March Bible Reading Challenge Week 3 Summary

Welcome to the March Bible reading challenge week 3 summary! I pray that you are continuing to read along as we travel from Hebrews through I John. Beginning with last Friday’s reading, let’s take a look at the summaries for the week.

Hebrews 13

Such wisdom is contained in chapter 13 of this book; many of the verses remind me of the Twitter effect- short sentences packed with powerful meaning. New Testament passages that refer to Old Testament passages are always special. We can see an example of this in verse 6:” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6)

James 1

I find James to be the most interesting character. Without pulling any punches, he immediately digs in and says “Be happy in trials because this means you’re going to come out stronger on the other side.”

James speaks quite a bit to holding the tongue; don’t you find that intriguing since this particular James is thought to be the cousin of Jesus? Makes me wonder what kind of family these men had! The last verse of this chapter is a verse I’m very familiar with:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Amen and amen. But wow, I had to step back a bit and process the verse before this one, because it is not often included with the last one.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

I can’t even unpack that in a summary, but it’s definite food for thought.

One more verse!

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Did you have any thoughts about these two verses specifically?

James 2

James spends the majority of this chapter explaining that while faith is wonderful and good, if we do not act on our faith, it’s not worth anything. The last verse of this chapter sums it up well:

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

James 3

James has been named “The Proverbs of the New Testament.” This chapter seems to be the foundation of that title as the power of the tongue and the topic of wisdom is explained throughout the chapter. The word pictures painted by the author create great visuals. As a girl who grew up in the hills, I chuckled a bit when good and bad are coming from the same mouth were compared to “Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.” Nope, doesn’t work.

How would you word this comparison in today’s lingo?

James 4

James certainly names sins throughout his short book of 5 chapters. In this chapter, he warns against quarreling, fighting, murder, and pride, to name a few. But I think the most convicting point from James, at least for me, is the last one in the chapter.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

You may have heard the terms “sins of commission” – meaning those things we actually commit or do. And “sins of omission” meaning exactly what James names above.

Have you ever thought about sins of omission before?

From this chapter, I chose a favorite portion of a verse that I love to hold close to my heart:

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8a

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James 5

Chapter 5 is an admonition on prayer and I love that! James encourages persistence in praying and in this beautiful chapter full of teaching on prayer, we find a verse familiar to many of us:

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As Max Lucado says:
“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”

Amen.

I Peter 1

Peter begins his letter much the same as James, speaking about trials and how their purpose is to bring glory to God. He strongly encourages the believers and his desire is for the readers to focus on Christ’s sacrifice for us, the purity of the believer as a result of Christ, and the love that should result in our lives.

What did you learn this week from the reading? I can’t wait to hear about it!

Rachel

Week 2 Summary of Hebrews March Bible Reading Challenge

Welcome to week 2 summary of Hebrews March Bible Reading Challenge! The week of reading has been absolutely wonderful each day. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the reading. Let’s begin!

Chapter 6

Hebrews 6 beautifully paints the backdrop to help us understand the complete redemption plan of the Father through Jesus. I love the thoughts of the author as he describes how we can find encouragement through hope in Jesus. V. 18: “In which it is impossible for God to lie.”

Did you have a favorite verse in chapter 6?

Chapter 7

In case you’ve ever wondered, chapters and verses were added to the Bible for placement identification. In other words, the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts didn’t contain chapters and verses within the books. Many times verses are separate by chapters and yet the storyline or points join together in thought. The last verse in chapter 6 really introduces chapter 7.

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:19&20

Chapter 7 explains how the order of the tabernacle, the law, and the priesthood were a picture of the perfect sin solution to come- Jesus. We mentioned last week how the veil was torn and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross paid our sin debt, giving us direct access to God through Jesus. What does all this mean? Verse 25 summarizes it for us.hebrews725

 

Chapter 8

The introductory statement of chapter 8 is so cool:

Now the point in what we are saying is this:

And the chapter reiterates the purpose of the tabernacle. Such a great summary can be found in verse 5:

They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things.

One of the purposes of the book of Hebrews was to explain why the law was no longer the standard and that Jesus paid the way to salvation.

Why do you think it was important to explain that the covenant of the law was no longer needed?

Chapter 9

My favorite phrase in chapter 9 is verse 11:

But when Christ appeared

Jesus changes everything!

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Chapter 10

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Chapter 10 contains so much depth that I hesitate to even try to provide a few sentences to summarize it. But I felt verse 24 to describe so well what we are doing together through this Bible reading challenge:

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,

Chapter 11

Chapter 11 is the beautiful Great Hall of Faith, often called the faith chapter. The author reiterates the history of the great Patriarchs; from Abel to Enoch to Noah to Abraham, the Christian forefathers are outlined and their beautiful acts of faith are described. Abel- in spite of his death. Enoch- because he pleased God. Noah- even though he had never seen rain before. Abraham- not knowing where he was going. Sarah- when she was past the age. Abraham- believing God could raise Isaac from the dead. Moses- refusing to be called Pharaoh’s daughter. And the list goes on.

My point is that it does not matter what your circumstances are- God is bigger. Hold on to faith that is bigger than your circumstances because GOD is bigger than your circumstances.

Chapter 12

The author chooses the analogy of a race to describe the journey of living out faith and this chapter fired me up today.

Have you ever felt like there is no way you could be good enough to come before God?

Have your circumstances seemed too tough to overcome or although you know your sins are covered by the blood of Jesus, you are dealing with the consequences of your sin?

Or maybe you’ve been a Christian for years , but you’ve been hurt by the church to the point of thinking you want nothing to do with it?

Regardless of your answers to the above, your wounds are deep and your heart hurts. These issues steal your joy. They render you helpless. You believe that even though you are a child of God, you can’t seem to get your act together enough to be used of God.

I am here to tell you, Friends, that the enemy wants you to believe this lie. He wants you to think that you are wounded and there is no warrior left in you.

Don’t let the enemy tell you that you are wounded and worthless. You may be wounded, but worthless you are not! You have been made worthy through Jesus.  We have a healing, redeeming God who can do far more with your brokenness than you dare to dream. So tell the devil he’s a liar and get up! Brush off those injuries and put one foot in front of the other to become living proof that your Redeemer lives!

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Just take one more step.

What’s your step today? I can’t wait to hear about all you’ve been learning through the challenge this week!

Rachel

Week 1 Summary of March Bible Reading Challenge: Hebrews

Welcome to the first weekly summary of our March Bible reading challenge! This week was all about Hebrews and I thought it was so good. Let’s dive in:

Chapter 1

I love the way the book of Hebrews is written; I believe that the personality of the author is unique to this book. Scholars vary on which apostle is assigned as author; while the majority believe it is Paul, some assign Luke and others think possibly Barnabas is the other. This is the first time I’m reading the book of Hebrews all the way through in the ESV; it’s so beautiful and strong.

My favorite verse is this first chapter? Verse 3.

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

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The power of words is something I believe in, but to grasp the power of God’s Word that he spoke the world into existence? Mind-blowing.

Chapter 2

This chapter begins an explanation of Jesus as the Son of God. The writer explains that he is not in the same heavenly position as the angels and further explains that Jesus suffered in death to provide grace to all.

Which fact about Jesus from this chapter inspired you the most?

Chapter 3

This section of the epistle encourages the readers to stand strong in the faith. The writer explains the purpose of his letter on different levels:

Warning: Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. v. 12

Exhortation: But exhort one another every day, v. 13

Focus: For we have come to share in Christ… v. 14

I consider verse 4 to be a little nugget of wisdom tucked into this chapter; as the entire  verse is contained within parentheses:

(For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.)

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 Chapter 4

Chapter 4 explains the way to find rest in God is to rest in His Word. The author references a few examples of Moses, Joshua and David. The entire chapter points toward the last verse, which was my favorite of this chapter:

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. v. 16

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Are you in a time of need? RUN to his grace and mercy. Christ’s redemptive work on the cross and his miraculous resurrection gives us the privilege of running boldly to the throne of God.

Chapter 5

Wow, chapter 5 is so rich. Do you understand that in the Old Testament, the high priest interceded on behalf of the people? In his position, one of his many jobs was to take the blood of the sacrifices and sprinkle it on the mercy seat. When Jesus died and the temple veil was torn in two pieces, Jesus became the High Priest for all the world. He was ordained by God and obeyed God;therefore, we have direct access to the throne of God, as mentioned above.

I feel that this chapter is summarized by v. 9:

 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,

What more can I say?

Jesus is everything. All I need. All you need. 

Rachel