Only $2.99/month

Terms in this set (39)

Christ's Model Prayer


When you talk to God, do you sometimes wonder if you are praying correctly? Do you wonder if you are supposed to say certain things, or stand or sit a certain way? What are you supposed to ask for, and do you need to ask for things in a particular order? Do you need to pray out loud or can you pray inside your head?

The disciples may have wondered about some of these same things. There was a time when they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. This section will look at His response to their request, taking the form of what has become known as the Lord's Prayer. The Lord's Prayer became the model prayer of Christ's disciples, and it was preserved in Scripture as a lesson and a guide for us. In this section you will study the contents of the model prayer and its purpose. You will also learn how the elements of the Lord's Prayer should affect your prayer life.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Identify the background and context of Lord's Prayer




Vocabulary
discourse A long written or spoken discussion of some subject.
Vocab Arcade


THE LORD'S PRAYER




Read Luke 11:2-4.

The Lord's Prayer is found twice in the New Testament. In Matthew's writings (6:9-13), the prayer is included in his account of the Sermon on the Mount which He preached to a large group of people on the north shore of Lake Gennesaret. Here, the prayer shows the difference in what God wants to hear compared to what the hypocrites and the heathen prayed. The version recorded in Luke 11:2-4 is shorter and is incorporated in a general discourse that Jesus gave His disciples on prayer as recorded in Luke 11:1-13. Luke introduced the prayer after Christ's Galilean ministry.

When reciting the prayer, most people use Matthew's version of the Lord's Prayer as it is recorded in the Bible.
The Lord's Prayer: Invocation, First Through Fourth Petitions

An important feature of the Lord's Prayer is its organization. The prayer consists of an invocation, seven petitions, and a conclusion. This unit will refer to partial Bible verses as we break down the Lord's Prayer line by line. For the purpose of this discussion, these partial verses appear in the King James Version of the Bible. For the complete Lord's Prayer in your selected version, please refer to the verses above.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Describe the overall structure of the Lord's Prayer
Identify ways in which the invocation and first four petitions of the Lord's Prayer should influence how we pray
Memorize the Lord's Prayer


Memory Verses:

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)

html5:



Vocabulary
atonement Reconciliation of God and man by the death of Jesus Christ.
petition An earnest request.
sovereignty Supreme power or authority; supremacy.
Vocab Arcade



Invocation--"Our Father which art in heaven.". The first part of the prayer concerns the fatherly character of God. God is our Heavenly Father. We are his earthly children. In both Scriptural references, the Lord's Prayer follows a discourse or teaching on prayer given by Jesus to His disciples. The early church used the word for Father as the common address to God.
Reminder!

You are memorizing the Lord's Prayer as recorded by Matthew ("forgive us our debts"), not as recorded by Luke ("forgive us our sins"). This will make a difference in some of the questions that follow.

The Lord's Prayer begins with an address to the Heavenly Father. Jesus instructs us to direct our prayers toward a personal, objective, and living God. Jesus referred to the evident fact that God is our Father who dwells in heaven. The fact that Jesus called God "Father" should direct us to do the same. Jesus spent hour after hour in prayer to His Father, and He pointed to the fact that God is also our Father. When we pray, we should pray to the Father in heaven as part of giving Him our attention and praise.
The First Petition--"Hallowed be thy name." Jesus continued His prayer with a petition which reminds us of the giving of God's covenant name to Moses in Exodus 3:13-14 (And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.). The name of God is I AM (YAHWEH or Jehovah). God instructed Moses to use it in a hallowed (worshipful, respectful), sacred manner just as we are to do today. Exodus 20:7 tells us, Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Jesus also recognized that the Father's name was hallowed and sacred. God's name in the Bible is the characteristic revelation of Himself to men, women, and young people everywhere. All the attributes that He has revealed in His covenant and His actions in history are summarized in the knowledge of His name. To defile or deface, subvert, or dishonor the divine name of God is to reject the sovereignty of God.

Appeals and exhortations for the "blessing of the name" were commonplace in Jewish prayers of the time. The hallowing or sanctifying of the name does not imply a great supernatural practice, but simply refers to the recognition of God's sovereign presence in every area of life. The petition does not place a limit on the time or space in which God's name is to be kept holy: God's name is to be reverenced everywhere, both then and now.
The Second Petition--"Thy kingdom come." The divine part of the Lord's Prayer begins by asking that God's kingdom come to earth. Although the kingdom was present when the King (Jesus) was there, a fuller form of the kingdom is to come in the future. When the Lord Jesus returns to the earth, He will raise and judge the righteous dead and establish His reign on earth (Revelation 20:4-6).

The Biblical concept of the kingdom of God is important and exciting. Jesus was the King of the Jews, but He can also be our King today. Shortly after Christ gave up His life on the cross, making an atonement for our sin, the spiritual kingdom of God was established in the hearts of those who by faith accepted God's gift of salvation (John 1:12). The Lord Jesus knew of the time when the Holy Spirit would live and rule in the hearts of born-again individuals.

The Third Petition--"Thy will be done." The will of God should be the focus of the life of every Christian. So many people today are continually asking the question, "What is the will of God?" In God's Word, we are clearly told one part of His will for us:

And this is the Father�s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:39-40).

html5:

The will of God is revealed in the inspired Scriptures. God speaks to us through His Word each day, and if we heed His Word, we can know His will for our lives. You do not need to worry about your future; do what you know to be God's will for you today. He will guide your life as you sincerely desire to please and serve Him.

The Fourth Petition--"in earth, as it is in heaven." This petition continues from the third request and details the cases in which God's Word and will are active today. God is the Creator and Ruler, and wherever creation is in submission to Him, we find joy, peace, and love. Think for a minute what heaven must be like. When God gives a command in heaven, do you think the angels complain or ask why? What kind of atmosphere is in heaven? Is it peaceful and full of love and joy, or is it full of anger, strife and hatred? Does the creation in heaven sing praise continually to God, or does it reject Him and act selfishly? See Revelation 4:8; 16:1-2. To know God's will, you must recognize and submit to God as the sovereign Ruler of your life.

Our daily prayer should be to know God's will and to ask for His will to be done in our lives. When we seek the Lord's will and accept it, we please Him; and when the will of God guides our lives, the fruit of the Spirit will abide (Galatians 5:22). If God's will abides in our lives, the remainder of the Lord's Prayer becomes a real blessing.
The Lord's Prayer: Fifth Petition to Conclusion

This lesson continues a brief study of the Lord's Prayer, focusing on the fifth through seventh petitions and the conclusion.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Identify ways in which the fifth through seventh petitions and conclusion should influence how we pray



Vocabulary
confidence A firm belief or trust.
hypocritical Playacting; not sincere.
pinnacle A high peak or point of rock.
solicitation An urging to do wrong; temptation; enticement.
Vocab Arcade


Reminder!

You are memorizing the Lord's Prayer as recorded by Matthew ("forgive us our debts"), not as recorded by Luke ("forgive us our sins"). This will make a difference in some of the questions that follow.

The Fifth Petition--"Give us this day our daily bread." In the remainder of the Lord's Prayer, Jesus prays for daily needs. Jesus teaches us to relieve our anxiety about material matters by resting in God's provision alone. Matthew 6:19-34 teaches us what we need to trust God for in our daily lives. In Verses 19-21 we are instructed to think of our needs for today only. Jesus tells us:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21).

We should pray and believe that God will supply all those things that we need daily. A common error of the Pharisees was the undue emphasis they put upon material wealth as evidence of God's approval of their lives; they said that if a person was wealthy in material goods, he was pleasing God. This is not necessarily the case. You should not look to the things you have to evaluate how well you are pleasing God. Don't think that because a person lacks the most expensive name brands in clothes, or the latest technology in computers or stereo systems that he is not pleasing God. Jesus did not "own" many material goods. He trusted in God to supply His basic needs daily, and the Heavenly Father commented that He was "well pleased" with His Son.

Jesus instructs us to take thought only for today. He promises that He will supply what we need. The child of God stores up treasures in heaven by righteous living.

We are told to have faith and trust God for each day because God loves His children. Jesus knew of His Father's ability to provide for all needs, and He encouraged the disciples to put their faith in God, trusting the Provider rather than themselves for their needs. Let us look at the words of Jesus concerning our faith in God. Matthew 6:25-34 shows us that those without wealth may worry about things they do not need to worry about. Jesus speaks to us in Matthew 6:25:

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Since the body and life itself were provided by the Lord, why don't we trust Him to provide that which is less important? Since God provides sustenance for the birds that have no ability to sow, reap, and store, how much more can men, who have been provided with these abilities, trust their Heavenly Father? Study the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:26-27:

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

Food is essential to growth. Yet even here, God is in control. Just as God controls our growth, He also supplies the food necessary to keep us strong and healthy for His glory. God not only supplies food for us, but He will also supply raiment (clothing) for our bodies. Jesus asks us a very important question in Matthew 6:28-30:

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Why should we worry about tomorrow when simple faith in God brings all that we need in our lives today? Jesus asked the disciples why their faith was little. This expression, "O ye of little faith," is used four times in Matthew and once in Luke. We are encouraged to grow in faith. Jesus desires that we have faith in Him and that we trust Him for all things, both great and small.

Finally, Jesus instructs us in Matthew 6:31-34:

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

We must continue seeking God by concentrating upon the spiritual values of life and putting our full confidence in God Who knows and will supply all our needs.
The Lord's Prayer: Fifth Petition to Conclusion

This lesson continues a brief study of the Lord's Prayer, focusing on the fifth through seventh petitions and the conclusion.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Identify ways in which the fifth through seventh petitions and conclusion should influence how we pray



Vocabulary
confidence A firm belief or trust.
hypocritical Playacting; not sincere.
pinnacle A high peak or point of rock.
solicitation An urging to do wrong; temptation; enticement.
Vocab Arcade


Reminder!

You are memorizing the Lord's Prayer as recorded by Matthew ("forgive us our debts"), not as recorded by Luke ("forgive us our sins"). This will make a difference in some of the questions that follow.

The Fifth Petition--"Give us this day our daily bread." In the remainder of the Lord's Prayer, Jesus prays for daily needs. Jesus teaches us to relieve our anxiety about material matters by resting in God's provision alone. Matthew 6:19-34 teaches us what we need to trust God for in our daily lives. In Verses 19-21 we are instructed to think of our needs for today only. Jesus tells us:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21).

We should pray and believe that God will supply all those things that we need daily. A common error of the Pharisees was the undue emphasis they put upon material wealth as evidence of God's approval of their lives; they said that if a person was wealthy in material goods, he was pleasing God. This is not necessarily the case. You should not look to the things you have to evaluate how well you are pleasing God. Don't think that because a person lacks the most expensive name brands in clothes, or the latest technology in computers or stereo systems that he is not pleasing God. Jesus did not "own" many material goods. He trusted in God to supply His basic needs daily, and the Heavenly Father commented that He was "well pleased" with His Son.

Jesus instructs us to take thought only for today. He promises that He will supply what we need. The child of God stores up treasures in heaven by righteous living.

We are told to have faith and trust God for each day because God loves His children. Jesus knew of His Father's ability to provide for all needs, and He encouraged the disciples to put their faith in God, trusting the Provider rather than themselves for their needs. Let us look at the words of Jesus concerning our faith in God. Matthew 6:25-34 shows us that those without wealth may worry about things they do not need to worry about. Jesus speaks to us in Matthew 6:25:

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Since the body and life itself were provided by the Lord, why don't we trust Him to provide that which is less important? Since God provides sustenance for the birds that have no ability to sow, reap, and store, how much more can men, who have been provided with these abilities, trust their Heavenly Father? Study the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:26-27:

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

Food is essential to growth. Yet even here, God is in control. Just as God controls our growth, He also supplies the food necessary to keep us strong and healthy for His glory. God not only supplies food for us, but He will also supply raiment (clothing) for our bodies. Jesus asks us a very important question in Matthew 6:28-30:

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Why should we worry about tomorrow when simple faith in God brings all that we need in our lives today? Jesus asked the disciples why their faith was little. This expression, "O ye of little faith," is used four times in Matthew and once in Luke. We are encouraged to grow in faith. Jesus desires that we have faith in Him and that we trust Him for all things, both great and small.

Finally, Jesus instructs us in Matthew 6:31-34:

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

We must continue seeking God by concentrating upon the spiritual values of life and putting our full confidence in God Who knows and will supply all our needs.
The Sixth Petition--"Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." Jesus told us to pray for forgiveness of the sins we have committed. We have all sinned, making it necessary to pray for forgiveness. Sin brings disappointment and heartaches to our lives. Because God is merciful and just, He will forgive our sins when we ask Him.

Just as God forgives our sins, we need to forgive others for the wrong they do to us. If we expect to be forgiven, we also need to be able to forgive.

Forgiveness of sin, whether under Mosaic Law or in the church, is always by God's grace and is based on Christ's atonement. When a believer confesses his sin and asks God's forgiveness, and at the same time withholds forgiveness from someone, he is not only wrong but also hypocritical. Possessing (maintaining) a forgiving spirit is made easier for Christians when they consider how much God has already forgiven them (Ephesians 4:32). An unforgiving spirit is sin and should be confessed.

The Seventh Petition--"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." Temptation does not necessarily mean solicitation of evil, for God never tempts in that sense. James 1:13-14 says, Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Jesus prayed that we would not be led into temptation, and we should pray the same prayer today. Some say that man cannot overcome temptation. We find in Matthew 4:1-11 the story of Jesus Christ being led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for forty days and nights. The various temptations were directed against the human nature of Jesus, and He resisted--just as we must resist. As children of God we can overcome temptation because of God's divine nature living within our souls.

Jesus was led by the Spirit to be tempted. He was to be tried or tested and enticed with great things to forsake His Heavenly Father and do evil. The Spirit was leading Jesus in order to bring about this test. God will not tempt us to sin, but He will lead and guide us through the trials and tests that we encounter.

Jesus fasted for forty days in the wilderness and encountered three tests. The first was the devil suggesting that Jesus turn the stones into bread. Jesus refused to work a miracle to avoid personal suffering when such suffering was part of God's will for Him. Jesus gave a Scriptural answer: And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3).

The second temptation occurred on the pinnacle, or wing, of the Temple in Jerusalem. Satan used Scripture (Psalm 91:11-12) to tempt Christ to prove His claim that He lived by every word that came from the mouth of God. Satan told Jesus to cast Himself down from the Temple. If He did, the angels would protect Him from harm. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (Matthew 4:7).

A third time Satan came to Jesus with a temptation. Jesus was taken up into a high mountain and was shown all the kingdoms of the world. Satan told Christ that all these kingdoms could be His if He would fall down and worship him. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matthew 4:10).

Just as Jesus Christ was tempted by Satan, we shall also be tempted. However, we can overcome these temptations or tests by a strong prayer life, faith in God, and study of the Word of God. God will deliver us from evil if we will trust Him and seek His help. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we read, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

The Conclusion--"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever. Amen." Jesus recognized the divine power and glory of the Father. The Lord's Prayer opens and closes with an adoration to God.

Jesus was a man of prayer and He desires that we follow His example by praying daily. Perhaps praying is difficult for you. If you will use the Lord's Prayer as a model, praying will become easier for you. God wants us to pray from the heart. He does not want fancy, enticing words, but a genuine attitude of worship toward Him.

Help Farmer Frank answer questions about the Lord's Prayer.
The Purpose of Christ's Model Prayer: Benefits of Prayer

Our prayers often merely consist of asking for things we want without first praising and thanking God for His goodness. In contrast, the Lord's Prayer lays before us a perfect guide enabling each of us to pray more effectively, as this lesson shows.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Identify the purposes of the Lord's Prayer
List benefits of prayer



Vocabulary
supplication A humble and earnest prayer.
Vocab Arcade




Read James 4:2 and Philippians 4:19.

The Lord's Prayer was given as a lesson and a guide for our prayers. This model prayer was never intended to become a ritual from which we continually say each exact word. Matthew 6:7 says: But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. The model prayer becomes our instruction--our lesson plan from which we can learn the essential elements of prayer.

Another purpose of the Lord's Prayer is to encourage us to make our needs known. Matthew 7:7 tells us that we must do three things in prayer: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: James 4:2 tells us, that we do not have because we have not asked. Have you ever wondered why you were lacking something? God says, "ASK!" From this verse, we learn that if we ask God to supply our needs we will receive what we need. However, sometimes there is a huge difference between what we want and what we need. God will take care of us, and even give us things we want, but God is not to be compared to the stories of a genie in a lamp who grants your every request.

One of the requirements to have our prayers answered is found in John 15:7: If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. The word abide means remain, or continue. If you are sinning, God's words are not abiding in you. Remember, sin comes between you and God. To keep the line of communication open with God, be sure to go to Him for forgiveness to restore your relationship with Him.



The Lord's Prayer becomes a clear illustration of all that prayer can contain--the adoration of God as well as our many and varied requests. The model prayer given by Christ includes both adoration and supplication for the kingdom and for personal needs. We find a request for forgiveness and deliverance from temptation. The model prayer is individual and, yet, universal, and it suggests that we should continually pray.
BENEFITS OF PRAYER

We read in God's Word, Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. (Psalm 148:1). God desires the praises of His people; and whenever we pray, our hearts should express our gratitude and thanksgiving for who He is. Jesus began His prayer by recognizing the holiness and sacredness of the Heavenly Father. We can recognize in the first part of this model prayer the presence of adoration and thanksgiving, which are an important part of our daily prayer life. If we have become part of God's family by Christ's atonement at Calvary, God is also our Father and we are His children.

Our Heavenly Father makes adequate provision for our personal needs. Philippians 4:19 assures us with this promise: But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Take special notice that this precious promise does not say that God will supply a few of your needs. It clearly states that all your needs will be supplied. Today, Christians can be easily upset when they allow themselves to fret about the economy or other personal or worldly concerns. We live in a world that is not stable. Our futures are dim if they are dependent upon the world. Matthew 6:25-34 teaches us to rest in the daily provision of our Heavenly Father.

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (Matthew 6:25).

The Lord wants you to let your requests be known, but never to allow your daily needs to become a worry. From Matthew 6, you should understand that you need to seek God's will in your life and not worry about your needs because He will take care of you. Psalm 37:4 is a reminder that God not only provides your needs but will even supply the desires of your heart when you delight yourself in Him: Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Therefore, be continually encouraged in your prayer life. Your Heavenly Father hears your petitions, and He desires to provide exceedingly above anything you might hope or ask.
The Early History of Prayer

This lesson briefly surveys the Old and New Testaments for models and examples of prayer.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Identify examples of prayer found in the Old and New Testaments
Explain how those examples serve as guides and models for our prayer life



Old Testament history. In the Old Testament, prayer was a vital force in the lives of God's people. Many instances of prayer are given in the Old Testament. Private prayers were offered by Abraham (Genesis 18:23-32), Jacob (Genesis 32:9), Gideon (Judges 6:13, 22, 36, and 39), Hannah (1 Samuel 1), David (2 Samuel 7:18, Psalm 55:17), Ezra (Ezra 9:5-6), and many others. The Lord said to Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:14, If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

The Old Testament also records several instances of public prayers. A prayer of confession made by the priest for Israel was included on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:21). Among those who prayed publicly in the Old Testament were Joshua (Joshua 7:6-9), David (1 Chronicles 29:10-19), and Solomon (2 Chronicles 6:12-42). Having gathered Israel at Carmel to challenge the false prophets and their false gods, Elijah prayed: Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. (1 Kings 18:37).

Various postures were taken during prayer. Numbers 16:22 describes Moses and Aaron: "And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?" Before the captain of the Lord's host, Joshua prayed, "And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?" (Joshua 5:14). First Kings records two prayers of Solomon. The first is found in 1 Kings 8:22, "And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven:" The second one is found in 1 Kings 8:54, "And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven."

A new period in the history of prayer was brought about by the Exile. Punishment drove God's people to seek Him more earnestly than ever before. The private prayer lives of such men as Ezra (Ezra 7:27), Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:4), and Daniel (Daniel 6:10) began to reveal the importance that private prayer held in an individual's prayer life. At this particular point in the history of prayer, confession of sin had a vital place in daily prayer (Nehemiah 1:4-11; Daniel 9:4-19).

New Testament history. Jesus himself provided much of the New Testament teaching on prayer in the Gospels. He also provided the best personal examples of prayer. He arose early in the morning to pray (Mark 1:35). He sometimes prayed all night (Luke 6:12). Often, He went to a mountain to pray (Matthew 14:23 and Mark 6:46).

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; (Luke 18:1). In response to a disciple's request, "Lord, teach us to pray," Jesus gave the model prayer (Luke 11:2-4) with some additional instructions concerning the value of persistence (Luke 11:5-10). Christ taught that prayer is like the request of a child to his father (Matthew 6: 8; 7: 11), and is subject to the Father's will (1 John 5:14). We learn that our prayers should be addressed to the Father in Christ's name. We are reminded in John 15:7 that if we are living in accord with Christ, we will want the same things He wants and our prayers will be in harmony with the Father's will.
A Prayerful Response: From Faith to Confession

A Christian's prayerful response to the true and living God includes faith, worship, confession, adoration, praise, thanksgiving, and dedicated action. This lesson discusses the first three of these responses.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Identify and describe three important responses to God through prayer
Memorize 1 John 1:9



Vocabulary
awesome Causing a feeling of great wonder and reverence inspired by anything of great beauty, majesty, or power.
Vocab Arcade

Faith. The book of Hebrews tells us the definition of faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. If we look further into the chapter, we find that it is impossible to please God without faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. The Bible affirms that God not only acted awesomely in history, but also spoke truthfully and faithfully through the prophets and the apostles. God inspired these men to inform His people about Himself, His redemptive plan, and the importance of prayer. The Bible is not merely the testimony of prayerful men to God, but also God's gracious disclosure of Himself to men, women, and children everywhere. The most meaningful prayer comes from the heart of a sincere, honest person who trusts in God and believes His Word.

Our words in prayer commit us personally to God. Because of the inseparability of words from the one who utters them, Jesus said men would be judged for their words (Matthew 12:33-37). Words disclose both what is good and what is evil in man.

God's words through His spokesmen indicate His innermost nature. One who trusts in the Word of God has true information that God is love (1 John 4:8), that God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 John 1:5), and that God never lies (Titus 1:2).

With the Psalmist David we can confidently address the Lord, O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come. (Psalm 65:2).

Through the Bible God Himself speaks to us; in turn, we speak to God in prayer. The Holy Spirit inspired the Bible to be received by faith as the Word of a personal God to individual men. God wrote the Bible to speak to you. Prayer is your response to God, Who has acted in history, and has spoken the truth in all things. What a privilege we have as Christians to receive word from God and to speak directly to Him.

The Holy Spirit helps us to understand what we read in the Word of God. Because the Holy Spirit has chosen to work side by side with the living and written Word, prayer is often associated with the Word in the New Testament. The Apostles devoted themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4). Doors would open to the ministry of the Word as Christians prayed (Colossians 4:3 and 2 Thessalonians 3:1). Everything that God created is good. For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:5).

The Holy Spirit has chosen to evoke our response of faith in God through His Word, the Bible. Faith, then, becomes a very essential element in our daily prayer life. Jesus used a good example to help illustrate this fact in Mark 9:23-24, when He healed a man's son. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. The Scripture goes on to tell us the father's response: And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. The Gospel of John uses the verb to believe over ninety times. John wrote these words concerning our life of prayerful fellowship with the Father through faith in the Son: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31).

A Christian who is double-minded or doubts God will be unstable in every part of his prayer life. If you have the wisdom of God's Word, you will ask in faith, according to His word, and receive from God what you ask. Jesus explained it this way in John 15:7-11:

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father�s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

A confident prayer life is built upon the chief cornerstone of Jesus Christ and the words as spoken by the prophets and apostles in the inspired Word of God. When we read God's Word and fully believe what it says, our faith grows; we are more willing to pray and more likely to pray effectively.
Worship. A spirit-born response to the Lord God starts not only in faith but also in authentic worship. When we worship God, we recognize that He is the Creator of all things; therefore, we should give Him our highest respect. With the teaching of the Word of God as our guide, we set our values in accord with reality. We must believe that God is the Almighty Creator. He is so exalted that the heavens cannot contain Him. Yet, He is not far from any one of us. We are told that in His presence the angels hide their faces: And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. (Isaiah 6:3). Though He is the Creator, He wants to hear from us and will answer all our prayers.

Prayer is much more than making a list of the things we need or want. When we are before God, we must recognize the comparative insignificance of all other persons and things. God is worthy of all our praise, adoration, and worship. When we pray, we should thank and praise God before we even ask for anything.

Confession. Our personal awareness of God's holiness should lead to a consciousness of sinfulness in our lives. After seeing the Lord God high and lifted up in the Temple, the prophet Isaiah cried out to the Lord. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. (Isaiah 6:5). After he had committed adultery and murder, David said that all sin is ultimately against God. Through Jesus Christ the believer has an advocate with the Heavenly Father to plead his case because of Christ's own death on the cross. John wrote, My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our�s only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2).

Confession of our sins is made directly to the great High Priest (Jesus Christ) Who freely forgives those who trust Him. God has promised in His Word that He will forgive any and every sin that we commit when we confess--or agree with God that it was sin. 1 John 1:9 illustrates this fact:
Memory Verse:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
A Prayerful Response: From Adoration to Surrender

This lesson considers four more right responses to God, communicated through prayer

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Identify and describe four important responses to God through Prayer
Memorize 1 Thessalonians 5:18



Vocabulary
fervent Showing warmth of feeling; very earnest.
temporal Lasting for a time only; of this life only.
Vocab Arcade



Adoration. The Biblical revelation of God does not stop with His power and holiness, but adds His unmerited love. God is love and He has demonstrated His love in the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16). A supreme requirement from God is to love Him completely: Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (Matthew 22:37). Love should find expression in our lives in both actions and words. Prayers without actions are hollow; actions without prayer are vain or empty. Prayer is an opportunity to express genuine love for God. Prayer is more than just reflection; it is communion with God.

Adoration of God includes reverence, awe, and humility before Him. With a longing that burns within one's heart, adoration grows into a deep love for Jesus Christ. It is impossible to have adoration for God without loving Him. Without adoration, all the daily activities one performs have no meaning; they are performed only out of a sense of duty. God wants us to experience His presence in everything we do.

Praise. The natural outgrowth of our worship, confession, and adoration is praise to the Heavenly Father. A person naturally speaks well of someone he knows or highly esteems or loves. We praise and honor the person who does something for us that brings joy to our lives. The person that we respect and love above all others naturally receives our highest praise or acclamation. An enthusiastic word and song can express our admiration for God.

Praising God gives glory to God for who He is. Try offering up a prayer of praise to the Lord. Do not thank Him for His blessings, but proclaim His goodness and His power. Examples of praise can be found throughout the Bible but especially in the book of Psalms. O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee? (Psalm 89:8). Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. (Psalm 48:1).

God is worthy of all our praise. The Psalmist David proclaimed in Psalm 150:2, Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. David also praised God for His judgments and laws. Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments. (Psalm 119:164). God's people should give authentic praise for God Himself and for His marvelous works and mighty words. Praise that is sincere comes from the heart and is what God desires from us. If we are not sincere in our praise and honor to Him, He does not want our praise. When we consider all the good things God does for us, whether they are great things or small things, God is worthy of all our praise.
Read Romans 15:10-12.
Memory Verse:

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Thanksgiving. When we confess our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we have a special love in our hearts and a praise that develops into a thanksgiving to the Lord. Out of our praise to God comes thanksgiving for His goodness to us. The hearts of the Old Testament saints were led to give thanks to God even as we feel led to do so today. Some men, such as Abraham, Moses, Daniel, Isaiah, David, and Job loved God from the heart and praised and gave thanks to God for His wonderful goodness and divine mercy to them. In Daniel 2:23, Daniel prayed, I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king�s matter.

Now, through Jesus Christ, we are the people of the living God Himself. Jesus came into the world in order that the Gentiles (you and I) might glorify God for His mercy. Romans 15:10-12 says, And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. Our hearts should continually be thankful for the blessings God bestows upon us and for His divine mercy in our lives.

Each of us deserves condemnation; according to God's justice, none of us is entitled to God's grace. However, in mercy, He forgives our iniquities, and in grace He gives us temporal and eternal blessings. Unthankfulness toward God marks the ungodly life (Romans 1:21). Believers, on the other hand, live with praises and thanksgiving daily in their lives. God has been at work in their lives for their benefit. He provides the believer strength, guidance, peace, joy, hope, and faith in Him. When a person has these blessings of God in his life, he has something to be thankful for and should daily thank and praise the Lord. In everything, the child of God should give thanks as expressed in Colossians 3:17, And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Paul instructed us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Surrender. When the above attitudes (faith, worship, confession, adoration, praise, and thanksgiving) are present in the Christian's life, they find expression in what he says and does. Prayer allows us to temporarily withdraw from the world as Jesus did. Prayer results in renewed strength for the Christian, enabling him to minister in the world around him. Jesus' life was a perfect example of how surrendering to the Father's will can accomplish much good here on earth, yet Jesus found it necessary to get away from His disciples and the multitudes for personal renewal through prayer. Christ's example in prayer not only motivates us to withdraw from society to pray, but clearly teaches us to serve the needy in a spirit of prayer. Jesus wept in compassionate prayer for Jerusalem, yet He went into that same city to be condemned. Those who minister for Christ are more successful when they follow Christ's example of prayer. Genuine prayer should not lead us to inactivity, but should be the springboard for our Christian involvement. Prayer is our source of courage and productivity. The apostle Paul sought, with everything that was within him, to preach the Gospel of deliverance to the first century world, but his fervent prayer life was the key to an effective ministry.

Response to God involves the whole person--the heart, soul, and mind. Our prayer life with God requires the alert attention of the mind. We have to give God our total attention without distractions. The best worship comes from a response to God's character. Starting with faith, we move towards confession, adoration, praise, thanksgiving, and finally, surrender. All these responses are aided by our reflection upon varied passages of Scripture from the Word of God.
The Request in Prayer

Just as prayers of response spring from love for God, prayers of request arise from love for men. Our prayers have to be motivated by our love for God. When the content of our prayers is motivated by love and confidence in God, we can rest assured that confirmation is on the way. God knows what we need before we pray, but sometimes our prayers are unanswered because of hindrances to praying. However, if we are genuine in our prayers they will be effective and we will get results.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Understand how to ask for the right things in the right way in prayer
Explain why we can be confident that God has heard our prayers and will answer them



Vocabulary
compelling Something that is commanding, or a driving force.
iniquity Very great injustice; wickedness.
intercessory Making a request of God for another.
irrespective Without regard to something else.
omniscient Knowing everything; having complete or infinite knowledge.
preoccupied Absorbed in thought.
Vocab Arcade

Motivation. Paul wrote about prayer that is not motivated by love. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-2).Without love, our prayers are empty and meaningless; without prayer, love is unfulfilled.

Content. Christians should pray in love for the most urgent needs of man and nations. Compassion for the lost led the apostle Paul to write in Romans 10:1, Brethren, my heart�s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. We, as Christians, need that same compassion in our lives. Compassion leads believers to plead with the Lord to send workers to help evangelize and teach the world (Matthew 9:36-38). Prayer is offered in love, as Jesus offered loving prayer for children in Matthew 19:13: Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. Even when people use us wrongly, Jesus told us in Matthew 5:44, But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Paul told us in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Rather than tearing down the reputation of a brother who is thought to be weak in knowledge of God's Word, fruit bearing, or strength, we as Christians should pray for our brother. The apostle Paul prayed for the Colossians:

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; (Colossians 1:9-11).

The content of our prayers should be for others before we ever ask for ourselves.

Jesus interceded in prayer for His friends, His enemies, His disciples, and for those who would become His disciples. He prayed that those who had received His words would be sanctified (purified) by the truth of the Word, kept from the evil one in the world, and consecrated in the truth. He prayed also for their unity with one another and their love for one another. Jesus prayed that the world might know that God sent Him into the world for their sins and that God loved them as He loved His Son (John 17). The Lord taught His followers to pray for the fulfillment of the Heavenly Father's will on earth as it is in heaven, for the establishment of His kingdom, for the supply of necessary daily food, for the forgiveness of sins that stand in the way of the realization of His purposes, for deliverance from further temptations, and for the final triumph of God over all evil (Matthew 6:7-15). If we will follow Christ's example and teaching on the content of prayer, our prayer life will be more fulfilling.
Confidence. Do you sometimes hesitate to bring your needs to God because you think that He is preoccupied with greater concerns such as keeping the stars in place and sending the rains to water the crops? Although God sustains the galaxies, He considers each person as having great value. The quarterback of a championship football team is no less concerned about his infant son because his child is smaller than fellow team members. He loves that son more than the team, and that is the way God is with each of us each day. The God Who sees the sparrow fall also hears the requests of each of His children. He neither slumbers nor sleeps. Jesus said,

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:9-11).

Fathers, who have a sinful nature, give good things to fulfill their children's needs. Our Heavenly Father, who is righteous, will surely provide for us better than our earthly fathers ever could. As children of God, we can have confidence that God will answer our prayers and supply our needs.

Confirmation. Prayer is communication between a person and God. Prayer is not a relationship between impersonal objects such as wood and stone but between man and a living God. Prayer involves all of our personal wishes, commitments, understanding, and will; however, prayer is not a means of compelling God to do our bidding. We do not command God to do anything, but we can ask Him and be assured that He will answer. Our requests may not be granted, but God will answer every time. Often He will say "No" for our own benefit, but He will definitely answer our every request. Those who care for us often say "No" or "Not yet" as well as "Yes." So it is reasonable to expect God to answer the same way in our lives.

We read in the book of Daniel that Daniel had to wait 21 days for an answer to one of his prayers.

Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. (Daniel 10:12-13).

The answer to your prayer may not come immediately, but be assured that God has heard you, and will answer.

How can we know that God has heard our requests and accepted them? Assurance arises not from manipulating circumstances but from knowing the true and living God. Because we know Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we can feel confident that He has heard our requests. We can be assured that God hears, accepts, and answers our prayers, because He cares for His children.
Read: Numbers 14:11-20 and 1 Samuel 7:3-11

Foreknowledge. In Matthew 6:8 Jesus said, Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. If God already knows all about these needs before we ask Him, then why pray? Obviously, the purpose of prayer is not to tell God what he does not know. Unlike others to whom you bring requests, God is omniscient; he knows everything. God desires to give us good gifts but will not force His gifts on an unwilling or unreceptive person. God sends the rain as well as the sunshine upon both the righteous and unrighteous. But His higher and greater gifts are never forced upon us; therefore, we must ask God for our needs and the blessings He wants to give His children.

God can do whatever He wills and desires in the way that He chooses. He has chosen to do certain things for us irrespective of human conditions. However, there are other things that He has determined to give only in answer to sincere requests. God's purpose for us remains unchanged, but our reaction to that purpose changes. God's action towards us seems to change when we receive Christ as personal Savior because we begin to understand His plan.

We find numerous cases in God's Word where intercessory prayer made a significant difference in a man or woman's life. The Israelites who murmured and complained did not believe or trust God; therefore, God was ready to disinherit them. In Numbers 14:19-20 Moses prayed, Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now. And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word: Later, the Israelites suffered at the hands of the mighty Philistines, and the prophet Samuel asked them to repent and to put away their foreign gods.

Every time the Israelites worshiped other gods in place of the true and living God, they suffered loss and defeat. When they destroyed their false gods, Baal and Ashtaroth, Samuel prayed for them. The Philistines again started to attack, and the prophet offered a sacrifice to the Lord:

And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the LORD: and Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him. And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel. (1 Samuel 7:9-10).

Clearly God chose to work in a time of need, but not before prayer had been offered by some sincere leaders. Later, God was displeased because there was no one to intervene or intercede in prayer for Israel (Isaiah 59:16).

Often, your parents know the answers to the requests you make before you ask them. For instance, when you have a bad cold with a fever and a cough, your mother sets out the proper medicine, a drink of water, and other items that will help you sleep more comfortably, knowing that during the night you will need all of these things. When you cry, cough, or call, your mother comes to your bedside, ready to tend to your needs with the preparations she had laid out to help you rest more comfortably through the night.

In the same way, God had already anticipated our prayers before the foundation of the world. He has built into the very structure of the universe the answers to our prayers. God knows that we will pray and that our prayers will be of a spontaneous manner as is your call for your mother when you are sick. The God who took the sins of His people into account before the Creation and planned the cross also took the requests of His people into account and prepared the answers. God had a foreknowledge of what we were in need of spiritually and provided a way whereby our lives could be spiritually full.
The Nature of Sin

Before you can understand why salvation is needed, you must first understand what you must be saved from. In this lesson, you will study the nature of sin and the universality of sin. Sin is defined as a lack of conformity to the moral law of God. To properly understand this definition, you will need to study the nature of sin. As you examine the Biblical teaching concerning sin, you will be able to see that sin is both an outward act and an inward motive or thought.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Define sin
Describe the relationship between outward actions and inward motives
Identify the consequence of sin



Vocabulary
conformity Action in accordance with a standard or authority.
inclination A tendency to a particular action or characteristic.
motive Thought, reason, or feeling that makes a person act.
natural Inborn trait or character.
salvation Rescue from the power and effects of sin.
self-determination Free choice of one's own acts.
transgression Act of going beyond the set limit; sin.
Vocab Arcade




Read 1 John 3:4.

An outward act. The first five books in the Bible teach that God gave man certain laws to obey. Adam and Eve were given complete freedom to roam the garden and to enjoy all the fruit of the trees in the garden but one--the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Have you ever wondered why God gave the first man and woman a choice when there was a possibility that they could fail? You must first realize that God never intended to create a robot, a person who can do only what he is told. Rather, the Bible tells us God created man in His image and gave him a will to choose. God then placed a tree in the garden that provided Adam and Eve with the responsibility of choice, a choice to obey His command by not eating of the tree, or to disobey His command by eating of the tree. Biblical history reveals that they chose to disobey. They committed an outward act of sin--they failed to conform to God's command.

The apostle John wrote in 1 John 3:4, Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. Failure to conform to God's law may also be defined as transgressing God's law. Any outward act by man that fails to conform to God's commandments is also a transgression of God's law and is a sin against God.
Read 1 John 5:17, Romans 14:23, and James 4:17.

An inward motive. Study carefully these three statements about sin. What do they suggest?

1. All unrighteousness is sin.
2. Whatever is not of faith is sin.
3. If you know to do good, and don't do it, that is sin.

These statements all suggest that sin is not limited to an outward act. Today we hear preached that sin is adultery, stealing, murder, lying, and so forth. Therefore, many people have an incomplete view of sin. They believe sin is only the act, not the motive. However, a brief study of Matthew 5:21-48, will give us a clearer understanding of the nature of sin. In this portion of Scripture, Jesus teaches that sin is not restricted to an outward act, but also includes an inward motive or thought: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:28).

Study the following diagram to understand the nature of sin.

All sin, whether an inward motive or thought, or an outward action, produces the same result--death. The Bible presents the relationship between sin and death in Romans 5:12: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Because of the original sin of Adam and Eve, every person born into this world has a natural inclination to disobey God's command. In each person is the self-determination to purposefully and willfully sin. Ephesians 2:3 states that all of us are sinners by nature. This verse instructs us that all are born with a desire and tendency toward sin and away from God.
The Universality of Sin

In this lesson, you will learn about the total effect of sin. Romans 3:23 states, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; You will also see that everyone is faced with a personal choice. Romans 10:13 declares, For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Identify effects of sin
Identify those affected by sin
Memorize Romans 3:23



Vocabulary
lament To cry out in grief.
saved Rescued or delivered from sin.
Vocab Arcade


Read Romans 5:12, Romans 6:23, John 3:16

Total effect of sin. Consider the extent to which sin affected the human race. Did sin remain with Adam and Eve, or was it passed down from generation to generation, affecting everyone since Adam? If the effects of Adam's and Eve's transgression spread no further than themselves, we would have no need of Christ and no sin from which to be saved. However, if the effects of sin have touched all generations, including ours today, then an urgent need exists for everyone to experience a personal salvation through Jesus Christ. The New Testament book of Romans, Chapter 3:10-31, goes to great lengths to explain the why of salvation.

Study the following diagram to understand the path of sin:

Original sin was not limited to our first parents. It was passed on to all of Adam's children, spreading throughout the entire human race. Consequently, each person has inherited a nature that will manifest itself by sinning. This inherited nature is bent toward excluding God and following selfish desires, rather than submitting in obedience to Him.
Read John 5:47; 2 Peter 3:9; John 3:16.
Memory Verse:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23)

Personal choice. Universal sin shows itself in the personal choices every person makes. We are sinners not just because we sin; rather, we sin because we are sinners. Jesus summarized the problem by telling us that what goes into the mouth does not defile or pollute us, but rather what comes out of our mouth does. Why is this statement true? It is true because whatever comes out of the mouth reveals the true state of the heart. Sin will reveal itself wherever we allow ourselves to relax God's standards and to do whatever comes naturally--sin is natural for the fallen man. Sin is also a barrier between God and man.

Jesus lamented the fact that His own creation rejected Him--"And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (John 5:40). This verse describes the problem--man's personal choice of refusing to allow Jesus to make his life complete. Likewise today, many reject His offer to be set free and, in reality, choose to remain slaves. You may ask, "Who is a slave?" In John 8:34, Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

Jesus taught that no person can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other.

Thus, a personal decision to receive Jesus into our lives as Lord and Savior becomes imperative. If we do not receive Jesus, then we are making our decision to serve Satan, the god of this world. The choice is ours. The Lord's desire is clear. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9).

The reality of sin and of its widespread effects upon the world are evident every day around us. Sin has polluted all of God's creation, and now a special voluntary act is required of us to be set free. Remember, the Bible encourages us in John 8:36, If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Why did Jesus die?
The Nature of Salvation

The Bible says in Proverbs 14:12, There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Today our world is desperately searching for happiness, and that pursuit follows many paths. Some people focus on a career, some on seeking fame, others focus on relationships; however, the Bible teaches that pursuing anything apart from God is both futile and sinful. Jesus made this important point quite clear. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6).

The discussion that follows considers the nature of salvation--that one and true way to God, as revealed in His word. You will learn the important role that Jesus played in the plan of salvation for your life. Later, you will learn how a person can receive salvation.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Describe the nature of Christ as our salvation



Vocabulary
atonement The reconcilation of God and man through Christ's death and payment for sin.
faith Firm belief; complete confidence; trust.
intercession Prayer, petition in favor of another person.
priest One authorized to act as mediator between God and man.
reconciliation Being restored to friendship, harmony, or communication.
Vocab Arcade




Read Matthew 13:57, Hebrews 2:17, and John 18:37

The Person of salvation. The Bible is a revelation and history of God's plan of salvation. As early as Genesis 3:15, God promised fallen man a Savior. That Savior would be Prophet, Priest, and King.

Prophet. Moses wrote about the Prophet in Deuteronomy 18:15: "The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; The writer of Acts wrote about that same Prophet in Acts 3:22-26 and identified Him as Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus referred to Himself as a prophet in Matthew 13:57.

The ministry of a prophet was to foretell future events and to tell forth the message of a Holy God to sinful men. The prophet warned men to turn from sin and to turn to God. That message was one that Jesus continued to proclaim in His ministry as a prophet. One of Jesus' many outstanding prophecies that foretold future events is recorded in Matthew 16:21: From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Priest. As God continued to reveal His great plan of salvation for sinful men, He chose Abraham and promised him that he would become the father of a nation through which the Savior would come. That promise was renewed to Isaac, Abraham's son, and to Jacob, Isaac's son.

God changed Jacob's name to Israel and made a nation of his descendants. To Israel God gave a system of worship and service. That system of worship included priests and sacrifices that were pictures of things to come. Both the priests and the sacrifices they offered to God were pictures of One who would come and offer Himself once for the sins of all men who come to God by faith. That One was Jesus Christ who became our High Priest and offered Himself as the sacrifice for our sins (Hebrews 2:17; 3:1; 4:14; and 7:25-27).

Christ executed the office of Priest by offering Himself, a sacrifice without spot, to God, providing reconciliation for the sins of His people and making continual intercession for them. The function of a priest is clearly described in Hebrews 5:1: For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: The purpose of the Old Testament priest was to stand between God and man and to offer sacrifices in relation to man's sins. Those sacrifices were expressions of faith that God would one day send the atoning sacrifice (Christ).

Jesus was the absolute and complete fulfillment of the Old Testament office of priest in both His atonement and His intercession. Concerning His atonement, Hebrews 9:14, 28 states, How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? and So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Concerning Christ's atonement, Hebrews 7:25 states, Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

King. Jesus came not only as Prophet and Priest, but also as King. God promised David that his kingdom would be an everlasting kingdom. How was that promise fulfilled? It was fulfilled by a descendant of David, Jesus Christ.

The angel Gabriel told Mary about the Son God would give her: He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:32-33). Jesus confirmed to Pilate in John 18:37 that He was King indeed.
The Process of Salvation

This lesson describes salvation in terms of processes that work themselves out in the life of a person who receives Christ.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Identify the two-fold process of change that salvation brings about in the life of a believer
Describe the two steps one must take to receive Christ
Memorize John 5:24



Vocabulary
conversion The process of changing from one belief or behavior to another.
conviction The act of acknowledging error and admitting truth.
Gospel Good news concerning Christ and salvation.
regeneration The beginning of eternal life, which comes to the believer at the moment of faith.
repentance A turning from sin to God.
ridicule To make fun of.
Vocab Arcade


Read John 3:3-4, Acts 3:19.

Two parts of salvation. The process of salvation includes both regeneration and conversion. The word regeneration means to be born again. Regeneration is the new eternal life the believer receives at the moment of faith. It is not the old life reformed, but a new life implanted the moment we receive Jesus by faith (John 1:12; 14:6; and 1 John 5:12). Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:4: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Regeneration is the beginning of new life. Conversion is the process of change one experiences as that new life grows. The word conversion means a change in direction. Paul taught the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that the man in Christ (conversion) is a new creature, that old things passed away and new things have come (regeneration). Conversion is that process by which the Christian comes to Christ and regeneration is the process of putting off the old man (the old sinful nature) and putting on the new man (the new life in Christ).
RECEIVING SALVATION


Read Acts 16:30-31, Matthew 4:17, and Acts 20:21.
Memory Verse:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24)

Salvation comes only through personal faith in Christ. This faith is expressed in repentance.

Repentance. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to bring conviction of sin--to convince the sinner that he needs forgiveness of and salvation from sin. Conviction can be defined as being convinced of what is right, or, from another angle, as being proven guilty. When an unbeliever experiences true conviction over his sinfulness, he shows great sorrow for sin and desires to turn from it. He is now ready to repent. Repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of direction. By sin, the sinner turns from God. By repentance, he turns away from sin. By faith in Jesus Christ, he turns to God.

Jesus preached repentance. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17). He gathered around Him twelve men, trained them, and sent them out on a mission with that same message of repentance. After Christ ascended to heaven, Peter and Paul continued spreading the Word. At Pentacost, Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38). When Paul met with the Ephesian elders at Miletus (Acts 20:21), he reminded them that his message among them to both Jews and Greeks had been Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith. On the apostle Paul's second missionary journey, Paul and his missionary companion Silas were persecuted because of their good work. A certain young girl was possessed by a demon and had certain powers. When Paul and Silas released her from demon possession, they angered those who had profited from her trouble. Paul and Silas were thrown into prison after public ridicule and a beating. At midnight, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God, and the other prisoners heard them. Suddenly, a great earthquake shook the very foundations of the prison, and the doors of the prison were opened.

When the prison keeper awakened and saw the prison doors open, he was so afraid that he started to take his own life. Paul called to him and told him not to harm himself because all the prisoners were still there.

The prison keeper asked Paul and Silas, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" To this question they replied, And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31). They explained the Gospel to the prison keeper and encouraged him to have faith in Jesus--to rely upon Him, to trust in Him.

The jailer had come to realize his need of salvation. This realization is the ultimate place to which each individual must come before God will give the new birth. Jesus spoke to the religious leaders of the day. When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Mark 2:17).

Until one realizes his need of Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior, he has no hope of salvation. Money cannot buy it, social position cannot achieve it--faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to receive eternal life. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Help Farmer Frank answer questions about sin and salvation.
The Results of Salvation: Forgiveness

In previous sections, you learned that the Bible is the revelation of God's plan of salvation. You considered why man needs salvation--because of sin. You found out how salvation can be experienced--though personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. In this section, you willlearn about the results of salvation: forgiveness of sin, growth in grace, and assurance of salvation.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Identify the basis for God's forgiveness of sin
Memorize I Peter 2:24




Read Acts 13:38, Romans 3:23, and Colossians 1:14.
Memory Verse:

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

Man is sinful. Earlier, you studied the universality of sin--For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23). Sin is the transgressing (breaking) of God's law. The Bible teaches that all unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17); whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23); and even knowing to do good, and not doing it, is sin (James 4:17). Since the fall of the first man, Adam, sin has been present in every human being, except Jesus Christ. The writer of Ecclesiastes wrote, For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

The result of sin is death. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23). The word death means separation. Physical death is separation from the body. Spiritual death is separation from God. Sin brought to man both physical death and spiritual death. God is holy and cannot look upon sin, so it separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). Until one's sins are forgiven, he is separated from God; he is spiritually dead.

God is holy. God is without sin; He is completely righteous--full of right. He is true in His being and just in His dealings, and he holds mankind to the same standard--But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;(1 Peter 1:15). Apart from God, man is sinful and cannot be holy. Being just, God must punish sin.

God is merciful. God is holy and just, but He is alsoloving and merciful. He so loved the world that He chose to take the punishment for sin Himself by having His Son die for us (John 3:16). Through Christ's death, God demonstrated His love to us and provided our salvation. Jesus took the punishment for man's sin--Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (1 Peter 2:24). God provided a way for mankind to live forever with Him--by faith in Jesus Christ, In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Colossians 1:14).
The Results of Salvation: Growth in Grace

"[Grace is] the greatest unused resource in all the world. It is the wealth of God's kindness, the riches of his mercy; the soothing ointment of his forgiveness; the free and undeserved, but lavishly offered hope of eternal life. Grace is what we crave when we are guilt-laden. Grace is what we must have when we come to die. Grace is our only ray of hope when the future darkens over with storm clouds of fear."

--John Piper*

*From "Grow in Grace and in the Knowledge of Our Lord," June 20, 1982: By John Piper. Desiring God. Website: www.desiringGod.org. Used by permission.



Not only does God want us to experience forgiveness of sin by faith in Christ but to have victory over sin and to grow in His grace. Paul addresses those who have been forgiven in Romans 6:12-13:

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

As Piper's quote above beautifully expresses, growth in grace means constantly remembering and enjoying who God is, what he has done for us in spite of our sin, and why we have hope and purpose as a result. The better a Christian understands grace, the stronger he grows and the hope he has infects the lives of others. God uses the disciplines of Bible reading, praying, worshiping, and witnessing in our lives to help us grow in God's grace.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Identify means by which we can grow in grace






Read 1 Peter 2:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Hebrews 10:25, Matthew 10:32.

Bible reading. Studying God's Word and practicing, or doing, what is learned has always been a necessary activity among God's people. God gave His law to Israel at Sinai, preparing His people for entry into the Promised Land. God said to them through Moses: And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7 and 17).

Concerning the reading of God's Word, Joshua said, This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8). Job said, Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. (Job 23:12). The Psalmist wrote, Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalm 119:11). Jeremiah said, Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16). Jesus spoke of the importance of His Word. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4). Peter wrote, But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18) and As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (1 Peter 2:2). To grow in grace, we must read God's Word daily.

Praying. The life of Jesus on earth was characterized by prayer. Sometimes He prayed all night. Often He rose early and went up into a mountain to pray. He taught His disciples to pray. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and he encouraged the Philippians to pray about everything (Philippians 4:6). To grow in grace, we must pray continually.

Worshiping. Worshiping God is part of His purpose for His people. From Abraham's altar, the Tabernacle in the wilderness, Solomon's Temple, and the teaching in the New Testament, we see that God made man to worship Him. Jesus said, God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24). The writer of Hebrews wrote, Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25). To grow in grace, we must worship regularly.

Witnessing. We witness, or tell the Gospel, both by our lives and with our words. In Mark 1:17, And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. He said also in Matthew 10:32, Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. People are watching how you live--your parents, brothers, sisters, friends, and acquaintances. Will they see you living a life that is pleasing to the Lord? Will they hear you say things that testify of your faith in God? To grow in grace, we must witness faithfully.
Justice as God's Nature

The first aspect of God's character to be explored is the attribute of justice or rightness; that is, God is good and always does what is right. God governs His entire creation through the divine administration of perfect justice. God created the world and established the laws that rule it. He is the governor and ruler of the world. The Bible tells us that The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. (Psalm 145:17). Psalm 89:14 says, Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

By carefully working through the discussion that follows, you will come to better understand the meaning of justice. You will see God's justice in his work in creation and in his plan to redeem mankind from sin. You will have a clearer picture of the relationship between God's justice and His love, and between your sin and His plan of salvation.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Define the term justice
Identify ways in which God's justice manifests itself in society



Vocabulary
administration Management of governmental affairs.
distributive Giving a proper share.
judicial Having to do with judges, laws, and courts.
Vocab Arcade


Read Romans 3:21-28.

Genesis 18:25 asks, That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Again we read in Psalm 11:7, For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright. From these two Old Testament Scriptures, we can begin to understand that justice, as an attribute of God, is found throughout the Scriptures. However, it is necessary that we understand the ethical use of the term justice before we can fully grasp the Biblical use of the word.

Meaning of justice. While the term justice is often used today to mean "fairness," or "getting what one deserves," true justice also carries with it a commitment to what is right and true as defined by God's laws. In human relationships, justice works itself out in law which demands that every person respect the rights of life, property, and reputation. Justice also calls man to recognize that this responsibility is part of his larger duty toward God. Charity or love is an obligation of justice. In Romans 13:8 we read, Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Justice also carries the responsibility of public administration. Our courts illustrate this aspect in due process of law. Where laws are carried out in our courts, we can see the equal distribution of justice. The judicial function of any government must remain within its limits and use judicial powers to protect life, property, reputation, and social order.

Aspects of justice. Justice in our society is only an extension of divine justice. God has given us the responsibility of governing our society according to laws. In Romans 13:1-2 we read, Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. From this verse, we learn that those who are in positions of leadership are there because God has ordained, or established them.

The justice carried out in our courts is not perfect. To make their decisions, judges and juries must weigh the evidence. Lawyers can make persuasive arguments, convincing a jury that a defendant is innocent even when he is guilty or guilty when he is innocent. Only God possesses the ability to look into someone's heart. Only God, because His very nature is just, can administer absolute or perfect justice.
The Age of the Apostles
This lesson briefly surveys the Age of the Apostles, identifying the men and movements that God used to shape the early church.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Identify the leaders and key events of the Age of the Apostles



Vocabulary
essence The most important quality of a thing.
persecution Organized oppression, usually by government-imposed penalties.
traditions Stories about church leaders based on little or no evidence.
zealous Enthusiastic.
Vocab Arcade



Much of what we know about early church history is obtained through the writings of a man named Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian who died around A.D. 100. His writings are important because they give details of Jewish history during the first century of the Christian era. The history of the church in the following two centuries was recorded by Eusebius of Caesarea (A.D. 265-339). He is known as the "father of church history." His many writings have preserved for us the accounts of the beginning and development of the church.

Josephus' Writings and Their Relationship to the New Testament

For the first seventy years, the essence of the church organization and Christian worship was simple. The church had little social influence and no elaborate church buildings. The Christians met for worship wherever they could, often in private homes. By the end of the first century, the Gospel had been carried far from its starting point. No amount of persecution could stop the preaching of Christ.

On the Day of Pentecost, Peter preached repentance, baptism, and the resurrection of Christ. Three thousand were saved that day. Beginning at Jerusalem, the Apostles spread the Christian faith far and wide.

Peter. Peter was one of the first great leaders in the early church and was an Apostle mainly to the Jews. Active, eager, and impulsive, Peter remained in Jerusalem for many years after Pentecost. He then traveled to great cities in the Roman Empire. He was martyred around A.D. 68. Legend has it that Peter was crucified head down, because he did not feel himself worthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Master, Jesus Christ.

John. John, the son of Zebedee, was the author of five New Testament books: the Gospel of John; First, Second, and Third John; and Revelation. As an early church leader, John preached in Ephesus and was later exiled to the island of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation. Tradition states that he was the only one of the Apostles to die a natural death. Although his Epistles contain many stern words, John was known as the Apostle of love.

Thomas. Another Apostle, Thomas, once doubted the resurrection of Jesus. Later he helped to spread the Gospel in Parthia and then into India. Tradition tells us he was martyred in India.

Paul. The first missionary of the church was Saul of Tarsus, or Paul as he was also known. He was present at the stoning of Stephen where he held the coats of the executioners. Saul was a zealous Pharisee who persecuted the Christians, but he was converted in a dramatic experience on the road to Damascus about A.D. 35. He preached throughout the Roman Empire, perhaps as far west as Spain.

As a result of his zeal to spread the gospel, Paul was arrested at the Temple in Jerusalem by his enemies and was put into prison for two years. Later, in A.D. 59, he was taken to Rome for trial and was put under house arrest for another two years (Acts 27:28). While Paul was in Rome, he wrote four of his Epistles. Later, he was in prison again in Rome where he wrote his Second Epistle to Timothy. He was executed about A.D. 64 during the persecution under Nero. Paul was known primarily as an Apostle to the Gentiles and spread the faith in Asia Minor, in Greece, and in the Latin West. Paul is probably the greatest figure in the early church.

The message of the Apostles was basically the same (1 Corinthians 15:1-11). The Apostles preached the reality of sin, that men were lost, that Jesus was the Savior, and that the resurrection proved Jesus to be what He claimed to be--the Son of God. These men pointed out the miracles He had performed and gave examples of persons whose lives had been changed by Christ. Eighteen years after the resurrection, the disciples were accused of causing trouble. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; (Acts 17:6).
The Age of the Church Fathers

The age of the church fathers represents the initial period of the church following the death of the Apostles. This age is a formative period when the bishops of many of the early Christian communities served as a hinge between the Apostles and the apologists. To understand the scope of this period, this portion of our study will deal with the church fathers themselves, their theological contributions, and the state of the New Testament canon during this age.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

List important church fathers and describe their work
Describe how the church fathers contributed to the canon of Scripture



Vocabulary
apologists Men who wrote to defend Christianity.
bishop Title of the early pastors or ministers who had jurisdiction over churches within a diocese.
canon The Bible, either Old Testament or New Testament.
degeneration The process of growing worse or deteriorating.
dogmatism The positive assertion of one's opinion.
heresy Beliefs contrary to Biblical or church teaching.
martyrdom Death for one's faith.
Vocab Arcade



The church fathers. The title "church fathers" can refer to either the men who wrote the first Christian literature or to their writings. Little is known of these believers in Christ apart from their writings. For this reason, the men are linked closely to their works.

Clement was the bishop of Rome from A.D. 92 to 101. Tertullian later stated that Clement knew the apostle Peter. Clement may have been the chief of a number of bishops in Rome at that time. These leaders were a group of overseers over that specific church.

Little is known of this man whom the Roman Catholics claim as the fourth pope. Clement's writings dealt with a situation in Corinth in which the people had dismissed several of the church leaders on uncertain grounds. Clement wrote to show his disapproval of such action.

Ignatius was the bishop of the church at Antioch. Ignatius is well remembered for his zealous fight against heresy. He changed his surname to Theophoros, which means "God-bearer."

On his way to Rome, Ignatius wrote letters to the churches of Ephesus, Magesia, Tralles, Smyrna, Philadelphia, and Rome. He also penned a personal letter to Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna. In these letters, Ignatius placed strong emphasis on the need to recognize the authority of the officers of the church. He was martyred about A.D. 110), during the reign of Trajan. His execution is mentioned by the historian Eusebius, and some believed that he died in the arena before wild beasts.

Polycarp (A.D. 70-156) was the bishop of the church of Smyrna. He is believed to be the last survivor of those who spoke with the eyewitnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ireneaus claimed that he knew Polycarp and that the latter had been taught by the apostle John. Polycarp's martyrdom occurred in Smyrna when he refused to curse the Lord Jesus Christ, saying, "For eighty-six years, I have been his servant, and he has never done me wrong: how can I blaspheme my king who saved me?" As a result of this refusal, he was burned to death by order of the emperor of Rome.

Papias was the bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia. Very little is known of him and only fragments of his writings remain. He may have been a student of the apostle John while John was either at Ephesus or on Patmos. Papias was a Christian Jew, a zealous opponent of heresy, and the first post-apostolic writer to believe that he was in the last days.

Hermas is identified by tradition as the brother of Pius, the bishop of Rome from A.D. 141 to 146. He was a Christian Jew, and his writings shed considerable light on the activities of the Christians in Rome.

Another tradition concerning Hermas states that he had been a slave and was sold to a Christian woman named Rhoda. After becoming a Christian, he coveted wealth in business and fell away from the faith, only to repent and rejoin the church at Rome.

The theology. Although valuable to the student of the Bible and church history, the writings of the church fathers represent a degeneration from New Testament doctrine. Compared to the inspired letters of the New Testament Apostles and prophets, there is a lack of dogmatism and an overemphasis of practical matters.

Only Clement is clear on the issue of salvation. Other church fathers connect salvation with works and high ethics. Ignatius uses the term "Catholic" in referring to the church and is the first writer to do so. Most of these men held firmly to the ordinances of the church to the extent that they agreed baptism was a necessary part of salvation because it had the power to wash away sins.

Church History (The Church Fathers)

The canon. From A.D. 70 to 170, the New Testament books were separately circulated throughout the churches. The major contribution made by the church fathers to the canon was their use and referral to the Gospels and to the letters of the Apostles as Scripture, inspired by God. Clement of Rome quoted from many of the Epistles. The Didache contains twenty-three quotations from Matthew and Luke alone and declares them to be divinely inspired.

To these men the inspiration of the New Testament canon was not a foregone conclusion. After some debate, the Scriptures, both the Old Testament and the New Testament, were accepted and used as a part of the worship service of that period. This discussion of the canon laid the groundwork for the formal recognition, which would come at the Council of Laodicea in A.D. 363, of what God had given to man in inspiring the New Testament.

© 2014 Glynlyon, Inc. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use
The Age of the Apologists

From A.D. 150 to 300, history records the Age of the Apologists. This age was a period of time when men of God were moved to defend the faith from enemies both within and without. As with anything that is new or different, the Christian church received much slander in the second and the third centuries.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Identify Roman emperors who actively persecuted the church during the Age of the Apologists
Identify church apologists and their accomplishments



Vocabulary
harmony (of the gospels) Blending the four Gospels into historical order.
polemicists Men who wrote to attack heresy and to discuss false teachings.
subordination To put under and make less than.
Vocab Arcade



The political situation. The Age of the Apologists was a time of very intense persecution of and prejudice against Christians. This period of church history corresponds to the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth general persecutions of the church. The period also saw some emperors, however, who tolerated and even favored believers in this new religion. One reason for the increase in persecution was the distinction made at this time between Christianity and Judaism. In the first and early second centuries, the pagan world observed little difference between the two. By A.D. 150, the great distinctions were being made clear.

Marcus Aurelius is blamed for beginning the fourth period of persecution and also with making such a bitter attack on the church that Athenagoras was moved to write his Plea for Christians (A.D. 175-76). This Roman leader is responsible for the martyrdom of Justin, the first apologist, and, according to some authorities, of Polycarp. Marcus Aurelius' reign of terror continued in the form of many local persecutions through the reigns of the next three Roman emperors.

Septimus Severus dealt harshly with the Christians around the turn of the century, causing the deaths of many believers in North Africa and Gaul. Ireneaus, bishop of Lyons, was beheaded during this period. Severus, it is believed, became favorable toward the Christians before his death, possibly providing explanation for the decrease in persecutions between A.D. 221 and 235 and later between A.D. 238 and 249.

Maximinus renewed persecution of the church, putting many of the church leaders to death. This period of intense persecution, begun in A.D. 250, extended to the reign of Diocletian.

Diocletian attempted to do away with Christians entirely. Behind the intensity of Diocletian's hatred was an attempt to blame the problems of the Roman state on the Christians.

One interesting event that demonstrates the impact that Christianity had within the Roman power structure occurred in A.D. 286. The Theban Legion, which two hundred years earlier had marched with both Titus and Hadrian to destroy Jerusalem, now consisted of 6,666 men, all of whom were Christians. Emperor Maximinus ordered this force to destroy the Christians of Gaul, and they refused to carry out the command. As punishment, every tenth man from the force was killed, and the process was repeated until all were condemned to die. The Theban Legion can be remembered for their sacrifice that delayed the murder of many believers in Gaul.
The Apologists. Because of the intense persecutions that prevailed against the Christian church and the internal and external threats that arose during this period, the church men were moved to write material to defend their faith. Apologists, seeking to gain legal recognition of Christianity, wrote to government officials. Polemicists wrote letters that attacked the numerous heresies of their day. The later apologists both defended the faith and became the first theologians of the subsequent period.

Justin Martyr (A.D. 100-165) was the first apologist. He was a native of Neapolis in Samaria and had been involved in pagan philosophies before becoming a Christian in A.D. 130. He taught at Ephesus and later opened a school in Rome. He was beheaded in A.D. 165 by orders from Marcus Aurelius.

Justin Martyr

Tatian (about A.D. 160) was a native of Assyria who had once embraced heresy. He had been a student of Justin Martyr in Rome. His writings included the earliest harmony of the four Gospels, as well as a work condemning the whole of Greek civilization as a mass of evil. Little else is known of this early writer.

Athenagoras (second century) was a native of Athens. In his Plea for Christians written to Marcus Aurelius, he defended the faith against the charges of atheism, incest, and even cannibalism. Athenagoras did a study on the resurrection of the dead in which he both refuted the objections to the doctrine and defended the belief in resurrection. Athenagoras developed an elaborate doctrine of the Trinity. He also argued for the permanence of marriage even after death.

Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150-215) was perhaps a native of Athens. He attended the doctrinal school in Alexandria and later taught there. Origen was one of his students. In A.D. 202 he was forced to flee the school for his own safety. In his doctrine he stood strong against any form of idolatry. As a result of his studies of philosophy, however, he agreed with much of the liberal doctrine.

Origen (A.D. 185-254) was both an apologist and a theologian. He was raised by Christian parents in Alexandria and led a very strict life. He went to Palestine on two occasions and on the second visit was ordained as a minister. He fled to Caesarea and during the persecutions of Decius was put into prison, surviving only a few years.

Ireneaus (A.D. 130-200) is known as the father of systematic theology. He was raised in Smyrna and in his youth he knew Polycarp and studied under him. He later studied in Rome, but details about his life and his death are uncertain.

Tertullian (A.D. 160-240) is known as the most important theologian before Augustine. He was educated at Carthage and, as an unbeliever, was a lawyer in Rome. After professing faith in Christ, he left the church and embraced false teaching.

Tertullian was the first Christian writer to write in Latin and the first to use the term "Trinity" when referring to the Godhead. He was known as a non-compromiser, and many refer to him as the founder of Western theology. He later began his own sect called Tertullianists.

The theology. Any theological developments during this period grew out of the need for a defense of the Christian faith against the enemies of Christ and His doctrine. Therefore, the theologies were developed neither completely nor systematically. Most writers of this period made the error of subordinating God the Son to God the Father, thereby making Christ a second God. A second error that occurred during the age of the church fathers was the inclusion of baptism as a necessity in salvation. This period also saw a greater division being made between the Jews and the Christians. Many Christians began seeing the church as the true Israel of the Old Testament. Justin Martyr even claimed that the Jews had no right to have the Old Testament Scriptures.

The canon. The Age of the Apologists helped in the formation of the canon in that the men who defended the faith relied upon the New Testament Scriptures for their arguments. Ireneaus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Origen all used and cited the books of the New Testament. Many arguments occurred concerning the validity of certain books in the canon. Second Peter seemed to be too unlike First Peter. Questions concerning the authorship of Hebrews and the shortness of First John and Third John bothered many churchmen. These problems were not resolved until Eusebius later devised a system for the evaluation of canonical books.

Modern Apologists / "Lord, Liar, Lunatic"
The Age of the Theologians

The Age of the Theologians was a period of church history extending from A.D. 300 to 590. This time witnessed great changes in the world's attitude toward Christianity. The new faith in Christ had firmly rooted itself in society and would soon become the state religion of the Roman Empire. Acceptance, along with freedom to pursue the development of dogma, allowed theological thinking to make great advances.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Describe Constantine's role in the spread of Christianity
Identify the major theologians and their contributions



Vocabulary
schism A division within a group or church.
Vocab Arcade



Constantine the Great. Constantine the Great was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. His conversion is credited to a vision he had before going into battle against one of his rivals for control of the Roman Empire. In his vision, he was promised victory if he fought under the emblem of the cross. Another story claims that he also ordered the first two letters of Christ's name to be marked on the shields of his soldiers.

As a result of his vision, Constantine became a strong supporter of Christianity. He formally recognized the Christian church as a legal body, and Christians regained freedom of worship under his reign. Centuries of persecution came to an end as Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire.

Constantine the Great

Constantine saw Christianity as a unifying force within his empire, but the joining of church and state soon proved it to be otherwise. The persecutions of the church had stopped, but the inner struggles and schisms of the church began as soon as the persecutions ended. Constantine himself presided at the first great general council of the Christian church. The Council of Nicaea was called in A.D. 325 to deal with divisions and heresies that had crept into the church during the period of freedom from persecution. The Nicene Creed, a statement of essential Christian beliefs, was the result of this Council.

The theologians. The theologians of this period of church history are men who systematically studied the Scriptures to determine the mind of God as revealed in His Word. They include the early theologians who were also apologists, including Ireneaus, Tertullian, and Origen, as well as the later theologians studied here. Tertullian, Ireneaus, Jerome, and Augustine compose a group referred to as the Latin fathers of the Roman church. The later theologians used the new freedom that Christianity enjoyed to develop their teachings of the doctrines of the faith.

Athanasius (A.D. 296-373) was the secretary to the bishop of Alexandria and went with him to the Council of Nicaea. Athanasius himself became the bishop of Alexandria in A.D. 328 and lived a life of constant exile due to his uncompromising position against the heretics.

The writings of Athanasius include a defense of the orthodox position concerning the incarnation and humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Athanasius was also very strong in upholding the deity of God the Holy Spirit.

Ambrose (A.D. 339-397) best illustrates the combined union of church and state during this period. He was a lawyer and a politician, born the son of a military leader. Ambrose later became the governor of Aemilia-Liguria. He also studied in Milan, Italy, where he later became the bishop of Milan. Perhaps because Ambrose had been governor, he had very close contacts with all the emperors throughout his life. Even with this close relationship, he maintained the need for independence of the church within the state. When the Roman Emperor Theodosius ordered a massacre in the city of Thessalonica, Ambrose was so angered that he excommunicated the emperor. His chief writings were concerning the need for a system of Christian ethics.

Jerome (A.D. 342-420) was best known for translating the Bible into Latin as The Vulgate. He also continued Eusebius' historical work, and made the first index of church writers and writings. Jerome also translated the writings of Origen into Latin and wrote several letters.

Jerome lived out his remaining years in Bethlehem as the head of a monastery, devoting his life to study. Jerome had one of the best categorical minds of the ancient world and contributed much to Christian thought.

Augustine (A.D. 354-430), perhaps the greatest of the early church scholars, was an eminent doctor of the Western church and had an excellent education for that day and age. Augustine's conversion came about by the reading of Romans, Chapter 13. He was baptized by Ambrose. In A.D. 391 he was ordained and returned to North Africa and became the Bishop of Hippo four years later. His theological zeal found him in battle with numerous heresies of the day. Augustine opposed every group that did not honor the true Christ. The Roman church found special satisfaction in his doctrine concerning the authority and necessity of the organized church.

Augustine was a prolific writer. His best-known works include the autobiography of his conversion, Confessions, and perhaps his greatest work entitled The City of God. Of his twenty-two books, ten were arguments against heresy, and the remaining twelve trace the origin and development of the church. Two hundred seventy epistles and many other writings on specific doctrines as well as many writings on various books of the Bible were also written by Augustine.

The canon. Two historical events were instrumental in determining the establishment of the New Testament canon in this period of the church. The first event was the persecution by Emperor Diocletian in which every attempt was made to destroy the Scriptures. The second event was the Emperor Constantine's order for fifty copies of the New Testament for use in the churches of his capital city. Following these events, the church councils met and discussed the recognition of the New Testament canon. At the Council of Laodicea in A.D. 363, all the books of the current New Testament except Revelation were recognized as a part of the canon. Though the records from the Council of Hippo in A.D. 393 were lost, the Council's decisions were presented at the Third Council of Carthage (A.D. 397), and affirmed the biblical canon.

The historian Eusebius (A.D. 270-340) greatly aided in the formation of the canon by setting up a system for the classification of the New Testament books. His system was based upon the same four categories which were used to determine the authority of the Old Testament books.
The Spread of the Roman Church

The Middle Ages observed a rapid growth of the Roman church. Many doctrinal changes were made which led to opposition and division. The rise of Islam and its aggressive invasions in the Holy Land led to conflict with the Roman church. This conflict became bitter war during the Crusades.

After hundreds of years, the Middle Ages came to an end with the Renaissance. This rebirth of the age saw men open their minds and break the shackles that had bound them in darkness.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Identify important leaders, events, and written works that influenced the church in the Middle Ages




Vocabulary
absolution A practice of the Catholic church that involves forgiveness of sin, usually given by a priest.
crusade An expedition to take the Holy Land back from the Muslims.
mosque A Muslim temple or place of worship.
Muslim A follower of Islam or Muhammad.
polytheism Worship of many gods.
secular Relating to worldly things as opposed to spiritual things.
Vocab Arcade



Gregory I ascended the Papal throne during the early Middle Ages in A.D. 590. War and famine had spread throughout Italy. The prestige of the Roman church was soon lost outside Italy, and spiritual fires were burning low.

Growth. During this period many changes were made in the teachings of the Roman church as it began to spread throughout Scotland, England, and Ireland. However, these changes were instituted by man and had no basis in Scripture.

1. Papal claims. The Pope now claimed authority over all the churches and all other bishops.

2. Purgatory. The church taught that purgatory was a place under the earth where the souls of men were purified through temporary suffering.

3. Lord's Supper. This ceremony was still regarded as a memorial of the death of Christ. However, the church now began to teach the doctrine of transubstantiation, the belief that as they are consecrated by the priest, the bread and wine are changed into the actual body and blood of Christ.

4. Prayers for the dead and prayers to saints. This doctrine grew as the idea of purgatory grew. Saints and martyrs were venerated. On the anniversary celebrations of saints' deaths, usually held at the tomb of the dead, prayers were offered to the saints or for them.

5. The worship of Mary. In A.D. 431 the Council of Ephesus declared that Mary was the "mother of God" (instead of the mother only of the human Jesus). The worship of Mary began to increase, festivals were held every year in her honor, and prayers were addressed to her.

6. Confessions. At first, confessions were made publicly in church. Because public confessions led to scandals, confessions began to be made privately to a priest and were required annually beginning in A.D. 763.

Pope Gregory was the first man who can accurately be given the title pope. Born in A.D. 540 into a rich senatorial family, Gregory became leader of the city of Rome in A.D. 573. Gregory was very successful in political, military, and civic life. When he heard the call of God, however, he devoted himself to religious life and sold his vast estates. He gave the proceeds to the welfare of the poor and built six monasteries in Sicily. Gregory became a monk of the Benedictine Order and was elected pope in A.D. 590.

Gregory worked to increase the influence of the church in lands where that influence had decreased. He saw the need for missions--over two-thirds of Europe was still pagan--and sent monks to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons in England.

Gregory thought that no salvation was possible for anyone outside the one Roman Catholic church. He claimed to be the head of the church. A man of deeply devotional spirit, Gregory regarded the Holy Scriptures with deep respect, and looked for the speedy coming of the Lord to judge a wicked world.

Gregory was a powerful preacher and an able theological writer. He taught the doctrine of purgatory, and encouraged the use of pictures and images in church on the condition that they would not be worshiped. In a difficult period, Gregory remarkably strengthened the churches. He died in 604, and his reign marked a great step in papal power and in the development of the Roman church.

Boniface, an English monk, is often called the "apostle of Germany." He was an Englishman whose vast work built up the Roman church among the Germanic tribes. Boniface was an able scholar and born administrator who built churches and monasteries. In 732 he was made an archbishop. He swore complete obedience to the pope, and died as a martyr in 753.

Charlemagne forced the freedom-loving Saxons to profess Christianity in the ninth century. The Saxons revolted, killing priests and burning monasteries. They hated Christianity because it came to them from their enemies, the Franks. As a punishment, Charlemagne had 4,500 Saxons beheaded in one day. After thirty years of fighting, peace was established and missionaries, who used a far better way of spreading the Gospel, were sent to the Saxons and finally brought them to Christ.

Charlemagne's laws regulated the church as well as secular events. He forbade the clergy to have wives, to frequent taverns, to go hunting, or to occupy themselves with worldly business. He also requested that all bishops and parish priests set up their own schools. He had a strong influence throughout the empire and prepared the way for the great scholastic movement of the Middle Ages.

Although Charlemagne never learned how to write, he greatly loved learning and was known as a man of intelligence. He was responsible for encouraging learning and developing the arts. Charlemagne sponsored a palace school at Aix-la-Chapelle and brought to it the best minds of Europe.

Alcuin (735-804) was one man who was enlisted by Charlemagne. Alcuin was a monk from York, England, and had taught in the church school. He met Charlemagne in 781 and was asked to become the emperor's adviser in all religious and educational matters. Alcuin oversaw the palace school and became Abbot of Tours. There he established a great library and school to copy and preserve clerical and Biblical documents. This library and school was established long before the invention of the printing press, and every letter of every book had to be copied by hand. Without Alcuin's efforts many of these important documents could have been lost forever.

Alfred the Great (849-899) of England was the King of Wessex. He is known as the greatest European ruler after Charlemagne. He is remembered for defending England against an aggressive invasion of Danish forces, for his work in religious reform, and for the promotion of learning.

Southern England was united under Alfred's leadership. The Vikings had first invaded England in 787 and early in the ninth century had, along with a mighty Danish force included in their ranks, overrun northern England. Alfred assembled an army and defeated the Viking Danes in 878. The Peace of Wedmore was imposed that secured southern England for the Christian King Alfred and his people.

Having gained peace for his nation, Alfred was able to explore religious and educational matters. He was greatly concerned for the village ministers and hoped to improve their education and training. Alfred's goal was to see a revival of learning take place within the church. Along with a group of scholars, he worked at translating religious works into English. From the Latin he translated the Dialogues and Gregory's Pastoral Rule.

Alfred founded two monasteries in England before his death. He is credited with preserving Christianity in England.

Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570 and was orphaned at an early age. Growing to manhood, he prayed often in the desert, fell into trances, and claimed to hear voices. He had met Jews and Christians, who believed in one God, but he was not impressed with their lives, and this observation kept him from becoming a Christian. He resolved to replace polytheism with the true religion of Allah, whose prophet he claimed to be. Because of intense opposition to his preaching, he fled from Mecca in 622 and went with 200 followers to Medina. This experience was the turning point in his career and from it the Muslim era is dated.


1996 was considered 1417 in the Islamic Calendar.

Nine years later he re-entered Mecca in triumph, and, by the time of his death in 632, he had conquered all of Arabia. Muhammad began writing the Koran, the sacred book of the Muslims, at about the age of forty and recorded what he said were divine revelations made to him by the angel Gabriel. Muhammad's character was contradictory, however. He could be friendly and generous or fierce and cruel.

Ninety years after Muhammad's flight from Mecca, his religion--called Islam--stretched from India to the Atlantic, into Central Asia and China, and later through all of southern Asia to Malaya through Muslim conquests. In Syria alone ten thousand churches either were destroyed by the Muslim armies or became mosques. The church of North Africa was practically wiped out. Only small, scattered Christian communities survived. After conquering Spain, the Muslim armies reached the heart of France. All Europe seemed open to them, but they were defeated at Tours in one of the most important battles in history. As a result, Europe remained Christian.

Crusades. The Crusades were Christian military expeditions organized primarily to recapture Palestine from Muslim control during the Middle Ages.

Pope Urban II called the first Crusades at the request of the emperor of the Byzantine Empire (the eastern part of the Roman Empire) and saw them as an opportunity to increase the church's influence. To persuade the people to take part, he offered absolution from sins, eternal life for the fallen, cancellation of debts, and pardon for criminals.

Peter the Hermit was an unkempt preacher who worked multitudes into a frenzy of enthusiasm. Along with a knight called Walter the Penniless, he called his own Crusades, and in 1096 he convinced many thousands of men, women, and children to follow him to the Holy Land--ahead of the official expedition. Most of these people were simple peasants who were undisciplined, untrained, and unprepared for such a journey. Many perished along the way or turned to pillaging towns to obtain food. This journey is sometimes called the "Peasant's Crusade." About fifty thousand began the journey, but less than ten thousand arrived in the Holy Land, and those were quickly slaughtered by the Turks.

The main armies sent by Pope Urban II consisted of well-trained French and Norman knights. The first official crusade, with three hundred thousand men, set out in August of 1096. They reached Jerusalem in 1099 and recovered the city from Turkish control after six weeks of bloody fighting. Only one-tenth of the original forces actually completed the journey and returned home. Out of a total of eight Crusades, only the first one was successful. The crusaders had failed to accomplish their main goals. They had recaptured the Holy Land for a time but could not establish lasting control over the area. The prestige of the popes also declined because some had used the Crusades for both personal and political gain.
Division and Renaissance
This lesson describes influential leaders and important events that shaped the church in the later Middle Ages and the early Renaissance.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Identify important people, places, events, and written works that influenced the church during the later Middle Ages and the Renaissance



Vocabulary
covetous Greedy.
depraved Morally bad; corrupt.
infallibility The quality of being incapable of making an error or being wrong.
pilgrimage A journey made by a person to a holy place or shrine.
recant To give up a belief, usually by public statement.
Vocab Arcade



The Inquisition. The mid-1200s saw the formation of a special church court known as the Inquisition. Its sole purpose was to investigate matters of heresy among the baptized members of the Catholic church and to punish convicted heretics. The Roman church defined heresy as any disagreement with any official church opinion.

The Inquisition became a powerful force during the Middle Ages, primarily because the merging of the church and state in 400 A.D. by Emperor Constantine had put the power of the government in the service of the church and, specifically, the Inquisition.

When an inquisitor arrived in an area, he sought out those suspected of heresy--usually by offering rewards to spies who would report suspected heretics. Once a suspect was identified, he was arrested and imprisoned to await "trial." The trials were held in secret, and the inquisitor had the power to act as judge, prosecutor, and jury for any accused heretic. The accused usually was not allowed a lawyer and was often tortured until a confession was obtained. Family members were forced to testify against accused heretics, and even the testimony of criminals was accepted as evidence of guilt.

Punishments for confessed heretics included attending a certain number of masses, wearing specially designed crosses that identified them as heretics, being whipped, or being thrown into prison. Those who refused to recant were condemned and were either burned at the stake, beaten to death, or drowned.

The only "crime" many of the accused had ever committed was disagreeing with the policies of the Roman church. Many people condemned by the church were God-fearing, Bible-believing people who were not guilty of any heresy regarding the basic doctrines of the Bible.

During the Middle Ages, many groups rose up in protest against the established Roman church for distorting truth and preventing people from reading the Word of God for themselves. Two groups who shone as lights in this time of spiritual darkness were the Petrobrusians and the Waldensians.

Petrobrusians. Peter of Bruis was a Roman Catholic priest in the early 1100s A.D. After reading the Bible for himself, he was led to reject the authority of the "Fathers" and the traditions of the church in favor of the Word of God. He began to teach that children who were not old enough to understand the Gospel could not be saved merely by being baptized, thus rejecting the Roman Catholic teaching on baptism. Peter of Bruis, whose followers were known as Petrobrusians, preached for twenty years in Southern France and was burned at the stake for his faith.

Waldensians. This group originated during the late 1100s in the Alps mountains of Italy, France, and Switzerland. Their leader, Peter Waldo, was convinced that the Bible--not the Roman church--was the sole authority for Christians. At his own expense, he had the Bible translated into the language of the people, and he and his followers distributed the Scriptures to as many people as possible. The Waldensians rejected many of the doctrines of the Roman church as unscriptural, including transubstantiation, purgatory, and prayers for the dead. Their evangelistic influence spread throughout Switzerland, France, and Italy to the point that in 1487 the pope announced a special crusade against the Waldensians.

In addition to outward opposition from such groups as the Petrobrusians and the Waldensians, the Roman church was facing internal problems. These problems took their toll on its strength and control. Men would rise to question the power of the Holy Roman Empire and would thus cause division and differences.

The great schism. In 1309 popes were removed from Rome to Avignon, France, and lived outside Rome for over seventy years. This move was dangerous for the church in Rome, both politically and religiously. Finally, in 1377, Pope Gregory XI returned to Rome. He died in 1378 and Urban VI, an Italian, was elected pope. French cardinals elected a Frenchman, Clement VII, who returned to Avignon as pope. Some nations supported the pope in Avignon, and some the pope in Rome. Both popes claimed to be the successor of Peter, and the people of the church were very confused. The power and influence of Rome were never the same again.

John Wycliffe (1320-1384) was, in his day, the ablest scholar at Oxford University. He was a priest in the Catholic church until his death, but he declared that "the only head of the church is Christ." He taught that transubstantiation was contrary to the Scriptures and reason. Wycliffe denied the infallibility of the Roman church in matters of faith. He also rejected confession, and he criticized the belief in purgatory and pilgrimages. He declared that veneration, or profound reverence, of saints was unscriptural.

Wycliffe organized bands of preachers who lived very simply and went throughout the land preaching the Word of God. At that time, the Roman priests seldom preached, and the people were left uninstructed. Wycliffe was the first to translate the Bible into the English language. His translation was widely accepted by monks and laymen alike. However, the Roman church bitterly opposed Wycliffe's efforts to bring the Bible to the common man, and his enemies wanted him burned at the stake. Although the English authorities protected him for awhile, Rome's influence in England was very strong and Wycliffe's support soon vanished. His books were banned, and priests, monks, and friars harassed him until his death in 1384.

In 1409, a meeting of church leaders in London condemned Wycliffe's writings and beliefs, and those who read Wycliffe's English translation of the Bible were threatened with loss of their property and their lives. The pope issued an order in 1428 for Wycliffe's remains to be dug up and burned. However, the fruit of Wycliffe's labor was not destroyed.

John Huss was born a poor peasant and became, by sheer ability, Rector of Prague University. The teachings of Wycliffe made a deep impression on Huss and he had a genuine conversion, becoming a powerful preacher in the Bohemian language. The clergy turned on him when he attacked their covetousness and luxury. The Germans charged him with heresy, and his books were publicly burned in Prague. The archbishop tried to stop Huss's preaching. Eventually, Huss was thrown into prison and tortured. The emperor gave an order for his release, but he was intimidated by the pope and cardinals into canceling the order. After seven months of cruel suffering, Huss was put through a mockery of a trial. The court wanted him to recant, but Huss refused. Finally, he was burned at the stake in 1415. The mistreatment of Huss cost the Roman church much support.

The Renaissance. The Renaissance helped prepare for the Reformation. It was not a religious movement, but prepared the way by opening men's minds and breaking the shackles imposed for years by the emperors and popes. Renaissance means "rebirth," and this period included a revival of Latin and Greek literature and interest in art.

A new spirit of adventure, geographical discovery, and intellectual awakening arose. The use of the printing press spread knowledge. Popes supported the movement, not realizing that the spreading of knowledge would make people more independent and make them inquire more into the beliefs taught by the priests. The Renaissance was a time of many great artists and sculptors--Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci. At Oxford University, many brilliant men paved the way for the Reformation.

John Colet was one of the Christian scholars at Oxford University. His lectures on Paul's Epistles caused a sensation. He said the worst heresy of the times was the depraved lives of the clergy; the laws of the church would never be enforced until the bishops became new men. He taught his students to keep the Bible and the Apostles' Creed. Colet did not believe in priesthood and denied transubstantiation. Two of his students were Erasmus and Tyndale. Tyndale is best known for his English translation of the Bible.

Desiderius Erasmus, a professor of divinity and Greek at Cambridge, was the greatest of the Christian scholars. During the Reformation when many were leaving the church, Erasmus refused to leave, but tried to reform it from within. In doing so, he was attacked by both Catholics and Protestants. Erasmus developed a Greek edition of the New Testament known today as the Textus Receptus or "Received Text."

Sir Thomas More (1478-1535) was a strong English Catholic and Christian scholar. More was the Lord Chancellor to King Henry VIII. More's home became a center of learning and intellectual life in England.

When King Henry VIII sought an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, he was opposed by the Roman church. Sir Thomas More, being a Catholic and an officer of the English government, found himself in the middle of the controversy. His church opposed the annulment, and his earthly king, whom he greatly respected, opposed the church. When asked by King Henry to support the annulment and break with the Catholic church, More remained silent.

In 1532 King Henry introduced "The Act of Succession and Supremacy" which would formally break all ties with Rome and establish the English king as the leader of the church in England. Sir Thomas More refused to sign the Act and was cast into prison for treason. In 1535, More's continued silence was decided to be an admission of guilt, and he was executed.
Men of the Reformation

The Renaissance saw men coming out of the Middle Ages with new attitudes of independence and inquiry. Soon their attitudes would find a new dimension in the church. Centuries of religious practice were reformed by men who sought God's will and His wisdom. These were men with spiritual conviction, on fire with zeal for the Gospel, and possessing great ability and courage. Three of the most influential men of the Reformation were Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Calvin.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Describe the major contributions of Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli to the Reformation in mainland Europe




Vocabulary
diet A formal assembly of the Holy Roman Empire.
efficacy Power to produce intended results.
indulgence A forgiveness of punishment for sin.
papal intervention Authority of the pope to act on behalf of others.
prelate A high-ranking official such as a bishop.
retract To take back a statement; recant.
Worms A city in Germany where Martin Luther was condemned for heresy.
Vocab Arcade



Martin Luther. Luther was born in 1483, the son of a poor miner. He knew the struggles and outlook of the working class. Luther was a brilliant law student, was fond of music and philosophy, and had a keen sense of spiritual matters. To the surprise of his friends, he entered a monastery. The Roman Catholic teachers taught him to obtain salvation through prayers, fasting, and penance. He did not study the Scriptures. Luther wearied his superiors with his constant confessions, but still he found no rest.

When Luther was twenty, he came across a Latin Bible and was encouraged by a superior, who pointed him to Jesus Christ, to study it. While reading the book of Romans, Martin Luther found peace. The verse that caught his attention was Romans 1:17, For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Through studying the Scriptures, as well as the writings of Augustine, he came to see even more clearly that men are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and not by good works.

In 1517 Pope Leo X needed money to continue the building of St. Peter's Church. To get the money, he extended the sale of indulgences. A Dominican monk named Tetzel, who sold the indulgences, said that "no sooner will the money sink in the box, than the soul of the departed will be free from Purgatory."

This unscriptural teaching greatly upset Martin Luther; and on October 31st of 1517, the eve of All Saints Day, he nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door at Wittenberg, an act calling for discussion and debate. In this document, Luther states that an indulgence can never remit guilt; God has kept that in His own hand. Indulgences cannot remit divine punishment for sin; that also is in God's hand. Furthermore, an indulgence has no efficacy for souls in Purgatory; and the Christian who has true repentance has already received pardon from God and needs no indulgence.

Luther's friends printed thousands of copies of the Ninety-Five Theses in German and circulated them all over Germany. The conflict had begun. The pope summoned Luther to Rome in July, 1518, but Luther refused because it would have meant certain death. The pope and cardinals especially objected to the statement that Christ can save the sinner without papal intervention.

Luther aroused their anger even more in 1519 when he declared that the Scriptures did not grant the pope supremacy, but that this idea had only come about in the past four hundred years.

Martin Luther had freed himself forever from the authority of the pope; he then took only the Word of God as his rule of faith. The younger Christian scholars soon began to rally around Luther, and the people of Germany realized that the freedom of their country and their religion depended on him. He sent forth a steady stream of sermons and pamphlets through the printing press.

In 1521 Charles V, king of Spain, convened a meeting in Worms, Germany, called the Diet of Worms and invited Martin Luther to attend, along with princes, dukes, prelates, and other officials. Luther went even though his friends did not want him to go, remembering what had happened to John Huss. The emperor ordered him to retract his statements, but he refused, stating that to go against conscience is "neither right nor safe."

Luther was declared an outlaw but came under the protection of Frederick the Wise, who secluded him at Wartburg. There, he translated the New Testament from the original Greek into German, a work of supreme importance for the Reformation.

Wittenberg

Ulrich Zwingli. Zwingli was born in 1484 and became a popular Swiss Reformer. He was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1506 and soon after became a champion of Christian scholastic studies. He continued with the Roman church until he went to Einsiedeln. There, his desire for reform was fueled when he witnessed the physical abuses thought necessary to achieve religious piety.

In 1518 he went to Zurich and was elected the people's preacher. As he ministered there, he slowly began to remove himself from the Roman church and its authority. The start of organized reform in Switzerland came in 1519 with Zwingli's lectures on the New Testament. During the lecture series he examined and attacked many of the teachings of the Roman Catholic church.

Ulrich Zwingli published the first reform tract in 1522. In the tract and other publications, he held that the sole basis of truth was the Gospel and the sole authority was God's Word. He was fully supported in his teachings by the Zurich city council and the minister's council. Zwingli and Luther shared many views, as well; however, Zwingli's view of the bread and cup of the Lord's Supper as being only symbols was the source of sharp disagreement between them, enough so that no union of reformers was possible.

Zwingli's reforms were met with opposition in certain parts of Switzerland, and fighting occurred between Roman Catholics and reformers. In 1531 a band of Roman Catholics made a sudden attack on Zurich, and during the battle Zwingli was killed.

John Calvin. Some scholars believe that John Calvin was the greatest man of the Reformation era. He was born in France in 1509 and was educated among the nobility. Calvin's father wanted him to enter the priesthood but later sent him to Orleans to study law. John Calvin was a brilliant student. When his father died in 1532, Calvin left law school and joined a group of Protestants in Paris dedicated to Bible study and prayer. In 1533 he had to flee from Paris because of his theological views.

In 1536, at twenty-six years of age, Calvin published The Institutes of Christian Religion, which some believe to be one of the greatest presentations of Christian doctrine ever written. This work was based upon the Apostles' Creed, and its purpose was to show that Protestants were not heretics but were loyal to this creed. He was not giving the church a new creed; he was merely leading men back to the beliefs and practices of the apostolic age. He insisted that the church must return to the principles of the first three centuries of its existence.

Calvin then went to Geneva to help a local pastor. He prepared articles of faith for the church, set up a form of church government, and wrote a catechism for the children. The rulers of Geneva had laws against gambling, drunkenness, masquerades, dances, and extravagance in dress; but these laws were not followed. Calvin insisted that these lawbreakers did not live in accordance with the New Testament and should not be allowed to take communion. He also asked to be able to excommunicate unrepentant sinners and for this was expelled from Geneva, along with the pastor he had come to help.

Three years later the church had dwindled sadly, and the city officials begged John Calvin to return. He did, but only after he believed it to be the will of God. He worked there twenty-four more years and was the respected leader of the Protestant cause in that city.

html5:
Places of the Reformation

The leaders of the Reformation worked diligently to bring Jesus Christ and His Word into the lives of people. Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and others experienced opposition as they sought God's will and God's wisdom. However, certain places accepted the ideas of the Reformation with great enthusiasm. Two of these places, England and Scotland, became strongholds of reform. Changes there were far-reaching and had significant historical impact.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Identify key leaders of the Reformation in England and Scotland
List significant contributions of the English and Scottish reformers



Vocabulary
depose To remove from office.
papistry The system, doctrines, or usages of the Roman Catholic church.
Vocab Arcade



Reformation in England. The Reformation in England marks its beginning in 1534, when King Henry VIII broke ties with Rome and declared himself the head of the Church of England. Under Henry VIII, a large Bible was placed in every church and the people were encouraged to read the Scriptures. People were to avoid anything not taught in Scripture, such as pilgrimages, offering money or candles to images, and saying prayers with beads. The early part of the movement included such leaders as William Tyndale, Thomas Cromwell, and Bishop Latimer.



William Tyndale. The church owes much to this man who translated the Bible into English, and in spite of bitter opposition, sent translations in great numbers throughout England and into Scotland. The scripture became available to the average person of the day largely due to Tyndale's efforts, which were preserved by his assistant, Miles Coverdale. It was not without a price, however. Tyndale was burned at the stake in 1536.

Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell, (1485-1540), the Earl of Essex, was responsible for suppressing the Catholic monasteries of England. He plundered the Catholic places of learning and turned the gain over to the Protestant schools. In 1529 he was made vicar general and commissioned to put an end to the Catholic monasteries. Between 1536 and 1539, he carried out the task and destroyed many important medieval documents that were stored in the monasteries. His rampage of the monasteries destroyed valuable information that could never be replaced. Thomas Cromwell later fell out of favor with the king and was executed.

Bishop Latimer. Latimer was a bishop in the Church of England during the reign of Mary Tudor. When Mary took steps to turn England back to Catholicism, she prohibited all Protestant preaching and printing. Many of the great Protestant bishops were thrown into prison and later executed or burned at the stake, including Bishop Latimer and his colleague and friend, Bishop Ridley. At the time of their deaths in Oxford in 1555, Latimer's final words to Ridley as recorded in Foxe's Book of Martyrs were: "Be of good cheer, and play the man; we shall this day, by God's grace, light such a torch in England as will never be put out."

Mary deposed at least 1,200 clergymen for being married. In her short reign, 280 persons were burned for being Protestants, besides those who died in prison of starvation. Because of these acts, she became known as "Bloody Mary."

Reformation in Scotland. In no other country in the world was the Reformation so complete or as thorough as in Scotland. This country was moved by the martyrdom of Patrick Hamilton in 1528. Hamilton began preaching in Scotland in 1527 and was invited as a friend by Archbishop Beaton to a conference in St. Andrews. Once there, he was charged with heresy and burned. After Hamilton's death, others who had New Testaments or who professed Reformed doctrines were burned or sentenced to severe punishments, and some fled the country. The clergy were held up to ridicule all over the land.

Eighteen years later, another Spirit-filled man, George Wishart, was betrayed into the hands of Cardinal Beaton and after a mock trial was put to death in the same city as was Hamilton. The spirit of the nation was stirred, and many felt the time for resistance had come.

John Knox was a man who stirred the hearts of the people. When he preached his first sermon in St. Andrews, people said, "Other men sawed the branches of the papistry. This man lays his ax to the trunk of the tree."

Scotland was important to the Roman church because it could be used as a base for the destruction of Protestant England. No other man could have guided the Church of Scotland during this stormy time as John Knox did. In spite of his sternness, he was a very kind and gentle man and he loved God. Knox was always at his best in a great emergency, when other men's hearts failed them.

Knox received his education at Glasgow University; then, he trained as a priest. He spent eighteen months as a slave in a French galley when the French fleet recaptured St. Andrews Castle. Knox worked the next five years in England and met many men who accepted the Reformed point of view. When Mary Tudor ascended the throne, Knox fled England and went to Geneva where he met John Calvin. Knox saw the Reformed church in action there and watched Calvin at work. When he returned to Scotland in 1559, he was well equipped for his task; and by 1560 the Roman church had virtually vanished from the land.

Reformation in Switzerland. Around the same time change was sweeping through England and Scotland, the country of Switzerland was undergoing turmoil as well. The sale of indulgences helped Church officials live a life of luxury while the rest of the nation was experiencing severe financial hardships. In addition, many clergy were not well-trained or well-versed in Scripture to properly do their jobs.

In 1523, Zurich, Switzerland initiated the first move for change by removing Catholic influence from the political arena. The city's council took control of the Church's assets and converted to Protestantism. A number of other Swiss cities followed suit in the next few years. This radical change began with an awakening in the heart of one man, Ulrich Zwingli.

Ulrich Zwingli, one of eight sons, enjoyed reading and studying Scripture. In his studies, he arrived at many of the same conclusions as Martin Luther in regards to the sale of indulgences and other Church practices. He boldly brought his findings and beliefs before the leaders of Zurich. While the city and others eventually converted to Protestantism, nearly half of the country remained staunchly Catholic. An ensuing war began between the two religious factions, and during one of these battles in 1531, Zwingli was killed while serving as a chaplain.

Help Farmer Frank answer questions about early church leaders.
The Roman Setting (1)

Christianity began in an outpost of the Roman Empire, an enormous collection of conquered civilizations stretching from England to Persia and from the Sahara Desert to northwestern Germany. At the center of the Empire the Mediterranean Sea acted as a great inland waterway that united the many provinces of the empire that surrounded the sea on all sides. Hundreds of tribes lived within Rome's vast borders, and nations with histories reaching far back beyond Rome's were under Roman control. The hub of this vast empire was the city of Rome, and in Rome all the power of the Roman government eventually came to rest in the hands of the emperor.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Discover the setting out of which Christianity and the early church grew



Vocabulary
aqueduct An artificial channel or large pipe for bringing water from a distance.
empire A group of countries or states under one ruler or government.
province One of the main divisions of a country.
Vocab Arcade



Growth. Seven centuries before the birth of Christ, Rome was a village in western Italy hardly different from many others found there. No one knows who founded Rome, although several unusual stories are told concerning its origin. However it all began, this tiny hamlet on the banks of the Tiber River grew into a town, then into a city, and then into a small state. Through wars and treaties, it expanded into an empire covering most of the civilized world.

Five hundred years after it was founded, Rome controlled all of the area we now call Italy. Its empire then began to spread across the sea. Roman armies conquered the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily in the Mediterranean. They advanced into North Africa and Spain. Turning northward, the Romans conquered much of what is modern Germany and France. Later, England was added to the Roman Empire. Rome asserted its control over Palestine in 63 B.C. and established Judea as a province in A.D. 6, shortly after the birth of Christ.

Roman influence and culture spread into every conquered country. Latin became the official language everywhere, and distant lands were ruled by governors responsible only to Rome. The empire was bound together by a marvelous system of roads, bridges, and aqueducts so well constructed that they can still be seen today. Throughout the world, all roads led to Rome. The government and military power of Rome united all people of the empire.

Roman architecture left its mark on every land in the empire. One of its greatest triumphs, the Colosseum in Rome itself, still stands today, a monument both to beauty and to the horror of the "games" that resulted in the death of many, including Christians who gave up their lives because of their faith in Jesus Christ.
The Roman Setting (2)

The Romans were the first to maintain central control over a vast empire while allowing conquered peoples to have some freedom in choosing their way of life and government. As a result, Roman civilization lasted a thousand years; the first 500 years as a republic and the last 500 years as an empire.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Discover the setting out of which Christianity and the early church grew



Vocabulary
absolute monarchy A government in which the ruler has complete control of all legislative, executive, and judicial powers.
alae Cavalry units attached to auxiliary units of the Roman legion.
century A body of soldiers in the ancient Roman army, probably consisting of 100 soldiers.
cohort One-tenth of a Roman legion; a group of three hundred to six hundred soldiers.
consul An official who lives in a foreign city to look after the business interests and citizens of his own country.
maniple A subdivision of the ancient Roman legion containing 60 to 120 men.
patrician Member of the nobility of ancient Rome.
republic Nation or state in which the citizens elect representatives to the government; usually headed by a president.
Vocab Arcade



Government. In 509 B.C. Rome became a republic; citizens elected representatives to run their government, much as we do in the United States today. However, it was quite unlike a democratic republic such as ours. Instead of everyone having equal rights, only some Romans had full citizenship. These people were known as patricians. Another group, called plebeians, had fewer rights and could not hold public office. They eventually won equal rights with patricians after a long, bitter struggle. A new group of wealthy families, the senatorial class, was made up of both patricians and plebeians and ruled through control of the Senate. Other businessmen, known as equites, collected Rome's high taxes and ran the courts. While this condition improved later under the strong rule of the emperor, at the time of Christ, people suffered under greedy tax collectors like the publicans in Jerusalem. Matthew, who later became one of Christ's disciples, was one of these officials (Matthew 9:9 and Luke 5:27).

Slaves were also a part of Roman society. Often they were men and women captured in one of Rome's frequent wars. Although many slaves were treated very well, they performed society's most difficult and unpleasant tasks.

The Roman Empire was established by Caesar Augustus in 27 B.C. and lasted until Rome fell in A.D. 476. He and all later emperors held supreme authority through their office of consul. Even during the rule of emperors, the city of Rome kept its republican form of government; the new emperor was elected either by the Senate or the powerful army. Gradually, however, the power of the emperor grew while the power of the Senate decreased until elections were discontinued, and Rome became an absolute monarchy, or dictatorship, ruled solely by the emperor.

Roman officials ruled as governors in distant provinces of the empire by allowing the people to govern themselves under Roman control. These Roman governors had titles such as legate, proconsul, prefect, procurator, and king, terms we still use today. Herod the Great, for example, was king of Palestine when Jesus Christ was born (Matthew 2:1, 3, 7, and 16 and Luke 1:5). Herod's grandson, Herod Agrippa I, was also given the title of king by the Roman emperor. King Agrippa II, who succeeded his father to the throne, was the same Agrippa who spent time with the Apostle Paul.

The army. Rome's conquests were made possible through the size and strength of its army, the strongest the world had ever seen. Roman soldiers were professionals. For many Romans, military service was a lifetime career. Soldiers trained endlessly and died willingly in the service of Rome. One of the greatest Roman soldiers of all time was Julius Caesar, a gifted general who also became dictator and consul in 49 B.C.

At the time of Augustus, the first emperor, about 250,000 men served in the Roman army. They were divided into legions composed of about 6,000 foot soldiers and 120 cavalrymen. Members of these choice legions were Romans who enlisted for twenty years and were called legionnaires. Attached to a legion was an auxiliary composed of non-citizens who were drafted for a twenty-five year term. Smaller than the legions in descending order were the divisions of cohort, maniple, and century. Smaller cavalry units were called alae.

Soldiers occupied the countries they defeated in battle and became a peacetime force for progress and civilization. They built roads, walls, and bridges, and were an important source of Roman influence wherever they went.
Read Acts 10:1-2, Acts 21:27-40, Acts 23:16-35, Acts 26:30-32, Acts 27:1-8, and Acts 28:11-16.

Pax Romana: Roman peace. In 27 B.C. after disastrous civil wars that had lasted more than a hundred years, the full power of Rome was given to Gaius Octavianus. This man is known in history as Caesar Augustus, the first and greatest of the Roman emperors. With him the republic ended, and the empire began. Augustus reigned from 27 B.C. to A.D. 14. He is the Caesar of whom Luke wrote, And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (Luke 2:1).

Except for some minor fighting on the frontiers of the empire, the Pax Romana or Roman peace begun by Augustus lasted more than two hundred years, making trade and travel both easy and safe. The Roman peace encouraged the development of culture in every possible way, leading to great achievements in literature, architecture, and sculpture. The study of law was encouraged and greatly developed. The economy during this period provided varying degrees of prosperity throughout the empire. Everywhere, the Roman army was a symbol of Roman power, Roman law, and Roman peace. Greek was the most common language used to communicate in the larger part of the empire.

During these two centuries, Christianity arose out of the life and work of our Lord and became an empire-wide witness to the Gospel. During the reign of Tiberius, while Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Jesus Christ was put to death. Christ's teachings began to spread after His crucifixion, and in A.D. 64, the Emperor Nero condemned Christians on the charge of setting fire to Rome. A careful reading of the book of Acts reveals a great deal about the spread of Christianity across the Roman Empire during this time.
Jewish Background (1)

The roots of Christianity extend backward into the history and religion of Israel. Scripture makes it plain that Israel would play an important role in God's work of redemption. Jesus, in speaking to the Samaritan woman, said, Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. (John 4:22). Jesus came not to destroy the Law but to fulfill the Law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17). Those who belong to Jesus Christ through salvation are Abraham's spiritual offspring. Therefore, believers become heirs according to the promise of the Word of God, And if ye be Christ�s, then are ye Abraham�s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29). The church was closely related to Israel and to the people of Palestine. The earliest church was Jewish, the Savior was a Jew, and much of the New Testament was written by Jews.

To understand the roots of the Christian faith, we must study the background of Israel. This study will briefly consider the time from David's kingdom to the reign of Alexander the Great. We will also examine the Maccabees, the synagogue, and the Sanhedrin. We will look at the Jewish leaders, the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the effect they had on the early life of the church. Finally, we will examine the effect that the dispersion of the Jews had in the spread of the church throughout the Roman Empire.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Identify important people and events shaping the nation of Israel from the time of David to the reign of Alexander the Great




Read 2 Samuel 7, Micah 5:2-4, Zechariah 3:8-9, Zechariah 6:12-13, Zechariah 9:10, Zechariah 12:8, Zechariah 13:1, and Luke 1:30-33.

From David to Alexander the Great. The kingdom of Israel was expanded by David, the son of Jesse, about 1000 B.C. David placed such a stamp on the kingdom and upon the kingly office that he became a symbol of Israel's later Messianic hopes for a king to come and relieve them of oppression by outside nations (1 Chronicles 22:8-10; Psalm 27-29, 34-37, and 83:3-4). For about forty years, David reigned over a strong, united Israel. Solomon, David's son, added to Israel's boundaries and power during his reign. After Solomon's death about 930 B.C., the kingdom David had established was split into two parts.

The northern part, called Israel, was taken into Assyrian exile about 721 B.C. because of their sin and their idol worship. The northern kingdom was never restored. The southern kingdom, Judah, which had remained true to the house of David, had a longer history. About 686 B.C.the southern kingdom began to leave the teachings of the Scriptures and the Law of God. In 586 B.C.the southern kingdom went into exile in Babylon. We read about Daniel in Babylon and the three Hebrew youths who served God and who were punished for their love for God (Daniel 3 and 6). In 539, Cyrus, king of Persia, conquered Babylon. He allowed any Jewish exile who wanted to return to Jerusalem to do so. The following year, a number of Jews returned to Jerusalem.

After the first return, other groups went back to Palestine. One of the leaders of these groups was Ezra, a priest who was deeply devoted to the Mosaic Law. Ezra's desire was to make the observance of the Torah, Israel's Law, a living part of the Jewish religion again. The Pharisees, who are discussed in the Gospels and the book of Acts, grew out of the movement to restore the Law that Ezra had begun. In time, under Ezra's leadership, the Temple which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, was rebuilt.

At the close of the writing of the Old Testament, about 430 B.C. Judea was a Persian province. Persia had been a world power for about one hundred years and remained so for another hundred years. During this period little is known of Jewish history. Persian rule was, for the most part, mild and relaxed.

Up to that time the great powers of the world had been in Asia and in Africa. Greece, however, was looming on the western horizon. The beginnings of Greek history are somewhat vague. Greece is thought to have begun about the twelfth century B.C., around the time of the Biblical judges. Then came the Trojan War and Homer about 1000 B.C., during the age of David and Solomon. The beginning of Greek history has usually been recorded from the First Olympiad, 776 B.C. The formation of the Hellenic states followed in 776-500 B.C. The Persian wars followed from 500 to 331 B.C. with the famous battles of Marathon (490 B.C.), Thermopylae, and Salamis (480 B.C.). The brilliant era of the statesman and general Pericles (465-429 B.C.) and philosopher Socrates (469-399 B.C.) followed this time of war. This era paralleled that of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Old Testament.

Alexander the Great, the son of Philip I, at the age of twenty assumed command of the Greek army. In 336 B.C. Alexander swept eastward and over the lands that had been under the dominion of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia. By 331 B.C., the whole world lay at Alexander's feet. On his invasion of the land of Palestine in 332 B.C., Alexander showed great consideration to the Jews. He spared Jerusalem and offered immunities to Jews who would settle in Alexandria. Alexander established Greek cities all over the conquered domains. Along with these cities, Greek culture and the Greek language were established. After a brief reign, Alexander died in 323 B.C.


When Alexander died, his empire fell to his generals. Syria went to General Seleucus and Egypt to General Ptolemy Soter, with remaining areas going to three other generals. Palestine, which lay between Syria and Egypt, went first to Syria. A short time later, Palestine passed to Egypt (301 B.C.) and remained under the control of Egypt until 198 B.C.
Jewish Background (2)
This lesson continues the survey of Israel's history, considering both those who remained in the land and those who were scattered throughout the world.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Identify important people and events shaping the nation of Israel from the Exile to the time of Christ



Vocabulary
ardent Impassioned.
circumcision A Jewish ritual performed when a boy is eight days old; a symbol of the covenant between God and Abraham.
Vocab Arcade


The Maccabees. Under the rule of the Ptolemaic kings of Egypt, the Jews were permitted to practice their religion freely. For more than two hundred fifty years after their return from exile, the Jews had observed the Mosaic Law as Ezra had taught them. When Syria gained control, however, the new masters forced the Jews to surrender their faith and worship of God and to follow the Greek religion. The leader of this movement was Antiochus the Fourth, the Seleucid king of Syria, who came to the throne in 175 B.C. Antiochus was violently bitter against the Jews, and he made a furious and determined effort to exterminate them and their religion. He devastated Jerusalem in 168 B.C., defiled the Temple, offered a pig on its altar, and erected an altar to Jupiter. Antiochus prohibited Temple worship, forbade circumcision on threat of death, and sold thousands of Jewish families into slavery. All of the copies that could be found of the Scriptures (Torah) were destroyed. Everyone who possessed a copy of the Scriptures was slaughtered. Antiochus resorted to every conceivable torture to force the Jews to renounce their faith. This action led to the Maccabean revolt.

The rebellion against Seleucid rule broke out in full strength in 163 B.C. and was led by an aged priest named Mattathias and his five sons. His son Judas became the leader of the revolt. Together Mattathias and his sons were known as the Maccabees or men who fight violently. In 141 B.C. the Jews had won a complete victory over their Seleucid enemies. For the first time since 586 B.C., Israel again became an independent nation. Israel, however, kept her freedom for only eighty years.

In 63 B.C. civil war broke out in Palestine, giving Rome an opportunity to establish her authority there. For the next sixty years, Israel was semi-independent. Her rulers were appointed by Rome. In 37 B.C. Herod (known as Herod the Great) became king of Israel, with Rome's approval. To obtain the favor of the Jews, Herod rebuilt the Temple with great splendor.

After the death of Herod, the kingdom was divided among his sons. Archelaus received Judea, Samaria, and Idumea. Herod Antipas received Galilee and Perea. Philip received the area northeast of Galilee. In A.D. 6 Archelaus was deposed because of misconduct and sent into exile. Judea became a Roman province and was governed by Roman procurators. From A.D. 26 to 36, the procurator of Judea was a Roman named Pontius Pilate who ruled during the time of Christ's death.
Pharisees and Sadducees. The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the Jewish leaders from the time of the Maccabees onward. Their religious views and political activity played a significant part in the life of Israel after the Exile and in the ministry of Jesus. The Sadducees came from priestly families and were lawyers who favored the old ways and were opposed to change. They rejected the traditions of the elders (Matthew 3:7, 16:6, Acts 4:1-3, 5:17-18, and 23:8), holding fast instead to the written law and prophets. They did however, support the efforts of the later Maccabees to introduce Greek ideas into the Jewish life and religion. They were chiefly known for denying the doctrine of the resurrection (Luke 20:27) and for denying the existence of angels and spirits. The Sadducees also believed that the soul perished with the body. Since they rejected any idea of a resurrection, no resurrection meant no future life for them.

In nearly every respect, the Pharisees opposed the Sadducees (Acts 23:7-8). The Pharisees were not a priestly class but instead were laymen. The Pharisees were also lawyers; but they believed that the Law should be open to new interpretations. The Pharisees were ardent nationalists and they opposed foreign influences, whether these influences were Greek or Roman. The Pharisees believed in the resurrection (Acts 23:8) and in a future life with rewards and punishments. The Pharisees were chiefly concerned with the outward observance of the Law. For the Pharisee, spiritual attitudes played a very little part. The outward observance of the Law was one aspect of their teachings that brought them into conflict with Jesus. The Sadducees had wrong doctrines. The Pharisees had many right doctrines, but their lives contradicted their teachings. Consider Christ's words: Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses� seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. (Matthew 23:2-3).

The Sadducees lost influence and gradually disappeared after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The Pharisees continued for a while longer, but they also disappeared from the religious scene with the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel.
The Literary Design of Proverbs

To fully appreciate the Proverbs, you need to understand the literary forms used in the book. You also need to understand how the book is organized and why God included it in the Bible. In this section you will learn five literary forms of proverbs. In later lessons you will also learn the book's outline and its instructional objectives.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Identify features of biblical wisdom literature
List literary characteristics of Proverbs



Vocabulary
parallelism A pattern of similarities in two or more clauses.
proverbial Belonging to a proverb.
Vocab Arcade



Read Psalm 8:1-9 and Proverbs 11:1-9.

About Proverbs. The book of Proverbs includes a collection of thirty-four proverbial poems and over five hundred proverbs. Each poem and proverb stands on its own, communicating its own message without the help of the others. Unlike the rest of Scripture, you do not always need to refer to the context of a proverb to understand it correctly.

Bible scholars call Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job The Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament. After checking in the concordance, you will understand why. The words wise and wisdom appear more often in these three books than in all thirty-six of the remaining Old Testament books together.

Upon closer observation in the concordance, you will also see wise and wisdom listed considerably more often in Proverbs than in both Ecclesiastes and Job combined. Study the word wisdom in Proverbs, and you will discover that it means moral integrity and not mere skill or intelligence. This usage and definition of wisdom makes Proverbs the divine book of God's wisdom.

The length of the poems and proverbs vary, being as short as one verse or as long as twenty-two verses. For example, King Solomon used twenty-two verses for his poem in Chapter 2 and only six verses for the one found in Proverbs 6:6-11. He used only one verse to express each of the thoughts in Chapters 10-22. However, in Proverbs 25:2-7 he took six verses to record one proverb.


THE LITERARY FORMS IN PROVERBS

Bible scholars list Proverbs with the Poetical Books as well as with the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament. Along with the Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon, Proverbs exhibits the characteristics of Hebrew poetry. You will appreciate and understand a proverb much more by recognizing its poetical characteristics.

Moral lessons. A proverb is a short, pointed, poetic expression of a moral or ethical lesson. A proverb teaches the difference between good character and conduct, and bad character and conduct. A psalm is also a poetic expression; but it is a poem usually dealing with prayer, praise, or worship to God. The book of Psalms contains a collection of poems, many of which are suitable for singing in worship. We can think of the Psalms as God's hymn book. In contrast, the book of Proverbs instructs us how to behave and how to get along with other people. Proverbs teaches humility, honesty, trustworthiness, truthfulness, patience, purity, and many other virtues. We can think of Proverbs as God's character building handbook.

Pattern of similarities. Proverbs and Psalms bear some similarities as Old Testament poetical books. In English poetry, rhyme and rhythm are important qualities and are usually the structural base of the poem. However, in Hebrew poetry, rhyme and rhythm are not used. When writing poetry, David and Solomon depended on parallelism for poetic expression, as did the other Old Testament poets.

Parallelism is defined as a pattern of similarities in two or more clauses. The poet expresses an idea in the first line and then reiterates it, using various literary techniques in the succeeding line or lines. The second line may repeat the idea by using different words. The second line may state an opposite idea or may complete a figure of speech. The second line may simply conclude the sentence started in the first line.

God led in the choice of poetic form used by the Hebrews. Because parallelism survives translation--unlike rhyme and rhythm--people can experience the power of the Hebrew poetic form in any language.



Parallelism in a Psalm
Psalm 13
Psalm 13:1 (First line) How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever?
(Second line) How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
Psalm 13:2 (Third line) How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
(Fourth line) Having sorrow in my heart daily?
(Fifth line) How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
Psalm 13:3 (First line) Consider and hear me, O Lord my God:
(Second line) Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
Psalm 13:4 (Third line) Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him;
(Fourth line) And those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
Psalm 13:5 (First line) But I have trusted in thy mercy;
(Second line) My heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
Psalm 13:6 (Third line) I will sing unto the Lord,
(Fourth line) Because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

Parallelism in a Proverbial Poem
Proverbs 6:6-11

Try to pick out the similarities of each pair. Read carefully.
Proverbs 6:6 (First line) Go to the ant, thou sluggard:
(Second line) Consider her ways, and be wise:
Proverbs 6:7 (First line) Which having no guide,
(Second line) Overseer, or ruler,
Proverbs 6:8 (First line) Provideth her meat in the summer,
(Second line) And gathereth her food in the harvest.
Proverbs 6:9 (First line) How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard?
(Second line) When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
Proverbs 6:10 (First line) Yet a little sleep, a little slumber,
(Second line) A little folding of the hands to sleep:
Proverbs 6:11 (First line) So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth
(Second line) And thy want as an armed man.



Parallelism in a Proverb
Proverbs 15:1
Proverbs 15:1 (First line) A soft answer turneth away wrath:
(Second line) But grievous words stir up anger.
Parallelism in Proverbs

This lesson considers five types of parallelism as well as other literary characteristics of the book of Proverbs.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Identify the major types of parallelism found in Proverbs
Analyze proverbs to identify the type of parallelism used
Analyze a proverbial chain and paraphrase its content
Identify the types of figurative language used in Proverbs
Memorize Proverbs 15:1 for an upcoming chapter quiz



Vocabulary
contrasting Different or opposite in meaning.
metaphor A figure of speech in which one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness between them.
parable A short story teaching a spiritual or moral principle.
parabolic Having the form or style of a short story teaching a spiritual or moral principle.
proverb A short, pointed expression of a moral lesson.
simile A figure of speech comparing two different things usually with the help of as or like.
sluggard A habitually lazy person.
synonymous Alike in meaning.
Vocab Arcade


Memory Verse:

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

In previous study you learned that parallelism is a pattern of similarities in two or more clauses. The poet expresses an idea in the first line and then repeats it in different words, using various literary techniques, in the succeeding line or lines. The second line may:

Repeat the idea by using different words,
State an opposite idea,
Complete a figure of speech, or
Conclude the sentence started in the first line.

The book of Proverbs includes several types of parallelism, discussed below.

Two-line proverbs. The basic and most often used pattern of the Biblical proverb consists of two lines. The two lines or clauses have parallel ideas.

1. Synonymous parallelism occurs when the second line or clause repeats the thought expressed in the first line.


Proverbs 16:18 (First line) Pride goeth before destruction
(Second line) And an haughty spirit before a fall.

"Pride" and "haughty spirit" are synonymous, and "destruction" and "fall" are synonymous.


Proverbs 17:21 (First line) He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow:
(Second line) And the father of a fool hath no joy.

"He that begetteth" and "father" are synonymous; "Sorrow" and "no joy" are synonymous.


Proverbs 17:21

2. Contrasting parallelism results from stating an idea in the first line and then giving its opposite in the second line. One line may express a thought in a positive way and the other line a parallel thought in a negative way. The truth of the first line is expanded by a contrary truth in the second. One hundred forty-five of the 184 proverbs in Proverbs Chapters 10-15 exhibit the contrasting form of parallelism. The following examples illustrate contrasting parallelism.


Proverbs 15:1 (First line) A soft answer turneth away wrath;
(Second line) But grievous words stir up anger.

"Soft answer" is the opposite of "grievous words", and "turneth away wrath" is the opposite of "stir up anger".


Proverbs 15:2 (First line) The tongue of the wise useth knowledge
(Second line) But the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.

"Wise" is the opposite of "fools", "knowledge" is the opposite of "foolishness", and "useth ... aright" is the opposite of "poureth out".


3. Parabolic parallelism. The word parabolic is the adjective form of the noun parable, a New Testament Greek term. Literally, the word means to compare. Parabolic parallelism compares one kind of object or idea with another. Our Lord Jesus taught lessons about heavenly things by comparing them with earthly things. Solomon also used the parabolic technique in teaching righteous, moral conduct.

Parabolic parallelism compares the subject of the first line with the subject of the second line by employing a simile or a metaphor. A simile is a figure of speech which compares two different things, usually with the help of the words "as" or "like." A metaphor is a figure of speech in which one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness between them.


Proverbs 26:1 (First line) As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest,
(Second line) so honor is not seemly for a fool.


Proverbs 26:27 (First line) Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein:
(Second line) and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.

The actions of digging a pit and rolling a stone are compared to someone causing mischief. Mischief comes back to the perpetrator, causing him trouble.

The following proverbs illustrate parabolic parallelism.


Proverbs 25:25 (First line) As cold water to a thirsty soul,
(Second line) So is good news from a far country.

Simile: Receiving good news from a place far away gives the feeling of refreshment and invigoration that cold water gives us when we drink it to quench our thirst.


Proverbs 27:3 (First line) A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty;
(Second line) But a fool's wrath is heavier than them both.

Metaphor: The gravity or weightiness of anger is compared to the physical weight of stone and sand.
4. Single-sentence parallelism does not set up a comparison between the first and second lines as do synonymous, contrasting, and parabolic parallelism. The second line simply completes the sentence started in the first line, keeping the pattern of the two-line proverb while doing so. Examples of this form are:


Proverbs 18:9 (First line) He also that is slothful in his work
(Second line) Is brother to him that is a great waster.


Proverbs 18:10 (First line) The name of the Lord is a strong tower:
(Second line) The righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

In both of the preceding proverbs, the second line continues the sentence without a comparison between them.

5. Numerical parallelism states a number in the first parallel line and increases it by one number in the second line. Only two numerical proverbs do not follow this formula (Proverbs 30:7-9 and 30:24-28). Proverbs 30:7-9 takes the form of a poem.

All but one of the numerical proverbs appear in Proverbs 30. The numerical proverbs are found in Proverbs 6:16-19; 30:15-17; 30:18-20; 30:21-23; 30:24-28; and 30:29-31.

Study this example of a numerical proverb.


Proverbs 6:16-19 (First line) These six things doth the Lord hate:
(Second line) Yea, seven are an abomination unto him
(Third line) A proud look, a lying tongue,
(Fourth line) And hands that shed innocent blood,
(Fifth line) An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations,
(Sixth line) Feet that be swift in running to mischief,
(Seventh line) A false witness that speaketh lies,
(Eighth line) And he that soweth discord among brethren
Figurative language. Figurative language abounds in Proverbs, as even mashal, the Hebrew word translated proverb, testifies. Mashal comes from a root word meaning to be like. The title of the book, therefore, prepares the reader for the verbal imagery and comparisons of the language it contains. Figurative language is indirect and involves comparisons. For example, John ate like a horse. The words like a horse are figurative. In contrast, literal language speaks directly. For example, John ate three servings of turkey.

Three types of figures of speech appear in Proverbs: similes, metaphors, and personifications. Similes make comparisons clear by using the words like or as. For example, As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. (Proverbs 26:11). Metaphors assume the likeness: the likeness is understood. For example, My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. (Proverbs 1:8-9). Instruction and law are compared to beautiful jewelry. Personifications transfer the characteristics and abilities of a person to something that is not a person. For example, Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: (Proverbs 9:1). Wisdom is not a woman; but, to make his point, the poet speaks of wisdom as though it were a woman building a house.

Click here to learn more about figurative language.

The Outline of Proverbs

If you read the book of Proverbs through at one sitting, you will notice some changes among its thirty-one chapters and over nine hundred verses. Differences displayed in literary style and message divide the book into several sections. These differences along with eight important indicators help us discover the arrangement of its content.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Explore the structure of the book of Proverbs



Vocabulary
appendix Material added to the end of a book.
motto A short statement of an aim or ideal used as a guiding principle.
Vocab Arcade


Below is a short, at-a-glance outline of the book of Proverbs. The full outline follows.

Introduction (Proverbs 1:1-7)

In this seven verse section, "title page" information appears in the first verse, The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; (Proverbs 1:1). Solomon concludes the introduction with the most powerful educational motto ever written: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7).

1. Title (Proverbs 1:1)
2. Educational Objectives (Proverbs 1:2-3)
3. Educational Purpose (Proverbs 1:4-6)
4. Educational Motto (Proverbs 1:7)


I. Solomon's Proverbial Poems (Proverbs 1:8-9:18)

This section is a series of long, multi-verse proverbs, called proverbial poems. The translation committee of The New American Standard Bible divides the first nine chapters into twenty-seven separate proverbial poems.


A. Six Fatherly Discourses on Moral Issues

1. Resist the Enticement of Sinners by Avoiding Them (Proverbs 1:8-19).
2. Wisdom's Promise and Warning (Proverbs 1:20-33).
3. The Benefits of Discerning the Fear of the Lord (Proverbs 2:1-22).
4. Seven Steps to a Long and Peaceful Life (Proverbs 3:1-12).
5. The Value of Wisdom (Proverbs 3:13-26).
6. Love your Neighbor, but Avoid His Sin (Proverbs 3:27-35).


B. Fatherly Lesson on Wisdom

1. Solomon Recollects His Father's Advice to Acquire Wisdom (Proverbs 4:1-9).
2. Avoid the Way of the Wicked (Proverbs 4:10-19).
3. Guard the Issues of Your Heart from Impurity (Proverbs 4:20-27).
4. The Deception and Misery of the Adulteress (Proverbs 5:1-6).


C. Fatherly Lesson on Sexual Purity

1. Avoid a Woman Who Would Lure You into Losing Your Purity (Proverbs 5:7-14).
2. Reserve Your Love for Your Wife (Proverbs 5:15-23).


D. Five Fatherly Lessons on Moral Issues

1. Do Not Become Liable for Another's Debt (Proverbs 6:1-5).
2. Initiative Is a Virtue; Idleness, a Vice (Proverbs 6:6-11).
3. Calamity Falls on the Underhanded Operator (Proverbs 6:12-15).
4. The Lord Hates Those Who Spread Strife among Brothers (Proverbs 6:16-19).
5. Shun the Glamorous Appeal of the Impure Woman (Proverbs 6:20-35).


E. A Fatherly Lesson on the Folly of Yielding to the Woman of the Street

1. Wisdom Will Keep You from the Harlot (Proverbs 7:1-5).
2. The Ways of the Harlot (Proverbs 7:6-23).
3. The Fatal Result of Yielding to the Harlot (Proverbs 7:24-27).


F. A Fatherly Lesson on Merits of Wisdom

1. Wisdom's Call From a Place of Honor (Proverbs 8:1-11).
2. Wisdom's Power over Men and Wealth (Proverbs 8:12-21).
3. Wisdom's Existence before and in the Creation of the Universe (Proverbs 8:22-31).
4. Wisdom's Rewards of Life and the Lord's Favor (Proverbs 8:32-36).


G. A Discourse Personifying Wisdom and Folly as Householders Inviting Guests to Eat in Their Homes

1. Wisdom Sends Out Servants to Invite Guest to a Palatial Home and Feast (Proverbs 9:1-6).
2. The Wise Man's and Foolish Man's Responses Contrasted (Proverbs 9:7-12).
3. Folly Invites Those Who Pass By to a Meal Obtained Illicitly (Proverbs 9:13-18).


II. Solomon's First Collection of Proverbs (Proverbs 10:1-24:34)
This section is introduced in Proverbs 10:1: The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother. This statement identifies Solomon as author of 375 two-line proverbs contained in Proverbs 10:1-22:16. This section is the first collection of Solomon's traditional proverbs. In addition to limiting himself to the two-line pattern, Solomon included two proverbs employing parabolic parallelism. Later proverbs contrast with this pattern, especially in Proverbs 25:1-29:27.


A. The Proverbs of Solomon (Proverbs 10:1-22:16)

* 375 two-line proverbs
* Most of the proverbs in Proverbs 10:1-15:33 possess the contrasting parallelism form.
* Only two have parabolic parallelism, Proverbs 10:26 and 11:22
* Solomon addresses youth with the words my son once (19:27) and refers to a son twelve times.


B. First Appendix (Proverbs 22:17-24:22)

This next section of proverbs is marked by a clear indicator, Proverbs 22:17: Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. The phrase the words of the wise suggests that someone other than Solomon authored the proverbs that follow and signals another change in the literary style of the proverbs. The section, beginning with Proverbs 22:17 and ending at Proverbs 24:22, accommodates proverbs of four to ten lines and two poems (Proverbs 22:17-21 and 23:29-35) and is a marked change from the 375 two-line proverbs of the preceding section. We title Proverbs 22:17-24:22 the first appendix to the first collection of Solomon's proverbs.

* Twenty-eight proverbs of from two to eight lines
* Two proverbial poems
* Proverbs 22:17-21, The Godly Teacher's Goals
* Proverbs 23:29-35, The Distress of the Drunkard


C. Second Appendix (Proverbs 24:23-34)

Proverbs 24:23 introduces the second appendix to the first collection of Solomon's proverbs. These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment. This short section, spanning Proverbs 24:23-34, contains three proverbs and one proverbial poem.

*Three proverbs (Proverbs 24:23-26; 24:27; 24:28-29)
*One proverbial poem, Proverbs 24:30-34, The Distress of the Sluggard


III. Solomon's Second Collection of Proverbs (Proverbs 25:1-31:31)

Proverbs 25:1 introduces the second collection of Solomon's proverbs (Proverbs 25:1-29:27) These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out. God led King Hezekiah's scribes (2 Kings 18:1-7) to collect and add 125 proverbs and a poem (Proverbs 27:23-28) written by Solomon. Scripture certifies that Solomon spoke 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs (1 Kings 4:32). This amazing literary accomplishment attests to the magnitude of Solomon's intelligence and wisdom. Solomon compiled the first collection of his proverbs (Proverbs 10:1-22:16) for youth. Hezekiah's scribes compiled the second collection for all Hebrews, young and old. They began the appendix with proverbs concerning the power of their king. Also, the proverbs they collected in this section are highly figurative and employ parabolic parallelism. The contrast in literary style with Solomon's first collection is striking.
A.The Proverbs of Solomon Which the Men of Hezekiah King of Judah Transcribed (Proverbs 25:1-29:27)

* One hundred twenty-five proverbs employing highly figurative language.
* Many are of the parabolic parallelism form.
* Solomon addresses youth with my son once and refers to a son three times.
* One poem, Proverbs 27:23-27, Exhortation for Shepherds to Work Hard


B. First Appendix--The Words of Agur (Proverbs 30:1-33)

Proverbs 30:1 draws our attention to the next part of the book: The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal, The first verse in the section attributes authorship to Agur. Of Agur and his father, Jakeh, we know nothing. These names appear in the Scriptures only in this place. This section (Proverbs 30:1-33) contains ten multi-line proverbs and one proverbial poem (Proverbs 30:7-9).

* Ten proverbs of from two to ten lines; Five of the ten are numerical proverbs
* One poem, Proverbs 30:7-9, Prayer for Truth and Moderation


C. Second Appendix--The Words of King Lemuel (Proverbs 31:1-9)

This next-to-last section is a single poem of nine verses, beginning with Proverbs 31:1, which states: states, The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. King Lemuel's name appears twice in this passage (Proverbs 31:1 and 4), but in no other passage of the Scriptures. We have no other knowledge of him. Some Bible expositors believe the title was another name for Solomon.

* One poem, Proverbs 31:1-9, Guidance for Rulers


D. Third Appendix--A Virtuous Woman (Proverbs 31:10-31)

This final section consists of a single poem (Proverbs 31:10-31). The poem is an acrostic. The poet began each verse with a different letter of the twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Since the English alphabet is different from the Hebrew, this form did not survive translation. In the poem the poet describes the virtuous woman, a model wife and mother.

* One alphabetical poem, Characteristics of a Model Wife and Mother
Purposes of Proverbs

Solomon designed Proverbs as a lesson book to teach attitudes and behaviors that we ought to show in our lives. Priests and scribes used it in classes for Hebrew children. To understand what Proverbs teaches, we will study Solomon's educational objectives.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Discover the educational objectives of the book of Proverbs




Read Proverbs 1:2-6.

Objective 1: To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; (Proverbs 1:2). In Proverbs, Solomon used the word wisdom in a special way. Some might define wisdom as knowing a lot of information, but Solomon did not give this meaning to the word. He thought of wisdom as the skill in deciding between right and wrong and then doing what is right. The word wisdom expresses knowledge of all good things. The word stands for the acts of doing good rather than evil. Solomon's first objective was for youths to have knowledge of standards and principles by which they could judge between good and evil. The Apostle Paul had the same objective for Christians as he taught, For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. (Romans 16:19).

Objective 2: To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; (Proverbs 1:2). Solomon's objectives for his students went deeper than a mere superficial knowledge. The second objective, "to perceive," called for the student to understand and use his knowledge of wisdom. You do well to memorize; but memorization has little effect on your reasoning if you do not understand what you memorize. The Apostle Paul prayed for understanding for his converts. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, (Ephesians 1:17-18). Paul urged his reader, Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:17). He prayed, again, Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. (2 Timothy 2:7)

Objective 3: To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; (Proverbs 1:3). Solomon, in his third objective, sought to have his students do more than simply accept his instruction. He wanted them to value it and to find personal enrichment and pleasure in his teaching. The three words following wisdom in Proverbs 1:3 comprise a list of its synonyms, "justice, and judgment, and equity." These terms unfold Solomon's idea of wisdom. The Apostle Paul expressed the same kind of desire in his teachings, Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: (Colossians 1:28). In Romans 12:2 Paul stated, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Objective 4: To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. (Proverbs 1:4). The fourth objective proposed a change in the simple or naive students. No longer should they allow themselves to be easily persuaded or led astray. Solomon's proverbs will give subtlety, meaning keenness or cleverness. The simple will be able to govern and discipline themselves. Accepting the instruction of Proverbs will affect the way they live. Again, expressing the same kind of desire as Solomon wrote about, Paul prayed for his converts, For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Colossians 1:9-10).

Objective 5: To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. (Proverbs 1:4) By knowledge, Solomon did not mean an accumulation of historical, scientific, mathematical, and literary information. His knowledge consisted of godly attitudes, righteous principles, and spiritual values. With discretion received from Solomon's teaching, young people will mature. They will acquire ability to make responsible decisions. They will begin to have greater insight into why people act the way they do and, as they develop common sense, will be able to foresee consequences of their actions. This wisdom will help young people to do right and to project the right plans. Solomon's objectives envision students who become characterized by the righteous values expounded in his book. Paul also held this high ideal for Christians, young and old. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11).

Objective 6: A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: (Proverbs 1:5). Not only will the immature benefit from studying Proverbs, but so will those who are mature in wisdom. We never reach a point in our lives when we know and understand everything. People who are mature in wisdom still have the opportunity to grow. Paul stated, Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14).

Objective 7: A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: (Proverbs 1:5). The book of Proverbs offers counsel to the already wise. In the Proverbs they find guiding thoughts, regulating principles, and judicious rules. Wise counsel holds a position of great esteem in the Proverbs.

Objective 8: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. (Proverbs 1:6). The previous seven objectives in Proverbs concentrate on the subject matter of teaching. This, the eighth objective, focuses on the means of acquiring wisdom or the learning process. Solomon insisted that we can learn morally from Proverbs. We do not need to experiment with immorality to understand it, nor must we learn by our own experience that sin causes pain and sorrow. Instead, we can learn from the teaching and counsel of the wise by understanding and accepting their proverbs and counsel. For example, we can learn through different methods that diving into an empty swimming pool is hard on the body. We can dive into an empty pool and learn by first-hand experience, or we can learn by listening to someone who loves us and has wisdom in the matter. Solomon also recommended a method for learning moral matters, as did the Apostle Paul. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. (Romans 16:19).
The New Testament and Proverbs

In Psalm 119:9, Solomon's father, King David, asked, Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. The second line of the verse, of course, holds the answer. God told us through the apostle Paul (2 Timothy 3:16-17) that we are to apply the teachings of the Scriptures to our lives. Remember, when Paul wrote the word Scripture, only the Old Testament was available. The New Testament had not been completed. God's standards of godly character and righteous conduct do not change. Laziness is a sin mentioned in the Proverbs, and it is a sin mentioned in the New Testament. Murder is a sin which is denounced in the Proverbs as it is in the New Testament. In this section, you will learn how the New Testament writers integrated the lessons of the Proverbs with their own teachings.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Identify proverbs used in the New Testament, through either direct quote or allusion
Identify themes shared in common by New Testament writings and Proverbs
Memorize Proverbs 4:26 for an upcoming chapter quiz




Vocabulary
allude To make an indirect reference to something.
allusion An implied or indirect reference to something.
parallel A corresponding or similar thought.
quote To write or repeat a passage found elsewhere.
Vocab Arcade


Memory Verse:

Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. (Proverbs 4:26)

New Testament writers frequently quoted and alluded to the Old Testament. They referred to the Old Testament to prove their message was from God. For example, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John referred to the Old Testament to certify their message that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God. Bible scholars estimate that the four Gospels contain over one hundred direct quotations and nearly one hundred forty allusions to the Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah. In this section you will investigate some New Testament passages that quote, allude to, and are parallel with lessons in Proverbs.

The New Testament writers quoted Proverbs four times, and alluded to Proverbs many more times. Their teaching concerning Christian character and conduct frequently paralleled lessons in Proverbs. The analysis in the following chart will help you understand these references. To allude to the book of Proverbs, the New Testament writer made an indirect reference to one of the Proverbs. He did not quote it word for word. Parallel lessons are also used in the New Testament teachings that are very similar in thought and form to Proverbs.


New Testament passages in which the writers quote Proverbs:



Love repays evil with good.

Romans 12:19-21: Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Compare Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27; and 2 Kings 6:22

Proverbs 25:21-22: If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.



We are to appreciate God's discipline.

Hebrews 12:5-6: And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Compare Job 5:17; Psalm 94:12 and 119:75

Proverbs 3:11-12: My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.



God's retribution for sin is certain.

1 Peter 4:18: And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
(Quoted from Septuagint)

Proverbs 11:31: Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.



The fool does not learn.

2 Peter 2:21-22: For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Proverbs 26:11: As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.


New Testament passages in which the writers allude to the Proverbs:



Do not be overly self-confident and self-reliant.

Romans 12:16: Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Proverbs 3:7: Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

Proverbs 26:12: Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.



Do not avenge yourself.

Romans 12:17-19: Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
(Quoted from Deuteronomy 32:35 and referred to in Hebrews 10:30.)

Proverbs 20:22: Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.

Proverbs 24:29: Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.



Show appreciation and consideration.

Romans 13:7: Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Galatians 6:10: As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Proverbs 3:27: Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.



God's bounty should be shared with others.

2 Corinthians 9:7: Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Proverbs 22:9: He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.



God's grace comes through humility.

James 4:5-7: Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Proverbs 3:34: Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.



Our powers are limited.

James 4:13-14: Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Proverbs 27:1: Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.



Respect authority and do not rebel.

1 Peter 2:16-17: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

Proverbs 24:21: My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:



Love forgives.

1 Peter 4:8: And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Proverbs 10:12: Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.


New Testament passages in which the thoughts expressed by the writer are parallel with some lessons of the Proverbs.



Authority should be obeyed.

Romans 13:1: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Proverbs 8:15-16: By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.



Moral integrity should be practiced.

Hebrews 12:13-14: And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

Proverbs 4:26: Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.



Other Christians in need should be helped.

James 2:15-16: If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

Proverbs 3:28: Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.



We should learn how to get along with people and God.

1 Peter 3:13: And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

Proverbs 16:7: When a man�s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Proverbs in Two Epistles
This lesson continues the study of the influence that the book of Proverbs had on New Testament writing. Two books in particular are considered here.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Identify themes shared in common between Proverbs and Romans and James respectively



Vocabulary
hypocrisy To pretend to be more virtuous than one is.
righteousness Action according to what is right or just.
slothful To be lazy and sluggish.
Vocab Arcade



The righteousness of God is the keynote of Romans. In Romans, God tells us that:

- sinful man needs righteousness (Romans 1:17-3:20)
- God provides righteousness (Romans 3:21-26)
- faith obtains righteousness (Romans 3:27-4:25)
- the soul experiences righteousness (Romans 5:1-8:17)
- God guarantees righteousness (Romans 7:18-39)
- the Jewish nation rejected righteousness (Romans 9-11)
- the Christian life expresses righteousness (Romans 12-16)

For the Christian life to express righteousness, the Christian must first give his life to God. Romans 12:1 states, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. God wants you to sacrifice your life, or set it apart for His use. Giving your life to God is not an unreasonable command. God says it is your reasonable service.

The next step, as presented in Romans 12:2, involves changing our sinful ways by the renewing of our minds. By thinking along with God, you have the ability to follow Paul's counsel: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2). Paul and Solomon agree in their objectives for determining the will of God. Paul speaks of renewing our minds and, similarly, Solomon encourages us to know wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:2-4). How do Christians renew their minds?


Paul used proverbs in his teaching.

The Roman Christians had just turned to Christ from a life filled with immorality. These believers did not have a New Testament from which to learn God's will; therefore, Paul wrote instructions to help them. In Romans 12 he drew heavily from Proverbs. By doing so he showed Christians how to renew their minds. We must read the Scriptures, especially Proverbs. What better reference could the Holy Spirit bring to Paul's mind than God's handbook on godly character and righteous conduct?

For a Christian to express righteousness with his life, he must have humility. Paul stated in Romans 12:2, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. This lesson parallels those in Proverbs on humility. And when teaching about the way Christians fit into the body of Christ (Romans 12:4-8), Paul sounded even more like Solomon. The Apostle Paul knew the book of Proverbs and used it to renew his mind. The following chart illustrates how much the lessons in Romans 12:9-11 parallel those lessons in Proverbs.

Romans 12:9-11 Proverbs
Let true love be without hypocrisy Proverbs 10:12; 17:9,17
Abhor that which is evil Proverbs 8:13; 14:16; 1:10-19; 27:12; 4:14-15; 24:1
Cleave unto that which is good Proverbs 11:27; 23:23; 1:8-9; 3:13-18; 4:23-27
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love Proverbs 17:17; 18:24
Prefer one another in honor Proverbs 3:34
Not being slothful in business Proverbs 19:15; 20:4; 21:25; 24:30-34
Being fervent in spirit Proverbs 11:27; 13:4; 10:4; 21:5; 17:27
Serving the Lord Proverbs 16:3; 19:17; 21:3
PROVERBS AND THE EPISTLE OF JAMES



Some Bible scholars have called James the New Testament Wisdom Book. More than any other New Testament book, the Epistle of James parallels Old Testament teaching on righteous living. James includes the highly figurative Hebrew style of speech found in Proverbs. Many of the major topics in James are also spoken of in Proverbs. Both books, for example, discuss wisdom, humility, temper, the tongue, mercy, righteousness, the uncertainty of life, and confession of sin.

Wisdom. Solomon and James both explained the methods for attaining wisdom. In Proverbs wisdom was attained through education (Proverbs 1:2-6). Proverbs, therefore, was the textbook. Because the Holy Spirit inspired his words, Solomon's wisdom was from God. Solomon had prayed for the wisdom God gave him (1 Kings 3:7-12). Similarly, James emphasized the role that prayer has in attaining wisdom when he wrote, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5). Wisdom, in James 1:5, means understanding, in a practical way, the trials or diverse temptations that people were experiencing (James 1:4). God promises to give those insights if Christians stay strong in faith. Seeing their problems from God's point of view will help believers live godly and righteously. James then proceeded to teach wisdom as Solomon did. The child of God attains wisdom by the study of God's Word and by prayer.

In James 3:13-18 James contrasted heavenly wisdom with the world's wisdom: But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17). Solomon's wisdom had the same characteristics.

Temper. Solomon and James have much to say about controlling the temper. Proverbs 16:32 states, He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. This passage portrays a vivid picture of the strength needed to control temper. Everyone has a temper, but only the most mature can control it. The world's response when losing a temper is to curse and swear. James says that neither activity has a place in the Christian's life--Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. (James 3:10).

The Tongue. Both writers also address the tongue. Proverbs 10:19 teaches, In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. Proverbs 17:27 states, He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Constant talking leads to sin, but the wise control the amount of talking they do. James summarized these lessons in James 1:19-20 by stating, Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
Repetitions in Proverbs

A variety of repetitions appear in Proverbs. Occasionally, the writer repeats some proverbs word for word. Sometimes, one line will be the same and the other different. A number of proverbs express the same lesson but use different words. Five two-line proverbs and four lines of a proverbial poem are repeated word for word. As you may expect, these repeated portions deal with some of the major themes in Proverbs.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Identify major themes in Proverbs revealed through repetition



Vocabulary
surety One pledged to be legally liable for the debt of another.
Vocab Arcade

The youth. In Solomon's first collection of proverbs, Solomon repeats a solemn warning to youth using exactly the same words. Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 both state, There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Young people lack the experience and knowledge necessary to avoid pain caused by wrong decisions.

A young person following his own opinions can be compared to a traveler making a trip without help from maps, signposts, or people. He imagines he is going the right way to reach the place he wants to go. However, he ends up getting lost and arrives somewhere completely different from his intended destination. Solomon repeats this proverb to emphasize the warning to young people about self-deception. Without guidance from God's Word, people end up on the road to death. Instead of happiness, there is destruction of happiness. Proverbs 12:15 states, The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

The gossip. A major topic in Proverbs concerns control of the tongue. References to speech appear 130 times. Proverbs 18:8 and 26:22, two identical passages, give additional emphasis to the theme of gossip: The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. The Hebrew word translated wounds literally means dainty morsels. The person who talks about others in a way that they ought not to (spreading rumors or lies, talking badly about someone, or telling things that shouldn't be told to others) spreads a deadly poison, and people listen with hunger-satisfying delight. People will devour gossip as though it were delicious bits of food. The gossip goes right to the heart and affects thoughts and actions. How dangerous is this appetite? Gossip can cause irreparable injury. Gossip is much like poison.

Gossip is forbidden in both the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:16) and the New Testament (James 3 and Titus 3:1-2). We should resist the natural craving for gossip and speak of others with love.

The imprudent. The word surety occurs in six proverbs, twice in one of them. Proverbs 20:16 and 27:13, identical proverbs, state, Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman. One who is surety is one who is legally liable for a debt. According to the Old Testament Law, when a man took a loan, he had to give an article of his clothing as a bond to the one who loaned him the money (Deuteronomy 24:10-13). In the verse above, a man foolish enough to be surety for a complete stranger is to be held responsible. The Law and the Proverbs protect the poor and unfortunate. The command here is aimed at the imprudent--one who is unwisely generous, failing to hold others responsible when appropriate. Proverbs teaches us to help the poor but to avoid being foolhardy by encouraging the foolish. They deserve to suffer for their folly because they have not been wise in handling money.

The prudent. Another lesson appears in Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12: "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished." A prudent man exhibits forethought. He not only sees evil when it confronts him, but he sees it ahead of time and avoids it. Evil, as it is used here, involves anything causing injury in any realm--physical, financial, or moral. In contrast, the person who lacks good sense does not foresee danger. Blindly, carelessly, he continues and collides head-on with evil, paying the penalty. You cannot afford to walk carelessly in a world filled with evil. You must balance confidence with fear. Foresee real dangers and flee to safety.

The married. Another important topic in Proverbs concerns the home. Proverbs 21:9 and 25:24 direct special attention to the wife by stating, It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house. Lounging and sleeping on the flat roof of a house to escape the heat inside was a common practice, but to live in a small hut on the corner of the roof placed one in an uncomfortable position. The discomfort, however, caused by a contentious woman in the house below weights heavier. Continual argument solves no problems, it only generates more. Young people need to approach marriage as a lifelong union. Young women and young men must look to God for guidance in this all-important matter. The only safe entrance into the honorable estate of marriage involves personal faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Both the young man and the young lady should pray for God's choice in uniting two into one flesh.

The lazy. The repetition of four lines in two of the proverbial poems exhausts our list of identical proverbs (Proverbs 6:10-11 and Proverbs 24:33-34). The two poems both deal with the same topic, the sin of laziness. We could title the poem in Proverbs 6:6-11 "Initiative Is a Virtue, Idleness a Vice":

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

and the one in Proverbs 24:30-34 "The Distress of the Sluggard."

I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.

The first poem uses the example of the ant. As a hard worker, the ant takes initiative and does not need a leader to make her work. The second poem describes the neglected condition of the lazy man's field. The poets had a special name for the lazy person. This term appears fourteen times and only in the book of Proverbs. The translators used sluggard and slothful to translate the Hebrew word (Proverbs 6:6, 9; 10:26; 13:4; 15:19; 19:24; 20:4; 21:35; 22:13; 24:30; and 26:13-15). Three times slothful is used to translate another Hebrew word in Proverbs 12:24, 27 and Proverbs 15:19. With the waste of time, the possessions of the sluggard will decay. In very little time, he will not have anything left. Just as highway robbers hold up a traveler, all the sluggard's property will be taken from him.

The Sluggard

Help Farmer Frank answer questions about the book of Proverbs.
The Themes of Proverbs

The book of Proverbs includes a number of major themes. You have studied several of these key themes already, such as the importance of wisdom and the value of knowledge. This lesson considers the principal theme of Proverbs: the fear of the Lord.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Define the fear of the Lord
Identify evidence of a life characterized by the fear of the Lord
Explain why people should fear the Lord
Memorize Proverbs 1:7 for an upcoming chapter quiz



Vocabulary
fear Profound, adoring awe and respect for God as supreme lawmaker and judge.
reverence Profound, adoring awe and respect.
Vocab Arcade


THE KEY PHRASE IN PROVERBS



As stated earlier, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge is the greatest of educational mottos. It also stands as the greatest motto for morality. Job stated the motto many years before the writing of Proverbs (Job 28:28). As a child, Solomon sang it with his father, King David (Psalm 111:10). This key theme had such a great impact on Solomon that he used it as a foundation for godly character and righteous conduct.

What is the fear of the Lord? The fear of the Lord refers to profound, adoring awe and respect for God as the supreme lawmaker and judge. Solomon said that the man who lived with this reverent acknowledgment of God as lawgiver will have within his soul an effective moral guide. So bitter is God's wrath, His love so sweet, that the wise man humbly submits himself to God. This reverential submission to the Creator and Governor of the universe brings such rewards in its course that one cannot help but love God more and more.

Click here to use online Bible resources.

In the New Testament, Christians are motivated to do God's will out of love for Him. 1 John 4:17-19 states, Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.

When our love is not perfect, however, we do not follow His will; and we have cause to fear the consequences. The apostle Paul, in urging Christians to separate themselves from the world, assured them of God's love. He listed fear as having a role in correcting sinful ways. 2 Corinthians 7:1 states, Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. The phrase the fear of the Lord appears sixteen times in Proverbs. The following lists these references. Studying them will increase your understanding.


Characteristics of the fear of the Lord:

Hates evil and loves good.

Proverbs 8:13: The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

Avoids evil.

Proverbs 16:6: By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

Is taught by wisdom.

Proverbs 15:33: The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.


The importance of the fear of the Lord
to knowing and doing what is right:
Memory Verse:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)

First step in knowing what is right.

Proverbs 1:7: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 2:4-5: If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

First step in doing what is right.

Proverbs 9:10: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Young people must choose to seek it.

Proverbs 1:28-29: Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:


Benefits received by those who fear the Lord:

Length of life.

Proverbs 10:27: The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.

Proverbs 14:27: The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

Quality of life.

Proverbs 3:7-8: Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Proverbs 14:26: In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.

Proverbs 15:16: Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.

Proverbs 22:4: By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.

Proverbs 23:17-18: Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

Proverbs 24:21: My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:
Repetitions in Proverbs

A variety of repetitions appear in Proverbs. Occasionally, the writer repeats some proverbs word for word. Sometimes, one line will be the same and the other different. A number of proverbs express the same lesson but use different words. Five two-line proverbs and four lines of a proverbial poem are repeated word for word. As you may expect, these repeated portions deal with some of the major themes in Proverbs.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Identify major themes in Proverbs revealed through repetition



Vocabulary
surety One pledged to be legally liable for the debt of another.
Vocab Arcade

The youth. In Solomon's first collection of proverbs, Solomon repeats a solemn warning to youth using exactly the same words. Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 both state, There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Young people lack the experience and knowledge necessary to avoid pain caused by wrong decisions.

A young person following his own opinions can be compared to a traveler making a trip without help from maps, signposts, or people. He imagines he is going the right way to reach the place he wants to go. However, he ends up getting lost and arrives somewhere completely different from his intended destination. Solomon repeats this proverb to emphasize the warning to young people about self-deception. Without guidance from God's Word, people end up on the road to death. Instead of happiness, there is destruction of happiness. Proverbs 12:15 states, The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

The gossip. A major topic in Proverbs concerns control of the tongue. References to speech appear 130 times. Proverbs 18:8 and 26:22, two identical passages, give additional emphasis to the theme of gossip: The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. The Hebrew word translated wounds literally means dainty morsels. The person who talks about others in a way that they ought not to (spreading rumors or lies, talking badly about someone, or telling things that shouldn't be told to others) spreads a deadly poison, and people listen with hunger-satisfying delight. People will devour gossip as though it were delicious bits of food. The gossip goes right to the heart and affects thoughts and actions. How dangerous is this appetite? Gossip can cause irreparable injury. Gossip is much like poison.

Gossip is forbidden in both the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:16) and the New Testament (James 3 and Titus 3:1-2). We should resist the natural craving for gossip and speak of others with love.

The imprudent. The word surety occurs in six proverbs, twice in one of them. Proverbs 20:16 and 27:13, identical proverbs, state, Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman. One who is surety is one who is legally liable for a debt. According to the Old Testament Law, when a man took a loan, he had to give an article of his clothing as a bond to the one who loaned him the money (Deuteronomy 24:10-13). In the verse above, a man foolish enough to be surety for a complete stranger is to be held responsible. The Law and the Proverbs protect the poor and unfortunate. The command here is aimed at the imprudent--one who is unwisely generous, failing to hold others responsible when appropriate. Proverbs teaches us to help the poor but to avoid being foolhardy by encouraging the foolish. They deserve to suffer for their folly because they have not been wise in handling money.

The prudent. Another lesson appears in Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12: "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished." A prudent man exhibits forethought. He not only sees evil when it confronts him, but he sees it ahead of time and avoids it. Evil, as it is used here, involves anything causing injury in any realm--physical, financial, or moral. In contrast, the person who lacks good sense does not foresee danger. Blindly, carelessly, he continues and collides head-on with evil, paying the penalty. You cannot afford to walk carelessly in a world filled with evil. You must balance confidence with fear. Foresee real dangers and flee to safety.

The married. Another important topic in Proverbs concerns the home. Proverbs 21:9 and 25:24 direct special attention to the wife by stating, It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house. Lounging and sleeping on the flat roof of a house to escape the heat inside was a common practice, but to live in a small hut on the corner of the roof placed one in an uncomfortable position. The discomfort, however, caused by a contentious woman in the house below weights heavier. Continual argument solves no problems, it only generates more. Young people need to approach marriage as a lifelong union. Young women and young men must look to God for guidance in this all-important matter. The only safe entrance into the honorable estate of marriage involves personal faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Both the young man and the young lady should pray for God's choice in uniting two into one flesh.

The lazy. The repetition of four lines in two of the proverbial poems exhausts our list of identical proverbs (Proverbs 6:10-11 and Proverbs 24:33-34). The two poems both deal with the same topic, the sin of laziness. We could title the poem in Proverbs 6:6-11 "Initiative Is a Virtue, Idleness a Vice":

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

and the one in Proverbs 24:30-34 "The Distress of the Sluggard."

I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.

The first poem uses the example of the ant. As a hard worker, the ant takes initiative and does not need a leader to make her work. The second poem describes the neglected condition of the lazy man's field. The poets had a special name for the lazy person. This term appears fourteen times and only in the book of Proverbs. The translators used sluggard and slothful to translate the Hebrew word (Proverbs 6:6, 9; 10:26; 13:4; 15:19; 19:24; 20:4; 21:35; 22:13; 24:30; and 26:13-15). Three times slothful is used to translate another Hebrew word in Proverbs 12:24, 27 and Proverbs 15:19. With the waste of time, the possessions of the sluggard will decay. In very little time, he will not have anything left. Just as highway robbers hold up a traveler, all the sluggard's property will be taken from him.

The Sluggard

Help Farmer Frank answer questions about the book of Proverbs.
Studying Themes in Proverbs

In the future, you may want to study the Proverbs in private devotions. This lesson provides suggestions for profitable study in the book of Proverbs.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Describe three methods for studying the book of Proverbs



A chapter a day. Probably one of the most universal methods of studying Proverbs is that of reading one chapter every day. With thirty-one chapters, you could read the book of Proverbs in one month. In months with less than thirty-one days, you would read the extra chapter(s) on the last day (or days) of the month.

Topics. As you read the Proverbs, write them down on an index card or on a sheet of notebook paper according to topics. You may also use the concordance to locate verses with certain words in them. This will help you categorize the vast amount of information contained in the book so that you can carefully study individual subjects.


Comparison. You will find a blessing in comparing many of our Lord's parables with the Proverbs. The parable of the Good Samaritan, for example, has many parallels in Proverbs. You can also compare Proverbs to the practical Christian living passages in Paul's epistles or the letters of James and Peter This method is similar to making lists of specific topics, except that you are including other books of the Bible in your list. You could even combine the two methods--study the topics in Proverbs first, then research parallel parables.

Action. In all your study, be sure to do what the Word of God tells you to do. The only godly purpose for studying the Bible is to learn to live by its teachings. Through your study in the Proverbs, you can enjoy your relationship with God now and forever.

Proverbs 2:1-9:

My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.


As you study the Bible, the Holy Spirit will reveal truth to you.
The Themes of Proverbs

The book of Proverbs includes a number of major themes. You have studied several of these key themes already, such as the importance of wisdom and the value of knowledge. This lesson considers the principal theme of Proverbs: the fear of the Lord.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Define the fear of the Lord
Identify evidence of a life characterized by the fear of the Lord
Explain why people should fear the Lord
Memorize Proverbs 1:7 for an upcoming chapter quiz



Vocabulary
fear Profound, adoring awe and respect for God as supreme lawmaker and judge.
reverence Profound, adoring awe and respect.
Vocab Arcade


THE KEY PHRASE IN PROVERBS



As stated earlier, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge is the greatest of educational mottos. It also stands as the greatest motto for morality. Job stated the motto many years before the writing of Proverbs (Job 28:28). As a child, Solomon sang it with his father, King David (Psalm 111:10). This key theme had such a great impact on Solomon that he used it as a foundation for godly character and righteous conduct.

What is the fear of the Lord? The fear of the Lord refers to profound, adoring awe and respect for God as the supreme lawmaker and judge. Solomon said that the man who lived with this reverent acknowledgment of God as lawgiver will have within his soul an effective moral guide. So bitter is God's wrath, His love so sweet, that the wise man humbly submits himself to God. This reverential submission to the Creator and Governor of the universe brings such rewards in its course that one cannot help but love God more and more.

Click here to use online Bible resources.

In the New Testament, Christians are motivated to do God's will out of love for Him. 1 John 4:17-19 states, Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.

When our love is not perfect, however, we do not follow His will; and we have cause to fear the consequences. The apostle Paul, in urging Christians to separate themselves from the world, assured them of God's love. He listed fear as having a role in correcting sinful ways. 2 Corinthians 7:1 states, Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. The phrase the fear of the Lord appears sixteen times in Proverbs. The following lists these references. Studying them will increase your understanding.


Characteristics of the fear of the Lord:

Hates evil and loves good.

Proverbs 8:13: The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

Avoids evil.

Proverbs 16:6: By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

Is taught by wisdom.

Proverbs 15:33: The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.


The importance of the fear of the Lord
to knowing and doing what is right:
Memory Verse:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)

First step in knowing what is right.

Proverbs 1:7: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 2:4-5: If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

First step in doing what is right.

Proverbs 9:10: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Young people must choose to seek it.

Proverbs 1:28-29: Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:


Benefits received by those who fear the Lord:

Length of life.

Proverbs 10:27: The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.

Proverbs 14:27: The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

Quality of life.

Proverbs 3:7-8: Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Proverbs 14:26: In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.

Proverbs 15:16: Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.

Proverbs 22:4: By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.

Proverbs 23:17-18: Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

Proverbs 24:21: My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:
Repetitions in Proverbs

A variety of repetitions appear in Proverbs. Occasionally, the writer repeats some proverbs word for word. Sometimes, one line will be the same and the other different. A number of proverbs express the same lesson but use different words. Five two-line proverbs and four lines of a proverbial poem are repeated word for word. As you may expect, these repeated portions deal with some of the major themes in Proverbs.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Identify major themes in Proverbs revealed through repetition



Vocabulary
surety One pledged to be legally liable for the debt of another.
Vocab Arcade

The youth. In Solomon's first collection of proverbs, Solomon repeats a solemn warning to youth using exactly the same words. Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 both state, There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Young people lack the experience and knowledge necessary to avoid pain caused by wrong decisions.

A young person following his own opinions can be compared to a traveler making a trip without help from maps, signposts, or people. He imagines he is going the right way to reach the place he wants to go. However, he ends up getting lost and arrives somewhere completely different from his intended destination. Solomon repeats this proverb to emphasize the warning to young people about self-deception. Without guidance from God's Word, people end up on the road to death. Instead of happiness, there is destruction of happiness. Proverbs 12:15 states, The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

The gossip. A major topic in Proverbs concerns control of the tongue. References to speech appear 130 times. Proverbs 18:8 and 26:22, two identical passages, give additional emphasis to the theme of gossip: The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. The Hebrew word translated wounds literally means dainty morsels. The person who talks about others in a way that they ought not to (spreading rumors or lies, talking badly about someone, or telling things that shouldn't be told to others) spreads a deadly poison, and people listen with hunger-satisfying delight. People will devour gossip as though it were delicious bits of food. The gossip goes right to the heart and affects thoughts and actions. How dangerous is this appetite? Gossip can cause irreparable injury. Gossip is much like poison.

Gossip is forbidden in both the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:16) and the New Testament (James 3 and Titus 3:1-2). We should resist the natural craving for gossip and speak of others with love.

The imprudent. The word surety occurs in six proverbs, twice in one of them. Proverbs 20:16 and 27:13, identical proverbs, state, Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman. One who is surety is one who is legally liable for a debt. According to the Old Testament Law, when a man took a loan, he had to give an article of his clothing as a bond to the one who loaned him the money (Deuteronomy 24:10-13). In the verse above, a man foolish enough to be surety for a complete stranger is to be held responsible. The Law and the Proverbs protect the poor and unfortunate. The command here is aimed at the imprudent--one who is unwisely generous, failing to hold others responsible when appropriate. Proverbs teaches us to help the poor but to avoid being foolhardy by encouraging the foolish. They deserve to suffer for their folly because they have not been wise in handling money.

The prudent. Another lesson appears in Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12: "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished." A prudent man exhibits forethought. He not only sees evil when it confronts him, but he sees it ahead of time and avoids it. Evil, as it is used here, involves anything causing injury in any realm--physical, financial, or moral. In contrast, the person who lacks good sense does not foresee danger. Blindly, carelessly, he continues and collides head-on with evil, paying the penalty. You cannot afford to walk carelessly in a world filled with evil. You must balance confidence with fear. Foresee real dangers and flee to safety.

The married. Another important topic in Proverbs concerns the home. Proverbs 21:9 and 25:24 direct special attention to the wife by stating, It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house. Lounging and sleeping on the flat roof of a house to escape the heat inside was a common practice, but to live in a small hut on the corner of the roof placed one in an uncomfortable position. The discomfort, however, caused by a contentious woman in the house below weights heavier. Continual argument solves no problems, it only generates more. Young people need to approach marriage as a lifelong union. Young women and young men must look to God for guidance in this all-important matter. The only safe entrance into the honorable estate of marriage involves personal faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Both the young man and the young lady should pray for God's choice in uniting two into one flesh.

The lazy. The repetition of four lines in two of the proverbial poems exhausts our list of identical proverbs (Proverbs 6:10-11 and Proverbs 24:33-34). The two poems both deal with the same topic, the sin of laziness. We could title the poem in Proverbs 6:6-11 "Initiative Is a Virtue, Idleness a Vice":

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

and the one in Proverbs 24:30-34 "The Distress of the Sluggard."

I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.

The first poem uses the example of the ant. As a hard worker, the ant takes initiative and does not need a leader to make her work. The second poem describes the neglected condition of the lazy man's field. The poets had a special name for the lazy person. This term appears fourteen times and only in the book of Proverbs. The translators used sluggard and slothful to translate the Hebrew word (Proverbs 6:6, 9; 10:26; 13:4; 15:19; 19:24; 20:4; 21:35; 22:13; 24:30; and 26:13-15). Three times slothful is used to translate another Hebrew word in Proverbs 12:24, 27 and Proverbs 15:19. With the waste of time, the possessions of the sluggard will decay. In very little time, he will not have anything left. Just as highway robbers hold up a traveler, all the sluggard's property will be taken from him.

The Sluggard

Help Farmer Frank answer questions about the book of Proverbs.
Studying Themes in Proverbs

In the future, you may want to study the Proverbs in private devotions. This lesson provides suggestions for profitable study in the book of Proverbs.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Describe three methods for studying the book of Proverbs



A chapter a day. Probably one of the most universal methods of studying Proverbs is that of reading one chapter every day. With thirty-one chapters, you could read the book of Proverbs in one month. In months with less than thirty-one days, you would read the extra chapter(s) on the last day (or days) of the month.

Topics. As you read the Proverbs, write them down on an index card or on a sheet of notebook paper according to topics. You may also use the concordance to locate verses with certain words in them. This will help you categorize the vast amount of information contained in the book so that you can carefully study individual subjects.


Comparison. You will find a blessing in comparing many of our Lord's parables with the Proverbs. The parable of the Good Samaritan, for example, has many parallels in Proverbs. You can also compare Proverbs to the practical Christian living passages in Paul's epistles or the letters of James and Peter This method is similar to making lists of specific topics, except that you are including other books of the Bible in your list. You could even combine the two methods--study the topics in Proverbs first, then research parallel parables.

Action. In all your study, be sure to do what the Word of God tells you to do. The only godly purpose for studying the Bible is to learn to live by its teachings. Through your study in the Proverbs, you can enjoy your relationship with God now and forever.

Proverbs 2:1-9:

My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.


As you study the Bible, the Holy Spirit will reveal truth to you.
Personal Choices: Knowing What to Do

This section will go over commands and principles found in the Scriptures that you can apply to every situation in your life requiring a decision. Later lessons will address how to handle the consequences of making poor decisions.

Here is your goal for this lesson:

Identify and apply guiding principles for biblical decision making



Vocabulary
covet To earnestly desire to have more.
dilemma A situation that requires a difficult choice.
persuasion Belief.
Vocab Arcade






Read Colossians 3:12-17, Ephesians 5:3-4, Romans 14:1-15:6.

Many teenagers are unsure about how to tell right from wrong. Their parents tell them one thing, yet their friends are doing another. Or perhaps they are confronted with a situation that seems okay, but their "gut" feeling tells them it isn't. A counselor related the following account:

"Cathy came into my office one day saying, 'I really don't know what to do. I've been taught that I need to keep my life pure, to live apart from the world and serve Christ. But my friends seem to have so much fun doing the things I've been told are wrong. This is my problem: if those things are so wrong, why do my friends like them so much, and why shouldn't I just see for myself? What could it hurt?' "

Cathy's dilemma presents the problem of how to deal with questionable practices--the things you know are wrong to do, and the things you aren't sure about. The Bible has the answer. Christians can find the answers to life's dilemmas through the positive commands, the negative commands, and the guiding principles of the Word of God.

Positive commands. The Bible contains many positive commands--things you should do. These commands give positive direction in a Christian's life, encouraging him on to maturity. For example, the Bible tells us to keep a good testimony by how we live (Matthew 5:16), to love one another (Galatians 5:14), to be kind to each other (Ephesians 4:32), to speak the truth (Ephesians 4:25), and to pray (Colossians 4:2).

Negative commands. In addition to positive commands, the Bible gives clear negative commands--things you should not do--that you can apply to your daily life. For example, the Bible teaches that you should not lie (Colossians 3:9), covet (Ephesians 5:3), take part in sin (Ephesians 5:11), or create disturbances between believers (Proverbs 6:19).
Guiding principles. For some situations, God has not given a positive or a negative command. For example, the Bible does not contain positive or negative commands concerning attending movies, joining clubs at school, or going to parties. In situations like these, God has provided guidelines in the Bible that can be applied to any specific behavior. Five of these principles can be found in Romans 14 and 15. If you memorize these principles and verses, then you will always know what God wants you to do concerning any questionable practice.

1. The principle of personal persuasion. Paul teaches in Romans 14:5 that every man should be fully persuaded in his own mind. The word persuaded means convinced or assured. It implies that even when others have doubts, you have no hesitation in your own mind as to what you should do. This kind of persuasion can be seen in a baseball umpire. If the umpire calls a strike, he must be so certain in his own mind that the call was correct that no one can convince him to change his mind. He is persuaded concerning what he should do.

2. The principle of not judging others. A second principle that Paul teaches is found in Romans 14:13: Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother�s way. The Greek word translated judge in this verse means to judge with a view to condemning. Another word in the Greek language translated judge in English means to discern and occurs in 1 Corinthians 2:15: But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. Therefore, believers are to discern situations, but believers are not to judge others with a view to condemning them. Paul explains in Romans 14:10-12 that one reason we are not to judge others is that we all must stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Christ is the only one who is to pass final judgment.

3. The principle of not being a stumbling block. One problem confronting the believers in Rome involved a dispute over what foods they could eat (specifically, what meat). Paul acknowledged that various believers had different persuasions concerning what they could eat and what they should not eat. However, Paul said that what a Christian does should not be a stumbling block to others. A stumbling block is something that causes others to trip and fall. The liberty (freedom) a Christian has to do a certain thing is restricted if that practice will cause others to sin.

Of course, a Christian has to recognize that his actions will not always satisfy everyone. He may feel that it doesn't matter what he does because somebody will find something to criticize him about anyway. A wise person will listen to another's criticism and evaluate his own behavior. If his behavior is copied by someone who thinks it is sin to do that action, he should stop that behavior.

4. The principle of surrendering personal rights. Romans 14:19 says, Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. The Greek word translated follow means pursue, make a determined effort. This verse teaches us to be sure that what we do will edify others. The English word edify comes from a Latin word that means to instruct or improve spiritually. We are to be concerned about helping others to grow toward maturity. Therefore, we may have the freedom to do something, but we should willingly give it up so that we can help others.

5. The principle of glorifying God. To glorify God means to live the type of life that points others to God. Although your friends cannot see God, they see the works of God in your life. Therefore, Paul wrote, That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:6).

When Paul was writing to the believers in Corinth, he instructed them, Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.(1 Corinthians 10:31). A very practical question to ask in everything you do is, "Does this action point people to Christ?"
Dealing with Guilt

When a person sins, he is guilty of unrighteousness and of transgressing God's Law. Guilt is responsibility for a wrong that has been done. Guilt is also the feeling of having done wrong, of having sinned. This lesson discusses the origin and the solution to the problem of guilt.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Discover the origin and solution to the problem of guilt
Examine Scripture to determine how God treats confessed sin
Memorize 1 John 1:9



Vocabulary
conflicting Clashing; opposing.
confront To bring together face to face.
descend To be born from the line of some ancestor.
impart To give.
incur To bring something on oneself.
Vocab Arcade




Read Romans 3:23, Romans 5:12, Galatians 5:16-26, 1 John 1:3-10.

The origin of guilt. The Bible says that, Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Romans 5:12). Because all people have descended from Adam, they have inherited his nature. When we were born, we were born with a sin nature. That nature is sometimes called "the old nature," "the "old man," or "the flesh." No one has to teach us to do wrong or to sin; it comes naturally. If you watch a baby or a toddler for any length of time, you will see that he will do wrong. That child will disobey his parents or exhibit a stubborn character, wanting his own way. No one taught that child to sin. We sin because of our old sinful nature. Someone has to teach us to do right.

Because of our nature and consequent actions, we are condemned to death. We have no way to escape the penalty of sin by ourselves. However, God made a way for us through Jesus Christ. Romans 5:8 teaches, But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We were condemned to death because of our sin, but Christ died in our place. He also rose from the dead and extends life to all who put their trust in Him. The counsel of Paul and Silas to the jailor is the same for us today: And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31).

When a person recognizes his position as a sinner and turns to the Lord in faith for forgiveness and life, God gives that person a new nature. Just as the old nature was imparted through physical birth, the new nature is imparted through spiritual birth, the new birth.

When God gives a person a new nature, the influence of the old nature remains. Therefore, Christians are people who face a conflict between two conflicting natures. In Galatians 5:17 the old nature is known as "the flesh," and the new nature is known as "the Spirit." Each nature is associated with a characteristic set of behaviors. Christians must not do the works of the flesh, but rather, the works of the Spirit. Click on the following picture to see an illustration of the contrast.
Memory Verse:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

The solution to guilt. When a Christian sins, he incurs guilt and feels guilty. God has provided a solution to the problem of guilt. According to 1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. To confess a sin means to acknowledge before God that the behavior was wrong. Confession involves seeing a sin from God's point of view as being exceedingly sinful. Jesus Christ paid the price of His own blood for sin.

Upon confession, God is faithful and righteous to forgive and to cleanse the Christian. Because the theme of 1 John 1 is fellowship with God and other believers (1 John 1:3), a Christian should be ready to recognize, confess, and forsake (give up) a sin in his life so that the joy of fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ, may be full. A Christian does not lose his new nature when he sins, nor is his old nature fully and finally defeated when he acts without sinning. When a Christian does sin, his fellowship with the Lord is broken. Confession restores that fellowship.

Although God always forgives a Christian upon confession of a sin, some Christians continue to feel guilty. The fact of guilt has been removed, but the feeling of guilt remains. A Christian should realize that when God forgives a sin, He forgets that sin (Hebrews 10:17). The Christian may be sorry that the sin took place and he may be scarred from the sin. Nevertheless, he should forget the sin that God has forgiven.
Knowing About Illegal Drugs

In previous discussion, you learned that the Bible provides guidance for making biblically-based choices. You've learned that because of sin, we often fail to make the right decisions, but because of God's mercy, we have a way of forgiveness. Still, mankind is responsible to make wise decisions.

This lesson considers a choice many young people will face at some point in their young lives--either to treat their bodies with respect as being made in God's image or to waste them on habits that alter the mind and spirit. While the Bible does not explicitly provide positive or negative commands on this topic, the principles of Scripture make it clear just what the right choice should be.

Here are your goals for this lesson:

Identify effects that drugs (both legal and illegal) can have on a person's body
Identify scriptural principles that can guide you in protecting your body, handling temptation, and glorifying God



Vocabulary
euphoria Bodily well-being or happiness.
hallucination Hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, or feeling something that only exists in one's imagination.
hypocrisy Pretending to be what one is not.
inhibition An inner force that holds back one's impulses.
tranquility Peace and quiet.
Vocab Arcade




Read 1 Corinthians 10:13 and 31.

It has been well established that most young people are offered drugs and alcohol at some time during adolescence. Many accept the offer and reap devastating results.

Don't be included on the list.

How? Become familiar with the effects of drugs and of the Scriptural teachings concerning how to treat your body. Use this knowledge to strengthen your decision to avoid the use of illegal drugs or the misuse of legal drugs.

Effects of drugs. A drug is a substance that affects the body's nervous system. Drugs can alter heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate, pain threshold, muscle response, and many other bodily functions. Doctors use drugs to reduce pain in a patient who has undergone surgery. Dentists prescribe a drug for a person who has just had a tooth pulled. Under these conditions, the controlled use of drugs given by trained medical personnel can help a person through a painful recovery period.

Illegal drugs are those that the government has not approved for public use and those that are used illegally. If a person takes a prescription drug that has not been prescribed for him by a doctor, he is using that drug illegally. Some of the more common illegal drugs used today include methamphetamine (meth), barbiturates (downers), marijuana (grass, pot, hash), LSD (acid), PCP (angel dust), heroin (H, horse), cocaine (coke, crack), morphine, and mescaline. Drugs come in many forms, including powder, tablets, capsules, liquid, or even adhered to blotter paper.

Used outside of a medical doctor's care, these drugs can cause disastrous effects on the body and mind which can be permanent. If you choose to take drugs, that decision not only has immediate consequences but may also affect you for the rest of your life.



The physical effects of drugs may be loss of coordination, sense transfer in which colors are heard and sounds are seen, hallucinations, irregular patterns of sleeping and eating, and seizures. The effects of drugs on the mind can often be greater than the effects on the body. Psychological effects include impaired judgment, distortion of reality, decreased will power, and loss of inhibitions. A person under the influence of drugs will often do and say things totally different from his normal behavior. These behaviors are not always funny. In fact, since a person using drugs is unable to control his actions as he would normally, he may act in dangerous and destructive ways.

Part of the tragedy of illegal drugs is the difficulty and sometimes impossibility of predicting the psychological and physical reactions to a particular drug. Drugs not prescribed by a physician will vary in purity and in dosage. Scores of lives have been lost or ruined through the use of illegal drugs.

Involvement with drugs. Many reasons have been given for taking illegal drugs. Some youth say that they take drugs because of the feeling they get; they are seeking a feeling of euphoria or tranquility. Some people take a drug just to satisfy their curiosity concerning its effects on them. Others say that they think drugs will bring them inner peace or will help them to escape the world of conformity and hypocrisy.

However, a closer look at the reasoning and behavior of young people who begin taking illegal drugs shows what is really happening. Some people take drugs because of peer pressure. Their friends do it, and they want to belong to the group and to be liked. Others take drugs because of a sense of insecurity or purposelessness in life. Finally, many young people become involved with drugs to defy authority, whether parental, governmental, or divine.

Young people should never become involved with illegal drugs. Drugs can permanently damage a person's body and mind. Christians especially should take care of their bodies. The Bible says that What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God�s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

If a Christian is tempted to become involved in drugs, he should turn to the Lord for help. Remember that the Scripture says, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The Scriptures instruct the believer to Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31). All that the believer does is to honor the Lord, not only his outward actions but also his thinking. The Word of God gives this instruction: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8).