Friday, September 30, 2016

DBRP_275 2CH.28 ECC.4 MAT.18.1-20

Yesterday we heard of the reign of Uzziah (who suffered a terrible punishment for his pride) and the reign of his son, Jotham. Both were basically good kings.

Yesterday we heard the famous chapter of Ecclesiastes which starts with

1 For everything (turn, turn, turn) there is a season, (turn, turn, turn) a time for every activity under heaven. (like NLT)

GNT is very perceptive in bringing out some implicit information that would have been understood by Solomon’s audience, but which modern readers could easily miss in NLT’s translation, namely that God sets the seasons:

GNT 1 Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.
2 He sets the time for birth and the time for death,
the time for planting and the time for pulling up,

Yesterday in Matthew 17 we heard the story of the mount of transfiguration, the shorter story of the healing of the demon possessed boy right afterward, and we ended with Peter catching a fish to pay the temple tax for him and Jesus.

Translation notes:
1 At that time [we//the] disciples came to Jesus, asking, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
2 So Jesus called a child to come and stand in front of [us//them],
6 “If anyone should cause one of these little ones to [stop believing//lose his faith] in me, it would be better for that person to have a large millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea.
7 How terrible for the world that there are things that make people [stop believing in me//lose their faith]! Such things will always happen—but how terrible for the one who causes them!  
8 “If your hand or your foot makes you [stop believing//lose your faith], cut it off and throw it away! It is better for you to enter life without a hand or a foot than to keep both hands and both feet and be thrown into the eternal fire.
9 And if your eye makes you [stop believing//lose your faith], take it out and throw it away! It is better for you to enter life with only one eye than to keep both eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
20 For where two or three [of you] come together [because you want to glorify Me//in my name], I am there with [you//them].”


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Thursday, September 29, 2016

DBRP_274 2CH.26 2CH.27 ECC.3 Mat 16.25-28 MAT.17

King Joash didn’t end so well, did he?! He killed Jehoiadah’s son Zechariah. When Jesus mentioned killing prophets A through Z, that Zechariah was the Z that he mentioned by name. Time and time again Judah’s kings needed to learn not to be proud, and that certainly happened to Joash’s son Amaziah, who was assassinated like his father.

Chapter 2 ended with a significant conclusion or two:

24 The best thing we can do is eat and drink and enjoy what we have earned. And yet, I realized that even this comes from God.
25 How else could you have anything to eat or enjoy yourself at all?
26 God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness to those who please him, but he makes sinners work, earning and saving, so that what they get can be given to those who please him. It is all useless. It is like chasing the wind.

Yesterday we heard the words that remind me of Jim Elliot’s words, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

Translation notes:
16:27 NLT For [I,] the Son of Man will come with [my//his] angels in the glory of [my//his] Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.//GNT For the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will reward each one according to his deeds.]
28 I assure you that there are some here who will not die until they have seen [me, the victorious Son of Man, coming to rule as king.//the Son of Man come as King.]”
19 Then [we disciples//the disciples] came to Jesus in private and asked him, “Why couldn't we drive the demon out?”
20 “It was because [you don’t believe fully in me//you do not have enough faith],” answered Jesus. “I assure you that if [your belief in me was no bigger than//you have faith as big as] a mustard seed, you [could//can] say to this hill, ‘Go from here to there!’ and it [would//will] go. You could do anything!”
22 When [we//the disciples] all came together in Galilee, Jesus said to [us//them], “[I,] The Son of Man[, am//is] about to be handed over to those
23 who will kill [me//him]; but three days later [I//he] will be raised to life.” [Hearing that, we//The disciples] became very sad.
24 When Jesus and [we] his disciples came to Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked, “Does your teacher pay the Temple tax?”
25 [NLT “Yes, he does,” Peter replied. Then he went into the house. But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered? ” //GNT “Of course,” Peter answered.
When Peter went into the house, Jesus spoke up first, “Simon, what is your opinion? Who pays duties or taxes to the kings of this world? The citizens of the country or the foreigners?”]
26 [NLT “They tax the people they have conquered,” Peter replied. “Well, then,” Jesus said, “the citizens are free!//GNT“The foreigners,” answered Peter.
“Well, then,” replied Jesus, “that means that the citizens don't have to pay.]


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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

DBRP_273 2CH.24 2CH.25 ECC.2.12-26 MAT.16

Yesterday we heard of Ahaziah’s one year reign, and then his mother Athaliah’s reign. The baby Joash was the only royal descendant of David saved from slaughter. He was raised in the temple by Jehoiada and Jehosheba. When he reached only seven years old, Jehoiada mounted a dangerous coup, which succeeded.

In yesterday’s reading, Solomon sought to find meaning in life through pleasure, folly, wine, and hard work. But both the wise man and the fool share the same fate (as far as Solomon could see).

In yesterday’s reading, Matthew gave more than one hint that Jesus’ work would benefit more than just the Jews. Note that the baskets used in the feeding of the 5,000 were different than the baskets used for the feeding of the 4,000. In the first miracle, the smaller Jewish basket was used. But in the feeding of the 4,000, the larger Gentile basket was used. (This was the same size basket that was used to lower Paul down from the wall at Damascus.)

Translation notes:
3 And early in the morning you say, ‘It is going to rain, because the sky is red and dark.’ You can predict the weather by looking at the sky, [so how come you aren’t able to//but you cannot] interpret the signs concerning these times[?]!
8 Jesus knew what [we//they] were saying, so he asked [us//them], “Why are you discussing among yourselves about not having any bread? [How little you believe in me!//What little faith you have!]
[Other third person references to the disciples in this chapter changed to 1st person plural to indicate that Matthew was present.]
13 Jesus went to the territory near the town of Caesarea Philippi, where he asked his disciples, [“What role do people say that I, the Son of Man, am fulfilling?//Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”]
14 “Some say [the role of] John the Baptist,” they answered. “Others say Elijah, while others say Jeremiah or some other prophet.”
15“What about you?” he asked them. “[What role do you say that I am fulfilling//Who do you say I am?]”
16 [Peter— also called Simon//Simon  Peter] answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
19 I will give you the keys [to//of] the Kingdom of heaven; what you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and what you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”
23 Jesus turned around and said to Peter, “Get away from me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my way, because these thoughts of yours don't come from God, but from [a human point of view//human nature].”
27 NLT For [I,] the Son of Man will come with [my//his] angels in the glory of [my//his] Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.//GNT For the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will reward each one according to his deeds.]
28 I assure you that there are some here who will not die until they have seen [me, the victorious Son of Man, coming to rule as king.//the Son of Man come as King.]”

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

DBRP_272 2CH.22 2CH.23 ECC.2.1-17 MAT.15.21-39

Yesterday we heard of Jehoshaphat’s famous victory, accomplished only by prayer, worship, and the power of the Lord. Then his son Jehoram might possibly be Judah’s worst king, except for several at the very end of that kingdom.

Yesterday the theme of Ecclesiastes was given in these words:

NLT 2 “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”
15 What is wrong cannot be made right.
What is missing cannot be recovered.
18 The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief.
To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.

In yesterday’s reading, the confrontation with the Jewish religious leaders about traditions of hand washing before eating led to Jesus’ revolutionary teaching about what defiles a person. It is what comes out of the heart that defiles people.

Translation note:
37 They all ate and had enough. Then [we//the] disciples took up seven [large] baskets full of pieces left over.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

DBRP_271 2CH.20 2CH.21 ECC.1 MAT.15.1-20

Yesterday we heard of Jehoshaphat wisely appointing judges, and he also travelled all over Israel personally encouraging people to follow the Lord.

Translation notes:
20:8-9 [We, their descendants,//They] have lived here and have built [this//a] temple to honor you, knowing that if any disaster struck [us//them] to punish [us//them]—a war, an epidemic, or a famine—then [we//they] could come and stand in front of this Temple where you are worshiped. [We//They] could pray to you in [our//their] trouble, and you would hear [us//them] and rescue [us//them].

The book of Ecclesiastes is the record of Solomon seeking to find God in a worldly way. This is a book of worldly wisdom. Solomon repeatedly uses the key theme word ‘useless’ to describe our lives on earth. God had not given clear promises about how all mankind will live after death, and Solomon considers the afterlife an open question. Had he known what we know, his opinions on many things would have changed. He does finally come to the same conclusion found in Proverbs— namely that the best thing is to fear God and keep his commands.

Yesterday we heard of John the Baptist’s beheading. Jesus retreated to the countryside, but a huge crowd followed him. Then he worked several powerful miracles— all of which hold clear symbolic meanings for us. It is worth the time to meditate on Jesus’ miracles!

Translation notes:
8 ‘These people, says God, honor me with their words, but their heart[s are// is] really far away from me.
12 Then [we, his//the] disciples came to him and said, “Do you know that the Pharisees [were offended//had their feelings hurt] by what you said?”
14 “Don't worry about them! They are blind [people leading other blind people//leaders of the blind]; and when one blind man leads another, both fall into a ditch.”
15 Peter spoke up, “Explain [to us what you said about things that defile people.//to us what you said  about things that go in and out of the mouth//this saying to us.]”
16 Jesus said to them, “CEV Don't any of you know what I am talking about by now?//You are still no more intelligent than the others.]

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

DBRP_270 2CH.19 PRO.31.10-31 MAT.14

Yesterday we heard the story of how Jehoshaphat helped Ahab in battle. God had already spoken through a prophet that Ahab would meet his downfall and how the dogs would lick up his blood. This happened, as we already read in 1Kings 22, when they took his chariot back to Samaria.

Speaking of a capable and virtuous wife, this chapter says:

28 Her children show their appreciation, and her husband praises her.
29 He says, “Many women are good wives, but you are the best of them all.”

Yesterday we heard of the judgment at the end of time in two parables that spoke about a separation of humanity at the judgment. And we heard of the pearl and the treasure— illustrating the joy of finding our salvation in Christ.

Translation note:
3-6 Herodias —> Herodiana, as this makes her name sound like a woman’s name.
31 At once Jesus reached out and grabbed hold of him and said, “[How little you believe in me!//What little faith you have!] Why did you doubt?”

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

DBRP_269 2CH.18 PRO.31.1-21 MAT.13.31-58

Woops. Asa didn’t end nearly as well as he started. And his son Jehoshaphat starts out well, but makes unfortunate alliances.

Today and tomorrow are our last two days in Proverbs. Verses 10-31 of chapter 31 comprise a Hebrew acrostic poem; each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Our highlighted verse today is verse 10. I like NLT’s translation better because the Hebrew word describing a good wife means more than just capable. It also includes valor and virtue.

10 [NLT Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.//GNT 10How hard it is to find a capable wife! She is worth far more than jewels!]

Yesterday we heard the first two major parables in Jesus’ teaching, and the reason why He spoke in parables.

Translation notes:
37 Jesus answered, “The man who sowed the good seed is [Me,] the Son of Man;
41 [I,] the Son of Man will send out [my//his] angels to gather up out of his Kingdom all those who cause people to sin and all others who do evil things,
42 and [the angels//they] will throw them into the fiery furnace, where they will cry and gnash their teeth.
58 Because they did not [believe in Him//have faith], he did not perform many miracles there.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

DBRP_268 2CH.16 2CH.17 PRO.30.17-33 MAT.13.1-30

Judah’s kingdom was truly blessed by Asa’s wise reign. The Lord rewarded the country for returning to Him.

Today’s highlighted verse is
20 An adulterous woman consumes a man,
then wipes her mouth and says, “What’s wrong with that?” (NLT)

Jesus gave a stinging reply to his critics in yesterday’s reading. The part about a demon leaving a person and then returning with seven demons is often used to teach that there cannot be a spiritual vacuum in a person. But really, the main thing Jesus is ‘on about’ is illustrating what will happen to his critics.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

DBRP_267 2CH.14 2CH.15 PRO.30.1-17 MAT.12.22-50

Yesterday we heard the conclusion of Rehoboam’s reign, and the writer classed him as a wicked king. Then his son, King Abijah gave a truly amazing speech before his epic victory over Israel.

Today I chose to highlight two verses:

[NLT 5 Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.//GNT “God keeps every promise he makes. He is like a shield for all who seek his protection. ]
6 If you claim that he said something that he never said, he will reprimand you and show that you are a liar.”

How ironic that the religious leaders would make a problem about picking and eating a few heads of wheat, or healing a man with just a word and no actions on the Sabbath, then on the Sabbath they went out and plotted to kill Jesus. That, is the kind of work that God forbids— not just on the Sabbath but any day of the week! Note that this wasn’t casual opposition.

Translation notes:
29 [NLT For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods? Only someone [like Me, who is] even stronger—someone who [can//could] tie him up and then plunder his house.//GNT “No one can break into a strong man's house and take away his belongings unless he first ties up the strong man; then he can plunder his house.]
32 Anyone who says something against [Me,] the Son of Man[,] can be forgiven; but whoever says something against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven—now or ever.
40 In the same way that Jonah spent three days and nights in the big fish, so will [I,] the Son of Man[,] spend three days and nights in the depths of the earth.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

DBRP_266 2CH.12 2CH.13 PRO.29.15-27 MAT.12.1-21

Yesterday we heard of David’s grandson, Rehoboam, and the unfortunate start to his reign. The northern tribes revolted and went with Jeroboam. Rehoboam seems to have made wise choices after that, at least for a short time.

Today’s highlighted verse:
23 Arrogance will bring your downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected.

Yesterday’s reading included the judgments against the cities that witnessed Jesus’ miracles and did not repent. Jesus’ prayer of thanksgiving. Chapter 11 ends with Jesus’ famous words,

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Translation note:
1 Not long afterward Jesus was walking through some wheat fields on a Sabbath. [We,] His disciples were hungry, so [we//they] began to pick heads of wheat and eat the grain.
4 He went into the house of God, and he and his men ate the bread offered to God, even though it was against the Law for them to eat it—only the priests [are//were] allowed to eat that bread.
8 for [I,] the Son of Man [am//is] Lord of the Sabbath.”

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

DBRP_265 2CH.10 2CH.11 PRO.29.1-14 MAT.11.16-30

Yesterday we completed the story of Solomon’s achievements.

A highlight for today:
11 Stupid people express their anger openly, but sensible people are patient and hold it back.

Yesterday we heard Jesus’ teaching about John the Baptist.

Translation notes:
19 [But now I, the Son of Man have come, and I eat and drink (normally), and everyone says,//When the Son of Man came, he ate and drank, and everyone said,] ‘Look at this man! He is a glutton and wine drinker, a friend of tax collectors and other outcasts!’ God's wisdom, however, is shown to be true by its results.”
23 And as for you, Capernaum! Did you [think you would be lifted//want to lift yourself] up to heaven? You will be thrown down to hell! If the miracles which were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would still be in existence today!
25 At that time Jesus said, [NLT “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike.  //GNT “Father, Lord of heaven and earth! I thank you because you have shown to the unlearned what you have hidden from the wise and learned.]
26 [NLT Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!//GNT Yes, Father, this was how you were pleased to have it happen.]
27 “My Father has given me all things. No one knows [Me, the Son,//the Son] except the Father, and no one knows the Father except [Me, his Son,//the Son] and those to whom [I choose//the Son chooses] to reveal him.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

DBRP_264 2CH.9 PRO.28.15-28 MAT.11.1-19

Yesterday we heard God’s famous response to Solomon, which is so often applied as a promise to America. It is stretching it past the breaking point to apply that promise to America. First of all, our country does not have a personal relationship with God like that of Israel in Solomon’s time. We also skate over all the conditions of humbling ourselves, turning from wicked ways, and praying. And we are not in the position of having made corporate sacrifices to the Lord.

Here is today’s highlighted verse:
26 It is foolish to follow your own opinions. Be safe, and follow the teachings of wiser people.

Jesus’ instructions to the disciples in chapter 10 show that He wants total commitment— even if it means dying in his service.

38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. (NLT)

Translation note:
19 [But now I, the Son of Man have come, and I eat and drink (normally), and everyone says,//When the Son of Man came, he ate and drank, and everyone said,] ‘Look at this man! He is a glutton and wine drinker, a friend of tax collectors and other outcasts!’ God's wisdom, however, is shown to be true by its results.”

Check out this episode!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

DBRP_263 2CH.7 2CH.8 PRO.28.1-14 MAT.10.16-42

Yesterday we heard Solomon’s famous prayer at the dedication of the temple. He understood that the people would need forgiveness from the Lord, and requested the Lord’s mercy.

Translation note:
4 and fortified the city of Palmyra in the desert. He rebuilt all the cities in Hamath that were centers for storing supplies.
[GNT uses the name Palmyra is called by today, which comes from its Greek name. In the Hebrew and most translations, it is named Tadmor. Both names mean ‘Palm Tree’.]

Another favorite:
8 Income from charging high interest rates
will end up in the pocket of someone who is kind to the poor. (NLT)

Translation note:
2 When a nation sins, it will have one ruler after another. But a nation will be strong and endure when it has intelligent, [and] sensible leaders.

Yesterday we heard the list of the twelve apostles, and the beginning of the instructions to them. It is clear that Jesus gave this message for all of us, not just the twelve. The word ‘apostle’ (which is a word transliterated from Greek) means ‘one sent with a message’ or a ‘representative’. This happens to be the exact meaning of a word transliterated from Latin: missionary.

Translation notes:
4 Simon the Patriot, and Judas[, from the village of Karioth//Iscariot], who betrayed Jesus.
23 When they persecute you in one town, run away to another one. I assure you that you will not finish your work in all the towns of Israel before [I,] the Son of Man[, come//comes].
25 So a pupil should be satisfied to become like his teacher, and a slave like his master. If [I,] the head of the family[, have been//I] called Beelzebul, the members of [my//the] family will be called even worse names!

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

DBRP_262 2CH.6 PRO.27.14-27 MAT.10.1-33

Yesterday we heard of the various things that Huram-abi made under Solomon’s direction for the temple, and of the dedication of the temple. In today’s (not reverent) language, we might say that the Lord ‘showed up’ for that dedication, just like He did for the dedication of the tabernacle.

Our hightlighted verse for today:
21 [GNT Fire tests gold and silver; a person's reputation can also be tested. //
NLT Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised.]

Many stories were brought together by Matthew in chapter 9, including the calling of Matthew— who is most likely the writer of this book. Note that opposition is ramping up against Jesus from the religious teachers and the Pharisees. Like at the end of John 4, Jesus spoke of the need for God to send workers into the spiritual harvest.

Translation notes:
4 Simon the Patriot, and Judas[, from the village of Karioth//Iscariot], who betrayed Jesus.
23 When they persecute you in one town, run away to another one. I assure you that you will not finish your work in all the towns of Israel before [I,] the Son of Man[, come//comes].
25 So a pupil should be satisfied to become like his teacher, and a slave like his master. If [I,] the head of the family[, have been//I] called Beelzebul, the members of the family will be called even worse names!

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Friday, September 16, 2016

DBRP_261 2CH.4 2CH.5 PRO.27.1-14 MAT.9

Yesterday we heard of the preparations for building the temple, and then the dimensions and the beginning of the construction starting in the 4th year of Solomon’s reign.

Today’s first verse is very like the advice of James in the New Testament:
1 Never boast about tomorrow. You don't know what will happen between now and then.

Yesterday we heard of several powerful healings and the miracle of calming the storm. One of the one-becomes-two instances is in the Gadarene demon possessed man, called Legion in the other Gospels. If Matthew was present, as I posited before, it would be before the story of his joining the disciples in this chapter.

Translation note:
2 where some people brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a bed. When Jesus saw how [they fully believed that he could heal the paralyzed man//much faith they had], he said to [him//the paralyzed man], “Courage, my son! Your sins are forgiven.”
6 I will prove to you, then, that [I,] the Son of Man[, have//has] authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, pick up your bed, and go home!”
14 Then the followers of John the Baptist came to Jesus, asking, “Why is it that we [often fast, and so do the Pharisees//and the Pharisees fast often,] but your disciples don't fast at all?”
[This change was done so that one doesn’t get the impression that John’s disciples and the Pharisees had prayer and fasting meetings together.]
22 Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Courage, my daughter! Your [belief in Me//faith] has made you well.” At that very moment the woman became well.
28 When Jesus had gone indoors, the two blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I can heal you?” “Yes, sir! [We do!]” they answered.

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

DBRP_260 2CH.2 2CH.3 PRO.26.13-28 MAT.8

In yesterday’s reading we returned to the books of Chronicles, and picked up the story following King David, with the beginning of Solomon’s reign. Solomon gave 1,000 burnt offerings to the Lord, then the Lord appeared to him. Solomon requested wisdom to rule Israel, and the Lord was pleased with his request.

Today’s highlighted verse:
23 Insincere talk that hides what you are really thinking is like a fine glaze on a cheap clay pot.

We completed reading the Sermon on the Mount yesterday with the parable of building a house on sand or on a rock. Building a house on sand is easier. But let’s be those who persevere and lay a good foundation.

Translation notes:
10 When Jesus heard this, he was surprised and said to the people following him, “I tell you, I have never found anyone in Israel with [full belief (in Me)]//faith] like this.
20 Jesus answered him, “Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but [I,] the Son of Man[, have//has] no place to lie down and rest.”
26 “Why are you so frightened?” Jesus answered. “[How little you believe in Me!//What little faith you have!]” Then he got up and ordered the winds and the waves to stop, and there was a great calm.
30 [Not far away[, a large herd of pigs were feeding.//there was a large herd of pigs feeding.]

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

DBRP_259 2CH.1 PRO.26.1-16 MAT.7.12-29

Yesterday we heard Hosea’s final and heart-felt warning. At the end of his book, Hosea penned rather short apology on behalf of the people, and request for forgiveness. God responded lovingly, pleading that the people of Israel to stay away from idols. And now we return to the story we interrupted in the books of Chronicles.

A highlighted verse for today is verse 12, which I like in both the NLT and the GNT. Let’s start with reading it in the NLT:
12 There is more hope for fools
than for people who think they are wise.

Translation notes:
13 Why don't lazy people ever get out of the house? What are they afraid of[?— lions?!//Lions?]
14 Lazy people [just keep turning//turn] over in bed. They get no farther than a door swinging on its hinges.

Yesterday’s reading included one of the most often quoted but most poorly understood verses of the Bible. Check yourself before telling someone, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged.” If you are saying that in order to deflect criticism against yourself,  you are doing what a hypocrite does. And ironically, not being a hypocrite is main point of the passage. Nor is the meaning that we Christians must not judge other people at all. We must not judge hypocritically, but the Bible shows us how to judge rightly and fairly— as is necessary for us in this world.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

DBRP_258 HOS.13 HOS.14 PRO.25.15-28 MAT.7.1-20

HOSEA 13-14:
Yesterday’s reading had this significant prophecy, prefaced by the words that God would not come to totally destroy:

11:10 For someday the people will follow me.
I, the LORD, will roar like a lion.
And when I roar,
my people will return trembling from the west.
11 Like a flock of birds, they will come from Egypt.
Trembling like doves, they will return from Assyria.
And I will bring them home again,”
says the LORD. (NLT)

Interesting and varied proverbs today include this:
20 Singing to a person who is depressed is like taking off a person's clothes on a cold day or like rubbing salt in a wound.

Yesterday’s reading in the second half of chapter 6 dealt with the subject of complete trust in God for all that we need, seeking first the kingdom of God (meaning putting God’s will as your top priority), and not bowing down at the altar of money or material gain.

A part of that chapter which is often glossed over is this:
6:22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light.
23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! (NLT)

In Biblical culture, an ‘evil’ or ‘bad’ eye was one that is greedy. So this figurative speech is actually right on topic for this section. Note that our eye will be full of light if we keep our eyes on Jesus— like we read in Philippians 3.

Check out this episode!

Monday, September 12, 2016

DBRP_257 HOS.11 HOS.12 PRO.25.1-14 MAT.6.19-34

HOSEA 11-12:
In yesterday’s reading, as the Lord was pleading with Israel and using agricultural metaphors, He said,

10:12 I said, ‘Plow new ground for yourselves, plant righteousness, and reap the blessings that your devotion to me will produce. It is time for you to turn to me, your Lord, and I will come and pour out blessings upon you.’
13 But instead you planted evil and reaped its harvest. You have eaten the fruit produced by your lies.

Today’s highlighted proverb:
11 Timely advice is lovely,
like golden apples in a silver basket. (NLT)

Yesterday’s three-times emphasis was “Don’t be like the hypocrites.” And we heard the Lord’s prayer. The first line of the Lord’s prayer, ‘hallowed be Thy _name_’ can be taken as a metonymy for the person of the Father, not just his name. So I translate this famous verse like this: “Our Father in heaven, [may all people honor You as the Holy God//may You always and everywhere be regarded as holy].” Even so, we must bear in mind that God shows great concern for his name in the Old Testament— beginning in the Ten Commandments. If that phrase is translated with that in mind, it could also be translated, “May your name always be spoken with respect befitting your holiness.” Both ideas may be in view in that first line of the prayer.

Translation note:
30 It is God who clothes the wild grass—grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burned up in the oven. Won't he be all the more sure to clothe you? [How little you believe in Him!//What little faith you have!]

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

DBRP_256 HOS.9 HOS.10 PRO.24.17-34 MAT.6.1-18

HOSEA 9-10:
In the first paragraph of chapter 6, Hosea or the Lord quoted the people saying, “Let’s return to the Lord! He has hurt us, … but he will bandage our wounds won’t he? In two or three days he will revive us…” But following that there are three chapters where the Lord tells why Israel’s returning is always fickle and insincere.

Just one of many neat nuggets of truth in today’s reading:
26 An honest answer
is like a kiss of friendship. (NLT)

Yesterday’s reading had five ‘You have heard it said … But I tell you …’ And they included some of the hardest ones for us to obey.

Translation note:
9 This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven: May [all people honor You as the Holy God//your holy name be honored];
[I have pointed out in many other places that ‘name’ is often used as a metonymy that stands for God’s whole personhood, not just his name. GNT introduces another potential problem, making it sound like God has more than one name, and just the holy name should be honored. I have suggested above that this be translated as a metonymy, but even so, we all must bear in mind that God shows great concern for his name in the Old Testament, beginning in the Ten Commandments. Bearing that in mind, this verse could also be translated, “May your name always be spoken with respect befitting your holiness.”]
10 may [You come to set up your kingdom here on earth//You come to rule here on earth as king//your Kingdom come]; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

DBRP_255 HOS.6 HOS.7 HOS.8 PRO.24.1-18 MAT.5.27-48

HOSEA 6-8:
In yesterday’s reading, Hosea bought back his wife from prostitution. And the Lord drew analogies in his speech to Israel.

Favorite verses:
5 Being wise is better than being strong; yes, knowledge is more important than strength.
6 After all, you must make careful plans before you fight a battle, and the more good advice you get, the more likely you are to win.

Yesterday we read the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, including the famous and memorizable Beatitudes. We also heard the first instance of “You have heard it said… but I say …”

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Friday, September 9, 2016

DBRP_254 HOS.3 HOS.4 HOS.5 PRO.23.17-35 MAT.5.1-26

HOSEA 3-5:
Beautifully interwoven word plays or metaphors were constructed using the names of Hosea’s three children. And verses of yesterday’s reading, are quoted in Romans 9 and 1Peter 2. The last verse ended:

“I will show love
to those I called ‘Not loved.’
And to those I called ‘Not my people,’
I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’
And they will reply, ‘You are our God!’”

As you may have noticed yesterday, this chapter is much more thematic than chapters 10 through 22. The second half of chapter 23 is the words of a father to his son. This verse is so true and wise!
23 Truth, wisdom, learning, and good sense—these are worth paying for, but too valuable for you to sell.

Today we start the chapters called the Sermon on the Mount, and these are the crowning jewels of Jesus’ teaching. Note the times when Jesus says, “You have heard it said/taught… but I say to you.” These statements are one reason why the people reacted that “Jesus taught with authority.” Note also how often Jesus tells us that the Father sees what is done in secret.


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Thursday, September 8, 2016

DBRP_253 HOS.1 HOS.2 PRO.23.1-18 MAT.4

HOSEA 1-2:
We have already heard that God considers the sin of idolatry to be parallel and just as offensive as a wife being unfaithful to her husband. Hosea is told by God to actually live out this situation. He is told to marry Gomer, a prostitute. Through Hosea, God shows just how ready He is to restore and be reconciled with His wayward people. Hosea prophesied to the Northern kingdom during the same time that Amos, Isaiah, and Micah were prophesying in the Southern kingdom. This was during the reign of Jeroboam the 2nd. Hosea was not a professional prophet trained in a school for prophets, but an ordinary man. I imagine his ministry must have been very lonely.

Translation note:
[It sounds very odd in English for Hosea to be telling such a personal story about himself using the third person. Like the CEV, I have altered the pronouns in chapter 1 in verses 2-4, 6, and 9-10 so that Hosea speaks of himself using the pronoun ‘I’ rather than ‘he’. Similarly, I have made it so that God speaks of himself using the pronoun ‘I’ rather than the third person.]
2:13 I will punish her for the times that she forgot me, when she burned incense to Baal and put on her jewelry to go chasing after her lovers. [I, the Lord, have//The Lord has] spoken.

The Book of Proverbs doesn’t always support that being rich is better. Consider v.4 in the NLT:
4 Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich.
Be wise enough to know when to quit.

Yesterday we heard of the ministry of John the Baptist, and Matthew is the only Gospel that records Jesus’ reply to John, “This (baptising me) should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.”

Translation note:
23 Jesus went all over Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, preaching the Good News about the Kingdom, and healing people who had all kinds of disease[s] and sickness[es].

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

DBRP_252 1CH.29 PRO.22.14-29 MAT.3

Yesterday we heard of the military commanders and officials under David, and the leaders of 13 tribes. Then we heard David’s instructions to Solomon. And it is always amazing to me the detail with which David planned for the temple, and also his generosity.

Halfway through this chapter we begin a section where more of the proverbs are arranged in short paragraphs. That section begins at verse 17, just three verses after we begin today’s reading. Verse 20 introduces 30 sayings that follow.

Yesterday we heard of the coming of the learned men from the east. While they brought three symbolic gifts, it didn’t say that there were just three men who came.  And prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus being taken to Egypt, then at the family’s return, their move to Nazareth.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

DBRP_251 1CH.27 1CH.28 PRO.22.1-15 MAT.2

Yesterday we heard of the assignments of Levites as musicians, judges, and temple gate keepers.

Our highlighted verse for today:
14 The mouth of an immoral woman is a dangerous trap;
those who make the LORD angry will fall into it. (NLT)

Translation note:
13 Lazy people stay at home; they say[, “A//a] lion might get [me if I//them if they] go outside[!/.]

As I noted yesterday, most commentators say that the genealogy in Matthew is that of Mary, rather than of Joseph. (Luke prefaces that genealogy with the words “as was supposed,” indicating that Joseph was not Jesus’ father.) One interesting detail is that Luke’s record includes King Joconiah, of whom Jeremiah said in chapter 22, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah.’” If the Davidic line actually ended with this cursed king, Jeconiah, then God’s promise would have failed and Jesus could not be the Messiah King of Israel. But in Matthew we find the genealogy traced instead through Nathan, and there was no curse on Nathan’s line.

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Monday, September 5, 2016

DBRP_250 1CH.25 1CH.26 PRO.21.15-31 MAT.1

There was a rather important shift in Israel’s religious life that happened with David and his plans for temple worship rather than the older pattern of worship at the Tabernacle: It was that the priests and Levites were re-organized into groups appropriate to the new state of affairs, and no longer strictly based on the original family lines. This reordering was still in effect in the beginning of the New Testament, where we read that Zechariah was a member of the priestly division of Abijah. So we have precedent for not always ‘doing it’ the way it was done in the past.

Today’s highlighted verse:
30 Human wisdom, brilliance, insight—they are of no help if the Lord is against you.

Matthew’s Gospel was perhaps written as early as 50 AD, and some material was based on Mark’s Gospel. Matthew was probably written by Levi Matthew, the tax collector and the disciple of Jesus. He does not identify himself (similarly to John in John’s Gospel), but if he did, he would have started to do so in chapter 9.

It is clear that Matthew was written for the Jewish audience, and indeed, at the time it was written, the Gospel had not yet gone far among the non-Jews. Again and again Matthew points to fulfillments of Scripture. And at times, especially near the end, he does not bother to use the words “This fullfilled …” but just includes a couple of words that would have been obvious allusions to Scripture for his audience.  An odd feature of this gospel is that sometimes ‘one’ thing or person in other Gospels switches to ‘two’ in Matthew. My own original opinion on that feature is this: Every assertion according to the Law needed to be maintained by at least two witnesses. At the times 1 becomes 2, I think Matthew is dropping the hint that he was an eyewitness.

I saved Matthew for the last of the Gospels to be read in our reading calendar because I wanted to group together several New Testament books written to the Jewish audience.

Today we will hear the genealogy of Jesus. Many commentators think that Matthew traces the genealogy through Mary instead of Joseph. And there are hidden treasures to look for in this genealogy.

Translation note:
18 This was how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were married, she found out that she was going to have a baby [supernaturally caused] by the Holy Spirit.
[The meaning is not that the Holy Spirit told Mary about her pregnancy, but that she conceived the baby by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can rightly be called the Father of the baby, but this was not fathership through a sexual union of any sort with God the Spirit.]

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

DBRP_249 1CH.23 1CH.24 PRO.21.1-16 TIT.3

Yesterday we heard a rather odd story about how “Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census.” But in 2Samuel 24:1 we read that “Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, ‘Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.’” So who was it— Satan or the Lord? And if the problem was caused by someone else, why was David and all Israel punished?!  

 I think, in a place like this, we have to go back to what we learned in Job. God brought up a topic to Satan, Satan responds predictably, and God gives him permission to tempt and sets the boundaries. In other words, one can say that both God and Satan are in some measure involved. God does not tempt people to do evil, and God is in ultimate control. Satan is like a dog on a leash. And about that punishment: God arranges events in such a way that man (in this case David) is still in control and responsible for his choices.

Why was the census considered a sin? This seems to be founded on the idea that Israel— according to God’s promise, was to be as many as the stars in the sky and the sand on the sea shore, in other words, uncountable. When Moses conducted a census, there was a money offering given for every male counted. Making a military census would also show that David was trusting in numbers instead of God’s power. (See 1Chron 27:23-24.)

Here is the verse I chose to highlight today:
13 If you refuse to listen to the cry of the poor, your own cry for help will not be heard.

We continue today with more true teaching for our spiritual health. We might consider 2:14 as a heading for all of today’s reading. That verse says,

2:14 He gave himself for us, to rescue us from all wickedness and to make us a pure people who belong to him alone and are eager to do good.

Translation note:
15 All who are with me send you greetings. Give our greetings to our friends [who share our belief in true teachings//in the faith]. God's grace be with you all.

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Saturday, September 3, 2016

DBRP_248 1CH.21 1CH.22 PRO.20.16-30 TIT.2

Yesterday we heard the part where the writer of Chronicles skated over where David had his affair with Bathsheba. But we heard of the military victories and especially the misunderstanding that became the reason for the war with the Ammonites.

Our highlighted verse for today:
24 The Lord has determined our path; how then can anyone understand the direction his own life is taking?
Another proverb with deep significance is:
27 The Lord gave us mind and conscience; we cannot hide from ourselves.

A theme of this book is literally ‘healthy faith’ and ‘healthy teaching.’ These figures boil down to believing in true teachings.

Translation notes:
1 But you must teach what agrees with [true teaching//sound doctrine].
2 [NLT Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must [fully believe our true teachings//have sound faith] and be filled with love and patience.//GNT Instruct the older men to be sober, sensible, and self-controlled; to be sound in their faith, love, and endurance.]
13 as we wait for the blessed Day we hope for, when [our Savior Christ Jesus returns. At that time his glory as all-powerful God will be seen in the this world.//great God and Savior Jesus Christ will appear.]
[The translation for 13 above is like the PET. Greek is somewhat ambiguous as to whether only One Person is ‘appearing’— namely Jesus, or if both the Father and Son will appear. Most commentators say that the most natural meaning is that Jesus is the One appearing, and that means that Paul is also directly designating Jesus as all-powerful/great God. Identifying Jesus directly as God happens many other times— including John 1:1; John 10:30; Rom. 9:5; Plp. 2:6; 2Ptr. 1:1; 1Jhn. 5:20.]

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Friday, September 2, 2016


Hi Friends!

This Tuesday September 6th I’ll be leaving for Indonesia. The travel time is a gruelling 21 hours and 44 minutes. By the time I get out of the airport in Jakarta it will probably be almost 1AM on the 8th, Western Indonesia Time. I’ll be There for 7 weeks.

Some of you may be wondering how I will manage to keep the daily podcasts going while I am in Indonesia. I already have 25 episodes scheduled to go off at 12AM Greenwich Mean Time on their respective days, and I will have another 30 episodes for which I have already recorded the main content. So I will edit them, add the prayer at the end, and send them out in Indonesia— Lord willing. I have been working a bit extra every day since returning from my last trip there to get that far ahead again. Often in Indonesia it is really hard for me to record anything because of all sorts of environmental noise, and at other times, I don’t have a good enough Internet connection to send an audio file anywhere.

At least for the Android users, we have newly released updates for both the Youversion Bible reading app and also for the Daily Bible Reading podcast app. I’m pretty sure you Apple product users have updated apps also. I really enjoy the improvements to the Bible app.

Gale would tell you that I think each of my trips to Indonesia is going to be the most important one ever. That’s just who I am. It’s no different this time. This is my most important trip ever. Here’s the difference for me this time: I believe the Lord wants me to change the whole way our organization is doing its Bible translation ministries.

Three years back we started a nonprofit Bible translation organization in Jakarta with the short name of Albata. It seemed necessary to have an organization name in order to publish our Plain Indonesian New Testament. Let me describe what it’s like for an expat missionary to sort of ‘own’ a legally registered nonprofit org. An organization needs an office. Our office is just a bit larger than a spacious walk-in closet. I hired a manager to work in the office. An office needs equipment and a vehicle. Hey, we need donors to give more funds. Our organization grows as the Lord blesses, and we add a full-time translator at the office. Hey, we need donors to give more funds. Then, growing more, we need a secretary and a coordinator for developing partnerships. There’s not enough room for 3-4 people to sit in the office, and it isn’t appropriate if one is a woman! Hey, we need to rent a bigger office for Albata. It would be helpful to open a branch office in Medan. How much will that cost? We’ll need to hire someone. Have I mentioned that we need donors to give more funds?

Our Albata web site says that our main strategy is prayer. (I got that idea from Pioneer Bible Translators— my sponsoring organization.) But it’s become obvious to me that prayer has not really been our main strategy so far. I led us into getting trapped into doing what all nonprofit organizations do that are not already sponsored by rich people. Seek donors. I’m going to dismantle that on this trip and totally rebuild. Here is our new identity:

Albata is a network of friends who pray that the understanding of God’s Word will increase everywhere in Indonesia.

Albata will be based on prayer cells. I’m going to deactivate our office. People will think I’m crazy, but we won’t be doing business as usual any more. Prayer cells don’t need an office. Prayer cells don’t need government permissions at multiple levels. Prayer cells don’t need to hire someone to start another prayer cell in a new city. And here’s another thing: Indonesians are not great at being donors, but they are fantastic at networking!

Albata is a network of friends who pray that the understanding of God’s Word will increase everywhere in Indonesia.

The cool thing is that this is already happening. In a little out-of-the-way island called Bangka, 24 volunteers are recording our whole New Testament. (This is a project in cooperation with a state-side organization called Faith Comes By Hearing, but that group was already operating a year before that partnership happened.) Since the group formed, no one from there has ever asked me for money. I’m putting a link in the episode notes to the Friends of Albata Facebook group so that you can see pictures posted by Kristiana in that group. Another group has formed in a major city, where they already are using radio and print media to promote our New Testament. In another major city, we have people who would like to see our New Testament translation modified to use terminology that will make it more acceptable to new believers who are coming out of the nation’s major religion. I believe that if we have groups of people praying about that, the whole adaptation project could be done by volunteers who are members of the target group.

Please pray that prayer groups will be started in 6 different locations during my trip to Indonesia. That’s a big enough request that I think we’ll know that God is answering if it happens.

Our online Bible translation course is the way that volunteers get the skills needed before becoming involved with our Old Testament translation team. We now have 7 people in the course. Please pray that we would have a total of 30 people in the course by the end of September, and that 15 would become volunteer friends of our translation team.

If you enjoyed the JoySightings series readings of the book Tales of the Resistance, by David & Karen Mains, and if you have a suggestion for another book for me to read, please give your suggestion our Digging Deeper Facebook group. See the direct link to the group in the episode notes. I’ll also share pictures with that group while I’m in Indonesia.

You can sign up for our There, and Back Again letter list using another link in the episode notes:

As always: May the Lord bless you real good.


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DBRP_247 1CH.19 1CH.20 PRO.20.1-15 TIT.1

Yesterday we heard about one of David’s greatest hours, and I think David would rank this as better than the killing of Goliath. It was the time when he wanted to build a house for God, and instead God promised to build his house— making for him an everlasting dynasty. Then we heard of his leading in even more amazing military victories.

Today’s highlighted verse:
3 Any fool can start arguments; the honorable thing is to stay out of them.

Commentators say that Paul wrote his letter to Titus in about the year 66, and that evidence from chapter 3:12 reveals that Paul may have written this in Nicopolis in Epirus, where he spent the winter. The letter has much  in common with 1 Timothy which was written around the same time. Paul had given Titus a difficult pastoral assignment, and this letter includes advice that has been so helpful to many pastors.  And personally and to my own shame, I always remember this epistle as the location of my worst argument with one of my translation consultants. Recently in Proverbs 18 we read a proverb that applies to that situation, it is this:
19 An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city.
Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. (NLT)

Translation notes:
1 [To Titus, my true son because of our unity in believing in Christ: From Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Christ Jesus. I was sent in order to help God’s chosen people to ever more fully believe in Christ and to know true teaching— the true teaching that leads us to live according to God’s will.//From Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I was chosen and sent to help the faith of God's chosen people and to lead them to the truth taught by our religion, … 4 I write to Titus, my true son in the faith that we have in common. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace.]
9 He must hold firmly to the message which can be trusted and which agrees with [true teaching//the doctrine]. In this way he will be able to encourage others with [0//the] true teaching and also to show the error of those who are opposed to it.
12-13 It was a Cretan himself, one of their own prophets, who spoke the truth when he said, “Cretans are always liars, wicked beasts, and lazy gluttons.” For this reason you must rebuke them sharply, so that they may [believe in true teachings//have a healthy faith]

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

DBRP_246 1CH.17 1CH.18 PRO.19.14-29 1TH.4.13-18 1TH.5

Yesterday we heard of the careful moving of the Ark, this time successfully. We heard exactly which men played what instruments.  Then there was a sample of their praise. The psalm in chapter 18 is made of quotes from Psalms 105 and 96 and some other isolated verses.

Our highlighted verse:
17 When you give to the poor, it is like lending to the Lord, and the Lord will pay you back.

Before reading chapter 5, let’s review the resurrection portion of chapter 4, starting with verse 13.


Translation notes:
4:14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will [bring//take] back with Jesus [all] those who have died believing in him.
5:8 But we belong to the day, and we should be sober. We must wear [our belief in Christ//faith] and love as a breastplate, and our hope of salvation as a helmet.
5:12 We beg you, our friends, to pay proper respect to those who work among you, who [lead you and warn you against doing wrong//guide and instruct you in the Christian life].

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