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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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Bible Readings for May 4, 2017

Today our passages are Judges 19:1–20:48; John 3:22–4:3; Psalm 104:24-35; and Proverbs 14:22-24. The readings are from the Contemporary English VersionIf you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.

Judges 19-20:48 (Contemporary English Version)

Judges 19

A Woman Is Murdered
 1Before kings ruled Israel, a Levite a] was living deep in the hill country of the Ephraim tribe. He married b] a woman from Bethlehem in Judah,    2but she was unfaithful and went back to live with her family in Bethlehem.Four months later
    3her husband decided to try and talk her into coming back. So he went to Bethlehem, taking along a servant and two donkeys. He talked with his wife, and she invited him into her family's home. Her father was glad to see him
    4and did not want him to leave. So the man stayed three days, eating and drinking with his father-in-law.
    5When everyone got up on the fourth day, the Levite started getting ready to go home. But his father-in-law said, " Don't leave until you have a bite to eat. You'll need strength for your journey."
    6The two men sat down together and ate a big meal. " Come on," the man's father-in-law said. " Stay tonight and have a good time."
    7The Levite tried to leave, but his father-in-law insisted, and he spent one more night.
    8The fifth day, the man got up early to leave, but his wife's father said, " You need to keep up your strength! Why don't you leave right after lunch?" So the two of them started eating.
    9Finally, the Levite got up from the meal, so he and his wife and servant could leave. " Look," his father-in-law said, " it's already late afternoon, and if you leave now, you won't get very far before dark. Stay with us one more night and enjoy yourself. Then you can get up early tomorrow morning and start home."
    10But the Levite decided not to spend the night there again. He had the saddles put on his two donkeys, then he and his wife and servant traveled as far as Jebus, which is now called Jerusalem.
    11It was beginning to get dark, and the man's servant said, " Let's stop and spend the night in this town where the Jebusites live."
    12" No," the Levite answered. " They aren't Israelites, and I refuse to spend the night there. We'll stop for the night at Gibeah,
    13because we can make it to Gibeah or maybe even to Ramah c] before dark."
    14They walked on and reached Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin just after sunset.
    15They left the road and went into Gibeah. But the Levite couldn't find a house where anyone would let them spend the night, and they sat down in the open area just inside the town gates.
    16Soon an old man came in through the gates on his way home from working in the fields. Most of the people who lived in Gibeah belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, but this man was originally from the hill country of Ephraim.
    17He noticed that the Levite was just in town to spend the night. " Where are you going?" the old man asked. " Where did you come from?"
    18" We've come from Bethlehem in Judah," the Levite answered. " We went there on a visit. Now we're going to the place where the LORD is worshiped, and later we will return to our home in the hill country of Ephraim. But no one here will let us spend the night d] in their home.
    19We brought food for our donkeys and bread and wine for ourselves, so we don't need anything except a place to sleep."
    20The old man said, " You are welcome to spend the night in my home and to be my guest, but don't stay out here!"
    21The old man brought them into his house and fed their donkeys. Then he and his guests washed their feet e] and began eating and drinking.
    22They were having a good time, when some worthless men of that town surrounded the house and started banging on the door and shouting, " A man came to your house tonight. Send him out, so we can have sex with him!"
    23The old man went outside and said, " My friends, please don't commit such a horrible crime against a man who is a guest in my house.
    24Let me send out my daughter instead. She's a virgin. And I'll even send out the man's wife. f] You can rape them or do whatever else you want, but please don't do such a horrible thing to this man."
    25The men refused to listen, so the Levite grabbed his wife and shoved her outside. The men raped her and abused her all night long. Finally, they let her go just before sunrise,
    26and it was almost daybreak when she went back to the house where her husband g] was staying. She collapsed at the door and lay there until sunrise.
    27About that time, her husband woke up and got ready to leave. He opened the door and went outside, where he found his wife lying at the door with her hands on the doorstep.
    28" Get up!" he said. " It's time to leave."
   But his wife didn't move. h] He lifted her body onto his donkey and left.
    29When he got home, he took a butcher knife and cut her body into twelve pieces. Then he told some messengers, " Take one piece to each tribe of Israel
    30and ask everyone if anything like this has ever happened since Israel left Egypt. Tell them to think about it, talk it over, and tell us what should be done."
   Everyone who saw a piece of the body said, " This is horrible! Nothing like this has ever happened since the day Israel left Egypt." i]

Judges 20

Israel Gets Ready for War
 1-3The Israelites called a meeting of the nation. And since they were God's people, the meeting was held at the place of worship in Mizpah. Men who could serve as soldiers came from everywhere in Israel--from Dan in the north, Beersheba in the south, and Gilead east of the Jordan River. Four hundred thousand of them came to Mizpah, and they each felt the same about what those men from the tribe of Benjamin had done.   News about the meeting at Mizpah reached the tribe of Benjamin.
   As soon as the leaders of the tribes of Israel took their places, the Israelites said, " How could such a horrible thing happen?"
    4The husband of the murdered woman answered:
   My wife j] and I went into the town of Gibeah in Benjamin to spend the night.
    5Later that night, the men of Gibeah surrounded the house. They wanted to kill me, but instead they raped and killed my wife.
    6It was a terrible thing for Israelites to do! So I cut up her body and sent pieces everywhere in Israel.
    7You are the people of Israel, and you must decide today what to do about the men of Gibeah.
    8The whole army was in agreement, and they said, " None of us will go home.
    9-10We'll send one tenth of the men from each tribe to get food for the army. And we'll ask God k] who should attack Gibeah, because those men l] deserve to be punished for committing such a horrible crime in Israel."
    11Everyone agreed that Gibeah had to be punished.
    12The tribes of Israel sent messengers to every town and village in Benjamin. And wherever the messengers went, they said, " How could those worthless men in Gibeah do such a disgusting thing?
    13We can't allow such a terrible crime to go unpunished in Israel! Hand the men over to us, and we will put them to death."
   But the people of Benjamin refused to listen to the other Israelites.
    14Men from towns all over Benjamin's territory went to Gibeah and got ready to fight Israel.
    15The Benjamin tribe had twenty-six thousand soldiers, not counting the seven hundred who were Gibeah's best warriors.
    16In this army there were seven hundred left-handed experts who could sling a rock m] at a target the size of a hair and hit it every time.
    17The other Israelite tribes organized their army and found they had four hundred thousand experienced soldiers.
    18So they went to the place of worship at Bethel n] and asked God, " Which tribe should be the first to attack the people of Benjamin?" " Judah," the LORD answered.
    19The next morning the Israelite army moved its camp to a place near Gibeah.
    20Then they left their camp and got into position to attack the army of Benjamin.
The War Between Israel and Benjamin
 21Benjamin's soldiers came out of Gibeah and attacked, and when the day was over, twenty-two thousand Israelite soldiers lay dead on the ground.    22-24The people of Israel went to the place of worship and cried until sunset. Then they asked the LORD, " Should we attack the people of Benjamin again, even though they are our relatives?"
   " Yes," the LORD replied, " attack them again!"
   The Israelite soldiers encouraged each other to be brave and to fight hard. Then the next day they went back to Gibeah and took up the same positions as they had before.
    25That same day, Benjamin's soldiers came out of Gibeah and attacked, leaving another eighteen thousand Israelite soldiers dead on the battlefield.
    26-28The people of Israel went to the place of worship at Bethel, o] where the sacred chest was being kept. They sat on the ground, crying and not eating for the rest of the day. Then about sunset, they offered sacrifices to please the LORD and to ask his blessing. p] Phinehas q] the priest then prayed, " Our LORD, the people of Benjamin are our relatives. Should we stop fighting or attack them again?" " Attack!" the LORD answered. " Tomorrow I will let you defeat them."
    29The Israelites surrounded Gibeah, but stayed where they could not be seen.
    30Then the next day, they took the same positions as twice before,
    31-41but this time they had a different plan. They said, " When the men of Benjamin attack, we will run off and let them chase us away from the town and into the country roads."
   The soldiers of Benjamin attacked the Israelite army and started pushing it back from the town. They killed about thirty Israelites in the fields and along the road between Gibeah and Bethel. The men of Benjamin were thinking, " We're mowing them down like we did before."
   The Israelites were running away, but they headed for Baal-Tamar, where they regrouped. They had set an ambush, and they were sure it would work. Ten thousand of Israel's best soldiers had been hiding west of Gibeah, r] and as soon as the men of Benjamin chased the Israelites into the countryside, these ten thousand soldiers made a surprise attack on the town gates. They dashed in and captured Gibeah, killing everyone there. Then they set the town on fire, because the smoke would be the signal for the other Israelite soldiers to turn and attack the soldiers of Benjamin. The fighting had been so heavy around the soldiers of Benjamin, that they did not know the trouble they were in. But then they looked back and saw clouds of smoke rising from the town. They looked in front and saw the soldiers of Israel turning to attack. This terrified them, because they realized that something horrible was happening. And it was horrible--over twenty-five thousand s] soldiers of Benjamin died that day, and those who were left alive knew that the LORD had given Israel the victory.
    42The men of Benjamin headed down the road toward the desert, trying to escape from the Israelites. But the Israelites stayed right behind them, keeping up their attack. Men even came out of the nearby towns to help kill the men of Benjamin,
    43who were having to fight on all sides. The Israelite soldiers never let up their attack. t] They chased and killed the warriors of Benjamin as far as a place directly east of Gibeah, u]
    44until eighteen thousand of these warriors lay dead.
    45Some other warriors of Benjamin turned and ran down the road toward Rimmon Rock in the desert. The Israelites killed five thousand of them on the road, then chased the rest until they had killed v] two thousand more.
    46Twenty-five thousand soldiers of Benjamin died that day, all of them experienced warriors.
    47Only six hundred of them finally made it into the desert to Rimmon Rock, where they stayed for four months.
    48The Israelites turned back and went to every town in Benjamin's territory, killing all the people and animals, and setting the towns on fire.

  1. Judges 19:1 a Levite: Someone from the Levi tribe, which had no tribal lands of its own.
  2. Judges 19:1 married: See the note at 8.31.
  3. Judges 19:13 Gibeah. . . Ramah: It was about three miles from Jerusalem to Gibeah, and another three miles to Ramah.
  4. Judges 19:18 spend the night: People usually considered it a duty to ask travelers to spend the night in their homes, since there were often no other places to stay.
  5. Judges 19:21 washed their feet: This was a custom, since people wore open sandals and their feet would be dirty after walking on the dirt roads or working in the fields.
  6. Judges 19:24 wife: See the note at 8.31.
  7. Judges 19:26 husband: Or " owner" ; the Hebrew word may mean that she was his slave and had no legal rights.
  8. Judges 19:28 move: Hebrew; one ancient translation " move. She was dead."
  9. Judges 19:30 he told some messengers. . . since the day Israel left Egypt: One ancient translation; Hebrew "he told some messengers, `Take one piece to each tribe of Israel.' Everyone who saw a piece of the body said, `This is horrible! Nothing like this has ever happened since Israel left Egypt. Think of it! Let's talk it over and decide what to do.' "
  10. Judges 20:4 wife: See the note at 8.31.
  11. Judges 20:9 ask God: The Hebrew text has " use lots to decide" ; small pieces of wood or stone called " lots" were used to find out what God wanted his people to do.
  12. Judges 20:9 those men: One Hebrew manuscript and one ancient translation; The Standard Hebrew text " the men of Geba."
  13. Judges 20:16 sling a rock: By using a sling made from a leather strap.
  14. Judges 20:18 place. . . Bethel: The Hebrew text has " beth-el," which means " house of God." This could refer to the town of Bethel, to the place of worship at Mizpah, or to the sacred tent at Shiloh (see 18.30,31).
  15. Judges 20:26 place. . . Bethel: The Hebrew text has " beth-el," which means " house of God." This could refer to the town of Bethel, to the place of worship at Mizpah, or to the sacred tent at Shiloh (see 18.30,31).
  16. Judges 20:26 sacrifices. . . blessing: See Leviticus 1-3.
  17. Judges 20:26 Phinehas: Hebrew " Phinehas the son of Eleazar the son of Aaron."
  18. Judges 20:31 west of Gibeah: Three ancient translations; Hebrew " in a field at Geba."
  19. Judges 20:31 over twenty-five thousand: Hebrew " twenty-five thousand one hundred."
  20. Judges 20:43 Men even came out. . . their attack: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  21. Judges 20:43 Gibeah: Or " Geba."
  22. Judges 20:45 until. . . killed: Or " as far as Gidom, killing."

John 3:22-4:3 (Contemporary English Version)

Jesus and John the Baptist
 22Later, Jesus and his disciples went to Judea, where he stayed with them for a while and was baptizing people.    23-24John had not yet been put in jail. He was at Aenon near Salim, where there was a lot of water, and people were coming there for John to baptize them.
    25John's followers got into an argument with a Jewish man a] about a ceremony of washing. b] 26They went to John and said, "Rabbi, you spoke about a man when you were with him east of the Jordan. He is now baptizing people, and everyone is going to him." 27John replied:
   No one can do anything unless God in heaven allows it. 28You surely remember how I told you that I am not the Messiah. I am only the one sent ahead of him.
    29At a wedding the groom is the one who gets married. The best man is glad just to be there and to hear the groom's voice. That's why I am so glad. 30Jesus must become more important, while I become less important.
The One Who Comes from Heaven
 31God's Son comes from heaven and is above all others. Everyone who comes from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is above all others. 32He speaks about what he has seen and heard, and yet no one believes him. 33But everyone who does believe him has shown that God is truthful. 34The Son was sent to speak God's message, and he has been given the full power of God's Spirit.    35The Father loves the Son and has given him everything. 36Everyone who has faith in the Son has eternal life. But no one who rejects him will ever share in that life, and God will be angry with them forever.

John 4

 1Jesus knew that the Pharisees had heard that he was winning and baptizing more followers than John was. 2But Jesus' disciples were really the ones doing the baptizing, and not Jesus himself.   
Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
 3Jesus left Judea and started for Galilee again.

  1. John 3:25 a Jewish man: Some manuscripts have " some Jewish men."
  2. John 3:25 about a ceremony of washing: The Jewish people had many rules about washing themselves and their dishes, in order to make themselves fit to worship God.

Psalm 104:24-35 (Contemporary English Version)

24Our LORD, by your wisdom
   you made so many things;
   the whole earth is covered
   with your living creatures.
    25But what about the ocean
   so big and wide?
   It is alive with creatures,
   large and small.
    26And there are the ships,
   as well as Leviathan, a] the monster you created
   to splash in the sea.
    27All of these depend on you
   to provide them with food,
    28and you feed each one
   with your own hand,
   until they are full.
    29But when you turn away,
   they are terrified;
   when you end their life,
   they die and rot.
    30You created all of them
   by your Spirit,
   and you give new life
   to the earth.
    31Our LORD, we pray
   that your glory
   will last forever
   and that you will be pleased
   with what you have done.
    32You look at the earth,
   and it trembles.
   You touch the mountains,
   and smoke goes up.
    33As long as I live,
   I will sing and praise you,
   the LORD God.
    34I hope my thoughts
   will please you,
   because you are the one
   who makes me glad.
    35Destroy all wicked sinners
   from the earth
   once and for all.
   With all my heart
   I praise you, LORD!
   I praise you!

  1. Psalm 104:26 Leviathan: See the note at 74.14.

Proverbs 14:22-24 (Contemporary English Version)

22It's a mistake
   to make evil plans,
   but you will have loyal friends
   if you want to do right.
    23Hard work is worthwhile,
   but empty talk
   will make you poor.
    24Wisdom can make you rich,
   but foolishness leads
   to more foolishness.

Verse of the Day

“If my own people will humbly pray and turn back to me and stop sinning, then I will answer them from heaven. I will forgive them and make their land fertile once again.” - 2 Chronicles 7:14
Today's passage is from the Contemporary English Version.

Image result for Jane JacobsThought for the Day

American-Canadian journalist, author, and activist best known for her influence on urban studies, Jane Jacobs wrote, “I do not agree with the extremists of either the left or the right, but I think they should be allowed to speak and to publish, both because they themselves have, and ought to have, rights, and once their rights are gone, the rights of the rest of us are hardly safe. Extremists typically want to squash not only those who disagree with them diametrically, but those who disagree with them at all. It seems to me that in every country where extremists of the left have gotten sufficiently in the saddle to squash the extremists of the right, they have ridden on to squash the center or terrorize it also. And the same goes for extremists of the right. I do not want that to happen in our country.”

A Joke for the Day
Little Nancy was in the garden filling in a hole when her neighbor peered over the fence. Interested in what the cheeky-faced youngster was up to, he politely asked, "What are you doing there, Nancy?"

"My goldfish died," replied Nancy tearfully without looking up, "and I've just buried him."

The neighbor was very concerned. "That's an awfully big hole for a goldfish, isn't it?"

Nancy patted down the last heap of dirt then replied, "That's because he's inside your cat."

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