Lesson 4: Genesis Chapter 4
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
6 So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” 8 Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” Continue Reading Here
Scripture reference: Acts 12:13–16
In Jerusalem, houses were set side by side with their outside walls facing the street. The doors in these walls were kept closed, ensuring the family’s privacy and safety. The door had no windows or peepholes. Instead the doorkeeper was expected to recognize the voice of family friends and open the door only for friends.
These verses in Acts accurately depict this situation. Rhoda, the servant girl, answered a knock on the door and was stunned to recognize Peter’s voice.
One other element of this description is worth noting. The company inside suggested that what Rhoda really heard was Peter’s “angel.” First-century Jews believed that each person’s guardian angel closely resembled him or her. If Rhoda really heard Peter’s voice, perhaps it was Peter’s angel speaking rather than Peter himself! Continue Reading Here
Scripture reference: John 8:3–11 Bible Search Tool
The situation. One day some scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman who had been caught in adultery, “in the very act” (John 8:4). They quoted Moses’ Law, which called for stoning, and asked Jesus, “ ‘But what do You say?’ ”
Several things make this approach to Jesus unusual:
• The woman was caught “in the very act.” Where was the man who was also subject to stoning?
• Where would a person go to catch someone “in the very act”? How would the Pharisees, noted for their claim to holiness, have known where to go?
• While Mosaic Law prescribed stoning for adultery, this penalty was not imposed in the first century. Rabbinic courts rigorously avoided imposing the death penalty.
• A panel of rabbis, not an individual, would deal with such a case. Besides, the scribes and Pharisees did not recognize Jesus’ authority. Continue Reading Here
The women of the rest of the Pentateuch
With one exception, we know much less about the women than the men we meet in the five Old Testament books that relate the story of God’s people during the Exodus and the conquest of Canaan. It is not that these women are unimportant. It is simply that Scripture now moves at a faster pace. Rather than taking time to develop character, as Genesis does in the case of men as well as women, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and even Joshua focus on the story of what God is doing for an entire people, not His workings within a single family.
With the exception of Miriam, we will not come to know the women in this period of history in the depth that we came to know Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and the others. We will meet women, however, both named and unnamed, who played significant roles in bringing God’s plan of Old Testament redemption to fulfillment. Continue Reading Here
The Book Of Haggai
“Few prophets have succeeded in packing into such brief compass so much spiritual common sense as Haggai did.” —Frank E. Gaebelein
The unique thrust of this second shortest book in the OT is simple: Rebuild the temple! The remnant that had returned to Palestine to rebuild had let the work stand idle for sixteen years and so Haggai was commissioned to exhort the lethargic Jews to get to work. Haggai expands his message to include judgment on ungodly nations, as well as future glory for God’s people.
Haggai may have been born on a Jewish holiday since his name means “festal” or “festive.” He is the sole character in the OT with this name. Or, perhaps he was named by believing parents in hopes of a future joyful restoration, since he was likely born in exile. Continue Reading Here
The Book Of Nahum
The prophecy of Nahum, written by a Hebrew against the capital of a Gentile world power (Nineveh), is a denunciation of rampant militarism and tyranny, especially as it affects God’s people. Although God uses pagans to punish His people’s apostasy and sin, the tool itself is also liable to punishment.
As R. K. Harrison puts it:
“In this small prophecy of doom the author demonstrated in vigorous and memorable language that the God of the nation whom the Assyrians had despised was in fact the controller of all human destiny. To His justice even the greatest world power must submit in humility and shame.” Continue Reading Here