Bible Knowledge Project: John 3

Bible Knowledge Project: John 3

Read: John 3

John 3 is perhaps one of the most known chapters in the gospel of John. It is here that a religious leader comes to inquire of the Savior. In an odd turn of events, Jesus redirects the discussion to that which is most needful: the necessity of being born again. On two occasions in the dialogue, Jesus tells Nicodemus that he cannot see or understand matters related to the Kingdom of God unless he is “born again” (3:3, 7). Literally, the phrase is “born from above.” The idea is that fallen people, lost in their sin and dead to sin, cannot and will not see the Kingdom of God unless the Spirit of God gives them “birth” (new life). The means of this new birth are contained within the sovereign will and action of God the Holy Spirit. Although Nicodemus, as a law teacher, should know and understand these things, he is confused by the expression, although Jesus goes to great lengths to explain it.

Before the Spirit of God birthed us, we were like Nicodemus. Lost in our sin, blind and deaf, we could not understand matters related to God’s Kingdom. We needed our eyes and ears opened to the truth of eternal life that comes only when the Spirit of God changes the dead heart of man. As Christians, we should not let a day go in which we fail to give thanks for so great a work of the Spirit in giving us life. Though many in the church today resist God’s sovereign right and will in the salvation of people, the analogy used by Christ (birth) only strengthens the fact that salvation is entirely the Lord’s doing. Just as we did not choose the day or hour of our birth or the parents we would have, the economic status of our family, etc., We cannot choose life unless the Spirit of God gives it. Just as the wind blows where it will, and we cannot ascertain the source, so is the work of the Spirit. He saves who he will save all to the praise of God’s glorious grace.

Questions to consider:

  1. How does the new birth parallel our human birth? What does that say about the doctrine of election and the doctrines of grace?
  2. What attitude should all Christians have when it comes to salvation? Humility before God should be the response. Too often, however, the ugliness of pride worms its way into our lives, sullying the beauty of the work of the Spirit in making what was dead alive.
  3. Spend a few moments reflecting on the events that led you to Christ. Consider God’s providential care in bringing you to that moment, and thank him for it.
Bible Knowledge Project: John 3

Bible Knowledge Project: John 2

Chapter Two contains two sections. The first (2:1-12) highlights the first sign that Jesus performed (2:11), demonstrating his glory. The main point of the miracle is to highlight that better has come to the people of God in the coming of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Although the Old Testament pointed to Christ in everything, it was a mere type and shadow of the substance (the old wine). Now, the new wine has come represented by the coming of the Savior. He is the fulfillment of all that the Old Testament said.

The second section (2:13-25) highlights the cleansing of the Temple and the prediction of the resurrection (2:18). These words will be used against Christ at his trial before the Sanhedrin.

  1. When you read the Old Testament, do you make a note of the many ways it points you to Christ?

  2. Why is Jesus angry at the way the people were treating the Temple?

Bible Knowledge Project: John 3

Bible Knowledge Project: John 1

Read: John 1

The Gospel according to John, is different than the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). Synoptic means “to see together,” which is why much of what is contained in those Gospel accounts is similar. John, however, is unusual. The account is framed around the various signs Jesus performed (E.g., 2:11, 23). John uses those signs to establish and prove his purpose in writing the Gospel. He writes, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30-31). Therefore, as you read through this Gospel, it is essential to always keep that purpose before you.

John 1 does not begin with the birth of Christ but with a clear statement of his pre-incarnate existence as the second person of the Trinity. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. That Word is the divine “Logos” (Gk. “word). It is that Word in which all things were made, visible and invisible. John goes to great lengths to prove the deity of the Son in the first fourteen verses. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Literally, the word translated “dwelt” in the ESV is the Greek word for “tabernacled.” The imagery harkens back to the Old Testament tabernacle in which the very presence of God dwelled amid the camp of his people.

Further, John explains how the Son “exegetes” or explains the Father. Therefore, if you want to know what God is like, look to the Son, who explains God. As God, he alone can express himself, and he does so through the incarnate Son (Cop. Heb. 1).

John also sets forth a testimony of others about the veracity of Jesus being the eternal Son. He does so through the witness of John the Baptist (1:19-34), the calling of the first disciples (1:35-42), and especially in the calling of Phili[p and Nathanael (1:43-51).

The importance of the deity of Christ cannot be overstated. It is a hallmark position within historic Christendom. If Jesus is not God come in the flesh, then we do not have a Savior, for he would need one. Only the perfect Lamb can save his people from their sins. Only God can atone for the sins that have stained us. No mere man can save. Only Christ. That is why one of the rallying cries of the Protestant Reformation was “Solus Christus” (Christ alone). It is not through indulgences, good works, our best efforts, or any other thing or person. Only Christ saves. Through his active and passive obedience, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, rescues sinners. Therefore, we look to him alone and trust his finished work as the God-man.

Questions to consider:

  1. Why is it so important that Jesus is both God and man?

  2. Although John does not give an account of the birth of Christ, the virgin birth is essential to our salvation. Why?

  3. How do John the Baptist’s words and the first disciples’ calling prove John’s assertion that Jesus is God?

  4.   Is it Christ alone that you depend? Evaluate your life, eliminate those things that distract you from Christ, and ask our heavenly Father for greater affection for the Savior.

Bible Knowledge Project: Genesis 30

Bible Knowledge Project: Genesis 30

Read: Genesis 30

Genesis 30 continues the events that began in 29:31 with the contest between the two wives of Jacob. Lean was the more fertile of the two wives, and Rachel was envious of her sister, demanding Jacob to give her children. Of course, that was out of Jacob’s hands as he pointed out to her, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of your womb?” The Bible is clear that the Lord opens the womb and closes it. Many years ago, I knew a couple who were told they could not have children. For years, that medical opinion seemed accurate. One day, suddenly, the wife was pregnant. The Lord does determine who will and who will not have children. As a result of Rachel’s frustration, she employs her servant to give Jacob offspring. Eventually, God opened the womb of Rachel and gave birth to Joseph. That significant act will establish the narrative until the end of the book. Joseph will become a significant figure in the lives of God’s people.

The other event in this chapter is found in 30:25-43. Though the circumstances are odd, they highlight one main thing: God blesses his people and will deal harshly with those who seek to harm them.

Questions to Consider:

  1. It is important to remember that God is sovereign over all affairs of life. In this chapter, we note how he opens and closes the womb. He can do what no man can do. What things in life are you facing that seem impossible? Commit it to the Lord. Wait on him. Remember that he is God, and he will do what is right.

  2. In this life, God’s people will often feel oppressed and harassed. Yet, the Lord has his eye on his people and will vindicate them. What matters are you facing from others that cause you to think the lord has forgotten you?

Bible Knowledge Project: Genesis 30

Bible Knowledge Project: Genesis 29

Read: Genesis 29

Genesis 29 is the narrative account of Jacob’s marriage to Leah and Rachel. The account is similar to the events found in chapter 24 when Abraham’s servant sought a wife for Isaac. There are some differences. However, the most notable is that Jacob is never recorded to have prayed for a wife. However, through God’s providence, Jacob is led to his two wives, although it is clear that Jacob had a greater love for Rachel than for Leah. Jacob, the deceiver, is deceived by his uncle and forced to marry Leah after serving him for seven years through an ironic twist. Subsequently, Jacob was forced to labor for Laban for another seven years for the wife he truly loved.

Jacob’s love for Rachel and hatred for Leah launched a series of contests between the women as to who would give birth to more children for their husband. That will result in the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. Throughout this chapter, it is essential to note the hand of providence, although there are evil acts on people’s part. Throughout our lives, people will commit wicked things. Yet, though sinful in the eyes of God, those acts are designed for a purpose: to safeguard the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We experience evil actions and hurtful behavior from others. Those experiences are not pleasant to endure. We have all been there at one time or another. Yet, what is most essential is that we always keep the hand of providence before us. To lose sight of that will lead to despair. Remind yourself often that these things, difficult as they may be, are governed by God and are designed to conform you into the image of Christ.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Jacob’s lack of prayer regarding a wife may make you think he was not yet a believer. What are your thoughts?

  2. How is the treatment of Laban ironic in the life of Jacob?

  3. What is the doctrine of providence, and why is it so comforting for the Christian?

Bible Knowledge Project: Matthew 28

Bible Knowledge Project: Matthew 28

Read: Matthew 28

Matthew 28 details the events of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and his final days before ascending to his Father in heaven. Matthew’s account is much shorter than Luke’s, but it has some important observations. First, like the other accounts of the resurrection, the first day of the week is mentioned. That is precisely why we worship the risen Lord on the first day of the week. To worship on the seventh day, before the resurrection, would miss the whole meaning of the resurrection. We do not worship a dead Savior but a risen one who lives evermore, interceding for his people. Second, when Jesus meets up with his disciples, they worship him. Again, this further highlights our need to worship a risen Lord. Third, sinful men would rather believe in a conspiracy and invent all sorts of vain things instead of submitting to the risen Lord. That is precisely what happens in 28:11-15. It is what happens today. People would rather believe anything other than the plain teaching of the Bible and the Savior who returned gloriously from the dead to save sinners. Fourth, the Great Commission is given to the disciples to make disciples of all nations. That is our commission today. We do not merely evangelize the lost. We bring them the good news of the risen Lord and then seek to teach them to live obedient lives before him. Of course, we do not do this on our own because Jesus tells us, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”