Leviticus-Deuteronomy (Bible Study Commentary)

There are some books of the Bible that most Christians would agree are not easy to read and understand. One of the most obvious ones that springs to mind is the book of Leviticus. However, although Leviticus might appear a difficult read, it’s included in our Bible. Therefore we should not ignore it but instead seek to read it and hear what God is saying to us through this part of scripture.

To that end I would like to recommend a book called Leviticus-Deuteronomy (Bible Study Commentary) by Martin Goldsmith. Unlike many Bible commentaries this one does not look at the text verse by verse, but looks at larger portions (normally a chapter at a time). There then follows some thoughts on the passage which are no more than one page of A5 long. Some of these also contain a closing thought, question, challenge or meditation for the reader to ponder. The section on Leviticus contains an interesting table on the various feasts featured in the book.

Although I am mainly focusing on the benefits of this book for studying the book of Leviticus, the sections on Numbers and Deuteronomy are equally good. This part also contains some maps which will help the reader to place the various towns, cities and regions mentioned in these books.

Throughout the book there are also questions for further study and discussion based on chapters already read. This enables the reader to study these three books in greater depth. Additionally this section could also be used by a house group to form the basis of a weekly study.

I have used this book to study Leviticus and found it really useful, helpful and insightful. If you have attempted to read Leviticus before and really struggled or just given up, then why not purchase a copy of this book and give it another go. You will not be disappointed!

 

The Importance of Reading the Whole Bible

Towards the end of his life the apostle Paul wrote the following words to Timothy “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” ( 2 Timothy 3: 16-17).

I expect if we are being honest many of us probably have whole sections of the Bible which we rarely read. Yet here Paul is saying that all Scripture is God-breathed and useful. Yes that does include the second half of Exodus and the book of Leviticus!

To enable us to get the most out of God’s word it is important that we read it all. If we only read the New Testament then we are missing out on seeing all God did in the Old Testament with his people Israel.

There are so many great and inspiring stories in the Old Testament: Ruth loyalty to her mother-in law Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17); Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s determination not to compromise their faith (Daniel 3) and David humbling himself before God after his sin with Bathsheba (Psalm 51) to name but three.

Although reading the whole Bible can seem a daunting challenge, it is relatively easy to read it all the way through in a year. Did you know that if you spent 20 minutes a day reading the Scriptures you will read the whole of the Bible in a year. Most of us can find 20 minutes to spare to do this and if that seems too much, how about 10 minutes in the morning and another 10 minutes in the evening? When you think about how long we spend watching television or on the internet surely that is not too difficult to do!

There are many different readings plan available to use that take you through the Bible in a year. If you are not sure where to start, just go into your favourite search engine and type in “Bible Reading Plans”. However, it does not really matter if you use a reading plan or decide not to use one. The important thing is to get started and discover the benefits of reading the whole Bible!

Proverbs chapters 21 to 31

Last month I took part in 31 Days in May. Everyday throughout the month I read one chapter from the book of Proverbs: chapter 1 on the 1st, chapter 2 on the 2nd, chapter 3 on the 3rd and so on throughout the month.

I decided to write down a couple of sentences each day to help me remember what struck me in each chapter. I thought it might be interesting to share these thoughts and so this week I am posting what I wrote for Proverbs chapters 20 to 31. The thoughts are very brief for each chapter and are about the length of a Twitter posting! However, hopefully they will be a blessing to others.

Chapter 21 – God knows our hearts and motives, however right we may think we are! Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, this will keep you out of trouble. Think before you act.

Chapter 22 – There will be thorns and snares around but the one who guards his soul stays far from them. My speech should be gracious. Pay attention to the words of the wise and apply your heart to their instruction.

Chapter 23 – Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge. Give your heart to God. Let our eyes take delight in following God’s ways.

Chapter 24 – God sees our hearts and everything we do. He will repay as our actions deserve. Wisdom is sweet to the soul and provides hope for those that find it.

Chapter 25 – Don’t betray another person’s secrets as it destroys your reputation. It is valuable to listen to valid criticism. Don’t tell lies about others. Self-control is essential.

Chapter 26 – Do not be like the fool who repeats his foolishness.

Chapter 27 – Prudent people sees potential dangers and take precautions, unlike the simple who keep blindly on and suffer the consequences. The heart reflects the real person.

Chapter 28 – Our nation needs wise and knowledgeable leadership. Don’t conceal my sin, confess it and turn from sin and find mercy. Always fear the Lord and don’t harden my heart.

Chapter 29 – It’s foolish to speak without thinking. Don’t just accept criticism but heed it too. Fearing people traps us.

Chapter 30 – Never slander a work colleague to my employer. God is a shield to those who come to Him for protection.

Chapter 31 – Speak up for the poor and helpless and see that they get justice. A wife of noble character greatly enriches her husband’s life.

 

Proverbs chapters 11 to 20

Last month I took part in 31 Days in May. Everyday throughout the month I read one chapter from the book of Proverbs: chapter 1 on the 1st, chapter 2 on the 2nd, chapter 3 on the 3rd and so on throughout the month.

I decided to write down a couple of sentences each day to help me remember what struck me in each chapter. I thought it might be interesting to share these thoughts and so this week I am posting what I wrote for Proverbs chapters 11 to 20. The thoughts are very brief for each chapter and are about the length of a Twitter posting! However, hopefully they will be a blessing to others.

Chapter 11 – There is a stark contrast between the life of the godly and the wicked. The generous will prosper and those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

Chapter 12 – It’s important to always be open to correction. Wise words bring healing, therefore use words carefully.

Chapter 13 – A wise person heeds instruction. It’s foolishness to ignore them. Watch your words as speaking rashly can ruin everything.

Chapter 14 – Fear of the Lord is shown by the way we live. If we live rightly we fear God, if we choose the wrong way we despise Him. A wise man fears the Lord and shuns evil.

Chapter 15 – Godly people think carefully before speaking. Listen to constructive criticism and accept discipline. If I reject discipline I will harm myself.

Chapter 16 – We can have ideas and made our plans but God determines the steps. The Lord examines our motives. Fearing the Lord helps us to avoid evil. We need more biblical fear of the Lord in our lives.

Chapter 17 – Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom. It’s wise to be careful of our words which will mean keeping quiet on occasions where we might wish to speak.

Chapter 18 – A fool only wants to air their own opinions. Their mouth gets them into trouble. They spout off before listening to the facts to their own shame. The Lord is a stronghold for the righteous / godly. Money does not provide this security.

Chapter 19 – I can make many plans but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. Always listen to advice and instruction. If I stop listening to them I am turning my back on knowledge.

Chapter 20 – Only fools insist on quarrelling. We are known by our actions. God knows every hidden motive.

 

Proverbs chapters 1 to 10

This month I have been taking part in 31 Days in May. Everyday throughout the month I have read one chapter from the book of Proverbs: chapter 1 on the 1st, chapter 2 on the 2nd, chapter 3 on the 3rd and so on throughout the month.

I decided to write down a couple of sentences each day to help me remember what struck me in each chapter. I thought it might be interesting to share these thoughts and so this week I am posting what I wrote for Proverbs chapters 1 to 10. The thoughts are very brief for each chapter and are about the length of a Twitter posting! However, hopefully they will be a blessing to others.

Chapter 1 – The purpose of the proverbs is to teach wisdom and discipline. I need to apply discipline to my life. If I ignore God’s warnings then it’s my fault when things go wrong.

Chapter 2 – Give priority to seeking wisdom. It will help in making right decisions. Heed God’s warnings.

Chapter 3 – Storing God’s commands in my heart is very important. Wisdom is the most precious thing I can seek: “Nothing you desire can compare with her.” (v15)

Chapter 4 – Pay attention to God’s word and let it penetrate deep into my heart. Take hold of instruction and do not let go of it. Guard the heart above all else.

Chapter 5 – Listen carefully to God’s words. God sees every path we take (including decisions). Sin holds us captive. I must exercise self-control and not be led astray by my folly (foolishness).

Chapter 6 – God’s word is a lamp and a light for me. It’s corrective discipline is the way to life.

Chapter 7 – Treasure God’s commands and store them up within me. Write them deep within my heart. Do not let my heart stray into wrong desires.

Chapter 8 – Listen to wisdom. There is nothing that we can desire that is better than her. Do not ignore her instruction.

Chapter 9 – The fear of the Lord is the foundation / beginning of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgement.

Chapter 10 – The wise are glad to be instructed and to accept discipline / correction. They treasure knowledge. The words of the godly benefit and help others. They know when to keep quiet.

 

31 Days in May

The church that I visited on Easter Day is running a challenge this month called: 31 Days in May. They describe this as a simple but potentially life-changing idea and an initiative for the whole church to engage with the Word of God together.

Everyday throughout the month of May they will read one chapter from the book of Proverbs. Chapter 1 on the 1st, chapter 2 on the 2nd, chapter 3 on the 3rd and so on throughout the month. Church members are then being encouraged to pray over it and into it as they go through the book: for themselves, for their friends and contacts, for the church and for our world.

Although this might sound quite a simple idea it struck me as being a very good initiative and one that could be very beneficial both for individuals and for the church collectively. Therefore I have decided that I will take up the 31 Days in May challenge myself this month.

If you have not got any specific bible readings planned for May why not join in 31 Days in May and immerse yourself in the book of Proverbs this month.

Reviving the Soul

In Psalm 19v7 there is a wonderful statement by David:

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.”

I’m not sure about you but so often my soul needs reviving. At the end of a stressful day at work or an exhausting and busy week I certainly need to be revived. Yet to be honest I don’t always turn to God’s word for revival. There are occasions when instead of doing this I turn to earthly things e.g. leisure activities, food, sport, TV, social media etc. Whilst none of those are necessary wrong in themselves, they will not bring revival to the soul.

This is because those things are not God’s word. They may be enjoyable past times and activities, but they do not revive us. Instead of turning to them we should turn to God’s word. We regularly need to read the scriptures, study them and meditate on them. It’s important that we set aside time each day to do this.

If we neglect these disciplines, then we miss opportunities to experience a revived soul. Some people also find it helpful to have a bible verse in their mind for them to ponder as they prepare to go to sleep each night. It’s a good way to finish the day.

If you ever read anything about the persecuted Church, you will see their love for the bible. In many of these countries a person can get into severe trouble for owning a bible. When they receive a bible, they are so grateful and full of excitement. Conversely, many of us in the west have numerous different translations of the bible at home, not to mention the ones on our phones! Yet we often rarely read them.

Let us not neglect the scriptures but instead know the reality of this wonderful phrase in Psalm 19v7:

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.

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