LESSON 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Master Teacher Lesson 1
The Passing of Peace
“The passing of peace” is a common expression amongst High church settings. It is a gesture of reconciliation or blessing that church members show toward each other. For example, a person might shake someone’s hand and say, “Peace be with you,” to which the recipient would respond in like manner. Also, some people practice this gesture to resolve differences before partaking of the Lord’s Supper in order to follow Paul’s teachings in 1 Corinthians 11 about being in a right frame of mind to participate in such a sacred event.
Master Teacher Lesson 2
Manifestations of God in the Old Testament
Many manifestations of God are found throughout the Old Testament. In Genesis 18, the Lord appears to Abraham to reaffirm the promise of a son. In Genesis 32:24-30, Jacob wrestles with God until God blesses him. In Exodus 3, God speaks to Moses from a burning bush to tell him to go to the pharaoh and free the Israelites from captivity. Later in Exodus, God’s presence would take the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to lead the Israelites in the wilderness (see Exod. 13:21-22). One of the other most famous examples occurs when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are cast into the fiery furnace. While they are inside, King Nebuchadnezzar says that one “‘like a son of the gods’” (Dan. 3:25, NIV) is accompanying the three young Hebrew men. God reveals Himself to people in the Old Testament in various ways, and sometimes He manifests Himself in bodily form as these examples illustrate.
Master Teacher Lesson 3
The word archangel appears only twice in the Bible: Paul’s mentioning of the archangel accompanying Christ’s return in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and Jude 1:9 where Michael contends with the devil over Moses’ body. Archangels, presumably, are angels of the highest ranking in heaven. Gabriel is also recognized in most Christian circles as an archangel because he is mentioned by name. For Catholics, the apocryphal book Tobit mentions Raphael as an archangel. Also, many Christians believe that Lucifer was an archangel before his rebellion against God led to his being cast out of heaven along with one third of the angels. Not much else is known about archangels other than pure speculation because the Scriptures do not elaborate on the subject.
Master Teacher Lesson 4
Silas, also known in the New Testament as Silvanus (the Latin form of the name), accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey (W. Edward Glenny, “Silas” in Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 2000], 1220). He was a leader of the church in Jerusalem and chosen to relay the results of the meeting by Jerusalem council to Syria and Cilicia in Acts 15:22-23. After Paul had his falling out with Barnabas regarding John Mark, Silas was chosen to be Paul’s companion on his second missionary journey. Silas was a Roman citizen (see Acts 16:37-38), so this aided their travels (ibid.). After ministering in Macedonia, Paul and Silas traveled to Philippi, where they were thrown into prison and miraculously escaped (see Acts 16:16-40). Silas is listed as a “co-sender” of Paul’s two letters to the Thessalonians (Glenny, 1220). Finally, Silas evidently aided Peter in his composition of 1 Peter (see 1 Peter 5:12). He was either a scribe or he carried the letter for Peter.
Master Teacher Lesson 5
Jesse Pope writes that Asia Minor refers to the “Anatolian peninsula bounded by the Black Sea on the north, the Aegean Sea on the west, and the Mediterranean Sea on the south” (“Asia Minor” in Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 2000], 116). The size of Asia Minor equates to approximately three-fourths the size of Texas (ibid.). During the time of the Old Testament, Asia Minor was a strategic position of land between Europe and Mesopotamia. This led to many famous wars being fought in the region, most notably the Trojan War (ibid.). In the New Testament, Asia Minor became significant for Christianity because of its role in spreading the Gospel. Paul was born in Tarsus, which is in Asia Minor, and he spent much time evangelizing in Asia Minor, especially in Ephesus where he spent three years during his third missionary journey (ibid.).
Master Teacher Lesson 6
The rise of Stoicism began in 302 b.c. in Athens under the teachings of Zeno (F. W. Beare, “Stoics” in The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 4 [Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962], 443). Eventually, Stoicism became the leading philosophy of the Hellenized world and remained popular even into the second century a.d. According to Beare, “the fundamental tenet of the Stoic philosophy is that virtue . . . is the only good, and vice the only evil” (444). As a result, a wise person would not allow himself or herself to be held captive to fleeting pleasures in material possessions or to be overcome with pain and suffering. He or she was to be content and show no emotion regardless of one’s circumstances. Beare points out that this philosophy does have similarities to Christianity—especially Paul’s teachings to be content in Philippians 4:11-12 (ibid.). The Stoic believed that men and women are to seek to live in compliance with nature in all aspects and accept their place in the cosmic order, regardless of personal gain or loss (ibid.). Paul combated the teachings of the Stoics on Mars Hill in Acts 17.
Master Teacher Lesson 7
The telos of something refers to its goal. For example, one could say that the telos of going to college is to receive an education and degree to aid one’s finding a job. Thus, to talk about telos in biblical terms could cover many areas. For this brief section, let’s focus on the telos of God’s plan for mankind. God created the earth and mankind because He desired a relationship with man. In the Garden of Eden, mankind lived in perfect harmony with both creation and God. After the Fall, this harmony was destroyed, and mankind and creation were cursed and separated from God. Thus, God’s goal from this moment on is to redeem mankind back to Himself. In Genesis 3:15, He promises to send a Messiah to redeem the world from the curse of sin. In time, God would send His Son to die on the cross and serve as the atonement for the sins of humanity. One day, God’s goal will be fulfilled when Christ comes back to earth and ushers in a new Kingdom. After this, mankind will be fully reconciled with God and sin will be no more.
Master Teacher Lesson 8
The Final Consummation
The final consummation refers to the end times when God’s judgment will be poured out upon earth and the new heavens and the new earth will be created. Satan will be defeated and cast into the lake of fire along with those who have rejected Christ. The book of Revelation details the events that will take place at this time. Although many Christians differ about the order these events will take place, the end result will still be the same. Last week, we covered the meaning of telos(“a goal” ), and the telos for God’s plans for mankind will be completed in the final consummation. Christians need to be prepared and looking forward to the day when Christ comes back to redeem His Church and initiate the events that will lead to the final consummation.
Master Teacher Lesson 9
King Uzziah was the son of King Amaziah and reigned over Judah circa 783-742 b.c. (H. B. MacLean, “Uzziah” in The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 4 [Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962], 742). Uzziah had a successful reign, but this success eventually led to pride and his turning away from God. As a result, he was punished by becoming a leper. Some of his accomplishments as king included a campaign he won against the Philistines, as well as campaigns he carried out in Arabia (MacLean, 743). 2 Chronicles 26:8 points out that his military success led to his fame reaching as far as Egypt. As stated earlier, Uzziah’s success led to great arrogance, and this arrogance manifested in him blasphemously burning incense in the temple instead of the priests. While arguing with the priests about burning the incense, “leprosy broke out on [Uzziah’s] forehead” (2 Chron. 26:19, NIV). Since he had leprosy, he was forced to step aside as king and allow his son Jotham to rule. Uzziah lived in seclusion until his death.
Master Teacher Lesson 10
Wells in Ancient Times
Wells were very important in the ancient world because rain was infrequent (W. L. Reed, “Wells” in The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 4 [Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962], 839). Thus, one should not be surprised to find wells mentioned frequently in the Bible. Some wells were very deep, and some were quite shallow. The wells were developed based on the soil and water level available (ibid.). Wells were found throughout biblical lands and often served as the source of water for small towns. One of the most famous wells in the Bible, Jacob’s well, was established by Jacob in Sychar (see Gen. 33:18-20). This is the well Jesus visited when He met the Samaritan woman in John 4.
Master Teacher Lesson 11
Sennacherib was the king of Assyria from 705-681 b.c. (A. L. Oppenheim, “Sennacherib” in The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 4 [Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962], 270). Throughout his reign, Sennacherib had many battles with Babylon and eventually conquered Babylon in 689 b.c. (ibid.). In 701 b.c. , the Assyrian king attacked several cities in Judah. After laying siege to Jerusalem, Sennacherib was forced to retreat after the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 of Assyria’s men (see 2 Kings 19:25-26). The latter years of his reign were relatively peaceful (Oppenheim, 272). Sennacherib finally met his end, apparently, at the hands of his two sons who murdered the king while he was worshiping in a temple dedicated to Nisroch (see 2 Kings 19:37).
Master Teacher Lesson 12
The Abundance of Wine as an Eschatological Sign
Isaiah 25:6-8 serves as the source for this topic. In this passage, Isaiah’s words are a prophecy about the future marriage banquet of the Lamb. Isaiah writes: “On this mountain the lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth” (Isa 25:6-8, NIV). Centuries later, the Apostle John uses similar phrasing to describe the joining of the Church with her Bridegroom in Revelation 21:1-4 after the creation of the new heavens and the new earth. The reference to wine in Isaiah 25:6, though, signifies the manifold blessings God will bestow upon His people.
Master Teacher Lesson 13
The Feast of Tabernacles
According to the instructions found in Leviticus 23, the Feast of Tabernacles was to be celebrated during the seventh month, which was Tishri on the Jewish calendar. The feast would last for seven days during which no one was to do any work. Each day, a burnt offering, a grain offering, and a drink offering were to be presented to the Lord. Furthermore, on the first day of the festival, the people were to gather branches from trees and construct booths (see Lev. 23:33-40). These booths would be similar to tents used for camping today. The Jews were to then live in these tents for seven days.
So what was the purpose of the Israelites celebrating this feast and living in booths for a week? God explains the reason in Leviticus: ‘“All native-born Israelites are to live in booths so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God’” (Lev. 23: 42-43, NIV). After being freed from Egyptian captivity, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years. During this time, they lived in booths while moving from location to location. The Feast of Tabernacles was meant to serve as a reminder of those days in the wilderness and how the Lord had saved them and eventually led them to the Promised Land.