Tuesday, May 31, 2016

DBRP_153 1SA.25 PSA.105.1-23 ROM.9.1-24


God gave protection and victoryto David. In a scene that must have caused Saul's men to roll theireyes several times, Saul was humbled before them as David directlyconfronted him. But after making peace, they didn't go back to thecapital together.

Turning for the first time toPSALM 105:

Today’s psalm is for teachingand reminding each generation of the children of Israel about thegreat things God has done for the Jewish people.

Turning for the first time toROMANS 9:

What wonderful promises God hasgiven to us in chapter 8 of Romans! That chapter always reminds meof a time when a Christian leader did wrong to me, and then saidthat it really didn’t matter because it would all turn out OKbecause of Romans 8:28. That is the ultimate of hypocrisy! Itruined that verse for me for a long time. But God DOES indeed workall things for good for all of us who fulfill the conditionsstated. This chapter also reminds me of Eloise Burson— the wife ofone of my spiritual fathers, Richard. Some years after herhusband's death, she showed me how her Bible— if you just let itfall open, would always open to Romans 8. There is no richerpassage to meditate on or to memorize.

Note that we are entering adifficult section of Romans. Romans 12 starts with “Therefore, Iurge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, …” But ifyou look back at what goes right before that in chapter 11, thatdoesn’t seem to be what Paul is going back to with the word‘Therefore’. Can you find what Paul was going back to and how thesections we will read for the next few days fittogether?

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Monday, May 30, 2016

DBRP_152 1SA.23 1SA.24 PSA.104.19-35 ROM.8.12-39

Let’s turn to 1SAMUEL 23-24.

As David fled from Saul, he went for help to Ahimelech the priest. He needed food and wanted to consult with the Lord, and it happened that Ahimelech also gave him Goliath's sword. All this resulted later in Ahimilech's death and the deaths of all of Ahimilech's family.

We turn for the second time to PSALM 104.

This psalm also starts and ends with the same refrain, the same one as in Psalm 103. This psalm expounds on the majesty of God, especially as seen in His creation.

Translation note:
21 The young lions roar while they hunt, looking for the food that [You provide//God provides].
31 [O Lord, may your glory//May the glory of the Lord] last forever! May [You//the] Lord be happy with what [You have//he has] made!
32 [You look//He looks] at the earth, and it trembles; [You touch//he touches] the mountains, and they pour out smoke.  
33 I will sing to [You, O Lord my God//the Lord] all my life; as long as I live I will sing praises to [You//my God].
34 May [You//he] be pleased with my song, for my gladness comes from [You//him].

Turning for the second time to ROMANS 8:

The power behind the new lives that God wants us to live is the Holy Spirit. A side observation here: We can see that the Holy Spirit can equally be called the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ (vs. 9-11). He is the power for transformation in our lives. But having God's Spirit in our lives does not mean that we will not suffer. In the second half of today's reading, note the Holy Spirit's role for us in the midst of our sufferings. Then at the end, note the wonderful promises given to us!

Four times in this chapter Paul refers to us as God’s sons. GNT translated this as children, and that is an acceptable translation. But today I will read those four verses using ‘sons’ instead. Just as men feel a bit squeamish about being included in the ‘bride of Christ’ in Ephesians, I am sure there are some of the women listeners who will not feel comfortable being included as sons. But look for the treasure here! This passage and Ephesians 1:5 show that we are given legal adopted status as sons. In Roman law, the adoption of a son could not be undone. God has made the unchangeable decision that we would be his sons and have all the rights and privileges of that status. Thank the Lord for our union with his Son, Jesus!


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Sunday, May 29, 2016

DBRP_151 1SA.21 1SA.22 PSA.104.1-18 ROM.8.1-30

1SAMUEL 21-22:

Yesterday we heard the touching story of David and Jonathan's deep friendship, and how Jonathan realized at last the secret plot that his father, Saul, had against David. Jonathan seems to have been a prophet, for he realized that he would not succeed his father as king.

We turn for the first time to PSALM 104:

This is a companion with Psalm 103. This psalm also starts and ends with the same refrain as the one in Psalm 103. This poem expounds on the majesty of God.

Turning for the first time to ROMANS 8:

Paul said something in 7:5 that he felt needed to be explained from verse 7 to the end of chapter 7. (Of course there were no chapters or verses when Paul wrote it.) He said that the Law “aroused evil desires.” How could something good seemingly do something evil? Be sure to always link what Paul was saying before this explanation with what comes after it. Give that priority. Keep in mind that the explanation that Paul makes (a long parenthesis about how evil desires work) is not supposed to be our pattern for living now. Our pattern for living is explained in this chapter!

Translation notes:
9 But you [no longer//do not] live as your human nature tells you to; instead, you live as the Spirit tells you to—if, in fact, God's Spirit lives in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
14 Those who are led by God's Spirit are God's [sons//children].
15 For the Spirit that God has given you does not make you slaves and cause you to be afraid; instead, the Spirit makes you God's [sons//children], and by the Spirit's power we cry out to God, “Father! [(Abba)] my Father!”
19 All of creation waits with eager longing for God to reveal his [sons//children].
23 But it is not just creation alone which groans; we who have the Spirit as the first of God's gifts also groan within ourselves as we wait for God to make us his [sons//children] and set our whole being free.

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

DBRP_150 1SA.20 PSA.103 ROM.7.7-25 ROM.8.1-4

Opening to 1SAMUEL 20:

Yesterday we heard the slow escalation of David's problems stemming from Saul's jealousy. Saul made David his son-in-law, but only because of the hope that David would be killed by the Philistines. For only the first time in yesterday's reading, we heard how Saul was humbled because of the results of acting on his jealousy. But he doesn't learn from it.

PSALM 103:

How it must please the Lord when we pray this psalm, which is another favorite! Note that the psalm starts and ends with the same line.

Observing the transition from ROMANS 7 to chapter 8.

The second key to being released from the power of sin is God's Spirit! (v.6) Paul then launched into an exposition of what he meant in verse 5: “When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death.” The explanation that extends from verse 7 to the end of the chapter should NOT be construed to negate what he said in verse 6, in the preceding chapters, and in chapter 8!

Notice that in the second half of chapter 7, Paul stops mentioning Christ. That’s a hint that he is not talking about our life in union with Christ. Also, I found it interesting to do a search of Romans searching for the word ‘Spirit’. Look at the pattern of where the word ‘Spirit’ is used!

Translation notes:
8:1 [So then,] There is no condemnation now for those who live in union with Christ Jesus.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

DBRP_149 1SA.18 1SA.19 PSA.102 ROM.7.1-17

1SAMUEL 18-19:

In yesterday's story, David showed that he was more concerned with God's reputation than for his own safety. May we all face our imposing enemies with more belief in the unseen God than in the very present enemies!

PSALM 102:

This psalm starts out like the prayer of anyone in distress and trouble calling out to God. As we read further, many see parallels with what our Savior would have prayed in his darkest days on earth.

Translation notes:
In Hebrew, one can talk directly to God (or a king) as if talking about ‘the Lord’. To keep the feeling of a prayer, English would normally use ‘You’.
15 Then the nations will tremble before [You,//the] LORD.
The kings of the earth will tremble before [your/his] glory.
16 For [You//the] LORD will rebuild Jerusalem.
[You/He] will appear in his glory.
17 [You/He] will listen to the prayers of the destitute.
[You/He] will not reject their pleas.
23 [You, Lord, have//The Lord has] made me weak while I am still young;
[You have//he has] shortened my life.

We turn for the first time to ROMANS 7.

The last verse of yesterday’s reading shows why it is better to take what we are given, rather than what we have earned! This is a big problem for some. My Dad's “having lived a good life” was one of the biggest blocks to him humbly coming to God and receiving the gift of eternal life. I don't think he ever understood how God would not be so impressed by his supposed integrity. The spiritual reality expressed starting at the beginning of the 6th chapter is a key to place along with a second key that we will hear about in today’s chapter.

Romans 6:19b-23:
At one time you surrendered yourselves entirely as slaves to impurity and wickedness for wicked purposes. In the same way you must now surrender yourselves entirely as slaves of righteousness for holy purposes.
20 When you were the slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. 21 What did you gain from doing the things that you are now ashamed of? The result of those things is death! 22 But now you have been set free from sin and are the slaves of God. Your gain is a life fully dedicated to him, and the result is eternal life. 23 For sin pays its wage—death; but God's free gift is eternal life in union with Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

DBRP_148 1SA.17 PSA.101 ROM.6.1-23

Opening to 1SAMUEL 17:

God told Samuel to anoint one of Jesse's sons as the next king of Israel. Anointing another king while one is still ruling is rather dangerous. So God told Samuel how to do that without making it public. That story included this memorable quote: “The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

PSALM 101:

This psalm tells the aspirations of a great king.

We turn for the second time to ROMANS 6:

Pay attention! Paul is telling us the keys to how the process of transformation takes place whereby we are released from the ‘power of sin’ and ‘death’ to live a new life!

I found this hymn by Thomas Ryder (an American musician who lived in Massachusetts from 1836-1887.) This is not a hymn that I can remember ever singing. It would be a great idea for someone to write new music for it.

Buried with Christ and raised with Him, too,
What is there left for me to do?
Simply to cease from struggling and strife,
Simply to walk in newness of life.

Buried with Christ and dead unto sin;
Dying but living, Jesus within;
Ruling and reigning day after day,
Guiding and keeping all of the way.

Risen with Christ my glorious Head,
Holiness now the pathway I tread;
Beautiful thought from walking therein,
He that is dead is freed from all sin.

Living with Christ, who dieth no more,
Following Christ, who goeth before;
Not under law, I’m now under grace,
Sin is dethroned, and Christ takes its place.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

DBRP_147 1SA.16 PSA.100 ROM.6.1-23

Opening to 1SAMUEL 16:

Yesterday's reading told the story of Saul's incomplete obedience and God’s rejection of Saul as king— by both God and Samuel. In the process Samuel said some of the most important statements in Scripture, which I will underline here:

Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.
Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft,
and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.

A second quote:
He who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will he change his mind, for he is not human that he should change his mind!”

PSALM 100:

This psalm probably ranks second in the most-memorized psalms, next to Psalm 23.

We turn to for the first time to ROMANS 6.

Mankind can at best only hope for the kind of partial obedience we have seen in Saul. We can't just ‘try harder’ to please God. We always ‘fall short’ of ‘God's glorious standard’— as we have heard before in Romans chapter 3. The only hope for us is for God to recreate us. This is done through  our understanding and applying spiritual realities which we cannot see, and one of crucial importance is found in chapter 6.

We have a short reading today. I encourage you to take time to think about the spiritual concepts Paul has been talking about in these last chapters— particularly Romans 5-6. The way to apply unseen spiritual realities in your life is to ask God to help you fully understand and believe them.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

DBRP_146 1SA.15 PSA.99 ROM.5

Turning to 1SAMUEL 15:

Jonathan saved the day! He and his faithful armor bearer kind of took a leaf out of Gideon's play book and agreed on a sign that would show what God wanted them to do— although they didn't ask for confirmation like Gideon did. They took the adventure God set before them and won an amazing victory, and God worked with them by causing panic among the Philistines. After lapses and dithering at the beginning, Saul went on to be a great military leader. Note that Ahijah, the priest, is Eli's grandson.


Take off your sandals, because this ground is holy! Enjoy this psalm proclaiming God’s majesty and holiness.

Translation notes:
[I have modified the GNT so that this whole psalm will be understood as speaking to God, as does the CEV.]
1 [You, Lord, are king//The Lord is king],
and the people tremble.
[You sit on your//He sits on his] throne above the winged creatures,
and the earth shakes.
2 [You, O Lord, are//The Lord is] mighty in Zion;
[You are//he is] supreme over all the nations.
3 Everyone will praise [your//his] great and majestic name.
[You are holy!//Holy is he!]

6 Moses and Aaron were [your//his] priests,
and Samuel was one who prayed to [You//him];
they called to [You, Lord, and You//the Lord, and he] answered them.
7 [You//He] spoke to them from the pillar of cloud;
they obeyed the laws and commands that [You//he] gave them.

We turn for the second time to ROMANS 5.

God’s ways are always counter-intuitive for humans. One would think that if one is right with God and at peace with him, that everything would be smooth sailing from then on, with health, wealth, and prosperity. God shows his love for us by treating us like sons and heirs— meaning, He gives us problems and trials to cause us to grow and better reflect his glory. There is a wonderful side to Christ's dying for us and being resurrected: He lives now and is deeply involved in continuing to help us. At the end of the chapter Paul draws important comparisons and contrasts between Adam and Christ.

Translation notes:
1 Now that we have been put right with God through [believing//faith], we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 He has brought us by [means if our believing//faith] into this experience of God's grace, in which we now live. And so we boast of the hope we have of sharing God's glory!
20 Law was introduced [in order that people might realize how greatly they have sinned//in order to increase [mankind’s awareness of] wrongdoing]; [But as people sinned more and more, God's grace became even more abundant.//but where sin increased, God's grace increased much more. ]
21 [NLT So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God's wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.//So then, just as sin ruled by means of death, so also God's grace rules by means of righteousness, leading us to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Check out this episode!

Monday, May 23, 2016

DBRP_145 1SA.14 PSA.98 ROM.5


Hostilities with the Philistines heated up to full war, and Israel was badly outnumbered. The Israelites had been kept down so much that they were basically unarmed for war. Saul and his son's army dwindled down from 3,000 men to only 600, and Samuel doesn't show up for the important before-war sacrifice.


Another favorite psalm! I love psalms where things like oceans, rivers, or trees clap their hands. I recommend this psalm for anyone who feels that we can only worship God with the good old hymns.

We turn for the first time to ROMANS 5.

Every little detail in the story of Abraham is important. Note in yesterday's reading that Abraham “figured his body was as good as _dead_,” and “Abraham believed in the God who _brings the dead back to life_.” Then we read that we must “believe in [God]— the one who _raised Jesus our Lord from the dead_.” And we will find a new concept related to this theme about death and resurrection later.

Translation notes:
1 Now that we have been put right with God through [believing//faith], we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 He has brought us by [believing//faith] into this experience of God's grace, in which we now live. And so we boast of the hope we have of sharing God's glory!

Check out this episode!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

DBRP_144 1SA.13 PSA.97 ROM.4.11-25

Opening to 1SAMUEL 13:

In yesterday's story, God's Spirit came powerfully upon the new king Saul, and he succeeded in mobilizing all of Israel's fighting men. They won a stunning victory over king Nahash and the Ammonites. Afterwards, Samuel led the people in renewing Israel's call to Saul to be king and then Samuel confronted them all about staying true to the Lord.


Even though the psalms (and our translations) may cast a verse in the present tense, the intent of the writer may be about future things. Hebrew is very fuzzy as to verb tense. But also we may consider that all times are present to the Lord, and the psalmist may see things as happening or already happening in his vision that refer to future events. We see an example of this in today’s psalm.

Turning for the second time to ROMANS 4:

The new way of being made right with God by means of fully believing which Paul has been talking about, is it a new religion, or is it based on the past? It is based on the past. We follow Abraham's example of believing, and this also fulfills the prophetic promises given to Abraham. Not only that, but we become heirs to the same promises. And note: Paul uses questions to propel his logical arguments all the way through Romans— just like I did at the start of this paragraph.

Translation notes:
11 He was circumcised later, and his circumcision was a sign to show that because of his [believing//faith] [before he had been circumcised//0] God had accepted him as righteous [0//before he had been circumcised]. And so Abraham is the spiritual father of all who believe in God and are accepted as righteous by him, even though they are not circumcised.
12 He is also the father of those who are circumcised, that is, of those who, in addition to being circumcised, also live the same life of [believing//faith] that our father Abraham lived before he was circumcised.
14 For if what God promises is to be given to those who obey the Law, then [our believing//faith] means nothing and God's promise is worthless.
16 And so the promise was based on [believing//faith], in order that the promise should be guaranteed as God's free gift to all of Abraham's descendants—not just to those who obey the Law, but also to those who believe as Abraham did. For Abraham is the spiritual father of us all;
17 as the scripture says, “I have made you father of many nations.” So the promise is [valid//good] in the sight of God, in whom Abraham believed—the God who brings the dead to life and whose command brings into being what did not exist.
20 [He did not waver in his believing//His faith did not leave him], and he did not doubt God's promise; his [believing//faith] filled him with power, and he gave praise to God.
22 That is why Abraham, through [believing//faith], “was accepted as righteous by God.”

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

DBRP_143 1SA.11 1SA.12 PSA.96 ROM.4.1-17

1SAMUEL 11-12:

Yesterday we heard of the way God arranged for Saul to meet Samuel, and how God revealed amazing details to Samuel about what would happen to Saul in the short term. Saul became king. It is such a shame that Saul fulfilled the earlier prophecy given by Samuel a few chapters back, rather than continuing to be humble like he was at the start of his reign.


EC Olsen’s chapter on this psalm is entitled, “A Psalm which ought to give every living person a thrill!!” He’s right. This psalm is like vitamins for the soul. This is one of the most loved of all psalms.

Turning for the first time to ROMANS 4:

Yesterday Paul arrived at the first explanation of his main point in 3:23-31. This happens to be a difficult passage to translate. GNT and NLT do a great job making many difficult concepts clear. You might particularly compare verses 23 and 26 with a literal translation.

Translation notes:
3 The scripture says, “Abraham believed God, and because of his [belief//faith] God accepted him as righteous.”
5 But those who depend on [believing//faith], not on deeds, and who believe in the God who declares the guilty to be innocent, it is this [believing//faith] that God takes into account in order to put them right with himself.
6This is what David meant when he spoke of the happiness of [a//the] person whom God accepts as righteous, apart from anything [the//that] person does:
9 Does this happiness that David spoke of belong only to those who are circumcised? No indeed! It belongs also to those who are not circumcised. For we have quoted the scripture, “Abraham believed God, and because of his [belief//faith] God accepted him as righteous.”
11 He was circumcised later, and his circumcision was a sign to show that because of his [believing//faith] [before he had been circumcised//0] God had accepted him as righteous [0//before he had been circumcised]. And so Abraham is the spiritual father of all who believe in God and are accepted as righteous by him, even though they are not circumcised.
12 He is also the father of those who are circumcised, that is, of those who, in addition to being circumcised, also live the same life of [believing//faith] that our father Abraham lived before he was circumcised.
14 For if what God promises is to be given to those who obey the Law, then [our believing//faith] means nothing and God's promise is worthless.
16 And so the promise was based on [believing//faith], in order that the promise should be guaranteed as God's free gift to all of Abraham's descendants—not just to those who obey the Law, but also to those who believe as Abraham did. For Abraham is the spiritual father of us all;
17 as the scripture says, “I have made you father of many nations.” So the promise is [valid//good] in the sight of God, in whom Abraham believed—the God who brings the dead to life and whose command brings into being what did not exist.

Check out this episode!

Friday, May 20, 2016

DBRP_142 1SA.9 1SA.10 PSA.95 ROM.3.9-31

1SAMUEL 9-10:

In yesterday's reading, Samuel was formally made a judge, and then he led the people of Israel into victory over the Philistines. But when Samuel was old and after the appointment of his two sons as judges in his place, his sons perverted justice for bribes. So the people asked to have a king. God had already long ago said this would happen, in fact, this idea was in Hannah’s prayer. Samuel was displeased, not for the sake of his sons, but because the people were rejecting God as their king.


This is a gem among the psalms. Note the exuberance of worship in this psalm! And this is balanced by reverence to God. The last half of this psalm is quoted in full in Hebrews and is an important topic in that New Testament book.

We turn for the second time to ROMANS 3.

In Romans chapter 3 Paul refutes important misunderstanding and wrong teaching in the process of resoundingly proving that Jews cannot save themselves by their own power by means of fulfilling the Law. (In his use of the term ‘the Law’, Paul was following the custom of including other Old Testament books.) In the verses he quoted, he made it very that not even one person can claim to be righteous in God's sight. So God has provided another way to become right in His sight, which is actually foretold in the Law and Biblical prophetic writings.

Translation note:
22 [NLT We are made right with God by [(fully) believing//placing our _faith_] in Jesus Christ. [0//And] this is true for [all//everyone] who _believes_[in Christ], no matter who we are.//GNT God puts people right through their _faith_ in Jesus Christ. God does this to all who _believe_ in Christ, because there is no difference at all:
23 [because] everyone has sinned and is far away from God's saving presence.
[Here is an excellent example of the point I keep harping on. Note that using the verb form ‘believe’ instead of the abstract noun form makes it clear that the same word is used later in the verse. Cohesion of ideas makes better understanding. Secondly, it is easier for people to ‘do’ a verb than it is to ‘do’ an abstract noun. It is easier to ‘practice’ something than it is to ‘make a practice of’ something. It is easier to ‘eat’ apples than it is to ‘practice the consumption of’ apples.

Sometime during this last year, the pastor of our church gave a sermon where one of his main points is that ‘faith’ has an object. And that object he gave is of course that we place our faith in Christ as explained in the Gospel. Note that this major part of his teaching would be unnecessary if we simply start substituting the word ‘believe’ (including ‘belief’/’believing’). One automatically expects to find an object for believing in the context. If you say to someone, “Have faith,” they might say, “How do I do that?” Note that ‘faith’ is not perceived as a volitional act. But ‘believe’ is. To believe is a choice we can make. And that is exactly what Paul is pushing for here.]

[The same change was made in reading verses 25-26.]
30 God is one, and he will put the Jews right with himself on the basis of their [believing//faith], and [he] will put the Gentiles right through their [believing//faith]. 31Does this mean that by this [believing//faith] we do away with the Law? No, not at all; instead, we uphold the Law.

Check out this episode!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

DBRP_141 1SA.7 1SA.8 PSA.94 ROM.3.1-20

1SAMUEL 7-8:

Having won the war with Israel, the Philistines thought their idol Dagon had given them victory. The ark of God was put in Dagon's temple. Then God not only proved that He is greater than Dagon by what happened in the temple, but He also struck the Philistines in all five of their territories with plagues of death, tumors, and rats ravaging the land. The Philistine fortune tellers and priests devised a creative plan to test if these disasters had happened on their own, or because of God's hand was against them. In the story it is clear that the Philistine people knew about the plagues God used against the Egyptians. Once again, God proved that He is God. For any any agnostic or atheist in the audience, this seems to me to be the kind of story that no one would have just made up, especially if you compare this with literature of the same age.


This is a psalm of trust in the face of injustice. The psalmist asks for God’s vengeance on arrogant and evil leaders. Those who take advantage of others are called ‘stupid fools’. There is a parable that forms an interesting parallel: Luke 12:20, where God says to the rich man, “You fool, this very night your soul will be required of you.”

Translation notes:
14 [You, O Lord//The Lord] will not abandon [your/his] people; [You//he] will not desert those who belong to [You//him].
17 If [You//the Lord] had not helped me, I would have gone quickly to the land of silence.
22 But [You, O Lord my God, defend me//the Lord defends me]; [and protect//my God protects] me.
23 [You//He] will punish them for their wickedness and destroy them for their sins; [You, O//the] Lord our God[,] will destroy them.


In chapter 2 of Romans, Paul warned of a coming judgment of God, where God will judge everyone's secret life. The trouble is, however, that we all will be judged guilty of sin. Paul has shown us that it doesn't matter if you are Jew or non-Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, we all need a radical transformation. We need to become a ‘true Jew’, which is “one whose heart is right with God].” What each one of us needs is “a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit.” Paul calls this “circumcision of the heart.”

Translation note:
4 Certainly not! God must be true, even though all human beings are liars. As the scripture says [when David was speaking to God], “You must be shown to be right when you speak; you must win your case when you are being tried.”
8 [But] Why not say, then, “Let us do evil so that good may come”? Some people, indeed, have insulted me by accusing me of saying this very thing! They will be condemned, as they should be.


Check out this episode!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

DBRP_140 1SA.5 1SA.6 PSA.93 ROM.2.13-29

1SAMUEL 5-6:

Yesterday we saw the touching way that God revealed to Samuel how to listen for God's voice, and at the same time how He again warned Eli of impending disaster. Eli was incredibly able to recognize the way the Lord works, but at the same time was unconcerned about how God's words applied to him. Let us not be like him! Observe this link to Romans: God's judgment will come to us just as surely as it did to Eli's sons.


Like the Gettysburg Address, sometimes the noblest thoughts are best expressed with brevity.

Turning for the second time to ROMANS 2:

In yesterday's reading, Paul continued to prove that man is not “basically good” (which one keeps hearing in Hollywood films and on the television). Not only are we sinful, but we tend to be self-righteous— which in itself is sinful. The ‘bad news’ is compounded in these additional points: “A day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. … There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil— especially for the Jews, but also for the non-Jews.”

Verse 12 is difficult so before I start reading at verse 13 in the GNT, I will read verse 12 in the PET.
12 PET So people who already know the Law and break it are just the same as those who've never heard about the law and commit sin. Sinners who don't know the Law will be destroyed. Similarly, people who already know the Law and commit sin will be judged according to the law.

Translation note:
28 After all, who is a real Jew[and//,] truly circumcised? It is not the man who is a Jew on the outside, whose circumcision is a physical thing.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

DBRP_139 1SA.3 1SA.4 PSA.92 ROM.2.1-16

Let’s turn to 1SAMUEL 3-4.

Yesterday we heard Hannah's poetic and prophetic prayer of praise. R Then we heard of the contrast between the boy Samuel serving the Lord, while Eli's sons were scoundrels. Finally a “man of God” (a prophet or perhaps even an angel) gave a long prophetic warning to Eli. Today we will see that prophecy come true.


This is another favorite psalm of praise!

We turn for the first time to ROMANS 2.

Yesterday we heard the first part of some bad news which makes the Good News ‘good’. This reminds me of the movie Second Hand Lions. In the movie a main character has a lecture on ‘how to be a man’ that he frequently has given in his career. It starts out, “Understand this: All people are basically good.” However in the movie, all we see in that character's past life and in the current way he lives is that mankind can't be trusted and you gotta’ build high fences around your property, and have your gun and fists ready. According to Scripture and what we will read in Romans, mankind hasn't been ‘basically good’ since the Garden of Eden.

Translation note:
4 Or perhaps you despise his great kindness, tolerance, and patience. [CEV Can't you see how kind he has been in giving you time to turn from your sin?//Surely you know that God is kind, because he is trying to lead you to repent.


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Monday, May 16, 2016

DBRP_138 1SA.2 PSA.91 ROM.1.16-32


Yesterday we heard of the wonderful answer to Hannah’s prayer and of her determination to fulfill a very difficult vow to the Lord. Samuel might have only been 3 years old when Hannah gave him up to stay permanently as a Nazarite serving at the Lord’s tabernacle. Hannah is such an example of a Godly woman. No wonder so many girls are named after her!

I noticed an interesting detail in yesterday’s reading. Elkanah also had a vow. When Samuel was newly born and Hannah did not go with the family to Shiloh for the yearly sacrifices, the GNT drew my attention saying that Elkanah went “to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and the special sacrifice he had promised.” We don’t really know exactly what Elkanah’s special vow would have been. But it is conjectured by commentators that Elkanah was offering a sacrifice in fulfillment of Hannah’s vow about giving birth to a son. According to the Law, a wife’s vow could be revoked by her husband on the day he hears about the vow. But if he doesn’t forbid the wife about the vow on that day, the wife is bound by her vow and it is logical that the husband would share responsibility. As Elkanah left on that year, he told Hannah, “May the Lord make your promise come true.” This is a great example of doing what God commanded about vows. The principle was to always follow through whenever God’s name has been invoked. To do otherwise would be to mar God’s reputation.


This is a favorite psalm, frequently referred to in our hymns and worship songs. It is also the psalm Satan quoted to Jesus to tempt him to jump from the pinnacle of the temple. I feel that the promise that was quoted is not just for Jesus, but is for every believer. I preach to myself here: Let’s memorize and meditate upon this psalm!

We turn for the second time to ROMANS 1.

Yesterday we saw how the theme of this letter is the Good News, and how believing this message is the center of the way God has designed and revealed for how we are saved— no matter if we are ethnically Jews or non-Jews. The start of this Good News is that our relationship with God has been broken. Understanding this fact is what makes the Good News ‘good’. We don’t start out as ‘nice people’ but as broken people. And Paul will show us in three chapters that this situation obtains for Jews (who think they are so good) and non-Jews (who start out not even having an appearance of ‘good’).

Translation notes:
17 For the gospel reveals how God puts people right with himself: it is through [believing//faith] from beginning to end. As the scripture says, “The person who is put right with God through [believing//faith] shall live.”  
18 God's anger is revealed from heaven against all the sin and evil of [0//the] people whose evil ways prevent the truth from being known.
20 Ever since God created the world, his invisible qualities, both his eternal power and his divine nature, have been clearly seen; they are perceived in the things that God has made. So [0//those] [people (or mankind)] have no excuse at all!
24 And so God has given [mankind (humans)//those people] over to do the filthy things their hearts desire, and they do shameful things with each other.

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

DBRP_137 1SA.1 PSA.90 ROM.1.1-17

Today we start 1st SAMUEL!

Yesterday we heard the charming conclusion of the story of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz. The words of the town women have prophetic significance: “Praise the Lord, who has now provided a redeemer for your family.” (NLT) The words have a double meaning for us today, as we see them looking forward to Jesus our Redeemer.

Now if you have been listening closely, you didn’t hear the word ‘redeemer’ in the GNT. That word happens 8 times in Ruth, beginning at 2:20. GNT translated the correct meaning as “a close relative of ours, one of those responsible for taking care of us.” The term meant much more than— for instance, redeeming a family member who had been sold into slavery. The nearest kinsman would also revenge a murder or marry a widow of a close family member. The advantage of GNT’s term is that it accurately shows the meaning, but the advantage of translating using the word ‘redeemer’ is that readers will more quickly see the correspondence between what Boaz did with Jesus— who both came from Boaz’ line and is our redeemer.

Continuing the history of Israel, we now move to the transition from the period of judges to the period of kings. The books of 1 and 2 Samuel were originally one book in the Hebrew Scripture. They were separated in the Greek Septuagint. The books are named after Samuel, not written by him. In 1 Samuel, we see that Samuel is not just a judge, but also a prophet, and that he anointed both Saul and David. This book contains many of the favorite Bible stories told to children.

Translation note:
1:20 The name Samuel actually means ‘name of God’ but has some sounds that are similar to the Hebrew verb ‘asked’.


The traditional titles in the Psalms (given as headings or footnotes in our Bibles) were written centuries afterward by the Rabbis and we need not consider them part of the inspired Word. This title of Psalm 90 may identify Moses as the author, or the Rabbis may have meant that this psalm reflects a Mosaic perspective. No other psalm is labeled like this one. This is a good psalm for meditating on the meaning of our life and our short life-span.

Today we begin ROMANS!

Yesterday in the final chapter of 1 Timothy, Paul continued giving instructions on how to teach particular groups in the church, ending with teachings for slaves and for rich people. Note that those who give generously to help others store up heavenly treasures and “a good foundation for the future.” Paul's closing encouragements to Timothy are moving because we can sense Paul's deep love for Timothy.

We move back in time slightly from 1 Timothy to Romans. Romans was written perhaps 6-9 years before 1Timothy, written at the time that Paul was in Corinth. The topic sentence for Romans is 1:16-17, and the book is an outstanding presentation of this thesis in impeccable logic. As a translator, I often use those two verses as an example of how hard it is to understand a literal translation versus a meaning based translation. I encourage you to compare the NLT with something like the ESV— to see what I mean.

Translation notes:
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because the whole world is hearing about your [fully believing in Christ//faith].
12 What I mean is that both you and I will be [mutually encouraged to believe more fully in Christ//helped at the same time, you by my faith and I by yours].
13 [I want you to know//You must remember], my friends, that many times I have planned to visit you, but something has always kept me from doing so. I want to win converts among you also, as I have among other Gentiles.
17 For the gospel reveals how God puts people right with himself: it is through [believing//faith] from beginning to end. As the scripture says, “The person who is put right with God through [believing//faith] shall live.”


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Saturday, May 14, 2016

DBRP_136 RUT.3 RUT.4 PSA.89.19-52 1TI.6

Turning to RUTH 3-4:

In yesterday’s start to the book of Ruth, we saw how Naomi was left all alone, and how one of her two daughters-in-law, Ruth, left her family and idols to accompany Naomi and to follow Naomi’s God. Then it just so happened that Ruth was noticed by a man named Boaz while gathering left-behind grain in his field.

We turn for the second time to PSALM 89.

Ethan, the psalm-writer was very wise in his prayer. He started his prayer with praise and adoration. Then starting in verse 19 he reminded God of his promises to Israel about the everlasting dynasty of David. But this is all building up to the big problem that Ethan will bring up in verse 38.


Yesterday we heard Paul’s instructions to Timothy about widows and about judging cases where church leaders are accused of wrong-doing. The chapter ended with two encouragements to Timothy.

Translation notes:
10 For the love of money is a source of all kinds of evil. Some have been so eager to have it that they have wandered away from the [believing in true teachings//faith] and have broken their hearts with many sorrows.
11 But you, man of God, avoid all these things. Strive for righteousness, godliness, [full belief in true teachings//faith], love, endurance, and gentleness.
12 Run your best in the race of [full belief//faith], and win eternal life for yourself; for it was to this life that God called you when you firmly professed your [belief//faith] before many witnesses.
13 Before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who firmly professed his [belief//faith] before Pontius Pilate, I command you
21 For some have claimed to possess it, and as a result they have lost [their belief in true teachings//the way of faith].
God's grace be with you all.

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Friday, May 13, 2016

DBRP_135 RUT.1 RUT.2 PSA.89.1-29 1TI.5

Today we start the book of RUTH!

The incident of the Levite and his concubine at Gibeah resulted in the civil war that we heard about yesterday. About 24,000 men died and many women and children as well. In certain things the army inquired of the Lord, and the Lord gave answers at his sanctuary. In the way they found wives for the decimated tribe of Benjamin, the men of Israel were repeatedly so concerned that they not break their vows. Paradoxically, they did many other things without any concern whatsoever about acting according to God’s revealed will. Let’s consider that story as a warning. Beware of the human tendency of myopic obedience to a prefered list of rules, while living like a pagan in other respects. Again the theme statement is repeated in the last verse of the book, “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.”

And now we turn to the book of Ruth. The Talmud attributes the authorship of this book to Samuel. The story of Ruth took place during the same time as the book of Judges, but the book of Ruth is a big contrast with Judges. Ruth shows that the times were not always as dark and sinful as what is portrayed in Judges. Ruth and her second husband, Boaz, figure in Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1.

We turn for the first time to PSALM 89.

The author of this poem— who was named Ethan, praises God for the covenant the Lord made especially with David. The first 3/4 is beautiful in the recitation of the wonderful promises given to Israel and to David. In these, we readers at this time often see a fulfillment in Jesus, the ‘Son of David’. But suddenly at verse 38, the writer claims that God has broken his promises to David. We will hear that contrast tomorrow.

Turning to 1TIMOTHY 5:

In the 4th chapter of 1 Timothy, Paul showed that he considered his era as ‘the last times’. For the Jews, the coming of the Messiah signaled the beginning of the end times. Paul's advice is just as appropriate to us as to Timothy. Half of that chapter was personal advice and encouragement to Timothy in his role as a pastor, and God has passed those words on to all in church leadership today.

Translation note:
16 But if any Christian woman has widows in her family, she must take care of them and not put the burden on the church, so that [the church//it] may take care of the widows who are all alone.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

DBRP_134 JDG.20 JDG.21 PSA.88 1TI.4

Introducing JUDGES 20-21:

In yesterday's reading, the people of Dan took all the items in Micah's household shrine and Micah's Levite priest. The priest’s name was given at the end of the chapter. He was the grandson of Moses! And then the Danites slaughtered the unsuspecting residents of Laish, forgetting about the law about giving terms of surrender before attacking. Then we heard of the unnamed Levite and his concubine (meaning, additional inferior-status wife). Nothing happened according to God's will in this story. While the author says nothing negative about any of the characters, all had their faults. However, the Levite stands out as a terrible husband. And what happened at Gibeon— as we will see today, becomes the basis for Israel's first civil war.


This poem is perhaps the most-dark of all the despairing psalms. One encouragement to us is that God has now revealed things about our hope of heaven which were unknown to the writer. This psalm offers no hope or encouragement. But the presence of Psalm 88 in Scripture gives us permission when in our darkest depression to come to God in prayer speaking words like found here.

Turning to 1TIMOTHY 4:

Yesterday in the 3rd chapter of First Timothy we heard one of the key passages in God's Word on the qualifications of church leaders. The chapter ended with a fragment of an early worship song.

Translation notes:
1 The Spirit says clearly that [in later times//0] some people will abandon [their belief in true teachings//the faith] [0//in later times]; they will obey lying spirits and follow the teachings of demons.
6 If you give these instructions to the believers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus[. As the Lord’s servant, you must become increasingly mature in all the teachings that help us to believe more fully— like the good teachings that you already follow.//, as you feed yourself spiritually on the words of faith and of the true teaching which you have followed. ]
11 Give [the believers//them] these instructions and [0//these] teachings.
12 Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, [in fully believing true teachings//faith], and purity.
16 Watch yourself and watch your teaching. Keep on doing these things, because if you do, you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

Verses with ‘conscience’:

1:5 The purpose of this order is to arouse the love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and [(sincerely) believing in true teaching (without pretending/hypocrisy)//a genuine faith].
3:9 [PET they must believe fully in the true teachings which God has revealed to us, and must live with a clear conscience.

1:19 and [to keep on believing in true teaching//keep your faith] and [to live with] a clear conscience. Some people have not listened to their conscience and [have wrecked their minds so that they are no longer able to believe in true teaching//have made a ruin of their faith].
4:2 Such teachings are spread by deceitful liars, whose consciences are dead, as if burnt with a hot iron.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

DBRP_133 JDG.18 JDG.19 PSA.87 1TI.3

Turning to JUDGES 18-19:

In Judges yesterday, we heard the famous and tragic story of Samson and Delilah. Victory, in that case, was not ‘sweet’. Then we heard the start of the story about Micah and the not so nice background of his personal idols and shrine. This is the first time we have heard the repeated sentence “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.”

We turn to PSALM 87.

This is a prophetic psalm. The writer gives a picture of what is foretold in Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Revelation about the glory of the New Jerusalem. Every tribe, tongue, and nation will be found there because they have come to know the Lord.

Introducing 1TIMOTHY 3:

In chapter 2, Paul began his discussion of what Timothy should teach the congregation with the topic of prayer. We pray according to God's will if we pray for the salvation of others. God is always pleased with this prayer because we mirror his own heart. However the words of this chapter should not be twisted to say that every single person will be saved, or that the saving sacrifice that Jesus made will cover people who refuse to believe the Gospel. Chapter 2 also contains a part of Paul’s teaching about women, including that they should place high importance on being clothed with good deeds, and should dress and act sensibly and modestly. They are not to seek to take authority over men.

Translation notes:
6 He must be mature in [believing (our true teaching/in Christ//the faith], so that he will not swell up with pride and be condemned, as the Devil was.
9 [PET they must believe fully in the true teachings which God has revealed to us, and must live with a clear conscience.//they should hold to the revealed truth of the faith with a clear conscience.]
13 Those helpers who do their work well win for themselves a good standing and are able to speak boldly [to others about believing in Christ Jesus//about their faith in Christ Jesus].
16 No one can deny how great is the secret of our religion:
[Christ//He] appeared in human form,
was shown to be right by the Spirit,
and was seen by angels.
He was preached among the nations,
was believed in throughout the world,
and was taken up to heaven.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

DBRP_132 JDG.16 JDG.17 PSA.86 1TI.2

JUDGES 16-17:

Yesterday we heard of Samson's disastrous marriage, and his first major victory over the Philistines. Ways in which Samson disobeyed God's Laws are that he touched and even ate from a carcass, he murdered people when not at war, and he associated with pagans and even married one of them. In spite of this, God used him as a tool.


In this psalm David models effective prayer. Let’s follow his example!

Turning to 1TIMOTHY 2:

Yesterday we started Paul’s first letter to Timothy. As I said yesterday, this is a personal letter to Timothy, and it is one of the group of letters called the Pastoral Epistles, or sometimes called the 5 T’s. Central to the Pastoral Epistles is Paul’s concern for true teaching in the church, and he especially stressed avoiding the controversies that at that time came from Jewish background believers. These letters often include a listing of various things, and one example is the list of the types of lawlessness in chapter one. Paul frequently mentions how important it is for believers to keep a clear conscience. And chapter one also contained one of several Pastoral ‘trustworthy sayings’. A more unique point for chapter one is that Paul called himself the ‘chief of sinners’.

Translation notes:
7  and that is why I was sent as an apostle and teacher of the Gentiles, to proclaim [true teaching to them so that they may become believers.//the message of faith and truth.] [I promise that] I am not lying; I am telling the truth!

Verse 15 is particularly difficult to translate. NLT is a good translation, but it makes it sound like Christian women must bear at least one child in order to be saved: “But women will be saved through childbearing, assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty.”
GNT But a woman will be saved through having children,* if she perseveres** in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.
*2.15: will be saved through having children; or will be kept safe through childbirth.
**2.15: if she perseveres; or if they persevere.

I offer the PET as an alternative: “As a result of that sin, the female descendants of Eve fall under the punishment God gave of having pain in childbirth. But even so, God is ready to help and save each woman— if she keeps fully believing in Him, does loving acts, and lives a holy and wise life.”

Cross reference and footnote in the PET: See Gen. 3:1-13. This verse can also be translated, “Even so, God will make each woman safe when giving birth to children— as long as she keeps fully believing in Him, does loving acts, and lives a holy and sensible life.”

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Monday, May 9, 2016

DBRP_131 JDG.14 JDG.15 PSA.85 1TI.1

Turning to JUDGES 14-15:

Yesterday we heard the conclusion of Jephthah's six years as a judge of Israel. Then we heard briefly of three more judges, and then about the miracles preceding the birth of Samson.


This psalm is one appropriate at any time and to anyone. There are hidden nuggets of spiritual gold here— deep truths that are worth digging for.

Translation notes:
2 [CEV You have forgiven the sin
and taken away the guilt
of your people.//
You have forgiven your people's sins
and pardoned all their wrongs.]
3 [CEV Your fierce anger is no longer
aimed at us.//You stopped being angry with them
and held back your furious rage.]
8 I am listening to what [You, O Lord God are//the Lord God is] saying;
[You promise//he promises] peace to us, [your//his] own people,
if we do not go back to our foolish ways.
9 Surely [You are//he is] ready to save [us//those] who honor [You//him],
and [your//his] saving presence will remain in our land.
11 [CEV Loyalty will sprout
from the ground;
justice will look down
from the sky above.
//Human loyalty will reach up from the earth,
and God's righteousness will look down from heaven.]
12 [You, O Lord//The Lord] will make us prosperous,
and our land will produce rich harvests.
13 [Righteousness is like a path spread out before You, Lord—
And that is the road You will always follow.
//Righteousness will go before the Lord
and prepare the path for him.

We start 1st TIMOTHY today!

Yesterday in the final chapter of Galatians, Paul continued what he was saying (from chapter 5) about the contrast between being led by God's Spirit versus allowing our sinful natures to lead us. And Paul returned to something he said in chapter two, explaining the figure of being crucified with Christ. It means being so much in union with Christ as to consider ourselves dead to this world. Paul had marks on his body that were much more valuable than circumcision, and those were the scars he had gained as a representative of Christ.

Today we turn to Paul’s first letter to Timothy. This contrasts with the letter we have just finished in that it is personal correspondence written to Paul’s disciple. Timothy was so dear to Paul that he considered him a son. Paul had given Timothy— who was still a young man, the task of shepherding the church at Ephesus. This book is important for the personal advice, for personal insight given about Paul, for insight into church leadership, and for the sound teachings for us to follow.

Translation notes:
2 [To Timothy. You are like my own dear son because we share the same true beliefs.//To Timothy, my true son in the faith:]
May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.
4 Tell them to give up those legends and those long lists of ancestors, which only produce arguments; they do not serve God's plan, which is known by [believing (sound teachings/God’s Word)//faith].
5 The purpose of this order is to arouse the love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and [(sincerely) believing in true teaching (without pretending/hypocrisy)//a genuine faith].
13 even though in the past I spoke evil of him and persecuted and insulted him. But God was merciful to me because I did not yet [believe in the Lord//have faith] and so did not know what I was doing.
14 And our Lord poured out his abundant grace on me and [enabled me to believe in Him//gave me the faith] and [to love all who are joined//love which are ours] in union with Christ Jesus.
18 Timothy, my [son//child], I entrust to you this command, which is in accordance with the words of prophecy spoken in the past about you. Use those words as weapons in order to fight well,
19 and [to keep on believing in true teaching//keep your faith] and [to live with] a clear conscience. Some people have not listened to their conscience and [have wrecked their minds so that they are no longer able to believe in true teaching//have made a ruin of their faith].


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Sunday, May 8, 2016

DBRP_130 JDG.12 JDG.13 PSA.84 GAL.6

Opening to JUDGES 12-13:

Yesterday, after hearing of three minor judges, we heard of Jephthah. Jephthah was a man of very poor credentials, but he turned out to be a surprisingly good leader. His story shows clearly why it is better not to make rash vows to the Lord. Indeed, the New Testament tells us to not make vows at all.

Translation notes:
13:18 The angel [said//asked], “Why do you want to know my name? It is a name of wonder.”
19 So Manoah took a young goat and some grain, and offered them on [a rock//the rock altar] to the Lord [, and the Lord did an amazing thing://who works wonders.]


This favorite psalm has inspired many worship songs. Note the theme of joy!

Translation notes:
2 How I want to be there! I long to be in [your Temple, O Lord//the Lord's Temple]. With my whole being I sing for joy to the living God.
3 Even the sparrows have built a nest,
and the swallows have their own home [in your Temple];
they keep their young near your altars,
Lord Almighty, my king and my God.
7 They grow stronger as they go;
they will see [You,] the God of gods on Zion.
10 One day spent in your Temple is better than a thousand anywhere else; I would rather stand at the gate of [your house, O my God,//the house of my God] than live in the homes of the wicked. 
11 [You, Lord are//The Lord is] our protector and glorious king, blessing us with kindness and honor. [You do//He does] not refuse any good thing to [us//those] who do what is right.

The final chapter of GALATIANS, chapter 6:

Building on the concept of freedom from requirements of the Law in chapter 4, Paul continued on that theme in chapter 5. (Of course there were no chapter boundaries when he wrote his letter!) The freedom Paul described is founded on the idea that we are now controlled by the Holy Spirit. A second very important concept is considering ourselves dead to sinful desires and deeds which were enumerated at the end of chapter 5. Let’s read chapter 5, verses 22-26:

22 But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. 25The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives. 26 We must not be proud or irritate one another or be jealous of one another.

Translation notes:
10 So then, as often as we have the chance, we should do good to everyone, and especially to [our brothers and sisters who believe the same things we have taught you.\\those who belong to our family in the [same way of faith.
13 Even those who practice circumcision do not obey the Law; they want you to be circumcised [only] so that they can boast that you submitted to this physical ceremony.

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

DBRP_129 JDG.10 JDG.11 PSA.83 GAL.5

JUDGES 10-11:

Yesterday we heard the conclusion of the story of Gideon. It is a pity that Gideon was so successful, but that a half-son and unfaithful people ruined his legacy. I am always very disappointed that Gideon so quickly turns to idolatry after God has worked so fantastically through him. The whole story, including the part about Abimelech, supports the verse which says, “Whatever you sow, that is also what you will reap.”

Turning to PSALM 83:

This is a psalm asking God to stop being silent when Israel was praying for relief from their enemies. And we now have the background to understand the names mentioned by Asaph.

We turn now to GALATIANS 5.

In chapter 4, Paul continued to use Old Testament pictures to show the teaching that is central to this book: Gentiles do not need to be circumcised because we have been freed from the Law of Moses. We do not need to earn favor with God. We have already been adopted as sons and are considered heirs of God's promises. Proof of this is that the Spirit of Jesus is in our hearts.

Remember that in Greek, ‘faith’ and ‘believe’ have the same root word. Most other English words— like ‘operate’ and ‘operation’, show their root word similarity. It is an unfortunate quirk of English that it doesn’t work that way for ‘believe’ and ‘faith’. To help you see the cohesion and how Paul is harping on this one concept, I suggest reading this whole book substituting ‘fully believe’ for ‘faith’.

Translation notes:
4 Those of you who try to be put right with God by obeying the Law have cut yourselves off from Christ. You [have fallen away from//have become outsiders to//are outside] God's grace.
5 As for us, our hope is that God will put us right with him[self]; and this is what we wait for by the power of God's Spirit working through our [believing//faith].
6 For when we are in union with Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor the lack of it makes any difference at all; what matters is [full belief//belief in Christ//faith] that works through love.
15 But if you act like wild animals, [biting//hurting] and harming each other, then watch out, or you will completely [devour//destroy] one another.


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Friday, May 6, 2016


Hi Everyone,

It’s been a long time since the last news update in podcast form. I started one before April 1 that would have started with a spoof advertising the DBRP Tour of the Holy Land, and the Digging Deeper Cruise to Alaska. Wow, if we ever did tours or cruises, I hope you would still be friends with me at the end! I hope it is OK that I just read God’s Word to you, without those things.

I am currently in Jakarta. I left home on the 19th of April and arrived here on the 21st. So far I have helped solve some computer problems for our team, had meetings with important people, worked just a little on our Old Testament translation, and made an overnight trip to Bangka Island. Our little Indonesian non-profit organization has two full-time workers here, Daniel and Balazi. Daniel, our operations manager has been with me in the meetings. And Balazi is managing our translation project, so I have spent a few days working with him. I went to Bangka Island to visit Pastor Agus and Kristiana. Kristiana, who previously worked in broadcasting in both radio and TV, is doing a beautiful job in making recordings of the Plain Indonesian New Testament. The thing that really thrilled me was her testimony of how reading the Scripture out loud has been such a blessing to her. I have been posting pictures of various things that catch my eye to our Facebook group, and that includes pictures of Agus and Kristiana. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/DBRPdiggingdeeper/)

By the way, if anyone else posted pictures of something irrelevant to the Digging Deeper group— like food at a restaurant, it would be considered off topic. So I hope that you group members will allow me a little extra license to share because of the uniqueness of where I am. If you read between the lines, I think you will find something to pray about for most of the pictures!

There is now another Bible reading app for Android that has the Digging Deeper Daily reading plan. If you are interested in checking it out, go to the Play Store and search for Quick Bible by Yuku. This app, under the names Alkitab Sabda/Alkitab Yuku, is the most popular Bible app in Indonesia. It is very snappy to use and has some great special features, including words to hymns and the classic Morning and Evening devotions by Charles Spurgeon. To get the Digging Deeper reading plan, use the menu, select Reading Plans, then Download. Then you will find our plan under the NEWEST tab. Be aware that the reading plans in Yuku’s Bible apps do not show the devotional text that can be viewed within the Youversion Bible app or at the DBRP web site. And his apps also do not have the capability to use the Good News Translation or the New Living Translation.

It won’t be too long before we get to Psalm 96. Our fellow missionary and friend, Russ Mitchell, has written a short 122 page book on Psalm 96 entitled Declare His Glory Among the Nations. Russ and Cathy were missionaries in Romania for many years. He has allowed me to offer the book free to you as a limited time download. You can get it by looking at the very bottom of the OurStory page at dailybiblereading.info, or there is a link in the episode notes for this podcast.


For many browsers you will want to right click on the link and choose ‘Save link as’. A good way to read the PDF file would be to import it into your Kindle app.
Russ’ book is a good example of what you find if you Dig Deeper.

I want to thank all of you who pray for me and Gale back in Arkansas.


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DBRP_128 JDG.8 JDG.9 PSA.82 GAL.4

Turning to JUDGES 8-9:

Yesterday we heard of Gideon who led Israel in a miraculous victory over the hoards of Midian using only 300 men. Gideon struggled with believing that God would actually use him, and God was amazingly patient with Gideon— giving him sign after sign. Because of this, Gideon really is not the best example for us to follow of how to trust God and live a life of faith.

Translation note:
9:49 So everyone cut off a tree limb; then they followed Abimelech and piled the wood up against the stronghold. They set it on fire, with the people inside, and all the people [in//of] the fort died—about a thousand men and women.


Do you ever get upset about injustice on earth? Here is a psalm for you.

Translation note:
5 “How ignorant you [you oppressors] are! How stupid! You are completely corrupt, and justice has disappeared from the world.


The Jews called non-Jews ‘sinners’ because they did not follow the Law of Moses. But the Jewish Christians themselves also become ‘sinners’ if they leave the old system of relying on the Law, but then require non-Jews to be circumcised. The important thing is to be joined as one with Christ, not simply being followers of a religion. Being joined to Christ means dying (considering ourselves to be dead) to old things (including religious practices).

Yesterday in the 3rd chapter of Galatians we heard an important teaching about the purpose of the Law. The Law did not replace the promise that was given to Abraham. And the way for us to follow Abraham and become heirs to the promise given to Abraham (even if we are not his physical descendants) is through _fully believing_ as Abraham did.

Translation note:
9 But now that you know God—or, I should say, now that God [acknowledges you (as his children)//knows you]— [it makes no sense that you would//how is it that you] want to turn back to those weak and pitiful ruling spirits[ that I just mentioned.//?] Why do you want to become their slaves all over again?

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

DBRP_127 JDG.6 JDG.7 PSA.81 GAL.3


Yesterday we heard the story of Deborah and Barak. (Say, that name sounds familiar!) Barak doesn't get the glory for his notable defeat of Israel's enemy, Sisera. Instead the crowning glory goes to a woman named Jael, who happened to see a new use for a tent peg. The poem in chapter 5 includes taunts to Israel's tribes who ‘sat on their hands’ and didn't get involved in the war.


This poem has a mysterious part in verse 5, where an unknown voice (or perhaps ‘language’) speaks to us. But immediately afterward the unknown voice clearly belongs God, who speaks in the first person to us.

Let’s turn to GALATIANS 3.

Review 2:17-21 in the PET:
17 But there are Jews who believe in Christ who still don’t understand the way we are made right in God’s sight— which is only through union with Christ. For them, if we no longer depend on the Law to become right in God’s sight, we’ve become ‘sinners’. That’s definitely wrong! Becoming a follower of Christ definitely doesn’t mean that we’ve become ‘sinners’! 18 For we in the past taught, “Let’s become right in God’s sight by depending on Christ.” If we now teach, “Turn away from Christ and depend on the Law again,” it becomes very evident that we really are ‘sinners’!4 19 And this is what I’ve experienced: When I tried in my own strength to obey the whole Law, I finally realized that I’m not able to do it, and would die in my sin. But it was in that despair that I realized the gift of God through Christ— which is eternal life. Now I consider that I’ve been crucified with Christ. 20 That means that I no longer control my life, but Christ is the One who is living in and through me. Now I live my whole life in this worldly body only through believing in the Son of God, who loved me so much that He gave Himself to redeem me. 21 So I reject turning away from the kindness of God which we receive through our union with Christ in order to go back to working to be made right in God's sight based on the Law. For if we suppose that mankind can be made right by obeying the Law, then it was useless for Christ to die for us!

Translation notes:
I have explained before that faith and believe are the same thing in Greek, just the noun and verb form of the same root (pistis). Faith has taken on all kinds of fuzzy and wrong meaning in modern English usage. To maintain Paul’s persistent use of the same term, in the reading today, I will read all instances of ‘faith’  as ‘believing’ or ‘belief’. The verses where I have read with this substitution in chapter 3 are 6-8, 11-12, 14, and 22-26.

20 PET  [However, in the case of God acting alone in giving his promise to Abraham, God Himself gave it directly without an intermediary.//GNT But a go-between is not needed when only one person is involved; and God is one.]
22 PET [Moreover the Scripture says that sin has control over the lives of all men.* So the only way to be saved is by fully believing in Christ Jesus, and through believing, we receive the blessing that God promised to Abraham.//But the scripture says that the whole world is under the power of sin; and so the gift which is promised on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ is given to those who believe.]
*Ps. 14:3, 53:4; Rom. 3:9-19

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