Read the Bible in a Year

Each day, we'll post passages so that you can read the Bible in one year. This is part of The Colossians 13:16 Project, sponsored by Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia. You're invited to worship with us Sundays, at 11:00 a.m. or Saturdays, at 6:30 p.m. You may also want to consider joining one our adult Bible Studies: Thursdays at 12:00 noon and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. We also have a full range of programs for children. If you want more information about the church, check out the other blogs. And please feel free to leave any comments.

The Bible in a Year is a ministry of Cove Presbyterian Church. We need your support to keep posting. If you find it helpful, you can support this blog by your contributions. They may be sent to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, WV 26062. You can also use the PayPal link below:

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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bible Readings for May 31, 2015

Today our passages are 2 Samuel 17:1-29; John 19:23-42; Psalm 119:129-152; and Proverbs 16:12-13. The readings are the Contemporary English Version.

2 Samuel 17:1-29 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Samuel 17

 1Ahithophel said to Absalom:    Let me choose twelve thousand men and attack David tonight, 2while he is tired and discouraged. He will panic, and everyone with him will run away. I won't kill anyone except David, 3since he's the one you want to get rid of. Then I'll bring the whole nation back to you like a bride coming home to her husband. [a] This way there won't be a civil war.
Hushai Fools Absalom
 4Absalom and all the leaders of the tribes of Israel agreed that Ahithophel had a good plan. 5Then Absalom said, "Bring in Hushai the Archite. Let's hear what he has to say."     6Hushai came in, and Absalom told him what Ahithophel had planned. Then Absalom said, "Should we do what he says? And if we shouldn't, can you come up with anything better?"
    7Hushai said:
   This time Ahithophel's advice isn't so good. 8You know that your father and his followers are real warriors. Right now they are as fierce as a mother bear whose cubs have just been killed. Besides, your father has a lot of experience in fighting wars, and he won't be spending the night with the others. 9He has probably already found a hiding place in a cave or somewhere else.
   As soon as anyone hears that some of your soldiers have been killed, everyone will think your whole army has been destroyed. 10Then even those who are as brave as a lion will lose their courage. All Israel knows what a great warrior your father is and what brave soldiers he has.
    11My advice is to gather all the fighting men of Israel from the town of Dan in the north down to the town of Beersheba in the south. You will have more soldiers than there are grains of sand on the seashore. Absalom, you should lead them yourself, 12and we will all go to fight David wherever he is. We will fall on him just as dew falls and covers the ground. He and all his soldiers will die! 13If they go into a walled town, we will put ropes around that town and drag it into the river. We won't leave even one small piece of a stone.
    14Absalom and the others liked Hushai's plan better than Ahithophel's plan. This was because the LORD had decided to keep Ahithophel's plan from working and to cause trouble for Absalom.
Jonathan and Ahimaaz Tell David the News
 15Right away, Hushai went to Zadok and Abiathar. He told them what advice Ahithophel had given to Absalom and to the leaders of Israel. He also told them about the advice he had given. 16Then he said, "Hurry! Send someone to warn David not to spend the night on this side of the river. He must get across the river, so he and the others won't be wiped out!"     17Jonathan and Ahimaaz [b] had been waiting at Rogel Spring [c] because they did not want to be seen in Jerusalem. A servant girl went to the spring and gave them the message for David. 18But a young man saw them and went to tell Absalom. So Jonathan and Ahimaaz left and hurried to the house of a man who lived in Bahurim. Then they climbed down into a well in the courtyard. 19The man's wife put the cover on the well and poured grain on top of it, so the well could not be seen. [d] 20Absalom's soldiers came to the woman and demanded, "Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?"
   The woman answered, "They went across the stream."
   The soldiers went off to look for the two men. But when they did not find the men, they went back to Jerusalem.
    21After the soldiers had gone, Jonathan and Ahimaaz climbed out of the well. They went to David and said, "Hurry! Get ready to cross the river!" Then they told him about Ahithophel's plan.
    22David and the others got ready and started crossing the Jordan River. By sunrise all of them were on the other side.
Ahithophel Kills Himself
 23When Ahithophel saw that Absalom and the leaders of Israel were not going to follow his advice, he saddled his donkey and rode back to his home in Gilo. He told his family and servants what to do. Then he hanged himself, and they buried him in his family's burial place.    
Absalom Puts Amasa in Charge of the Army
 24David went to the town of Mahanaim, and Absalom crossed the Jordan River with the army of Israel. 25Absalom put Amasa in Joab's place as commander of the army. Amasa's father was Ithra [e] from the family of Ishmael, [f] and his mother was Abigal, [g] the daughter of Nahash and the sister of Joab's mother Zeruiah. 26The Israelites under Absalom's command set up camp in the region of Gilead.
Friends Bring Supplies to David
 27After David came to the town of Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash came from Rabbah in Ammon, [h] Machir the son of Ammiel came from Lo-Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite came from Rogelim. 28-29Here is a list of what they brought: sleeping mats, blankets, bowls, pottery jars, wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, honey, yogurt, sheep, and cheese.    They brought the food for David and the others because they knew that everyone would be hungry, tired, and thirsty from being out in the desert.
  1. 2 Samuel 17:3 back to you. . . husband: One ancient translation; Hebrew "back to you. The man you are chasing is like bringing back the whole nation."
  2. 2 Samuel 17:17 Jonathan and Ahimaaz: See 15.27.
  3. 2 Samuel 17:17 Rogel Spring: South of Jerusalem in Kidron Valley.
  4. 2 Samuel 17:19 The man's wife. . . seen: Everyone would have thought that the woman was drying grain on a mat that she had spread on the ground.
  5. 2 Samuel 17:25 Ithra: Or "Jether."
  6. 2 Samuel 17:25 the family of Ishmael: Some manuscripts of one ancient translation; other manuscripts of the same translation "the town of Jezreel"; Hebrew "the people of Israel."
  7. 2 Samuel 17:25 Amasa. . . Abigal: Abigal and Zeruiah (Joab's mother) were full sisters, and David was evidently their half brother with the same mother, but a different father. This made Amasa one of David's nephews (see 1 Chronicles 2.12-17).
  8. 2 Samuel 17:27 Shobi. . . Ammon: Shobi was probably the new king of the Ammonites that David had appointed after he captured Rabbah (see 2 Samuel 10.1-3; 12.26-31).

John 19:23-42 (Contemporary English Version)

23After the soldiers had nailed Jesus to the cross, they divided up his clothes into four parts, one for each of them. But his outer garment was made from a single piece of cloth, and it did not have any seams. 24The soldiers said to each other, "Let's not rip it apart. We will gamble to see who gets it." This happened so that the Scriptures would come true, which say,
   "They divided up my clothes
   and gambled
   for my garments."
   The soldiers then did what they had decided.
    25Jesus' mother stood beside his cross with her sister and Mary the wife of Clopas. Mary Magdalene was standing there too. [a] 26When Jesus saw his mother and his favorite disciple with her, he said to his mother, "This man is now your son." 27Then he said to the disciple, "She is now your mother." From then on, that disciple took her into his own home.
The Death of Jesus
(Matthew 27.45-56; Mark 15.33-41; Luke 23.44-49)
 28Jesus knew that he had now finished his work. And in order to make the Scriptures come true, he said, "I am thirsty!" 29A jar of cheap wine was there. Someone then soaked a sponge with the wine and held it up to Jesus' mouth on the stem of a hyssop plant. 30After Jesus drank the wine, he said, "Everything is done!" He bowed his head and died.    
A Spear Is Stuck in Jesus' Side
 31The next day would be both a Sabbath and the Passover. It was a special day for the Jewish people, [b] and they did not want the bodies to stay on the crosses during that day. So they asked Pilate to break the men's legs [c] and take their bodies down. 32The soldiers first broke the legs of the other two men who were nailed there. 33But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, and they did not break his legs. 34One of the soldiers stuck his spear into Jesus' side, and blood and water came out. 35We know this is true, because it was told by someone who saw it happen. Now you can have faith too. 36All this happened so that the Scriptures would come true, which say, "No bone of his body will be broken" 37and, "They will see the one in whose side they stuck a spear."    
Jesus Is Buried
(Matthew 27.57-61; Mark 15.42-47; Luke 23.50-56)
 38Joseph from Arimathea was one of Jesus' disciples. He had kept it secret though, because he was afraid of the Jewish leaders. But now he asked Pilate to let him have Jesus' body. Pilate gave him permission, and Joseph took it down from the cross.     39Nicodemus also came with about seventy-five pounds of spices made from myrrh and aloes. This was the same Nicodemus who had visited Jesus one night. [d] 40The two men wrapped the body in a linen cloth, together with the spices, which was how the Jewish people buried their dead. 41In the place where Jesus had been nailed to a cross, there was a garden with a tomb that had never been used. 42The tomb was nearby, and since it was the time to prepare for the Sabbath, they were in a hurry to put Jesus' body there.
  1. John 19:25 Jesus' mother stood beside his cross with her sister and Mary the wife of Clopas. Mary Magdalene was standing there too: The Greek text may also be understood to include only three women (" Jesus' mother stood beside the cross with her sister, Mary the mother of Clopas. Mary Magdalene was standing there too." ) or merely two women (" Jesus' mother was standing there with her sister Mary of Clopas, that is, Mary Magdalene." ). " Of Clopas" may mean " daughter of" or " mother of."
  2. John 19:31 a special day for the Jewish people: Passover could be any day of the week. But according to the Gospel of John, Passover was on a Sabbath in the year that Jesus was nailed to a cross.
  3. John 19:31 break the men's legs: This was the way that the Romans sometimes speeded up the death of a person who had been nailed to a cross.
  4. John 19:39 Nicodemus who had visited Jesus one night: See 3.1-21.

Psalm 119:129-152 (Contemporary English Version)

129Your teachings are wonderful,
   and I respect them all.
    130Understanding your word
   brings light
   to the minds
   of ordinary people.
    131I honestly want to know
   everything you teach.
    132Think about me and be kind,
   just as you are to everyone
   who loves your name.
    133Keep your promise
   and don't let me stumble
   or let sin control my life.
    134Protect me from abuse,
   so I can obey your laws.
    135Smile on me, your servant,
   and teach me your laws.
    136When anyone disobeys you,
   my eyes overflow with tears.
    137Our LORD, you always do right,
   and your decisions are fair.
    138All of your teachings are true
   and trustworthy.
    139It upsets me greatly
   when my enemies neglect
   your teachings.
    140Your word to me, your servant,
   is like pure gold;
   I treasure what you say.
    141Everyone calls me a nobody,
   but I remember your laws.
    142You will always do right,
   and your teachings are true.
    143I am in deep distress,
   but I love your teachings.
    144Your rules are always fair.
   Help me to understand them
   and live.
    145I pray to you, LORD!
   Please answer me.
   I promise to obey your laws.
    146I beg you to save me,
   so I can follow your rules.
    147Even before sunrise,
   I pray for your help,
   and I put my hope
   in what you have said.
    148I lie awake at night,
   thinking of your promises.
    149Show that you love me, LORD,
   and answer my prayer.
   Please do the right thing
   and save my life.
    150People who disobey your Law
   have made evil plans
   and want to hurt me,
    151but you are with me,
   and all of your commands
   can be trusted.
    152From studying your laws,
   I found out long ago
   that you made them
   to last forever.

Proverbs 16:12-13 (Contemporary English Version)

12Justice makes rulers powerful.
   They should hate evil
    13and like honesty and truth.

Verse of the Day

“With a loud command and with the shout of the chief angel and a blast of God's trumpet, the Lord will return from heaven. Then those who had faith in Christ before they died will be raised to life. Next, all of us who are still alive will be taken up into the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the sky. From that time on we will all be with the Lord forever.” - 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Einstein 1921 by F Schmutzer - restoration.jpg
Thought for the Day

German-born theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein wrote, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Bible Readings for May 30, 2015

Today our passages are 2 Samuel 15:23–16:23; John 18:25–19:22; Psalm 119:113-128; and Proverbs 16:10-11. The readings are the Contemporary English Version

2 Samuel 15:23-16:23 (Contemporary English Version)

David Sends the Sacred Chest Back to Jerusalem
 23The people of Jerusalem were crying and moaning as David and everyone with him passed by. He led them across Kidron Valley [a] and along the road toward the desert. 24Zadok and Abiathar the priests were there along with several men from the tribe of Levi who were carrying the sacred chest. They set the chest down, and left it there until David and his followers had gone out of the city.     25Then David said:
   Zadok, take the sacred chest back to Jerusalem. If the LORD is pleased with me, he will bring me back and let me see it and his tent again. 26But if he says he isn't pleased with me, then let him do what he knows is best.
    27Zadok, you are a good judge of things, [b] so return to the city and don't cause any trouble. Take your son Ahimaaz with you. Abiathar and his son Jonathan will also go back. 28I'll wait at the river crossing in the desert until I hear from you. 29Zadok and Abiathar took the sacred chest back into Jerusalem and stayed there. 30David went on up the slope of the Mount of Olives. He was barefoot and crying, and he covered his head to show his sorrow. Everyone with him was crying, and they covered their heads too.
    31Someone told David, "Ahithophel is helping Absalom plot against you!"
   David said, "Please, LORD, keep Ahithophel's plans from working!"
David Sends Hushai Back as a Spy
 32When David reached the top of the Mount of Olives, he met Hushai the Archite [c] at a place of worship. Hushai's robe was torn, and dust was on his head. [d] 33David told him: If you come with me, you might slow us down. [e] 34Go back into the city and tell Absalom, "Your Majesty, I am your servant. I will serve you now, just as I served your father in the past." Hushai, if you do that, you can help me ruin Ahithophel's plans. 35Zadok and Abiathar the priests will be there with you, and you can tell them everything you hear in the palace. 36Then have them send their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan to tell me what you've heard.     37David's advisor Hushai slipped back into Jerusalem, just about the same time that Absalom was coming in.

2 Samuel 16

Ziba Gives Food to David
 1David had started down the other side of the Mount of Olives, when he was met by Ziba, the chief servant of Mephibosheth. [f] Ziba had two donkeys that were carrying two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred handfuls of raisins, a hundred figs, [g] and some wine. 2"What's all this?" David asked.    Ziba said, "The donkeys are for your family to ride. The bread and fruit are for the people to eat, and the wine is for them to drink in the desert when they are tired out."
    3"And where is Mephibosheth?" David asked.
   Ziba answered, "He stayed in Jerusalem, because he thinks the people of Israel want him to rule the kingdom of his grandfather Saul."
    4David then told him, "Everything that used to belong to Mephibosheth is now yours."
   Ziba said, "Your Majesty, I am your humble servant, and I hope you will be pleased with me."
Shimei Curses David
 5David was near the town of Bahurim when a man came out and started cursing him. The man was Shimei the son of Gera, and he was one of Saul's distant relatives. 6He threw stones at David, at his soldiers, and at everyone else, including the bodyguards who walked on each side of David.     7Shimei was yelling at David, "Get out of here, you murderer! You good-for-nothing, 8the LORD is paying you back for killing so many in Saul's family. You stole his kingdom, but now the LORD has given it to your son Absalom. You're a murderer, and that's why you're in such big trouble!"
    9Abishai said, "Your Majesty, this man is as useless as a dead dog! He shouldn't be allowed to curse you. Let me go over and chop off his head."
    10David replied, "What will I ever do with you and your brother Joab? If Shimei is cursing me because the LORD has told him to, then who are you to tell him to stop?"
    11Then David said to Abishai and all his soldiers:
   My own son is trying to kill me! Why shouldn't this man from the tribe of Benjamin want me dead even more? Let him curse all he wants. Maybe the LORD did tell him to curse me. 12But if the LORD hears these curses and sees the trouble I'm in, maybe he will have pity on me instead.
    13David and the others went on down the road. Shimei went along the hillside by the road, cursing and throwing rocks and dirt at them. 14When David and those with him came to the Jordan River, they were tired out. But after they rested, they [h] felt much better.
Hushai Meets Absalom
 15By this time, Absalom, Ahithophel, and the others had reached Jerusalem. 16David's friend Hushai came to Absalom and said, "Long live the king! Long live the king!"     17But Absalom asked Hushai, "Is this how you show loyalty to your friend David? Why didn't you go with him?"
    18Hushai answered, "The LORD and the people of Israel have chosen you to be king. I can't leave. I have to stay and serve the one they've chosen. 19Besides, it seems right for me to serve you, just as I served your father."
Ahithophel's Advice
 20Absalom turned to Ahithophel and said, "Give us your advice! What should we do?"     21Ahithophel answered, "Some of your father's wives [i] were left here to take care of the palace. You should have sex with them. Then everyone will find out that you have publicly disgraced your father. This will make you and your followers even more powerful." 22Absalom had a tent set up on the flat roof of the palace, and everyone watched as he went into the tent with his father's wives.
    23Ahithophel gave such good advice in those days that both Absalom and David thought it came straight from God.
  1. 2 Samuel 15:23 Kidron Valley: This was considered the eastern boundary of Jerusalem.
  2. 2 Samuel 15:27 you. . . things: Or "You are a prophet" or "You are not a prophet."
  3. 2 Samuel 15:32 Archite: The Archites were part of the tribe of Benjamin (see Joshua 16.2).
  4. 2 Samuel 15:32 Hushai's. . . head: See the note at 1.2.
  5. 2 Samuel 15:33 you might slow us down: Hushai was probably very old.
  6. 2 Samuel 16:1 chief servant of Mephibosheth: See 9.1-13.
  7. 2 Samuel 16:1 figs: Or "pomegranates," a bright red fruit that looks like an apple.
  8. 2 Samuel 16:14 they: Hebrew "he."
  9. 2 Samuel 16:21 wives: See the note at 3.7.

John 18:25-19:22 (Contemporary English Version)

Peter Again Denies that He Knows Jesus
(Matthew 26.71-75; Mark 14.69-72; Luke 22.58-62)
 25While Simon Peter was standing there warming himself, someone asked him, "Aren't you one of Jesus' followers?"    Again Peter denied it and said, "No, I am not!"
    26One of the high priest's servants was there. He was a relative of the servant whose ear Peter had cut off, and he asked, "Didn't I see you in the garden with that man?"
    27Once more Peter denied it, and right then a rooster crowed.
Jesus Is Tried by Pilate
(Matthew 27.1,2,11-14; Mark 15.1-5; Luke 23.1-5)
 28It was early in the morning when Jesus was taken from Caiaphas to the building where the Roman governor stayed. But the crowd waited outside. Any of them who had gone inside would have become unclean and would not be allowed to eat the Passover meal. [a] 29Pilate came out and asked, "What charges are you bringing against this man?"     30They answered, "He is a criminal! That's why we brought him to you."
    31Pilate told them, "Take him and judge him by your own laws."
   The crowd replied, "We are not allowed to put anyone to death." 32And so what Jesus said about his death [b] would soon come true. 33Pilate then went back inside. He called Jesus over and asked, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
    34Jesus answered, "Are you asking this on your own or did someone tell you about me?"
    35"You know I'm not a Jew!" Pilate said. "Your own people and the chief priests brought you to me. What have you done?"
    36Jesus answered, "My kingdom doesn't belong to this world. If it did, my followers would have fought to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. No, my kingdom doesn't belong to this world."
    37"So you are a king," Pilate replied.
   "You are saying that I am a king," Jesus told him. "I was born into this world to tell about the truth. And everyone who belongs to the truth knows my voice."
    38Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?"
   Pilate went back out and said, "I don't find this man guilty of anything!
Jesus Is Sentenced to Death
(Matthew 27.15-31; Mark 15.6-20; Luke 23.13-25)
 39And since I usually set a prisoner free for you at Passover, would you like for me to set free the king of the Jews?"     40They shouted, "No, not him! We want Barabbas." Now Barabbas was a terrorist. [c]

John 19

 1Pilate gave orders for Jesus to be beaten with a whip. 2The soldiers made a crown out of thorn branches and put it on Jesus. Then they put a purple robe on him. 3They came up to him and said, "Hey, you king of the Jews!" They also hit him with their fists.     4Once again Pilate went out. This time he said, "I will have Jesus brought out to you again. Then you can see for yourselves that I have not found him guilty."
    5Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said, "Here is the man!" [d] 6When the chief priests and the temple police saw him, they yelled, "Nail him to a cross! Nail him to a cross!"
   Pilate told them, "You take him and nail him to a cross! I don't find him guilty of anything."
    7The crowd replied, "He claimed to be the Son of God! Our Jewish Law says that he must be put to death."
    8When Pilate heard this, he was terrified. 9He went back inside and asked Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus did not answer.
    10"Why won't you answer my question?" Pilate asked. "Don't you know that I have the power to let you go free or to nail you to a cross?"
    11Jesus replied, "If God had not given you the power, you couldn't do anything at all to me. But the one who handed me over to you did something even worse."
    12Then Pilate wanted to set Jesus free. But the crowd again yelled, "If you set this man free, you are no friend of the Emperor! Anyone who claims to be a king is an enemy of the Emperor."
    13When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out. Then he sat down on the judge's bench at the place known as "The Stone Pavement." In Aramaic this pavement is called "Gabbatha." 14It was about noon on the day before Passover, and Pilate said to the crowd, "Look at your king!"
    15"Kill him! Kill him!" they yelled. "Nail him to a cross!"
   "So you want me to nail your king to a cross?" Pilate asked.
   The chief priests replied, "The Emperor is our king!" 16Then Pilate handed Jesus over to be nailed to a cross.
   Jesus was taken away,
Jesus Is Nailed to a Cross
(Matthew 27.32-44; Mark 15.21-32; Luke 23.26-43)
 17and he carried his cross to a place known as "The Skull." [e] In Aramaic this place is called "Golgotha." 18There Jesus was nailed to the cross, and on each side of him a man was also nailed to a cross. 19Pilate ordered the charge against Jesus to be written on a board and put above the cross. It read, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." 20The words were written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.    The place where Jesus was taken wasn't far from the city, and many of the Jewish people read the charge against him. 21So the chief priests went to Pilate and said, "Why did you write that he is King of the Jews? You should have written, `He claimed to be King of the Jews.' "
    22But Pilate told them, "What is written will not be changed!"
  1. John 18:28 would have become unclean and would not be allowed to eat the Passover meal: Jewish people who came in close contact with foreigners right before Passover were not allowed to eat the Passover meal.
  2. John 18:32 about his death: Jesus had said that he would die by being " lifted up," which meant that he would die on a cross. The Romans killed criminals by nailing them on a cross, but they did not let the Jews kill anyone in this way.
  3. John 18:40 terrorist: Someone who stirred up trouble against the Romans in the hope of gaining freedom for the Jewish people.
  4. John 19:5 " Here is the man!" : Or " Look at the man!"
  5. John 19:17 The Skull: The place was probably given this name because it was near a large rock in the shape of a human skull.

Psalm 119:113-128 (Contemporary English Version)

113I hate anyone
   whose loyalty is divided,
   but I love your Law.
    114You are my place of safety
   and my shield.
   Your word is my only hope.
    115All of you worthless people,
   get away from me!
   I am determined to obey
   the commands of my God.
    116Be true to your word, LORD.
   Keep me alive and strong;
   don't let me be ashamed
   because of my hope.
    117Keep me safe and secure,
   so that I will always
   respect your laws.
    118You reject all deceitful liars
   because they refuse
   your teachings.
    119As far as you are concerned,
   all evil people are [a] garbage, and so I follow your rules.
    120I tremble all over
   when I think of you
   and the way you judge.
    121I did what was fair and right!
   Don't hand me over to those
   who want to mistreat me.
    122Take good care of me,
   your servant,
   and don't let me be harmed
   by those conceited people.
    123My eyes are weary from waiting
   to see you keep your promise
   to come and save me.
    124Show your love for me,
   your servant,
   and teach me your laws.
    125I serve you,
   so let me understand
   your teachings.
    126Do something, LORD!
   They have broken your Law.
    127Your laws mean more to me
   than the finest gold.
    128I follow all of your commands, [b] but I hate anyone
   who leads me astray.
  1. Psalm 119:119 As far as. . . are: A few Hebrew manuscripts and ancient translations. Most Hebrew manuscripts have " You get rid of evil people as if they were."
  2. Psalm 119:128 I. . . commands: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Proverbs 16:10-11 (Contemporary English Version)

10Rulers speak with authority
   and are never wrong.
    11The LORD doesn't like it
   when we cheat in business.

Verse of the Day

“I praise your promises! I trust you and am not afraid. No one can harm me.” - Psalm 56:4
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Henry ford 1919.jpg
Thought for the Day

American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production, Henry Ford wrote, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”

Friday, May 29, 2015

Growing in Grace: Paul’s Letter to the Romans - Chapter One

Growing in Grace: Paul’s Letter to the Romans - Chapter One: You may listen to a podcast of this session on the Cove Presbyterian PodBean page. The purpose of this session is to consider Paul's ...

Bible Readings for May 29, 2015

Today our passages are 2 Samuel 14:1–15:22; John 18:1-24; Psalm 119:97-112; and Proverbs 16:8-9. The readings are the Contemporary English Version

2 Samuel 14-15:22 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Samuel 14

 1Joab knew that David couldn't stop thinking about Absalom, 2-3and he sent someone to bring in the wise woman who lived in Tekoa. Joab told her, "Put on funeral clothes and don't use any makeup. Go to the king and pretend you have spent a long time mourning the death of a loved one." Then he told her what to say.     4The woman from Tekoa went to David. She bowed very low and said, "Your Majesty, please help me!"
    5David asked, "What's the matter?"
   She replied:
   My husband is dead, and I'm a widow. 6I had two sons, but they got into a fight out in a field where there was no one to pull them apart, and one of them killed the other. 7Now all of my relatives have come to me and said, "Hand over your son! We're going to put him to death for killing his brother." But what they really want is to get rid of him, so they can take over our land.
   Please don't let them put out my only flame of hope! There won't be anyone left on this earth to carry on my husband's name.
    8"Go on home," David told her. "I'll take care of this matter for you."
    9The woman said, "I hope your decision doesn't cause any problems for you. But if it does, you can blame me." [a] 10He said, "If anyone gives you any trouble, bring them to me, and it won't happen again!"
    11"Please," she replied, "swear by the LORD your God that no one will be allowed to kill my son!"
   He said, "I swear by the living LORD that no one will touch even a hair on his head!"
    12Then she asked, "Your Majesty, may I say something?"
   "Yes," he answered.
    13The woman said:
   Haven't you been hurting God's people? Your own son had to leave the country. And when you judged in my favor, it was the same as admitting that you should have let him come back. 14We each must die and disappear like water poured out on the ground. But God doesn't take our lives. [b] Instead, he figures out ways of bringing us back when we run away. 15Your Majesty, I came here to tell you about my problem, because I was afraid of what someone might do to me. I decided to come to you, because I thought you could help. 16In fact, I knew that you would listen and save my son and me from those who want to take the land that God gave us. [c] 17I can rest easy now that you have given your decision. You know the difference between right and wrong just like an angel of God, and I pray that the LORD your God will be with you.
    18Then David said to the woman, "Now I'm going to ask you a question, and don't try to hide the truth!"
   The woman replied, "Please go ahead, Your Majesty."
    19David asked, "Did Joab put you up to this?"
   The woman answered, "Your Majesty, I swear by your life that no one can hide the truth from you. Yes, Joab did tell me what to say, 20but only to show you the other side of this problem. You must be as wise as the angel of God to know everything that goes on in this country."
    21David turned to Joab and said, "It seems that I have already given my decision. Go and bring Absalom back."
    22Joab bowed very low and said, "Your Majesty, I thank you for giving your permission. It shows that you approve of me."
    23Joab went to Geshur to get Absalom. But when they came back to Jerusalem, 24David told Joab, "I don't want to see my son Absalom. Tell him to stay away from me." So Absalom went to his own house without seeing his father.
Absalom Was Handsome
 25No one in all Israel was as handsome and well-built as Absalom. 26He got his hair cut once a year, and when the hair was weighed, it came to about five pounds.     27Absalom had three sons. He also had a daughter named Tamar, who grew up to be very beautiful.
Absalom Finally Sees David
 28Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years without seeing his father. 29He wanted Joab to talk to David for him. So one day he sent a message asking Joab to come over, but Joab refused. Absalom sent another message, but Joab still refused. 30Finally, Absalom told his servants, "Joab's barley field is right next to mine. Go set it on fire!" And they did.     31Joab went to Absalom's house and demanded, "Why did your servants set my field on fire?"
    32Absalom answered, "You didn't pay any attention when I sent for you. I want you to ask my father why he told me to come back from Geshur. I was better off there. I want to see my father now! If I'm guilty, let him kill me."
    33Joab went to David and told him what Absalom had said. David sent for Absalom, and Absalom came. He bowed very low, and David leaned over and kissed him.

2 Samuel 15

Absalom Rebels against David
 1Some time later, Absalom got himself a chariot with horses to pull it, and he had fifty men run in front. 2He would get up early each morning and wait by the side of the road that led to the city gate. [d] Anyone who had a complaint to bring to King David would have to go that way, and Absalom would ask each of them, "Where are you from?" If they said, "I'm from a tribe in the north," 3Absalom would say, "You deserve to win your case. It's too bad the king doesn't have anyone to hear complaints like yours. 4I wish someone would make me the judge around here! I would be fair to everyone."     5Whenever anyone would come to Absalom and start bowing down, he would reach out and hug and kiss them. 6That's how he treated everyone from Israel who brought a complaint to the king. Soon everyone in Israel liked Absalom better than they liked David.
    7Four years [e] later, Absalom said to David, "Please, let me go to Hebron. I have to keep a promise that I made to the LORD, 8when I was living with the Arameans in Geshur. I promised that if the LORD would bring me back to live in Jerusalem, I would worship him in Hebron." [f] 9David gave his permission, and Absalom went to Hebron. 10-12He took two hundred men from Jerusalem with him, but they had no idea what he was going to do. Absalom offered sacrifices in Hebron and sent someone to Gilo to tell David's advisor Ahithophel to come.
   More and more people were joining Absalom and supporting his plot. Meanwhile, Absalom had secretly sent some messengers to the northern tribes of Israel. The messengers told everyone, "When you hear the sound of the trumpets, you must shout, `Absalom now rules as king in Hebron!' "
David Has To Leave Jerusalem
 13A messenger came and told David, "Everyone in Israel is on Absalom's side!"     14David's officials were in Jerusalem with him, and he told them, "Let's get out of here! We'll have to leave soon, or none of us will escape from Absalom. Hurry! If he moves fast, he could catch us while we're still here. Then he will kill us and everyone else in the city."
    15The officials said, "Your Majesty, we'll do whatever you say."
    16-17David left behind ten of his wives [g] to take care of the palace, but the rest of his family and his officials and soldiers went with him. They stopped at the last house at the edge of the city. 18Then David stood there and watched while his regular troops and his bodyguards [h] marched past. The last group was the six hundred soldiers who had followed him from Gath. [i] Their commander was Ittai. 19David spoke to Ittai and said, "You're a foreigner from the town of Gath. You don't have to leave with us. Go back and join the new king! 20You haven't been with me very long, so why should you have to follow me, when I don't even know where I'm going? Take your soldiers and go back. I pray that the Lord will be [j] kind and faithful to you." 21Ittai answered, "Your Majesty, just as surely as you and the LORD live, I will go where you go, no matter if it costs me my life."
    22"Then come on!" David said.
   So Ittai and all his men and their families walked on past David.
  1. 2 Samuel 14:9 I hope. . . me: Or "May I speak some more?"
  2. 2 Samuel 14:14 take our lives: Or "make any exceptions."
  3. 2 Samuel 14:16 take. . . us: Or "make sure we have no part in God's people."
  4. 2 Samuel 15:2 the city gate: Or "the entrance to the king's palace."
  5. 2 Samuel 15:7 Four years: The Hebrew text has "forty years."
  6. 2 Samuel 15:8 in Hebron: Some manuscripts of one ancient translation; these words are not in the Hebrew text.
  7. 2 Samuel 15:16 wives: See the note at 3.7.
  8. 2 Samuel 15:18 bodyguards: See the note at 8.18.
  9. 2 Samuel 15:18 the six. . . Gath: These were Philistine soldiers who were loyal to David.
  10. 2 Samuel 15:20 I pray. . . be: One ancient translation; these words are not in the Hebrew text.

John 18:1-24 (Contemporary English Version)

John 18

Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested
(Matthew 26.47-56; Mark 14.43-50; Luke 22.47-53)
 1When Jesus had finished praying, he and his disciples crossed the Kidron Valley and went into a garden. [a] 2Jesus had often met there with his disciples, and Judas knew where the place was. 3-5Judas had promised to betray Jesus. So he went to the garden with some Roman soldiers and temple police, who had been sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees. They carried torches, lanterns, and weapons. Jesus already knew everything that was going to happen, but he asked, "Who are you looking for?"    They answered, "We are looking for Jesus from Nazareth!"
   Jesus told them, "I am Jesus!" [b] 6At once they all backed away and fell to the ground. 7Jesus again asked, "Who are you looking for?"
   "We are looking for Jesus from Nazareth," they answered.
    8This time Jesus replied, "I have already told you that I am Jesus. If I am the one you are looking for, let these others go. 9Then everything will happen, just as I said, `I did not lose anyone you gave me.' "
    10Simon Peter had brought along a sword. He now pulled it out and struck at the servant of the high priest. The servant's name was Malchus, and Peter cut off his right ear. 11Jesus told Peter, "Put your sword away. I must drink from the cup [c] that the Father has given me."
Jesus Is Brought to Annas
(Matthew 26.57,58; Mark 14.53,54; Luke 22.54)
 12The Roman officer and his men, together with the temple police, arrested Jesus and tied him up. 13They took him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14This was the same Caiaphas who had told the Jewish leaders, "It is better if one person dies for the people."    
Peter Says He Doesn't Know Jesus
(Matthew 26.69,70; Mark 14.66-68; Luke 22.55-57)
 15Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. That disciple knew the high priest, and he followed Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest's house. 16Peter stayed outside near the gate. But the other disciple came back out and spoke to the girl at the gate. She let Peter go in, 17but asked him, "Aren't you one of that man's followers?"    "No, I am not!" Peter answered.
    18It was cold, and the servants and temple police had made a charcoal fire. They were warming themselves around it, when Peter went over and stood near the fire to warm himself.
Jesus Is Questioned by the High Priest
(Matthew 26.59-66; Mark 14.55-64; Luke 22.66-71)
 19The high priest questioned Jesus about his followers and his teaching. 20But Jesus told him, "I have spoken freely in front of everyone. And I have always taught in our meeting places and in the temple, where all of our people come together. I have not said anything in secret. 21Why are you questioning me? Why don't you ask the people who heard me? They know what I have said."     22As soon as Jesus said this, one of the temple police hit him and said, "That's no way to talk to the high priest!"
    23Jesus answered, "If I have done something wrong, say so. But if not, why did you hit me?" 24Jesus was still tied up, and Annas sent him to Caiaphas the high priest.
  1. John 18:1 garden: The Greek word is usually translated " garden," but probably referred to an olive orchard.
  2. John 18:3 I am Jesus: The Greek text has " I am" (see the note at 8.24).
  3. John 18:11 drink from the cup: In the Scriptures a cup is sometimes used as a symbol of suffering. To " drink from the cup" is to suffer.

Psalm 119:97-112 (Contemporary English Version)

97I deeply love your Law!
   I think about it all day.
    98Your laws never leave my mind,
   and they make me much wiser
   than my enemies.
    99Thinking about your teachings
   gives me better understanding
   than my teachers,
    100and obeying your laws
   makes me wiser
   than those
   who have lived a long time.
    101I obey your word
   instead of following a way
   that leads to trouble.
    102You have been my teacher,
   and I won't reject
   your instructions.
    103Your teachings are sweeter
   than honey.
    104They give me understanding
   and make me hate all lies.
    105Your word is a lamp
   that gives light
   wherever I walk.
    106Your laws are fair,
   and I have given my word
   to respect them all.
    107I am in terrible pain!
   Save me, LORD,
   as you said you would.
    108Accept my offerings of praise
   and teach me your laws.
    109I never forget your teachings,
   although my life is always
   in danger.
    110Some merciless people
   are trying to trap me,
   but I never turn my back
   on your teachings.
    111They will always be
   my most prized possession
   and my source of joy.
    112I have made up my mind
   to obey your laws forever,
   no matter what.

Proverbs 16:8-9 (Contemporary English Version)

8It's better to be honest
   and poor
   than to be dishonest
   and rich.
    9We make our own plans,
   but the LORD decides
   where we will go.

Verse of the Day

“The LORD is always kind to those who worship him, and he keeps his promises to their descendants who faithfully obey him.” - Psalm 103:17-18
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

John F. Kennedy, White House color photo portrait.jpg
Thought for the Day

The 35th President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963, John F. Kennedy wrote, “We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.”