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.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bible Readings for June 30, 2015

Today our passages are 2 Kings 17:1–18:12; Acts 20:1-38; Psalm 148:1-14; and Proverbs 18:6-7. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version

2 Kings 17-18:12 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Kings 17

King Hoshea of Israel
 1Hoshea son of Elah became king of Israel in the twelfth year of Ahaz's rule in Judah, and he ruled nine years from Samaria. 2Hoshea disobeyed the LORD and sinned, but not as much as the earlier Israelite kings had done.     3During Hoshea's rule, King Shalmaneser of Assyria [a] invaded Israel; he took control of the country and made Hoshea pay taxes. 4But later, Hoshea refused to pay the taxes and asked King So of Egypt to help him rebel. When Shalmaneser found out, he arrested Hoshea and put him in prison.
Samaria Is Destroyed and the Israelites Are Taken to Assyria
 5Shalmaneser invaded Israel and attacked the city of Samaria for three years, 6before capturing it in the ninth year of Hoshea's rule. The Assyrian king [b] took the Israelites away to Assyria as prisoners. He forced some of them to live in the town of Halah, others to live near the Habor River in the territory of Gozan, and still others to live in towns where the Median people lived. 7All of this happened because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had rescued them from Egypt, where they had been slaves. They worshiped foreign gods, 8followed the customs of the nations that the LORD had forced out of Israel, and were just as sinful as the Israelite kings. 9Even worse, the Israelites tried to hide their sins from the LORD their God. They built their own local shrines everywhere in Israel--from small towns to large, walled cities. 10They also built stone images of foreign gods and set up sacred poles [c] for the worship of Asherah on every hill and under every shady tree. 11They offered sacrifices at the shrines, [d] just as the foreign nations had done before the LORD forced them out of Israel. They did sinful things that made the LORD very angry. 12Even though the LORD had commanded the Israelites not to worship idols, [e] they did it anyway. 13So the LORD made sure that every prophet warned Israel and Judah with these words: "I, the LORD, command you to stop doing sinful things and start obeying my laws and teachings! I gave them to your ancestors, and I told my servants the prophets to repeat them to you." 14But the Israelites would not listen; they were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to worship the LORD their God. 15They ignored the LORD's warnings and commands, and they rejected the solemn agreement he had made with their ancestors. They worshiped worthless idols and became worthless themselves. The LORD had told the Israelites not to do the things that the foreign nations around them were doing, but Israel became just like them.     16The people of Israel disobeyed all the commands of the LORD their God. They made two gold statues of calves and set up a sacred pole for Asherah; they also worshiped the stars and the god Baal. 17They used magic and witchcraft and even sacrificed their own children. The Israelites were determined to do whatever the LORD hated. 18The LORD became so furious with the people of Israel that he allowed them to be carried away as prisoners.
   Only the people living in Judah were left, 19but they also disobeyed the LORD's commands and acted like the Israelites. 20So the LORD turned his back on everyone in Israel and Judah [f] and let them be punished and defeated until no one was left. 21Earlier, when the LORD took the northern tribes away from David's family, [g] the people living in northern Israel chose Jeroboam son of Nebat as their king. Jeroboam caused the Israelites to sin and to stop worshiping the LORD. 22The people kept on sinning like Jeroboam, 23until the LORD got rid of them, just as he had warned his servants the prophets. That's why the people of Israel were taken away as prisoners to Assyria, and that's where they remained.
Foreigners Are Resettled in Israel
 24The king of Assyria took people who were living in the cities of Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and forced them to move to Israel. They took over the towns where the Israelites had lived, including the capital city of Samaria.     25At first these people did not worship the LORD, so he sent lions to attack them, and the lions killed some of them. 26A messenger told the king of Assyria, "The people you moved to Israel don't know how to worship the god of that country. So he sent lions that have attacked and killed some of them."
    27The king replied, "Get one of the Israelite priests we brought here and send him back to Israel. He can live there and teach them about the god of that country." 28One of the Israelite priests was chosen to go back to Israel. He lived in Bethel and taught the people how to worship the LORD.
    29But in towns all over Israel, the different groups of people made statues of their own gods, then they placed these idols in local Israelite [h] shrines. 30The people from Babylonia made the god Succoth-Benoth; those from Cuthah made the god Nergal; those from Hamath made Ashima; 31those from Avva made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the people from Sepharvaim sacrificed their children to their own gods Adrammelech and Anammelech. 32-33They worshiped their own gods, just as they had before they were taken away to Israel. They also worshiped the LORD, but they chose their own people to be priests at the shrines. 34Everyone followed their old customs. None of them worshiped only the LORD, and they refused to obey the laws and commands that the LORD had given to the descendants of Jacob, the man he named Israel. 35At the time when the LORD had made his solemn agreement with the people of Israel, he told them: Do not worship any other gods! Do not bow down to them or offer them a sacrifice. 36Worship only me! I am the one who rescued you from Egypt with my mighty power. Bow down to me and offer sacrifices. 37Never worship any other god, always obey my laws and teachings, 38and remember the solemn agreement between us.
   I will say it again: Do not worship any god 39except me. I am the LORD your God, and I will rescue you from all your enemies.
    40But the people living in Israel ignored that command and kept on following their old customs. 41They did worship the LORD, but they also worshiped their own idols. Their descendants did the same thing.

2 Kings 18

King Hezekiah of Judah
(2 Chronicles 29.1,2; 31.1)
 1Hezekiah son of Ahaz became king of Judah in the third year of Hoshea's rule in Israel. 2Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he ruled twenty-nine years from Jerusalem. His mother Abi was the daughter of Zechariah.     3Hezekiah obeyed the LORD, just as his ancestor David had done. 4He destroyed the local shrines, then tore down the images of foreign gods and cut down the sacred pole for worshiping the goddess Asherah. He also smashed the bronze snake Moses had made. The people had named it Nehushtan [i] and had been offering sacrifices to it. 5Hezekiah trusted the LORD God of Israel. No other king of Judah was like Hezekiah, either before or after him. 6He was completely faithful to the LORD and obeyed the laws the LORD had given to Moses for the people. 7The LORD helped Hezekiah, so he was successful in everything he did. He even rebelled against the king of Assyria, refusing to be his servant. 8Hezekiah defeated the Philistine towns as far away as Gaza--from the smallest towns to the large, walled cities.
    9During the fourth year of Hezekiah's rule, which was the seventh year of Hoshea's rule in Israel, King Shalmaneser of Assyria led his troops to Samaria, the capital city of Israel. They attacked 10and captured it three years later, [j] in the sixth year of Hezekiah's rule and the ninth year of Hoshea's rule. 11The king of Assyria [k] took the Israelites away as prisoners; he forced some of them to live in the town of Halah, others to live near the Habor River in the territory of Gozan, and still others to live in towns where the Median people lived. 12All of that happened because the people of Israel had not obeyed the LORD their God. They rejected the solemn agreement he had made with them, and they ignored everything that the LORD's servant Moses had told them.
  1. 2 Kings 17:3 King Shalmaneser of Assyria: The son of Tiglath Pileser, who ruled Assyria from 727 to 722 B.C.
  2. 2 Kings 17:6 The Assyrian king: Probably Sargon, Shalmaneser's successor. Shalmaneser died after the city of Samaria was captured (722 B.C.) but before the people were taken away as prisoners (720 B.C.). Sargon ruled Assyria from 721 to 705 B.C.
  3. 2 Kings 17:10 sacred poles: See the note at 13.6,7.
  4. 2 Kings 17:11 shrines: See the note at 12.3.
  5. 2 Kings 17:12 the LORD. . . idols: See Exodus 20.4,5.
  6. 2 Kings 17:20 Israel and Judah: Or "Israel," that is, the northern kingdom only.
  7. 2 Kings 17:21 when the LORD. . . family: See 1 Kings 11.29-39.
  8. 2 Kings 17:29 Israelite: The Hebrew text has "Samaritan," which is a later word to describe the people who lived in northern Israel at this time.
  9. 2 Kings 18:4 the bronze snake. . . Nehushtan: See Numbers 21.8,9. "Nehushtan" is a nickname that sounds like the Hebrew words for "snake" and "bronze."
  10. 2 Kings 18:10 three years later: When the Israelites measured time, part of a year could be counted as a whole year.
  11. 2 Kings 18:11 The king of Assyria: Probably Sargon, Shalmaneser's successor (see the note at 17.6).

Acts 20:1-38 (Contemporary English Version)

Acts 20

Paul Goes through Macedonia and Greece
 1When the riot was over, Paul sent for the followers and encouraged them. He then told them good-by and left for Macedonia. 2As he traveled from place to place, he encouraged the followers with many messages. Finally, he went to Greece [a] 3and stayed there for three months. Paul was about to sail to Syria. But some of the Jewish leaders plotted against him, so he decided to return by way of Macedonia. 4With him were Sopater, son of Pyrrhus from Berea, and Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica. Gaius from Derbe was also with him, and so were Timothy and the two Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5They went on ahead to Troas and waited for us there. 6After the Festival of Thin Bread, we sailed from Philippi. Five days later we met them in Troas and stayed there for a week.    
Paul's Last Visit to Troas
 7On the first day of the week [b] we met to break bread together. [c] Paul spoke to the people until midnight because he was leaving the next morning. 8In the upstairs room where we were meeting, there were a lot of lamps. 9A young man by the name of Eutychus was sitting on a window sill. While Paul was speaking, the young man got very sleepy. Finally, he went to sleep and fell three floors all the way down to the ground. When they picked him up, he was dead. 10Paul went down and bent over Eutychus. He took him in his arms and said, "Don't worry! He's alive." 11After Paul had gone back upstairs, he broke bread, and ate with us. He then spoke until dawn and left. 12Then the followers took the young man home alive and were very happy.    
The Voyage from Troas to Miletus
 13Paul decided to travel by land to Assos. The rest of us went on ahead by ship, and we were to take him aboard there. 14When he met us in Assos, he came aboard, and we sailed on to Mitylene. 15The next day we came to a place near Chios, and the following day we reached Samos. The day after that we sailed to Miletus. 16Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, because he did not want to spend too much time in Asia. He was in a hurry and wanted to be in Jerusalem in time for Pentecost. [d]
Paul Says Good-By to the Church Leaders of Ephesus
 17From Miletus, Paul sent a message for the church leaders at Ephesus to come and meet with him. 18When they got there, he said:    You know everything I did during the time I was with you when I first came to Asia. 19Some of the Jews plotted against me and caused me a lot of sorrow and trouble. But I served the Lord and was humble. 20When I preached in public or taught in your homes, I didn't hold back from telling anything that would help you. 21I told Jews and Gentiles to turn to God and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
    22I don't know what will happen to me in Jerusalem, but I must obey God's Spirit and go there. 23In every city I visit, I am told by the Holy Spirit that I will be put in jail and will be in trouble in Jerusalem. 24But I don't care what happens to me, as long as I finish the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to do. And that work is to tell the good news about God's great kindness.
    25I have gone from place to place, preaching to you about God's kingdom, but now I know that none of you will ever see me again. 26I tell you today that I am no longer responsible for any of you! 27I have told you everything God wants you to know. 28Look after yourselves and everyone the Holy Spirit has placed in your care. Be like shepherds to God's church. It is the flock that he bought with the blood of his own Son. [e] 29I know that after I am gone, others will come like fierce wolves to attack you. 30Some of your own people will tell lies to win over the Lord's followers. 31Be on your guard! Remember how day and night for three years I kept warning you with tears in my eyes.
    32I now place you in God's care. Remember the message about his great kindness! This message can help you and give you what belongs to you as God's people. 33I have never wanted anyone's money or clothes. 34You know how I have worked with my own hands to make a living for myself and my friends. 35By everything I did, I showed how you should work to help everyone who is weak. Remember that our Lord Jesus said, "More blessings come from giving than from receiving."
    36After Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37Everyone cried and hugged and kissed him. 38They were especially sad because Paul had told them, "You will never see me again."
   Then they went with him to the ship.
  1. Acts 20:2 Greece: Probably Corinth.
  2. Acts 20:7 On the first day of the week: Since the Jewish day began at sunset, the meeting would have begun in the evening.
  3. Acts 20:7 break bread together: See the note at 2.46.
  4. Acts 20:16 in time for Pentecost: The Jewish people liked to be in Jerusalem for this festival (see the note at 2.1).
  5. Acts 20:28 the blood of his own Son: Or "his own blood."

Psalm 148:1-14 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 148

Come Praise the LORD
 1Shout praises to the LORD!    Shout the LORD's praises
   in the highest heavens.
    2All of you angels,
   and all who serve him above,
   come and offer praise.
    3Sun and moon,
   and all of you bright stars,
   come and offer praise.
    4Highest heavens,
   and the water
   above the highest heavens, [a] come and offer praise.
    5Let all things praise
   the name of the LORD,
   because they were created
   at his command.
    6He made them to last forever,
   and nothing can change
   what he has done. [b] 7All creatures on earth,
   you obey his commands,
   so come praise the LORD!
    8Sea monsters and the deep sea,
   fire and hail,
   snow and frost,
   and every stormy wind,
   come praise the LORD!
    9All mountains and hills,
   fruit trees and cedars,
    10every wild and tame animal,
   all reptiles and birds,
   come praise the LORD!
    11Every king and every ruler,
   all nations on earth,
    12every man and every woman,
   young people and old,
   come praise the LORD!
    13All creation, come praise
   the name of the LORD.
   Praise his name alone.
   The glory of God is greater
   than heaven and earth.
    14Like a bull with mighty horns,
   the LORD protects
   his faithful nation Israel,
   because they belong to him.
   Shout praises to the LORD!
  1. Psalm 148:4 the water. . . heavens: It was believed that the earth and the heavens were surrounded by water.
  2. Psalm 148:6 nothing. . . done: Or " his laws will never change."

Proverbs 18:6-7 (Contemporary English Version)

6Foolish talk will get you
   into a lot of trouble.
    7Saying foolish things
   is like setting a trap
   to destroy yourself.

Verse of the Day

“Then there will be only one LORD who rules as King and whose name is worshiped everywhere on earth.” - Zechariah 14:9
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

English writer, remembered for his humanistic essays and literary criticism, as the greatest art critic of his age, and as a drama critic, social commentator, and philosopher, William Hazlitt wrote, “The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.”

Monday, June 29, 2015

Bible Readings for June 29, 2015

Today our passages are 2 Kings 15:1–16:20; Acts 19:13-41; Psalm 147:1-20; and Proverbs 18:4-5. The readings are the Contemporary English Version

2 Kings 15-16:20 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Kings 15

King Azariah of Judah
(2 Chronicles 26.1-23)
 1Azariah son of Amaziah became king of Judah in Jeroboam's twenty-seventh year as king of Israel. 2He was only sixteen years old when he became king, and he ruled fifty-two years from Jerusalem, which was also the hometown of his mother Jecoliah.     3Azariah obeyed the LORD by doing right, as his father Amaziah had done. 4But Azariah did not destroy the local shrines, [a] and they were still used as places for offering sacrifices. 5The LORD punished Azariah with leprosy [b] for the rest of his life. He wasn't allowed to live in the royal palace, so his son Jotham lived there and ruled in his place. 6Everything else Azariah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 7Azariah died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem. His son Jotham then became king.
King Zechariah of Israel
 8Zechariah son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in the thirty-eighth year of Azariah's rule in Judah, but he ruled only six months from Samaria. 9Like his ancestors, Zechariah disobeyed the LORD by following the evil ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused the Israelites to sin.     10Shallum son of Jabesh plotted against Zechariah and killed him in public. [c] Shallum then became king. 11-12So the LORD had kept his promise to Jehu that the next four kings of Israel would come from his family. [d] Everything else Zechariah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
King Shallum of Israel
 13Shallum became king of Israel in the thirty-ninth year of Azariah's [e] rule in Judah. But only one month after Shallum became king, 14-16Menahem son of Gadi came to Samaria from Tirzah and killed him. Menahem then became king. The town of Tiphsah would not surrender to him, so he destroyed it and all the surrounding towns as far as Tirzah. He killed everyone living in Tiphsah, and with his sword he even ripped open pregnant women. Everything else Shallum did while he was king, including his plot against Zechariah, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.    
King Menahem of Israel
 17Menahem became king of Israel in Azariah's thirty-ninth year as king of Judah, and he ruled Israel ten years from Samaria. 18He constantly disobeyed the LORD by following the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused the Israelites to sin.     19During Menahem's rule, King Tiglath Pileser [f] of Assyria invaded Israel. He agreed to help Menahem keep control of his kingdom, if Menahem would pay him over thirty tons of silver. 20So Menahem ordered every rich person in Israel to give him at least one pound of silver, and he gave it all to Tiglath Pileser, who stopped his attack and left Israel. 21Everything else Menahem did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel. 22Menahem died, and his son Pekahiah became king.
King Pekahiah of Israel
 23Pekahiah became king of Israel in the fiftieth year of Azariah's rule in Judah, and he ruled two years from Samaria. 24He disobeyed the LORD and caused the Israelites to sin, just as Jeroboam son of Nebat had done.     25Pekah son of Remaliah was Pekahiah's chief officer, but he made plans to kill the king. So he and fifty men from Gilead broke into the strongest part of the palace in Samaria and murdered Pekahiah, together with Argob and Arieh. [g] Pekah then became king. 26Everything else Pekahiah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
King Pekah of Israel
 27Pekah son of Remaliah became king of Israel in Azariah's fifty-second year as king of Judah, and he ruled twenty years from Samaria. 28He disobeyed the LORD and followed the evil example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused the Israelites to sin.     29During Pekah's rule, King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria marched into Israel. He captured the territories of Gilead and Galilee, including the towns of Ijon, Abel-Bethmaacah, Janoah, Kedesh, and Hazor, as well as the entire territory of Naphtali. Then he took Israelites from those regions to Assyria as prisoners. [h] 30In the twentieth year of Jotham's rule in Judah, Hoshea son of Elah plotted against Pekah and murdered him. Hoshea then became king of Israel.
    31Everything else Pekah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
King Jotham of Judah
(2 Chronicles 27.1-9)
 32Jotham son of Azariah [i] became king of Judah in the second year of Pekah's rule in Israel. 33Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he ruled sixteen years from Jerusalem. His mother Jerusha was the daughter of Zadok. 34Jotham followed the example of his father by obeying the LORD and doing right. 35It was Jotham who rebuilt the Upper Gate that led into the court around the LORD's temple. But the local shrines were not destroyed, and they were still used as places for offering sacrifices.     36Everything else Jotham did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 37During his rule, the LORD let King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel start attacking Judah. 38Jotham died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem, and his son Ahaz became king.

2 Kings 16

King Ahaz of Judah
(2 Chronicles 28.1-27)
 1Ahaz son of Jotham became king of Judah in the seventeenth year of Pekah's rule in Israel. 2He was twenty years old at the time, and he ruled from Jerusalem for sixteen years.    Ahaz wasn't like his ancestor David. Instead, he disobeyed the LORD 3and was even more sinful than the kings of Israel. He sacrificed his own son, which was a disgusting custom of the nations that the LORD had forced out of Israel. 4Ahaz offered sacrifices at the local shrines, as well as on every hill and in the shade of large trees.
    5-6While Ahaz was ruling Judah, the king of Edom recaptured the town of Elath from Judah and forced out the people of Judah. Edomites [j] then moved into Elath, and they still live there. About the same time, King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel marched to Jerusalem and attacked, but they could not capture it.
    7Ahaz sent a message to King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria that said, "Your Majesty, King Rezin and King Pekah are attacking me, your loyal servant. Please come and rescue me." 8Along with the message, Ahaz sent silver and gold from the LORD's temple and from the palace treasury as a gift for the Assyrian king.
    9As soon as Tiglath Pileser received the message, he and his troops marched to Syria. He captured the capital city of Damascus, then he took the people living there to the town of Kir as prisoners and killed King Rezin. [k] 10Later, Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath Pileser. And while Ahaz was there, he saw an altar and sent a model of it back to Uriah the priest, along with the plans for building one. 11Uriah followed the plans and built an altar exactly like the one in Damascus, finishing it just before Ahaz came back.
    12When Ahaz returned, he went to see the altar and to offer sacrifices on it. He walked up to the altar 13and poured wine over it. Then he offered sacrifices to please the LORD, to give him thanks, and to ask for his blessings. [l] 14After that, he had the bronze altar moved aside, [m] so his new altar would be right in front of the LORD's temple. 15He told Uriah the priest: From now on, the morning and evening sacrifices as well as all gifts of grain and wine are to be offered on this altar. The sacrifices for the people and for the king must also be offered here. Sprinkle the blood from all the sacrifices on it, but leave the bronze altar for me to use for prayer and finding out what God wants me to do.
    16Uriah did everything Ahaz told him.
    17Ahaz also had the side panels and the small bowls taken off the movable stands in the LORD's temple. He had the large bronze bowl, called the Sea, removed from the bronze bulls on which it rested and had it placed on a stand made of stone. 18He took down the special tent that was used for worship on the Sabbath [n] and closed up the private entrance that the kings of Judah used for going into the temple. He did all these things to please Tiglath Pileser. 19Everything else Ahaz did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 20Ahaz died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem, [o] and his son Hezekiah became king.
  1. 2 Kings 15:4 local shrines: See the note at 12.3.
  2. 2 Kings 15:5 leprosy: See the note at 5.1.
  3. 2 Kings 15:10 in public: Hebrew; some manuscripts of one ancient translation "in Ibleam."
  4. 2 Kings 15:11 So the LORD. . . family: See 10.28-31.
  5. 2 Kings 15:13 Azariah's: The Hebrew text has "Uzziah's," another spelling of the name.
  6. 2 Kings 15:19 Tiglath Pileser: The Hebrew text has "Pul," another name for Tiglath Pileser, who ruled Assyria from 745 to 727 B.C.
  7. 2 Kings 15:25 together with Argob and Arieh: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  8. 2 Kings 15:29 prisoners: The events in this verse probably took place around 733 B.C.
  9. 2 Kings 15:32 Azariah: See the note at 15.13.
  10. 2 Kings 16:5 the king of Edom. . . Edomites: The Hebrew text has "King Rezin of Syria. . . Syrians"; in Hebrew, there is only one letter difference between "Edom" and "Aram," which is the usual Hebrew name for Syria in the Bible (see also 2 Chronicles 28.17).
  11. 2 Kings 16:9 King Rezin: This probably took place around 734 B.C., before the events in 15.29.
  12. 2 Kings 16:13 offered. . . blessings: In traditional translations, these sacrifices are usually called "whole burnt offerings," "grain offerings," and "peace offerings." These are described in Leviticus 1--3.
  13. 2 Kings 16:14 aside: Hebrew "to the north."
  14. 2 Kings 16:18 the special tent. . . Sabbath: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  15. 2 Kings 16:20 Jerusalem: See the note at 8.24.

Acts 19:13-41 (Contemporary English Version)

13Some Jewish men started going around trying to force out evil spirits by using the name of the Lord Jesus. They said to the spirits, "Come out in the name of that same Jesus that Paul preaches about!"
    14Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this, 15when an evil spirit said to them, "I know Jesus! And I have heard about Paul. But who are you?" 16Then the man with the evil spirit jumped on them and beat them up. They ran out of the house, naked and bruised.
    17When the Jews and Gentiles in Ephesus heard about this, they were so frightened that they praised the name of the Lord Jesus. 18Many who were followers now started telling everyone about the evil things they had been doing. 19Some who had been practicing witchcraft even brought their books and burned them in public. These books were worth about fifty thousand silver coins. 20So the Lord's message spread and became even more powerful.
The Riot in Ephesus
 21After all of this had happened, Paul decided [a] to visit Macedonia and Achaia on his way to Jerusalem. Paul had said, "From there I will go on to Rome." 22So he sent his two helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia. But he stayed on in Asia for a while.     23At that time there was serious trouble because of the Lord's Way. [b] 24A silversmith named Demetrius had a business that made silver models of the temple of the goddess Artemis. Those who worked for him earned a lot of money. 25Demetrius brought together everyone who was in the same business and said:
   Friends, you know that we make a good living at this. 26But you have surely seen and heard how this man Paul is upsetting a lot of people, not only in Ephesus, but almost everywhere in Asia. He claims that the gods we humans make are not really gods at all. 27Everyone will start saying terrible things about our business. They will stop respecting the temple of the goddess Artemis, who is worshiped in Asia and all over the world. Our great goddess will be forgotten!
    28When the workers heard this, they got angry and started shouting, "Great is Artemis, the goddess of the Ephesians!" 29Soon the whole city was in a riot, and some men grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus, who had come from Macedonia with Paul. Then everyone in the crowd rushed to the place where the town meetings were held.
    30Paul wanted to go out and speak to the people, but the Lord's followers would not let him. 31A few of the local officials were friendly to Paul, and they sent someone to warn him not to go.
    32Some of the people in the meeting were shouting one thing, and others were shouting something else. Everyone was completely confused, and most of them did not even know why they were there.
    33Several of the Jewish leaders pushed a man named Alexander to the front of the crowd and started telling him what to say. He motioned with his hand and tried to explain what was going on. 34But when the crowd saw that he was Jewish, they all shouted for two hours, "Great is Artemis, the goddess of the Ephesians!"
    35Finally, a town official made the crowd be quiet. Then he said:
   People of Ephesus, who in the world doesn't know that our city is the center for worshiping the great goddess Artemis? Who doesn't know that her image which fell from heaven is right here? 36No one can deny this, and so you should calm down and not do anything foolish. 37You have brought men in here who have not robbed temples or spoken against our goddess.
    38If Demetrius and his workers have a case against these men, we have courts and judges. Let them take their complaints there. 39But if you want to do more than that, the matter will have to be brought before the city council. 40We could easily be accused of starting a riot today. There is no excuse for it! We cannot even give a reason for this uproar.
    41After saying this, he told the people to leave.
  1. Acts 19:21 Paul decided: Or "Paul was led by the Holy Spirit."
  2. Acts 19:23 the Lord's Way: See the note at 9.2.

Psalm 147:1-20 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 147

Sing and Praise the LORD
 1Shout praises to the LORD!    Our God is kind,
   and it is right and good
   to sing praises to him.
    2The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem
   and brings the people of Israel
   back home again.
    3He renews our hopes
   and heals our bodies.
    4He decided how many stars
   there would be in the sky
   and gave each one a name.
    5Our LORD is great and powerful!
   He understands everything.
    6The LORD helps the poor,
   but he smears the wicked
   in the dirt.
    7Celebrate and sing!
   Play your harps
   for the LORD our God.
    8He fills the sky with clouds
   and sends rain to the earth,
   so that the hills
   will be green with grass.
    9He provides food for cattle
   and for the young ravens,
   when they cry out.
    10The LORD doesn't care about
   the strength of horses
   or powerful armies.
    11The LORD is pleased only
   with those who worship him
   and trust his love.
    12Everyone in Jerusalem,
   come and praise
   the LORD your God!
    13He makes your city gates strong
   and blesses your people
   by giving them children.
    14God lets you live in peace,
   and he gives you
   the very best wheat.
    15As soon as God speaks,
   the earth obeys.
    16He covers the ground with snow
   like a blanket of wool,
   and he scatters frost
   like ashes on the ground.
    17God sends down hailstones
   like chips of rocks.
   Who can stand the cold?
    18At his command the ice melts,
   the wind blows,
   and streams begin to flow.
    19God gave his laws and teachings
   to the descendants of Jacob,
   the nation of Israel.
    20But he has not given his laws
   to any other nation.
   Shout praises to the LORD!

Proverbs 18:4-5 (Contemporary English Version)

4Words of wisdom
   are a stream
   that flows
   from a deep fountain.
    5It's wrong to favor the guilty
   and keep the innocent
   from getting justice.

Verse of the Day

“You, LORD, will always treat me with kindness. Your love never fails. You have made us what we are. Don't give up on us now!” - Psalm 138:8
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Thought for the Day

French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator, Antoine de Saint Exupéry wrote, “Confuse not love with the raptures of possession, which bring the cruelest of sufferings. For, notwithstanding the general opinion, love does not cause suffering: what causes it is the sense of ownership, which is love's opposite.”

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Bible Readings for June 27, 2015

Today our passages are 2 Kings 10:32–12:21; Acts 18:1-22; Psalm 145:1-21; and Proverbs 18:1. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version

2 Kings 10:32-12:21 (Contemporary English Version)

Jehu Dies
 32In those days the LORD began to reduce the size of Israel's territory. King Hazael of Syria defeated the Israelites and took control 33of the regions of Gilead and Bashan east of the Jordan River and north of the town of Aroer near the Arnon River. This was the land where the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh had once lived.     34Everything else Jehu did while he was king, including his brave deeds, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel. 35Jehu died and was buried in Samaria, and his son Jehoahaz became king. 36Jehu had ruled Israel twenty-eight years from Samaria.

2 Kings 11

Queen Athaliah of Judah
(2 Chronicles 22.10-12)
 1As soon as Athaliah heard that her son King Ahaziah was dead, she decided to kill any relative who could possibly become king. She would have done that, 2but Jehosheba rescued Joash son of Ahaziah just as he was about to be murdered. Jehosheba, who was Jehoram's [a] daughter and Ahaziah's half sister, hid her nephew Joash and his personal servant in a bedroom in the LORD's temple where he was safe from Athaliah. 3Joash hid in the temple with Jehosheba [b] for six years while Athaliah ruled as queen of Judah.
Jehoiada Makes Joash King of Judah
(2 Chronicles 23.1-21)
 4Joash son of Ahaziah had hidden in the LORD's temple six years. Then in the seventh year, Jehoiada the priest sent for the commanders of the king's special bodyguards [c] and the commanders of the palace guards. They met him at the temple, and he asked them to make a promise in the name of the LORD. Then he brought out Joash 5and said to them: Here's what I want you to do. Three of your guard units will be on duty on the Sabbath. I want one unit to guard the palace. 6Another unit will guard Sur Gate, and the third unit will guard the palace gate and relieve the palace guards.     7The other two guard units are supposed to be off duty on the Sabbath. But I want both of them to stay here at the temple and protect King Joash. 8Make sure they follow him wherever he goes, and have them keep their swords ready to kill anyone who tries to get near him.
    9The commanders followed Jehoiada's orders. Each one called together his guards--those coming on duty and those going off duty. 10Jehoiada brought out the swords and shields that had belonged to King David and gave them to the commanders. 11Then they gave the weapons to their guards, who took their positions around the temple and the altar to protect Joash on every side.
    12Jehoiada brought Joash outside, where he placed the crown on his head and gave him a copy of instructions for ruling the nation. Olive oil was poured on his head to show that he was now king, while the crowd clapped and shouted, "Long live the king!"
    13Queen Athaliah heard the crowd and went to the temple. 14There she saw Joash standing by one of the columns, which was the usual place for the king. The singers [d] and the trumpet players were standing next to him, and the people were celebrating and blowing trumpets. Athaliah tore her clothes in anger and shouted, "You betrayed me, you traitors!" 15Right away, Jehoiada said to the army commanders, "Kill her! But don't do it anywhere near the LORD's temple. Take her out in front of the troops and kill anyone who is with her!" 16So the commanders dragged her to the gate where horses are led into the palace, and they killed her there.
    17Jehoiada the priest asked King Joash and the people to promise that they would be faithful to each other and to the LORD. 18Then the crowd went to the temple built to honor Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols and killed Mattan the priest of Baal right in front of the altars.
   After Jehoiada had placed guards around the LORD's temple, 19he called together all the commanders, the king's special bodyguards, [e] the palace guards, and the people. They led Joash from the temple, through the Guards' Gate, and into the palace. He took his place on the throne and became king of Judah. 20Everyone celebrated because Athaliah had been killed and Jerusalem was peaceful again. 21Joash was only seven years old when this happened.

2 Kings 12

King Joash of Judah
(2 Chronicles 24.1-16)
 1Joash [f] became king of Judah in Jehu's seventh year as king of Israel, and he ruled forty years from Jerusalem. His mother Zibiah was from the town of Beersheba. 2Jehoiada the priest taught Joash what was right, and so for the rest of his life Joash obeyed the LORD. 3But even Joash did not destroy the local shrines, [g] and they were still used as places for offering sacrifices. 4One day, Joash said to the priests, "Collect all the money that has been given to the LORD's temple, whether from taxes or gifts, 5and use it to repair the temple. You priests can contribute your own money too." [h] 6But the priests never started repairing the temple. So in the twenty-third year of his rule, 7Joash called for Jehoiada and the other priests and said, "Why aren't you using the money to repair the temple? Don't take any more money for yourselves. It is only to be used to pay for the repairs." 8The priests agreed that they would not collect any more money or be in charge of the temple repairs.     9Jehoiada found a wooden box; he cut a hole in the top of it and set it on the right side of the altar where people went into the temple. Whenever someone gave money to the temple, the priests guarding the entrance would put it into this box. 10When the box was full of money, the king's secretary and the chief priest would count the money and put it in bags. 11Then they would give it to the men supervising the repairs to the temple. Some of the money was used to pay the builders, the woodworkers, 12the stonecutters, and the men who built the walls. And some was used to buy wood and stone and to pay any other costs for repairing the temple.
    13While the repairs were being made, the money that was given to the temple was not used to make silver bowls, lamp snuffers, small sprinkling bowls, trumpets, or anything gold or silver for the temple. 14It went only to pay for repairs. 15The men in charge were honest, so no one had to keep track of the money.
    16The fines that had to be paid along with the sacrifices to make things right and the sacrifices for sin did not go to the temple. This money belonged only to the priests.
    17About the same time, King Hazael of Syria attacked the town of Gath and captured it. Next, he decided to attack Jerusalem. 18So Joash collected everything he and his ancestors Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, and Ahaziah had dedicated to the LORD, as well as the gold in the storage rooms in the temple and palace. He sent it all to Hazael as a gift, and when Hazael received it, he ordered his troops to leave Jerusalem.
    19Everything else Joash did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 20-21At the end of his rule, some of his officers rebelled against him. Jozabad [i] son of Shimeath and Jehozabad son of Shomer murdered him in a building where the land was filled in on the east side of Jerusalem, [j] near the road to Silla. Joash was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem, [k] and his son Amaziah became king.
  1. 2 Kings 11:2 Jehoram's: The Hebrew text has "Joram's," another spelling of the name.
  2. 2 Kings 11:3 Jehosheba: Jehosheba was the wife of Jehoiada the priest (see 2 Chronicles 22.11), which is why she could hide Joash in one of the private bedrooms used only by the priests.
  3. 2 Kings 11:4 the king's special bodyguards: The Hebrew text has "the Carites," who were probably foreign soldiers hired to serve as royal bodyguards.
  4. 2 Kings 11:14 singers: Two ancient translations; Hebrew "commanders."
  5. 2 Kings 11:19 the king's special bodyguards: See the note at verse 4.
  6. 2 Kings 12:1 Joash: The Hebrew text has "Jehoash," another spelling of the name.
  7. 2 Kings 12:3 local shrines: The Hebrew text has "high places," which were local places to worship God or foreign gods.
  8. 2 Kings 12:5 You priests. . . money too: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  9. 2 Kings 12:20 Jozabad: Some manuscripts of the Hebrew text; other manuscripts "Jozacar."
  10. 2 Kings 12:20 where. . . Jerusalem: The Hebrew text has "on the Millo," which probably refers to a landfill to strengthen and extend the hill where the city was built.
  11. 2 Kings 12:20 Jerusalem: See the note at 8.24.

Acts 18:1-22 (Contemporary English Version)

Acts 18

Paul in Corinth
 1Paul left Athens and went to Corinth, 2where he met Aquila, a Jewish man from Pontus. Not long before this, Aquila had come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Emperor Claudius had ordered the Jewish people to leave Rome. [a] Paul went to see Aquila and Priscilla 3and found out that they were tent makers. Paul was a tent maker too. So he stayed with them, and they worked together. 4Every Sabbath, Paul went to the Jewish meeting place. He spoke to Jews and Gentiles [b] and tried to win them over. 5But after Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, he spent all his time preaching to the Jews about Jesus the Messiah. 6Finally, they turned against him and insulted him. So he shook the dust from his clothes [c] and told them, "Whatever happens to you will be your own fault! I am not to blame. From now on I am going to preach to the Gentiles." 7Paul then moved into the house of a man named Titius Justus, who worshiped God and lived next door to the Jewish meeting place. 8Crispus was the leader of the meeting place. He and everyone in his family put their faith in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also heard the message, and all the people who had faith in the Lord were baptized.     9One night, Paul had a vision, and in it the Lord said, "Don't be afraid to keep on preaching. Don't stop! 10I am with you, and you won't be harmed. Many people in this city belong to me." 11Paul stayed on in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching God's message to the people.
    12While Gallio was governor of Achaia, some of the Jewish leaders got together and grabbed Paul. They brought him into court 13and said, "This man is trying to make our people worship God in a way that is against our Law!"
    14Even before Paul could speak, Gallio said, "If you were charging this man with a crime or some other wrong, I would have to listen to you. 15But since this concerns only words, names, and your own law, you will have to take care of it. I refuse to judge such matters." 16Then he sent them out of the court. 17The crowd grabbed Sosthenes, the Jewish leader, and beat him up in front of the court. But none of this mattered to Gallio.
Paul Returns to Antioch in Syria
 18After Paul had stayed for a while with the Lord's followers in Corinth, he told them good-by and sailed on to Syria with Aquila and Priscilla. But before he left, he had his head shaved [d] at Cenchreae because he had made a promise to God. 19The three of them arrived in Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He then went into the Jewish meeting place to talk with the people there. 20They asked him to stay longer, but he refused. 21He told them good-by and said, "If God lets me, I will come back."     22Paul sailed to Caesarea, where he greeted the church. Then he went on to Antioch.
  1. Acts 18:2 Emperor Claudius had ordered all the Jewish people to leave Rome: Probably A.D. 49, though it may have been A.D. 41.
  2. Acts 18:4 Gentiles: Here the word is "Greeks." But see the note at 14.1.
  3. Acts 18:6 shook the dust from his clothes: This means the same as shaking dust from the feet (see the note at 13.51).
  4. Acts 18:18 he had his head shaved: Paul had promised to be a "Nazirite" for a while. This meant that for the time of the promise, he could not cut his hair or drink wine. When the time was over, he would have to cut his hair and offer a sacrifice to God.

Psalm 145:1-21 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 145

(By David for praise.)
The LORD Is Kind and Merciful
 1I will praise you,    my God and King,
   and always honor your name.
    2I will praise you each day
   and always honor your name.
    3You are wonderful, LORD,
   and you deserve all praise,
   because you are much greater
   than anyone can understand.
    4Each generation will announce
   to the next
   your wonderful
   and powerful deeds.
    5I will keep thinking about
   your marvelous glory
   and your mighty miracles. [a] 6Everyone will talk about
   your fearsome deeds,
   and I will tell all nations
   how great you are.
    7They will celebrate and sing
   about your matchless mercy
   and your power to save.
    8You are merciful, LORD!
   You are kind and patient
   and always loving.
    9You are good to everyone,
   and you take care
   of all your creation.
    10All creation will thank you,
   and your loyal people
   will praise you.
    11They will tell about
   your marvelous kingdom
   and your power.
    12Then everyone will know about
   the mighty things you do
   and your glorious kingdom.
    13Your kingdom will never end,
   and you will rule forever.
   Our LORD, you keep your word
   and do everything you say. [b] 14When someone stumbles or falls,
   you give a helping hand.
    15Everyone depends on you,
   and when the time is right,
   you provide them with food.
    16By your own hand
   you satisfy
   the desires of all who live.
    17Our LORD, everything you do
   is kind and thoughtful,
    18and you are near to everyone
   whose prayers are sincere.
    19You satisfy the desires
   of all your worshipers,
   and you come to save them
   when they ask for help.
    20You take care of everyone
   who loves you,
   but you destroy the wicked.
    21I will praise you, LORD,
   and everyone will respect
   your holy name forever.
  1. Psalm 145:5 and. . . miracles: One Hebrew manuscript and two ancient translations have " as others tell about your mighty miracles."
  2. Psalm 145:13 Our. . . say: These words are found in one Hebrew manuscript and two ancient translations.

Proverbs 18:1 (Contemporary English Version)

Proverbs 18

It's Wrong to Favor the Guilty
 1It's selfish and stupid    to think only of yourself
   and to sneer at people
   who have sense. [a]
  1. Proverbs 18:1 sense: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 1.

Verse of the Day
“If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” - Matthew 16:25
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-D0116-0041-019, Albert Schweitzer.jpgThought for the Day

German—and later French—theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary in Africa, also known for his historical work on Jesus, Albert Schweitzer wrote, “Example is leadership.”