back of your NIV, “Paul’s Missionary Journeys”

    • Note the timeline of Paul’s life near Acts 10 in your NIV

  • Context – Romans in terms of Paul’s letters, manual page 89: his letters are “timeless guides to living a life that is pleasing to God”; Rom.12:1-2; 2 Cor 5:9; Eph. 5:10.

  • Type of literature – Discourse, i.e. direct teaching to New Testament believers on Christian doctrine and practice. Note: Paul’s letters are usually composed of two major components: Doctrine and Practice (theological concepts) and how those concepts apply to the believer’s walk with God.

  • Paul’s Background – Phil 3:4-11 “a Jew of Jews” now an apostle to the Gentiles and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Key Verses: Romans 1:16-17
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Key Theological Concepts:

Two major divisions of the book: (Prelude and postlude not included)

  • Doctrine: the righteousness of God proclaimed (Man’s standing before God) Chapters 1:18-11:36

  • Application: the righteousness of God practiced (Redeemed man’s walk with God) Chapters 12:1-15:13Consult your manual chart on page 92 for the full breakdown of the book.

Alternate outline:
Revelation of God’s Righteousness: Chapters 1-8 (content)
Vindication of God’s Righteousness: Chapters 9-11 (Israel)
Application of God’s Righteousness: Chapters 12-16 (practice)

Key questions answered by Romans:
• What does man need?  1:16-17; Right standing before God, i.e. God’s righteousness

• What’s the problem?  1:18-3:20; Sin separates us from God: the ungodly, the moralist, the Jew… EVERYONE, Jew and Gentile alike, there is none righteous, not one.

• How do we obtain righteousness?  3:21-5:21  By faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. ” 3:23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (emphasis mine) We are declared not guilty by reason of substitution. Our sin is placed on Christ; Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us.

• What are the on-going results of being right with God?  Sanctification, chapters 6-8

• Wait!!! What about the Jew?  chapters 9-11 “Israel has experienced a a hardening in part until the full number of he Gentiles has come in.” 11:25b. God will keep His promises to deal with the Jew and draw them back to Himself.

• How do we exhibit righteousness in our daily lives? chapters 12-15  Plain and simple obedience to God’s word.

Lord willing, I look forward to seeing you in two weeks!




Northside BTCL – Recap 10 New Testament Survey (2 Corinthians) 10-11-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

Sorry I did not get follow up e-mails out for the last two classes that Joe Crum has led. My schedule has been a bit frenetic!

I hope you enjoyed your time covering  1 and 2 Corinthians with Joe.

Assignment for Thursday, October 18, 2018:

  1. Read the book of Galatians.

  2. Read pp. 131 – 140 in your manual

Recap of 2nd Corinthians:

Your goals were to:

  • understand the nature of the ministry entrusted to Paul…and to us

  • conform our behavior to be consistent with the message we proclaim

  • delight in our sure relationship to Christ that is accomplished by the grace and power of God

In our study of 1st and 2nd Corinthians, I hope you noticed the threefold aspect of Paul’s ministry in Corinth: His Message … His Ministry … His Life among the saints. As a reminder, we can view Paul’s life in contrast to three of the remaining pillars of the Temple of Octavia, in Corinth, which was dedicated to the sister of Emperor Augustus (27 BC-14 AD). “The temple represents the imperial cult of Rome which spread throughout the empire.” (Sacred Destinations website)

Paul’s life in contrast was invested in glorifying the the one true God and spreading the good news of the gospel; forgiveness of sins and eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ.


To review the run-up to 1st and 2nd Corinthians:

  • Acts 16:6-7, the leading of the Holy Spirit during Paul’s 2nd Missionary Journey, turning Paul’s trajectory West. Acts 18:1-11

  • Paul’s visit to Corinth during his 2nd Missionary Journey; he stayed there teaching the Word of God for a year and a half. Paul returns to Antioch (of Syria). Acts 18:22

  • Acts 18:18-19:1, Apollos enters the picture, is instructed by Priscilla and Aquila, and with the Ephesian church’s blessing, goes to Corinth and ministers there for a season.

  • While Apollos was ministering in Corinth, (Acts 19:1), Paul was on his 3rd Missionary Journey and arrives at Ephesus. (Acts 18:23 was the beginning of the 3rd Missionary Journey)

  • Early during his nearly two-and-a-quarter-year stay at Ephesus, Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthians. See 1 Cor. 5:9-11. This letter was misunderstood by the Corinthians and later lost.

  • When members of Chloe’s household visit (1 Cor. 1:11) Paul learns of the misunderstanding. As well, from an official delegation consisting of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus (1 Cor. 16:17) Paul learns other specific problems in the church at Corinth and writes 1st Corinthians from Ephesus.

  • Apparently, Paul’s letter, 1st Corinthians, did not do the trick and problems remained that prompted a second visit to Corinth. This visit is not recorded in Acts, but is probably indicated by what he calls the “painful ” visit in 2 Cor. 1:15, 2:1. This visit would have been a “sortie” probably by sea from Ephesus directly over to Corinth and back. After that second visit, he writes another letter delivered by Titus, which it grieved him deeply to write apparently because of its disciplinary nature. 2 Cor. 2:4;7:8-9. This letter is apparently lost.

  • After the silversmith riot in Ephesus (Acts 19:23ff), Paul pressed on from Ephesus, North then West, then South into Macedonia where, after not finding him in Troas, he met Titus. See: 2 Cor. 2:12. Titus brought the good report of repentance on the part of the Corinthian believers. 2 Cor. 7:8-16. In 2 Cor. 13:1 Paul speaks of a third visit, which would have followed his next letter i.e. 2nd Corinthians.

  • From Macedonia, Paul writes 2nd Corinthians and followed up with his third visit recorded in Acts 20:1-4.

  • Stays three months in Greece and begins journey back to Jerusalem. Acts 20:1-4

  • See maps on Paul’s missionary journeys near Acts 13 and 18 and the color map in the back of your NIV, “Paul’s Missionary Journeys”. Here is a similar one for Paul’s 3rd Missionary Journey:


SO: We can arrive at the following condensed summary:

  • visit and start of the church at Corinth on the 2nd Missionary Journey

  • back to Antioch and then departs on 3rd Missionary Journey (See the “star” on the map above.)

  • letter written from Ephesus (lost)

  • 1st Corinthians written from Ephesus

  • visits Corinth for the second time and returns to Ephesus

  • writes another letter (lost)

  • leaves Ephesus, goes to Macedonia, writes 2nd Corinthians

  • visits Corinth for the third time

  • leaves for return to Jerusalem

Note there is disagreement on some of these events. We have taken this info from the Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, a quite reliable source.

A Summary of 2nd Corinthians:

Greetings 1:1 – 11
Paul opened this most personal letter by referring again to his apostolic credentials and praising God for being a God of all comfort who comforts believers in their sufferings and afflictions. It becomes quite clear from the book that Paul had much experience with suffering and with God’s comfort. Paul made it clear that God’s comfort is not just for those who need comfort, but it is also to equip them to comfort others.

Conduct of Ministry 1:12 – 27
Paul then set out to demonstrate how he had conducted his ministry among them at Corinth with great integrity. Paul ministered with a clear conscience in holiness, in sincerity, in truth, in God’s grace, with compassion, in love, with a forgiving spirit, in obedience to Christ, as Christ’s aroma, and by teaching the Word of God out of pure motives.Characteristics of Ministry 3:1 – 7:16
In this section, Paul describes in detail the essential characteristics of the true ministry which he saw change lives in Corinth:

  • New Covenant of the Spirit, not the letter of the Law

  • Preaching Christ

  • The principles by which Christians should give for the work of ministry and support of those in need.

  • Walking by faith, not by sight

  • Ambassadors of Christ, ministers of reconciliation

  • Difficult circumstances

  • Holiness (separation from the world)

  • Joy

Collection for Ministry 8:1 – 9:15
Since ministry cannot occur without financial resources, Paul sets forth the principles by which Christians should give to the work of ministry and support of those in full-time ministry.

After first giving yourself to the Lord, give:
1. Willingly, without resentment
2. Generously
3. Purposefully
4. Cheerfully and not under compulsion

When giving in this way, God promises to abundantly meet people’s needs and multiply their gifts producing thanksgiving and glory for His Name.

Confirmation of Ministry 10:1 – 13:10
We need to take every thought captive. There is a battle for our minds. Strongholds or fortresses exist in our minds when we believe cultural or family lies that are very difficult to overcome. It was in this section that Paul mentioned knowing someone who was caught up to the third heaven. Most bible scholars believe Paul was talking about himself. He mentions this in context to show that the greater revelation led to his greater humility and greater reliance on Christ through a “thorn in his flesh”.

Paul once again earnestly defends the character and conduct of his gospel ministry demonstrating what God is really looking for in his servants.

Paul refused to boast except in Christ and had an incredible spirit of humility and submission. Three different times he gave thanks for his weaknesses. Instead of thanking God for our weaknesses, we most often try to hide them. We should instead, like Paul, boast only in Christ and His sufficiency to work through our weaknesses.

Paul’s defense of his ministry was more than adequate.

Closing 13:11 -14
Paul closes with one of the most significant benedictions in Scripture as he exalts the God-head in its trinitarian fullness.

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

See you tonight, Lord willing as we cover Galatians.



Northside BTCL – Recap 11 New Testament Survey (Galatians) 10-18-2018

Dear Northside BTCL Class:

Thank you for a good class Thursday night, as we studied the book of Galatians with the theme of, “Saved, Sanctified by Faith”; and as Dennis captioned it at the bottom of the chart on manual p. 132, “God’s Declaration of Freedom in Christ.” Another way of looking at the theme is “Unshackled.”

Read Acts 13 and 14 to get the context and be reminded of who the Galatians were. Then read this familiar portion of the American Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Using Webster’s figurative definition of the term “Magna Carta”: Webster’s #2: “a document constituting a fundamental guarantee of rights and privileges”. For Americans, the above paragraph from our Declaration of Independence is our “Magna Carta”.

The book of Galatians is like a “Magna Carta” for believers in Christ. There are “rights” and “privileges” detailed in Paul’s wonderful letter on Christian liberty. Martin Luther, the most prominent of the characters of the Protestant Reformation, so cherished and revered the book of Galatians that he called it, “My wife”. As we journey through the six chapters, we can see why he thought so much of Paul’s letter.

Note what some call the “Five Pillars of Salvation from the Reformation”. They are listed below (in Latin). Also listed are verses from Galatians for each of the “Five Pillars of Salvation from the Reformation”.:

  1. Sola scriptura: “by scripture alone”…Salvation is based on Scripture alone (3:8)

  2. Sola fide: “by faith alone”. . . Salvation is obtained by faith alone (2:15 – 16; 3:6 – 9, 10 14, 23 – 25: 5:5 – 6)

  3. Sola gratia: “by grace alone” . . . Salvation is not granted on the basis of works, but is a gift of God’s grace alone (1:3: 5:1, 4, 13 – 15: 6:18)

  4. Solus Christus or Solo Christo: “Christ alone” or “through Christ alone” . . . Salvation is provided/mediated through Christ alone (2:15 – 16, 20: 3:16)

  5. Soli Deo gloria: “glory to God alone” . . . Salvation is ultimately for the glory of God alone (1:5)

These five phrases reveal the basis, means and result of the right-standing of a believer before God.

Our goals for the class last night were:

  • that we understand our freedom in Christ as presented in the book of Galatians

  • that we live as those who are freed from the requirements of the Law

  • that we trust the Lord, who freed us, to manifest the fruit of the the Spirit in each of us

Other thoughts on Galatians: 

  1. Gal. 1:1-1:10, intro to the book. Compare the intro in 1 Corinthians to that of Galatians, noting that the former was to “the church of God in Corinth” while the later was to the “churches in Galatia.” Note that 1 Corinthians deals with the behavior of the Corinthians, and Galatians deals with the belief of the Galatians.

  2. Note that only 81 words are used in the introduction to Galatians; Paul then confronts the dangerous false teaching of a perverted gospel (i.e. that one can be justified by keeping the law), thus making the gospel, faith + works. The summary statement for this is in 3:26, ” You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus…”

  3. Paul’s credentials of Apostleship, i.e. apostle with a big A, are laid out in chapters 1-2.

  4. The word “gospel” is mentioned 96 times in the New Testament, 12 x’s in Galatians and 12 x’s in Romans. In Galatians, Paul uses the term in Galatians 1:6,7,8,9,11; 2:2,5,7,14; 3:8; and 4:13, thats 13% of the uses in the NT!

    • So, back to Bible Study Methods, what is the significance of the REPETITION of the term “good news”? The gospel, “nothing less and nothing more” than Jesus Christ, crucified, buried, and resurrected (1 Cor. 15). Notice the repetition in the book of the words: faith, Spirit, and law.

  5. Using p. 31 from your Old Testament Survey manual, look at the use of the word, “law”. As well, look at p. 49 from the same manual for “The Purpose of the Law”.

    • On p. 31, Dennis notes that “law” may be:

NOTE: there is a good study note at Rom. 8:2 in your NIV Study Bible on Paul’s use of the term “law” in the book of Romans. CONTEXT is the KEY in determining which usage is in play.

Biblically “Law” may be:

  1. a controlling power, as in Rom. 8:2

  2. God’s law Rom. 2:17-20; 9:31; 10:3-5

  3. the Pentateuch Rom. 3:21b

  4. the OT as a whole Rom. 3:19

  5. a principle Rom. 3:27

From Galatians, it is important to remember that as we have been justified by faith, we also continue in the process of sanctification by faith.

Note 3:3 “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal (of sanctification) by human effort?” Parenthesis mine.

Someone in a former BTCL class constructed a paraphrase of the portion of the Declaration of Independence which was mentioned earlier.

“We hold these truths to be revealed by God, that all Christians are re-created equal and are endowed by their Re-creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are freedom in Christ, sonship, and the guarantee of the presence and enablement of the Holy Spirit, assuring a spiritually fruitful life and a future resurrection.”

May we be the people of God that He desires us to be; truly free in Christ and yet without using our freedom as an excuse to sin; rather, using our freedom as a privilege to serve the Lord Jesus and His Church.

Assignment for Thursday, October 25, 2018:

  1. Read the book of Ephesians. “The Church in Christ and Christ in the Church.”

  2. Read pp. 141-150 in your manual.

  3. In class next Monday, you will again be divided into four groups again. In preparation for that discussion in the groups, take a look at the following passages from which you will formulate a prayer for you and /or someone else from the passage. As well, from the list below, be ready to explain the “related passage” assigned to your group and how it is related to Ephesians. When you are in your groups on Thursday, you will refine your work to present to the class.

The passages are:

Group 1: Ephes. 1:15 – 19a20 – 23. Related Passage: Dan. 10:1 – 21.

Group 2: Ephes. 3:14 – 1920 – 21. Related Passage: Rom. 8:12 – 1729 – 30.

Group 3: Ephes. 4:17 – 24. Related Passage: Col. 3:5 – 10

Group 4: Ephes. 5:1 – 7. Related Passage: Rev. 12:7 – 9.


Keep up the good work! We are half-way through New Testament Survey!




Northside BTCL – Recap 12 New Testament Survey (Ephesians) 10-25-2018

Dear Northside BTCL Class,

Assignment for Thursday, November 1, 2018: 

  1. Read the book of Philippians and look for the key words in the book

  2. Read manual pp. 151-160 in the manual

  3. Find the central truth from at least one passage in the assignment on p. 156 for Philippians

  4. Be prepared in next weeks class to break into 4 groups, each of which will summarize and find the theme of one of the 4 chapters of Philippians.

Thank you for a good class Thursday night, as we studied the book of Ephesians. “The Church in Christ and Christ in the Church”.

Our Goals for night were:

  • that we understand our position in Christ

  • that we live, i.e. walk, in light of who we are in Christ

  • that we change from “excuse-makers” to active participants in the process of sanctification

Introductory facts from the NIV introduction to Ephesians, Carl Laney’s, Concise Bible Atlas, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 

  • Read Acts 18:18-22 and note that during Paul’s Second Missionary Journey, after a 1 1/2 year stay at Corinth, on his way back to Syria he traveled from Corinth to Ephesus. Priscilla and Aquila accompanied him on the trip; after a short stay on his part, Paul left them at Ephesus. (See map of 2nd Missionary Journey near Acts 16 in your NIV Study Bible)

  • Paul then proceeded by boat to Caesarea Maritima, “Caesarea by the Sea”, a.k.a.Caesarea of Palestine, and apparently then continued on by land to Jerusalem. See v. 21-22 “…went up and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch.” “Up” was probably to Jerusalem. Though South of Caesarea, it is up topographically. Antioch is North but is “down” from Jerusalem. Check out this artist rendition of the harbor at Caesarea where Paul would have landed.


Paul’s Third Missionary Journey begins from Antioch in Acts 18:23. Meanwhile Apollos came to Ephesus. Priscilla and Aquila, “explained to him the way of God more adequately”.

  • In Acts 19:1-10, note that Paul stayed in the city for at least 2 years and three months; first for three months, “arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God in the synagogue…and…(for two years) had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus…so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord”. In Acts 20:31, Paul says he ministered there for three years. This is typical Jewish calculation in which a portion of a year is considered a “year”. See the study note at Acts 19:10 for a good explanation of this reckoning.

  • The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus was, according to ruins, 239ft. wide and 418ft. long; one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and four times the size of the Parthenon in Athens.


Above is the so-called, “Beautiful Artemis”, second century A.D. from the Selcuk Museum in Turkey. See Acts 19:24 where Demetrius the silversmith made silver shrines of Artemis for sale. Her image was supposed to have fallen from heaven, Acts19:35, and may originally have been a meteorite.

  • For some interesting videos on Ephesus see this one by “Day of Discovery” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBUcm0-daA0 and this one by “Rick Steve’s Europe” go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvPCtrZ1K00

    • Especially notice the amphitheater near the end of the Rick Steve video. This is where Paul desired to confront the rioters in Acts 19:23ff. Can’t you picture him either in the environs of the theatre or nearby, with other believers holding him back from entering the amphitheater and going, “on stage”?

  • Though approaching its zenith during Paul’s time, the harbor at Ephesus gradually silted in by the Cayster River and the site was later abandoned.

  • Go to p. 13 in your manual and note the four epistles that make up the group of letters known as the “prison epistles”, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Also note that II Timothy was written during Paul’s second imprisonment under Nero c. 66-67 AD.

  • Ephesus was written by Paul during his first, two year house arrest in Rome, thus it is one of the “prison epistles”; also look at p. 21 showing Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon as the four letters that make up this group written during his first imprisonment.

  • For the setting of Paul’s first Roman imprisonment read Acts 28:16 and note that this first detainment was actually a two-year house arrest such that Paul could receive visitors and, “Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.”

  • Note in Rev. 2:1 – 6 that about 43 years after Paul ministered in Ephesus, the believers there, though doctrinally sound, had forsaken their first love. This process certainly seems gradual, like the process of the silting of the harbor . . . lots of warnings here!

Recap of Ephesians including portions of text from previous BTCL classes:

We learned from the introduction to the book in your NIV Study Bible, that unlike several of the other letters Paul wrote, Ephesians does not address any particular error or heresy. This is in contrast to the letters to the Corinthians and the letter to the Galatians. In contrast, Paul wrote to the Ephesian recipients so that they might understand better the dimensions of God’s eternal purpose and grace and come to appreciate the high goals God has for the church. Perhaps the reason he does not need to address error or heresy is that he spent 2 1/4 – 3 years there training the people.

We learned that there are four sections, with two major divisions in Ephesians. The first two verses are Paul’s greetings.

First Major Division: Chapters 1:3 – 3:21 present the positional truth – “Believers: Sealed and Seated”

We learned from chapter 1:
1. In (verses 3-6) are the works of the Father for the believer:
a. He chose us.
b. He predestined us.
c. He blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
d. He freely gave us grace through Jesus Christ His Son.

2. In (verses 7-12) are the works of Christ for the believer:
a. He secured our redemption.
b. Provided forgiveness of our sins by shedding His blood and dying on the cross.
c. He made known to us the mystery of His Father’s will, purposed in eternity past, and yet to be ultimately fulfilled upon    the Son’s 2nd Coming.

3. In (verses 13-14) we see the role of the Holy Spirit in the believer:
a. He baptizes believers into Christ, making them part of the body called the church.
b. He seals the believer, guaranteeing our future inheritance, to be received at the resurrection.

The rest of chapter one is the first of Paul’s great prayers for the Ephesian believers.

In 2:2-3, we see what is true of a person without Christ:
1. Dead in their transgressions
2. Following the ways of this world and its ruler (Satan)
3. Gratifying the cravings of the sinful nature
4. By nature objects of God’s wrath

In 2:13-22, we learned what is now true of us as believers:
1. We who were far away have been brought near.
2. The two (Jews and Gentiles, circumcised and uncircumcised) have been made into one new man in the church.
3. Both were reconciled to God by the cross.
4. Both have access to the Father.
5. We are no longer aliens and foreigners, but fellow citizens, members of God’s household.
6. In Him, we are being built to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.

In 3:2-6 we learn that a mystery has been revealed to Paul. The mystery is that through the Gospel, the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ. The Abrahamic Promise which was the gospel preached in advance to Abraham (Gal. 3:6-9) foretold that all nations would be blessed through his “seed” (Christ).

Most of the rest of the chapter is Paul’s second great prayer for the Ephesian believers.

The second major division: Ephesians 4:1 – 6:20 – Practice of believers in the church, “Believers: Sold Out”

This section is comprised of application following the doctrine presented in the first 3 chapters. The positional truth of the first 3 chapters should be reflected in the way we live our lives in the church as outlined in the last 3 chapters of Ephesians. We are new creations, the old is gone. (2 Cor. 5:17)

  1. When we realize who we are in Christ, it will affect how we live:
    In the church, in unity, using spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ

  2. In our personal life, we need to “put off the old” and “put on the new” like a set of clothes. We need to live consistently with what is true of us positionally by being consistently filled with the Holy Spirit.

  3. At home, we will be subject to each other. Wives will submit to their husbands, and husbands will love their wives. Children will obey their parents, and fathers will not exasperate their children.

  4. At work, we will submit to authority and work as unto the Lord.

  5. In spiritual warfare, we will realize there is a battle for our mind. we will put on the whole armor of God, pray in the Spirit, and stand by Faith.

  • Being honest with God, ourselves, and others is a prerequisite to all spiritual battle.

  • Responding to the truth that God shows us about our lives is righteous living.

  • Understanding and readily sharing the gospel.

Paul closes the book in 6:21- 24.

As we continue to understand our position in Christ and our walk with Him, may we guard ourselves from losing our first love and, like the harbor in Ephesus, becoming gradually “silted-in” by sin.

See you on November 1st as we cover Philippians.



Northside BTCL – Recap 13 New Testament Survey (Philippians) 11-1-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

Thank you for a good class on Thursday as we studied the book of Philippians. Keep up the good work.

Assignment for Thursday, November 8, 2018:

  • Read the books of Colossians and Philemon (we cover that also as the last prison epistle)

  • Read pp. 161-170 and 223-228 in your BTCP Manual

  • Answer the question: What elements of the gospel do you see in the book of Colossians?

  • Do the assignment on p. 168 for Colossians.

Recap of  Philippians

Our goals for the night:

  • that we see how the book of Philippians contributes to our understanding of who Christ is

  • that we put to death those attitudes, actions, thoughts, and words that make us unfruitful as followers of Christ

  • that we determine to live lives worthy of the gospel and of the Lord, so that we validate the truth of the gospel and not cause people to doubt it

Read Is. 26:3-4 and 2 Pet. 3:17-18, and note that the mind is where the battles are. As well, we are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, i.e. we must engage our minds and think aright about who He is and who we are in relationship to Him.

On p. 21 in your manual, look at where Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon fit in the New Testament, i.e. as three of the four “Prison Epistles”. (Ephesians being the fourth)

As was mentioned in class you can get the historical context for Philippians by reading part of the “Second missionary journey journal” in Acts 16:6-40 that contains the account of Paul’s first visit to Philippi and the founding of the church there.

  • There was apparently no synagogue in Philippi, and since it took a population of ten Jewish men to establish a synagogue, probably not a large Jewish population there. (See the study note at Mark 1:2)

  • On the way for prayer near the Gangites river, Paul encountered Lydia, “a dealer in purple cloth from Thyatira” who was a “worshipper of God”. Lydia and members of her household believed and were baptized. (See Acts 10 for a similar description of Cornelius, a Roman centurion; he and his family were “devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.”

  • Later and again on the way to the place of prayer, Paul commanded a wicked spirit (demon) in a slave girl to come out of her, this caused the girl’s owners to respond by dragging Paul and Silas into the marketplace, a.k.a. the agora, to face the authorities.

  • Paul and Silas were imprisoned and after miraculous escape, the jailer and his family believed and were baptized.

  • Paul indicated that he and Silas were Romans, i.e. citizens, thus they were ultimately released from further abuse. A citizen is, “one who is a member of a state; a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to protection from it”. See the study note on Acts 22:28; there were three ways to obtain Roman citizenship: 1. as a reward for some outstanding service to Rome, 2. buy it at considerable price, 3. be born into a family of Roman citizens. (So to speak, “deeds, denarii, descent”, or “deeds, dollars, or descent”) Apparently, Paul’s father was a citizen of Roman Tarsus, thus Paul was one as well. Acts 28:22b

Look at the 2nd Missionary Journey maps in your NIV Study Bible both (near Acts 16) and at the back of your bible (Map 13 I think?). Note that Paul visits Philippi and Thessalonica on both his second and third missionary journeys.

Look at the movement on the maps from Troas, West to the port of Neapolis, to Philippi, and on to Thessolonica, modern-day Thessaloniki or Solonika.

Map of Philippi: with current museum and parking.


Note on the map above, the Via Egnatia, also known as the Via Ignatia or the Egnatian Way or the Ignatian Way. This is an important first-century trade route. It covered a total distance of about 696 miles going East and West from Byzantium, modern Istanbul, on the East to the Adriatic Sea. Paul must have travelled it the short distance from his landing at Neopolis into the city of Philippi. Thus when Paul asks the Thessalonians to pray that, “the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you”, one can see that the transportation links in the region were a vital practical aspect of that prayer.

Egnatian Way (photo and description below from bibleplaces.com)

The Via Egnatia was built beginning in 145 BC and at its greatest extent connected Byzantium with the Adriatic ports.  This route was Rome’s primary artery to the east and Philippi was an important outpost along the road.  The Egnatian Way made it easier for Rome to move troops throughout the empire and it was the route that Paul traveled on from Neapolis to Philippi, Amphipolis, Apollonia and Thessalonica.




And if you need a “pit stop” traveling the Egnatian Way…

Latrines (photo and description from bibleplaces.com)

Public bathrooms were not uncommon in ancient Roman cities, but this one is a good illustration for Paul’s reference to (the Greek word) scubalon, or human waste.  In his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (3:8 NIV). (Note: scubalon can mean “refuse, rubbish, leavings, dirt, dung”) 


The Theme of Philippians: Having the same attitude as Christ Jesus

Paul wrote to believers proud of their Roman citizenship and reminded them that their true citizenship was in heaven!

By doing your group assignments, we looked at Paul’s challenge to the believers at Philippi to:

1. Have a single mind: key verse 1:21

2. Have a servant mind: key verse 2:5

3. Maintain a spiritual mind: key verse 3:8

4. Trust the Lord with all things in order to have a secure mind: key verse 4:11

Especially in Philippians 2 we have key christological truth presented. Jesus is both fully God and fully Man. He veiled His glory and took on human flesh to live as a real man. This is called the “kenosis” passage, from the Greek word translated in the NIV, 2:7 as “made himself nothing”  and denotes the voluntary setting aside or non-use of some of His divine attributes. Someone else has said, this was the divesting of His self-interest, not the divesting of his deity. See the comments on pp. 154 of your BTCP manual.

Charles Ryrie states: “In the kenosis Christ emptied Himself of retaining and exploiting His status in the Godhead and took on humanity in order to die.”

He lived the perfectly obedient life that none of us could, so that He could pay the price for all of our sins by dying on the cross.

The kenosis passage makes the challenge in 2:5, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus”, particularly poignant.

May our understanding of the servanthood of Christ, lead us to more fully comprehend what He did for us in His incarnation and result in our full surrender of ourselves to Him for His purposes.

Lord willing, I will see you on Thursday.



Northside BTCL – Recap 14 New Testament Survey (Colossians & Philemon) 11-8-2018

Dear Northside BTCL Class,

As we studied Colossians and Philemon our goals were:


  • To recognize the absolute supremacy and sufficiency of Christ

  • To recognize sin’s deleterious effects on human reason


  • To learn to how Paul dealt with a difficult social issue of his time (slavery) by pointing two believers to the higher ideal of brotherhood in Christ.

  • To see how God shows us as redeemed people how we should live lives of grace in a fallen and corrupt world system.

Recap of Colossians 

We learned that Epaphras is the one who likely took the Gospel message from Ephesus to Colosse and then to Laodicea and Hierapolis. Colosse was on the great east-west trade route leading from Ephesus on the Aegean Sea to the Euphrates River. By the first century A.D., Colosse was diminished to a second-rate market town.

Paul’s primary purpose is to refute the Colossian heresy. Paul never explicitly describes the false teaching he opposes in the Colossian letter. The nature of the heresy must be inferred from statements he made in opposition to the false teachers.

The theme of Colossians is the complete adequacy of Christ contrasted with the emptiness of mere human philosophy.

There are four chapters and four divisions:

  1. Greetings 1:1 – 8 – Paul said he always thanked God for them, because he had heard of their faith in Christ Jesus and their love for the saints which springs from the hope stored up for them in Heaven with Christ.

  2. Priority of Christ 1:9 – 2:23 – Paul exalts Christ to refute the heresy and presents Jesus Christ as the very image of God (1:15), the Creator (1:16), the pre-existent sustainer of all things (1:17), the Head of the church (1:18), the first to be resurrected (1:18), the fullness of deity in bodily form (1:19: 2:9), and the reconciler in 1:20 – 22. In short, Christ is supreme. As such, praying or communicating to Him and pleasing Him by bearing fruit, growing in maturity, and being strengthened with His power are all important. He admonished the Colossian believers to choose Christ over empty human philosophy and false teachers.

  3. Practice of Christ – The first two chapters explain our position in Christ. The last two deal with living consistently in line with that positional truth. We are told to set our mind on spiritual things, to put off the old nature and put on the new. The passage in 3:18 -4:1 is very similar to the teaching in Ephesians chapters 5 and 6. However there is more information given to both workers and employers (slaves and masters).

  4. Closing 4:7 – 18 – Paul specifically mentions several people who were helpful to him in ministry. He tells the Colossians to pass on this letter to Laodicea and Hierapolis after it has been read to them.

Recap of Philemon

Paul sent Tychicus and Onesimus with the letter to the Colossians and also apparently with this very personal letter of appeal to Philemon in regards to Onesimus the runaway slave and thief who has now believed in Jesus Christ. (Colossians 4:7-9)

In this seemingly obscure book we see:

  • The truth that we need to share our faith in order to fully understand the Gospel. (v. 6)

  • The theme of the Gospel taking people beyond their culture, “From bondage to brotherhood”, presented doctrinally in Colossians (see Col. 3:11), is illustrated very personally in the relationship between Onesimus and Philemon.

Philemon 15-16 – “Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good— no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.”

Assignment for next Thursday November 15th:
1. Read 1 and 2 Thessalonians
2. Read pp. 171 – 190, and do the assignment on pp. 178 and 188

We are praying that we would: fully understand our position in Christ, know the supremacy of Christ in all things, increasingly reflecting these truths in our lives.

Grace in Peace in Christ,



Northside BTCL – Recap 15 New Testament Survey (1 & 2 Thessalonians) 11-15-2018

Dear Northside BTCL Class,
I hope you enjoyed our time talking about 1 & 2 Thessalonians. These are very important Pauline letters because they are more Eschatological (covering “last things/future events”) than the rest of Paul’s letters. This can be observed in the emphasis that Paul puts on Christ’s return in both letters, even ending each chapter in 1 Thessalonians with a reference to Christ’s return!
Some questions we should ask ourselves as we study 1 & 2 Thessalonians:
1. Are we ready for Christ’s Return?
2. How should we live in expectation of his return?

Goals for our study

  • To see Paul’s purpose in writing to the Thessalonians:

    • Straighten out confusion caused by false teaching

    • Encourage holy living in light of Christ’s certain return and our resurrection

    • Command personal responsibility in terms of working to support oneself and not becoming dependent on anyone

  • To see the unique contributions of these two epistles:

    • 1 Thessalonians – The “rapture” refers to being caught up – “harpazo” (Greek) and “rapio” or “rapturo” (Latin). Rapiemur and rapturo are two forms of the same verb, viz: rapio, rapere, rapui, raptus – “to catch or seize” (among other definitions). Rapiemur is the first person, plural, future, indicative, passive. Rapturo is the future active participle.

    • 2 Thessalonians – The great departure/rebellion/falling away/apostasy and the revealing of the “man of lawlessness”/antichrist

  • To be personally:

    • Encouraged to have real hope in Christ’s return and our personal resurrection which leads to patient endurance in this life.

    • Challenged to live a quiet life of holiness, sexual purity, and responsible work.

 1 Thessalonians
The Thessalonians lived expecting Jesus return and the “Day of the Lord” (see Isaiah 13:1-13 and Amos 5:18-20). They were, however, confused about these things and had been led astray by false teaching which was claiming that the “Day of the Lord” had already come! They were especially upset/concerned about those believers who had already died.
Back in Acts we saw that Paul’s  visit to Thessalonica was cut short, because of the attack from the Jews (Acts 17:1-10), nevertheless we see that his time there had been very successful  because of the positive response and report he was receiving while in Corinth (1 Thessalonians 1:7-93:6-10). The Thessalonians were careful to receive Paul’s teaching (the Word of God) and apply it so that it had a remarkable impact in their own lives.
Paul was also concerned because of several other issues. First of all, some of the Thessalonians were still struggling with sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8). Secondly, some of them had stopped working because they thought that Christ’s return was imminent (1 Thessalonians 4:4:11-12) and thirdly they were really confused about what happens to those who die before Christ’s return (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11). The church was also facing violent persecution from the enemies of the Gospel and so it was crucial that they receive instructions on how to handle persecution and also have the truth of God’s Word reinforced so that they could persevere in hope.
2 Thessalonians
The Second Letter was written just a few months later. It addressed some of the questions that came up as a result of the first letter. Secondly, there was a false report (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3) that had been circulated among them that Paul needed to address. This is the only letter in the New Testament that provides more details about Antichrist. He also warns them about the importance of hanging on to the truth of God’s Word as it had been passed on to them.

Overall as a Christian, we ought to take comfort in the fact that we have been rescued from the coming wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:10) but also be prepared because we do not know the time or the hour (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3) of Christ’s Return. We are also to be comforted in our affliction because in spite of what is happening in the world, or where were are when Christ comes, we will all see Him and be taken up with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). There are signs that will become more and more overt as the time draws near (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12).

I have also handed out in class the chart that Dennis Mock produced titled, Dual Mystery of Salvation Handout, which illustrates from 2 Thess. 2:13-14 how both divine election and human belief are involved in our salvation. This is probably the best scripture illustrating these two factors in our salvation.

Assignment for next week

• Read 1, 2 Timothy, and Titus

• Do the assignments on pp. 200, 211, and 221

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17




Northside BTCL – Recap 16 New Testament Survey (1 & 2 Timothy, Titus) 11-29-2018

Dear Northside BTCL Class,

Thank you for your work on 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus.

This coming Thursday, December 6th, 2018, we will have our last class of the year before taking our Christmas break. We will be looking at the book of Hebrews. As you read Hebrews, you will recognize many Old Testament references. Do not fail to notice the comparisons and contrasts in the book: old/new, better than, superior, lower/higher, past/present.

Assignment for Thursday, December 6th, 2018:

  • Read the book Hebrews and pp. 229-243 in the course manual.

  • Look for major “big ticket” ideas in the book of Hebrews and isolate at least 4 of these major themes.

Recap of 1 Timothy, Titus, and 2 Timothy:

Our goals for the night were:

  • that we understand the instructions for the church that Paul gave to Timothy and Titus

  • that we grow in our ability to recognize and respond appropriately to false teaching and false teachers

  • that we dedicate ourselves to personal godliness and finishing our Christian lives well

Introduction to the books:

Several passages in the book of Acts establish Timothy’s identity. We can compare him to Titus: Timothy the son of a Jewish mother and Greek father, Acts 16:1-3; Titus “full-blooded Gentile”, Gal.2:3. Paul met and took Timothy along on his second missionary journey (See Acts 16:1 and following). Thus Paul invested about 17 years of his life in Timothy.

Titus was a disciple of Paul’s (Tit. 1:4) and though not mentioned in the book of Acts, he is mentioned 13 times in the NT. In Gal. 2:1-5, we see that Paul took Titus with him on an early trip to Jerusalem. Thus, Paul had known and invested in him for a similar if not longer period than that of Timothy.

Note the suggested order of writing of the epistles, manual p. 21, and note the connection with the missionary journeys. The books we studied are the group of letters known as the Pastoral Epistles. 1 Timothy was apparently written after Paul’s house arrest in Acts 28. 2 Timothy, was apparently written soon before Paul’s martyrdom during his final imprisonment in the Mamertine prison at the end of the area in Rome known as “The Forum”. (See photo below) 1 Timothy and Titus were possibly written on a 4th Missionary journey after Paul was released from his first Roman imprisonment and before his second and final imprisonment in this dungeon.


“What kind of things would you write in letters to two people in whom you have invested a good portion of your life?” In 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus, the apostle Paul writes to two men in whom he had invested a good part of his life. He gave significant instructions concerning the church, its organization, and leaders who oversee the life of the church. 

1 Timothy: The Christian guidebook on correct character, creed and conduct in the church. The “Leadership Manual.”

After Paul addresses his dear son in the faith and encourages him to “fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience”, he gives instructions about prayer and women in the church. He then goes on to set out the criteria for choosing elders (overseers) and deacons for the church. We asked the question: “If you are called to help choose leaders for a church, what kind of person should you be looking for?”

As we saw in the earlier epistles like Ephesians and Galatians, the body of Christ is an organism, a living spiritual body made up of what Peter will later call, “living stones.” Now in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, we see the organizational aspect of church ministry. The organization exists to support, protect, and serve the organism. We make a serious error if we do not keep the concepts of the church as an organism and an organization in balance. 

Be sure and notice the helpful contrast of False Teachers / Proper Teachers on p. 196 in your manual. There were plenty of false teachers around both in Paul’s day and today. Paul gives us their typical characteristics.

Paul’s purpose in writing the letter is clear in 1 Timothy 3:15, “. . . you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household . . .”

2 Timothy: Be a Good Soldier of Christ. The “Combat Manual.”

Here we find the aged apostle’s last epistle. This is a most personal letter from a servant of the Lord to his disciple Timothy. Aware of his impending death, Paul gives firm, loving instructions on fighting the good fight. These are almost his deathbed instructions to his son in the faith. He instructs Timothy to not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or of Paul in his chains. To be ashamed is to shrink back, to become passive concerning the Lord or those whose are His. Timothy is challenged by Paul to use his teaching gift and not be timid in the role God has given him. He was young but he was not to let anyone despise him.

Paul instructs Timothy in chapter 2 to be focused and to concentrate as a soldier and not be distracted by useless and foolish arguments and divisive people. He instructs Timothy to live in holiness and discipline as an athlete so as not to be disqualified for the prize. Finally, he instructs him to be patient as a farmer and not to become discouraged because he would share in the reward of the harvest in due time.

As Paul ends his life, it is evident that he consistently poured himself into others. Now he can say in 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”. What a life!

Titus: Proclaim and Practice Sound Doctrine. The “Conduct Manual.”

Paul instructs Titus, his Gentile “son in the faith”, to organize and operate the church by teaching what is in accord with sound doctrine and by appointing elders for the believers on the island of Crete. As in 1 Timothy, these men are to have certain character qualities. The chart near 1 Tim. 4 in your NIV Study Bible is a good summary of these qualifications.

Notice that in Titus 2:13-15, Paul picks up the theme of “Turn-Serve-Wait”, from 1 Thessalonians …”while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” We are to turn from wickedness and sin, serve the Lord in love and humility, and await with hope Jesus certain and imminent return. 

Paul’s bottom line to Titus: These are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority (2:15). The point in these epistles is that the organism, the body of Christ, needs structure, organization, and needs good “hygiene” to be all that the Lord wants the church to be . . . as we await His return. 

When the church errs to the organism side of the equation or to the organization side of the equation, the body of Christ cannot grow into all the Lord intends her to be (Eph. 4). As well, the church sends an inaccurate message to the culture in which we are to be a testimony of His grace and truth.
(Phil. 2:15 and 1 Tim. 3:15)

As Paul instructed Timothy and Titus, may we live lives of consequence rather than consequences; lives built on the truth of the Word of God, lived out in service to the Lord Jesus and His church.

Keep up the good work and please come next week with the book of Hebrews read before class.



Northside BTCL – Recap 17 New Testament Survey (Hebrews) 12-6-2018

Dear Northside BTCL Class:

Thank you for your work Thursday, as we looked at Hebrews. We will not meet again until next year!

Assignment for Thursday January 3rd, 2019:

  1. Read the book of James. If possible, read James at one sitting, this takes 20-30 minutes.

  2. Complete the assignment on p. 251.

Our objectives for the night were: 

  • To understand the gravity of drifting away from the Savior, in light of who He is and what He has done

  • that we recognize and put off, put away, and put behind us the things that cause us to drift away from the Lord Jesus

  • That we realize the significance of the once-for-all sacrifice of the Lord Jesus as our high priest and allow the Lord to use His Word to change us and mature us as we combine His truth with faith

Question for consideration: As a believer, what internal and external influences tempt you to drift away from the Lord Jesus?

Hebrews: Key word for Hebrews: “Better”.
The theme of the book is the superiority of the Person of Christ and the principle of faith. The four sections in the book as seen in the manual are:

  • the Person of Christ

  • the Priesthood of Christ

  • the Principle of Faith

  • the Practice of Faith

The author of the letter to the Hebrews uses a logical progression to show the superiority of the Lord over the prophets, angels, Moses, Joshua, the Levitical priests, the tabernacle, the old covenant, and the sacrifices in the old covenant system (Mosaic Covenant). He is writing to Jewish believers who are being tempted to return to the old covenant sacrifices and temple (and earlier, tabernacle) ritual, thus drifting away from the Savior. One author said, the writer of Hebrews warns these Jewish-background believers of the dangers of “religious nostalgia” and “spiritual sluggishness”; i.e. they should not be tempted to revert to the old, inferior sacrificial system nor resist the Lord by failing to move on to maturity.

We spent some time on the topic of, ” . . . a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek”. The Jewish believers would have understood this comparison of the permanence and supremacy of the Lord Jesus in his office of priest to that of Melchizedek in Gen.14:18. Melchizedek is both a king and a priest. Jesus Christ is said to fill four offices, Prophet, Priest, King, and Judge. Two of those offices have been or are being “fulfilled”, those of Prophet and Priest; two remain to be fulfilled: King, in the millennial kingdom, and Judge at his Second Coming. Here is a little more reading on Melchizedek – http://www.gotquestions.org/Melchizedek.html

The writer gives them five warnings concerning not receiving all God has for us followers of Christ, see p. 233 in your manual.

We looked at the five warnings:
Warning #1Heb. 2:1-4 (2:1) We must pay careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

Warning #2Heb. 3:7-4:13 (3:12) See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.

Warning #3Heb. 5:11-6:20 (5:14) “Grow up!” Solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish between good and evil.

Warning #4Heb.10:19-39 (10:35) So do not throw away your confidence; it will be greatly rewarded.

Warning #5Heb. 12:25-29 (12:25) See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks.

Hebrews 10:14 (” . . . because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” ) We get the topics of justification and sanctification addressed in both Hebrews and James with the emphasis in both books being sanctification, the process of being conformed to the image of Christ in Character, Conduct, and Conversation.

In summation: Hebrews is about warnings, confidence and faith: warnings concerning not attaining to the maturity God desires for us; confidence in what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us as our sacrifice, high priest, and intercessor; and faith, i.e. uniting/combining the truth of God’s word with faith.May the Lord continue to “open our eyes to understand wonderful things from his law”.

Have a wonderful Christmas Break! I look forward to seeing you next year when we pick up again on January 3rd with the book of James.



Northside BTCL – Recap 18 New Testament Survey (James) 1-3-2019

Dear Northside BTCL Class,

Thank you for your work Thursday on the book of James. Keep up the good work! You are a great encouragement to me!

James: Genuine Faith, or as Ron Blue said, “Biblical Faith Works” or “Faith Gauge”.
James is often called the “Proverbs of the New Testament” and has great affinity with the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. The book is a practical how-to of faith working; within its 108 verses, there are 54 commands. 

Our objectives for our study of the book of James were:

• that we understand that works are evidence of a genuine faith

• that we increasingly become single-minded people of God

• that we seek to honor the Lord with our hands, hearts, and tongues

• that we see God’s hand in our lives, including trials, as He shapes us into the image of Christ

Recap of the book: 
In the introduction to the book of James in your NIV Study Bible, note the facts about James the 1/2 brother of the Lord Jesus. Cross-reference Acts 15 noting that James chaired the Jerusalem Council and was a man of grace. He was the 1/2 brother of the Lord Jesus, (yet describes himself only as “a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ”) He was not a believer most likely until the risen Lord appeared to him (1 Cor. 15:7). 

In chapter 1, there is a vivid picture given of temptation; its degenerating nature and dire consequences. Temptation itself is not a sin, but it can lead to sin if we don’t stop the process. Cross reference 1 Cor. 10:13 to also see that God is faithful and will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear and will provide a way of escape. We could liken this section of James to Israel’s experience of the seven step cycle of sin in Judges. Note also James’ warning that in our prayer lives, we should not be “double-souled”, i.e. have one’s mind, emotions, affections, divided. John Bunyan has a character in Pilgrim’s Progress called, “Mr. Faces-both-ways”; this is a feat which is quite impossible to pull off.

In chapter 2, we looked at favoritism, i.e. its wickedness as an expression of pride when we put ourselves above another person. (Remember by way of contrast Philippians chapter 2 as we saw the Lord Jesus humbling Himself . . . even to the point of death on a cross). Compare this also with Ephesians 4:1 in which we are told to be completely humble. Also look at Abraham and go back to Genesis 15 and 22 to establish the timeline of when he was declared righteous by the LORD in chapter 15 and then many years later sacrificed Isaac as indicated in Gen. 21:34 and 22:1. I have also attached a chart I developed to think through the term “justified” from God’s perspective and man’s perspective.

In chapter 3, there is a tongue test . . . the indicator of what lies in our hearts. We also looked at the difference in “earthly” wisdom and wisdom from above: the source and attributes of both.   

In chapter 4, we can look at the pattern of the Lord Jesus in Matt. 4 as an illustration of the exhortation in James 4:7. Jesus submitted Himself to God, resisted the devil and the devil fled from him. (Luke adds 4:13, “for a season”) In James 4:8 we saw the author repeat the “double-minded” (literally from the Greek “double-souled”) idea from 1:8; by way of application, we can determine to be “single-souled” people, with our hands clean (external), our hearts clean (internal) and our eyes fixed on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith. (cf. Heb.12:2)

In chapter 5, we saw Elijah as a human picture of a sinful man, “just like us”, who demonstrated his faith by his works. We also talked some about not just treating physical maladies as purely physical problems but also looking to our whole person and addressing as well our spiritual condition by confessing any sin and submitting ourselves for prayer to the Elders in our church because “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective”. 

Your assignment for Thursday January 10, 2019:

  • Read the books of 1 and 2 Peter and the intros to both in your NIV Study Bible

  • Read the appropriate pages in your manual

  • We will also break you into groups in class and address the passages listed below. Go ahead and look at the passages before coming to class, read the passages in context, and in one sentence, write the main idea conveyed by Peter. You will then be given time in class share with a smaller group what you found for a particular pair of verses. You will come to a consensus and have a “spokesperson” present your conclusions on your assigned verses to the rest of the class. Each group will only be assigned two verses as seen below but you can look at them all ahead of time to get a head start.

Remember to look for the verbs and keywords in the passage and use the Bible Study Methods “Who?, What?, When?, Where?, How?” questions of Observation. Move on to the Interpretation step to ask, “What is the meaning of this passage? . . . Why is it here?”

Group 1: 
From First Peter – 1:3 – 5
From Second Peter – 3:17 – 18

Group 2: 
From First Peter – 1:6 – 12
From Second Peter – 3:14 – 16

Group 3:
From First Peter – 3:18 – 22
From Second Peter – 2:1 – 3

Group 4: 
From First Peter – 2:1 – 3
From Second Peter – 1:5 – 9 

Thanks for your encouragement by being in the class and contributing as we all learn together. May we continue to strive to be “single-souled” people, through the power of the Holy Spirit as He works the Word of God into the fabric of our lives.

See you Thursday,  “Lord willing”. 



Northside BTCL – Recap 19 New Testament Survey (1-2 Peter, Jude) 1-10-2019

Dear Northside BTCL Class,

Thanks, everyone for your work on 1 and 2 Peter Thursday night. Looking at the books of 1 and 2 Peter we might ask ourselves the question: How does a sojourner, journey? That is, realizing that we are but “strangers”, in this world and that our lives are “but a vapor” (James 4:14), how do we walk as believers through it? To the recipients of these letters who were suffering for their faith, the Holy Spirit, through Peter, gives clear exhortations and truths that they can cling to in their difficult journey.

Peter uses the term “grace” 7 times in his first letter and twice in his last. We see “receiving and walking by grace” in 1 Peter, then “growing in grace” in 2 Peter.

Our objectives for the night:

  • That we understand to a greater degree the wonder of the grace of God and learn to recognize false teaching and false teachers

  • That in all circumstances of life, we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, making Him Lord of all we are

  • That we worship Him for his goodness and grace to us

Recap of 1-2 Peter:

Both 1 and 2 Peter were likely written from Rome. 1 Peter was probably written c. 63-67 A.D. and 2 Peter c. 68 A.D. before he was martyred by Nero.

Who is this man Peter?

  1. Peter was the first disciple called by Jesus in Mark 1:16 – 17; note also an earlier mention of him before his “official” calling as a disciple: Jn. 1:35-44; Matt. 10:2

  2. The Lord Jesus heals his mother-in-law in Matt. 8:14 So . . . Peter was married!

  3. Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus is pleased and says “on this rock (Peter’s Confession), I will build my church”: Mt. 16:13 – 19.

  4. Peter is rebuked by Jesus and told, “Get behind me Satan!” when Jesus explains that He must suffer and die and Peter says, “This shall never happen to you!”

  5. Peter is present at the Transfiguration in Mt. 17:1 – 13.

  6. Peter denies Jesus three times in Mt. 26:69 – 74.

  7. Peter is asked three times by Jesus if he loves Him in John 21:15 – 23.

  8. Peter preaches at the Day of Pentecost and 3,000 are added to the church in Acts 2:14 – 41.

  9. Peter has to be convinced by God, through the vision of the sheet of unclean animals, to take the Gospel to Cornelius, a Gentile in Acts 10.

  10. Peter is at the Jerusalem Counsel in Acts 15

  11. Paul opposes Peter to his face over his hypocrisy in Gal. 2:11 – 14.

1 Peter has five chapters and three main divisions besides the greetings and closing:

The main theme might be stated as,“Pain with a Purpose”.

1. Greetings 1:1 – 2

Peter was written to the believers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. Look at the map in Acts 16 of Paul’s second Missionary Journey to better understand where these believers were located.

2. God’s Grace and Our Position in Christ 1:3 – 2:10

Peter began by calling the attention of suffering believers to the blessings of salvation brought about by God’s grace in Christ. Knowing that our salvation is secure and imperishable helps a Christian face life’s trials from a proper perspective. Like James, Peter called believers to rejoice in suffering and trials, knowing that God allows them to test, prove, and purify our faith.

Based on our position in Christ, believers should respond by:

a. Holy living; “Be holy as I am holy” 1:13 – 16

b. Fearing God as aliens in this world 1:17 – 21

c. Loving others 1:22 – 25

d. Growing to maturity 2:1 – 10

3. Submission to God’s Grace Brings Perspective in Christ 2:11- 3:7

Believers who respond properly to God’s grace will evidence a life of submission in four main areas:

a. Living such exemplary lives that God will be glorified. 2:11 – 12

b. To government authority 2:13 – 17

c. To masters (employers) 2:18 – 25

d. In the home when wives submit to husbands and husbands treat wives with consideration and respect.

4. The Response to God’s Grace is the Believer’s Performance for Christ 3:8 – 5:11

We should not repay evil for evil, but give a blessing instead in 3:8 – 12. In 3:13 – 4:19, believers are called to suffer for Christ’s sake. We are told exactly how to live in the last days in 4:7 – 11:

a. Be clear minded and self controlled so you can pray.

b. Love each other deeply.

c. Offer hospitality.

d. Use your spiritual gifts.

The grace of God requires that spiritual leaders be good shepherds in 5:1 – 7. In 5:8 – 11, believers are told to be self controlled and alert because our enemy, the devil, is prowling around looking for someone to devour. We need to realize that we are in a battle, and satan wants to destroy us.

5. Closing

In 5:12, we learn that Peter wrote this letter with the help of Silas. See the NIV introduction for more on this.

2 Peter  has three chapters and three main divisions besides greetings and closing:

The theme might be states as: “Poison in the Pew”.

1. Greetings 1:1

This book is directed to those who have received a faith, “as precious as ours”.

2. Remain Established in the Truth 1:2 – 21

We need to remember the truth about:

a. His divine power

b. We have everything we need for life and godliness.

c. Peter is speaking as an eyewitness.

d. Prophecy of Scripture is from God. Men spoke from God carried along by the Holy Spirit.

3. Renounce False Teachers 2:1 – 22

We need to reject false teachers who:

a. Secretly introduce destructive heresies

b. Deny the Lord who bought them

c. Exploit Believers with false stories

d. Despise authority

e. Slander angels

f. Blaspheme without knowledge

g. Engage in immorality

h. Corrupt fellowship

i. Seduce the unstable

j. Fall into apostasy

These false teachers promise freedom while they themselves are slaves of depravity.

4. Recall the Lord’s Promise 3:1 – 17

There will be scoffers who question the Lord”s coming. We need to recall:

a. Truth taught by holy prophets in the OT and Jesus’ Apostles in the NT

b. God judged sin by the flood.

c. God will bring final judgement, and God is not slow about His promises.

d. The Day of the Lord is coming when the earth will be purged by fire and all the ungodly will die.

e. God will create a new heaven and a new earth in which only righteousness dwells.

We need to live holy and godly lives now looking forward to His return. Be on your guard, and don’t be carried away by error. Don’t fall away from the way of truth.

Finally in Jude, we see even more closely the marks of a false teacher:

11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

Like Cain, they give outward signs of devotion but the work is done without faith.Like Balaam, they are more concerned with personal wealth and prosperity than the spiritual wellbeing of God’s people.Like Korah, they are rebellious against authority and are more concerned with personal position than God’s established order.

Lastly we quickly noted that Jude refers to 2 extra-biblical accounts. In v. 9 he likely references an apocryphal work called “The Assumption of Moses” and in v. 14-15 he references a prophecy of Enoch that is also recorded in an extra biblical text called “The Book of Enoch.” (Alternatively, 1 Enoch) Does this mean that The Assumption of Moses and The Book of Enoch are also to be considered Holy Scripture? Does their presence in Jude taint it as Holy scripture? No and no.

All Truth is God’s truth. A book that has falsehood or is not 100% accurate is not necessarily 100% falsehood. If Jude actually does quote directly from the Book of Enoch, he is quoting from a true portion that had been faithfully passed down and that he was led by the Holy Spirit to include in his letter.

If you have time, treat yourself by reading Isaiah 48 and Psalm 34 while thinking over the themes of Peter and Jude. You will see the deep, clear fingerprints of the greatest author ever, The Holy Spirit.

Assignment for January 17th, 2019:

  1. At our final NT Survey class on Thursday January 31st, I want you to help us review the New Testament. There are 27 books so each of you can do at least 2 or 3. Please choose the New Testament book(s) that impacted you most or is your favorite, about which you would like to make a 5-minute presentation. Please let me know by e-mail which books you would like to overview. Books will be assigned on a first come-first served basis.

    • you will need to give the main idea of the book

    • you will need to tell where the book fits in the New Testament

    • you will need to share the truth, concept, or a particular person that impacted you in your spiritual life and why

  2. Read 1, 2, and 3 John

  3. Read pp. 277 – 297 in the manual

  4. Work on finding the main idea of the passages below and come ready to discuss in class:

Group 1: 1 John 1:1-4;  2 John 1-33 John 1-4

Group 2: 1 John 2:1-22 John 4-63 John 5-8

Group 3: 1 John 3:1-32 John 7-113 John 9-10

Group 4: 1 John 4:1-62 John 123 John 11-12

Notice how the time in the groups is enhanced when you come to class having already found the main idea of your passage!

And now, may we all continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.



Northside BTCL – Recap 20 New Testament Survey (1-3 John) 1-17-2019

Dear Northside BTCL Class,

Thank you for your graciousness in welcoming me to the class. It was a joy to be able to teach you and to study the glorious Word of our Lord together. Below is a recap adapted from my teaching notes. I thoroughly enjoyed both teaching you as well as the insightful discussions we had.

Your assignment for next week is an easy one. Just the good ol’ Book of Revelation. Yes, it is a difficult book, but do not be intimidated. I would encourage you to not get bogged down in trying to decipher all of the imagery to figure out the “perfect” eschatological interpretation. Instead focus on the glorious victory of our Holy Lord Jesus as he destroys evil once and for all. He is coming again to make all things new and good. Our fellowship will be restored and sin will be wiped away permanently! As you read it both rejoice in the Glory of God and renew your urgency to proclaim salvation to all while God patiently withholds his righteous justice.


1 John
What is the foundation of our faith that John points to in chapter 1? The historical fact of Jesus’ Life, Death, and Resurrection and the theological and relational implications of this fact.

1 John 1:1-4 The Testimony of the eye witnesses of a historical event: The life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.

– Note the use of sensory language: “heard”, “seen”, “touched”.

– What was the response of these witnesses? They proclaimed what they witnessed.

– Jesus’ existence combined with his personal claims backed up by the miracles performed are the foundation of the testimony of the Bible and the truth of the Gospel.

– These are verifiable claims made publicly among the very enemies who had the means and the motive to refute it.

The Gospel is a proclamation of historical facts with theological and relational consequences.

– Theological: Jesus is who he claimed to be: Eternal (1 John 1:1John 1:1), the source of eternal life (1 John 1:2). The only way to know the Father.

– Relational: What is eternal life? Gen. 2:16-17Gen. 3:22-24.

o The work of Jesus restores our ability to have fellowship with God – 1 John

o Adam and Eve don’t physically die immediately. However, they are immediately cut off from fellowship with God.

The imagery of the difficulty of God’s people to directly fellowship with him graphically illustrates this

· The Angel guarding the entrance to the Garden

· The prohibition of the people to touch Mount Sinai

· The increasingly stringent barriers of entry into the layers of the tabernacle/temple.

· The sacrificial and purification laws

o Eternal life is not just living forever, it is living in direct fellowship with God.

o As we will see later in 1 John our renewed relationship with God directly affects our relationships with others (See 4:7)

1 John 1:5-2:29 The Dominions of Darkness and Light (Colossians 1:12-13)

If you were to sum up what the message of Jesus Christ was in coming to earth what would it be?

1 John 1:5 What is the message that Christ brought to us in his incarnation, life, death, burial, and resurrection: God is completely and utterly Holy. He is light and there is no corruption or darkness in him. (Isaiah 6:1-13)

1 John 1:6 Walking in the Light is not just behavior modification, it is abiding in the finished work of the Lord that results in changed behavior. It is relational at its core.

– Jesus is the source for our Fellowship and our ability to “Walk in the light”.

– John 1:1414:6 – emphasis on the humanity of Jesus, (dwelling = “tabernacle” ) Jesus is the only way to restore fellowship with God. Jesus is the truth.

We are not to continue in sin, but the reality is that sin will persist.

1 John 1:7-10 Sin will continue to be a problem, but we have hope! Christ cleanses us from sin.

John doesn’t just say obey (behavioral modification).

What is our instruction for when we sin? Is it merely to change our actions?

– V. 9 No, it is to confess them. Rely upon the finished work of Jesus. This will result in changed behavior but it is the Power of Jesus that brings the change, not our own strength of will.

1 John 2:1 Christ is actively advocating for us. Romans 8:34-39. We have complete confidence in our salvation, even when we sin, based solely on the person and work of Jesus Christ.

This Letter is written to provide guidance to help us walk in righteousness while also providing confidence while we deal with sin.

There is a natural tension in this time in-between justification and glorification: “A believer is not totally free from sinning nor free to sin”

2:2 Atoning (also translated as propitiation). The debt of sin has been paid and the just wrath of God has been satisfied by Jesus. It is not potential or reliant upon anything else. John declares Jesus “is” the atonement/propitiation for the world in the present tense. It has been accomplished.

1 John 2:7-11 The Commandment to love others is both old and new. It is rooted in the character of God as revealed in the scriptures (OT) but it is more fully understood (to such a degree as to be seen as “new”) in the radical revelation of the Father through the Son and his work of love on the cross.

Jesus’ incarnation culminating in the cross and resurrection was the turning point of history

– v. 8 “the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.”

1 John 2:9-11 how we love our brothers and sisters is a diagnostic tool to how well our lives our reflecting our position in Christ.

1 John 2:12-14 John reminds us that his ultimate goal is not to cause guilt or raise a standard of law that is unattainable.

– his goal in writing this letter is to provide encouragement, hope, and assurance.

Who are the “Children”, “Fathers”, and “Sons”?

– Some say this is speaking of literal age groups.

– Others say this is speaking to spiritual maturity.

o Some see “dear Children” as referring to all believers and “Fathers/Sons” are different levels of maturity.

– The poetic device is showing a progression of time/growth

– Provides Assurance and hope based on :

o Forgiveness of sins

o Knowing Christ

o Knowing the Father

o Strength to overcome the evil one through the Abiding Word of God

1 John 2:15-17

The darkness referred to in chapter 1 is further defined as the prevailing ethos of this world.

– How do we combat the love of the world? Do the will of God (2:17)

Romans 12:2 Knowing the will of God through the renewal of our mind. Transforming our mind through the Power of the Spirit illuminating the word will allow us to know what is good, right, and true.

– overcoming the world involves trading in weak and temporal (though deceptively enticing) desires for the infinitely greater and eternal will of God.

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. – C.S. Lewis, Weight of Glory and other Addresses

1 John 2:18-27 Discussion of Antichrists

– There is an individual Antichrist coming sometime in the future

– There are currently many antichrists (the spirit of the antichrist) already here.

– Apostasy proves that a person who appears to believe and then turns away was never truly a follower of Christ. They didn’t lose their salvation.

– All who truly belong to Christ will remain in Him (v. 19, Romans 8:34-39John 6:37-40)

– The spirit of the antichrist is seeking to lead people away from the true Christ

– We are protected by the “anointing from the Holy One” the Holy Spirit

– The Holy Spirit helps us to know what the truth is. (John 14: 26Eph 1:17-18)

– The Antichrist Denies the essentials of who Jesus is: Jesus is the Messiah.

The spirit of the antichrist may affirm some aspects of Jesus while denying others.

– The person and work of Jesus Christ is at the center of what Christian Orthodoxy is.

1 John 3:1-3 The mark of a follower of Christ is our hope in the transformative power of Seeing God face to face. It again hearkens back to Genesis and the loss of fellowship. Once Christ returns and we see him face to face, we will be transformed. Such is the power of unimpeded fellowship with our Creator!

1 Corinthians 15:45-58

– What reaction does an understanding of this reality result in? V.58 Steadfast obedience.

1 John 3:7-10 Very strong statements. Is John advocating for sinless perfection? No. How do we know this? Based on the context of the entire book (1 John 1:8-10)

See Matt. 18:15-20. Here we see Jesus’ instruction on how believers (in

Our assessment of someone’s standing before God should be done carefully tempered with grace and seeking reconciliation and repentance at all times.

– Here is a good little article on this subject: https://jamedders.com/the-time-i-went-under-church-discipline/

2 Corinthians 13:5-6 Paul warns the members of the church who are participating in a gross pattern of sin to examine to see if they are actually followers of Jesus. Yet he quickly shows that he is confident that they are. The process of examining our lives to see if they comport with scripture is part of repentance. It is the Spirit working in us to sustain us and allow us to overcome.

Remember how we discussed the gospel being a proclamation of historical facts with theological and relational consequences? In ch. 4 John continues this by defending the historicity of Jesus and the theological implications of this. Then, in v. 7-21 he gets back into the relational: God’s Love for us (vertical relationship) informs and enables our love for others (horizontal relationship).

4:1-6 Continued discussion of the false prophets/antichrists (Defending the Theological aspect of Jesus)

– Again the identity of Jesus Christ (namely his incarnation) are at the heart of it.

o Remember the sensory language from the beginning? You cannot have that testimony for something that was not “in the flesh”.

– The spirit of the anti-Christ’ is directly tied to the Spirit of the World (2:15-17)

1 John 4:7-21 Living out the relational aspects:

Because of God’s love for us through Jesus, our identity in Jesus should be characterized by love.

“Perfect love casts out fear” The perfect love of Jesus means that we do not need to fear the punishment and judgment of God.

1 John 5:1 Yet again we see the historical (Jesus is the Christ), theological (Born of God), and relational aspects (love of the Father and our brothers and sisters in Christ).

1 John 5:2-3 “His commandments are not burdensome”. I have felt that they are sometimes. It can sometimes seem a tall order to bear the weight of the evidence of our love in keeping his commandments.

How are they not burdensome?

– 5:4 first we are reminded of the promise that all who are born of God will overcome (this is accomplished by God alone, not dependent upon us. Romans 8:28-32)

– What is the victory that has overcome the world? Is it my keeping of God’s law? No it is my faith in Jesus.

– 5: 5 Who overcomes the world (encompasses both sinful desires, and the devil working through the spirit of the antichrist) My obeying his commandments? No! My abiding faith in Jesus!

– Again, this does not mean our lives are not changed, it just means that the power to do so is found in Christ and his work on our behalf. Our growth is relational not transactional.

What are the Witnesses?

1. Holy Spirit

2. Water and the Blood

a. Some interpret this as the water and the blood that flowed from Jesus side.

b. Others see the water as referring to Jesus Baptism (inauguration of his ministry) and his atoning death on the cross (culmination of his ministry) – text seems to support this view.

3. These witnesses, again, testify to

a. the historical claims of Jesus’ life death and resurrection

b. the theological ramifications: he is the Son, the sent one of God.

c. The relational ramifications: eternal life (fellowship) with our creator.

1 John 5:13 our confidence in eternal life (remember the idea of fellowship tied to this) is that we can pray with confidence. An evidence of a repaired fellowship with God. Christ cleanses us and enables us to approach God.

Sin that leads to death, two main views:

1. Unrepentant sin that leads to spiritual death (neither I nor BTCP hold this interpretation)

2. Specific types of sin that lead to physical death – likely based upon context and similar supporting passages (1 Cor 11:29-30)

a. This view would see the death as ultimately a mercy. God is stopping the believer from continuing sin.

b. Not ultimate judgment.

2 John

Shows a more intimate practical example of what John was discussing in 1 John. Here he is addressing a specific church that was likely a recipient of 1 John and we see him applying some pastoral advice from his own teaching.

1. Reinforces themes found in 1 John

a. Obedience to the Command of Love

b. Importance of professing that Jesus Christ came in the flesh.

2. Key addition

a. Stresses the importance of not showing hospitality to the false teachers.

i. In that age, hospitality would be construed as giving credence to their teachings.

ii. This is why showing them hospitality was considered “wicked work” v.11.

3 John

Another intimate practical example of applying his Teaching in 1 John.

Written to Gauis, likely an individual who was part of a church that received the 1 John letter.

a. The positive side of hospitality is addressed as John encourages Gaius in his care for those traveling around presenting the truth.

b. He addresses the need to confront the spreading of malicious nonsense in the church.

i. V. 10 John is going to publicly rebuke him for his wicked behavior.

c. As in 2 John, loving one another does not mean we should tolerate false teaching.


Brad Swenson | BTCP Associate Director


Northside BTCL – Recap 22 New Testament Survey (Revelation) 1-31-2019

Dear Northside BTCL Class,

Thank you for your work Thursday night as we finished our study of the Book of the Revelation, and completed our survey of the 27 books of the New Testament. You all did a great job summarizing and presenting your books of the Bible. Now that you have been through Old Testament and New Testament Surveys you have studied all 66 books of the Bible! According to the reports on the status of Christianity in our country, you have done what, sadly, the vast majority of evangelical Christians have not done, i.e. read through the Scriptures in their entirety. Congratulations!

I am aware that many of the books of the Old Testament may seem to be in the distant past at this point. Don’t worry, because in our Bible Doctrine Survey study we will visit many of them again, as well as all the New Testament books.

Recap of Revelation:

Our goals for the last two Thursday nights:

  • that we understand the basic events of Revelation

  • that we see the justice and judgement of God as part of the manifestation of His glory

  • because of the wrath that awaits those who do not know the Lord Jesus, that we are increasingly motivated to share the gospel with the lost

Key verse: Rev. 1:19 (one like the “son of man” speaking to John the Apostle) “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.” This is reflected in the charts on pp. 305-306 in your manual. This provided us with our basic outline of the contents of the Book of Revelation:

  • “have seen”, chapter 1

  • “is now”, chapters 2-3

  • “will take place later”, chapters 4-22

Note again the “Sevens” of the book:

7 churches, chapters 2-3;

7 seals, Rev. 6:1-8:1;

7 trumpets, Rev. 8:2-11:19;

7 signs, Rev. 12:1 – 13:18:

7 bowls, Rev. 15:1-18:24:

7 last things, Rev. 19:11 – 22:6:

Notice in Dennis’ outline on p. 307-308 in your manual, that there is an interlude from 10:1-11:14, and explanatory prophecies from 12:1-14:20.

The events that follow in the outline are: (see p. 312 in your manual)

The 7 signs lay out the key players during the tribulation:

1. The woman, representing Israel (12:1 – 2)

2. The dragon, representing Satan (12:3 – 4)

3. The man child, referring to Jesus (12:5 – 6)

4. The angel Michael, head of the Angelic Host (12:7 – 12; cf. Daniel 12:1-4!)

5. The offspring of the woman, Jewish Remnant (12:17)

6. The beast out of the sea, representing Antichrist (13:1 – 10)

7. The beast out of the earth, representing the False Prophet who promotes Antichrist (13:11 – 18)

Chapter 14 announces the fate of the 144,000 sealed Jews who have been preserved and protected by God. Chapter 14 ends with a preview of the judgement against God’s enemies at Christ’s second coming.

Chapter 15 opens with the announcement of the seven last plagues-the bowl judgements.

Chapter 16 explains the seven bowl judgements as they are released.

Chapter 17 Judgement on the worldwide religious (system) harlot, Babylon

Chapter 18 Judgement on the worldwide commercial (system) Babylon

Chapters 19 – 21 Seven Last Things

1. The Second Coming of Christ, (19:11 – 16)

2. The defeat of the Antichrist (19:17 – 21)

3. The binding of Satan (20:1 – 3)

4. The Millennial Kingdom of the Son of God (20:4 – 6)

5. The loosing of Satan and man’s final rebellion (20:7 – 10)

6. The Great White Throne judgement and the end of the world (20:7 – 10)

7. The eternal state of the new heaven and the new earth (21:1 – 22:6)

Conclusion: 22:6-21

Note the definitions of:

  • wrath: God’s settled disposition toward sin

  • vengeance: punishment inflicted in retaliation for an injury or offense: retribution

As Jim Milam, one of our BTCL graduates said, ” As in our legal system punishment fits the crime, God’s wrath fits his character”. He is holy and those who blaspheme him are due just punishment. The mystery in the Book of Revelation is that even when punishment is severe, men choose not to repent and not to turn to Him for forgiveness. Rev. 9:20-2116:9-11

Personally, the greater mystery is the fact that by his grace you and I did repent and trust Christ. Thus the punishment that was due us fell on Him.

Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

Romans 5:9

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

1 Thessalonians 1:10

They tell us how you turned o God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath

2 Corinthians 5:21

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God

By our survey of the OT and NT, and the eras of history during which they were written, we see that God reveals himself as the Creator, Redeemer, and ultimate Ruler of man. God’s faithfulness and character are proved in each era (including the current “Church Age”) while at the same time, man’s heart is proven wicked and thoroughly affected by the fall of Adam. (We will learn in Bible Doctrine Survey that this is called, “total depravity”.)

Key ideas: God’s judgement is not disconnected from His character. The exercise of His wrath on a sinful world is part of the revelation of His glory. (See Ps. 76:10Prov. 16:4Is. 48:1059:18Ezek. 25:17Rom. 1:182:53:3-4Rev. 11:18)

In OT prophets like Ezekiel and Isaiah we see the crucial aspect of the role of the wrath of the LORD. We see this same aspect in the judgements in Revelation. God’s judgment and wrath are His final declaration that “He is God and there is no other!”- Isaiah 45:5-7.

Ezekiel 25:17 “I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I take vengeance on them.”

For your reference, the Bible Doctrine Survey manual p. 277 lists key biblical texts for the events in Revelation. Page 281 in that manual lists definitions of eschatological terms. Remember that eschatology simply means the study of last things.

Assignment for Thursday, February 7, 2019:

  • Read pp. 30-48 in your Bible Doctrine Survey Manual. If you still need a physical manual let me know and I will bring more to class on this Thursday. If you would like a PDF manual then e-mail me and we will produce a personally watermarked version for your use.

  • Look up all Scripture passages referenced on those pages and and read them in context.

  • Answer the assignment questions on pp. 34, 36, 37, 40, 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, and 48.

May the Lord continue to apply all that you have learned from His Word as you meditate on it. I look forward to surveying the 10 major doctrines with you in the weeks ahead.