First Love (Part One)
Bible Study by Martin G. Collins
In His letter to the Ephesians, Jesus Christ scolds the church for having lost their "first love" (Revelation 2:4), despite their tireless zeal in defending the gospel from false apostles. What, exactly, did they lose? Martin Collins answers from Scripture: A Christian's foremost responsibility is to love God wholeheartedly. Even so, a spiritual decline similar to the Ephesians' loss of their first love broadly affected the first-century church.
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Nine)
'Personal' from John W. Ritenbaugh
In John 1:18, the apostle John writes that Jesus came to reveal the Father. In His life, Jesus revealed a great deal more of the Father than just His existence. John Ritenbaugh explains that God, through Christ, has communicated tirelessly with humanity through men and angels. The first chapters of Hebrews displays Christ's superiority over even the angels, who as their Creator, "makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire."
Be There Next Year
'Personal' from John W. Ritenbaugh
Members of God's church usually return home from the Feast of Tabernacles with renewed spiritual vigor. Even so, we are painfully aware that some members fall away each year. John Ritenbaugh writes that we must actively seek God and His righteousness to ensure that we will be around to enjoy next year's Feast.
Amos 5 and the Feast of Tabernacles
'Personal' from John W. Ritenbaugh
How can we evaluate whether our Feast of Tabernacles is a "good" one or not? Using God's criticism of Israel's feasts in Amos 5, John Ritenbaugh shows that the ancient pilgrimage locations of Bethel, Beersheba, and Gilgal provide instruction about what God wants us to learn from His feasts.
Preparing for the Feast
'Personal' from John W. Ritenbaugh
It is a rare individual in God's church who does not enjoy keeping the Feast of Tabernacles. Each feast becomes "the best Feast ever!" But why does God want us to keep this Feast? John Ritenbaugh shows that the Feast of Tabernacles is far more than a yearly vacation. It is a time set apart for both rejoicing before God and learning to fear Him.
God's Kingdom in the Parables (Part Two)
'Prophecy Watch' by David C. Grabbe
Jesus' parables in Matthew 13 center on a repeated phrase, "The kingdom of heaven is like . . .," and thus they are often called His "Kingdom Parables." David Grabbe expounds on the Parables of the Wheat and the Tares, the Mustard Seed, and the Leaven, keeping this theme at the forefront and showing that Jesus' original audience could easily understand that He spoke directly to them.
The Branch of God's Planting
'Ready Answer' by Bill Onisick
God's Word often employs the metaphor of grafting a branch into a rootstock, the best known of which is Paul's use of it in Romans 11. Bill Onisick describes the process of grafting and the measures that must be taken to ensure a healthy plant, comparing them to what God does to graft His elect into His spiritual Family, to the rootstock of Jesus Christ our Savior.
Excellence in Character (Part Three)
Bible Study by Martin G. Collins
God's purpose is a family matter; He is reproducing Himself in human children transformed to spirit. He wants each member of His Family to have the same righteous character that He does. To this end, Martin Collins writes, each Christian must develop godliness through righteous behavior and service, adding virtue to their faith.
Leaving Christianity Behind
'World Watch' by Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Millennial Generation, those born in the 1980s and 1990s, is changing the face of the nation, transforming society on both public and private matters - and religion too. Richard Ritenbaugh explores why young people, including Generation Z, are rejecting religious practice for values of their own invention.
God's Kingdom in the Parables (Part One)
'Prophecy Watch' by David C. Grabbe
Many Bible teachers have their perspectives on Jesus' parables, but they are too often more flights of spiritual fancy than Bible-based interpretations. David Grabbe focuses on both the context of the parables of Matthew 13 and the fact that they are "kingdom parables," identifying their perhaps unexpected subject.
Specks as Mirrors
'Ready Answer' by David F. Maas
As Jesus teaches in Matthew 7:1-5, human beings tend to be quite skilled at seeing other people's faults, even the little ones. David Maas suggests that our ability to see the specks in others' eyes may indicate spiritual deficiencies in ourselves, as we project our own sins onto others. Seeing our behaviors mirrored in others' actions should give us insight into ourselves and provide incentive to make godly changes.
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Eight): Hebrews 1
'Personal' from John W. Ritenbaugh
Who was Jesus Christ? Believers think they know Him from the accounts in the four gospels, which are admittedly limited (John 21:25). Scripture as a whole reveals Him to be so much more! John Ritenbaugh explains that the first chapter of Hebrews delivers a knock-out punch to skeptics like many first-century Jews who claimed He falls short in qualifying as our High Priest and Savior.
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Seven)
'Personal' from John W. Ritenbaugh
Early Christians, particularly the Jews among them, failed to realize just how indispensable Jesus Christ is to salvation. Their misunderstanding stemmed from their connections to the Old Covenant and its rituals. John Ritenbaugh summarizes why the epistle of Hebrews is so vital to Christians then and now: It explains the unique place and power of Christianity's High Priest.
Excellence in Character (Part Two)
Bible Study by Martin G. Collins
The Bible speaks a great deal about virtue, those excellencies of character that imitate the holy and righteous character of Jesus Christ. Martin Collins explains that Scripture defines virtue as a strength or power that disciplined people use to produce beautiful traits of goodness.
Cleansing God's People
'Prophecy Watch' by David C. Grabbe
God chose the people of Israel to be a holy people, an example of righteousness before the world. However, the Bible testifies that they turned from God early and often. David Grabbe explores the prophecies of Haggai 2 that foretell the good news of Israel's future cleansing and blessing through the work of Jesus Christ.
Unity and Division: The Blessing and the Curse (Part Five)
'Ready Answer' by Charles Whitaker
Most of the twelve curses recited by the tribes of Israel on Mount Ebal contain a common theme: They focus on secret sins, hypocrisies. In closing his series, Charles Whitaker emphasizes that our Savior desires our total commitment to the truth and to Him, and unless they repent, hypocrites will find themselves among those to whom Christ will say, "I never knew you."
Rebels With a Cause
'World Watch' by Joseph B. Baity
It is not unusual for various groups to protest in support of their various causes, but since the end of 2019, we have witnessed frequent, passionate, and violent demonstrations all over the world. Joseph Baity sees these marches—some of which have turned violent—as signs of increasing instability and conflict.
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Six)
'Personal' from John W. Ritenbaugh
American culture is in obvious decline, and it is undoubtedly linked to the fact that mainstream Christianity is bereft of moral leadership. While it may turn around, the outlook is bleak. John Ritenbaugh exhorts the reader to remember God's purpose for humanity, which His Word reveals and which He is working tirelessly to accomplish.
Unity and Division: The Blessing and the Curse (Part Four)
'Ready Answer' by Charles Whitaker
During the wilderness trek of the children of Israel, God commanded the people to utter blessings from Mount Gerazim and curses from Mount Ebal after they entered the Promised Land. Charles Whitaker comments on the twelve curses, most of which deal with, not obvious sins, but more hidden ones that give rise to hypocrisy among those who claim to follow God.
This Body of Death
'Prophecy Watch' by Ted E. Bowling
Under the guise of justice, the Romans were masters of cruelty and torture. We need to look only at their extensive practice of crucifixion to realize how true this is. Ted Bowling describes a lesser-known method of torture in which convicted murderers were shackled to their victims, a picture of a sinful individual's relationship with his iniquities.