Take Time with the Text by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Take Time with the Text

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In today’s fast-paced, get-it-and-go, instant-messaging world of communications, Christians must resist the temptation to treat the Bible like our latest text message. We hurriedly read incoming messages, abbreviate responses, reply without proofing, and forward without considering possible consequences (cf. James 1:19). We rush through conversations and speed-read everything from school assignments to the Sunday paper. Sadly, the Bible often gets the same treatment.
Unlike many mundane things that we carelessly read in this technologically advanced age, the Bible must be read thoroughly, persistently, and methodically. Since “[a]ll Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16, emp. added) we cannot settle for a Cliffs Notes® version. Since there were many writers from different places, writing to different people in different languages, and since there is a major difference between the Old Testament and New Testament (cf. Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 8:7-13), we must “[b]e diligent,…rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The context must be considered. Figures of speech must be taken into account. The application of a 3,500-year-old Book must be made carefully.
Divine, biblical truths are not to be taken lightly. They are to be considered in light of life and death, heaven and hell. We cannot simply skim the surface of Scripture, only occasionally contemplating on truth and error, good and evil. Blessings come to the person “who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work” (James 1:25, emp. added; cf. Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:18-20).
We are not only to read God’s Word; we are to meditate on it.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper (Psalm 1:1-3, emp. added).
We are to think on it, endeavor to understand it, and take pleasure in reflecting on it (Barnes, 1997; cf. Psalm 119). “To meditate in God’s word is to discourse with ourselves concerning the great things contained in it, with a close application of mind” (Henry, 1997). Just as eating and digesting are two different functions, so are reading and meditating. As Jamieson, et al. noted: “Meditation upon, is to reading the Word what digesting is to eating. Without the slow and lengthened process of digestion, food would not nourish the body: without meditation, the Word read will not nourish the soul” (1997).
In short, Christianity is not a drive-through religion. Effective, soul-nurturing Bible study is not the equivalent of glancing at your favorite Bible verse on your iPhone once a week. Judgment Day is not prepared for by attending a Bible class once a month. Like those noble Bereans who “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11, emp. added), Christians must continue to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). “My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on Your statutes” (Psalm 119:48, emp. added).


Barnes, Albert (1997), Notes on the Old and New Testaments (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Henry, Matthew (1997), Commentary on the Whole Bible (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Jamieson, Robert, et al. (1997), Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Bible Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).

From Mark Copeland... Pilgrims Of The Dispersion (1 Peter 1:1)

                      "THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER"

                    Pilgrims Of The Dispersion (1:1)


1. Throughout the New Testament, various phrases are used to describe
   those people of God who make up the Lord's church
   a. Individually, they are referred to as disciples, saints,
      believers, priests, Christians, etc.
   b. Collectively, they are called the church, the church of God,
      churches of Christ, the body of Christ, the temple of God, the
      family of God, etc.
   -- Each of these terms describe various relationships maintained by
      those who are Christians

2. An interesting phrase not commonly used in reference to the people of
   God is found in 1Pe 1:1, where Peter addresses "the pilgrims of
   the Dispersion"

3. A proper understanding of this phrase can be very beneficial, and 
   give us insight into:
   a. What the Christian life is
   b. An important responsibility expected of Christians
   c. Our true home, and goal in this life

[Let's start by...]


      1. Transliterated from Grk., it is parepidemos {par-ep-id'-ay-mos}
         which is a combination of three words:
         a. para - "alongside of"
         b. epi - "upon"
         c. demos - "used in Biblical Greek of the people of a heathen
            city" (Wuest)
      2. Here, then, is how Thayer defines the word...
         a. "one who comes from a foreign country into a city or land to
            reside there by the side of the natives"
         b. "a stranger"
         c. "sojourning in a strange place, a foreigner"
         d. "in the NT metaph. in reference to heaven as the native 
            country, one who sojourns on earth:  so of Christians (1 Pet1:1)...

             of the patriarchs (He 11:13)."
      3. Another definition:  "One who stays in a place as a stranger or
         visitor; to describe Christians whose final citizenship is in
         heaven and who are regarded as temporary dwellers on earth."
         (Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia Of The Bible)

      1. The Greek word is diaspora {dee-as-por-ah'}
         a. It is noun form of the verb diaspeiro
         b. Which means "to sow, to scatter seed"
      2. The term is found in Jn 7:35, and there it refers to the Jews
         who were scattered among the Greeks
         a. As a result of the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities
         b. This has caused some to conclude that Peter was writing to
            Jewish Christians
         c. Who were living in the regions of Asia Minor (modern day 
            Turkey) - cf. 1Pe 1:1
      3. But there is good reason to believe that Peter was writing to 
         ALL the Christians, both Jewish and Gentile, who were scattered
         throughout Asia Minor
         a. Comments are made in this epistle that cannot be understood
            in reference to the original recipients being Jews - cf. 
            1Pe 1:14,18,20-21
         b. More likely, Peter employs terms once limited to the Jews, 
            but now applicable to all who are in Christ
            1) For example, terms like "elect" (1:2), "holy nation"
               (2:9), "people of God" (2:10)
            2) Even as Paul did:  "circumcision" (Php 3:3), "Israel of 
               God" (Ga 6:16)
      4. If this be so, then Peter implies by using the term "pilgrims 
         of the dispersion" that all Christians are:
         a. Pilgrims living in a world not their own
         b. Like scattered seed, spread out among those in the world

[With this understanding of the phrase, "pilgrims of the dispersion," we
can now draw insights that are implied by it...]


      1. It is but a JOURNEY, begun when we first became Christians, 
         ending only when we reach our true destination
         a. This ought to affect our entire perspective on life
            1) It is not an end in itself
            2) Only a temporary trip toward our final destination
            3) Our homes, our jobs, take on a different meaning when 
               viewed in this light
         b. This ought to affect our perspective on death
            1) Not the end of life, but the end of our journey!
            2) Not the end of life, but the beginning of eternity in our
               true home!
      2. Embarked on this JOURNEY, we become like our spiritual father,
         a. Notice He 11:8-10, 13-16
         b. If this be our attitude towards this life...
            1) Then God is not ashamed to be called our God
            2) And we can honestly sing songs like "This World Is Not My

      1. Our responsibility as "pilgrims" is to be SEPARATE - cf. 1 Pe 2:11-12
         a. We may be "in the world," but we are not to be "of the 
            world" - Jn 17:15-16; 2Co 6:14-7:1
         b. Remaining separate may cause some in the world to think we
            are strange - cf. 1Pe 4:3-4
         c. But Jesus said this would happen, even as it did to Him - 
            Jn 15:18-19
      2. Figuratively speaking, we should be like those foreign refugees
         now in our country:
         a. Who resist giving up their heritage, their language
         b. Who resist attempts to "Americanize" them and destroy their
            cultural traditions
      3. Can it be said of us who are Christians, that we are keeping 
         ourselves SEPARATE from the world?
         a. Are we allowing the world to influence our...
            1) Speech?
            2) Dress?
            3) Conduct?
         b. If we so, then we are no longer "pilgrims," but "naturalized
            citizens" of this world!
         c. Remember John's warning in 1Jn 2:15-17

      1. Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly await our 
         Savior - Php 3:20-21
      2. We are to be looking for "a new heavens and a new earth" - 
         2Pe 3:13-14
      3. That is where we will find our true home, the CITY...
         a. "which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God." 
            - He 11:10,16
         b. That is "the one to come" - He 13:14
         c. That "comes down out of heaven from God" - Re 21:1-22:5
         -- That is where we, who are now simply strangers and 
            foreigners scattered like seed in this world, will one day 
            be gathered together!
      4. Those who are truly "pilgrims" will think often of their true 
         a. When my family lived in Taiwan, we thought often of our home
            in the states
         b. And so we will think often of our heavenly home, if we are
            truly "pilgrims of the Dispersion"!


1. Are we "pilgrims of the Dispersion"?  We are, if as Christians we...
   a. View our life here on earth as a journey in a foreign land!
   b. Keep ourselves separate from things in the world that would lead
      us away from God!
   c. View as our true home, the heavenly city God has prepared from
      those who confess they are strangers and pilgrims on the earth!

2. But you are NOT a "pilgrim of the Dispersion" if...
   a. You have not yet begun your spiritual sojourn by obeying the 
      gospel of Christ!
   b. Having done so, you allow the attractions of the world to 
      discontinue your journey and "settle down" in things which would 
      separate you from God!

Are YOU a "pilgrim of the Dispersion"?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... What Is Truth? (John 18:37-38)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                       What Is Truth? (18:37-38)


1. When Jesus appeared before Pilate, the subject of truth was
   a. Jesus claimed to bear witness to the truth - Jn 18:37
   b. Pilate raised the perennial question: "What is truth?" - Jn 18:38

2. Today, many people sound a lot like Pilate...
   a. A Barna Research Group survey on what Americans believe asked the
      question, "Is there absolute Truth?"...
      1) Sixty-six percent of adults responded that they believe that
         "there is no such thing as absolute truth; different people can
         define truth in conflicting ways and still be correct"
      2) Seventy-two percent of those aged 18 to 25 expressed this
   b. In a series of more than twenty interviews conducted at random at
      a large university, people were asked if there was such a thing as
      absolute truth - truth that is true across all times and cultures
      for all people. All but one respondent answered along these lines:
      1) "Truth is whatever you believe"
      2) "There is no absolute truth"
      3) "If there were such a thing as absolute truth, how could we
         know what it is?"
      4) "People who believe in absolute truth are dangerous"
   -- Info from http://www.christianity.co.nz/truth1.htm

[What is the Christian perspective regarding truth?  Is truth whatever
you believe?  Can we know what is absolute truth?  Let's first summarize
two basic views regarding truth...]


      1. Commonly called the "correspondence view" of truth
      2. A statement is true if and only if it corresponds to or agrees
         with factual reality
      3. This view presupposes a law of logic called the law of
         a. Any unambiguous, declarative statement must be either true
            or false
         b. It cannot be neither true nor false; nor can it be both true
            and false
         c. E.g., the statement "I am standing in front of you"...
            1) Is true only if, in fact, I am standing here in front of
            2) Must be either true or false, it cannot be both true and
      4. The correspondence view of truth holds that propositional or
         declarative statements are subject to verification and
         a. A statement can be proven false if it can be shown to
            disagree with objective reality
         b. E.g., the statement "The world is flat"...
            1) Is either true or false, it cannot be both
            2) Photographs from space have falsified flat-earth claims
      -- This view of truth was held by the vast majority of
         philosophers and theologians throughout history until recently

      1. Commonly called the "relativistic view" of truth
         a. What is true depends on the views of persons or cultures
         b. Not on whether statements correspond to objective reality
      2  For a statement to be true simply means that a person or
         culture to believes it to be true; people with this view of
         truth say things like:
         a. "Well, if that's true for you..."
         b. "We can't judge other cultures"
      3. Poet Steve Turner wrote a parody of this attitude and called it
         "Creed". In part he said:

         I believe that each man must find the truth
            that is right for him.
         Reality will adapt accordingly.
         The universe will readjust. History will alter.
         I believe that there is no absolute truth
            excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.

      4. When truth is deemed dependent upon the person or culture
         holding the belief, anything can become "true"); for example...
         a. One person can say "Jesus is Lord" and another can say
            "Allah is Lord"
         b. Both statements will be true, if they accurately express the
            sentiments of the speakers
         c. This view seems to advance tolerance and civility, but it
            does so at the expense of logic
         d. The very definition of "Lord" precludes the possibility they
            are both "Lord"
      5. Those who say there is no absolute truth make decisions every
         day based things they believe are true or false; for example...
         a. They turn on a light believing in the reality of electricity
         b. They drive a car believing in the effectiveness of the
         c. No one flying would want to be directed by a navigator who
            did not believe in the truth of his instruments
         d. No one undergoing brain surgery would want to be operated on
            by a surgeon who did not believe that some things about the
            brain were true and some not true
      6. If there are no absolutes, there is no right and wrong
         a. I can kill you, steal from you, lie to you, and you can't
            say it is wrong
         b. Because if I believe I should do such things, and succeed,
            then it works for me and it has become my personal truth
            (and who are you to judge me?)
         c. "In the absence of truth, power is the only game in town."
            - Richard John Neuhaus
      -- Despite its absurdity, this view of truth has become the
         darling of all who want to be free to "do their own thing"

[Christians have historically affirmed the "correspondence view" of
truth.  For good reasons, because it is consistent with...]


      1. True (alethes) - "unconcealed, manifest...actual, true to fact"
         - Vine
      2. True (alethinos) - "denotes 'true' in the sense of 'real,
         ideal, genuine;'" - ibid.
      3. Truth (aletheia)
         a. "objectively, signifying 'the reality lying at the basis of
            an appearance; the manifested, veritable essence of a
            matter' (Cremer)" - ibid.
         b. "subjectively, 'truthfulness,' 'truth,' not merely verbal,
            but sincerity and integrity of character" - ibid.
      -- When the Bible speaks of truth, it describes that which
         corresponds to reality, what is factual and absolute, not

      1. God is a God of truth - Deut 32:4
      2. Jesus is the truth, and full of truth, and spoke the truth - Jn 14:6; 1:14; 8:45
      3. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, and guided the apostles
         into all the truth - Jn 14:17; 16:13
      4. The Word of God is truth - Jn 17:17
      5. The judgments of God are according to truth - Ps 96:13; Ro 2:2
      6. Christians should walk in the truth as revealed by Jesus,
         including the standard of morality He taught - cf. Ep 4:17-32;
      7. Christians should patiently teach others the truth - cf. 2 Ti 2:23-26
      8. Many will turn their ears away from the truth - cf. 2Ti 4:1-4
      -- Much more could be said, as the Bible reveals so much about
         what is truth


1. What is truth...?
   a. Truth is what is real
   b. God is real, and reveals what is real
   c. God is truth, and what He says is the truth

2. Call yourself what you may, but you cannot be a Christian unless...
   a. You hold the correspondence view of truth
   b. You believe in moral absolutes of right and wrong
   c. You accept Jesus and His Word as the ultimate source of truth,
      especially in regards to morality and salvation

For those willing to accept Jesus as the ultimate source of truth, they
will be greatly blessed... - cf. Jn 8:31-36

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... That The World May Know (John 17:20-23)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                   That The World May Know (17:20-23)


1. Shortly before His betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion, Jesus prayed
   to His Father...
   a. For Himself - Jn 17:1-5
   b. For His disciples - Jn 17:6-19
   c. For all His future believers - Jn 17:20-26

2. His prayer is truly remarkable...
   a. It has been called "The Lord's High Priestly Prayer"
   b. It is truly "The Lord's Prayer", a title normally given to the
      sample prayer found in Mt 6:9-13; Lk 11:2-4

3. We learn what weighed heavily on our Lord's mind, knowing that
   "the hour has come"...
   a. He sought to be glorified by His Father
   b. He was concerned for the well-being of His disciples
   c. He wanted His followers to be one, even as He and the Father were
      one - Jn 17:20-23

4. It is our Lord's concern for unity that I want us to examine in this
   a. Why was unity so important to Jesus?
   b. What has Jesus done that it might be accomplished?
   c. In our religiously divided world today, how can we maintain unity
      among those who believe in Jesus?

[As we look closer at our text (Jn 17:20-23), we are immediately
impressed with...]


      1. Without unity, it is difficult to persuade unbelievers that
         Jesus came from God
         a. Those in the world care little about doctrine and
            theological distinctions
         b. But in a world with racial, ethnic and cultural divisions,
            unity can capture their attention!
      2. This is not to say that doctrine is not important!
         a. Jesus had already emphasized the importance of abiding in
            His word - Jn 8:31
         b. But the proclamation of truth must be accompanied by unity
      3. When we are united in Christ, it gives credence to our claims
         a. That Jesus was sent from God
         b. That as the Son of God who rose from the dead...
            1) He lives in our hearts
            2) He has transformed our lives by the power of His
               resurrected life!
      -- Which is why some have referred to unity as "The Final
         Apologetic" (Schaeffer)

   B. "THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW" - Jn 17:23
      1. Jesus again emphasizes the power of unity among His disciples
         to convince an unbelieving world!
      2. Not only that they may know God sent Jesus...
         a. But that God has also loved them! - Jn 3:16; 1Jn 4:9-10
         b. Indeed, even as God loves His only begotten Son ("as You
            have loved Me")!
      3. What a powerful message we have to share with the world!
         a. God loves them even as He loves His Son!
         b. But to convince the world of such love, unity among
            disciples is imperative!

[In light of Jesus' prayer for unity, no true disciple can be content
with religious division as it exists today (cf. 1Co 1:10).  Paramount
in our discipleship should be efforts to eliminate any kind of
religious division that is contrary to the will of Christ!

But how can we be one, even as the Father and the Son are one?  Here
are some thoughts on...]


      1. "Glory" which He had received from the Father - Jn 17:22
         a. Which He had given to His disciples
         b. Which enabled them to be one just as He and the Father were
      2. What is this "glory" to which Jesus refers?
         a. It may involve the idea of Jesus abiding in us
            1) I.e., the glory of Jesus abiding in us even as the
               Father abides in the Son
            2) Through such abiding, we may be made perfect in one
               - Jn 17:23
         b. Certainly without abiding in Jesus, we can do nothing
            - cf. Jn 15:4-5

   [Whatever the "glory" refers to, we should note that true unity
   comes from Jesus Himself; with this in mind, note the following...]

      1. As Paul expounded in Ep 2:14-16
         a. The division between Jew and Gentile ended at the cross
         b. Jesus died to make it possible for us to be one body!
            - Ep 4:4
      2. When we come to Christ through obedience to His gospel, we are
         united with all believers in His one body!
         a. We are baptized into one body - 1Co 12:13
         b. Thus we begin the Christian life united with all believers
            in Christ!

[When it comes to "attaining" unity, Jesus accomplished the unity for
which He prayed!  Our challenge is "maintaining" this unity if we wish
to honor Jesus' prayer...]


      1. Unity is impossible without adherence to the same standard
         a. Unless there were standards regarding weights and measures,
            confusion and division would result every time we went to
            the store
         b. Religious division occurs because people accept different
            standards of authority
            1) Some accept the authority of a pope, presbytery,
               prophet, or preacher
            2) We cannot maintain the unity for which Jesus died unless
               we can agree on the same standard
      2. For Christians our standard of authority must be that which...
         a. Originated from Christ - cf. Jn 8:31; Mt 28:18
         b. Was delegated to His apostles - cf. Jn 13:20; Mt 28:20;
            Ac 2:42
         c. Was proclaimed and written by His apostles - cf. 1Th 2:13;
            1Co 14:37
      3. Taught by His apostles, we must be careful to...
         a. Observe ALL that He has commanded - Mt 28:20
         b. Not allow traditions of men to make void the commandments
            of God - Mt 15:3-6
         c. Not teach as doctrine the commandments of (uninspired) men
            - Mt 15:9
      -- The "apostles' doctrine" (i.e., the New Testament) must be our
         standard of authority, even as Jesus acknowledged when He
         prayed "for those who will believe in Me through their word"
         (i.e., the apostles' teaching) - Jn 17:20

      1. As Paul instructed the Philippians - Php 2:2-5
         a. There is no place for selfish ambition or conceit
         b. We must esteem others highly, and look out for their
      2. As Paul wrote to the Ephesians - Ep 4:1-3
         a. We must manifest lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering,
            forbearance in love
         b. With such diligence, we "keep" (maintain) the unity of the
            Spirit in the bond of peace
      -- Without this "mind" of Christ, we will misuse the word of God
         and destroy the unity Jesus attained through His death on the

[With His doctrine before us, His mind in us, we can maintain the unity
Jesus attained.  With lives transformed by His teachings and His
attitude, we provide visible proof to the world that Jesus did come
from God and that the Father loves them also.

Finally, some thoughts about a providing a "visible" unity ("That The
World May Know")...]


      1. It is in the context of the local congregation that unity will
         be most evident
         a. For that is where interaction of Christians most often
         b. Note that the warnings against division were often
            addressed in the context of the local church - e.g., 1Co 1:10-13; 3:3-4; 11:18
      2. Therefore unity truly begins "at home"
         a. We may rightly deplore the religious division elsewhere
         b. But our first concern must be preserving unity in our own
         c. How sad when those who condemn religious division in the
            denominations can't even preserve unity in their own

      1. In the New Testament, each congregation was self-governing and
         a. Governed by a plurality of elders (bishops, pastors) whose
            authority was limited to the flock of God among them - cf.
            Ac 14:23; 20:28; 1Pe 5:1-2
         b. There was no authority above the local congregation other
            than that of Christ and His apostles
      2. It was only after the apostles died that things soon changed
         a. "During the second century A.D. churches came to have a
            single bishop, and then that bishop came to exercise
            oversight over nearby rural churches as well as the city
            church so that his ecclesiastical territory became known as
            a "diocese" or "see" ("eparchy" in the East).  Bishops of
            churches that had been founded by apostles were said to be
            in succession to the apostles, and hence their teaching was
            held to be authentic and their authority collegial.  By 400
            A.D. in the West, the bishop of Rome began to assume
            extraordinary authority above other bishops." (Holman Bible
         b. "Ignatius shows that in the early second century the office
            of bishop over the elders had developed, but Lightfoot has
            shown that it was not so in the first century." (Word
            Pictures, A. T. Robinson)
      3. Such changes were not only unscriptural, but set the stage for
         denominational division
         a. Churches were expected to line up under one bishop,
            patriarch, or council
         b. Rather than let the Lord Himself judge each church (cf. Re 2-3), 
            religious hierarchies began determining which
            churches were faithful
         c. This has led to the denominational division so rampant
            today, and which presents a religiously divided picture to
            the world!
      -- As long as the denominational practice of organizing churches
         under some hierarchy above the local church continues,
         religious division will remain!


1. No true disciple of Jesus should treat religious division with
   a. It is contrary to our Lord's prayer for unity - Jn 17:20-23
   b. It is condemned by Paul as a manifestation of carnality - 1Co 3:

2. Unity among disciples of Christ must be a primary concern, for
   a. Died on the cross to attain unity
   b. Believed it to be "The Final Apologetic" to convince the world
      that He came from God

3. Since Jesus attained unity through His death, our task is to
   maintain it by...
   a. Following the doctrine of Christ as communicated through His
   b. Displaying the mind of Christ as we interact with one another in
      our local churches
   c. Honoring the New Testament pattern of church organization, which
      is designed to slow the growth of religious division whenever it

It is not always possible to avoid religious division (cf. 1Co 11:19),
but may we do all we can to preserve the unity we enjoy in Christ!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... For Those Who Will Believe (John 17:20-26)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                 For Those Who Will Believe (17:20-26)


1. In previous lessons devoted to "The Greatest Prayer Ever Prayed", we
   noted that...
   a. Jesus first prayed for Himself ("Father...Glorify Your Son") - Jn 17:1-5
   b. Jesus next prayed for His disciples ("I Pray For Them") - Jn 17:

2. Jesus then prayed for "those who will believe through their word"...
   - Jn 17:20
   a. I.e., those who would come to believe in Jesus through the
      teaching of the apostles
   b. This would include everyone who believes in Jesus today

[In this third and final part of Jesus' prayer, we learn what was heavy
on the mind of Jesus concerning His followers during this difficult time
just before His arrest and crucifixion.  In our text (Jn 17:20-26), we
can read of...]


      1. The nature of the oneness Jesus desires - Jn 17:21,23a
         a. As He and the Father are one
         b. Together with the Father and the Son
      2. The purpose of the oneness Jesus desires - Jn 17:21c, 23b
         a. That the world may believe the Father sent the Son
         b. That the world may know the Father sent Jesus, and loved
      3. The means to the oneness Jesus desires - Jn 17:22
         a. The glory which God gave Christ - Jn 17:22
         b. B. W. Johnson offers the following insight as to what this
            'glory' might be:
            1) "God gave Christ the glory of Sonship and this resulted
               in their unity."
            2) "So Christ gives to his disciples the glory of becoming
               the sons of God (Jn 1:12; 1Jn 3:1)."
            3) "This glory, the  adoption and gift of the Spirit, ought
               to effect that they be one as we are one."
         c. Adam Clarke rephrases Jesus' words in this way:
            1) "I have communicated to all those who believe, or shall
               believe in me, the glorious privilege of becoming sons of
            2) "that, being all adopted children of the same Father,
               they may abide in peace, love, and unity."

      1. That we be with Him where He is - Jn 17:24a
         a. That is, in heaven, as He had mentioned earlier - Jn 14:3
         b. Using the futuristic present form of speech (e.g., Jn 17:4)
      2. That we behold His glory given to Him by the Father - Jn 17:24b
         a. That glory prayed for earlier - Jn 17:1
         b. The eternal glory He had with the Father before the world
            was - Jn 17:5
         c. When the Father loved Him before the creation of the world
            - Jn 17:24c
         d. Glory like that depicted in the visions of Revelation
            - e.g., Re 5:6-14

      1. The Father has loved us - Jn 17:23
         a. Manifested by sending His Son - Jn 3:16
         b. Manifested by offering Him as a propitiation - 1Jn 4:10
      2. The Father will love us - Jn 17:26
         a. With the same love He has for His Son!
         b. For all who keep His commandments - cf. Jn 14:21,23

[Such is Jesus' desire for us as expressed in His prayer:  1) to be one;
2) to behold His glory; and 3) to be loved by His Father!  How shall we
react to such a prayer?  Let me suggest...]


      1. Preserving the unity of the Spirit - Ep 4:3-6
         a. Keeping that which Jesus accomplished for us
         b. Through doctrinal faithfulness to each of the seven 'ones'
      2. Attaining unity of mind and judgment - 1Co 1:10-13; Php 2:1-5
         a. In our dealings with one another as brethren
         b. By developing and displaying the mind of Christ
      -- That the world might know that God loves them and has sent His

      1. To remain steadfast to the end - He 3:12-14
         a. There is a real danger of developing a heart of unbelief
         b. We are partakers of Christ (and His glory) if we remain
            steadfast to the end
      2. To receive the crown of life - Re 2:10; 3:21-22
         a. We must remain faithful till death
         b. We must overcome if we are to sit with Him on His throne
      -- That we might behold His glory in heaven and throughout

      1. Love for God - Mt 22:37-38; Jn 14:15,21; 1Jn 5:3
         a. The greatest commandment of the Old Law
         b. Demonstrated by keeping the commandments of the Lord
      2. Love for the children of God - Ep 5:1-2; 1Jn 5:2
         a. Imitating God who loved us
         b. Demonstrated by keeping the commandments of God
      -- That we might remain in His love


1. If we take Jesus' prayer seriously, we will do all we can to...
   a. Walk in unity
   b. Walk in faith
   c. Walk in love
   -- Are you doing your part to see that His prayer is answered?

2. We note the concluding words of "The Greatest Prayer Ever Prayed"...
   a. Those disciples with Jesus knew that He was sent by God - Jn 17:25
   b. He taught them that they might know the love of God and the
      fellowship of Christ - Jn 17:26

3. Years later, the disciple who recorded Jesus' prayer wrote an
   a. That we might have share in the fellowship of God and Jesus - 1Jn 1:1-3
   b. That our joy might be full - 1Jn 1:4

Both Jesus and John would have us share in the wonderful love and
fellowship with God.  May "The Greatest Prayer Ever Prayed" always
encourage us to do what we must to experience it...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... I Pray For Them (John 17:6-19)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                       I Pray For Them (17:6-19)


1. We noted that one of the reasons Jesus' prayer is "The Greatest
   Prayer Ever Prayed" was because of the content of the prayer

2. A previous lesson examined that part of the prayer in which Jesus
   prayed for Himself ("Father...Glorify Your Son") - Jn 17:1-5

3. In this study, we shall consider the second part of the prayer...
   a. In which Jesus prays on behalf of His disciples
   b. In which He prays for those He would soon leave behind on earth

[As we closely examine this part of the prayer (Jn 17:6-19), we note
that Jesus makes a threefold petition in behalf of His disciples...]


      1. Note this plea in verse 11
         a. "Keep through Your name..."
         b. "...that they may one as We are."
      2. Jesus' departure would tend to scatter the disciples - cf. Jn 16:32
      3. While with them, Jesus had kept them together - Jn 17:12
      4. With His departure imminent, it is understandable He was
         concerned they be kept in unity
      5. The importance of such unity is explained later in Jn 17:20-26,
         and will be examined in our next study

      1. This petition is found in verse 15
      2. Jesus knew that with His departure Satan would shift his
         efforts from Him to His disciples - cf. Re 12:1-6,13-17
      3. Even so, Jesus does not ask for their removal, but their
         a. Disciples need to be in the world that their presence might
            bless it - cf. Mt 5:14-16; Php 2:15
         b. The protection for which Jesus prayed is described in 1Co 10:13; Ro 8:35-39

      1. This part of the petition is found in verse 17
      2. That is, to set them apart for a holy purpose
      3. Jesus even mentions the instrument of sanctification:  the Word
         of God!
      4. Through sanctification by the Word, the other parts of His
         petition would be realized
         a. The Word would keep them united in Christ
         b. The Word would keep them from the evil one (even as it did
            for Christ when He was tempted by Satan, cf. Mt 4:4-11)

[Thus Jesus prays for His disciples:  1) to keep them in unity, 2) to
keep them from the evil one, and 3) to sanctify them through the Word of
God.  In His prayer, Jesus also provides several reasons...]


      1. Notice Jesus' words in verse 6:
         a.  "...the men whom You have given Me out of the world."
         b. "They were Yours, You gave them to Me..."
      2. J. W. McGarvey made the following observation:
         a. "The Father is possessor of all humanity as the Creator."
         b. "The Son by gift from the Father possesses the believing
            portion of humanity as its Redeemer."

      1. They kept His Word - Jn 17:6b
      2. They knew that all things God gave Jesus came from God - Jn 17:7
      3. They received the words Jesus gave them, and believed He was
         sent by God - Jn 17:8

      1. Jesus' prayer was for those who were both the Father's and the
         Son's - Jn 17:9-10a
      2. The Father would naturally have a similar concern for the
      3. For they are not only the disciples of Christ, but children of

      1. Jesus was glorified in His disciples - Jn 17:10b
      2. He is glorified when sinners become saints, for it is only by
         His blood and transforming power that such is possible
      3. If Jesus' petition was not answered, then Jesus would not be

      1. Jesus was going back to the Father, leaving the disciples on
         earth - Jn 17:11
      2. He had preserved them all while on earth, save Judas as
         foretold - Jn 17:12
      3. Now leaving them, He wanted them to have His joy fulfilled in
         themselves  - Jn 17:13

      1. Because they are not of this world - Jn 17:14-15
      2. Just as Jesus was not of this world - Jn 17:16
      3. Following Christ had put them at odds with the world!

      1. As Jesus was sent into the world by His Father - Jn 17:18a
      2. So Jesus was sending His disciples into the world - Jn 17:18b
         a. A world which hates them
         b. A world under the influence of the evil one
         c. A world which rejected the Son of God

      1. For their sakes, He was willing to sanctify Himself - Jn 17:19a
         a. To set Himself apart for a holy purpose (the meaning of
         b. Which He did by presenting Himself as the Lamb of God, to
            offer Himself for the sins of the world - cf. Jn 1:29
      2. That His disciples might also be sanctified by the truth - Jn

[On the basis of eight reasons, Jesus prayed for His disciples, that His
Father might 1) keep them in unity, 2) keep them from the evil one, and
3) sanctify them through the Word of God.  Before we close our study,


      1. That we be kept in unity - cf. Jn 17:20-21
      2. That we be kept from the evil one - cf. 2Th 3:3
      3. That we be sanctified - cf. 1Th 4:3

      1. Disciples are the Father's gift to the Son - cf. Jn 6:44-45
      2. Disciples have received God's Word - e.g., 1Th 2:13
      3. Disciples are a joint possession of the Son and the Father
         - cf. 1Co 3:23
      4. Disciples glorify Christ - cf. 2Th 1:11-12
      5. Disciples no longer have Christ on earth - cf. Ac 3:21
      6. Disciples are not of the world, even hated by the world - cf.
         1Pe 2:11-12; 4:4
      7. Disciples are sent out into the world - cf. 1Co 5:9,10
      8. Jesus sanctified Himself for disciples today as well as those
         then - cf. 1Jn 2:1-2


1. Jesus prayed for His disciples because...
   a. They received the Word - Jn 17:8
   b. They believed the Word - Jn 17:8
   c. They kept the Word - Jn 17:6b

2. If we desire Jesus' prayer in our behalf today...
   a. We must receive the Word - cf. Jm 1:21
   b. We must believe the Word - cf. Ro 1:16
   c. We must keep the Word - cf. Jn 8:31

3. Otherwise, we will not...
   a. Be kept in unity
   b. Be kept from the evil one
   c. Be sanctified by the Word of God - Jn 17:17

Jesus still prays for His disciples today (cf. He 7:25).  His concerns
are still the same.  Are we doing our part by receiving, believing, and
keeping His Word...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... This Is Eternal Life (John 17:2-3)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                     This Is Eternal Life (17:2-3)


1. In His "High Priestly Prayer" (John 17), Jesus makes mention of
   eternal life...
   a. "that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given
      Him." - Jn 17:2
   b. "And this is eternal life..." - Jn 17:3

2. Eternal life is a major theme in the gospel of Christ...
   a. Jesus was crucified in order to offer eternal life - Jn 3:14-16
   b. Eternal life in Christ Jesus is the gift of God - Ro 6:23

3. But what exactly is eternal life...?
   a. Is it simply a future blessing, pertaining to life after death?
   b. Or is it a present possession, something to enjoy in this life?

[What does the Bible say?  Let's see if we can find the answer to the


      1. Many scriptures refer to eternal life as a future blessing
         a. Jesus spoke of it in this way - cf. Mt 25:46; Mk 10:28-30
         b. Paul wrote of it in this way - cf. Tit 1:2; 3:7; Ro 6:22
      2. Thus many think of eternal life in this way
         a. As a future blessing
         b. An everlasting existence in the presence of God, free from
            death, sorrow and pain - cf. Re 21:1-7
         c. Available in this life as a hope
      -- It is certainly scriptural to conceive of eternal life as a
         hope for the future

      1. John often writes of eternal life as a present possession
         a. As that which is abiding in one (or not) - cf. 1Jn 3:14-15
         b. That God has given us eternal life, that we have eternal
            life - 1Jn 5:11-13
      2. Might John be using a form of speech known as the futuristic
         a. "This use of the present tense denotes an event which has
            not yet occurred, but which is regarded as so certain that
            in thought it may be contemplated as already coming to
            pass." - Dana & Mantey, p. 185
         b. Examples of such speech can be found in Jn 14:3; 17:24
         c. If so, eternal life would still be only a future blessing,
            something to be hoped for
      3. There is another explanation which I believe highly plausible
         a. John chooses to use the phrase "eternal life" in a special
            1) Describing a quality of life (and not just quantity of
               life) which comes by knowing God and His Son Jesus Christ
            2) In the manner in which Jesus uses it in His "High
               Priestly Prayer" - Jn 17:3
               a) Jesus says "This is eternal life..."
               b) Defining it as "that they may know You, the only true
                  God, and Jesus Christ..."
         b. In these sense, eternal life is a present possession!
            1) When we come to 'know' God and Jesus, we experience a
               quality of life that surpasses what the world has to
            2) As a present possession, this quality of life is a
               foretaste of the future blessing we shall experience with
            3) As a foretaste, this quality of life can rightly be
               called eternal life
            4) For is not our life with God now really the beginning of
               eternity with God?

[Since Jesus spoke of eternal life in both ways, it is both a future
blessing and present possession.  As we come to 'know' God and Jesus, we
begin to experience the blessings of eternal life.  This naturally
raises the question...]


      1. There are two different words for 'know' in the Greek
         a. oida - this word suggests a fulness of knowledge, coming
            from observation
         b. ginosko - this word suggests a progression in knowledge,
            frequently implying an active relationship between the
            knower and the object known
      2. In Jn 17:3, the word is ginosko
         a. So to 'know' God and Jesus goes beyond knowledge of facts
            about them
         b. It implies a progressive knowledge and understanding which
            comes by having an active relationship with Them
         c. "To know the Father and Jesus Christ (for He is the only way
            to the Father) refers not to merely abstract knowledge, but
            to joyful acknowledgment of his sovereignty, glad acceptance
            of his love, and intimate fellowship with his person
            (through Scripture, that is, through his Word to us; and
            through prayer, that is, through our word to him)."
            - Hendriksen

      1. As suggested by Hendriksen, it involves communication through
         the Word and prayer
      2. It is also directly related to keeping the commandments of the
         a. As emphatically stated by John in his epistle - 1Jn 2:3-4
            1) This is how we know that we know (ginosko) Him
            2) Otherwise we lie if we say that we know (ginosko) Him
         b. As explained by Jesus to His apostles - Jn 14:21,23
            1) Keeping His commandments results in being loved by the
               Father and the Son
            2) Keeping His word results in the Father and Son dwelling
               in us
         c. Thus we will 'know' (ginosko) them:  ever progressing in
            knowledge because of an active relationship with God and


1. Eternal life is more than just a hope regarding a future blessing...
   a. It is a present possession, an unparalleled quality of life
      available in this life
   b. It is a blessing that comes from 'knowing' God and Jesus in a
      personal and progressive way
   c. It is enjoyed only by keeping the commandments of God and Jesus!

2. In the course of our short sojourn in this life, 'knowing' God is
   most important... - Jer 9:23-24
   a. More so than wisdom
   b. More so than power
   c. More so than riches

Jesus came to show us the only way to truly 'know' God, and to
experience the eternal life that He made possible through His death on
the cross.  Are you walking in the commandments of the Lord that you
might truly know God and His Son Jesus, and thereby experience eternal

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

John 3:14–16 (NKJV)
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him ...

From Gary... Bible Reading October 7

Bible Reading  

October 7

The World English Bible

Oct. 7
Psalms 141-144

Psa 141:1 Yahweh, I have called on you. Come to me quickly! Listen to my voice when I call to you.
Psa 141:2 Let my prayer be set before you like incense; the lifting up of my hands like the evening sacrifice.
Psa 141:3 Set a watch, Yahweh, before my mouth. Keep the door of my lips.
Psa 141:4 Don't incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice deeds of wickedness with men who work iniquity. Don't let me eat of their delicacies.
Psa 141:5 Let the righteous strike me, it is kindness; let him reprove me, it is like oil on the head; don't let my head refuse it; Yet my prayer is always against evil deeds.
Psa 141:6 Their judges are thrown down by the sides of the rock. They will hear my words, for they are well spoken.
Psa 141:7 "As when one plows and breaks up the earth, our bones are scattered at the mouth of Sheol."
Psa 141:8 For my eyes are on you, Yahweh, the Lord. In you, I take refuge. Don't leave my soul destitute.
Psa 141:9 Keep me from the snare which they have laid for me, from the traps of the workers of iniquity.
Psa 141:10 Let the wicked fall together into their own nets, while I pass by.
Psa 142:1 I cry with my voice to Yahweh. With my voice, I ask Yahweh for mercy.
Psa 142:2 I pour out my complaint before him. I tell him my troubles.
Psa 142:3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, you knew my path. In the way in which I walk, they have hidden a snare for me.
Psa 142:4 Look on my right, and see; for there is no one who is concerned for me. Refuge has fled from me. No one cares for my soul.
Psa 142:5 I cried to you, Yahweh. I said, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living."
Psa 142:6 Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need. deliver me from my persecutors, For they are stronger than me.
Psa 142:7 Bring my soul out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name. The righteous will surround me, for you will be good to me.
Psa 143:1 Hear my prayer, Yahweh. Listen to my petitions. In your faithfulness and righteousness, relieve me.
Psa 143:2 Don't enter into judgment with your servant, for in your sight no man living is righteous.
Psa 143:3 For the enemy pursues my soul. He has struck my life down to the ground. He has made me live in dark places, as those who have been long dead.
Psa 143:4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me. My heart within me is desolate.
Psa 143:5 I remember the days of old. I meditate on all your doings. I contemplate the work of your hands.
Psa 143:6 I spread forth my hands to you. My soul thirsts for you, like a parched land. Selah.
Psa 143:7 Hurry to answer me, Yahweh. My spirit fails. Don't hide your face from me, so that I don't become like those who go down into the pit.
Psa 143:8 Cause me to hear your loving kindness in the morning, for I trust in you. Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to you.
Psa 143:9 Deliver me, Yahweh, from my enemies. I flee to you to hide me.
Psa 143:10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.
Psa 143:11 Revive me, Yahweh, for your name's sake. In your righteousness, bring my soul out of trouble.
Psa 143:12 In your loving kindness, cut off my enemies, and destroy all those who afflict my soul, For I am your servant.
Psa 144:1 Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to battle:
Psa 144:2 my loving kindness, my fortress, my high tower, my deliverer, my shield, and he in whom I take refuge; who subdues my people under me.
Psa 144:3 Yahweh, what is man, that you care for him? Or the son of man, that you think of him?
Psa 144:4 Man is like a breath. His days are like a shadow that passes away.
Psa 144:5 Part your heavens, Yahweh, and come down. Touch the mountains, and they will smoke.
Psa 144:6 Throw out lightning, and scatter them. Send out your arrows, and rout them.
Psa 144:7 Stretch out your hand from above, rescue me, and deliver me out of great waters, out of the hands of foreigners;
Psa 144:8 whose mouths speak deceit, Whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
Psa 144:9 I will sing a new song to you, God. On a ten-stringed lyre, I will sing praises to you.
Psa 144:10 You are he who gives salvation to kings, who rescues David, his servant, from the deadly sword.
Psa 144:11 Rescue me, and deliver me out of the hands of foreigners, whose mouths speak deceit, whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
Psa 144:12 Then our sons will be like well-nurtured plants, our daughters like pillars carved to adorn a palace.
Psa 144:13 Our barns are full, filled with all kinds of provision. Our sheep bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields.
Psa 144:14 Our oxen will pull heavy loads. There is no breaking in, and no going away, and no outcry in our streets.
Psa 144:15 Happy are the people who are in such a situation. Happy are the people whose God is Yahweh.

Oct. 7
Galatians 4

Gal 4:1 But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a bondservant, though he is lord of all;
Gal 4:2 but is under guardians and stewards until the day appointed by the father.
Gal 4:3 So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental principles of the world.
Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent out his Son, born to a woman, born under the law,
Gal 4:5 that he might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of children.
Gal 4:6 And because you are children, God sent out the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, "Abba, Father!"
Gal 4:7 So you are no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Gal 4:8 However at that time, not knowing God, you were in bondage to those who by nature are not gods.
Gal 4:9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, why do you turn back again to the weak and miserable elemental principles, to which you desire to be in bondage all over again?
Gal 4:10 You observe days, months, seasons, and years.
Gal 4:11 I am afraid for you, that I might have wasted my labor for you.
Gal 4:12 I beg you, brothers, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong,
Gal 4:13 but you know that because of weakness of the flesh I preached the Good News to you the first time.
Gal 4:14 That which was a temptation to you in my flesh, you didn't despise nor reject; but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
Gal 4:15 What was the blessing you enjoyed? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.
Gal 4:16 So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?
Gal 4:17 They zealously seek you in no good way. No, they desire to alienate you, that you may seek them.
Gal 4:18 But it is always good to be zealous in a good cause, and not only when I am present with you.
Gal 4:19 My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ is formed in you--
Gal 4:20 but I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.
Gal 4:21 Tell me, you that desire to be under the law, don't you listen to the law?
Gal 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the free woman.
Gal 4:23 However, the son by the handmaid was born according to the flesh, but the son by the free woman was born through promise.
Gal 4:24 These things contain an allegory, for these are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children to bondage, which is Hagar.
Gal 4:25 For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to the Jerusalem that exists now, for she is in bondage with her children.
Gal 4:26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Gal 4:27 For it is written, "Rejoice, you barren who don't bear. Break forth and shout, you that don't travail. For more are the children of the desolate than of her who has a husband."
Gal 4:28 Now we, brothers, as Isaac was, are children of promise.
Gal 4:29 But as then, he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.
Gal 4:30 However what does the Scripture say? "Throw out the handmaid and her son, for the son of the handmaid will not inherit with the son of the free woman."
Gal 4:31 So then, brothers, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the free woman.