Reading through the Bible together

Thursday, November 20, 2014

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Vs. 1-10:  The union of a man and wife in marriage was intended as a life time commitment. If a married couple are living a God fearing life, there will never be a need to divorce. All of their interpersonal problems will find resolution as they follow the teachings of Jesus. Due to man's sinful nature, God did provide an allowance for divorce in the context of adultery. But even under these circumstances, reconciliation is often the better alternative (Gen. 1:27; 2:24; Deut. 24:1-4).

But wasn’t the punishment for adultery stoning?  Technically, yes, but God’s laws are draped with mercy and capital punishment by stoning rarely, if ever, occurred. The threat of stoning highlighted the seriousness of committing adultery, but the standard of proving guilt made it nearly impossible to administer the punishment legally (Lev. 20:10, Numbers 5:11-31, Deut 17:6; 19:15; 22:13-30; Ps 51, Hosea 1:2-3, John 8:1-11, Heb. 10:28). According to the Mishnah, the death penalty could only be inflicted after a trial by the Sanhedrin composed of 23 judges.  Also, the strict standards for legal qualification of the required two to three witnesses were virtually impossible to attain. (The Jewish Religion by Louis Jacobs, p. 66, "Capital Punishment").
Vs. 11-12:  Some Christians will choose to live the single life in order to serve God without the distractions and responsibilities of a family or spouse. For those who can accept this lifestyle, there can be opportunities for unique service to others.  For those who cannot adapt to being single there is marriage (1 Corinthians 7:1-7).

Vs. 13-15:  The innocence of little children and babies is such that they will be in heaven, even if their parents are not. Only when we are "born again" and become a "child of God" through the work of the Holy Spirit will we be given the unblemished robe of righteousness (Jeremiah 31:15-17, Matthew 2:18, EGW 2SM 260).

Vs. 16-22:  The rich young man kneeling (Mark 10:17-21) before Christ asked a most important question. According to what many Christians believe today, Jesus should have responded by simply saying, "Believe, just believe and you will be saved."  Instead, the Savior looks at this young man with compassion and tells him to keep the commandments, sell what he has, give to the poor, and come “follow Me.”

Simply believing in Jesus does not save us.  Our faith in Him must be such that our greatest priority in life is to serve God.  One of the most important and vital ways that we serve Him is to use our means - our time, talent, and treasure - to spread the gospel and to minister to the needs of others (EGW FW 47, SR 289, GC 472-473, Our Father Cares p.68).
Vs. 23-30:  As the wealthy find comfort and contentment on earth it is very difficult for them to give up what they have to follow the teachings of Jesus. Wealth is accompanied by the obligation to share and give generously to others. All belongs to God and we are just the temporary caretakers.  As stewards of God's treasure house we have the solemn responsibility to use whatever means we have, whether little or much, to serve others. If we use what we have for personal gain and pleasure, we have deprived others of the benefits of God’s generosity.


Leo Van Dolson, Jr., M.D., MPH
California, U.S.A.