Understanding the Bible

Lesson 3

We need to look closer at scripture,
give a closer look, and then look again!
We need to always dig deeper, to dig for the deeper truths,
to step into the deeper waters.



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Whenever there is understanding,
Compassion is born.

Without understanding
there cannot be true love,
And without love
there cannot be true understanding.

Thich Nhat Hahn



PDF Layers of Understanding

The picture above is kind of like this world; busy and confusing. It is also how you can look at the world one way but if you look long and hard enough at Jesus Christ everything changes!

If you look long and hard enough at Jesus Christ the picture can become crystal clear with deep dimensions and meanings that were never there before; you see everything anew.

But after you really see Jesus clearly for the first time you realize that there is much more to see, to learn, to understand, and that there is much for you to do. When you first see Jesus Christ clearly, everything has changed, you are born anew. You are an Imperfect Christian, but God’s fingerprints are all over you. God is still shaping and molding you.

In Jesus Christ we see with new eyes,
We hear with new ears,
We love with new hearts,
And we open our minds to a new understanding,
We become a living sacrifice to God
By loving and serving all of God’s people.

No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those
who love him.

1 Corinthians 2:9





Different Perspectives

UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE
We need to look at the Bible, at scripture, and at Bible lessons from different perspectives; from different angles. We need not skip, scan, or rush over scripture, or take anything for granted. We are in the most danger of missing something when we think we fully know and understand something! If we think we know something; we look no further!

We need to look closer, give a closer look, and then look again! We need to always dig deeper, to dig for the deeper truths, to step into the deeper waters.

We all learn differently: Cognitive (reasoning and facts), Affective (feelings and attitudes), Psychomotor (physical movement), Imaginative (visual), and by Experience (the hard way!), and by Accident.

We need to look at scripture from different points of view. Who was Jesus talking to? Where and Why? What did it mean to them? Who is he talking about? What does it mean to them? To the people listening, what did it mean?

In Mark 2:13-17 when Jesus was calling Levi (Matthew) to be a disciple the Pharisees asked Jesus “Why do you eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus replied, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick….” Jesus’ statements meant something different to everyone involved: to Levi, the Pharisees, to the crowd, and to the reader.

In the Parable of the Lost Son Luke 15:11-31 we can all identify with all three of the main characters: The Father, the younger prodigal son, and the older brother.

In the story of the Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37 the story meant something again different to everyone involved: the lawyer, the priest, the Levite, the Samaritan, the crowd, and to us!

For more on Bible Basics Jesus: The Calling of Matthew (Levi)
For more on Bible Basics The Good Samaritan.
For more on the Bible Basics Parable of the Lost Son, the Prodigal Son.



Deeper Meaning

UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE
Often we do not recognize the significance of some scripture unless someone explains it to us!

“Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?”

Acts 8:30-31





Happy (Blessed)
is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gains understanding.

Proverbs3:13





Wisdom

Moral Benefits of Wisdom
Provers 2:1-11

1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,

2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding,

3 and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,

4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,

5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.

6 For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

7 He holds victory in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,

8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.

9 Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.

10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

11 Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.




Jesus is the “Great Physician” who heals our brokenness.

Church is not a courtroom to judge sinners.
Church is not a social club for saints.
Church is a hospital to heal sinners.





Jesus Came for Sinners

But the Pharisees (Priest) and the teachers of the law
who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples,
“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”



Jesus answered them,
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor,
but the sick.
I have not come to call on the righteous
but sinners to repentance.”

Luke 5:30-31 NIV


Jesus said to them,
“It is not the healthy that need a doctor
but the sick.
I have not come to call the righteous,
but sinners.”

Mark 2:17 NIV



See Romans 14:1-13 Jesus’ love also reached out to and included the hated tax collector. (The tax collector was considered as a traitor because it was a Jewish countryman collaborating with the Romans, doing the bidding of their Roman gentile oppressor rulers, and for taking an additional dishonest percentage cut for themselves. – even today we don’t care much for tax collectors.)

Matthew, one of the chosen twelve disciples of Jesus was originally a hated chief tax collector and was considered a chief traitor to the Jews and was considered to be the last person to ever repent and follow Jesus. Matthew astonished the Jews when he followed Jesus immediately when called! Matthew wrote the “Gospel of Matthew” of the New Testament that proclaims Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

The Calling of Matthew is included in 3 of the gospels.
Matthew 9:9-12
Mark 2:14-17
Luke 5:27-32



Jesus’ love was also for the gentile; not just the Jewish community!

Jesus’ love also included the “Samaritans” the despised enemy of the Jews.

Jesus was very inclusive, looking for the unclean; those who were separated from God, sinners, the sick, the lame, the blind, tax collectors, Samaritans, even your enemy, and even women were included!

No one is excluded from God. All people are invited and all are welcome! The problem is that many people will not accept this gift from God – Jesus his Son, the Messiah (Jewish) the Christ (Greek).

Make sure that you realize that Jesus came for you! That no one, no matter what you have done, your sins can be forgiven, that no one is excluded or separated from God.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 NIV

Nothing can separate you from the Love of God!

...to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:18 NIV

This is love beyond our understanding!

Women also were not allowed to worship in all areas of the temple. Women were marginalized in first century Jewish society. Unfortunately women are also still being marginalized today, two thousand years later!

Jesus’ inclusion of women in this age is monumental and historic. Jesus was one of the first men for women’s rights!

Example: A Crippled Woman Healed on the Sabbath
Luke 13:10-17 (See Link below)


The Life of Jesus Christ Montage and Scripture
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Life of Christ
Olyn Howser Tribute
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By Bible Basics



Jesus of the Gospels

Examples of people Jesus reached out too who were separated from God:

A Crippled Woman Healed on the Sabbath
Luke 13:10-17
Sick woman/lame bent over - unclean

The Healing of a Blind Man of Bethsaida
Mark 8:22-25
Blind person - unclean

The Healing of a Boy With an Evil Spirit
Mark 9:17-29
Sick person - unclean

Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
Mark 10:46-52
Also Luke 18:35-43
Blind person - unclean

A Dead Girl and a Sick Woman
Luke 8:40-48
Luke 8:49-56
Dead girl - unclean
Sick woman with bleeding disease - unclean

The Parable of the Good Samaritan
Luke 10:25-37
Wounded, hurt bleeding victim/blood - unclean

Jesus came for sinners.
Luke 5:30-31
Sinners – unclean

Shepherds and the angels
Luke 2:8-11
Shepherds were at the bottom of society. – unclean



Because on Jewish purity laws a person was deemed unclean by the Priest if they had touched a dead person or a dead animal, or if they came into contact with blood. If a person was deformed, lame, blind, or sick they were unclean, even with burnt offerings and cleansing ceremonial baths they were unable to participate in temple worship by the temple priest. The temple priest had the last say on who could worship in the temple. The temple priest literally separated people from God!

When Jesus started his mission, Jesus went searching for all of the people that were excluded from temple worship; excluded from God!

Jesus was searching for sinners to repentance.


Layers of Understanding

The Healing of a Blind Man of Bethsaida
Mark 8:22-25 NIV

They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you seeing anything?”

He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like tress walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.



This scripture is not about Jesus having a bad day performing miracles, taking two attempts trying to heal someone! There are various degrees of recognizing the Lord. Reading and understanding the Bible comes in layers. It may be foggy at first, but becomes clearer and clearer as you progress.

Not only was his eye vision was restored but he “saw the light” the “light” of Jesus Christ.

Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary: Healing of a blind man of Bethsaida


Can you imagine being born blind, always living in darkness? Can you imagine that at one time you were able to see; but later you became blind… for years? How different would be your life? Can you imagine being blind, and then being healed; gaining your sight, being able to see. And the first thing you see when you open your eyes is Jesus Christ; the One who had miraculously healed you! What would you see? What would you recognize? What would you believe? Can you imagine?



Your eyes have never seen,
your ears have never heard,
you cannot imagine the greatness and wonders
God has in store for you.

1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV



Jesus is for Outsiders

Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
Mark 10:46-52
Matthew 20:29-34
Luke 18:35-43

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the son of Timaeus) was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Many people rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”

Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. Mark 10:46-52 NIV


Blind Faith Bartimaeus

1. Bartimaeus is such a nobody he doesn’t even have a name. He is simply referred to as the Son of Timaeus.

2. He is considered ceremonially unclean and cannot enter the synagogue. He is completely an outsider.

3. He is at the absolute bottom of society.

4. Can you imagine not being allowed to enter the church? Can you imagine not being able to partake in Communion? No one can separate us from the Love of God!

He began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” · Many people severely and sternly rebuked him and told him to be quiet.

· When was the last time as an adult you were told to “shut up!” when you really needed help?

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” · There is always an invitation to come to Christ.

Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

· Bartimaeus was blind but he could see the way to Jesus Christ. · When Bartimaeus threw his cloak aside, his cloak was one of his few possessions of property.

· It is very easy to read over the importance of this passage. a. His cloak was his shelter, coat, and warmth.

b. His cloak was may be all that he owned.

c. This shows how much faith he had in Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”

Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. He later followed Jesus along the path; even the rich young man (Mark 10:17-31) didn’t do that. Bartimaeus asked for mercy and asked to regain his sight. Bartimaeus received far more than he asked for; he received love, forgiveness, mercy, and regained his eyesight and insight into faith. This story tells us how NO ONE is out of God’s everlasting unconditional love!

The Bible keeps giving us examples of blind men who come to see Jesus in contrast to the religious leaders, the Pharisees, who have eyes to see, but are blind to recognize Jesus, to see Jesus as the Son of God.

Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary: Bartimaeus



Concentrate on the four dots in the middle of the picture for about 30 seconds. Then close your eyes and tilt your head back.

Keep your eyes closed. You will see a circle of light.

What do you see?

Can you see Jesus with your eyes closed, blind like Bartimaeus?



Those who are blind may feel that if they could recover their sight they would be dwelling in paradise, but we who have good eyes rarely take the time to appreciate that we are already in paradise. ― Thich Nhat Hanh




Faith

“I do believe; help me overcome by disbelief!”

Mark 9:24 NIV



..."I do have faith, but not enough.
Help me have more!"

Mark 9:24 Today' English Version



The Healing of a Boy With an Evil Spirit
Mark 9:17-29
Matthew 17:14-19;22,23
Luke 9:37-45

A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him down on the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

“O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. It has often thrown him into the fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

“’If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome by disbelief!”

When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit.

“You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out him and never enter again.”

The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

He replied. “This kind can come out only by prayer.” Mark 9:17-29 NIV



And from the Gospel of Matthew 17:19-20 we are told:

19Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?"

20He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." [a] Matthew 17:19-20

NIV Footnotes:

a. Matthew 17:20 Some manuscripts you. 21 But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.
“But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
This must have been incredulous to Jesus.

The father had doubts if Jesus could do anything. Jesus replies, “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

“I do believe; help me overcome by disbelief!” Faith is never perfect; belief and unbelief are often mixed. NIV note 9:24 This is a very honest appraisal of one’s faith. “He’s dead.” The boy looked dead but he was not, but the boys’ old self was dead. He was born new, a new creation, through Jesus Christ.

40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not."
- Luke 9:40

“Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
Lack of prayer indicated they had forgotten that their power over the demonic spirits was from Jesus. NIV note 9:29 We need to always remember where our strength, our blessings, and our gifts come from... they come from God.

Apart from God we can do nothing!


Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary: The Healing of a Boy
With an Evil Spirit


Reaching out for Jesus
You can do it!

A Dead Girl and a Sick Woman

Luke 8:40-56
Matthew 9:18-26
Mark 5:22-43

Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying.

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak and immediately her bleeding stopped.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all of the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her,

“Daughter your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” Luke 8:40-48 NIV



“Daughter” A tender address used nowhere else in Jesus’ recorded words. NIV note 8:48

· Jesus was on the way to heal the twelve-year-old daughter of Jairus a priest of the synagogue.

· The Jewish priest and Pharisees were the ones who persecuted Jesus. Jairus may have been an exception and had faith in Jesus.

· The crowds interrupt Jesus on his way to heal the girl. Life has interruptions!

She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak and immediately her bleeding stopped.

· You can come from behind;
it’s never too late to find Christ.

· You can reach out and just barely be touched by Jesus and can be healed and saved.

· But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

· Jesus does not know you until you declare yourself to him!

· She also witnessed her faith to the crowd.

· “Daughter your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” Very similar to what Jesus told Bartimaeus.



The Courage of a Woman Who Came From Behind.

The Pharisees had turned Leviticus into a system that had become oppressive and separated people, especially women from God.

Getting blood on oneself from either the blood of a person or the blood of an animal made a person unclean. This was a big deal in this Jewish society as illustrated in the Parable of the Good Samaritan from the Gospel of Luke:

30In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
- Luke 10:30-35 from the Parable of the Good Samaritan



A woman was unclean from childbirth.
Leviticus 12:1-8

Purification After Childbirth
1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Say to the Israelites: 'A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. 5 If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.

6 " 'When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering. 7 He shall offer them before the LORD to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood.

" 'These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl. 8 If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.' "

· A woman was unclean from intercourse with a man; including her husband.



Leviticus 15:16-18

16 " 'When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his whole body with water, and he will be unclean till evening. 17 Any clothing or leather that has semen on it must be washed with water, and it will be unclean till evening. 18 When a man lies with a woman and there is an emission of semen, both must bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

· A woman was unclean from her ministerial cycle. Leviticus 15:19-30

19 " 'When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening.

20 " 'Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean. 21 Whoever touches her bed must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. 22 Whoever touches anything she sits on must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening. 23 Whether it is the bed or anything she was sitting on, when anyone touches it, he will be unclean till evening.

24 " 'If a man lies with her and her monthly flow touches him, he will be unclean for seven days; any bed he lies on will be unclean.

25 " 'When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period. 26 Any bed she lies on while her discharge continues will be unclean, as is her bed during her monthly period, and anything she sits on will be unclean, as during her period. 27 Whoever touches them will be unclean; he must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening.

28 " 'When she is cleansed from her discharge, she must count off seven days, and after that she will be ceremonially clean. 29 On the eighth day she must take two doves or two young pigeons and bring them to the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 30 The priest is to sacrifice one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. In this way he will make atonement for her before the LORD for the uncleanness of her discharge. Leviticus 15:19-30



The Priest in the” Good Samaritan” from the Gospel of Luke went “around” the bloodied victim. This woman was afraid of the consequences of her having touched someone. She may have feared coming forward to Jesus; fearing retribution! Think about it… when she reached out and touched Jesus Christ she technically made Jesus unclean!

Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary: A Dead Girl and a Sick Woman



Next: Grace of God

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Comment

Many today have little spiritual understanding of the Bible. The Bible says they speak evil of the things they know not, but what they know naturally as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Here is a great Bible Study Website that provides spiritual understanding of the scripture. Spiritual Bible Study