October 29 – I Peter 3: 13 – 5:14
While the hostile environment is evident in the first half of the letter in which the original recipients lived, the second half makes it unmistakably clear. In the face of this opposition, what are these Christians called to do? (See 3:13-17; 4:1-6; 4:12-19) What is there to encourage them for such godly behavior? (See 3:18-22; 4:13-14) What every practical advice does Peter give for life within the family of God (4:7-11; 5:1-6)? How can the Christian’s future hope and his knowledge of what will take place at the end of all things be a stimulus for godly living in these days before the Lord’s return?
October 30 – Jude and 2 Peter
Jude is a short, little letter with an important message–“contend for the faith” (v. 3); “build yourselves up in your most holy faith”; (v. 20); and show “mercy to those who doubt” (v. 22). 2 Peter 2 uses similar words as Jude, but augments the message with an encouragement to pursue the develop-ment of Christian character because God has called them (1:4-112). Peter re-enforces his encouragement with reference to the vision he experienced of seeing Jesus in glory, a sign God’s Word is sure. What makes the admoni-tions of Jude and 2 Peter 2 and 3 urgent? What’s the danger?
October 31 – I John
As you read this letter, you will sense its polemical nature, confronting and exposing what is false. Think of it as presenting three standards according to which the Christian life is tested: (1) “God is light” (1:5); (2) “We are God’s children now” (3:2); and (3) “God is love” (4:8). According to these stand-ards three tests are applied to the Christian life: the test of righteousness, the test of love, and the test of true belief. (Concordia Self-Study Commen-tary) This letter proceeds, not in a straight forward step for step fashion, but in a circular, spiral fashion. By immersing yourself in this little letter, you will discover its richness with its many memorable phrases to help you avoid that which is false and believe and practice what is true.
November 1 – 2 John, 3 John
What does 2 John warn against? The elect lady and her children are picture language for the church. (Recall the church as the bride of Christ as similar.) 3 John is written to Gaius, commending him for the hospitality he has shown traveling missionaries (vv. 5-8) and warning about Diotrephes who is causing trouble with his opposition to pastoral authority (vv. 9-10).
November 2 – John 1:1 – 4:54
The Prologue (1:1-18) introduces us to the Gospel’s theme that the eternal Word of God became a human being to bring us life and light, grace and truth, to make God known. Watch for the unfolding of these themes throughout the Gospel. As you read the rest of chapter one, what do you learn about the identity of Jesus? Who is He? What does the first sign Jesus did reveal about Him (2:1-12)? What is Jesus communicating with His cleansing of the temple (2:13-22)? And what is Jesus communicating to Nicodemus with His comments about being born again (“from above”) and seeing the kingdom (rule) of God?” How does that happen? (2:23-3:21) Note how 3:22-36 really stresses the climactic role Jesus is to play in comparison with John. What strikes you as revelatory in Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well (4:1-42)? What does the sign of Jesus’ healing the official’s son lead to (4:43-54)?
November 3 – John 5:1 – 6:71
The healing at Bethesda (5:1-18) gives Jesus the opportunity to explain that His ministry comes from His Father and reveals the nature of His relation-ship with Him. What is the nature of the relationship? How would you describe it? What also testifies to it (5:32-36, 39, 45-47)? The feeding of the 5,000 displays Jesus’ will to fellowship with people even as His walking across the water to His disciples does (6:1-21) and yet it is not a fellowship which the crowds can control for their purposes by seizing Jesus to be their king (v. 15). Note how Jesus uses the discourse of this chapter (6:26-71) to reveal who He is and how one enters fellowship with Him. What blessing comes from fellowship with Him?
November 4 – John 7:1 – 9:41
Reading John 7:1 – 52, one senses the division that is developing over who Jesus is. What prevents the Pharisees and chief priests from getting Jesus arrested? (What light might vv. 6 and 30 shed on this question? How about v. 46?) As you look at Jesus’ comments in vv. 16 – 24, and 28-29, what do you sense Jesus knows about His identity and mission? (7:53 – 8:11 is most likely a later insertion into the text here, a true story but not part of John’s Gospel.) John 8:12-20 re-enforces this understanding. Jesus knows who He is (“from above”) and He knows where His critics are from (“below”), 8:23, 38-47. When Jesus is lifted up (=crucified: John 3:14-15 and 12:31-33), then it will be evident who He is: the Father’s obedient Son. Chapter 9 relates the beautiful healing of the blind man and his journey to faith in Jesus. Mean-while the Pharisees are guilty because of their refusal to let Jesus open their eyes and hearts.