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The Christian Bible contains the Old Testament (which contains texts writen prior to ~400 BC) and the New Testament (which contains texts that were written from ~100 AD forward).
What was going on during this 'intertestimental period'?!
In a multi part series on "Roots of the New Testament", in Lesson 1, Part 1, Mark Lanier begins the New Testament Survey summarizing the historical facts and contributing events during this period.
In a continuation from last week, Lesson 1 Part 2 examines the roots of the New Testament through the Jewish writings during the Intertestimental period.
What are the Apolcrypha and the Pseuodopigrypha and what do they have to do with you, you ask?
While not part of the Christian Bible, they provide important context for both the Old Testament and New.
In Lesson 2 Part 1 Mark Lanier poses the question, how accurate is the New Testament?
Critics like Bart Ehrman, the scholar and best selling author and a previously-faithful-turned-agnostic casts doubt on the legitmacy of the New Testament. Is he right?
Where do the facts come down on the New Testament as not only the truth but the inspired word of God?
A continuation of Lesson 2, in Part 2 gives Mark Lanier a chance to dissect the differences found in over 5500 texts that have bearing on the accuracy of the New Testament as we have it today.
How many of the estimated 300,000 differences make a difference?
We are called to be discplies and to usher in the kingdom of Heaven. The Sermon on the Mount gives three pinciples on how to achieve this. Guest teacher, Jared Richard provides insight on the New Kingdom as described by Christ.
Do you wish you knew of a present day miracle? Why was Jesus in the business of doing miracles during his day? Mark Lanier explains why Christ performed the miracles, as He set about the kingdom work of this time and the Kingdom that is to come.
The Incarnation refers to God emodied in Christ. Did you ever wonder what verses in the Old Testament point to the coming Messiah? Find out! Mark Lanier uses the beautiful illustrations from the Stone Chapel to guide evidence of the coming Incarnation through Old Testament prophecy.
Luke was highly educated, a doctor, and traveled with Paul. How do these attributes testify to the validity of Luke's account of the Good News about Christ?
In this introduction to the Gospel according to Luke, find out why there are differences in this account compared to Mark, Matthew, and John; discover the relevance of 'why' Luke penned his account; and decide for yourself how valid Luke's choice of eyewitnesses to the Christ.
Thirty five percent of content of Luke is not found in any of the other three gospels. Does this mean Luke made it up? In part 1, Mark Lanier discusses the Magnificat, Benedictus, Gloria, and Nunc Dimittis, songs that only Luke recorded. Listen to the beauty of them and understand their importance for Christians durings Luke's time and in ours! See if he convinces you that that Luke had a reason for the inclusions. See if you can have confidence in God's revelation of the greatest moment in earth's history through Luke's account, a physician with a unique perspective.
In John's gospel, he details seven miracles. Only seven. Why? Are you curious as to why of all the miracles Christ performed, John in his wisdom of advancing years, picked the seven he did for his 'spiritual' gospel?
In the last installment of the Gospel of John and the seven miracles, Mark Lanier emphasizes the beauty and reason that each of the 'sign's were chosen, so that we might have everlasting life in communion with our Father. Watch, listen, and learn in one of the best, most clear lessons yet on how wonderful the Messiah, Christ Jesus is in His gift to us, redemption.
Listen as Mark Lanier builds a case for John having the letter of Paul to the Ephesians as John writes his Gospel. See if he can convince you that careful study reveals Paul's influence and takes you back to the city of Ephesians only a few decades after Christ's Resurrection.
Mark Lanier begins the study of the Acts of the Apostles with the acts of the Holy Spirit. What is your view of the Holy Spirit? In part 1, Mark examines what Jesus' words revealed concerning the paraclete using the synoptics Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and then examines John's gospel for further revelation. Find out if this fits with your understanding of how the Holy Spirit worked in the lives of the early Christian church, as detailed in Acts, and how the Holy Spirit works today.
In part 2 of the Acts of the Holy Spirit, Mark Lanier begins the lesson with revelations from the Old Testament concerning the Holy Spirit, using passages in Psalms and Isaiah and references as early as the creation story in Genesis. The Old Testament scripture testifies to the Spirit of God descending on people at different times but in a temporary capacity, unlike the dwelling promised by Christ. Did early believers understand the way the workings of the Holy Spirit occured at the time of Christ? Listen to the lesson to know learn if believers are promised a permanent indwelling of the spirit to assist their walk with God.
In part 3 of the acts of the Holy Spirit as recorded in Acts, Mark Lanier focuses on a "check list' from John that precisely demonstrates Jesus' teaching on what the Holy Spirit would give His followers. Does the Holy Spirit's activity fullfill these promises? Go verse by verse and see the work of the Holy Spirit and find out if as Bob Dylans sings, "God Don't make promises that He don't keep" is a promise that God has made you if you believe in the saving Grace of the Messiah and God's plan.
In this lesson we continue the study of the perfect parallel between John's Gospel account of Jesus promises concerning the Helper He will Send and the Acts of The Holy Spirit.
The cross reference between the teachings of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in Acts shows the complete manifestation of the Holy Spirit exactly as Jesus promised.
The Holy Spirit fulfilled the purposes Jesus had set out. The Acts of the Apostles were carried out through the Holy Spirit, who "Helped" while keeping the focus on Jesus Christ the Savior.
God’s timing was perfect. He chose the perfect moment to send His Son the Savior. Several factors were required to allow the church to establish and grow into the worldwide influence it became almost overnight, at least in the historical sense of “overnight.” Without the Roman peace, the Roman roads, the Jewish dispersion, the temple worship, the key people in the key places, the church would have never made it. Only God’s divine intervention could allow this movement to conquer the world. Again, only by the hand of God!
People generally do things for reasons, especially if it is something that takes a significant amount of time. The reason may not be well thought out, but if you are going to a great deal of effort, you likely have a reason for doing so!
The apostles chose to obey Christ, and the Spirit came. Listeners chose to respond to Peter's teaching, and they were saved. The apostles continued to choose following God with their lives, and when the power structure threatened to cut their lives short, they pressed on with what God called them to do. People were saved, their lives were spared, and the church grew.
Choices and decisions - we make them all day, every day. How do we do so when we want to follow God's will? In the case of Cornelius, the Holy Spirit fell in a miraculous way on the gentiles before their baptisms. This is very rare in Scripture. Earnest prayer and seeking the direction of God provides the guidance needed to make the proper decisions to advance the Word.
God is able to take every autonomous decision by independent humanity, and integrate it into the final perfect puzzle that expresses his will. We see that incredibly clearly in the apostle Paul. Integrating Scripture with our other historical knowledge provides us a view of Paul as the perfect piece of the puzzle that not only holds together other pieces, but also fills in the picture. Paul could go to synagogues throughout the Greek/Roman world and attend services as a man who had studied under the great Gamaliel. Paul had impeccable rabbinical credential so every synagogue offered Paul the resurrection believing Pharisee, a chance to teach the resurrected Christ!
The Holy Spirit staked claim on Paul and Barnabas at the church in Antioch, “Set apart for ME Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:2) On Cyprus Saul and Barnabas presented the Word of God in the synagogues, and began using his Roman Name Paul, and the first miracle God performed through Paul showed that God planned more for Paul than Paul could imagine.
God’s plan is perfect, we make choices and act based on our will. God uses our decisions and actions to complete his plan. Take Paul, persecuting the Church in Jerusalem caused the faithful to disperse to other cities. There they preached the Resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus. This changed Christianity from a fringe Jewish faction to a belief being taught throughout the world.
God’s plan is like a divine puzzle. It fits together perfectly, even though the pieces chose their shape and color. His pieces exercise their human choice, but the puzzle is always complete. Look at Paul, he chose his actions, from a Pharisee persecuting the early church to spreading the Word throughout the world as an apostle, he chose his path.
After a return trip through the Galatian towns reinforcing the churches, Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch. Paul continued his efforts to strengthen the churches in Galatia, fearing that that the churches were following a different teaching, a distortion of the true gospel. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul reiterated the message that all are saved by faith in Christ, not attempting to live under the Law of Moses. Paul and Silas decided return to Galatia to encourage the fledgling churches. In Lycra they added Timothy to the group and in Troas, Luke joined the mission effort. The Holy Spirit rerouted the apostles to Philippi, and after Paul drove out a spirit of divination from a slave girl in Phillipi, he and Silas were arrested, beaten and jailed.
Persecution followed Paul and Barnabas, and actually promoted the spread of the Word in the same way Saul’s persecution of the believers in Jerusalem promoted the spread of the faith. Persecution by non believing Jews in Pisidian Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to Iconium where they went to the synagogue and a great number of Greeks and Jews believed. There the non believer Jews chased them out to Lystra and Derbe. Then when within walking distance of Tarsus, Paul and Barnabas went back through the towns they were chased from just to encourage and strengthen the new believers.
After leaving Philippi, Paul, Silas and Timothy, went through Amphipolis and Apollonia arriving in Thessalonica – on the road toward Rome. In Thessalonica Paul preached in the synagogue telling the Jews of Jesus, proclaiming him as the Messiah. Some Jews and many Greeks were persuaded.
Disbelieving Jews, jealous of the success of God’s work among the Greeks, worked up a crowd. The church sent Paul and Silas away to Berea, but the Thessalonian Jews followed, found Paul in Berea and worked up a threatening crowd. Paul left Silas and Timothy in Berea and was ushered by boat to Athens by Berean brothers.
Athens was birthplace of philosophy, theatre, and democracy, the cradle of European civilization. Paul was alone but went daily to the marketplace to reason with the Greeks. The Athenians took Paul to the Areopagus where Paul spoke to the philosophers where Paul delivered his message and some believed.
While in Corinth, Paul wrote 2 letters to the church in Thessalonica. Because he had to leave Thessalonica so suddenly, and flee to Corinth, due to the threatening crowd, he was concerned about the new followers he left behind. He wrote them letters encouraging them to continue in the church’s faith and steadfastness. He told them he was proud of them for accepting his message as the very word of God, and encouraged them to continue in faith and service of the living and true God.
In Paul’s 2nd letter to the Thessalonians, he identifies God as our Father, showing the commonality of all believers before God. He is thankful to God for the church’s ever growing faith and love and steadfastness in light of persecutions.
Paul wrote about the 2nd coming of Jesus in more detail, reminding the Thessalonians not to be confused about a false letter claiming to be from Paul, trying to deceive them that Jesus had already come.
At close he asks the church to pray for his missionary team, and to work and pay their own way. Paul said, “No work, no food!” He urges the church to stay fresh in living right and doing good.
While in Thessalonica Paul won some converts, but his message was considered a threat to the Romans. Paul was forced to leave the city under duress. He was prohibited from finishing his teaching to the early church. They were confused regarding “the Last Things”.
Paul’s letters focused on cleaning up this confusion. Paul’s aim was to encourage the early church as to the second coming of Christ and the establishment of his eternal kingdom.
During Paul's second missionary journey he stopped in Ephesus and reasonsed with the Jews in the sysnagogue. He didn't stay there long but left, his friends and fellow believers Aquila and Priscilaa stayed behind. A learned and eloquent man from Alexandria, Apollos, came into the town teaching about Jesus. Apollos’s teachings had notable holes! Apollos understood the baptism taught by John the Baptist, but failed to grasp the full import of Christ's death and resurrection. He was not teaching about the Baptism of Christ and the subsequent gift of the Holy Spirit. Thank goodness Priscilla and Aquila were there. In this lesson you find out how they attempted to fill in Apollos knowledge about Christ and the reaction Apollos exhibited when they did!D
During Paul's third missionary journey, he again returns to Ephesus, a place known for it's magic! They even worshipped a meteroite (not knowing what it was they built a temple to it!) The Holy Spirit through Paul works real magic in healings and life changing events. Learn how in this lesson!
Paul wrote letters to the Corinthians from Ephesus. This lesson includes the entire book of 1st Corinthians – all 16 Chapters.
It is important to remember the context in which Paul’s letter was written. The church had numerous major problems – sex, food, idolatry, lawsuits, divisions, bad theology, women’s issues. Prior letters had already been sent back and forth between Paul and the Corinthians. When we read 1st Corinthians we are in the middle of an ongoing conversation.
In Chapter 1, Paul reminds the Corinthians they are called to a common fellowship with a common destiny. He appeals to them to drop their petty groups where they labeled themselves as “following Paul”, or “Peter”, or “Apollos”. They should all fellow Christ!
In each of the subsequent chapters, Paul preaches, teaches, admonishes, praises, and explains concepts to them. And before Paul closes, he reminds them of the core of our faith. Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and resurrected. Death has lost its ultimate power over believers!
If you really want to know Paul, study 2 Corinthians. Paul’s world was falling apart. He cared deeply for the church in Corinth. While in Ephesus, in an effort to help the Corinthian church, Paul wrote Corinthians “A”. The Corinthians wrote Paul back. He then wrote 1 Corinthians (Corinthians “B”). He sent Timothy and Erastus to work with the church … to no avail. In order to “fix things” he then made a painful visit to Corinth – that didn’t work either. Paul then wrote 2 Corinthians (Corinthians “C”). He then sent Titus to help.
Meanwhile Paul was run out of Ephesus. While on the road he was criticized and minimized. He endured a painful “thorn in the flesh” – possibly something in his eye. He asked God repeatedly to remove it. God didn’t. The thorn remained to keep Paul from becoming conceited. Paul never saw the healing of his own infirmity. God said to him “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).
How did Paul handle it when his world was crumbling? He finds an ability to rejoice in the Lord. He found purpose for his life before the Lord.
Paul planned to visit Corinth; instead, he went directly to Macedonia. He could have washed his hands of the Corinthian Church. They were awful to him, even joking about how short he was. From Macedonia he wrote to them, explaining that he decided not to come see them because he felt he could not be the “aroma of God” he needed to be in order to be a God-like influence. Instead, he would cause them more pain. Paul told them that the Old Testament covenant was etched in stone and brought death because no one could follow it but that the Holy Spirit brings life and glory. God changes us little by little to reflect his image. Paul learned from Titus that the Corinthians are moving back toward Paul’s teachings.
In Paul’s letter to the thriving Roman Christian community at the time, he begins his letter as a “servant of Christ” whom god called into the role of an apostle. Paul’s desire is to come to Rome to preach Christ’s death and resurrection as God’s means of forgiveness for everyone’s sins. He condemns the reign of sin over Jew and Gentile and reinforces the fact that God’s judgment is simple for Jew or Gentile. If you do right, you live eternally in his care. But if you sin you are condemned. Only through faith in Christ as Savior to all who believe, whether Jew or Gentile, do we have the grace that saves us. Paul then gives practical examples of Christian conduct: do not get arrogant; love genuinely; hate evil. In closing he tells them he is still hopeful to come to Rome and that God will eventually crush Satan.
In the conclusion of Paul’s third missionary journey, he leaves Ephesus, traveling back towards Corinth. He stayed in Greece for 3 months planning to sail back through Syria when a plot against his life caused him to change plans. Instead of a sea route, Paul took an overland route through Macedonia. A young man, Eutychus (whose name means Lucky), fell asleep while listening to Paul’s teaching and fell out of the window to the ground three stories below. Paul went to the street and cradled Eutychus in his arms; God restored Eutychus’ life. At Miletus, about 30 miles from Ephesus, Paul summoned the church elders and gave an incredible “good-bye” speech. He told the elders he was going to Jerusalem, under no illusions as to what he would face. God had prepared him for imprisonment and death. Paul wanted to finish the course God had set before him testifying to the good news of Christ’s death for humanity’s sin.
Do you believe in God? Not sure if you do? Do you work with people who wonder why you believe in God? Want to hear how a trial lawyer addressed those questions from a group of his non believing piers? Find out what takes more faith and sense: to be a believer or something else. This is a real life account of how to interacet with Grace and love to ALL around us. It's a testament to the power of the Holy Spirit in a life that is governed by Him.
This lesson is about Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem. Despite Paul's innocence he didn't not attempt to win his freedom. Instead he maintained a focus on serving the Lord and winning people to Christ. While Paul was in Roman custody, God came to him in a special way. Luke records: The Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.” (Acts 23:11)
Would you have the courage to act as Paul did, to continue to serve the Kingdom, and spread the Good News? Be encouraged as you follow Paul's journey to Rome.
Come Lift Up Your Sorrows, In Memory Of Her Love, and This Is Who You Are. Listen and be blessed by the beauty of music that seeks to glorify the Word and a discussion of how the Bible informs Mr. Card's life and art.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul thanked them for remembering him in his ministry with their gifts. Paul had known plenty and poverty and Paul had reached contentment with however much he had. Having explained that, however, Paul wanted the Philippians to know his appreciation for all they had done for him. Paul told them his contentment came from his confidence that he could achieve all God wanted him to do through Jesus Christ. Ultimately, it was God who supplied all of Paul’s needs, just as God did for the Philippians and all his children.
New Testament Survey – Lesson 32: Paul’s Letter to Titus
Titus is both a pastoral letter and it is a thorough to-do list for Titus to follow in the churches Paul expected him to minister within. Titus was a Greek convert of Paul’s who traveled extensively with him; as such he was well versed and shared much of Paul’s understanding of doctrine. And he used him as his agent or representatives to the churches. The letter to Titus provided details of what Titus needed to do to get the churches in order. He gave Titus a list of traits for those Titus would appoint to the Eldership as well as strong words of guidance on how to deal with some of the difficult situations and people he would encounter.
Titus, Timothy, ‘To-do’ list, Pastoral Epistle, Jerusalem council, un-circumcised, Crete, Cretans, ‘a servant of God’, ‘apostle of Jesus Christ’, ‘faith’, ‘knowledge’, ‘true son’ in the faith, Jesus’ messenger, Elders, traits, ‘insubordinate empty talkers’, Epimenides, ‘corrupted their consciences’, ‘sound doctrine’, ‘grace of God’, ‘predicate adjective’, self controlled, upright, righteous, subject to rulers, ‘normative’, submissive, obedient, ready for every good work, avoid quarreling, gentle, perfect courtesy, justified, Zenas the Lawyer
New Testament Survey – Lesson 33: Paul’s Last Letter (2 Timothy) and Last Days
A quick review of what we know of Paul in the book of the Acts is recounted followed by what took place after events in the Acts. In 2 Timothy Paul is again under arrest in Rome only this time the conditions are much worse and Paul sees the coming of his death. This gives him a special perspective on his hope of salvation, which was based on in whom his faith was placed and not as much on what the doctrine was about. In his ending comments he instructed Timothy to ready in season and out of season to preach the Gospel.
Death, imprisonment, dying, Paul, Timothy, Titus, Acts, Clement, Spain, Rome, Caesar Nero, ‘substituted as culprits’, Suetonius, house arrest, persecution, ‘apostle of Christ Jesus’, ‘spirit of timidity’, confidence, faith, suffering, Onesiphorous, endure hardships, disown, faithful, approved, workman, noble instrument, ‘evil desires of youth’, stupid arguments, pursue righteousness, ‘last days’, denial of God, ‘God-breathed’, martyr, Origen, Eusebius, Gaius, Ostian Way, ‘The Acts of Pau;,
New Testament Survey – Lesson 31: Paul’s Life After Acts and 1Timothy
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians begins with 10 English sentences that show his thankfulness to God for all He’s done through Jesus Christ. Paul is overwhelmed and overjoyed with God’s blessings. Mark points out how Paul experienced the mystery of Jews and Gentiles united as brothers and sisters in Christ. What a grand call to unity! But in being believers, saved by grace, we have a responsibility to fight the spiritual battle for truth. Have you ever questioned what true obedience means in our world? How can we put on the full armor of God?
A number of scholars believe Timothy was serving in Ephesus when he received the first of Paul’s two letters that bear his name. The rise of false teachers and leaders that had lost their way in the Christian life were focal points of Paul’s instructions. Timothy was to train for real godliness. He clarified the qualifications for overseers and deacons. And he urged him to pursue godliness so he could be found blameless.
Something on a stick, pastoral advice, house arrest, Rome, appealing, King Agrippa, Festus, Eusebius, pastoral epistles, instruction, missionary journey, Ephesus, my true child in the faith, false teachers, myths, genealogies, vain discussions, lawless, disobedient sinners, vilest sinner, mercy, prayers, youth, elders, overseers, deacons, leadership, dignified, social club, self-deprivation, holy, widows, slaves, sound doctrine, fight the good fight of faith, prayer
New Testament Survey – Lesson 35: Hebrews – Listening to God
The writer of the book of Hebrews used numerous references from the Old Testament to demonstrate the ’voice’ of God through the prophets is consistent with His actions of love in the New Testament. His speaking to us is one long event, and not only by His Word but also by His deeds. Jesus was never a new idea or a new dialogue. He is the voice and continued conversation from the beginning. He is the embodiment of an unchanging God with a constant purpose. He was prophetically one who would not only be God’s voice to us, but would bring us into relationship with God.
Ever wonder where the origin of the priesthood began? Does the name of Melchizedek jar your memory? He’s mentioned in only three places in the Bible: Genesis, Psalms, and Hebrews. What can Believers today learn from the Priest Melchizedek, and how does Jesus relate to him? Are you curious about the first instance of tithing. Mark addresses these questions and more in this week’s lesson.
Hebrews 11 gives us an overview of Old Testament historical figures who walked by faith. But what did faith mean to them, and what does faith mean to us today? Mark shows us through the range of meanings of the Greek word pistis how faith is woven with trust to provide a dynamic witness to God. Can our faith translate to what we give back to God?
New Testament Survey- Lesson 37: Hebrews: Faith Part 2
Biblical-Literacy Lesson Paraphrases
New Testament Survey – Lesson 38: Hebrews – A lesson on Prayer
How do we pray? Is there a formula for prayer? Does God even care or listen? How can we be certain God wants to hear from us and speaks to us? Mark’s lesson on the power of prayer uses Hebrews as well as other Scripture passages to offer hope and reassurance in God’s desire to be in constant communication with believers.
Biblical-Literacy Lesson Paraphrases New Testament Survey- Lesson 39:
The book of James gives us a fresh perspective on how to find encouragement and practical ways for the Christian to live in an imperfect world. Brent's teachings give us insight into how God uses life's trials, maturity, good works, and actions to show our faith in Jesus Christ.
Biblical-Literacy Lesson Paraphrases New Testament Survey- Lesson 40:
Did the apostle Peter write 1 Peter? Although the beginning words indicate Peter is the writer, some disagree with his authorship. Marks gives us the arguments for and against with insight into the world during the first century church. Weigh the arguments and explanations then choose who wrote 1Peter.
Biblical-Literacy Lesson Paraphrases New Testament Survey- Lesson 44:
Mark begins the first of three lessons covering 1 John. The overview show us the Apostle John’s concerns for Christians nearly three decades after Jesus’ resurrection. John was an eye witness to Jesus, and he wanted believers to know without a doubt that Jesus was really the Son of God who came in the flesh. Mark teaches about the questions plaguing Christians then and now, and the challenges we all face.
Biblical-Literacy Lesson Paraphrases New Testament Survey- Lesson 45:
1 John focuses on the metaphors related to light and darkness, good and evil. Too many early believers were using their freedom in Christ to sin, not grasping that sin is darkness. Mark says, “God’s light makes the sun look like a 20 watt bulb.”
Biblical-Literacy Lesson Paraphrases New Testament Survey- Lesson 46:
In this third and final lesson of 1 John, Mark shares some of his favorite passages. The first one is how the Disciple John explained love and feelings, with the understanding that faith is not a feeling but a decision of faith. John also deals with heresy, the progression of love, and love’s transforming power.
Biblical-Literacy Lesson Paraphrases New Testament Survey- Lesson 43:
Biblical-Literacy Lesson Paraphrases New Testament Survey- Lesson 47:
This week Mark gave an introduction to Revelation. The writer is widely believed as Apostle John while imprisoned on the island of Patmos. The book is unusual, complicated, a puzzle, filled with imagery, ideas, and symbolism. Mark explains why we should study Revelation in the context of apocalyptic literature.