June 18: Psalms 1–9
This is the Bible's song book. David wrote nearly half of the Psalms. While there are other authors (Moses, Asaph, etc.), a number of Psalms do not have an author specifically stated.
Psalm 1 – Paths. There are just two paths in life. •Path of good: it involves separation from evil, the Scriptures in the heart, and success on the journey. •Path of guile: its value is chaff; its verdict is condemnation.
Psalm 2 – Prince. A Psalm about Christ. •Enmity: against Christ, the Prince, its rage and retribution is reported here. •Enthronement: in spite of enmity. •Exaltation: by God. •Exhortation: serve, fear and adore the Prince.
Psalm 3 – Protection. •Situation needing protection: many were troubling the Psalmist. •Shield for protection: God. •Supplication for protection: earnest cry. •Serenity because of protection: the Psalmist slept.
Psalm 4 – Perspective. •Enlargement: troubles are blessings in disguise. •Exhortation: for warning and for worship. •Enmity: from unbelief. •Enjoyment: in the Lord.
Psalm 5 – Prayer. •Consideration: a plea for God to hear his prayer. •Commitment: he would pray every morning. •Confidence: of God's holiness. •Consecration: he will worship. •Condemnation: of the wicked. •Cheer: joy for the godly.
Psalm 6 – Pity. The Psalmist prays for mercy. •Plea: is very earnest. •Peril: he needs mercy because he is in great peril. •Provision: God heard and provided mercy.
Psalm 7 – Persecution. •Plea: for help. •Peril: danger for the persecuted. •Probing: examination of the persecuted. •Punishment: for the persecutors. •Performance: the conduct of the persecutors. •Plight: the plight or end of the persecutors is death. •Praise: to God Who delivers from persecutors.
Psalm 8 – Power. •Display: power seen in creation. •Demotion: God's power makes man seem so small. •Delegating: man given dominion in the earth. •Distinctiveness: the excellence of the name of the powerful God.
Psalm 9 – Praise. The Psalmist gives praise to God for victory over the enemy. •Dedication: praise with whole heart. •Defeat: the Lord defeats the wicked. •Dominion: the Lord will rule the world. •Defilement: the nations have sunk into a pit of filth. •Damnation: the Lord will punish the wicked.
August 26: Lamentations 3–5
The book of Lamentations is truly a book of lamenting. And it continues in these three chapters in today's reading. Great was the lamentation over the fall of Judah and Jerusalem.
Lamentations 3 – Dismay. The longest chapter in the book of Lamentations expresses the personal dismay of the prophet Jeremiah who in his lamentings identifies himself with his people who have experienced the fall of Judah and Jerusalem. •Cause of the dismay (vv. 1-18): great affliction from the fall of Judah and Jerusalem, personal health adversely affected, imprisonment, reproach (derision of enemy), and sorrow have brought great dismay to the prophet and people. •Comfort in the dismay: (vv. 19-36): hope is found in Jehovah for "great is thy faithfulness" (v. 23). •Confession in the dismay (vv. 37-54): that their sin caused their fall. •Calling in the dismay: (vv. 55-66): Jeremiah "called upon thy name, O Lord" (v. 55)—the praise in the calling (for God's compassion in drawing near to him); the petition in the calling (for vengeance upon those who brought infliction upon Judah and Jerusalem).
Lamentations 4 – Desolation. Another description of the judgment that came upon Judah, especially upon Jerusalem. •Character of the desolation: the people were in desperate condition; it was unbelievable (v. 12) what had happened. •Cause of the desolation: the cause was twofold. First, iniquities of the people (the sins of the priests and prophets are especially mentioned here). Second, indignation of God (His wrath was kindled by the iniquity of the people, and He brought judgment upon the land). •Comfort in the desolation: the chapter ends with a couple verses promising vengeance on Israel's enemies and no more captivity for Israel.
Lamentations 5 – Defeat. Lamenting about the tragic defeat of the Jews by their enemies in the fall of Judah and Jerusalem. •Particulars of the defeat: many made orphans, enslavement, peril, women ravished, great sorrow. •Praise in spite of the defeat: praise to God for His eternal enthronement. •Plea in the defeat: that God would remember His people and "renew our days as of old" (v. 21), that is, restoration. •Passion in the defeat: the anger of God, "thou art very wroth against us" (v. 22). Sin incites God's wrath.
September 19: Daniel 11, 12
These last two chapters of Daniel continue what was begun in chapter 10 of Daniel. It is all one vision with many details.
Daniel 11 – Contents of the Vision. The vision is basically a preview of history—especially the history of the nations which had to do with Israel. •History of Persia: the vision informs Daniel of four more kings for Persia, the last of the four would be rich and would provoke Greece. •History of Greece: this gives more details of the vision Daniel had earlier about the goat with the one horn that was replaced by the four horns. This history of Greece involved the dictator (the mighty king, the notable horn of the goat, who was Alexander the Great, who made Greece the great power of the world in his time); the divisions (when he died the kingdom of Greece was divided into four parts of which two parts [referred to as the north and south] are the most prominent parts in history pertaining to the Jews); the disputes (a continual conflict arose between the north and south powers which was Syria and Egypt [a great portion of chapter 11 details the various wars between these two powers which adversely affected the land of Israel]; the defiler (a "vile person" from the north/Syria will arise as a ruler who will foreshadow the antiChrist, he will do very wicked things, defile the Temple, and oppose the holy covenant—historically he was Antiochus Epiphanes, the Syrian ruler who turned against the Jews). •History of the End: the chapter ends by describing a powerful but wicked king who will rule in Israel in the future but who will eventually come to his end.
Daniel 12 – Conclusion of the Vision. This chapter gives some final details regarding the vision. •Trouble: great trouble is yet to come upon Israel, but deliverance is promised; this trouble is the great tribulation period. •Triumph: when it is all over, righteousness will be given glory. •Terminus: Daniel is told to shut and seal the book of the vision. •Time: the inquiry about time (twice in this chapter inquiry is made about about how long to the end [vv. 6, 8]); the information about time (some indefinite periods and some days are given); the instructions about time (Daniel did not understand all that he heard but was told to go his way, and in the end he would receive his inheritance ("lot" [v. 13]).
October 10: Matthew 21, 22
These two chapters report some experiences of Christ during the last days before His crucifixion and resurrection.
Matthew 21:1-11 – Palm Sunday. •Arrival of Christ: He enters Jerusalem on a donkey in fulfillment of Scripture. •Accolades for Christ: in spreading palm branches on the street (why it is called Palm Sunday); in speaking Hosannas. •Asking about Christ: Jerusalem was ignorant of Christ.
Matthew 21:12-17 – Purifying Temple. •Removal: Christ removed sellers and buyers. •Rebuke: Temple was house of prayer, but they had made it a den of thieves. •Restoring: many restored to health after the purifying. •Rancor: religious leaders upset with Christ's actions and accolades.
Matthew 21:18-22 – Punished Tree. •Barrenness of the fig tree: had no fruit for Christ. •Blight of the fig tree: it withered up after pronouncement against it by Christ.
Matthew 21:23-27 – Protesting Authority. •Challenge: Christ's authority challenged. •Cause: "these things" (the Triumphant entry and Temple cleansing) provoked religious leaders to make challenge. •Countering: Christ put them on the spot about John the Baptist which silenced them.
Matthew 21:28–22:14 – Parabolic Instructions. Three parables. •Sinning sons: their different response to orders shows who did the will of the father. •Rebelling renters: they killed the son of the owner when he came for the rent (a picture of the killing of Christ). •Wedding wrath: the invitation (much contempt for it); the indignation (condemning of man without a wedding garment).
Matthew 22:15-46 – Pretentious Questions. Three crafty questions for Christ, but He silenced all the questioners. •Question about Caesar: the reason (to entangle Christ in His talk); the request (is it lawful to pay tax to Caesar); the response (render to Caesar the things due Caesar and to God the things due God). •Question about couples: the motive (Sadducees wanted to mock resurrection); the marriages (ridiculous hypothetical case); the message (people do not marry in heaven) •Question about commands: the inspiration (the defeat of the Sadducees by Christ); the inquiring (what is the great commandment); the instruction (Christ told them what the two greatest commands were).
October 22: Luke 2, 3
Important records of Christ are found in these two chapters.
Luke 2 – Coming of Christ. Luke gives some valuable details of Christ's birth not in the other Gospels. •Advent in Bethlehem: this involved the decree of Caesar (a census); the dislodgement of citizens (the decree forced Joseph and Mary to go from Nazareth to Bethlehem); the delivery of Christ (in a manger, no room elsewhere). •Announcement by angels: the shepherds for the announcement (angels came to them); the statements in the announcement (about the scare, Savior, and sign); the song in the announcement (message of praise). •Action of shepherds: they believed the truth (believed what the angels said and visited Christ); they broadcast the truth (told others what they had seen and heard). •Adoration in the Temple: prompting of the adoration (an offering was made at the Temple because of the birth); prophet in the adoration (Simeon the saint); prophetess in the adoration (Anna the aged). •Astonishment in the Temple: at the age of twelve, Christ amazed the religious teachers with His wisdom.
Luke 3 – Commencing of Christ. Here is the beginning of Christ's public ministry. •Cryer of Christ: John the Baptist, the herald of Christ. The preaching of John (repentance); the prophecy about John ("the voice of one crying in the wilderness" by Isaiah); the practice of John (baptism); the probing of John (was asked if he was Christ); the prison for John (put in prison by Herod because John disapproved of Herod's marriage). •Commitment of Christ: the baptism of Christ. The performing of the baptism (John the Baptist baptized Christ); the praying at the baptism (Christ was praying when being baptized); the proof at the baptism (the dove—Holy Spirit, and declaration—"Thou are my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased"). •Certifying of Christ: recording a genealogy of Christ. The confirmation in the genealogy (this one and the one in Matthew were to confirm the fact that Christ was truly in the line of David to inherit the throne); the contrasts in the genealogy (this genealogy contrasts to Matthew's genealogy in a number of places, such as it goes back to Adam whereas Matthew goes back only to Abraham; this genealogy is that of Mary's whereas the one in Matthew is the genealogy of Joseph. Both include David).
November 19: Acts 17–19
These three chapters record the finish of Paul's second missionary journey and the start of his third missionary journey.
Acts 17:1–18:22 – Finish of Second Missionary Journey. Four locations give the finish of Paul's second journey. •Thessalonica: the time (just three weeks of ministry there); the teaching (taught the Word and it was well received); the trauma (unbelieving Jews caused trouble and Paul had to leave). •Berea: the nobleness of the Bereans (they received the Word and examined the Word); the naughtiness of the belligerents (evil men of Thessalonica came to Berea and caused trouble forcing Paul to leave). •Athens: the paganism in Athens (filled with idols); the preaching in Athens (Paul's sermon on Mars Hill). •Corinth: the associations of Paul (Aquila and Priscilla, fellow tent-makers); the action of Paul (he taught in the synagogue on the Sabbath until the Jews rejected him, then he taught the Gentiles in a man's house); the attack on Paul (Jewish unbelievers stirred up much animosity towards Paul which resulted in a court session and cruelty to the believers); the avowal of Paul (he wanted to be in Jerusalem for a religious feast).
Acts 18:23–19:41 – Start of Third Missionary Journey. The third and final missionary journey of Paul. •Strengthening: it began with the strengthening of believers in places previously visited by Paul on his other missionary journeys. •Setting: a Jew named Apollos set the stage for some of Paul's third missionary journey. This included the preaching of Apollos (he was a dynamic preacher); the perfecting of Apollos (Aquila and Priscilla gave Apollos some needed instruction to correct his faulty doctrine); the persuading by Apollos (he was a big help to the churches and "mightily convinced the Jews" [v. 28] with the Scripture). •Staying: in Ephesus Paul stayed two years. His ministry there included the message of Paul (he proclaimed the Gospel in streets and synagogues); the miracles of Paul (he performed many miracles of healing people and casting out of demons); the mimics of Paul (some tried to imitate Paul in casting out demons but failed miserably which caused folk to fear, believe Christ, and burn their evil books); the movement against Paul (by the silversmiths which resulted in a great uproar in Ephesus).
December 25: 2 John, 3 John, Jude
Three short one-chapter epistles comprise today's reading. Two are written by the Apostle John the other by Jude.
2 John – Affection. The affection here is for a lady who is either some saintly woman or a reference to a church. •Love for the lady: this is especially seen in the salutation of the epistle. •Lauding of the lady: for her children were walking in the truth. •Leading of the lady: instructions regarding the walk of the believer (love says walk after God's commandments); instructions regarding the warning for the believer about the antichrist (defining of the antichrist, the deception of the antichrist, the doctrine of the antichrist, the disassociation with the antichrist and those who promote his doctrine). •Longing for the lady: the conclusion of the letter.
3 John – Animosity. The main purpose of the epistle was to deal with some animosity against John. •Faithfulness of Gaius: he was the one to whom the epistle was addressed, and his faithfulness is prominent in the greeting. •Fault of Diotrephes: he was the source of the animosity. His animosity included pride (he loved to have the pre-eminence at church); prating (malicious words about John); prohibiting (forbade the reception of traveling preachers); punishing (kicks out of the church those who would receive the traveling preachers). •Fidelity of Demetrius: all in the church were not evil. The report of Demetrius included the crowd in the report (he had a good report of all); the contents of the report (man of truth); the character of the report (a true report).
Jude – Apostasy. The theme of this epistle is the apostasy in the church. •Warning of apostasy: It involves a precept in view of apostasy (contend for the faith); a portrayal of the apostates (illustrations of apostasy and their judgment are portrayed in the examples of Israel's failures, fallen angels, and Sodom and Gomorrah); the performance of the apostates (defiled conduct, despised authorities, dumb in knowledge, depicted by Cain, Balaam, and Korah, deluded about themselves, destitute of value, despotic in attitude, disgracing themselves); and a prediction of their punishment (by Enoch). •Walking upright amidst apostasy: it involves the Scripture (remember them), sanctification (grow spiritually), and saving souls (pulling them out of the fire).
—Butler's Daily Bible Reading (1) Synopsis