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he book of Genesis details the account of God's creation of the heavens and
the earth, humanity and all that exists. We read of humanity's disobedience
and tragic fall into a condition of sin and misery (3:1-6), but redemption is
foreshadowed (3:15), and the beginning of the covenant relationship between God
and Abraham and his offspring is described (12:3). Genesis supplies some of the
Bible's most foundational stories: Noah and the flood (chs. 6-9), the Tower of Babel
(ch. 11), the history of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (chs. 11-49), and
the story of Joseph and his family's move to Egypt (chs. 37 -50).
The book of Genesis establishes stewardship principles that lay the foundation
for God's interaction with humanity and creation. First, as Genesis opens, God
establishes his ownership over all things as Creator and Sustainer of the visible
and invisible universe. Our responsibility to the creation is outlined as God places
humans in an exalted role over all that he has made (1:28-30). This position of
honor brings with it an obligation and duty to care for the earth (2:15). A second
principle relates to God's covenant relationship with his people and with creation as
its providential provider. Genesis establishes the integral concept of our stewardship
of work. While God does not need our effort, he created humanity to partner with
him in work of eternal significance, and we should work joyfully, knowing we are
fulfilling a divine plan. Additionally, Genesis 18:17-19 presents the stewardship
principle implicit in the definition of Israel's mission: blessing others out of gratitude
for our abundant blessings. In Genesis, God creates humanity for relationship on
four levels: our relationship to our Creator, to ourselves, to our neighbor and to the
created world. By creating us in this relational way, God forms us in his image and
establishes the scope and content of our call to be God's stewards.
As you' read Genesis, you will be introduced to characters and concepts that illustrate
stewardship themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to
stewardship such as impatience (ch. 16). In Genesis you will meet Abel (4:3-4),
Noah (6:5-8), Abraham (11:31-12:3), Abraham's chief servant (24:1-67) and
Joseph (41:15 -40). You will also read about God, creation's author and authority
(1:1-26), sin's effect on stewardship (3:7 -20), God's covenant with creation
(8:21-9:17), the first example of tithing (14:18-20), giving it all to God (22:1-2),
why we worship and give (28:16-22), and radical generosity (45:16-24).
No book is more important to our understanding of stewardship than Genesis. God
makes it clear that, above all, he longs for us to love him and desires for stewardship
of all we are and all we have to flow from our love for him. Stewardship is ultimately
a reflection of our relationship with the living God. For all of us, stewardship is
rooted in the truth of Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God . .. "
~ . ~ -- - - -- -- --- - -- -- - - - -
\IESIS 50:14
ht as a burial place from Ephron the Hit-
'along with the field.P 14After burying
!r, Joseph returned to Egypt, together With
>rothers and all the others who had gone
him to bury his father.
eph Reassures His Brothers
When Joseph's brothers saw that their fa-
was dead, they said, "What if Joseph holds
udge against us and pays us back for all the
ngs we did to him?"q 16So they sent word
)Seph, saying, "Your fat?er these in-
.ctions before he died: 17 ThiS IS what you
to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive
:hers the sins and the wrongs they
in treating you so badly.' Now please forgtve
sins of the servants of the God of your fa-
r." When their message came to him, Joseph
8His brothers then came and threw them-
.. ,
es down before him. r "We are yours aves,
50:13 PGe 23:20;
50:15 Ge 37:28;
50:18 'Ge 37:7
Ge 43:18
50:19 'Ro 12:19;
Heb 10:30
50:20 Ge 37:20
Ro 8:28
-Ge 45:5
50:21 Ge 45:11;
50:22 Ge 25:7;
Jos 24:29
50:23 Job 42:16
' Nu 32:39,40
50:24 Ge 48:21
'Ex 3:16-17
Ge 15:14
y said. .
9But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afratd.
t I in the place of God?' lOYou intended to
m me," but God intendedv it for goodw_ to
omplish what is now being done,
nany lives.' 21So then, don't be afratd. I Will
>vide for you and your children.Y" And here-
,ured them and spoke kindly to them.
e Death of Joseph
he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob."f 25 And Joseph made the sons of Israel
swear an oath and said, "God will surely come
to your aid, and then you must carry my bones
up from this place."S
Joseph died at the age of a hundred and
ten. And after they embalmed him,h he was
placed in a coffin in Egypt.
G ENE SI S 5 0 18 -2 1
Good things can come out of bad
beginnings. The story of a fishing
fleet that left a small harbor in
Newfoundland and was a
terrible storm illustrates th1s pomt.
The ships, caught in a storm, did
not return home when expected,
22Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all
; father's family. He lived a hundred and
I years 2l and saw the third g_eneration a of
hraim's children. Also the children of Ma-
son.of Manasseh were placed at birth on
;eph's knees.
24Then Joseph. said to his brothers, "I am
' Ge 12:7; 26:3;
28:13; 35:12
50:25 <Go 47:29
30; Ex 13:19;
and during the night, the mothers,
wives, and children of the fis_hermen
walked along the shore lookmg for
some sign of their loved ones and
praying for their safe return. T_hat
same night, one of the homes m the
village caught fire and burned to the
ground. When dawned,
the entire fleet of shipS sailed back
into the harbor. Everyone reioiced,
except the woman whose house
had burned. She approached her
husband in grief and said, "We are
ruined! Our house and everything
we had was destroyed by fire." Her
husband shook his head. "Thank
God for the fire. It was the light of
our burning home that guided the
whole fleet into port."
out to die.< But God will surely come to your
:id and take you up out of this land to the land
Jos 24:32;
Hob 11:22
50:28 ver 2

.. '
he book of Exodus recounts God's faithfulness in multiplying his people into
a great nation and delivering them from a life of slavery in Egypt. Exodus also
describes God's gifts of the law and of himself through a covenant relationship. God
instructed his people concerning their responsibilities as stewards of his resources:
to show generosity to neighbors, t he poor and needy, even strangers. A significant
portion of the book is concerned with the design and construction of the tabernacle
and how God called his people to give generously to honor him.
A primary stewardship principle presented in Exodus is that our freedom exists so
we can serve the right master. Only then do we know whose possessions we are to
steward. Moses led the Israelites to freedom so that they could worship the one true
God. Once they were free from Egypt, they were to travel to God's promised land
and have stewardship of that land. God demonstrates his priority for stewardship by
establishing clear commands regarding it. We respond to God's unfailing love toward
us by giving generously_ of our first fruits, being content with what we have, being
stewards of our time and strength, and providing for the poor. Finally, the word
Sabbath appears for the first time in Exodus, although the principle for a day of rest
is set forth in the creation account in Genesis 2. Here in Exodus, Moses instructs the
people to rest on the seventh day and not gather manna (16:21-26), and he includes
the concept in the Ten Commandments (20:8 -11). Proper stewardship of our time
begins with the understanding of the principle of Sabbath rest.
The book of Exodus introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes t hrough illuminations or through challenges to stewardship

such as grumbling (16:1-9). You will be introduced to Moses (2:1-3:14); a man
whose heritage belonged to two worlds, yet who claimed his identity in God and
his leadership role as acts of stewardship. Exodus also presents valuable principles
concerning our physical attributes (2:11-22), the land of milk and honey (3:8),
the promise of belonging (6:'7), blood in the Nile (7:14-24), the appropriate and
equitable allocation of human resources (18:13 -27), stewarding of people (19:5 -6),
the rules for responsible ownership (21:28-36), examination of God's blessings
(23:25 - 26), building the kingdom (25:1-40), the recognition that all our abilities
come from God (31:1-11), stewardship as a response to grace (34:1- 9), mission,
then money (35:20-29), stewarding a group setting (37:1-29).
In Exodus we see that when God frees us from bondage, we may still battle the
sinful desire to go our own way. But stewards are ultimately motivated by their love
for God, who sacrificed all to give them his greatest gift: his presence. "So the cloud
of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the
sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels" (40:38).
------ - - --- - - - - ----- --
US 40:13
Tent of Meeting and wash them with
nThen dress Aaron in the sacred gar-
' anoint him and consecrateY him so he
rve me as priest. 14Bring his sons and
Jem in tunics. 15Anoint them just as you
their father, so they may serve me as
. Their anointing will be to a priesthood
ll continue for all ge_nerations to come.>"
!S did everything just as the LORD com-
, the tabernacle was set up on the first
: the first month b in the second year.
n Moses set up the tabernacle, he put the
in place, erected frames, inserted the
'ars and set up the posts. 19Th en he
tt over the tabernacle and put the covenng
e tent, as the LORD commanded him. .
:e took the Testimony' and placed it in the
the poles to the ark and put the
ment cover over it. 21Then he brought the
tto the tabernacle and hung the shielding
ind and shielded the ark of the Testimony,
:LORD commanded him.
40:12Lev 8:1-13
40:13 'Ex 28:41
Ylev 8:12
40:15 Ex 29:9;
40:17 'Nu 7:1
t.ver 2
40:20 Ex 16:34:
25:16: Ot 10:5;

40:22 Ex 26:35
ver 4
40:24Ex 26:35
40:25 'ver 4;
Ex 25:37
ver 5;
Ex 30:6
40:271Ex 30:7
40:28 'Ex 26:36
ver 6;
A:oses placed the table in the Tent ofMe_et-
n the north side of the tabernacle outstde
utain nand set out the breadr on it before
ORD, as the LORP commanded him.
Cle placed the lampstand8 in the of
ing opposite the table on the south Side of
abernacle 25and set up the lampsh before
ORD as. the LoRD commanded him.
Ex 29:38-42
40:30 ver7
40:32 Ex 30:20
40:33 Ex 27:9
40:34 Nu 9:15-
23; 1KI8:12
40:35 '1KI8:11;
2Ch 5:13 14
40:36 Nu 9:17-
23: 10:13;
fragrant incense on it, as the LORD command-
. k h
edi him. zsThen he put up the curtam at t e
entrance to the tabernacle.
29He set the altar of burnt offering near the
entrance to the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting,
and offered on it burnt offerings and grain of-
ferings,' as the LORD commanded him.
30He placed the basinm between the Tent of
Meeting and the altar and put water in it for
ashing 31and Moses and Aaron and his sons
, . 32
used it to wash theu hands and feet. They
washed whenever they entered the Tent of
Meeting or approached the al_tar," as the LORD
commanded Moses.
33Th en Moses set up the courtyard around
the tabernacle and altar and put up the curtainP
at the entrance to the courtyard. And so Moses
finished the work ..
The Glor y of the LoRD
34Then the cloudq the Tent of Meet-
ing, and the glory of the LoRD filled the
cle. 35Moses could not enter the Tent of Meetmg
because the cloud had settled upon it, and the
glory of the LORD filled the
Mo;es placed the gold altari in the Tent of
:ing in front of the curtain 27 and burned
40:38 'Ex 13:21;
Nu 9:15; 1Co 10:1
36In all the travels of the lsraehtes, whenev-
er the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle,
they would set out;' 37but if the cloud not
lift, they did not set out - until the day 11 hfted.
38So the cloud' of the LORD was over the taber-
nacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night,
in the sight of all the house of Israel during all
their travels.
l l lll l l lll llllllll lll llll lll llllll l l l l lllll l l l l llllllllllll lllllllll lllllllll lllllllll l l lll lllllllll llllllll llll lllllllll lllllllllllll llllllllittllll lllllllllllll lllllllllllll
he book of Leviticus begins with one of the Bible's basic assumptions: we must
worship and serve God with the resources and possessions he entrusts to us.
The book begins with instructions concerning sacrifices and offerings (chs. 1-7)
and ends with instructions concerning gifts, dedications and tithes (ch. 27). Another
theme is God's special concern for the poor, expressed through various civil and
religious codes, for example, the sacrificial system (12:6-8), Israel's gleaning laws
(19:9-10) and the Year of Jubilee (25:8-55). In Leviticus we meet a holy God who
requires his people to be holy in every area of life, including their finances. While
the strict legal and ceremonial requirements of Old Testament law no longer apply,
they are not without contemporary significance for Christians. God's law reveals his
unchanging nature and reminds us of his priorities and concerns.
Among the stewardship principles in Leviticus are the principles of Jubilee, or
economic redemption; the principles of tithing and generosity; and the concept of
balance in work and life. Regarding Jubilee, Jewish law prescribed that every 50
years debts were to be cancelled, indentured ser vants were to be freed, and family
property was to be restored. But the redemptive motif in Jubilee also points to Jesus
Christ and the ultimate spiritual redemption he brings to his firstfruits-his people.
A second stewardship principle encompasses elements of tithing and generosity.
Loving God wholeheartedly is our standard for giving. Over the course of a seven-
year period, most property-owning Israelites gave approximately 20 percent of
their yearly income in tithes, plus gifts and other acts of mercy (see Ex 13:1-16;
23:14-19; Lev 19:23-25; 23; Nu 28-29; Dt 16:9-17; 26:1-15). Loving God
without reservation and giving generously out of gratitude is the ultimate standard
in gauging our vitality as stewards. An additional stewardship principle is the idea
of living our lives in balance. Beginning in chapter 23, Moses sets forth God's
commands for days of rest, celebration and worship.
The book of Leviticus introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship
such as defrauding others (6:1-7), economic idolatry (19:4) and idolatry (26:19,30).
Leviticus also addresses the concepts of support for religious workers (7:28-36),
giving and God's presence (9:1-24), stewardship of the poor (19:9-10), Sabbath rest
(23:3), punishment (24:19-20), and the tithe (27:30-33).
The book of Leviticus begins and ends with giving. Generosity is to be woven
throughout the lives of God's people as a natural outworking of their love for him
and their neighbors.
t the value of a male at fifteen shekels" and of
27:8 Lev 5:11 else, it can never be
When the field
ver 12,14
is released in the Jubilee, m it will become holy,
female at ten shekels.
If anyone making the
ver 33
27:13iver 15, 19;
like a field devoted to the LORD;n it will become
1Wis too poor to pays the specified amount, he
Lev 25:25
27:15 ver 13,20
the property of the priests.'
to present the person to the priest, who will
Lev 25:15
:t the valueh for him according to what the
22" 'If a man dedicates to the LORD a field he
tan making the vow can afford.
has bought, which is not part ofhis family land,
9" 'If what he vowed is an animal that is ac-
3the priest will determine its value up to the
!ptable as an offering to the LoRD, such an an-
Year of Jubilee, and the man must pay its val
ue on that day as something holy to the LORD.
nal given to the LORD becomes holy.
He must
ot exchange it or substitute a good one for a bad
24In the Year of Jubilee the field will revert to
ne, or a bad one for a good one;i if he should
the person from whom he bought it,
the one
ubstitute one animal for another, both it and
whose land it was.
Every value is to be set
b.e substitute become holy.
If what he vowed
according to the sanctuary shekei,P twenty ge.
; a ceremonially unclean animal-one that is
rahsq to the shekel.
tot acceptable as an offering to the LORD- the
26" 'No one, however, may dedicate the first-
.nimal must be presented to the priest,
born of an animal, since the firstborn already
judge its quality as good or bad. Whatever
belongs to the LORD;' whether an oxd or a sheep,
alue the priest then sets, that is what it will be.
it is the LORD's.
If it is one of the unclean ani
3Jf the owner wishes to redeemi the animal, he
mals,' he may buy it back at its set value, adding
nust add a fifth to its value.
a fifth of the value to it. If he does not redeem it,
14" 'If a man dedicates his house as some- it is to be sold at its set value.
holy to the LoRD, the priest will judge
28" 'But nothing that a man owns and de
its quality as good or bad. Whatever value the votes'
to the LORD-whether man or animal
priest then sets, so it will remain.
lf the man
or family land- may be sold or redeemed; ev
who dedicates his house redeems it, k he must erything so devoted is most holy to the LORD.
add a fifth to its value, and the house will again 29" 'No person devoted to destruction! may
become his.
be ransomed; he must be put to death.
16" 'If a man dedicates to the LORD part ofhis 30" 'A tithe" of everything from the land,
family land, its value is to be set according to whether grain from the soil or fruit from the
the amount of seed required for it-fifty shek- 27:21 Lev 25:10 trees, belongs to the LoRD; it is holy to the
els of silver to a homerb of barley seed.
If he
ver 28;
If a man redeems any of his tithe, he must add Nu 18:14;
dedicates his field during the Year of Jubilee,
Eze 44:29
a fifth of the value to it.
The entire tithe ofthl 27:24 'Lev 25:28
the value that has been set remains.
But if he
27:25 PEx 30:13;
herd and flock- every tenth animal that passes
Nu 18:16
dedicates his field after the Jubilee, the priest
Nu 3:47;
under the shepherd's rod- will be holy to thl
Eze 45:12
will determine the value according to the num-
27:26 'Ex 13:2,
He must not pick out the good from the
ber of years that remain
until the next Year of 27:27 ver 11
bad or make any substitution.w If he does make
27:28 'Nu 18:14;
Jubilee, and its set value will be reduced.
If the Jos 6:17-19 a substitution, both the animal and its
man who dedicates the field wishes to redeem
27:30 Ge 28:22;
tute become holy and cannot be redeemed." 2Ch 31 :6; Mal 3:8
it, he must add a fifth to its value, and the field
27:32 Jer 33:13:
Eze 20:37
These are the commands the LORD gave
will again become his.
If, however, he does not
27:33 ver 10
27:34 Lev 26:46;
Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.'
redeem the field, or if he has sold it to someone
. ( b ut 170 rams) 16 That is. probably about 6. bushels (about 220 liters) '21 Or priest .
7 That ts, about 6 a lod male and female '28 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of thtngs;
26 The Hebrew wor can tnc u e . th L It en bytotal
h L r
The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of thtngs or persons to e o
persons to t e oRo.
destroying them.
llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllilllllllil
T he boo
they tr
k of Numbers receives its name from two censuses taken of God's people as
aveled to the promised land. The two censuses remind us how God fulfilled
e to make Abraham's offspring into a great nation (see Ge 12:2), yet the
andered 40 years in the wilderness and an entire generation died due to their
elieve God's promises to bring them into the land. The people's ingratitude
st the backdrop of God's miraculous provisions of manna from heaven and
his promis
Israelites w
failure to b
is set again
water from
a rock. In chapter 20, the people's judgment for their grumbling and lack of
s that God will not tolerate sin. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul tells
that "these things [that happened to Israel] occurred as examples to keep us
g our hearts on evil things as they did" (1Co 10:6).
faith reveal
from settin
Numbers establishes the vital stewardship principle of supporting ministers and
missionari es. The priests and Levites to be provided for from the offerings
and gifts o f those they served (see Nu 18:21). In establishing this provision, God
living fro
s his desire that those who preach the gospel be entitled to derive their
m their work. A second stewardship principle addresses tithing and
generosity. The Old Testament tithe, which actually consisted of three distinct,
enrage taxes (see Ex 13:1-16; 23:14-19; Lev 19:23-25; 23;Nu 28-29;
7; 26), has often been used as a misleading standard for New Testament
read of a standard ten percent, the New Testament expectation for
ratitude-inspired generosity: to give cheerfully out of the abundance with
d has blessed us. The apostle Paul writes, "Remember this: Whoever
fixed perc
Dt 16:9-1
giving. Ins
giving is g
which Go
sows span ngly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also
ously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reap gener
reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2Co 9:6-7).
The book
themes, so
of Numbers introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
metimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship such
ude (11:1 -35), and unbelief and presumption (13:1-14:45). You will
phehad's daughters (27:1 - 11), who sought justice and their inheritance
world. You will also read about God's promise to provide (1:1-46),
as ingratit
meet Zelo
in a man's
consecrati on to God (3:11-13), being a steward of restitution (5:5-10), being
faithful in God's house (12:7), and concern for an equitable distribution of resources
(26:52-56 ).
We becom e lost in a wilderness of our own choosing when we forget God's promises
on our circumstances, limitations, resources and obligations. When we
God's blessings, we pay a price. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness
and fo.cus.
for 40 yea rs when they failed to trust God. The book of Numbers ends with the hope
eneration preparing to enter the promised land and embracing God's call of a new g
to steward ship.
set the value of a male at fifteen shekels" and of
a female at ten shekels.
If anyone making the
vow is too poor to pays the specified amount, he
is to present the person to the priest, who will
set the valueh for him according to what the
man making the vow can afford.
9'"If what he vowed is an animal that is ac-
ceptable as an offering to the LORD, such an an-
imal given to the LoRD becomes holy.
He must
not exchange it or substitute a good one for a bad
one, or a bad one for a good one;i if he should
substitute one animal for another, both it and .
the substitute become holy.
If what he vowed
is a ceremonially unclean animal - one that is
not acceptable as an offering to the LoRD- the
animal must be presented to the priest,
will judge its quality as good or bad. Whatever
value the priest then sets, that is what it will be ..
If the owner wishes to redeemi the animal, he
must add a fifth to its value.
" 'If a man dedicates his house as some-
thing holy to the LORD, the priest will judge
its quality as good or bad. Whatever value the
priest then sets, so it will remain.
If the man
who dedicates his house redeems it, k he must
add a fifth to its value, and the house will again
become his.
16" 'If a man dedicates to the LoRD part of his
family land, its value is to be set according to
the amount of seed required for it-fifty shek-
els of silver to a homerh of barley seed.
If he
dedicates his field during the Year of Jubilee,
the value that has been set remains.
But if he
dedicates his field after the Jubilee, the priest
will determine the value according to the num-
ber of years that remain
until the next Year of
Jubilee, and its set value will be reduced.
If the
man who dedicates the field wishes to redeem
it, he must add a fifth to its value, and the field
will again become his.
If, however, he does not
redeem the field, or if he has sold it to someone
27:8 1 Lev 5:11
hver 12,14
ver 33
27:13iver 15, 19;
Lev 25:25
27:15 ' ver 13, 20
Lev 25:15
27:21 mLev 25:10
ver 28;
Nu 18:14;
Eze 44:29
27:24 'Lev 25:28
27:25 Ex 30:13;
Nu 18:16
Nu 347
Eze 4S:1Z
27:26' Ex13:2,
27:27 ver 11
27:28 'Nu 18:14;
Jos 6:17-19
27:30 'Ge 28:22;
2Ch 31 :6; Mal 3:8
27:32 'Jer 33:13;
Eze 20:37
27:33 ver 10
27:34 'Lev 26:46;
else, it can never be redeemed.
is released in the Jubilee, mit will become
like a field devoted to the LORD;n it will
the property of the priests.'
" 'If a man dedicates to the LORD a field
has bought, which is not part of his
the priest will determine its value up to
Year ofJubilee, and the man must pay its
ue on that day as something holy to the
In the Year ofJubilee the field will revert
the person from whom he bought it,
whose land it was.
Every value is to be
according to the sanctuary shekei,P
rahsq to the shekel.
" 'No one, however, may dedicate the
born of an animal, since the firstborn
belongs to the LORD;' whether an oxd or
it is the LORD's.
If it is one of the unclean
mals,' he may buy it back at its set value,
a fifth of the value to it. If he does not
it is to be sold at its set value.
" 'But nothing that a man owns and
votes' t to the LORD- whether man or
or family land- may be sold or redeemed;
erything so devoted is most holy to the LORD.
29" 'No person devoted to destruction!
be ransomed; he must be put to death.
30'"A tithe" of everything from the
whether grain from the soil or fruit from
trees, belongs to the LORD; it js holy to the
If a man redeems any of his tithe, he must
a fifth of the value to it.
The entire tithe
herd and flock- every tenth animal
under the shepherd's rod- will be holy
He must not pick out the good from
bad or make any substitution. w If he does
a substitution, both the animal and its
tute become holy and cannot be redeemed."
These are the commands the LORD
Moses on Mount Sinai for die Israelites.'
7 That is, about 6 ounces (about 170 grams) 16 That is, probably about 6 bushels (about 220 liters) ' 21 Or priest
d 26 The Hebrew word can include both male and female. '28 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable grvrng over of
persons to the LoAD. f 29 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the LoA_o, often by
destroying them. '
llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll llllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllfll lllllll ll l lllll I
he book of Numbers receives its name from two censuses taken of God's people as
they traveled to the promised land. The two censuses remind us how God fulfilled
his promise to make Abraham's offspring into a great nation (see Ge 12:2), yet the
Israelites wandered 40 years in the wilderness and an entire generation died due to their
failure to believe God's promises to bring them into the land. The people's ingratitude
is set against the backdrop of God's miraculous provisions of manna from heaven and
water from a rock. In chapter 20, the people's judgment for their grumbling and lack of
faith reveals that God will not tolerate sin. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul tells
Christians that "these things [that happened to Israel] occurred as examples to keep us
from setting our hearts on evil things as they did" (1Co 10:6).
Numbers establishes the vital stewardship principle of supporting ministers and
missionaries. The priests and Levites were to be provided for from the offerings
and gifts of those they served (see Nu 18:21). In establishing this provision, God
underscores his desire that those who preach the gospel be entitled to derive their
living from their work. A second stewardship principle addresses tithing and
generosity. The Old Testament tithe, which actually consisted of three distinct,
fixed percentage taxes (see Ex 13:1-16; 23:14-19; Lev 19:23-25; 23; Nu 28-29;
Dt 16:9-17; 26), has often been used as a misleading standard for New Testament
giving. Instead of a standard ten percent, the New Testament expectation for
giving is gratitude-inspired generosity: to give cheerfully out of the abundance with
which God has blessed us. The apostle Paul writes, "Remember this: Whoever
sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also
reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not
reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2Co 9:6- 7).
The book of Numbers introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship such
as ingratitude (11:1-35), and unbelief and presumption (13:1-14:45). You will
meet Zelophehad's daughters (27:1-11), who sought justice and their inheritance
in a man's world. You will also read about God's promise to provide (1:1-46),
consecration to God (3:11-13), being a steward of restitution (5:5 -10), being
faithful in God's house (12:7), and concern for an equitable distribution of resources
We become lost in a wilderness of our own choosing when we forget' God's promises
and focus on our circumstances, limitations, resources and When we
squander God's blessings, we pay a price. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness
for 40 years when they failed to trust God. The book of Numbers ends with the hope
of a new generation preparing to enter the promised land and embracing God's call
to stewardship.
JMBERS 35:26
26" 'But if the accused ever goes outside the
lits of the city of refuge to which he fled
tnd the avenger <Jfblood finds him outstde the
y, the avenger of blood may kill the accused
thout being guilty of murder. 28The accused
ust stay in his city of refuge until the of
e high priest; only after the death of the htgh
iest may he return to his own property.
29" 'These are to be legal requirementsS for
JU throughout the generations to come, wher-
er you live. .
30" 'Anyone who kills a person tS to be put to
as a murderer only on the testimony of
itnesses. But no one is to be put to death on
te testimony of only one wttness.
31" 'Do not accept a ransom for the life of a
mrderer, who deserves to die. He must surely
e put to death.
32" 'Do not accept a ransom for anyone
.as fled to a city of refuge and so allow htm
o go back and live on his own land before the
Ieath of the high priest.
35:29 &Nu 27:11
35:30 vet 16;
Ot 17:6; 19:15;
Jn 7:51; 2Co 13:1;
Heb 10:28
Ge 9:6;
Ps 106:38;
Mlc 4:11
35:34 I Lev 18:24,
25 ex 29:45
Nu 26:29
33" 'Do not pollute the land where you are.
noodshed pollutes the land,i and atonement
:an not bemade for the land on which blood has
>een shed, except by the blood of the one
;bed it. 34Do not defile the Iandi where you hve
md where I dwell, k for I, the LORD, dwell among
the Israelites.'"
inheritance of Zelophehad's
Daughters .
raelites by lot, he ordered you to give the inher.
itance of our brother Zelophehad" to hisdaugh.
ters. 3Now suppose they marry men from other
Israelite tribes; then their inheritance will be
taken from our ancestral inheritance and add.
ed to that of the tribe they marry into. And so
part of the inheritance allotted to us will be tak-
en away. 4When the Year of Ju_bilee for the Is-
raelites comes, their inheritance will be added
to that of the tribe into which they marry, and
their property will be taken from the tribal in
heritance of our forefathers."
sThen at the LORD's command Moses gave
this order to the Israelites: "What the tribe of the
descendants is saying is right.
is what the LORD commands for Zelophehad's
daughters: They may marry_ anyone please
as long as they marry withm _the clan of
their father. 7No inheritanceP tn Israel ts to pass
from tribe to tribe, for every Israelite shall keep
the tribal land inherited from his forefathers.
sEvery daughter who inherits land in any
elite tribe must marry someone in her fathers
tribal clan,q so that every Israelite will possess
the inheritance of his fathers. 9No inheritancc
may pass from tribe to tribe, for each Israelite
tribe is to keep the land it inherits."
Zelophehad's daughters did as the LORD
commanded Moses. uzelophehad's daugh
ters-Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah and
Noah' _ married their cousins on their' father's
side. t2They married within the clans of the de-
scendants ofManasseh son of}oseph, and theu
inheritance remained in their father's clan and
3 6
The family heads of the clan of Gtle-
ad' son ofMakir, the son ofManasseh,
who were from the clans of the descendants of
Joseph, came and spoke before Moses
leaders, m the heads of the Israelite famthes.
2They said, "When the LoRD commanded my
lord to give the.land as an inheritance to the Is-
36:2 Nu 26:33;
tribe. .
\3These are the commands and regulattons
36:4 'Lev 25:10
36:7 P1KI21:3
36:8 1Ch 23:22
36:11 'Ntl26:33;
27:34 'Nu 22:1
the LORD gave through Moses' to the Israelites
on the plains of Moab by the jordan across
13 Hebrew Jordan of Jericho;possibly an ancieni name for the Jordan River
ttttllllll\1111111111111111;1111\lll\lltll\111\ltllltll\llllltltlltlllllllltlllllllitlllltllllllllltllllltll\llllllllllllltlllllllltllllllllllllllll lllll\1111\lltll
euteronomy, the last book of the Law, contains a series of sermons that recounts the
stories, teaching, instructions and commands found in the three preceding books.
Moses preached these sermons at a key time in Israel's history, just before its people took
possession of the promised land. Moses exhorts the people to turn from idols and love
the Lord wholeheartedly (6:5). This is the ultimate standard we must use to measure
and reevaluate our lifestyle of stewardship. In addition, Deuteronomy provides other
guidelines for giving through extensive teaching on issues like the tithe, interest, honest
business practices and other laws intended to provide mercy and relief to the poor.
The priority of obedience is among the interlocking stewardship principles presented
in the book of Deuteronomy. The Israelites were able to possess the promised land
only if they first obeyed. Faith is enacted in obedience (see 30:15 -19), and obedience
is often represented in our financial choices, as it was for Moses in his decision to
give up the blessings of a royal upbringing (see Heb 11:24-26). A second theme deals
with the age-old lure and power of money (8:6-20). Christian stewards, like everyone
else, are tempted to put their trust in wealth, possessions and success, rathe.r than in
God as their sole provider. Integral to these stewardship principles are tithing and
generosity-giving to God and providing for others from a spirit of gratitude and
joy that reflects our wholehearted devotion to him (14:22-29). And finally, Moses
reminds the people that God has mandated a day of rest (5:12-15). This time of
and refreshment applies to people as well as all of creation (see Ex 23:12).
The book of Deuteronomy introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
stewardship themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to
stewardship such as fear (1:19- 31), and the dangers of wealth and satisfaction
(6:10-15). You will learn about possessing God's gift (1:1-8), stewarding obedience
(4:1-40), and God's design for Israel's kings (17:14-20). You will also read about
stewardship of education (6:6-9), the ability to create wealth (8:18 -20), the autumn
and the fall (11:13-15), choosing our own altars. (12:13-14), the year of release
(15:1-18), stewarding nature (22:6-7), of borrowing and lending (23:19-20), of
marketplace justice (25:13-16), and of the responsibility to respond in faith to God's
call on our own lives (30:11 -20).
The book of Deuter onomy COJ1tains a restatement of the Ten Commandments
(5:7 -21), a reflection of God's moral will for all people. If we are wise stewards,
we will walk in gratitude and give God our all because we can do no less. Our
obedience and our giving are responses to his matchless grace. "Now life
. love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD
is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to your fathers,
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" (30:19-20). .
he book of Joshua reveals God's generosity in bringing the wandering Israelites
to rest in the promised land. For the Israelites, this land "flowing with milk
and honey" (Dt 11:9) represented the supreme "gift" with which God planned to
bless them, asking them to be active recipients of his gift. Chapters 1-12 of Joshua
emphasize God's supernatural generosity in the conquest of Canaan, but these
chapters also speak of Israel's need to obey and of the consequences of disobedience.
Chapters 13-21 speak of the long, hard process by which God's people were called
to possess this gift, corresponding to the Christian's inheritance in Christ. Although
our inheritance is a free gift of God's grace, it must be fought for (see Php 2:12-13).
We are to be active recipients, using all our strength and material resources to seek
first God's kingdom.
Among Joshua's stewardship principles is the critical principle of choosing whom
we will serve (see Jos 24:14-15). When the children of Israel entered Canaan, they
faced the reality of their faith when they were forced to choose between trusting
God for their prosperity or trusting false gods (chs. 23-24). A second stewardship
principle-the consequences of greed-is intertwined with the first. Achan's sin
of greed in stealing (7:10-26) had consequences that extended far beyond himself.
Greed not only enslaves and infiltrates every area of our lives but also infects the
lives of others.
The book of Joshua introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship such
as covetousness (ch. 7), as demonstrated through the life of Achan. You will read
about Joshua, who shows us that we can be conduits of courage, drawing those
around us into a vision for the future (1:1-9). You will also read about stewarding
our legacies (ch. 4), covetousness (6:17-20), stewarding your inheritance (13-19),
faith and fear (15:13-19), stewarding urban community life (ch. 20) and the choice
of whom to serve (24:1-3,14-26).
Joshua and Achan stand in stark contrast in the book of Joshua. Like all of us, these
men faced choices that revealed their motives. "Now fear the LORD and serve him
with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the
River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LoRD seems undesirable
to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods
your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land
you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD" (24:14-15).
lllllllllll flfll ll ll lllllllllllllll lill llllllllllllllll lllll lllllllll lll ll llllll l
111111111111111111111111111 111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
The LORD Commands Joshua
After the death of Moses the servant of the
LORD, the LORD said to Joshua b son of Nun
' 'd
"M '
Moses ai e: oses my servant is dead. Now
1:1 'Nu 12:7;
'Ex 2413
01 1:3B '
1:2 ' ver 11
1:3 '0111:24
1:4 'Ge 15:18
' Nu 34:212
member the command that Moses the servant
o: LORD gave you: 'The LORD your God is
yo_u rest' and has granted you this land.'
Your Wives, your children and your livestock
may stay in the land that Moses gave you east
of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, fully
armed, must cross over ilhead of your brothers.
are to help your brothers ISuntil the LORD
g.tves them rest, as he has done for you, and un-
til they too have taken possession of the land
that the LORD your God is giving them. After
that, you may go back and occupy your own
land, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave
you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise "s
1:5 01 7:24
'Jos 3:7; 6:27
1:7 o1 5:32;
Jos 11:15
1:a o1 29:9;
Ps 1:1-3
then, you and all these people, get ready to cross
the Jordan River' into the land I am about to
give to them- to the Israelites.
I will give you
every place where you set your foot, d as I prom
ised Moses.
Your territory will extend from the
desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the
Euphrates'- all the Hittite country_ to the
Great Sea on the west. r SN0 one will be able to
stand up youB all the days of your life.
1 was with Moses, so I will be with you; I
wrll never leave you nor forsakei you.
1:9 'Ps 27:1
ver 7; Ot 31 :7-8;
' "B
. e strong and courageous, because you
wrlllead these people to inherit the land I swore
to thetr forefathers! to give them. 7Be strong and
very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law
my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it
to the right or to the left, k that you may be suc-
cessful wherever you go.' aDo not let this Book
of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate
on tt day and night, so that you may be careful
to do everything written in it. Then you will be
prosperous and successful. m 9Have I not com-
manded you? Be strong and courageous. Do
not be terrified;" do not be discouraged, for
the LORD your God will be with you wherever
you go."
roso J h d
os ua or ered the officers of the peo-
ple ll"G h
t rough the camp and tell the peo-
p e, Get your supplies ready. Three days from
nowy u
take ou WI cross the Jordan here to go in and
is . possesswnP of the land the LORD your God
givmg you for your own ' "
1:11 '.roel3:2
1:12 Nu 32:20-
h If to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the
a tnbe of Manasseh, q Joshua said, !3"Re-
1:13 '01 3:1820
1:15 'Jos 22:1-4
1:17 ' ver 5,9
2:1 ' Jas 2:25
' Nu 25:1; Jos 3:1
"Heb 11:31
2:4'2Sa 17:1920
Thai .
en they answered Joshua, "Whatever
you have commanded us we will do, and wher-
ever you send us we will go, 17Just as we fully
obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. t Only may
the LORD your God be with you as he was with
Moses. a whoever rebels against your word and
does not obey your words, whatever you may
command them, will be put to death. Only be
strong and courageous!"
Rahab and the Spies
2 Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two
sptes u from Shittim. v "Go, look over the
land," he said, "especially Jericho." So they
went and entered the house of a prostituteh
and stayed there.
The ktng of Jericho was told, "Look! Some of
the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out
the land." JSo the king of Jericho sent this mes-
sage to Rahab: "Bring out the men who came to
you and entered your house, because they have
come to spy out the whole land."
. aut the woman had taken the two men and
htdden them! She said, "Yes, the men came to
1111 os, the Mediterranean 1 Or possibly an innkeeper
illlllilllllil lll l
he book of Judges records a tumultuous time in the history of the people of God.
"Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit" (21:25). After Joshua's death
God's people proved unsuccessful in their efforts to secure the promised land that
God had given them. As a result, they were continually exposed to the temptations of
idolatry and were often oppressed by the surrounding nations. It was a time of moral
and spiritual decline, and even though God sent individuals called "judges" to bring
about deliverance, their successes were temporary, and their failures reyealed Israel's
need for a faithful king.
The book of Judges presents the important stewardship principle of thinking before
we give. Altho,ugh God calls us to be prepared to give generously at all times,
he requires us to give in ways that honor him. Jephthah, a judge of Israel, 'rashly
promised God that he would sacrifice the first thing that came out of his house.
His unthinking but well-intentioned promise cost him the life of his daughter
Another man, Micah, stole money from his mother but it.
Overjoyed, she gave the silver to be consecrated to the Lord, yet it was crafted into
an idol (chs. 17 -18). During the period of the judges, everyone did whatever they
wanted, without consulting God's agenda (17:6; 21:25).
The book of Judges introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through challenges to stewardship such as the trap of power
plays (ch. 9), as illustrated in the life of Abimelech, who was overtaken by his lust
for power. You will read the profiles of Deborah, prophetess and judge (chs. 4-5);
Gideon, a reluctant leader (6:11-40) who eventually returned to the trap of idolatry,
lured by money and status; and Samson, a flawed man who rose to bring glory
to God in the final dark moments of his life (16:23-31). You will also read about
passing the faith along (2:1-5,10-15), sin's downward trajectory in government and
the governed (12:1-13:1) and cultural myths related to materialism (17 - 18).
In Judges we see broken and flawed people who expended their lives in
thoughtlessness, sin, folly and selfishness. They pursued their own way and wasted
the g.ifts and resources God had given them. Yet God, in love, reached down and
used even the blind and the broken to accomplish his purposes, as he did with
Samson at the end of Samson's life: "Then Samson prayed to the LoRD, '0 Sovereign
LoRD, remember me'" (16:28).
111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 1111111
Israel Fights the Remaining
After the death of Joshua, the Israelites
asked the LoRD, "Who will be the firstb to
go up and fight for us against the Canaanites?'"
lThe LORD answered, "Judahd is to go; I have
given the land into their hands. "
3Then the men of Judah said to the Sime
onites their brothers, "Come up with us into
the territory allotted to us, to fight against the
Canaanites. We in turn will go with you into
yours." So the Simeonites
went with them.
When Judah attacked, the LORD gave the
Canaanites and Perizzitesg into their hands
and they struck down ten thousand men at Be
zek. h
It was there that they found Adoni-Bezek
and fought against him, putting to rout theCa-
naanites and Perizzites.
Adoni-Bezek fled, but
they chased him and caught him, and cut off
his thumbs and big toes.
Th en Adoni-Bezek said, "Seventy kings with
their thumbs and big toes cut off have picked up
scraps under my table. Now God has paid me
backi for what I did to them." They brought him
to Jerusalem, and he died there.
The men of Judah attacked Jerusalemi also
and took it. They put the city to the sword and
set it on fire.
After that, the men of Judah went down to
fight against the Canaanites living in the hill
count ry, k the Negev
and the western foothills.
advanced against the Canaanites living
m Hebronm (formerly called Kiriath Arba") and
defeated Sheshal, Ahiman and Talmai.
From there they advanced against the
people living in DebirP (formerly called Kiri-
1:1 Jos 24:29
'Nu 27:21
'ver 27: Jdg 3:16
1:2 'Ge 49:8
ver 4; Jdg 3:28
1:3 'ver 17
1:4Ge 13:7;
Jos 3:10
' 1Sa 11:8
1 :7
lev 24:19
Jos 15:63
1:9 'Nu 13:17
Ge 35:27
Jos 15:14
1:11 Jos 15:15
1:16 <Nu 10:29
Jdg 4:11
Jdg 3:i3''Nu 21:1
1:17"ver 3
Nu 21:3
1:18 Jos 11:22
rJos 17:16
15:13-14 ver 10;
Jos 14:13
1:21 'Jos 15:63
ath Sepher).
And Caleb said, "I will give my
daughter Acsah in marriage to the man who
attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher."
el son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, took
it; so Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to him in
0ne day when she came to Othniel, she
urged him to ask her father for a field. When
she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, "What
can I do for you?"
She replied, "Do me a special favor. Since
you have given me land in the Negev, give me
also springs of water." Then Caleb gave her the
upper and lower springs.
The descendants of Moses' father-in-law, q
the Kenite, r went up from the City of Palmsb'
with the men of Judah to live among the people
of the Desert of}udah in the Negev near Arad. t
Then the men ofJudah went with the Sime-
onites" their brothers and attacked the Canaan-
ites living in Zephath, and they totally destroyed'
the city. Therefore it was called Hormah. dv
men of Judah also took Gaza,w Ashkelon and
Ekron- each city with its territory.
The LORD was withx the men of Judah.
They took possession of the hill country, but
they were unable to drive the people from the
plains, because they had iron chariots/
Moses had promised, Hebron was given to Ca-
leb, who drove from it the three sons of Anak.'
The Benjamites, however, failedb to dislodge
the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem;'
to this day the Jebusites live there with the
Now the house ofJoseph attacked Bethel,
and the LORD was with them.
When they sent
' 14 Hebrew Se t . t .
rrevocable 'iv P uagm and Vulgate Othmel, he urged her 16 That is, Jericho ' 17 The Hebrew term refers to t he
'18 Hebre 9 s'ng of th1ngs or persons to the LOAD, often by totally destroying them.
17 Hormah means destruction.
w, eptuagmt Judah drd not take
1111 11111 1111111111
lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllltllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll Co>
he book of Ruth is a compelling story of God's extraordinary provision for those
who trust him, whether rich or poor. In this sense, the book revolves around
God's providence in continuing to fulfill aspects of the Abrahamic covenant through
the birth of Obed, "the father of Jesse, the father of David" (4:17).
Ruth, in her poverty, was not disappointed when she fully trusted the Lord for
provision and security, and Boaz in his wealth was blessed through extraordinary
generosity and divestment of his material possessions for the sake of others. Ruth's
trust and Boaz's generosity are tremendous examples to us today, because they
illustrate how God's commands regarding generosity are not cold requirements;
rather, they are place to drive us to cheerful giving as we trust in the Lord as our
refuge and provider while seeking to meet the needs of others.
Perhaps no other book in Scripture, apart from the Gospels, so poignantly presents
the principle of caring for the poor as does the book of Ruth. It contains the
account of the plight of. Naomi and Ruth, widows without security, a home or
a day-to-day income. The book of Ruth portrays God's love for the poor in his
abundant provision and reinforces his prescriptive care.for them (see Ex 22:21-27;
Isa 3:14-15). A second principle in Ruth is that of giving at personal cost. Ruth
disregarded her own welfare in her care for Naomi. In the same way, Boaz is the
model of generous giving, going above and beyond financial sacrifice to provide for
Ruth's physical, emotional and social needs (see 2:14-16; 3:11-13). A final principle
brought to life in the book of Ruth is that of trusting in God's provide.nce. Ruth took
on the most desperate form of poverty to embrace God.
The book of Ruth introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes. You will read about Boaz, who gave over and above what was expected
of him, without hesitation, and with delight (1:22-2:9). You will also read about
stewardship of opportunity (3:1-13) and the principle of redeeming others (4:9-12).
Few books in offer such rich examples of those who chose to divest
themselves of their rights, their respectability and their earthly riches to live out the
command to love others as themselves as does the book of Ruth. Ruth is faithful
to God and his laws regarding caring for and not abandoning widows, and she is
rewarded accordingly. Boaz is obedient to commands regarding gleaning, kindness
to widows and aliens, and levirate marriage, and he too is rewarded: "So Boaz took
Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the LORD enabled her to
conceive, and she gave birth to a son" (4:13).
1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 0
\,10mi and Ruth
In the days when the judges ruled, a a there
was a famine in the land, band a man from
Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and
two sons, went to live for a while in the coun-
The man's name was Elimelech
his wife's name Naomi, and the names of hi;
two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were
Ephrathites from Bethlehem, d Judah. And they
went to Moab and lived there.
1:1'Jdg 2:16 18
'Ge 12:10;
too old to have another husband. Even if I
thought there was still hope for me- even if
I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to
Ps 105:16.
' Jdg 3:30
1:2 'Ge 35:19
1:8 'Ex 4:31 ;
Zep 2:7
Ps t32t5
Ml6:11 . '
ver 5
1:11'Ge 38:11;
'Now Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died, and
she was left with her two sons. 4They married
Moabite women, one named Orpah and the oth-
er Ruth. ' After they had lived there abo t t
u en
years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died a d
. , n
aom1 was left without her two sons and her
'When she heard in Moab that the LORD had
come to the aid ofhis peopJefby providing foodS
for them, Naomi and her daughters-in-law pre-
pared to return home from there. 7With her
two daughters-in-law she left the place where
she had been living and set out on the road that
wo,uld take them back to the land of Judah.
I T"hen Naomi said to her two daughters-in-
aw, Go back, each of you, to your mother's
home. May the LORD show kindnessh to you, as
you have shown to your dead; and to me 9M
tbeL ay
tile h ORDgrant that each of you will find resti in
orne of another husband."
Then she ki d h
d . sse t em and they wept aloud
an said to her, "We will go back with you to
your people."
ButN "
Jdg 2:15;
Job 4:5; 19:21
Ps 32:4
1:14 Ru 2:11
'Pr 17:17; 18:24
1:15 'Jos 24:14;
Jdg 11:24
1:18 P21(j 2:2
Ru 2:11,12
sons - Bwould . .
wa1t until they grew up?
Would you remat? unmarried for them? No,
my daughters. It ts more bitter for me than
for because the LORD's hand has gone out
agamst me!'"
14At this wept again. Then Orpah kissed
her good-by, but Ruth clung to
IS"L k, .
' said Naomi, "your sister-in-law is
back to her people and her gods. o Go back
With her."
16But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave
or to turn back from you. Where you go I
will g?, and where you stay I will stay. Your peo-
will be my people and your God my God. q
you die I will die, and there I will be
buned. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever
so if anything but death separates you
and me: When Naomi realized that Ruth was
determmed to go with her, she stopped urging
19So the two women went on until they came
to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem
the whole town was stirredt because of them and
the women exclaimed, "Can this be Naomt.;"
, .
" on t call me Naomi, b she told them.
Itt's Wh aoml said, Return home, my daugh-
toh. ywouldyou come with me? Am I going
ave any more h
husband 1k 12 sons, w o could become your
s. Return home, my daughters; I
1:17 '!Sa 3:17;
25:22; 2Sa 19:13
2KI6:31 '
1:18 'Ac 21:14
1:18 'MI 21 :10
1:20 Ex6:3
ver 13; Job 6:4
1:21 Job 1:21
1:22 'Ex 931
Ru 2:23 '
'2Sa 21 :9
Call me because the Almightydu has
made my hfe very bitter. v 21 I went away full but
the LORD brought me back empty. w Wh; call
Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Al-
has br?ught misfortune upon me."
. So Naomi returned from Moab accompa-
med by Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-
law, x arriving in Bethlehem as the barley har-
vest was beginning/
llldrt'onally judged .
-.e 21 21 0 20 Naomt means pleasant also in
r has testified against verse 21 . '20 Mara means bitter. 20 H b
1111111111111111111 e rew Shaddal; also
he two books of Samuel tell the tumultuous and tragic story of the rise of Israel's
monarchy. First Samuel focuses on the transition from theocracy, or rule by
God, to the rule of a king, which is what the people demanded (ch. 8). The life of
Samuel, the last of the judges, is presented (chs. 1-7), followed by the reign of Saul,
the first of Israel's kings (chs. 9 -15). Finally, David is presented as the better king
(chs. 16-31).
In the book of 1 Samuel, we are challenged by the stewardship principle of God's
unorthodox reign. In contrast to worldly rulers, God is motivated by sacrificial love.
Jesus, God's chosen king, would one day rule: turning the other cheek, rescuing the
poor and laying down his rights for his subjects. A second stewardship theme-the
relationship between leaders and their desires-dovetails with the first. Nothing
affects leadership as powerfully as moral failure and self-indulgence. The self-
gratification of Eli's sons (2:12-36) is placed in sharp contrast with Hannah's
willing sacrifice of her only son (1:1-2:11).
The book of 1 Samuel introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship such
as the root of contempt (2:12-36). You will be introduced to Hannah (ch. 1), the
mother of Samuel; Abigail (25 :1-39), whose generosity helped turn away David's
wrath; and David (30:1-31), the generous king. You will also read about stewarding
God's call (ch. 3), Samuel's appointment of Saul as steward over God's inheritance
(10:1-25), and Jonathan, a steward of friendship to a young David on the run from
Saul (18:1-4).
The book of 1 Samuel reminds us of the trap of our desires. The children of Israel
chose to give up their unique relationship with God so that they could be just like
everyone else, thinking they would gain something in the bargain. They failed to
see that they had traded God's wisdom for human wisdom and, in demanding their
own way, had lost more than they could ever gain. "But the people refused to listen
to Samuel. 'No!' they said. 'We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the
other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles'"
Jlllllllllillllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll .
The Birth of Samuel
There was a certain man from Ramathaim
a Zuphite from the hill countrya ofEphra:
im, whose name was Elkanahb son ofJeroham
the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of
Zuph, an Ephraimite.
He had two wives;' one
was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Pe-
ninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
1:1 'Jos 17:17 18
'1Ch6:27,34 12 As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli ob-
served her mouth. 13Hannah was praying in her
heart, and her lips were moving but her voice
not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14and
sa!d to her, long will you keep on getting
drunk? Get nd of your wine."
1:2 '0121:1517;
Lk 2:36
Ex 23:14; 34:23;
Lk 2:41 ' 0112:5
7 'Jos 18:1
1:4 ot 12:17-18
30:2 . '
Year after yeard this man went up from his
town to worship and sacrifice to the LORD Al-
mighty at Shiloh, r where Hophni and Phinehas,
the two sons of Eli, were priests of the LORD.
'Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacri-
tice,s he would give portions of the meat to his
wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daugh-
But to Hannah he gave a double portion
because he loved her, and the LORD had closed
her womb. h 6 And because the LORD had closed
her kept provoking her in order
to lrntate her. I This went on year after year.
Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the
loRn, her rival provoked her till she wept and
would 8EJkanah her husband would say
to Hannah, why are you weeping? Why
don t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don't
more to you than ten sons?i"
d . Once when they had finished eating and
rmkl_ng in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli
the pnest was sitting on a chair by the door-
post of the LORD's temple. b k orn bitte f
H mess o
annah wept much and prayed to the
Job 24:21
1:8;Ru 4:15
1:9 ' 1Sa 3:3
1:11 Ge8:1;
28:20; 29:32
Jdg 1:i:5 '

1:17Jdg 18:6;
1Sa 25:35;
2Ki 5:19; Mk 5:34
Ps 20:3-5
1: 18 'Au 2:13
'Ecc 97
30:22 . '
II An.d she made a vow, saying, "0 LORD
rant'ghrr, If you will only look upon your ser-
s misery and rememberm me, and not for-
servant but give her a son, then I will
Bind him to the LORD for all the days of his life
a no razo n 'II '
1:20"Ge41:51 -
52: e. 2:10,22;
r WI ever be used on his head."
: r Or from Ramathaim Zu . '
1:21 "'ver 3
1:22 ' ver 11,28
Lk2:22 '
1:23 ver 17
Nu30:7 '
"Not so, my lord," Hannah replied, "I am a
woman who is deeply troubled: I have not been
drinking wine or beer; I was pouringo out my
sou! to the LORD. I6Do not take your servant for
a Wicked woman; I have been praying here out
of my great anguish and grief."
I7EJi answered, "Go in peace,P and may the
G.od of Israel grant you what you have asked of
She said, "May your servant find favor in
yo.ur eyes.'" Then she went her way and ate some-
thmg, and her face was no longer downcast s
. Earl y the next morning they arose and wor-
shiped before the LORD and then went back to
their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah
his wife, and the LORD rememberedt her. 20so in
the course of time Hannah conceived gave
to a son. She named" him Samuel, c say-
mg. Because I asked the LORD for him."
Hannah Dedicates Samuel
21 When the man Elkanah went up with all
his family to offer the annual sacrifice to the
LORD and to fulfi ll his vow, w 22Hannah did not
go. She to her husband, "After the boy is
weaned, I will take him and presentx him before
the LORD, and he will live there always "
230 h .
ow at seems best to you," Elkanah her
husband her. "Stay here until you have
him; only may the LORD make goodY
hsd word." So the woman stayed at home and
nursed her son until she had weaned him.
2JIIasot'etic c phtm 9 Thai is, tabernacle '20 S
exl; Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint and Syriac your amue/ sounds like the Hebrew for heard of Goa.
""""""""'"'"" l lllll llllllllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll l llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
he two books of Samuel tell the tumultuous and tragic story of the rise of Israel's
monarchy. Second Samuel portrays the story of David's 40-year reign as king.
The book is divided into two sections. The first half ends with David's sin with
Bathsheba and his repentance (chs. 11-12). The second half of the book focuses on
David's struggles with his family (chs. 13-18) and with the nation (chs. 19-21); it
concludes with some miscellaneous notes and reflections (chs. 22-24). David's life
is an example of the reality of consequences: faith brings God's blessing, while sin
brings sorrow.
In the book of 2 Samuel, as in 1 Samuel, we are challenged by the stewardship
principles demonstrated through God's unorthodox reign. In contrast to worldly
rulers, God is motivated by sacrificial love. Again, as in 1 Samuel, nothing affects
leadership as powerfully as moral failure and self-indulgence. David's moral failing
not only affected his rule (chs. 14-18; 24) but also played out in consequences for
those he loved (12:16-23; ch. 13). However, his deep remorse and repentance are
evidence of his contrition, and he is forgiven by God (12:1-'25; 24:18-25).
The book of 2 Samuel introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship such
as self-gratification (chs. 11-12). Lust is the battlefield of the mind; in this life, no
matter how much we have, we will always fight our desire for just a little more. You
will also read about being blessed to be a blessing (5:12; 6:18 -19), about compassion
for the disabled (9:1-13), about the tragic results of abuse (13:1-13), about
concessions to political game playing (15:1-23), about feeling more at home at work
than at home (13-18), and about gifts that are too precious to keep (23:13 -17).
In the book of 2 Samuel we meet David, a man who portrays both the best and worst
in the human heart. In David we see how overindulgence perverts a heart of righ-
teousness with a spirit of entitlement. But in David we also gain hope as we see how
God's forgiveness and grace lovingly restore the remorseful and penitent in spirit.
We thrill with God's promise to the son of David, of whom God says, "I will be his
father, and he will be my son" (7:14), and of whom God says, "I will establish the
throne of his kingdom forever" (7:13)-promises that come to ultimate fulfillment in
the Son of David, Jesus Christ.
.t. t
. .. . ..
'''"llllllllllllllll lllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
David Hears of Saul's Death
After the death of Saul, David returned
1 from defeatingb the Amalekites and stayed
in Ziklag two days.
0n the third day a man<
arrived from Saul's camp, with his clothes torn
and with dust on his head. d When he came to
David, he fell to the ground to pay him honor.
l"Where have you come from?" David asked
He answered, "I have escaped from the Is-
raelite camp."
"What happened?" David asked. "Tell me."
He said, "The men fled from the battle. Many
of them fell and died. And Saul and his son Jon-
athan are dead."
srhen David said to the young man who
brought him the report, "How do you know that
Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?"
6"J happened to be on Mount Gilboa,<" the
young man said, "and there was Saul, leaning
on his spear, with the chariots and riders almost
upon him.
When he turned around and saw me,
he called out to me, and I said, 'What can I do?'
"He asked me, 'Who are you?'
"'An Amalekite, f'r answered.
"Then he said to me, 'Stand over me and
kill me! I am in the throes of death, but I'm still
"So I stood over him and killed him, be-
cause I knew that after he had fallen he could
not survive. And I took the crowng that was
on his head and the band on his arm and have
brought them here to my lord."
Then David and all the men with him took
hold of their clothes and toreh them.
mourned and wept and fasted till evening for
Saul and his son Jon(lthan, and for the army of
the LORD and the house of Israel, because they
had fallen by the sword.
1:1'1Sa 31:6
'1Sa 30:17
1:2 '2Sa4:10
'1Sa 4:12
1:6 '1Sa28-4-
31:2-4 . '
1:8 '1Sa 15:2;
1:10 !Jdg 9:54;
2Ki 11:12
1:11 'Ge 37:29;
2Sa 3:31; 13:31
1:1411Sa 24:6;
1:15 '2Sa 4:12
2Sa 4:10
1:16 mt ev 20:9;
2Sa 3:28-29;
Mt 27:24-25;
Ac 18:6
1:17 "2Ch 35:25
1:18Jos 10:13;
1:19 ver 27
1:20Mic 1:10
' 1Sa31:8
'Ex 1520
1Sa 18.:6 '
1:21 'ver 6;
'Eze 31:15
' lsa 21 :5
1:22 "lsa 34:3,7
David said to the young man who brought
him the report, "Where are you from?"
"I am the son of an alien, an Amalekite, i " he
David asked him, "Why were you not
afraid to lift your hand to destroy the LORD's
Then David called one of his men and
said, "Go, strike him down!"k So he struck him
down, and he died.
1 16
For David had said to
him, "Your blood be on your own head. m Your
own mouth testified against you when you said,
'I killed the LORD's anointed.'"
David's Lament for Saul and
David took up this lament" concerning
Saul and his son Jonathan,
and ordered that
the men of Judah be taught this lament of the
bow (it is written in the Book ofJashar):
"Your glory, 0 Israel, lies slain on your
How the mighty have fallen!P
"Tell it not in Gath, q
proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines' be
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised
"0 mountains of Gilboa,
may you have neither dew nor rain,
nor fields that yield offerings" Lof grain".
For there the shield of the mighty was
the shield of Saul- no longer rubbed
with oil.v
From the bloodw of the slain,
from the flesh of the mighty,
lllllllllllll ll ll l llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
he books of 1 and 2 Kings detail the rise and decline of the rulers of Israel and
Judah. We see the nation's great size and power under Solomon (chs. 1-11) and
its division into northern Israel and southern Judah (ch. 12). We also see the first 85
years of the divided nation and their struggles with idolatry, injustice and infidelity
to God. The books of 1 and 2 Kings illustrate the importance of keeping a covenant
with God and the consequences of failing to do so. They serve as an encouragement
and warning today, just as they did for the original audience.
A primary stewardship principle in the book of 1 Kings deals with the accumulation
of wealth. While Solomon was granted both wisdom and wealth through God's
blessings (3:10-14; 4:20-34; 10:1-29), he turned away from God when his foreign
wives turned his heart to other gods (ch. 11). He used the blessings he received
from God to obtain power, possessions and pleasure, and in doing so, he violated
the standards for modest living God had placed on Israel's kings in Deuteronomy
17:14-17. An additional principle, presented in 1 Kings 22, is that of keeping
covenant promises. During this period, the people lived for brief periods of time in
faithfulness to God, followed by periods of shameless disobedience. Only in keeping
our covenant promise of faithfulness to God can we find purpose and blessing.
The book of 1 Kings introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes. In 1 Kings you will meet Solomon (3:4-15), a steward of wisdom who
was unable to govern his heart. You will also meet Elijah (chs. 17-19), a steward
of the truth and a leader who stood in the gap for his people and spoke the truth
despite the doubt, discouragement, abandonment, attack and personal peril that
followed. You will also read about passing the mantle (2:1-4), God's image in us and
our relationship to creation (4:29-34), missions and its relation to business (8:36,
41-43), stewardship of leadership ability (11:26-40) and the covenant faithfulness
of Naboth (21:1-29).
The book of 1 Kings reminds us of our continual struggle to give God his rightful
rule in our hearts. Even the wisest of men, Solomon, was unable to fully tame
his desires when he allowed pleasure for pleasure's sake to overtake his love for
God. Like Solomon, we struggle with hearts that are divided by warring passions.
Only in pursuing our covenant of faithfulness to God will we find true wealth and
fulfillment in him.
111111111111111111111 11111111111 1111111111111111111 1111111111 1111111111111 11111111111111111111111111 1111111111 11111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111 1111111111 1111111111111111
1:3 Jos 19:18
1:5 ' 2Sa 3:4
'2Sa 15:1
1:7 ' 1Ki 2:22.28;
1Ch11 :6
1Sa 22:20;
2Sa 20:25
1:1 2Sa20:25
'2Sa 8:18
2Sa 12:1
i1Ki 4:18
'2Sa 23:8
2Sa 17:17
1:10 2Sa 12:24
1:11 2Sa 12:24
'2Sa 3:4
1:12 'Pr 15:22
1:13 ver 30;
1Ch 22:913
1:15 'ver 1
1:17 ver 13.30
1:19'ver 9
1:21 ' 0131:16;
viseP you how you can save your own life and the
life of your son Solomon.
Go in to King David
and say to him, 'My lord the king, did you not
swearq to me your servant: "Surely Solomon your
son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my
throne"? Why then has Adonijah become king?'
While you are still there talking to the king, I
will come in and confirm what you have said."
_So Bathsheba went to see the aged king
m hts room, where Abishag' the Shunammite
was attending him.
Bathsheba bowed low and
knelt before the king.
"What is it you want? " the king asked.
She said to him, "My lord, you yourself
swore' to me your servant by the LORD your
God: 'Solomon your son shall be king after me,
and he will sit on my throne.'
But now Adoni-
jah has become king, and you, my lord the king,
do not know about it.
He has sacrificed' great
numbers of cattle, fattened calves, and sheep,
and has invited all the king's sons, Abiathar the
priest and Joab the commander of the army, but
he has not invited Solomon your servant.
lord the king, the eyes of alllsrael are on you, to
learn from you who will sit on the throne of my
lord the king after him.
0therwise, as soon as
my lord the king is laid to rest" with his fathers,
I and my son Solomon will be treated as crim-
While she was still speaking with the king,
Nathan the prophet arrived.
And they told the
king, "Nathan the prophet is here." So he went
before the king and bowed with his face to the
Nathan said, "Have you, my lord the king,
declared that Adonijah shall be king after you,
and that he will sit on your throne?
Today he
has gone down and sacrificed great numbers of
8 Or and his fri ends
llllllll llll l lllll lllll llll l llll l llll l ll l l l ll l lllllllll l l lll l ll l llll llllllll l llllllllllll l l l lllllll l lllll llll l llll l lllll llllllllll llllllll l llllllll l l l ll l l l ll l l l lllllll l l l l l l l lll
he books of 1 and 2 Kings detail the rise and decline of the rulers of Israel and
Judah. Second Kings begins with the ministries of Elijah and Elisha (chs. 1-8).
It then gives a brief account of the rulers of the northern and southern kingdoms t hat
culminates in the northern kingdom's exile into Assyria (chs. 8 -17) and the southern
kingdom's slow spiritual decline that results in their exile to Babylon (chs. 18-25).
First and Second Kings remind us of the need to submit ourselves to the one true
King, the Son of David, who will lead not only Israel but also the nations in justice
and righteousness (see Mt 12:17-21).
llllll llllllll lllll lllll llllll llll l llll ll lll l llll l llll ll lll l l l i l l lll llll lllllllll llll l l l l lllll lllllllll l lllllllll l l lll l l lll llll ltlllllll l lllllllll lil l l lllll lll l l lllllllll l lllll l
LoRD's Judgment on Ahaziah
After Ahab'sdeath,Moabrebelled against
Now Ahaziah had fallen through
lattice of his upper room in Samaria and
himself. So he sent messengers, b say-
them, "Go and consult Baal-Zebub, c the
d to see ifl will recover< from this
1:1 'Ge 19:37;
2Sa 8:2; 2Ki 3:5
1:2 , 16
' Mk3:22
consume you and your fifty men!" Then firem
fell from heaven and consumed the captain and
1Sa 6:2; tsa 2:6;
14:29; Mt 10:25
'Jdg 18:5;
1:3 ' ver 15;

th_e king sent to Elijah another cap-
tam wtth hts ftfty men. The captain said to him,
"Man of God, this is what the king says, 'Come
down at once!'"
The faithfulness of leaders is a foundational stewardship principle in the
book of 2 ICings. King Joash's first order of business ensured that his leaders acted
with financial fidelity (12:6-16). It was critical that they demonstrate that their
financial priorities were in order, so they could model faithfulness before the people.
A second stewardship principle is that of pride. King Hezekiah threw money and
possessions at a problem rather than trust God for the solution (18: 13 -16). He
placed his trust in possessions for his protection rather than in God's promises.
the angelf of the LORD sajd to Elijah8
up and meet the messengers
king of Samaria and ask them, 'Is it be-
there is no God in Israelh that you are
off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ek-
Ge 16:71Ki 17:1
ver6 16-
Ps 41:8 ' '
1:811Ki 187
lee 13:4; Mt l:4;
1:9 '2KI6:14
"Ifi am a man of God," Elijah replied, "may
fire come down from heaven and consume you
and your fifty men!" Then the fire of God fell
from heaven and consumed him and his fifty
... ,fr._. '"this is what the LORD says: ' You
IN PER SPEC T IV E leave' the bed you are lying on. You will
The book of 2 Kings introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to effective
steward leadership such as the greed of Gehazi, Elisha's servant, whose self-seeking
attitude cost him the curse of leprosy (5:15-27). You will read about Elisha, who
symbolized the redemption of t he created world in his commissioning and first
mirade (2:1-25); Jehu, warrior for Israel, who was blind to the idolatry of his own
pride (chs. 9-10); and Josiah and Hilkiah, who worked for the restoration of the
temple and the people's relationship with God (chs. 22-23). You will also read about
entrepreneurship used to God's glory (4:1-7), the restoration of the Shunammite's
land (8: 1- 6); hplding leaders accountable for the timely fulfillment of their God-
given responsibilities (12:1 - 16) and living with the consequences of disobedience
(17:7-23). -
The book of 2 Kings portrays the lives of prophets and kings, soldiers and servants
who struggled to live out their faith in difficult times. Leaders may establish their
rule by clinging to power and possessions, but we serve a King who comes to power
and wealth through the self-emptying love of the cross. He calls us to this same road
of self-denial and suffering that we may share his glory (see Ro 8:17).
die!"' So Elijah went.
the messengers returned to the king,
them, "Why have you come back?"
man came to meet us," they replied. "And
to us, 'Go back to the king who sent you
him, "This is what the LORD says: Is it
there is no God in Israel that you are
men to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of
you will not leave the bed you
on. You will certainly die!"'"
king asked them, "What kind of man
who came to meet you and told you this?"
replied, "He was a man with a gar-
hairi and with a leather belt around his
lbeking said, "That was Elijah the Tishbite."
he sentk to Elijah a captain
with his
of fifty men. The captain went up to
\l'ho was sitting on the top of a hill, and
him, "Man of God, the king says, 'Come
answered tlie captain, "If! am a man
may fi re come down from heaven and
' Ex 18:25; tsa 3:3

Rev i 1:S; !3:13
1:13 ' tSa 26:21;
Ps 72:14
1:15 ver3
tsa 51:12; 57:11;
Jer 1:17; Eze 2:6
1:16 qver 2 rver 4
1:17 ' 2Ki 8:15;
Jer 20:6; 28:17
2KI3:1; 8:16
So the king sent a third captain with his
fifty men. This third captain went up and fell
on bis knees before Elijah. "Man of God," he
begged, "please have respect for my life" and
the lives of these fifty men, your servants!
fire has fallen from heaven and consumed the
fi rst two captains and all their men. But now
have respect for my life!"
The angelo of the LORD said to Elijah, "Go
down with him; do not be afraidP of him." So
Elijah got up and went down with him to the
He told the king, "This is what the LORD
says: Is it because there is no God in Israel for
you to consult that you have sent messengersq to
consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Because
you have done this, you will never leave' the bed
you are lying on. You will certainly die!" J7So
he died,' according to the word of the LORD that
Elijah had spoken.
Because Ahaziah had no son, Joram
ceeded him as king in the second year of Jeho-
ram son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah.
8 As for
all the other events of Ahaziah's reign, and what
he did, are they not written-in the book of the
annals of the kings oflsrael?
he author of 1 and 2 Chronicles, often called "the Chronicler," used Israel's
history as a lesson for an audience in need of guidance and encouragement. The
emphasis in 1 Chronicles is the importance of the connection of the history of Israel
to the present needs of the exiled community, who were working to rebuild their
society. The genealogies presented in chapters 1-9 portray God's selective purposes
for Israel. The reign of David as God's anointed king is presented in chapters 10-29.
The Chronicler counsels the Israelites through repeated historical examples to
relearn the importance of prayer and humility before the Lord.
The book of 1 Chronicles presents a model for interacting with nonbelievers. While
avoiding entanglements with surrounding nations, Israel had the responsibility to
bring the knowledge of God to them. God's people were to show the world what a
holy, just and righteous society looks like by dedicating resources to worship and
community, by living under the authority of the king, and by seeking renewed life
in the promised land. Even as he opens his book with the genealogies of Israel,
by including Gentiles in the genealogies, the Chronicler shows that Israel was
to be a light to the nations (2:34; 4:22-23). Also, the Chronicler's ideal kings
(David, Solomon, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah and Josiah) had extensive economic
relationships with other nations, allowing them to expose Gentiles to God and his
law, Importantly, when King Solomon dedicated the newly built temple, he prayed
that the Lord would use his people and the temple to bring foreigners to know and
fear God (see 2Ch 6:32-33). A second principle presented in 1 Chronicles is that of
restoring the kingdom. The Chronicler's positive telling of Israel's history calls the
people to rebuild their nation based on their worshipful response to God's unfailing
The book of 1 Chronicles introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship
such as irresponsible use of human resources (13:5 -14; 15:1-15). Our steward.ship
demands that we consider not only God's clear instructions but also the abilities,
training, talents and aptitudes of those we seek to lead. You will also read about
the purpose of Christian stewardship (16:23-36), how to give to God (17:1-15),
sacrifices (21:15-30), succession planning (chs. 23 - 27), David's stewards
(27:25-34) and his prayer (29:10-20).
The book of 1 Chronicles reminds us that no matter the overwhelming
circumstances of life, we can be confident that God moves in the details of history.
His sovereign hand inscribes the genealogies that affect our lives. His deepest desire
is to draw us out of the exile of our sin and into a life of worship with him.
storical Records From Adam
Noah's Sons
Adam, a Seth, Enosh,
Kenan, b Mahalalel, c
Jared, d
Enoch,' Methuselah/ Lamech,8
'The sons ofNoah:i
Shem, Ham and Japheth.i
;The sonsb ofJapheth:
Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal,
Meshech and Tiras.
Jbe sons of Gomer:
Ashkenaz, Rip hath' and Togarmah.
lhe sons ofJavan:
Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittim and the
Cush, Mizraim, d Put and Canaan.
'The sons of Cush:
Seba, Havilah, Sabta, Raamah and Sab-
!besons ofRaamah:
Sheba and Dedan.
was the father' of
Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty war-
rior on earth.
Mizraim was the father of
the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites,
1:1 'Ge 5:132;
Ll< 3:36-38
1:2 'Ge 5:9
' Ge 5:12 ' Ge 5:15
1:3' Ge5:18;
Jude 1:14
Ge 5:25
'Ge 5:29
1:4 ' Ge 6:10;
10:1 lGe 5:32
25; Lk 3:34 36
Pathrusites, Casluhites
(from whom the Philistines came) and
Canaan was the father of
Sidon his firstborn/ and of the Hittites,
Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites,
Hivites, Arkites, Sinites,
Zemarites and Hamathites.
The Semites
The sons ofShem:
Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud and
A ram.
The sons of Aram:g
Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshech.
Arphaxad was the father of Shelah,
and Shelah the father ofEber.
Two sons were born to Eber:
One was named Peleg,h because in his
time the earth was divided; his brother
was named Joktan.
Joktan was the father of
Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Je-
Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah,
Abimael, Sheba,
0phir, Havilah and
Jobab. All these were sons of]oktan.
Shem, k Arphaxad,i Shelah,
Eber, Peleg, Reu,
Serug, Nahor, Terah
and Abram (that is, Abraham).
The Family of Abraham
The sons of Abraham:
Isaac and Ishmael.
, Hebrew does not have this line.
5 Sons may mean descendants or successors or nations; also in verses 6-10,
E and Vulgate (see also Septuagint and Gen. 10:3); most Hebrew manuscripts Diphath
gyp a so rn verse 11 10 Father may mean ancestor or predacassor or founder also in verses 11 13 18 and 20
Stdonlans, the foremost 17 One Hebrew manuscript and some Septuagint ma'nuscripts (see 10:23)
102 manuscnpts do not have thos line. .'9 Peleg means di vision. '22 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Syriac
11:10) 8), most Hebrew manuscnpts Ebal ' 24 Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts Arphaxad, Cainan (see also note
____ __,_=:::lC'
11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111tltllllllllllllllllll llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllltlllllllllllllll ll lllllllllllllllllllllll "'
"Praise be to you, 0 LORD,
God of our father Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
1 Yours, 0 LoRD, is the greatness and the
and the glory and the majesty and the
for everything in heaven and earth is
Yours 0 LORD, is the kingdom;
' . I
you are exalted as head over all.
l Wealth and honorm come from you;
you are the ruler" of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
"Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.
29:11 IPs 24:8;
59:17: 62:11
'Ps 89:11
'Rev 5:12-13
21:12 2Ch 1:12
2Ch 20:6;
"Praise the LORD your God." So they all praised
the LORD, the God of their fathers; they bowed
low and fell prostrate before the LORD and the
21:15 Ps 39:12;
Heb11 :13
Job 14:2
Solomon Acknowledged as King
29:17 Ps 139:23:
Pr15:11: 17:3;
Jer11:20; 17:10
Ps 15:1-5
21:11 '1Ch 28:9
'Ps 72:1
21:21 '1KI8:62
21:22 '1Ch 23:1
'1KI1:33 39
21:23 r1KI2:12
29:25 '2Ch 1:1,12
' 1Ki 3:13: Ecc 2:9
29:26 "1Ch 18:14
21:27 '2Sa 5:4-
5: 1Ki2:11;
1Ch 3:4
liThe next day they made sacrifices to the
LORD and presented burnt offerings to him: a
thousand bulls, a thousand rams and a thou-
sand male lambs, together with their drink of-
ferings, and other sacrifices in abundance for
all Israel.
They ate and drank with great joy"
in the presence of the LORD that day.
Then they acknowledged Solomon son ofDa-
vid as king a second time, anointing him before
the LORD to be ruler and Zadokx to be priest.
llSo Solomon sat on the throneY of the LORD as
king in place of his father David. He prospered
and all Israel obeyed him.
All the officers and
mighty men, as well as all of King David's sons,
pledged their submission to King Solomon.
2sThe LoRD highly exalted Solomon in the
sight of all Israel and bestowed on him royal
splendor' such as no king over Israel ever had
The Death of David
26David son of Jesse was kingb over all Isra-
el. 27 He ruled over Israel forty years- seven
in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem.'
diedd at a good old age, having enjoyed long life,
wealth and honor. His son Solomon succeeded
him asking.
29 As for the events of King David's reign,
t4"But who am I, and who are my people, that
~ should be able to give as generously as this?
:verything comes from you, and we have giv-
:n you only what comes from your hand.
tre aliens and strangers in your sight, as were
tll our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a
:hadow,P without hope.
0 LORD our God, as
or all this abundance that we have provided
'or building you a temple for your Holy Name,
t comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to
fOU. ' ' I know, my God, that you test the heartq
1nd are pleased with integrity. All these things
nave I given willingly and with honest intent.
And now I have seen with joy how willingly your
people who are here have given to you.'
God of our fat)lers Abraham, Isaac and Israel,
keep this desire in the hearts of your people for-
ever, and keep their hearts loyal to you.
give my son Solomon the wholehearted devo-
tion' to keep your commands, requirements
and decrees' and to do everything to build the
palatial structure for which I have provided.""
29:28 Ge 15:15:
from beginning to end, they are written in the
records of Samuel the seer,! the records of Na-
than& the prophet and the records of Gadh the
seer, '
together with the details ofhis reign and
power, and the circumstances that surround-
ed him and Israel and the kingdoms of all the
other lands.
2oThen David said to the whole assembly,
Ac 13:36
' 1Ch 23:1
1Sa 9:9
2Sa 7:2
'1Sa 22:5
ll\llllll\llllllllllllllll llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll\llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll\lllllllllllllllllll\lllllllllll\lllllllllll\lllllllll\ll\llllllllil
he author of 1 and 2 Chronicles, often called "the Chronicler," used Israel's
history as a lesson for an audience in need of guidance and encouragement.
The emphasis in 2 Chronicles is the importance of the role of the temple and the
truth that God honors those who honor him. The first 40 years of Solomon's reign
are presented in chapters 1-9. Through repeated historical examples presented in
chapters 10-36, the Chronicler counsels the Israelites that God is still on the throne,
and they are still God's chosen people.
Woven throughout the book of 2 Chronicles are several stewardship principles. One
dominant principle concerns the questions, what do we do with God's gifts? and,
why give? The answer to both questions is the same: God's blessings are intended to
be used to bless him and bless others (chs. 1-7). A second and related stewardship
principle demonstrated in 2 Chronicles is that God's leaders must model generosity
(24:1-14). Joash and Jehoiada were leaders whose financial priorities were in order
and who were more interested in God's kingdom requirements than their own
comfort or desires. A third stewardship principle highlights the qualities of success
and failure (ch. 26). As long as King Uzziah sought the Lord, God caused him to
The book of 2 Chronicles introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
stewardship themes, sometimes through illuminations. You will be introduced to
Jehoiada, whose courageous acts made possible the restoration of temple worship
(22:10-23:21). You will also read about Christianity versus Christendom (12:1-8),
ruthless stewards of truth (18:1-27) and success in faithfulness (chs. 19-20).
God's desire is to bring us all into an intimate experience of worship with him.
The cycle of faith, fall, forgiveness and restoration is a natural outworking of our
daily experience as we seek to honor God. We can draw encouragement in knowing
that, not only does God desire to bless us, but he also has provided the means of
reconciliation through the gift of his Son.
God's messengers, despised his words and
scoffed at his prophets until the wrath r of the
LORD was aroused against his people and there
was no remedy.s
He brought up against them
the king of the Babylonians, who killed their
young men with the sword in the sanctuary,
and spared neither young manh nor young
woman, old man or aged. God handed all of
them over to Nebuchadnezzar.;
He carried to
Babylon all the articlesi from the temple of God,
both large and small, and the treasures of the
LORD's temple and the treasures of the king and
his officials.
They set firek to God's temple
and broke down the waum of Jerusalem; they
burned all the palaces and destroyed" every-
thing of value there.
zoHe carried into exileP to Babylon the rem-
nant, who escaped from the sword, and they
became servantsq to him and his sons until the
36:16 '2KI2:23;
Pr 125 Jer 513
'Ezr' 5:12;
Pr 1:30-31
2Ch 30:10;
Pr 29:1; Zec 1:2
3&:17 Jer 6:11
Ezr 512
Jer 32:2B
36:1Blver 7, 10
3&:19 Jer 11:16;
17:27; 21:10,14;
22:7; 32:29;
39:8; La 4:11 ;
Eze 20'47
Am 2:s: zec 11:1
2Ki 14:13
' La 2:6
Ps 79:1-3
36:20 Lev 26:44;
2Ki 24'14
ezr 2:,: Ne 7:6
Jer 27:7
36:21 'Lev 25:4;
26:34 '1Ch 22:9
'Jer 1:1; 25:11 ;
27:22; 29:10;
40:1 ; Oa 9:2;
Zec 1:12; 7:5
kingdom of Persia came to power.
The Ialli
enjoyed its sabbath rests;' all the time f i t s ~
olation it rested,' until the seventy years' were
completed in fulfillment of the word of the LoRD
spoken by Jeremiah.
In the first year of Cyrus" king of Persia, ia
order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by
Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyr
king of Persia to make a proclamation through.
out his realm and to put it in writing:
23"This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
"' The LoRD, the God ofheaven, has giv-
en me all the kingdoms of the earth and
he has appointedv me to build a temple
for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of
his people among you - may the LORDhis
God be with him, and let him go up.'
36:22 ' lsa 44:28; 45:1, 13; Jer 25:12; 29:10; Oa 1:21; 6:28; 10:1
38:23. Jdg 4:10
17 Or Che/deens
he book of Ezra describes how the king of Persia allowed the Jews to return
to Jerusalem after their time in exile. The body of the book is comprised of
descriptions of two different initiatives under Ezra's leadership: the rebuilding of
the temple (chs. 1-6) and the institution of religious reforms (chs. 7-10). As we
read about the tremendous sacrifices that God's people made in order to rebuild
and beautify the temple, we should remember that God's dwelling place today is
his people, not brick-and-mortar church buildings (see 1Co 6:19; Eph 2:19-22).
Accordingly, we are to build God's house by using our resources, time and energy to
care for the spiritual and material needs of others.
Stewardship principles related to building campaigns are central to the book of Ezra.
The original temple in Jerusalem was of unmatched grandeur, reflecting Israel's
devotion to God. It was plundered and burned by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.,
leaving it in ruins (see 2Ki 25:8-17). The Jewish exiles returned home years later to
rebuild. Despite hardship and opposition (see Ezr 4), they continued to invest their
time, energy and other costly resources for the temple's reconstruction (chs. 7-8).
The Lord deserved the best place of residence they could offer.
The book of Ezra introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through illuminations. Features include our responsibility
to steward hope (1:1-11), the principles of giving in proportion to our ability
(2:68-69), our responsibility to be stewards of God's "living" house (3:7 -13),
God's sovereignty over the world's economy (7:11-28) and the importance of
accountability (10:1-5).
Today God inhabits his people. We are like "living stones [that) are being
built into a spiritual house" for our God (1Pe 2:5). In light of this truth, what
investments-both spiritual and material-are we making in the people of God?
How should we evaluate our priorities in addressing "disrepair" and "ruin"? In a
day and age that focuses on the trappings of externals, Ezra points us to the heart of
temple worship and God's ultimate priority: the spiritual restoration of his people in
Jesus Christ.
nspired by word of the broken-down walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah gave up
a comfortable position as cupbearer to the king of Persia in order to lead a
dangerous reconstruction effort. Upon his arrival, Nehemiah encountered both
intense opposition from the surrounding peoples and social uproar caused by
issues of injustice within Judah. A famine had swept over the region, leading to
an economic crisis that caused many of the poorer members of society to become
vulnerable to high interest rates set by their wealthier countrymen. Nehemiah
responded not only by instituting political reform but also by setting an example of
personal generosity in public service.
The book of Nehemiah focuses on the stewardship principle of modeling generosity.
Nehemiah led the returning exiles to Jerusalem. As governor, Nehemiah had the
right to collect taxes and receive a large food allowance as part of his gubernatorial
pay (5:14-16). But he relinquished those rights and refused to acquire personal
property in Judah. Furthermore, he set an unprecedented example of generosity
in his role as leader by personally paying for over 150 people to eat at his table
1/llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll ll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll lllllllll l llllllllllllllllllllllll ll ll
l"''"uuau's Prayer
The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah:
In the ofKislev in the twentieth year,
I was m the citadel ofSusa, 2Hanani, bone
brothers, came from Judah with some
men, and I questioned them about the
rem,nant< that survived the exile, and
about Jerusalem.
Th 'd "
ey saJ to me, Those who survived the
1 and are back in the province are in great
and disgrace. The wall ofJerusalem is
down, and its gates have been burned
1:1'Ne 10:1;
1:2 'Ne 7:2
'Jer 52:28
1:3 '2Kl25:10;
Ne 2:3,13, 17
1:4Ps 137: 1
1:5 lOt 7:21;
Ne 4:14 ' Ex 20:6;
1Ki 8: 29
01 28:1415;
Ps 106:6
1 :8
tev 26:33
1:8 "0130:4
ey are your servants and your
people, whom you redeemed by your
feat strength and your mighty hand. P
0 Lord, let your ear be attentiveq to the
prayer of this your servant and to the
prarer of your servants who delight in re-
venng your name. Give your servant suc-
cess today by granting him favor in the
presence of this man."
I was cupbearer' to the king.
Ar'taxerxes Sends Nehemiah
to Jerusalem
on a daily basis "because the demands were heavy on these people" (5:17 -18; cf.
Dt 17:14-17). All his predecessors had enjoyed their pay and their privileges, but
because of the great need among the people, Nehemiah saw personal sacrifice as the
right way to show "reverence for God" (Ne 5:15).
'When I heard these things, I sat down and
'For some days I mourned and fasted rand
--------- - ---- - -------------- - -------It, before the God of heaven. sThen I said:
2 In the m?nth of Nisan in the twentieth
year of Kmg when wine was
for him, I took the wine and gave it to
the kmg. I had not been sad in his presence be-
fore; 2so the king asked me, "Why does your
face look so sad when you are not ill? This can
be nothing but sadness of heart."
The book of Nehemiah introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
stewardship themes, sometimes through challenges to stewardship such as economic
crisis (5:1-13). You will be introduced to Nehemiah, who set aside the privileges
of his position to be a model of financial integrity (5:1-19); Hanani, Nehemiah's
brother, and Hananiah, both men of integrity (7:1-4); and Shelemiah, Zadok,
Pedaiah and Hanan, whose reputations led to positions of responsibility (13:12-14).
You will also read about true joy and contentment (2:1-2), wise stewardship
and division of labor (ch. 3), the tyranny of "what if" (4:15-23), being master or
mastered (9:5 -38) and Old Testament giving (12:44,47).
"0 LORD, God of heaven, the great and
awesome God,S who keeps his covenant of
hveh with those who love him and obey
lis commands,
let your ear be attentive
and your eyes open to heari the prayeri
rour servant is praying before you day
1nd night for your servants, the people
oflsrael. I confess the sins we Israelites
mduding myself and my father's house'
have committed agai'nst you. 7We
lcted very wickedlyk toward you. We have
obeyed the commands, decrees and
you gave your servant Moses.
"Rem b
em er t e Instruction you gave
rour servant Moses, saying, 'If you are Nehemiah demonstrates a Christlike example in his willingness to lay down what
was rightfully his for the benefit of those he loved and served. In contrast to a view
of entitlement, Nehemiah saw the gifts and privileges of his position as tools to be
used for the benefit of others. His life challenges us to ask the question, what am I
willing to set aside to build the kingdom of God?
I will scatterm you among the
nations, 9but if you return to me and obey
commands, then even if your exiled
are at the farthest horizon, I will
!ather" them from there and bring them

2:1' Ezr 7: 1
2:3' 1KI1:31;
Oa 2:4; 5:10;
6:6,21 'Ps 137:6
'Ne 1:3

2:7 'Ezr 8:36
I was very much afraid, 3but I said to the
king, "May the king live forever! ' Why should
my face not look sad when the cityu where my
fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates
have been destroyed by fire ?"
4The king said to me, "What is it you want?"
Then I prayed to the God of heaven, sand I
the king, "If it pleases the king and
servant has found favor in his sight, let
htm send me to the city in Judah where my fa-
thers are buried so that I can rebuild it."
6Then the kingw, with the queen sitting
him, asked me, "How long will your
JOUrney take, and when will you get back?" It
pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.
7I also said to him, "If it pleases the
king, may I have letters to the governors of
Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me
safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? sAnd may
111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 "' ....
he book of Esther beautifully harmonizes God's providence and human
obedience. While the book makes it clear that God's redemptive purposes will
move forward no matter what we may choose for ourselves (4:14), we do find that
God often gifts and calls us to participate in his good and providential plans. In
particular, Esther's willingness to use her gifts sacrificially for the sake of others
presents us with a challenging example as we struggle today to obey God with our
own abundant gi-fts and resources.
The book of Esther presents the principle of providence and stewardship as it
describes God's provision for his people against all odds. Through God's providence,
Esther was chosen by Xerxes, king of Persia, to become queen. Later, when .
Mordecai, her cousin, informed Esther of a plot to slaughter the Jews living in
Persia, Esther chose to speak to the king even though going before the king without
an invitation would mean almost certain death. Esther determined to face death
in pursuit of her people's safety, trusting that God's will would be done (4:16).
Through a series of providential circumstances, the Jewish people were saved and
the plotter executed. However, obedience also plays a pivotal role in the story of
Esther. In the midst of her seemingly impossible dilemma, God's providence and
Esther's stewardship of her power and position go hand in hand to accomplish God's
purposes (4:13-14).
The book of Esther introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship such
as self-centeredness, as seen in the life of Haman (6:1-13). You will be introduced to
Esther and read of God's oversight in her life (4:9 - 17), and you will meet Mordecai,
whose character and compassionate nature advanced him to second in rank in
the kingdom of Persia (10:1-3). You will also read about stewardship of p o ~ s s
(1:1-12) and stewardship of opportunities (9:23-32).
Esther avoided the trap of pride. When we have much, it is easy to take credit for
the roles God has given us. Both Esther and Mordecai understood the importance
of using the totality of their lives-their power, position, family resources and
influence-as a means of serving God, family and the people of God. By carefully
stewarding our gifts for God's purposes, we allow God's provision to take hold in
our lives. By practicing obedient stewardship and celebrating God's provision, we
become better stewards who acknowledge that all good things come from God's
gracious hand (see Jas 1:17).
Queen Vashti Deposed
This is what happened during the time of
Xerxes, the Xerxes who ruled over 127
provincesb stretching from India to Cushb:'
rbat time King Xerxes reigned from his royal
throne in the citadel ofSusa,d
and in the third
year of his reign he gave a banquet' for all his
nobles and officials. The military leaders of
Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles
ofthe provinces were present.
For a full 180 days he displayed the vast
wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and
glory of his majesty.
When these days were
over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven
days, r in the enclosed gardeng of the king's pal-
ace, for all the people from the least to the. great-
est, who were in the citadel ofSusa.
The garden
bad hangings of white and blue linen, fastened
with cords of white linen and purple material
to silver rings on marble pillars. There were
couchesh of gold and silver on a mosaic pave-
ment of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and
other costly stones.
Wine was served in goblets
of gold, each one different from the other, and
the royal wine was abundant, in keeping with
the king's liberality. i
By the king's command
each guest was allowed to drink in his own way,
for the king instructed all the wine stewards to
serve each man what he wished.
'Queen Vashti also gave a banqueti for the
women in the royal palace of King Xerxes.
0n the seventh day, when King Xerxes was
in high spiritsk from wine,
he commanded the
seven eunuchs who served him- Mehuman,
Biztha, Harbona, m Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and
Carcas -
to bring" before him Queen Vashti,
Wearing her royal crown, in order to display her
1:1 'Ezr 4:6;
Oa 9:1 'Est 9:30;
Oa 3:2; 6:1
Ezr 4:9;
1:3' 1Ki3:15;
Est 2:18
Jdg 14:17
Est 7:7-8
Eze 23:41;
Am3:12; 6:4
Est 2:18;
1:911Ki 3:15
1:10 'Jdg 16:25;
Ru 3:7
Ge 14:18;
Est 3:15; 5:6; 7:2;
Pr 31:4-7; Oa 5:1-
1:11 SS2:4
Eze 16:14
1:12 Ge 39:19;
Est 2:21; 7:7;
1:13 <1Ch 12:32;
Jer 10:7; Oa 2:12
1:14 '2KI25:19;
1:18 'Pr 19:13;
1:19 ' Ecc 8:4
Oa6:8, 12
to the people and nobles, for she was
lovely to look at.
But when the attendants de-
livered the king's command, Queen Vashti re-
fused to come. Then the king became furious
and burned with anger.P
Since it was customary for the king to con-
sult experts in matters of law and justice, he
spoke with the wise men who understood the
and were closest to the king- Carshe-
na, .Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Mar-
sena and Memucan, the seven nobles' of Persia
and Media who had special access to the king
and were highest in the kingdom.
"According to law, what must be done to
Queen Vashti?" he asked. "She has not obeyed
the command of King Xerxes that the eunuchs
have taken to her."
Then Memucim replied in the presence
of the king and the nobles, "Queen Vashti has
done wrong, not only against the king but also
against all the nobles and the peoples of all the
provinces of King Xerxes.
For the queen's
conduct will become known to all the women,
and so they will despise their husbands and say,
'King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be
brought before him, but she would not come.'
Th is very day the Persian and Median wom-
en of the nobility who have heard about the
queen's conduct will respond to all the king's
nobles in the same way. There will be no end of
disrespect and discord.
"Therefore, if it pleases the king, t let him
issue a royal decree and let it be written in the
laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be re-
pealed, " that Vashti is never again to enter the
presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give
her royal position to someone else who is bet-
ter than she.
Then when the king's edict is
Hebrew Ahasuerus, a variant of Xerxes' Persian name; here and throughout Esther > 1 That Is, the upper Nile region

n to them.
For Haman son ofHam-
:he Agagite,' the enemy of all the jews,
j against the jews to destroy them and
1e pur (that is, the loth) for their ruin
But when the plot came to the
:ntion," he issued written orders that
heme Haman had devised against the
ld come back onto his own head,' and
1d his sons should be hangedd on the

(Therefore these days were called

om the word pur.C) Because of every-
ten in this letter and because of what
;een and what had happened to them,
; took it upon themselves to establish
n that they and their descendants and
1in them should without fail observe
days every year, in the way prescribed
! time appointed.
These days should
1bered and observed in every genera-
ery family, and in every province and
:ity. And these days of Purim should
tse tobe celebrated by the jews, nor
e memory of them die out among their
}ueen Esther, daughter of Abihail,8
th Mordecai the jew, wrote with full
9:24 ex 17:8
16 est 3:7
'Lev 16:8
9:25 ' Ps 7:16
ot 21:2223
vtr 20;
Est 3:7
9:2tEst 2:15
Est 4:16
10:1 'Ps 72:10;
97:1; lsa 24:15
9:4 Ge 41:44
Est 2:23
to:3 oa 5:7
Ge 41:43
Ge 41:40
Ne 2:10;
authority to confirm this second letter con.
cerning Purim.
And Mordecai sent letters to
all the Jews in the 127 provincesh of the king.
dom of Xerxes- words of goodwill and as.
to establish these days of Purim
at their designated times, as Mordecai the Jew
and Queen Esther had decreed for them, and as
they had established for themselves and their
descendants in regard to their times of fastingi
and lamentation)
Esther's decree confirmed
these regulations about Purim, and it was.writ
ten. down in the records.
The Greatness of Mordecai
King Xerxes imposed tribute through
out the empire, to its distant shores.'
And all his acts of power and might, together
with a full account of the greatness of Mordecai'
to which the king had raised him, m are they not
written in the book of the annals" of the kings
of Media and Persia? l-Mordecai the je,w was
second in rankP to King Xerxes, q preeminent
among the jews, and held in high esteem by his
many fellow jews, because he worked for the
good of his people and spoke up for the welfare
of all the Jews.'
1en Esther came before the king
llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll llllll
. '
he book of Job tells of a man of impeccable integrity and enormous wealth who
lost everything. We are told that God allowed Satan to strip Job of all that he
had in order to see whether Job's obedience was motivated by true love for God or
by the fruit of God's blessings that he enjoyed. The body of the book treats us to a
dialogue between Job and his "friends"-Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Elihu-who
wrongly supposed that Job's suffering was caused by sin. After all, we reap what
we sow, right? Job counters that he is blameless, and he holds up his exemplary
generosity and ceaseless concern for the poor as the primary proof of his righteous-
ness (29:11 -17; 31:16-25). Finally, God speaks to Job directly and rebukes Job's
friends. The book ends with the twofold restoration of all that Job had lost.
The book of Job provides a poignant setting for the stewardship principle of
generosity and justice. Job 31:16-25 shows that active oppression and peaceful
coexistence with injustice can be two sides of the same coin. Until we come to grips
with our own responsibility to provide assistance to those in need, we will never
become generous. The practice of giving to those who do not have basic necessities
is not merely a matter of generosity; it is a matter of acting justly (cf. Mic 6:8).
A second stewardship principle deals with the wisdom that should accompany
wealth. We are to use the resources we have in wise and open handed ways that
are characterized by a ceaseless concern for the poor and immediate responsiveness
to their needs (29:11-17; 31:16-25). A third stewardship principle relates to our
responsibility toward God's creation. In chapters 38-41 God speaks to Job and
details all the wonders of the 'created world, affirming the Lord's dominion over all
his creation. Everything is God's (41:11), yet God has obligated to steward
all of cteation in a responsible, sustainable and conscientious manner.
The book of Job introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship such
as despair (ch. 10) and the difficult question of why the wicked prosper (ch. 21).
You will also read about the blessing of wealth and the perils of prosperity (1:1-5),
the truth that heaven is our true home (8:8-19), human stewardship of the animal
kingdom (12:7 -10), our journey toward the final consummation (14:1-12), the
stewardship implications of bodily resurrection (19:25 -26), stewardship of creativity
(39:5 -18), God's dominion over pain and loss (41:11,34) and Job's amazing
restoration (42:10).
The book of Job scrapes away the superficialities of life arrd looks at how we struggle
in the face of pain, injustice and suffering. Job reminds us that when the questions
of life seem to offer no hope, we have but one answer: our response is God, our
resource is God, our refuge is God.
he book of Psalms teaches us that God is the Creator and King of all the
earth and the absolute owner of everything (24; 50). The creation is glorious
I points us to the Creator (19:1- 4). Composed in response to dozens of urgent
tations, written by many different authors over a span of years, the psalms teach
that God is our refuge and rock, our only source of safety and security (18; 46).
a book of praise and poetry, Psalms teaches us that God alone is to be sought as
ultimate source of our satisfaction (42). We are called to praise the Lord with all
have (150).
te of the many stewardship principles in Psalms is the comforting truth that God's
!cia! concern for the powerless is realized in the prayers of the poor (34:6; 40:17;.
:1; 109:21-22). A related principle addresses the matter of what we put our trust
Money has always been the leading contender against God for our trust, yet the
almist calls God his "portion," or possession, and refers to God as his "refuge"
3:26; 142:5).
A third principle relates to God as the Creator. The book of Psalms describes the
as a work of the Lord (33:6-9), as part of the Lord's kingdom (97:1) and as
stained by God (104:5-30). When God's creation is defiled, it is a result of human
1 and a breach in the divine call for human beings to exercise caring dominion
er the earth. Another principle found in Psalms is that of satisfaction. God desires
at his people be completely satisfied in him; anything less is intolerable (42:1-2;
he book of Psalms introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
temes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship
1ch as ungodly counsel (1), deceit (5:1-12), pride (18:25-30), envy of the wealthy
3), and forgetfulness (105 -106). You will read about Jesus' stewardship of lament
Features include notes on the following topics: work (8:1- 9), communication
l4:4-5), devotion to God (16:1-11; 50:1- 23), God's provision (23:1-6;
07:8-9), trust in God (20-21; 27:1-14; 49:1 -20; 55:1-23), creation (24:1-10;
6:1-20; 104:1- 35; 108:7-9), time (31:15), contentment (34:1-22), generosity
57:1 -7; 112:1-10), justice (72:1-20), humanism (82:1-8), numbering our days
praise (98:4- 9; 135:1-21; 141:2; 148-150}, wisdom (111:10), God's law
119:105 -112), parenting (127:1-5; 139:1-16) and unity (133:1-3).
)salms calls us to "taste and see that the LORD is good" (34:8). God's banquet is laid
>efore us, yet often we stand before the table, starving and clinging to the rubbish
n our hands. God desires that we feast on knowing and loving him and find true
;atisfaction in him as our portion.
11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 111111111111111111111111111
lllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
Psalms 1-41
Psalm 1
Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the
or stand in the way of sinners
or sitb in the seat of mockers.
But his delight' is in the law of the LORD, d
and on his law he meditates day and
He is like a treef planted by streams ofwater,s
which yields its fruitb in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers. i
Not so the wicked!
They are like chaffi
that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not standk in the
nor sinners in the assembly of the
'For the LORD watches overm the way of the
but the way of the wicked will perish. n
Psalm 2
Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot
in vain?
The kingsP of the earth take their stand
the rulers gather together
agamst the LORD .
and against his Anointedq One. br
1:1 'Pr4:14
'Ps 264
Jen5: ii
1:2 'Ps 119:16,
Ps 119:1
Jos 1:8
1:3 'Ps 128:3
Jer 17:8
'Eze 47:12
'Ge 39:3
1:41Job 21:18;
lsa 17:13
1:5 'Ps 5:5
'Ps 9:7-8,16
1:6 ps 37:18;
2n 2:19' Ps 9:6
2:1 'Ps 21:11
2:2 Ps 48:4
Jn 1:41
'Ps 74:18,23;
Ac 4:25-26"
2:3 'Jer 5:5
2:4 ' Ps 37:13;
59:8; Pr 1:26
2:5 'Ps 21 :9;
2:7 'Ac 13:33";
Heb 1:5"
2:1"Ps 22:27
2:9 'Rev 12:5
rps 89:23
'Rev 2:27"
2:11 'Heb 12:28
'Ps 119:119-120
2:12 ' Jn 5:23
Rev 6:16
'Ps 34;8; Ro 9:33
3:TIUo ' 2Sa 15:14
"L b k
et us rea the1r chains," they say,
"and throw off their fetters."
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;'
the Lord scoffs at them.
srhen he rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, u saying
"I h . '
ave mstalled my King'
on Zion, my holy hill."
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD:
He said to me, "You are my Sond;
today I have become your Father ...
and I will make the nations your
the ends of the earth w your possession.
You will rule them with an iron scepterf;x
you will dash them to piecesY like
Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear
and rejoice with trembling. b
K. h S
tss t e on,' lest he be angry
and you be destroyed in your way,
for his wrathd can flare up in a moment.
l,llessed are all who take refuge in him.
Psalm 3
A psalm ofDavid. When he fled from
his son Absalom. f
0 LORD, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
"God will not deliver him.8"
I Hebrew Se t . .
19 Or . P uagtnt rage '2 Or anointed one 6 o
will break them wi th a rod of iron t 2 A word of in verse 12 ' 7 Or have begotten you
""'"'11111111111111 g, cumng frequen11y rn the Psalms; possibly a musical term
lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllllll llllll lll "'
VI 150:2
e him for his acts of power;i
aise him for his surpassing greatness.k
;e him with the sounding of the
aise him with the harp and lyre, . m
;e him with tambourine and danong,
:aise him with the strings" and flute,
150:2 101 3:24
"Ps 145:56
Ps 149:3
150:4 Ex 15:20
tsa 38:20
150:5 "1Ch 13:8;
150:1 Ps 145:21
Spraise him with the clash of.cymbals,o
praise him with resoundmg
6Let everythingP that has breath praise the
Praise the LORD.
'""f"1le book of Proverbs provides instruction for living a wise, well-ordered life
1 (1:1 - 7). Proverbs is positive and enthusiastic about the goodness of wealth
(8:18), but the book also reminds us of wealth's limited value in light of eternity
(11:4,28). We learn that the fear of the Lord is better than riches (15:16). Proverbs
has more to say about wealth and poverty than almost any other topic. In Proverbs
we read about the wisdom of generosity, stewardship, hard work and diligence; we
are also warned against the impoverishing powers of greed, presumptuous planning,
and the folly of laziness and risky lending. The wisdom of Proverbs is embodied in a
description of the wife of noble character at the book's end (31:10-31).
The principle of o v r ~ y and riches is set forth in Proverbs. The only prayer request
in this book is to seek neither poverty nor riches but only one's daily bread (30:8-9).
Proverbs also presents the wisdom of generosity, speaking of generosity as an
opportunity for reward (19:17; 22:9; 28:27). Another principle teaches the wisdom of
work. Proverbs demonstrates the wisdom of working hard (12:14; 14:23).
The book of Proverbs introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship
such as dealing with scoundrels and villains (6:12- 14), evil desires (11:4-6),
self-deception (14:12) and gluttony (23:20-21). You will also read about where
knowledge begins (1:1-7), the worth of wisdom (3:13-16), what makes a steward
wise (4:5-9), stewardship and education (6:20- 23), the foundation of stewardship
(8:18-36), environmental stewardship (12:11), seeki ng wise counsel (15:22), making
financial plans that presume the future (16:1-3), wealth and pride (18:23), God's
working through business (20:4), stewardship of one's reputation (22:1), discipling
children (23:12-14), faithfulness in big and small things (27:23-27), attitudes
of entitlement and the resulting problems (28:24) and contentment with finances
The wife of noble character embodies the wisdom of Proverbs (31:10-31).
Stewardship and generosity are her crowning characteristics. She blends business
savvy and domestic skill, opens her arms to the poor and extends help to the needy.
J Her love for God is expressed in the way she approaches the details of life as a
steward of her talents and gifts. Her stewardship and skills for living are expressions
of her fear of God and belief that he is intimately involved in every facet of life.
.. 'H
:lesiastes is an expose on the meaninglessness of life "under the sun," a term
tat refers to this world in its fallen condition. After investigating everything
ughly-including money, sex, power, pleasure, adventure and knowledge-the
1er finds that it all comes to nothing. He exposes our extravagant expectations
ding self-fulfillment and satisfaction as hopelessly naive. This life is a naked-
, naked-go deal. And apart from God and his eternal purposes, even massive
mts of money will leave us feeling unfulfilled and in desperate need of
thing more. The Teacher's argument contains many details, but in the end,
s the conclusion of the matter: Fearing God and keeping his commandments
:aningful because it is what we were made to do (12:13). Eventually, God will
tate every thought and action, whether good or evil.
imary principle presented in the book of Ecclesiastes is the concept that money
tot provide true and lasting meaning for our lives. The Teacher's personal
essions were sprawled over entire geographical regions, yet when he looked
md, he concluded that all was meaningless (2:11). Intertwined with this
:ept is the principle of satisfaction in simple gifts. The enjoyment the Teacher
mmends is enjoyment that finds pleasure in the process of life itself, not just the
iuction and accumulation of goods {8:15).
: book of Ecclesiastes introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
vardship themes, sometimes through illuminations. You will read about enjoying
pie gifts {2:1-26), Christianity and environmentalism {3:1-11), stewarding
:itutions and patterns of life (5:8-9), lifestyle limitations (7:8 -14), dependence on
d's providence (9:10-11) and the truth that generosity is both an opportunity and
obligation (11:1-4).
e Teacher of the book of Ecclesiastes gripped the world's wealth in one hand and
: power to pursue every hedonistic pleasure in the other. In the end, he discovered
,e wisdom: our satisfaction lies in fearing God and keeping his commandments.
e wise are those who find their purposes fulfilled and their dreams realized in
!ir Creator.
.------ -- - -- - - - - - - - - - --- -- - - - - -- --
Everything Is Meaningless
The words of the Teacher, a son of David
king in Jerusalem:b '
1:1 ver 12;
Ec.: 7:27; 12:10
'Pr 1:1
1:2 'Ps 39:5-6;
62:9; 144:4;
Ecc 12:8;
Wisdom Is Meaningless
I2I, the Teacher, k was king over Israel in Je-
r usalem. ur devoted myself to study and to ex-
plore by wisdom all that is done under heaven.
What a heavy burden God has laid on menJ114I
"M . I
eantng ess! Meaningless!"
says the Teacher.
"Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless."'
What does man gain from all his labor
at which he toils under the sun?d
G .
enerattons come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever. e
The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises f
The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.8
All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing, h
nor the ear its fill of hearing
What has been will be again,
what been done will be done again; i
there IS nothing new under the sun.
Is of which one can say,
Look! This IS something new"?
It here already, long ago;
It was here before our time
II .
There is no remembrance of men of old,
and even those who are yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow)
'I 0 I
r eacter of the assembly; also in verses 2 and 12
Ro 8:20-21
Ecc 2:11.22;
3:9; 5:1516
1:4 'Ps 104:5;
Ps 19:56
1:7 I Job 36:28
1:B'Pr 27:20

1:11 1Ec.: 2:16
1:12 'ver 1
Ge 3:17;
Ecc 3:10
1:15 'Ecc 7:13
1:18 ' 1KI3:12;
4:30; Ecc 2:9
1:17 Ecc 7:23
<Ecc 2:3.12;
1:18 Ecc 2:23;
8:15; Lk 12:19
2:2 'Pr 14:13;
Ecc 7:6
2:3 ver 2425
Ecc 3:12-13 '
'Ecc 1:17
2:4 "1KI7:1-12
ss a:11
have seen all the things that are done under the
sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing af-
ter the wind. m
What is twisted cannot be straightened;"
what is lacking cannot be counted.
thought to myself, "Look, I have grown
and Increased in wisdom more than anyone
who has ruled over Jerusalem before me I
have experienced much of wisdom and
d "
Th .
e ge. en I applied myself to the under-
standing of wisdom,P and also of madness and
folly, q but I learned that this, too, is a chasing
after the wind.
I8p . h
or Wit much wisdom comes much
the more knowledge, the more grief.'
Are Meaningless
2 I thought in my heart, "Come now, I will
test you with pleasure' to find out what is
g,?od." But that also proved to be meaningless.
2 Laughter,"' I said, "is foolish. And what does
accomplish?" 31 tried cheering myself
and embracing follyv _my mind
still guidtng me with wisdom. I wanted to see
what was worthwhile for men to do under heav-
en during the few days of their Jives.
4I undertook great projects: I built houses for
myselfw and planted vineyards. sr made gar-
dens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit
trees in them. 6I made reservoirs to water groves
:SIASTES 11:10
now that for all these things
,d will bring you to judgment. d
en, banish anxiety< from your heart
d cast off the troubles of your body,
. 1 f
r youth and vigor are meanmg ess.
Remembers your Creator
in the days of your youth,
re the days of troubleh come
d the years approach when you will
[find no pleasure in them"-
re the sun and the light
nd the moon and the stars grow dark,
nd the clouds return after the rain;
~ the keepers of the house tremble,
.nd the strong men stoop,
m the grinders cease because they are
md those looking through the windows
grow dim;
en the doors to the street are closed
and the sound of grinding fades;
en men rise up at the sound of birds,
but all their songs grow faint;
en men are afraid of heights
and of dangers in the streets;
en the almond tree blossoms
and the grasshopper drags himself
and desire no longer is stirred.
en man goes to his eternal homei
and mournersk go about the streets.
Job 19:29;
Ecc 2:24; 3:17;
12:14; Ro 14:10
11:10 ' PS 94:19
'Ecc 2:24
12:1 Ecc 11:8
' 2Sa 19:35
Jer 25:10
12:5 1Job 17:13;
10:21 'Jer 9:17;
Ge 3:19;
Job 34:15;
Ps 146:4
Ecc 3:21
Job 20:8;
Zec 12:1
12:8' Ecc 1:2
12:10 Pr 22:20
12:11 Ezr 9:8
12:12 'Ecc 1:18
12:13 '014:2;
10:12 Mic 6:8
12:14 ' Ecc 3:17
Mt 10:26;
1Co 4:5
6Remember him- before the silver cord is
or the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
or the wheel broken at the well,
7 and the dust returns' to the ground it came
and the spirit returns to Godm who gave it.
8"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the
"Everything is meaningless!""
The Conclusion of the Matter
9Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he
imparted knowledge to the people. He pon-
dered and searched out and set in order many
The Teacher searched to find just
the right words, and what he wrote was upright
and true.q
liThe words of the wise are like goads,
their collected sayings like firmly embedded
nails' - given by one Shepherd.
Be warned,
my son, of anything in addition ~ them.
Of making many books there 1s no end, and
much study wearies the body.'
uNow all has been heard;
here is the conclusion ofthe matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,'
for this is the whole "duty" of man.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,'
including every hidden thing,w
whether it is good or evil.
''the leader of the assembly; also in verses 9 and 10 . IIIII
11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11 11111111111111
he Song of Songs (literally, "the best of songs") is a collection of love poems.
While one might not expect to find anything relevant to stewardship and
generosity in such a book, in reality there is much to be gleaned from this text. As
Biblical scholar Craig L. Blomberg notes, "There is no question that the language of
Jove on the lips of both bride and bridegroom regularly appeals to the beauties and
delights of earthly possessions. Weddings to this day, as in the ancient world, are
often once-in-a-lifetime occasions for particularly lavish expenditures, and this is not
necessarily bad." Nevertheless, Blomberg concludes, "The main thrust of this short
book is not to teach prescriptively about the right or wrong use of earthly goods but
to celebrate the love that lies behind the luxury."
The role of luxury in love is the surprising principle established in the Song of Songs,
a book in which luxury and romantic love go hand in hand. The lover rejoices at
the opportunity to adorn his beloved with gifts (1:9-11). A second principle related
to love addresses mutual belonging, the concept that "my lover is mine and I am
his" (2:16). This voluntary aspect within marriage is driven by love and sacrifice.
Yet another facet of this concept is the principle of love and ownership that is
foundational to a lasting and exclusive relationship (8:6). A final principle presents
the power of love over money (8:7). Love is seen to be more powerful than death, the
grave, fire or flood, with the culminating comparison being that of the power of love
over wealth and possessions.
The book of Song of Songs introduces concepts that illustrate stewardship themes.
You will be introduced to stewardship of the marital bond (2:16), sexuality and
spiritual discernment (7:1 - 10) and stewardship of relationships and love (8:6- 7).
The book of Song of Songs calls us to enjoy love in its physical and relational
richness in marriage. We may even enjoy the pleasure of indulging our loved one
in luxuries as an expression of our devotion. But true devotion expresses itself in
fidelity, sacrifice and honor. True extravagance in love is expressed in our desire to
give of ourselves on behalf of our beloved .
! I would lead you
and bring you to my mother's houseY-
she who has taught me.
I would give you spiced wine to drink,
the nectar of my pomegranates.
3 His left arm is under my head
and his right arm embraces me!
4Daughters of)erusalem, I charge you:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.
s Who' is this coming up from the desertb
leaning on her lover?
Under the apple tree I roused you;
there your mother conceived' you,
there she who was in labor gave you birth.
6place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for loved is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame. '
7Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of his house for love,
. itd would be utterly scorned. r .
s We have a young sister,
and her breasts are not yet grown.
8:3' 552:6
8:4 ss 2:7; 3:5
8:5 ss 3:6
'55 3:4
8:6' 55 1:2
Nu 5:14
8:7 'Pr 6:35
8:11 Ecc 2:4
'lsa 7:23
SS 1:6
8:14 ip, 5:19
' SS2:9
ss 2:e.11
What shall we do for our sister
for the day she is spoken for?
If she is a wall,
we will build towers of silver on her.
If she is a door,
we will enclose her with panels of
1 am a wall,
and my breasts are like towers.
thus I have become in his eyes
like one bringing contentment.
Solomon had a vineyards in Baal
he let out his vineyard to tenants.
Each was to bring for its fruit
a thousand shekels' h of silver.
11 But my own vineyard
is mine to give;
the thousand shekels are for you,
0 Solomon,
and two hundred! are for those who tend
its fruit.
nyou who dwell in the gardens
with friends in attendance,
let me hear your voice!
Come away, my lover,
and be like a gazellei
or like a young stagk
. I
on the spice-Ia en moun tams.
' 7 o h 11 That is, about 25 pound (about
, 6 Or ardor 6 Hebrew Sheol ' 6 Or I like the very flame of the LoRo . r e
11.5 kilograms); also In verse 12 I 12 That is, about5 pounds (about2.3 klograms) Ill
he prophet Isaiah delivered a message of judgment and hope during a period
of Judah's corruption and decline. The prophet warned of God's judgment,
especially regarding the people's pride in their possessions (2:6-4:1; 23:1-18). He
called them to forsake hope in human resources (chs. 30-31) and condemned them
for economic injustice such as exploiting the poor and oppressed (1:2-23; 58:1-14).
Isaiah also conveyed hope and comfort, grounded in the Anointed One's atoning
sacrifice (52:13-53:12). The gospel is clearly given in Isaiah 61:1-2, the same text
Jesus quoted when he began his ministry (see Lk 4:18 - 19). Through Jesus' use of
Isaiah's prophecy, we find that the Good News is not only a message of forgiveness
from sin but also a message of freedom for the oppressed and good news to the poor
(Isa 61:1). Isaiah helps to highlight the economic dimensions of the gospel.
One elemental stewardship principle in the book of Isaiah defines who the poor
are. When we confine our Christian witness to sharing the words of the gospel
with the "spiritually" poor or doing works of justice on behalf of the "materially"
poor, we have misunderstood the gospel of Jesus (61:1-2). No difference exists
between the two. Through his life and death, Jesus purchased our salvation on the
cross- salvation that encompasses every facet of our lives. In response to this total
salvation, we are called to minister to the spirit ual and physical needs of the people
around us. A second principle encompasses receiving in order to give. God calls
us to come to him as needy people who have nothing; he then enriches us freely so
we might give generously (55:1; 58:6-7). Salvation for the idolatrous is yet another
principle found in the book of Isaiah. Though God's punishment for idolatry is
severe, he forgives and restores those who repent and call on his name (ch. 12).
The book of Isaiah introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship such
as rebellion .and corruption (1:2-23), pride in possessions (39:1-8) and a warning to
spiritual leaders (56:9- 57:21). You will read about Isaiah's prophetic commissioning
(6:5 -13) and about Shebna, an unfaithful steward and Eliakim, a faithful steward
(22:15 -25). Features include notes on the topics of wealth (2:6-22; 23:1-18), justice
(5:1- 7; 42:1-9), hope (11:1-11), worship and praise (12:1-6; 54:1-17), creation
(29:15-16; 32:9-20; 35:1-10; 45:1; 65:17-25), trust in God (30-31; 40:1-11),
idolatry (44:6-23), regret (48:18), evangelism (49:6), suffering (52:13-53:12), the
Word (55:10-11) and giving to others (58:1-14; 61:1-11; 66:18-23).
The book of Isaiah reminds us that Christ's redemption is a message of good news
to the poor that encompasses both spiritual and material poverty. Our faith has
economic and social implications as we show our love for God in a broken and fallen
world, bringing salt and light (see Mt 5:13 -16).
eremiah is called the "weeping prophet" because of the message of judgment and
destruction he delivered to Judah and Jerusalem. God appointed him to warn
of the calamity that was to visit Jerusalem because of Judah's sins of idolatry and
unfaithfulness (1:13 -19). However, God also appointed Jeremiah to exhort and
encourage the people to be faithful in the midst of trial and adversity (1:10; chs.
30-33). Remarkably, the Jewish exiles were commanded by God to seek the "peace
and prosperity" of the Babylonians, who had carried them off into exile (29:7).
Because God promised to be generous and forgiving to the exiles, they were to be
generous and forgiving to their enemies. Jeremiah promised the exiles that God's
anger toward them would not last forever. His plans were not to harm them but
to give them "hope and a future" (29:11-12). They were to invest their lives and
resources on the basis of that hope (ch. 32).
A foundational stewardship principle in the book of Jeremiah is knowing God,
which cannot be reduced to simply having correct beliefs about him. We cannot
really know anything about God unless we are willing to show his mercy to
others. Knowing God means living in a vital relationship with him, which results
in ceaseless concern for the needs of the poor and oppressed (22:11-17). A second
principle deals with living in exile. Personal peace and prosperity result from service
to others, even in the tragedy of exile (29:4-7). The related principle deals with the
source of one's personal peace and prosperity. To the shock and dismay of the exiles,
Jeremiah told God's people that their personal peace and prosperity would be the
fruit of absolute service to others. They were to seek the peace of the city that had
destroyed Jerusalem, the city of peace (29:7).
The book of Jeremiah introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through challenges to stewardship such as greed and oppression
(5:20-28) and false prophets of future peace and prosperity (23:9-40). You will
read about Jeremiah, prophet to the nations (1:4-19). Features include notes on the
topics of belonging to God (2:3; 31:31-37), pursuing mercy and truth (7:1-29),
justice and righteousness (9:23-24; 21:11-23:8), trust (17:5-13), materialism
(22:13-17; 48:7), God the restorer (32:42-44), giving (34:8-22; 39:10) and children
of God (50:6).
The book of Jeremiah reminds us that our love for God can be measured in mercy
for others. Saying that we know God is inconsistent with true faith if our knowledge
and love do not translate into compassion for the weak and oppressed.
lll illlllll llll llllllll lllll ll lllllll lllllll llllll lllll lllllll
The words of Jeremiah son ofH"lki.ah
. , one 1:1'Jos 21:18;
of th_e at Anathoth in the terri to- "WhThe word of the LORD came to me again:
ryof_BenJam_n. The word of the LORD came to 1:3 '2Ki23: 34 at do you see?"P
'2Ki 2417 "I
him mf the year of the reign of Josiah a boiling pot, tilting away from the
so_n o _ngbof Judah, land through the 1:5 'Ps 139:16 north, I answered.
[J h k
'lsa 49:tver 10
The Lo d
rergn o e OJa Im son of Josiah king of Judah, Jer 25:15-26 . RD Sa I to me, "From the north di-
fifth month of the eleventh year of saster Will be poured out on all who live in the
Zt e Ia son o Josiah king of Judah, when the land. Is I am about to summon all the peoples of
people ofJerusalem went into exile. d Jert5:2o the northern king_ doms," declares the LORD.
1sa 6:7
The Call of Jeremiah
ex4:12 "Th k'
1:10Jert8:7 eir mgs will come and set up their
'The word of the LORD came to me .
10; 24:6; 31:4,2& thrones
24:3; in entrance of the gates of Jerusalem; , saymg,
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew
before you were born f I set you apart.
1 appointed you as a prophet to the ,
'"Ah, Sovereign LORD," I said, "I do not know
b.>tospeak;h I am only a child "i
But the LORD said to me, "Do not say 'I
Mly a child.' You must go to everyone i
JOU to and say whatever I command you aD
afraidi of them, for I am with
will rescue you," declares the LORD
'Then the LORD reached out his hand and
touched' my mouth and said to me "N I
bve put d ' ow,
.._ my wor s in your mouth m !OSee t
.. y I appo t , o-
m you over nations and kingdoms
to uproot tear down, to destroy and
budd and to plant "
The d
41 wor of the LORD came to me: "What
you see, Jeremiah? "o
'I see the b h f
Jilitd. ranc o an almond tree," I re-
12The LORD said t v
me, Ou have seen cor-
fnlfillodr: am watchingb to see that my word
e .
'12 The H b
1:13 zec 4:2
Jer 4:16;
1:1&'Ot 28:20
'Jer 7:9; 19:4
1:17 "Eze 2:6
1:111sa 50:7
1:11 Je< 20:11
2:2 reze 16:8-
14. 60; Hos 2:15
they will come against all her surrounding
against all the towns of Judah. q
I wlll pronounce my judgments on my
because of their wickedness' in forsaking
in incense to other godst
and In worshiping what their hands have
et yourself ready! Stand up and sa
to whatever I command you. Do not
by them, or I will terrify you before
the_m. Today I have made you a fortified city
an Iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand a gains;
against the kings of Judah, its
.ts priests and the people of the land.
They will fight against you but will not over-
you, for I am with youw and will rescue
you, declares the LORD.
Israel Forsakes God
2 The ?f the LORD came to me: 2"Go and
proclaim m the hearing of Jerusalem:
"'I remember the devotion of your youth r
how as a bride you loved me '
e rew for watching sounds like the H b f
..... ,"""'"""".... e rew or almond tree
he book of Lamentations was written in response to the destruction of
Jerusalem. The author mourns the bitter loss that God's people experienced and
tells us that this destruction'was the devastating consequence of their covenantal
unfaithfulness to God. Particularly important for us is the way this book employs
economic imagery and the language of loss to evoke compassion. Compassion, after
all, is the appropriate response to the realities of human suffering and desperate
need that we encounter in this book-just as generous acts of compassion are the
appropriate Christian response to the horrifying realities of spiritual and material
need that we find in the world today.
Human suffering, one of Lamentations' key stewardship concerns, always serves as a
reminder that we need to repent and seek God's mercy and forgiveness, whether we
are directly or indirectly linked to the cause of the suffering (2:11-12). Repentance
and an immediate responsiveness to the needs of others are appropriate ways of
responding to the needs that exist-both spiritually and materially-in this world.
A second stewardship concern relates to false prophets. Instead of confronting
God's people in their sin, false prophets were proclaiming a message of peace
and prosperity. They delivered the optimistic message of hope and security the
people wanted to hear (2:14-17; cf. Jer 2:5-8; 10:15-22; 14:13-22; 16:19-21).
A third concern deals with "portion:' and the connection between faith and
finances. "Portion" represents all they possessed-economic status, social security,
reputation. The poet turns his attention to God and finds ultimate reassurance in the
fact that the Lord is his "portion" (La 3:1-24).
The book of Lamentations introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
stewardship themes, sometimes through illuminations. You will read about
cultivating compassion (1:9), the critical connection between faith and finances
(3:1-24), stewarding the welfare of children (4:3-4) and remorse and repentance
The book of Lamentations is our soul's consolation, reminding us that when our
hearts cry out in deepest pain, we are heard. Suffering is our call to mercy and our
reminder of the source of mercy. Lamentations reminds us that suffering-whether
our own or that of others-is our call to look inward for a spirit of repentance and
upward to find our sufficiency in God.
' How deserted lies the city,
once so full of people! '1K1 4:21
'lsa 3'26
How like a widow is she, Jer 40:9 '
w o once was greatb among the nations! 'Jer3:1
Sh h
'Jer 4:30; Mic 7:5
e w. o was queen among the provinces ver 16
7In the days o!her affliction and wandering
. Jerusalem remembers all the treasures-
that were hers in days of old.
When her people fell into enemy hands,
there was no one to help her. o
has now become a slave.' 1:J'Jer13:19
Bitterly she weepsd at night,
tears are upon her cheeks.
Among all her lovers
there is none to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed r her;
they have become her enemies.B
J After affliction and harsh labor,
Judah has gone into exile. h
She dwells among the nations;
she finds no resting place. i
All who pursue her have overtaken her
in the midst of her distress.
'The roads to Zion mourn,
1:5'Jer 30:15
Jer 399
52:2830 '
1:6 ' Jer 13:18
for no one comes to.her appointed feasts . .
All her gateways are
her priests
her maidens grieve,
and she is in bitter anguish. k
sHer foes have become her masters
her enemies are at ease. '
The LORD has brought her grief'
of her many sins.
Her children have gone into exile m
captive before the foe. '
'All the splendor has departed
from the Daughter of Zion n
Her are like deer .
. that find no pasture;
IQweakness they have fled
before the pursuer.
! J
1:7 Jer37:7;
1:1 r ver 20
lsa 59:213'
'Jer 13:22,26
'ver 21,22
1:9 ot 32:28

' fcc 4:1; Jer 16:7
ps 25:18
1:10 fsa 64:11
'Ps 74:78;
1:11 Ps 38:8
'Jer 52;6
1:12 'Jar 18:16
ever 18
Her enemies looked at her
and laughed at her destruction.
8 Jerusalem has sinnedP greatly
and so has become unclean.
All who honored her despise her,
for they have seen her nakednessq
she herself groans'' '
and turns away.
9Her filthiness clung to her skirts
she did not consider her futur;. s
Her faiJ! was astounding;
there was none to comfort" her
"Look, 0 LORD, on my affliction, v
for the enemy has triumphed."
The enemy la,id hands
on all her treasures; w
pagan nations
enter her sanctuaryx-
those you had forbiddenY
to enter your assembly.

All her people groan' _
as they search for bread '
they barter their treasures for food
to keep themselves alive.
"Look, 0 LORD, and consider,
for I am despised."
12 "Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?b
Look around and see
Is any like my
that was inflicted on me,
is an acrostic po th - -- - - - ---
em, e verses of which begin with the .
IIIII . successve letters of the H b

zekiel, both priest and prophet, delivered a message of judgment as well as hope.
The book begins with the prophet's vision of the glory of God. In chapters
1-24 his message focuses on God's jealousy-his zeal for the wholehearted
devotion of his people. The prophet predicts the destruction that God will bring
upon Jerusalem because of the people's idolatry. In chapters 25-32 Ezekiel delivers
a series of prophecies against the surrounding nations, revealing that the God of
Israel is the Lord of all the earth. Chapters 33-39 focus on. spiritual cleansing and
new fellowship with the Holy Spirit, as well as renewal of the people (ch. 37), while
chapters 40-48 present restored worship in the new temple. The book concludes
with a message of hope, as Ezekiel prophesies about the gathering of God's people
and the restoration of their inheritance in the promised land.
One of the stewardship principles in Ezekiel deals with God's jealousy. The Bible
does not portray God as a passive or unfeeling deity but as the jealous protector
of his people. In his "jealousy" God is not subject to emotional instability, as we
are; rather, God's jealousy for his people is perfectly holy and balanced (16:38-43).
Another stewardship teaching has to do with being overfed and unconcerned. Ezekiel
16:49 identifies the sins of gluttony, pride, and indifference to the plight of the poor
and the needy as the "guilt" of Sodom.
The book of Ezekiel introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes. through illuminations. You will read about Ezekiel, God's
watchman for Israel (chs. 2-3). Features include the Spirit-filled life (11:16-25),
personal accountability (18:1 - 9), the subtle temptation to idolatry (23:1 - 31),
dishonest trade (28:16- 19), humanity's limited dominion over nature (33:27-29),
the care of our hearts (36:26), marketplace justice (45:7 -12) and justice and righ-
teousness (47:7 -12).
The book of Ezekiel gives us a. vision of the heartthrob of God-a God whose
passionate jealousy reflects his single-hearted devotion to the people he adores. His
continual acts of restoration in the face of our unfaithfulness reveal the heart of a
God who relentlessly seeks his own. "They will no longer defile themselves with their
idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their
sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be
their God" (37:23).
llllllllll lllllllllllllllllllll illllllllllliilllllllllllll
. lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllillllilllllillflllllllllllllllllllllllllllillllllllllllliillllllllilllillllllllllill llllll
The Living Creatures a.nd 1:1eze 11,
Glory of the LORD . torches . moved back and forth among the
in the" t?irtieth year, in the fourth month bright, and lightningP flashed
on the fifth day, while I was among the EzeJ:14,22 . o I . e creatures wed back and forth
:Ez=.'Ja" . 2r .1:14 hke flashes oflightning.q
niles' bby the Keba_r River, the heavens were
opened and I saw visions' of God. ,1:;, 4:6 s As I looked at the living creatures, I saw
zon the of the month-it was the fifth a on the ground beside each creature
f th .
f Rev1:1s With Its four faces. 16Th is was the
rearo e ex1 eo King Jehoiachind- 3the 1:8'Eze1o:a d . appearance
word ;oRo came to Ezekiel the priest, the an structure of the wheels: They sparkled like
JOn of Buzi,. by the Kebar River in the land of 1:11 tsa 6:2 rand all four looked alike. Each ap-
lhe There the hand of the LORD to be made like a wheel intersecting a
ras upon h1m. w eel.
As they moved, they would go in any
r!ooked, and I saw a windstorm c . one of the four directions the creatures faced.
nor.th t-an immense cloud the _not turn' aboutd as the creature;
aghghtmng and surrounded by brilliant light went. Their nms were high and awesome, and
lilt center of the fire looked like glo . . all four nms were full of eyes' all around.
d. wmgmet- 19Wh h
.. an m the fire was what looked rk , en t e Iving creatures moved th
ingcreatures. h In appearance their/ e our beside them moved; and when
... f .
torm was mg cr t
... toaman,' buteachofthemhadr r eauresrosefromtheground the hI
fl .
tour tacesJ also 20Wh ' w ee s
our Their legs were straight; their rose. erever the spirit would go the
irt hke those of a calf and gleamed like w?uld go," and the wheels would rise
bronze. k sunder their wings on their With them: because the spirit of the living crea-
:rsrdes they had the hands of a man. ' All four tures was In the wheels. 21When the creatures
faces and wings, 9and their wings moved, _they also moved; when the creatures
llr.r e one another. Each one went straight stood still, they also stood still; and when the
did not turn as theymoved.m creatures rose from the ground thewh I
ltfh alo . h h ' ee s rose
'- aces looked like this: Each of the ngWit t em, becausethespiritofthelivin
r had the face of a man, and on the . h creatures was in the wheels v g
lilt each h d h ng t 22S .
6tfo a t e face of a lion, and on the left pread out above the heads of the livin
an ox; each also had the face of an was what looked like an expanse
IIBfe. Such were their faces Th . . spar lmg like ice, and awesome. nunder th,e
CIT Wings
out upward; each had two wings 1:14 Ps 29:7 expanse t eir wings were stretched out one
' 1:1&' Eze 10:9- toward th h
'd e wmg of another creature on 11; oa 10:6 . . e ot er, and each had two wings cov-
st e, and two wings covering its body enng Its body. 24When the creatures moved, I
one went straight ahead. Wherever 12. . hear? the sound of their wings, like the roar of
go, they would go, without turn- waters, like the voice of the Almighty e
the tumult of an army.-r When they stood
was hke burning coals of fire or like 19:6 they lowered their wings.
Then there came a voice from above the
3 Or Ezekiel son of Buzi the priest
' 3 Or Chaldeans " 17 Or a
St ue '24 Hebrew Sh dd .
The city will be in the center of it
and will have
these measurements: the north side 4,500 cu-
bits, the south side 4,500 cubits, the east side
4,500 cubits, and the west side 4,500 cubits.<
17The pastureland for the city will be 250 cu-
bits on the north, 250 cubits on the south, 250
cubits on the east, and 250 cubits on the west.
I&What remains of the area, bordering on the
sacred portion and running the length of it, will
be 10,000 cubits on the east side and 10,000 cu-
bits on the west side. Its produce will supply
food for the workers of the city. r
The workers
from the city who farm it will come from all the
tribes of Israel.
The entire portion will be a
square, 25,000 cubits on each side. As a special
gift you will set aside the sacred portion, along
with the property of the city.
Eze 45:6
48:211ver 8,10;
Ele 45:7
48:23 'Jos 18:11-
Ge 29:33;
Jos 19:1-9
41:251Jos 19:17-
25"Issachari will have one portion; it will bor-
der the territory of Simeon from east to west.
26"Zebulunk will have one portion; it will
border the territory of lssachar from east to
27"Gad' will have one portion; it will border
the territory of Zebulun from east to west.
28"The southern boundary of Gad will run
south from Tamarm to the waters, of Meribah
Kadesh, then along the Wadi .of Egypt" to the
Great Sea.
29"This is the land you are to allot as an
inheritance to the tribes of Israel, and these
will be their portions," declares the Sovereign
The Gates of the City
lD"These will be the exits of the city: Begin-
ning on the north side, which is 4,500 cubits
the gates of the city will be named after
the tribes oflsrael. The three gates on the north
side will be the gate ofReuben, the gate of)udah
and the gate of Levi.
32"0n the east side, which is 4,500 cubits
long, will be three gates: the gate of joseph, the
gate of Benjamin and the gate ofDan.
33"0n the south side, which measures 4,500
cubits, will be three gates: the gate of Simeon,
the gate oflssachar and the gate of Zebulun.
21 "What remains on both sides oft he area
formed by the sacred portion and the city prop-
erty will belong to the prince. It will extend
eastward from the 25,000 cubits of the sacred
portion to the eastern border, and westward
from the 25,000 cubits to the western border.
Both these areas running the length of the trib-
al portions will belong to the prince, and t ~ e
sacred portion with the temple sanctuary w1ll
be in the center of them.s
So the property of
the Levites and the property of the city will
lie in the center of the area that belongs to the
prince. The area belonging to the prince will lie
between the border of Judah and the border of
W'As for the rest of the tribes: Benjaminh
48:28'Jos 19:10-
H"On the west side, which is 4,500 cubits
long, will be three gates: the gate of Gad, the
gate of Asher and the gate ofNaphtali.
35"The distance all around will be 18,000
will have one portion; it will extend from the
east side to the west side.
24"Simeoni will have one portion; it will
border the territory of Benjamin from east to
Jos 13:24-
48:28 Ge14:7
Eze 47:19
48:35 isa 12:6;
24:23; Jer 3:17;
14:9; 33:16;
zec 2:10;
Rev21 :3
"And the name of the city from that time on
will be:
28 That is, the Mediterranean
lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllillllilllllfl
ome of the most famous narratives in the Bible are found in the book of Daniel.
But far from being simply a collection of stories for children, these stories and
visions contain profound insight into the nature of the kingdoms of this earth.
Moreover, Daniel provides excellent portrayals of the response that Christians
should have to secular governments. We must live our lives in the world in light of
the eternal kingdom of God.
God's sovereignty is one stewardship principle of the book of Daniel. Daniel's
prophecies show that God's kingdom is God's kingdom; it is of divine origin,
not something initiated by human or earthly efforts (2:44-45). It is universal in
scope-not just for those of a "Judea-Christian" background. A second principle
relates to human pride. God often uses tragedy and humiliation to show people that
"the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone
he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men" (4:17). A third principle concerns
living in exile. During the Jews' captivity in Babylon, Daniel and his friends obeyed
Jeremiah's words and worked for the good of their captors (see 9:1-2; cf. Jer
25:11-12), refusing the spirit of resistance proposed by Jeremiah's opponents (see
Jer 28; 29:24-32). The fourth principle teaches the importance of resisting idolatry.
During the Babylonian exile Daniel and his friends had many opportunities to serve
themselves or the gods of Babylon. Their clear, courageous response to idolatry
provides a powerful model for resisting the worship of modern-day idols (see Da
The book of Daniel introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through illuminations. You will be introduced to Daniel (1:3 -16)
and his friends Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abednego)
(2:48-49). You will also read about the idols of our culture (3:8-30), global
commerce as an opportunity to permeate the world community for Christ (6:1-5),
our appointment as stewards of the earth (7:13-14,27) and the power of intercession
~ n i e l and his friends were stewards of their exile experience on earth. They
mvested their time in an alien land, working for the benefit of their captors and
enemies. They sought the best interests of those who provided them shelter and
sustenance, and in so doing, they were blessed by God. We too are called to live as
exiles in this world, keeping our eyes on heaven as our true home. As such, we can
learn from Daniel's exile lifestyle: we should humble ourselves, model forgiveness,
serve others and invest in the kingdom of God.
DANIEL: 3 : 16
immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what
godx will be able to rescuer you from my hand?"
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied
to the king, "0 Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need
to defend ourselves before you in this matter.
I7Jf we are thrown into the blazing furnace,
the God we serve is able to save' us from it,
and he will rescueb us from your hand, 0 king.
IS But even if he does not, we want you to know,
0 king, that we will not serve your gods or wor-
ship the image of gold you have set up.'"
3:15 'lsa 36:18
20 rex 5:2;
2Ch 32:15
3:16 '0a 1:7
3:17 'Ps 27:1 -
2 ' Job 5:19;
Jer 1:8
3:18 'ver 28;
Jos 24:15
I9Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious With
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his at-
titude toward them changed. He ordered the
furnace heated sevend times hotter than usu.
0and commanded some of the strongest
soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Me-
shach and Abednego and throw them into the
blazing furnace.
So these men, wearing their
robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were
bound and thrown into the blazing furnace
The king's command was so urgent and the
llllllllllllllllllltlllltllllllllllllllltlllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllltllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllltllll ll llllltlllllllllllllltl)lltlllllllllllllllt llllllllllllu
DANIEL 2 :48-49
Whatever God entrusts to our keeping, whether gifts of ability, intellect, posses-
sions, position or financial prosperity, he places those gifts in lives to bless-
others and to further his purposes. Hananiah, Mishael and Azanah (also known
as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego), along with Daniel, found themselves in
Babylon, captives temporarily living in exile. Yet they clung to their purpose in life:
to love God and to love and serve others. These four men became models of living
out one's life for God in difficult circumstances.
They chose a modest lifestyle (see Da 1:3-20).
Daniel used his spiritual gifts to glorify God and bless others (see Da
Daniel risked his life to save pagan magicians from the king's wrath (see Da
2:24). -
Daniel used his position and power to bless others (see Da 2:48- 49).
Daniel's friends responded to the king with respect and humility after proving
their God was greater than his (see Da 3:1 - 30). -
Daniel recognized that his gifts were to be used not for indulging his own
pleasure but to bring about God's purposes (see Da 5:13-23 ).
Ouring the Jews' captivity in Babylon, Daniel and his friends heeded God's
words through Jeremiah and worked for the good of their captors (see Da
9:1- 2), refusing the spirit of resistance proposed by Jeremiah's opponents (see
Jer 28:1 - 29:23).
Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah are models of the so-
journer life we are all called to as servants of Christ . As they lived and
in a foreign land, they sought the good of those around them and lived theu hves
seeking the will of God.
furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed
the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach
d Abednego,
and these three men, firmly
tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
3: 22 oa 1:7
3:26 'Da 4:2,34
3:27 ver 2
tsa 43:2;
Heb 11:32-34
oa 6:23
3:281Ps 34:7;
Oa 6:22; Ac 5:19
'Job 13:15;
Hfhen King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his
{tel in amazement and asked his advisers,
Weren't there three men that we tied up and
threw into the fire?"
Ps 26:1; 84:12;
Jer 17:7
ver 18
3:29 oa 6:26
oa 6:27
3:30 oa 2:49
4:1 oa 3:4
oa 6:25
They replied, "Certainly, 0 ki ng."
lSHe said, "Look! I see four men walking
around in the fire, unbound and unharmed,
and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."
4:2 'Ps 74:9
'Oa 3:26
l'Nebuchadnezzar then approached the
opening of the blazing furnace and shouted,
'Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants
ofthe Most High God/ come out! Come here!"
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came
out of the fire,
and the satraps, prefects, gov-
ernors and royal advisers8 crowded around
!bern. h They saw that the firei had not harmed
their bodies, not was a hair of their heads
singed; their robes were not scorched, and there
was no smell of fire on them.
lSfhen Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be
to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-
nego, who has sent his angeli and rescued his
servants! They trustedk in him and defied the
king's command and were willing to give up
thei r lives rather than serve or worship any
god except their own God.
1 29
Therefore I de-
creem that the people of any nation or language
who say anything against the God of Shadrach,
Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and
lhei r houses be turned into piles of rubble,." for
noother god can save
in this way."
Then the king promoted Shadrach, Me-
shach and Abednego in the province of Bab-
\ebuchadnezzar's Dream of a Tree
4 King Nebuchadnezzar,
To the peoples, nations and men of ev-
erylanguage,q who live in all the world:
May,rou prosper greatly!'
' i
4:3 "Ps 105:27;
Oa 6:27 'Oa 2:44
4:4 Ps 30:6
4:SOa 2:1
'0a 2:28
4:& 'Da2:2
Da 2:2 ' Da 2:10
4:B'Da 1:7
oa 5:11, 14
oa 5:11-12
4:10 ' ver 5
Eze 31 :3-4
4:12 1Eze 17:23;
4:13'Da 7:1
ver 23; 0133:2;
Da 8:13
lt is my pleasure to tell you about the
miraculous signs' and wonders that the
Most High God' has performed for me.
4:14 eze 31 :12;
DANIEL 4 :15
How great are his signs,
how mighty his wonders!"
His kingdom is an eternal kingdom;
his dominion endures from
generation to generation.
I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at home in my
palace, contentedw and prosperous.
I had
a dream that made me afraid. As I was
lying in my bed, the images and visions
that passed through my mindY terrified
So I commanded that all the wise
men of Babylon be brought before me to
interpret' the dream for me.
When the
magicians, enchanters, astrologers and
divi nersb came, I told them the dream,
but they could not interpret it for me.'
Finally, Daniel came into my presence
and I told him the dream. (He is called
Belteshazzar, d after the name of my god,
and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)
1 said, "Belteshazzar, chieff of the ma-
gicians, I know that the spirit of the holy
godsg is in you; and no mystery is too dif-
ficult for you. Here is my dream; interpret
it for me.
These are the visions I saw
while lying in my bed:h I looked, and there
before me stood a tree in the middle of the
land. Its height was enormous. i
The tree
grew large and strong and its top touched
the sky; it was visible to the ends of the
Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit
abundant, and on it was food for all. Un-
der it the beasts of the field found shelter,
and birds of the air lived in its branch-
es;i from it every creature was fed.
"In the visions I saw while lying in
my bed, k I looked, and there before me
was a messenger, b a holy one,
down from heaven.
He called in a loud
voice: 'Cut down the tree and trim of(its
branches; strip off its leaves and scatter
its fruit. Let the animals flee from under
it and the birds from its branches. m
let the stump and its roots, bound with
iron and bronze, remain in the ground, in
the grass of the field.
"'Let him be drenched with the dew of
heaven, and let him live with the animals
13 Or watchman; also in verses 17 and 23 :::
1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111 11111111111111111111111111
DANIEL 3 : 8-30
Idolatry or Inheritance?
hese three young Jews refuse to worship the golden image Nebuchadnezzar set up. In
fact , they're willing to give up their lives rather than "serve or worship any god except
their own God" (Da 3:28). The gods of this world are easy to worship, in part because
doing so often brings immediate comfort, pleasure or security (see Jer 1:16). Moreover,
refusing to worship culturally acceptable gods can be dangerous and result in the loss of
the world's acceptance. But God tolerates no competition from earthly blessings, as Jesus
teaches (see Mt 6:19-24; Mk 12:28-34). And the apostle Paul makes it clear that the quest
for and the accumulation and love of money constitute idolatry, pure and simple (see Eph
5:5; Col 3:5).
Herbert P. Hess, long-time director of the board of ServiceMaster, reflects on the ethics
of manager and CEO Bill Pollard:
I saw him confront the tensions that often exist between serving God and serving the
marketplace. He was challenged by contending responsibilities and obligations to God,
the firm, family, friends, and community, and he, along with the board, had to make
decisions that were not always clearly right or clearly wrong. One of the many things
that I admire about Bill is that he was able to first choose his Master and then make
other choices and determine other priorities with a consistency that some of us still
struggle to achieve.
His first priority was to serve God. But if any of his staff assumed that this priority
would cause him to be soft on achieving the quarterly
numbers, they did so at their own peril. While Bill would
not compromise on his principles in serving God, he was
simultaneously the shareholder's best steward ...
How do we balance our foundational beliefs with our
decisions for the firm? To whom is the firm ultimately
responsible? Who is the firm, if not a group of individual
people? How do we best help these people to make wise
decisions for our shareholders?
The principles embraced by Daniel's friends Shadrach,
Meshach and Abednego-and by Bill Pollard-apply to all
Christians, not just to those engaged in business, politics,
academia and other highly visible professions. Whether on
the level of home or job, our world needs fresh role models
with each new generation. It needs courageous souls willing
to stand tall-and at times alone-opting for inheritance
over idolatry.
Have you been in a
situation that tested your
faith like these men were
tested? Explain.
I Have you been m a situ-
ation that caused you to
struggle between serving
God and serving the mal'
ketplace? Explain.
I How can you actively
challenge the cultural
idolatry of your day?
Lord, keep me from the
temptation to sell out and
worship the idols of my
culture. I want to stand taU
and be committed to my
relationship with you.
among the plants of the earth.
Let his
mind be changed from that of a man and
Jet him be given the mind of an animal,
till seven times pass by for him."
" 'The decision is announced by mes-
sengers, the holy ones declare the verdict,
so that the living may know that the Most
is sovereignP over the kingdoms of
men and gives them to anyone he wishes
and sets over them the lowliestq of men.'
"This is the dream that I, King Neb-
uchadnezzar, had. Now, Belteshazzar, tell
me what it means, for none of the wise
men in my kingdom can interpret it for
me.' But you can,' because the spirit of
the holy gods is in you."'
Daniel Interprets the Dream
Then Daniel (also called Belteshaz-
zar) was greatly perplexed for a time, and
his thoughts terrified" him. So the king
said, "Belteshazzar, do not let the dream
or its meaning alarm you."
Belteshazzar answered, "My lord, if
only the dream applied to your enemies
and its meaning to your adversaries!
The tree you saw, which grew large
and strong, with its top touching the sky,
visible to the whole earth,
with beauti-
ful leaves and abundant fruit, providing
food for all, giving shelter to the beasts of
the field, and having nesting places in its
branches for the birds of the air- 22y
0 king, are that tree! You have become
great and strong; your greatness has
grown until it reaches the sky, and your
dominion extends to distant parts of the
"Y 0 k'
ou, mg, saw a messenger, a
holyone, coming down from heaven and
~ y i n g 'Cut down the tree and destroy
II, but leave the stump, bound with iron
l.lld bronze, in the grass of the field, while
ns roots remain in the ground. Let him
bt drenched with the dew of heaven; let
himlive like the wild animals, until seven
times pass by for him.'Y
"This is the interpretation, 0 king,
4:18 ver 23,32
4:17 ver 2 25
Ps 83:18 ' '
Jer 27:5-7;
Oa 2:21; 5:18-21
oa 11 :21
4:18 'Ge 41 :8;
Oa 5:8,15
4:11 oa 7:15,28;
8:27; 10:16-17
4:22 ' 2Sa 12:7
Jer 27:7;
Da 2:37-38;
4:23 ver 13
4:24 ' Job4012
Ps 107:40 '
4:25 ver 17;
4:28ver 15
oa 2:37
4:27 'lsa 55:6-
7 '1Ki 21:29;
4:21Nu 23:19
4:30 'lsa 37:24-
25; Oa 5:20;
Hab 2:4
4:33 'Da 5:2021
and this is the decree the Most High has
issued against my lord the king:
You will
be driven away from people and will live
with the wild animals; you will eat grass
like cattle and be drenched with the dew
of heaven. Seven times will pass by for
you until you acknowledge that the Most
High is sovereign over the kingdoms of
men and gives them to anyone he wish-
es. b
The command to leave the stump
of the tree with its roots' means that your
kingdom will be restored to you when you
acknowledge that Heaven rules. d
fore, 0 king, be pleased to accept my ad-
vice: Renounce your sins by doing what is
right, and your wickedness by being kind
to the oppressed. It may be that then your
prosperity will continue. f"
The Dream Is Fulfilled
All this happenedS to King Nebu-
Twelve months later, as the
king was walking on the roof of the royal
palace of Babylon,
he said, "Is not this
the great Babylon I have built as the roy-
al residence, by my mighty power and for
the glory of my majesty?"h
The words. were still on his lips when
a voice came from heaven, "This is what
is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar:
Your royal authority has been taken from
You will be driven away from peo-
ple and will live with the wild animals;
you will eat grass like cattle. Seven times
will pass by for you until you acknowledge
that the Most High is sovereign over the
kingdoms of men and gives them to any-
one he wishes."
1mmediately what had been said
about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled.
He was driven away from people and ate
grass like cattle. His body was drenched
with the dew ofheaven until his hair grew
like the feathers of an eagle and his nails
like the claws of a bird. i
At the end of that time, I, Nebuchad-
nezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and
my sanity was restored. Then I praised
also in verses 23, 25 and 32
in him, because he was trustworthy and nei-
ther corrupt nor negligent.
Finally these men
said, "We will never find any basis for charges
against this man Daniel unless it has some-
thing to do with the law of his God."k
6:5 'Ac 24:13 16
6Sothe administrators and the satraps went
as a group to the king and said: "0 King Dari-
us, live forever!
The royal administrators, pre-
fects, satraps, advisers and governors m have all
agreed that the king should issue an edict and
enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any
god or man during the next thirtr days,
to you, 0 king, shall be thrown mto the hons
den. n sNow, 0 king, issue the decree and put
it in writing so that it cannot be altered- in
accordance with the laws of the Medes and Per-
sians, which cannot be repealed."" 'So King
Darius put the decree in writing.
10Now when Daniel learned that the decree
had been published, he went home to his upstairs
room where the windows opened towardP Jerusa-
lem. Three times a day he got down on his kneesq
and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he
had done before.'
Then these men went as a
group and found Daniel praying and asking God
for help.
So they went to the king and spoke. to
him about his royal decree: "Did you not pubhsh
a decree that during the next thirty days any-
one who prays to any god or man except to you,
0 king, would be thrown into the lions' den?" .
The king answered, "The decree stands- m
accordance with the laws of the Medes and Per-
sians, which cannot be repealed."'
1lThen they said to the king, "Daniel, who is
one ofthe exiles from Judah,
pays no attention u
to you, 0 king, or to the decree you put in writ-
. d "14Wh
Ps 59:3; 64:2-6;
&:& Est 1:19
6:10 1Ki 8:48
49 <Ps 95:6
'Ac 5:29
6:12 Est 1:19;
Oa 3:8-12
6:13 oa 2:25;
5:13 Est3!8;
8:14 'Mk6:26
6:15 Est 8:8
6:16 ver7
r Job 5:19;
Ps 37:39-40
ing. He still prays t ree times a ay. en
the king heard this, he was greatly distressed;
he was determined to rescue Daniel and made
every effort until sundown to save him.
1sThen the men went as a group to the king
and said to him, "Remember, 0 king, that ac-
cording to the law of the Medes and Persians
no decree or edict that the king issues can be
6:17 'Mt 27:66
&:18 '2Sa 12:17
&:20'0a 3:17
6:21 oa 2:4
&:22 oa 3:28
Heb 11:33
Ac12:11 ;
2Ti 4:17
6:23 oa 3:27
1Ch 5:20
19; Est 7:9-
10; Ps 54:5
ot 24:16;
2Ki 14:6
1sa 38:13
6:25 Oa4:1
&:21 'Ps 99:1-
3; oa 3:29
oa 2:44; 4:34
tl:27'0a 4:3
ver 22
17A stone was brought and placed over the
mouth of the den, and the king sealed' it with
his own signet ring and with the rings of his
nobles, so that Daniel's situation might not be
Th en the king returned to his palace
and spent the night without eating and with.
out any entertainment being brought to him.
And he could not sleep. b
19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up
and hurried to the lions' den.
When he came
near the den, he called to Daniel in an an-
guished voice, "Daniel, servant of the living
God, has your God, whom you serve continual.
ly, been able to rescue you from the lions?"'
21 Daniel answered, "0 king, live forever!'
22My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths
ofthe lions.f They have not hurt me, because 1
was found innocent in his sight.& Nor have I ever
done any wrong before you, 0 king."
23The king was overjoyed and gave orders to
lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was
lifted from the den, no woundh was found on
him, because he had trustedi in his God.
24At the king's command, the men who had
falsely accused Daniel were brought in and
thrown into the lions' den,J along with their
wives and children. k And before they reached
the floor of the den, the lions overpowered
them and crushed all their bones.
2sThen King Darius wrote to all the peoples,
nations and men of everY, language throughout
the land:
"May you prosper greatly!m
26"! issue a decree that in every part of
my kingdom people must fear and rever-
ence the God of Daniel."
"For he is the living God
and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
his dominion will never end.
27 He rescues and he saves;
he performs signs and wondersP
in the heavens an!l on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions."q
0 0 rJ
28So Daniel prospered dunng the

16So the king gave the order, and they brought
Daniel and threw him into the lions' den. The
king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you
serve continually, rescueY you!"
6:21 '2Ch 36:22;
oa 1:21
Darius and the reign of Cyrus' the Persan.
28 Or Darius, that is, the reign of Cyrus
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111111111111 111111111111111111111111 111111111 11111111111111111 1111111111111 1111 1111111111 111111 11111 111
Global Commerce
aniel, like Joseph before him, was entrusted with a distinguished position in a foreign
kingdom. He executed well his duties as a leader, all the while 'showcasing the great-
ness of his God through his unflinching integrity and devotion. Social philosopher Michael
Novak contends that
a large proportion of the laypersons in this world perhaps even a substantial ma-
jority, work out their destiny-economic, social, and religious-in the daily activities
of business. I do not mean only the entrepreneurs-the small farmers, the shop owners,
the multiplying numbers of consultants working at their word processors and computers
in independent businesses, the barbers and hairdressers, the managers of large firms,
the corporate executives- but all those others who work with them and whose daily
bread depends on the success of business activities. "Doing business" is what most
citizens in free nations do most of the time ...
All of the lands of the former Soviet Union, nearly all the nations of Latin America,
and large swathes of Asia and Africa are entering the global marketplace. Hopefully,
that marketplace will steadily become lawlike and peaceful. Commercium et Pax, com-
merce and peace, was the proud motto of Amsterdam, one of the first great market
societies of the modern world ... Commerce is what people do when they are at peace.
Commerce, as several of the Eastern fathers of the Catholic church wrote, notably
St. John Chrysostom, is the material bond among peoples that exhibits, as if symboli-
cally, the unity of the whole human race ... The human race is one. The international
commerce that shows the interdependence of all parts of the human body knits the
peoples of the world together by the silken threads of a seamless garment.
Commerce is dignified by this mysterious and often inadvertent activity-this knit-
ting together of the nations, to which we all too seldom explicitly lift our gaze. In our
local activities, which are often so difficult and challenging that we scarcely have time
to contemplate their larger meaning, we are engaged, often unknowingly, in weaving
a small but crucial part of the universal tapestry. We are
part of something much larger than ourselves. We are
bringing together the entire human race, activating our
local part of the universal work of the noble, wounded
race to which it is our glory to belong.
We are trying to wrest from the ashes of war and
division the hard-burnished alloys of peace: an elemental
prosperity for all, the rule of law, and daily practices of
freely given consent.
In addition, commerce works in a humble but privi-
leged way. It ties together persons who have never met one
another. The very impersonality that Marx excoriated as
the "cash nexus" is the humble glory of commerce. Com-
merce does not require that we have physiCal or emotional
contact with all with whom we do business.
I How did Daniel influence
his adopted society?
I Is the global marketplace
a good thing or a bad
thing? In what ways?
I How does commerce
bring differing people to-
Lord, use commerce for
your good and glory.
llllllllllll lllll l ll l l l ll llllll l l lll l l ll l llll l l l lll l l ll ll l l l lllll l ll l llll l l lll l lll l l llllll l lllll lllllllll ll lll l ll ll l l l ll l l l llllllll ll lll l l ll ll llll l llll l ll l l l lllll llllllllllll l l lllll
DANIEL 7:13 - 14,27
The King Reigns
n Daniel's vision we're given a preview of what will happen in the "end"; we catch a
glimpse of the ascendancy of the Son of Man and the Ancient of Days. According to the
New Testament, Jesus already has begun to reign (see Ac 7:54-56). All authority is his
and all things belong to him. It's important for us to recognize, though, that he is not ye;
finished bringing all things into submission.
God has not abandoned his original plan to cultivate creation by having humans extend
his dominion over all that he has made (see Ge 1:26-28). Daniel 7 represents good Jewish
and Christian theology by stressing our vocation as rulers of the earth God has entrusted
to our care. Stewardship of the earth and its resources is not a temporary event; it is a per-
manent and ongoing calling (see Da 7:27; Heb 2:5 -8).
As already discussed in excerpts from the work of Biblical studies professor Eugene F.
Roop (see "New Heavens and a New Earth" on page 948 and "The Waters of Justice and
Righteousness" on page 1098), the
rivers of creation, the river of righteousness, and the river Jordan have been given by
God as promise and responsibility. As promise, they flow as a gift from God. We hu-
man stewards do not carry the weight of creation. God works through nature to renew
life on earth. The soil cleanses the water. The water brings vegetation from the earth.
The vegetation replenishes the oxygen. The sun furnishes the power. So the rivers of
creation run.
In the same way, we do not have to generate justice and righteousness out of noth-
ing. God has written justice and righteousness into the very fabric of community life.
Injustice eventually self-destructs, though often this brings much pain to both the just
and the unjust. Righteousness brings the satisfaction of
giving and receiving, loving and being loved. We need
only the wisdom to discern righteousness and the cour-
age to do justice. Inexorably the river runs.
Likewise, through story, tradition, and ritual, we re-
ceive the river Jordan [which Roop views as a symbol
of the gospel]. The promise of new life stands as sure as
God and as visible as our own experience. We do not
need to build God's promised land; we need only to invite
people to enter. The Jordan flows on, waiting for people
to cross over.
Nevertheless, responsibility comes with these rivers
which flow as a gift from God. We have the responsi-
bility to let the rivers run. Creation groans under the
mismanagement of fooli sh stewards ... We must become
stewards of the rivers once again.
Just as Israel under Egyptian bondage and the early
church under Roman persecution cried out because of
their suffering, so the oppressed continue to cry out to-
day. The river of righteousness will wash us away with the
unjust if we continue to turn a deaf ear to those cries.
I In what ways has the
earth suffered under fool-
ish stewardship?
I How is stewardship here
on earth related to our
calling as citizens of a fu-
ture kingdom?
I In what ways can you
participate in the ongoing
call to care for the earth?
Lord, while I wait for
your perfect kingdom to
come, help me to be a
good manager of this
earthly kingdom.
'fhe two-horned ram that you saw represents
of Media and Persia.
The shaggy
toat is the king of Greece, d and the large horn
his eyes is the first king!
The four
that replaced the one that was broken off
four kingdoms that will emerge from
his nation but will not have the same power.
ll"Jn the latter part of their reign, when
:ebels have become completely wicked, a
stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will
He will become very strong, but not by
bisown power. He will cause astounding devas-
and will succeed in whatever he does. He
wsll destroy the mighty men and the holy peo-
will cause deceit to prosper, and he
will consider himself superior. When they feel
;ecure, he will destroy many and take his stand
1g3inst the Prince of princes.8 Yet he will be de-
stroyed, but not by human power. h
"The vision of the evenings and mornings
that has been given you is true, i but seali up the
vision, for it concerns the distant future."k
!, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for
!(Vera! days. Then I got up and went about the
tmg's business.' I was appalledm by the vision;
1was beyond understanding.
Daniel's Prayer
In the first year of Darius" son of Xerxes
(a Mede by descent), who was made ruler
mr the Babylonianb kingdom-
in the first
of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the
Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD
to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desola-
lion of)erusalem would last seventy
years. 3S
turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him
1t prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sack-
ooth and ashes. p
1 prayed to the LORD my God and con-
"0 Lord, the great and awesome God, q
who keeps his covenant of love' with all
who love him and obey his commands
l '
We have sinned and done wrong.' We
have been wicked and have rebelled; we
have turned away' from your commands
and laws."
We have not listened to your
servants the prophets, spoke in your
' 1 Or Chaldean
8:21 'Da 10:20
oa 11:3
8:24 ' Da 7:25;
8:25 oa 11:36
oa 2:34; 11 :21
8: 2&
Da 10:1
!Rev 22:10
oa 10:14
0a 2:48
oa 7:28
9:1 oa 5:31
9:2 '2Ch 36:21;
Jer 29:10;
lee 7:5
9:3 He 1:4;
Jer 29:12
9:4 ot 7:21
9:5'Ps 106:6
'lsa 53:6 ver 11 ;
La 1:20
9:6 '2Ch 36:16;
Jer 44:5
9:7 " Ps 44:15
ot 4:27; Am 9:9
'Jer 3:25
9:9 'Ps 130:4
'Ne 9:17; Jer 14:7
9:10 ' 2KJ 17:13
15; 18:12
9:11'1sa 1:46;
Jer 8:510
9:12 'lsa 44:26;
lee 1:6
Jer 44:26;
Eze 5:9
9:13 'lsa 9:13;
Jer 2:30
9:14 Jer 44:27
'Ne 9:33
Jer 32:21
9:16 'Ps 31:1
Jer 32:32
Eze 5:14
DANIEL 9: 17
name to our kings, our princes and our fa-
thers, and to all the people of the land.

"Lord, you are righteous, but this day
we are covered with shamew- the men of
Judah and people of]erusalem and all Is-
rael, both near and far, in all the countries
where you have scattered us because of
our unfaithfulness to you. Y
0 LORD, we
and our kings, our princes and our fathers
are covered with shame because we have
sinned against you.
The Lord our God
is merciful and forgiving,' even though
we have rebelled against him;
we have
not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the
laws he gave us through his servants the
prophets. b u All Israel has transgressed
your law and turned away, refusing to
obey you.
"Therefore the curses and sworn judg-
ments written in the Law of Moses, the
servant of God, have been poured out
on us, because we have sinned' against
You have fulfilledd the words spo-
ken against us and against our rulers by
bringing upon us great disaster. Under
the whole heaven nothing has ever been
done like what has been done to Jerusa-
Just as it is written in the Law of
Moses, all this disaster has come upon
us, yet we have not sought the favor of the
LORD our God by turning from our sins
and giving attention to your truth. r
LORD did not hesitate to bring the disas-
ter8 upon us, for the LORD our God is righ-
teous in everything he does; yet we have
not obeyed him. h
"Now, 0 Lord our God, who brought
your people out of Egypt with a mighty
hand; and who made for yourself a namei
that endures to this day, we have sinned,
we.have done wrong.
0 Lord, in keep-
ing with all your righteous acts, k turn
away your anger and your wrath from Je-
your city, your holy hill. m Our
sins and the iniquities of our fat hers have
made Jerusalem and your people an ob-
ject of scorn" to all those around us.
"Now, our God, hear the prayers and
petitions of your servant. For your sake,
11111111111111111111111111111111 111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111 11111111 11111111111 1111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111 ....
_ ....... -.._
0 Lord, look with favor
on your desolate
Give ear, 0 God, and hear;
open your eyes and seeP the desolation of
the city that bears your Name. q We do not
make requests of you because we are righ-
teous, but because of your great mercy.
0 Lord, listen! 0 Lord, forgive!' 0 Lord,
hear and act! For your sake, 0 my God,"do
not delay, because your city and your peo-
ple bear your N ani e."
Seventy "Sevens"
,. 'J
While I was speaking and praying, con-
fessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel
and making my request to the LORD my God for
his holy hill'-
while I was still in prayer, Ga-
briel,' the man I had seen in the earlier vision,
came to me in swift flight about the time of the
even'ing sacrifice."
He instrucied me and said
to me, "Daniel, I have now come to give you in-
sight and understanding.
As soon as you be-
gan to pray, an-answer was given, which I have
come to tell you, for you.are highly esteemed!
Therefore, consider the message and under-
stand -the vision: w
24"Seventy-'sevens' a are -decreed for your
people and your holy city to finishb
sion, to put an ecyd to sin, to for wicked-
ness, to brin-g in everlasting righteousness/ to
seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the
most holy.'
25 "Know and understand this: From the is-
suing of the decreei to restore and rebuild' je-
rusalem until the Anointed_ One, the ruler,
comes, there will be seven ' sevens,' and sixty-
two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and
a trench, but in times of trouble ..
After the
sixty-two 'sevens,' the Apointed One will be cut
offb and will have nothing/ The people of the
ruler who will come will destroy the city and
the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: '
War will continue until the end, and desolations
have been decreed.
He will -confirm a cov-
enant with many for one 'seven.'K In the middle
of he will put an end to sacrifice and
offering. And on a wing Lof the templeJ he will
9:17 'Nu 6:24-
26; Ps 80:19
9:18 Ps 80:14
lsa 37:17;
9:19 'Ps 44:23
9:20 ver 3;
Ps 145:18;
lsa 58:9
9:21 'Da8:16;
Lk 1:19'Ex29:39
9:23 oa 10:19;
Lk 1:28
oa 10:11-12:
9:24 'lsa 53:10
9:25 'Ezr 4:24
' Jn 4:25
9:2&'lsa 53:8
'Na 1:8
9:27'1sa 10:22
10:1 ' Da 1:21
Da 1:70a 8:26
10:2 ' Ezr 9:4
Ge 2:14
10:5 i Eze 9:2;
Rev 15-:6
'Jer 10:9
Mt 17:2
mRev 19:12
' Rev 1:15
10:7 '2Ki 6:17-
20 Ac 97
to\a Ge 32:24
oa 8:27
'Hab 3:16
10:9 oa 8:18
Rev 1:17 .
10:11 ' 0a 9:23
Eze 2:1
10:12 'Da 9:3
roa 9:20
10:13 ver 21; '
Oa 12:1; Jude 1:9
set up an abomination that causes desolation
until the end that is decreedd is poured out

. '
Daniel's Vision_ of a Man
In the third year of Cyrus king ofper-
sia, a revelation was -given to Daniel
(who was called Belteshazzar).f Its message
was trueg and it concerned a great war.i The
understanding of the message came to. him in
a vision.
At that time I, Daniel, mournedb for three
I ate no choice food; no ineat or wine
touched iny lips;and I used no lotions at all un-
til the -three weeks were over.
on the twenty-fourth day of the first month,
as I was standing on the bank of the great riv-
er, the Tigris,;
I looked up and there before me
was a man dressed in linen,i with a belt of the
finest goldk around his waist.
His body was
like chrysolite, his face like lightning,! his eyes
like flaming torches, m his arms and legs like
the gleam of burnished bronze, n arid his voice
like the sound of a multitude.
I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vi-
sion; the men with me did not' see it,
but such
terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid
So I was left alone,P gazing at this
great vision; I had no strength left, q my face
turned deathly pale and I was helpless. r
I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I
fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.'
10A hand touched me
and set me trembling
on my hands and knees."
He said, "Daniel,
you who are highly esteemed, v consider care-
fully the I am about to speak to you, and
stand up, w for l have now been sent to you." And
when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.
Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Dan
iel. Since the first day that you set your mind
to gain understanding and to humble' your
self before your God, your words were heard.
and I have come in response to them.Y
the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted lilt
twenty-one days. Then Michael,' one of thl
chief princes, came to help me, because I '
24 Or ' weeks'; also in verses 25 and 26 '24 Or restrain '24 Or Most Holy Place; or most holy One '25 Or word
' 25 Or an anointed one; also In verse 26 f 26 Or off and will have no one; or off, but not for himself t 27 Or 'week' .
27 Or it '27 Or And one who caus es desolation will come upon the pinnacle of the abominable "temple, until the end
decreed is poured out on the desolated "city, i 1 Or true and burdensome
DANIEL 9:1 -19
The Power 6 Intercession
he writer sets_ Daniel his humble in sharp contrast to the pride and com-
placency o_f Kmg Nebuchadnezzar. In fact, Daniel so avoids pride that he repents of not
only hrs own sr_n but also his_people's sin (cf. Lev 26:4p-42). We, lil(e Daniel, must own not
JUSt our own _smful but also the legacy of sin and destruction our predecessors
have left behmd. rt IS m our power to do so, we are to repair the damage already
done-to act even when we aren't responsible for the destruction. Doing so
reaps the followmg benefits: ' -
L We can avoid repe'ating past mistakes.
2. We learn to be cautious .about our own lives and actions.
-3. to recognize the awesome character of God, who in his sovereignty
bnng_s judgment and by his mercy and grace offers forgiveness and restoration.
4. We that "Go_d's best" for our lives, including his best economic blessings,
IS m the future, not m the past or present .
Author Beth Moore addresses this prayer passage in a Bi_ble study on the book of Daniel.
She reflects:
We are so culturally to be fast-paced, high-energy, hands-on kinds of
people that we tend to thmk of prayer as a passive, nearly "do-nothing" reaction. We
to pray when_ we don't know what else to do. Beloved, nothing shakes the heavenlies
hke prayer. Nothmg moves the heart of God more than prayer.. .
Pray when we don't know what to do! Pray when we
do! Pray, pray, pray! We don't have to be formal. We
don't t<: be long-winded. Prayer is deliberate, open
commumcauon with God. I can sit silently in an intense
His presence, waiting on Him and trying to
and be in a posture of prayer. I can groan and
be m such pam of heart that words fail me, and God will
mterpret those groans as the vocabulary of prayer. We .
often learn the most about effective prayer ... by listening
to others pray... .
Paniel's search of Scripture prompted interaction.
Consider:the practice carefully. Scripture reading was the
way Dame! allowed God to speak to him in this context
then prayer was the way Ihniel back. Oh, Beloved:
tf you haven't _already begun to exercise an ap-
proach to Scnpture reading, I pray you'll start to_day!
When you read the Bible, the God of the universe
is' talking to you. So, what should you do in response?
Talk back! God is looking for a two-way conversation.
When we read God's. Word and pause here and there to
something to Him in response, we are participating
m a dialogue with the Divine!
I How actively do you
steward the responsibility-
the privilege! -of prayer?
I Have you "listened," really
listened, to Daniel's words
in this passage?
I To what degree are you
willing to accept responsi-
bility for the sins
of your community, church
and nation?
This week, pray! Try some
, of the prayer suggestions
made by Moore. Or pray
like Daniel on behalf of
lllli lllillllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll;llllllllllllllllllllllll "'
lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll l llllllllll ili
DANIEL 11:44
But reports from the east and the
north will alarm him, and he will set out in a
great rage to destroy and annihilate many.
will pitch his royal tents between the seas at
the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come
to his end, and no one will help him.
The End Times
"At that time Michael,S the great prince
who protects your people, will arise.
There will be a time of distressh such as has
not happened from the beginning of nations
until then. But at that time your people- ev-
eryone whose name is found in the
booki- will be .delivered.l
Multttudes who
sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some
to everlasting life, others to shame and ever-
kl h bt n
lasting contempt. Those w o are wtse WI
shinem like the brightness of the heavens, and
those lead many to righteousness, like the
stars for ever and ever."
But you, Daniel, close
up and seal the words of the scroll until the
time of the end. P Many will go here and there
to increase knowledge."
sThen I, Daniel, looked, and there before me
stood two others, one on this bank of the river
and one on the opposite bank. q
0ne of them
12:1 oa 10:13
Mk 13:19;
Rev 16:18
Ex 32:32;
Ps 56:8 IJer 30:7
12:2 tsa 26:19;
Jn 5:2829
Da 11:33
MMt 13:43;
Jn 5:35
teo t5:42
12:4 tsa 8:16
Rev 22:10
12:5 oa 10:4
12:6 ' Eze 9:2
12:7 'Rev 10:5
s oa 7:25
oa 8:24
Rev 10:7
12:1 ver 4
12:10 roa 11:35
tsa 32:7;
Rev 22:11
Hos 14:9
12:11 oa 8:11;
9:27; Mt 24:15';
Mk 13:14'
12:12 tsa 30:18
oa 8:14
12:13 tsa 57:2
'Ps 16:5;
Rev 14:13
said to the man clothed in linen,' who was aho!t
the waters of the river, "How long will it be fle.
fore these astonishing things are fulfilled?"
7The man clothed in linen, who was aboYt
the waters of the river, lifted his right
his left hand toward heaven, and I heard hia
swear by him who lives forever,
saying, "It will
be for a time, times and half a time.' " When the
power of the holy people has been finally bro.
ken, all these things will be completed.w
8J heard, but I did not understand. So 1
asked, "My lord, what will the outcome of aM
this be?"
9He replied, "Go your way, Daniel,
the words are closed up and sealed until the
time of the end. x
Many willbe purified, made
spotless and refined,Y but the wicked will coo-
tinue to be wicked. z None of the wicked wil
understand, but those who are wise will under
II "From the time that the daily sacrifice 11
abolished and the abomination that causes
desolationb is set up, there will be 1,290 da)'1.
t2BJessed is the one who waits' for and reaches
the end of the 1,335 days. d
ll"As for you, go your way till the end. You
will rest, and then at the end of the days yoa
will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.r

Or the sea and 3 Or who impart wisdom 7 Or a year. two years and half a year .
osea prophesied in the northern kingdom of Israel after a period of prosperity,
at a time when the people's lives and lifestyles were polluted by idolatry and
social decay. Like a harlot, the people of Israel were unfaithful to the Lord. They
worshiped the pagan fertility gods of the surrounding nations. To illustrate the
nation's spiritual adultery, God told the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute in order
to symbolize his own redeeming love in contrast to his people's unfaithfulness.
The book of Hosea presents one primary' stewardship principle: mercy, not sacrifice.
All the money in the world will not please God if it is given with a callous heart.
Hosea 6:6 states: "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God
rather than burnt offerings." In the end, giving has little to do with calculating a
fixed percentage of our income. Instead, giving to God is about showing .mercy to
others out of our devotion to him-a standard that always challenge
us to greater levels of generosity in our giving.
The book of Hosea introduces concepts that illustrate stewardship themes.
Features include worship of gifts versus worship of the giver. {1':2- 21), sin and po_or
stewardship of creation {4:1-3,6), the holiness required of God's steward-tenants
{9:1-3), a discussion of God as a father (11:1 - 11), proud dishonesty (12:1-8) and
the question of who is responsible for the poor (14:1-3).
In Hosea we see a man in love with a woman who was wretchedly entrenched in her
sin. In spite of heartbreak after heartbreak, Hosea pursues Gomer in obedience to
the word of God: The book of Hosea illustrates humanity's ability to crush the heart
of God with our sin. The book paints a picture of a hungering, suffering, yearning
God, stricken with grief over his wayward beloved. It is an image that should break
our hearts and drive us into the arms of the God who pursues us with such passi01i.
Not to be moved is to look into the book and find our heart reflected in the heart of
the wayward Gomer.
oel's prophecy was occasioned by a huge plague of locusts that covered the land of
Israel and devoured its resources. According to the prophet, this economic disaster
foreshadowed the "day of the LoRD," a label applied by Old Testament prophets to
decisive events in time {including the future final judgment) when God would act
both in salvation and in judgment. During the locust plague, which caused a crucial
period of financial vulnerability, the prophet spoke up, calling God's people to
repentance, after which the plague subsided and the land was restored to its former
prosperity {3:18-21). Joel also spoke of a time in the future when God would pour
out his Spirit upon all people {2:28-32; this occurred, at least in part, at Pentecost,
see Ac 2:16-21). Joel also prophesied of a time when the hardened enemy nations
would be judged (Joel 3:1-16).
Generosity and glory are woven together as a key stewardship principle in the
book of Joel. After the people return to the Lord through prayer and fasting, the
economic crisis subsides. God demonstrates his mercy by driving the "army" of
locusts away and shows his generosity by restoring all of the land's resources to full
bloom {2:18-27). Joel2:26-27 notes that God's generosity should result in praise
and worship, just as the New Testament tells us that our own generosity ultimately
results in "thanksgiving to God" {2Co 9:11). A second principle deals with the gift
of God's Spirit. The outpouring of God's Spirit at Pentecost {see Ac 2) fulfills the
promise given in Joel 2:28-32. By giving us his Spirit, God has broken the I'ower of
greed and released the power of generosity in our lives {see Ro 8:4; 12:8).
The book of Joel introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes. You will read about economic disaster {1:1-2:17) and the essential Holy
Spirit {2:28-32).
The book of Joel describes people who buried themselves in their sin. They
unleashed a landslide of self-indulgence that choked the air from their national
conscience and left them spiritually lifeless. Yet God, through Joel, begged them
to repent, reminding them of his grace and mercy. Until we become stewards with
broken hearts-hearts that are crushed over our sin against God-we too face a
spiritually lifeless future.
111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
The word of ~ LORD that came to Joelb
son of Pethuel.
\ n Invasion of Locusts
lHear this,' you elders;
listen, all who live in the land. d
Has anything like this ever happened in
your days
or in the days of your forefathers?
Tell it to your children, r
and let your children tell it to their
and their children to the next generation.
What the locust swarm has left
the great locusts have eaten;
what the great locusts have left
the young locusts have eaten;
what the young locusts have left
other locusts have eaten.s
Wake up, you drunkards, and weep!
Wail, all you drinkers of wine;h
wail because of the new wine,
for it has been snatched from your lips.
A nation has invaded my land,
powerful and without number;i
it has the teet hi of a lion,
the fangs of a lioness.
lt has laid wastek my vines
and ruined my fig trees.
It has stripped off their bark
and thrown it away,
leaving their branches white.
'Mourn like a virgin b in sackcloth m
g_rieving for the husband' of her youth.
Gram offerings and drink offerings
are cut off from the house of the LORD.
1:1'Jer 1:2
' Ac2:16
1:2 ' Hos 5:1
' Hos4:1
' Joel2:2
1:3 ' Ex 10: 2;
Ps 78:4
1:4 ot 28:39;
Na 3:15
1:5 'Joel3:3
1:7 tsa 5:6
1:1 ver13;
tsa 22:12;
1:8 'Hos 9:4;
Joel2:14, 17
1:10' tsa 24:4
>Hos 9:2
1:11Jet 14:3
' lsa 17:11
1:12 'Hag 2:19
1:13 'Jer 4:8
"Joel2:17 "ver9
1:14 "2Ch 20:3
'Jnh 3:8
1:15 ' Jer 30:7
tsa 136 9
Joel 2:i , i 1.'31
The priests are in mourning,
those who minister before the LORD.
The fields are ruined,
the ground is dried upd;o
the grain is destroyed,
the new wineP is dried up,
the oil fails.
Despair, you farmers, q
wail, you vine growers;
grieve for the wheat and the barley,
because the harvest of the field is
destroyed. r
llThe vine is dried up
and the fig tree is withered;
the pomegranate, the palm and the apple
tree -
all the trees of the field.- are dried up.'
Surely the joy of mankind
is withered away.
A Call to Repentance
Put on sackcloth,
0 priests, and mourn;
wail, you who minister" before the altar.
Come, spend the night in sackcloth,
you who minister before my God;
for the grain offerings and drink offerings
are withheld from the house of your God.
Declare a holy fast;w
call a sacred assembly.
Summon the elders
and all who live in the land
to the house of the LORD your God,
and cry out to the LORD.
ts Alas for thatY day!
For the day of the LORD' is near;
it will come like destruction from the
'I The preci
'10 Or se meanmg of the four Hebrew words used here for locusts is uncertain. 8 Or young woman '8 Or betrothed
ground mourns 15 Hebrew Shaddai
lllllll lltlllllllllllllllllllllll 1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
JOEL 3:1
The Nations Judged
"In those days and at that time,
when I restore the fortunes ofJudah and
2 I will gather all nations
and bring them down to the Valley of
There I will enter into judgmentY against
concerning my my people
for they scattered my people among the
and divided up my land.
lThey cast lots for my people
and traded boys for prostitutes;
they sold girls for winez
that they might drink.
"Now what have you against me, 0 Tyre and
Sidon' and all you regions ofPhilistia? Are you
repaying me for something I have done? If
are paying me back, I will swiftly and speed1ly
return on your own heads what you have done. b
Sfor you took my silver and my gold and carried
off my finest treasures to your temples.<
sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the
Greeks, that you might send them far from their
. .
7"See, I am going to rouse them out of the
places to which you sold them, d and I will re-
turn on your own heads what you done.
will sell your sons and daughters to the people
of Judah, rand they will sell them to the Sabe-
ans, a nation far away." The LORD has spoken.
9 Proclaim this among the nations:
Prepare for war!8
Rouse the warriors!h
Let all the fighting men draw near and
1o Beat your plowshares into swords
and your pruning hooks' into spears.
Let the weaklingi say,
"I am strong!"
11 Come quickly, all you nations from every
and assemblek there.
Bring down your warriors,
3:1 Jer 16:15
3:2 reze 36:5
3:4'Mt 11:21
tsa 34:8
3:7 tsa 43:5-6;
Jer 23:8
3:8 tsa 60:14
1sa 14:2
3:9tsa 8:9
'Jer 46:4
1sa 2:4;
Mic 4:31Zec 12:8
3:11 'Eze 38:15-
16; Zep 3:8
1sa 13:3
I '
3:12 tsa 2:4
3:13 'Hos6:11,
Rev 14:15-19
Rev 14:20
3:14 tsa 34:2-8;
Joel 1:15
3:16 Am 1:2 ,
Jer 16:19
3:17 'Joel 2:27
tsa 4:3
3:18 ex 3:8
tsa 30:25; 35:6
Rev 22:1-2
<Eze 47:1;
3:19'0b 1:10
3:20 'Am9:15
3:21'Eze 36:25
12"Let the nations be roused;
let them advance into the Valley of
for there I will sit
to judgem all the nations on every side.
n Swing the sickle,
for the harvest" is ripe.
Come, trample the grapes,
for the winepress is full
and the vats overflow-
so great is their wickedness!"
14 Multitudes, multitudes
in the valley of decision!
For the day of the LoRoP is near
in the valley of decision.
5The sun and moon will be darkened,
and the stars no longer shine.
16The LORD will roar from Zion
and thunder from Jerusalem;q
the earth and the sky will tremble.'
But the LORD will be a r_efuge for his people,
a stronghold' for the people of Israel.
. Blessings for God's People '
11 "Then you will know that I, the LORDyour
dwell in Zion," my holy hill.
Jerusalem will be holy;
never again will foreigners invade her.
8 "In that day the mountains will drip new
and the hills will flow with milk;'
all the ravines ofJudah will run with
A fountain will flow out of the LoRD's house
and will water the valley of
19 But Egypt will be desolate,
Edom a desert waste,
because of violence
done to the people of
in whose land they shed innocent blood.
20 Judah will be inhabited forever'
and Jerusalem through all generations.
21 Their bloodguilt, which I have not
I will pardonb"
The LORD dwells in Zion!
mos was a shepherd called to deliver a message of woe during prosperous times.
Both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah enjoyed
economic stability in Amos's day, but their economic vitality was polluted by moral
decay. The people's sin encompassed the full gamut of human depravity: human
trafficking (2:6), sexual immorality (2:7), complacency (6:1-7), extravagant living
(6:4), pride (6:8) and economic rackets (8:5). Social injustice and oppression were
rampant. In response, Amos announced a sweeping indictment of God's people. His
prophecy emphasized the return of God's people to true religion. Amos taught that
true religion toward God is a reverent hearing and receiving of his Word, but, as
veteran Bible expositor]. Alec Motyer shows, true religion toward other people is
"honesty, considerateness, and unfailing concern for the needy."
Readers of the book of Amos are challenged with the stewardship principle
of avoiding extravagance. While there is nothing wrong with having material
possessions, extravagance at someone else's expense is sin (6:1-6). A related
principle is that of privilege and responsibility. The Israelites had turned their backs
on the God who had chosen them to be his people (3:1-2). An additional principle
examines oppression and God's anger. As a compassionate friend of the afflicted,
the Lord is infuriated by the oppression of the powerless (3:9-11). The principle of
social sin-sins engrained within a culture that become accepted norms-is also
integral to the book of Amos. The prophet Amos sought to rebut the sociomoral,
socioreligious and socioeconomic status quo that perverted the national culture of
Israel (4:1-5). Another stewardship principle touches on the distinguishing mark
between true and false religion. Amos prophesied to an intensely religious culture at
a time when the people clung to their special status as the people of God, while their
true gods were their stomachs and their bank accounts (8:1-14).
The book of Amos introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship such
as pride (6:8) and a famine of the Word (8:11-12). Features include valuing life
(1:3-15), personal, social and institutional sin (2:6-8), the "cows ofBashan;' (4:1),
civil religion versus Biblical religion (7:10-13) and caring for the nonhuman creation
The book of Amos is a warning to examine the hidden voices of our culture-our
lifestyles and habits-an.d to engage in social stewardship. Social sins are camouflaged
by a shared way of life that produces spiritual myopia. We are called to scrutinize, to
question, and at times to betray our culture in order to assume the responsibilities of
heavenly citizenship. The prophet's message can be summarized by his cry: "But let
justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream" (5:24).
' AMOS 9:7
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out over the face of the
the LORD is his name.g
1 "Are not you Israelites
. ?"h
the same to me as the Cus ttes
declares the LORD.
"Did I not bring Israel up from
the Philistines from Caphtorb
and the Arameans from Kir?J
a "Surely the eyes oft he Sovereign LORD
are on the sinful kingdom.
I will destroy it
from the face of the earth...,....
yet I will not totally destroy
the house of}acob," k
declares the LoRD.
9 "For I will give the command,
and 1 will shake the house oflsrael
among all the nations
. . m
as grain' is shaken m a steve,
and not a pebble will reach the ground.
to All the sinners among my people
will die by the sword,
all those who say, '"
'Disaster will not overtake or meet us.
Israel's Restoration
n "In that day I will restore
David's fallen tent.
8:& Ps 104:13,
56, 13; Am 5:8
9:7'1sa 20:4;
0! 2:23;
Jer 47:4
l2Ki 16:9;
lsa 22:6; Am 1:5;
9:8 Jer 44:27
Lk 22:31
!sa 30:28
8:10' Am6:3
9:12 Nu 24:18
lsa 43:7
'Ac 15:1617"
8:13 'Lev 26:5
8:14 '1sa61:4
Jer 30:18;
Eze 28:2526
9:15 1sa 60:21
Eze 34:25-28;

will repair its broken places,
restore its ruins,
and build it as it used to be,o
n so that they may possess the remnant of
and all the nations that bear my
declares the LORD, who will
do these things.'
13"The days are coming," declares the loRD,
"when the reaper will be overtaken by the
and the planter by the one treading
New wine will drip from the mountains
and flow from all the hills.t
14I will bring back my exiledd people
they will rebuild the ruined cities" and
live in them.
They will plant vineyards and drink their
they will make gardens and eat their
151 will plantw Israel in their own land,
never again to be uprooted
from the land 1 have given them,"
says the LoRD your God.'
:__ . . - . I - That is Crete ' 12 Hebrew; Septuagint so that the remnant of men I and all
7 That is, people from the upper Nile reghonL d ' 14 Or will restore the fortunes of my
. b namemayseek_t e or ' II
the natiOns that ear my
l llllllllltlll11111111111111111\11111111111111llllllllllllllllllllll111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
n the book of Obadiah we see the people of Edom come under intense and
final judgment for failure to care for their "brother" IsraeL The Edomites were
descendants of Esau, Jacob's brother, and the Scriptures show us that this initial
relationship continued to be important to God and his people throughout Old
Testament history. Despite a shared ancestry, Edom was complicit in the violence
done to Israel, allowing great harm to come to God's people and rejoicing in their
ruin. For this failure to care for their "brother," Edom faced a severe and final
punishment. In the book of Obadiah, we learn that we cannot close our eyes to the
needs of our brothers and sisters and place our own needs and security first without
suffering consequences. Instead, we must be willing to enter the pain and the mess of
the people around us who are suffering-and defend them as welL
' -
The book of Obadiah presents the stewardship theme of loving others. When
we fail to love and care for our "brother" -whether a family member, friend or
stranger-we come under God's judgment. Edom and Israel descended from Esau
and Jacob, respectively, twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. God commanded the
Israelites neither to hate the Edomites nor to provoke them to war since the peoples
were both descended from common ancestors (see Dt 23:7). But despite their family
ties, Edom committed violent acts against IsraeL Edom allowed great harm to come
to Judah and rejoiced at its ruin (Ob 12). For this failure to care for their "brother,"
the Edomites a Severe punishment (10-11).
The book of Obadiah introduces concepts that illustrate stewardship themes. You
will read about stewardship of our spir itual siblings in Obadiah 5-14.
In Obadiah we see the pride of the people of Edom-a nation that not only felt it
was invincible but also turned against its own family for profit. The partnership of
pride and greed calls to't he deepest source of selfishness in our hearts-the entwined
sins that Satan first stirred in Eve's thoughts in the garden. The secret weapon
against pride and greed is God's twofold love command: "Love the Lord your God
With all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind ... (and] Love your
neighbor as yourself (Mt 22:37 -39).
As you have done, it will be done to you;
your deedsw will return upon your own
16 just as you drank on my . .
so all the nations w1ll dnnk contmually,
they will drink and drink
and be as if they had never been.
17 But on Mount Zion will be de\iverance;Y
it will be holy,'
and the house of)acob
will possess its inheritance.
18The house of)acob will be a fLre
and the house of)oseph a flame;
the house ofEsau will be stubble,
and they will set it on fi re and
CO!)SUme it.
There will be no survivors
from the house of Esau.':
, The LORD has spoken.
15 Jer 50:29:
Hab 2:8
16' Jer25:15;
18 zec 12:6
. 19 ' lsa 11:14
20 ' 1Ki 17:910
21 ' Ps 22:28;
zec 14:9, 16;
Rev 11:15
19 People from the Negev will occupy
the mountains ofEsau,
and people from the foothills will
the land of the Phi\istines.b
They will occupy the fields of Ephraim and
and Benjamin will possess Gilead.
2oThis company oflsraelite exiles who are in
will possess Lthe \andJ as far as
the exiles from jerusalem who are in
will possess the towns of the Negev.<
21 Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion
to govern the mountains ofEsau.
And the kingdom will be the
21 Or from ;lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllltt
11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 .
r .
he book of Jonah teaches us profound lessons about the importance of
obedience, trust, and compassion for the unsaved. Jonah tried to avoid God's
command to warn the wicked city of Nineveh of coming judgment. When the
Ninevites repented and were spared the wrath of God, Jonah became angry because
God spared the lives of people he hated. The book of Jonah reminds us not only of
our need for God's mercy but also of the way in which God promotes ministry across
cultural and racial barriers. Furthermore, God asks us to r isk our lives, our social
status and our resources to bring this mercy to others, and he will be responsible
to provide for our needs as we seek and obey him. As we give graciously to others,
especially for t he advancement of the gospel, God remains trustworthy to give
graciously to us.
I J( I
The book of Jonah focuses on the stewardship of obedience and trust. God
gave us unthinkable mercy when we were his hate-filled enemies. Can we now deny
mercy to others? When God commanded the prophet Jonah to preach to Nineveh,
Israel's powerful enemy, Jonah responded in disobedience, anger and fear (1:3;
4:2- 3). Though he knew well the consistent grace and mercy of God, he refused to .
accept that God would give the same grace and mercy to Israei's enemy. Similarly,
when we delight in God's mercy and grace, is it primarily because we think about
them as gifts that only we should receive? Do we, like Jonah, balk at the idea of God
showing favor to others?
The book of Jonah introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through illuminations. You will read about Jonah, the repentant
steward of t he lost (1:4-16). Features include stewarding emotions (4:1-11).
The book of Jonah should give us all pause. When we look upon t he si n and
debauchery that surrounds us- when we look into the eyes of an individual or into
the soul of a nation's culture- is our first response to recoil and t urn our backs? Or
do we respond with God's message of mercy and compassion? How many of us daily
walk the gangplank of pride, fear, rebellion or selfishness as we "hop ship" and head
for Tarshish?
icah prophesied in Judah during a period of prosperity-when the people's
wealth was polluted by idolatry, greed and social decay. Economic rackets
were common, and the prophet's words were directed toward the wealthy
landowners who oppressed the poor. Micah rebuked the people for lying awake at
night thinking up ways to seize other people's property (2:1-2) and plotting ways to
exploit the weaknesses of the needy and helpless.
The book of Micah presents the stewardship principle of giving to God what
he wants. In Old Testament times, Jewish law and culture revolved around the
assumption that God wanted something from his people. He gave the Israelites
the sacrificial system to follow, along with the other regulations and requirements
contained in his law, and he commanded that no one appear before him "empty-
handed" (see Ex 23:15). The prophet Micah asked what sacrifice he could bring the
Lord that would be enough (Mic 6:6-7). Micah's despair highlights the problem we
face when we give "things" to God: our most extravagant gifts are utterly inadequate
in light of our sin and the overwhelming reality of what God actually deserves.
Recognition of this inadequacy could lead us to hopelessness; however, this passage
fixes our focus on the goodness of God: "He has showed you, 0 man, what is good.
And what does the LoRD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk
humbly with your God" (6:8).
The book of Micah introduces concepts that illustrate stewardship themes. You will
read about comeuppance (2:1-5), our mission (4:1-5) and what God wants from his
stewards (6:6-8).
lllfllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllll lllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll lll
The word of the LORD that came to Micah of
Moresheth' during the reigns of}otham, b
and Hezekiah, kings of Judahd- the vi-
concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
=Hear, 0 peoples, all of you, r
listen, 0 earthS and all who are in it,
!hat the Sovereign LoRD may witnessh
against you,
the Lord from his holy temple. i
Against Samaria and
Look! The LORD is coming from his
dwellingi place;
he comes down and treads the high
places of the earth. k
The mountains melt
beneath him
and the valleys split apart, m
like wax before the fire,
like water rushing down a slope.
Ail this is because of Jacob's transgression,
because of the sins of the house oflsrael.
What is Jacob's transgression?
Is it not Samaria?"
What is Judah's high place?
Is it not Jerusalem?
'1Ch 3:13
' Hos 1:1 ' 1sa 1:1
1:2 'Ps 50:7
1Jer 6:19
0t 4:26; lsa 1:2
Ps 11:4
1:3 ilsa 18:4
Ps46:2, 6
Nu 16:31 ;
Na 1:5
1:5 ' Am 8:14
1:6 'Am 5:11
Eze 13:14
Since she gathered her gifts from the wages
of prostitutes,'
as the wages of prostitutes they will
again be used."
Weeping and Mourning
Because of this I will weep' and wail;
I will go about barefoot and naked.
I will howl like a jackal
and moan like an owl.
For her wound" is incurable;
it has come to Judah.
It has reached the very gatew of my people,
even to Jerusalem itself.
Tell it not in Gathb;
weep not at all.<
In Beth Ophrahd
roll in the dust.
Pass on in nakedness and shame,
you who live in Shaphir.<
Those who live in Zaananf
will not come out.
Beth Ezel is in mourning;
its protection is taken from you.
Those who live in MarothK writhe in pain,
waiting for relief,Y
~ =
1 1 1
''Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of
because disaster has come from the LORD,
even to the gate of Jerusalem.
The book of Micah gives us a glimpse into the heart of God. Micah 7:18 tells us that
God delights to show mercy. A person with the greatest wealth in the world could
not bring God a gift worthy of God's love, yet God tells us the gifts he desires from
us: to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with him-gifts of the poor in
spirit who have found true wealth.
a place for planting vineyards.
I will pour her stones into the valley
and lay bare her foundations. P
.\ll her idolsq will be broken to pieces;
all her temple gifts will be burned with
I will destroy all her images. r
' Ot 23:17-18
1:8'1sa 15:3
1:9 Jer 46:11
'2Ki 18:13
tsa 3:26
1:11 'Eze 23:29
1:12 'Jer 14:19
1:13 Jos 10:3
1:14 '2Ki 16:8
You who live in Lachish,hz
harness the team to the chariot.
You were the beginning of sin
to the Daughter of Zion,
for the transgressions oflsrael
were found in you.
Therefore you will give parting gifts
to Moresheth Gath.
' .10 Gath sounds like the Heb;ew for tell. ' 10 Hebrew; Septuagint may suggest not in Acco. The Hebrew for in
hke the Hebrew for weep. 10 Beth Ophrah means house of dust. '11 Shaphir means pleasant. f 11 zaanan
the Hebrew for come out.
12 Maroth sounds like the Hebrew for bi tter. 13 Lachi sh sounds like the Hebrew
ahum prophesied during Assyria's golden age, when the accumulated wealth
of Nineveh, its capital city, was beyond counting. The Assyrians had grown
rich from their brutal conquests-seizing the spoils of war and exacting annual
tributes from conquered nations like Israel-as well as from their profitable trading
and mercantile industries (3:16). Accordingly, the prophet Nahum announced God's
coming judgment on the city of Nineveh, whose people had repented under Jonah's
preaching only a century before but had resumed their old ways.
It is fitting that the book of Nahum presents the stewardship principle of plunderers
plundered. Assyria was infamous for 200 years' worth of stolen treasures obtained
through spoils of war and tribute. Nevertheless, Nahum 2:8-10 reminds us that
Assyria's wealth would be lost and anticipates an economic reversal so that all the
wealth of kings and nations would come flowing back to God and his people. A
second principle addresses insatiability. While the Bible affirms the goodness of
wealth and wealth creation (see Dt 8:18), it condemns those who acquire more for
the sake of more, oblivious to the needs of others (Na 3:16). God did not judge
Nineveh for being involved in business; he judged Nineveh for its idolatrous pursuit
of wealth as an end in itself and for the selfishness that motivated such actions. The
result of the lust more was brutality, extortion and violence (3:1-4).
The book of Nahum introduces concepts that illustrate stewardship themes through
challenges to stewardship such as industries of insatiability (3:16). Features address
the concept of economic reversal (2:8-10).
Only a century before the time of Nahum, the people of Nineveh had repented
under the preaching of Jonah. Yet in the span of just a few generations, the city had
returned to its wickedness, corrupted by the incalculable wealth it had extorted from
other nations. Nahum 3 reminds us that the drive for wealth is an obsession :that
leads to destruction: "Because of the wanton lust of a harlot ... 'I am against you,'
declares the LoRD Almighty" (3:4-5).
Ifhe LORD is a jealous' and avenging God;
the LORD takes vengeanced and is filled
with wrath.
The LORD takes vengeance on his foes
and maintains his wrath against his
'The LORD is slow to anger and great in
the LORD will not leave the guilty
His way is in the whirlwind and the
and cloudss are the dust of his feet.
He rebukes the sea and dries it up;
he makes all the rivers run dry.
Bashan and Carmelh wither
and the blossoms of Lebanon fade.
The mountains quake; before him
and the hills melt away)
The earth trembles at his presence,
the world and all who live in it.
'Who can withstand his indignation?
Who can endurek his fierce anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire;
the rocks are shatteiedm before him.
The LORD is good,"
a refuge in times of trouble. ,
He cares for
those who trust in him,
but with an overwhelming flood
he will make an end of LNineveh";
he will pursue his foes into
1:1 1sa 13:1;
19:1; Jer 23:33
34 'Jnh 12
Na 2:8: zep '2:13
1:2 'Ex 20:5
Ps94:i '
1:3'Ne 9:17
'Ex 34:7
IPs 104:3
1:4 'lsa 33:9
1:5 'Ex 19:18
lMic 1:4
1:6 'Mal3:2
m1Ki 19:11
1:7 'Jer 33:11
Ps 1:6
1:10 2Sa 23:6
lsa 5:24; Mal4:1
1:12 ' lsa 10:34
lsa 54:68;
La 3:3132
1:13 'I sa 9:4
1:14 lsa 14:22
Eze 32:2223
1:15 'lsa 40:9;
Ro 10:15
lsa 52:7
'Lev 23:24
Whatever they plot against the LORD
he will bring to an end;
trouble will not come a second time.
They will be entangled among thornsP
and drunk from their wine;
they will be consumed like dry
From you, L 0 Nineveh," has one come forth
who plots evil against the LORD
and counsels wickedness.
Th is is what the LORD says:
"Although they have allies and are
they will be cut off' and pass away.
Although I have afflicted you, L 0 Judah,"
I will afflict you no more.'
Now I will break their yoke' from your
and tear your shackles away."
The LORD has given a command concerning
you, LNineveh":
"You will have no descendants to bear
your name. "
I will destroy the carved images and cast
that are in the temple of your gods.
I will prepare your grave,"'
for you are vile."
Look, there on the mountains, ,
the feet of one who brings good news, x
who proclaims peace!Y
Celebrate your festivals, z 0 Judah,
and fulfill your vows.
No more will the wicked invade you;
they will be completely destroyed.
10 The meaning of the Hebrew for this verse is uncertaln. :::
1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 "'
he prophet Habakkuk ministered during a time of great sinfulness. Even among
God's people, injustice saturated society, and Habakkuk witnessed such evil that
he cried out, "How long, 0 LoRD . . . ?" {1:2). In response to the prophet's cry, the
Lord gave Habakkuk a vision of ultimate victory and told him that "the righteous
will live by ... faith" {2:4). Many would turn their backs on the vision by trusting in
their wealth and power, but they would be disappointed when God finally appeared.
This book teaches us to be patient in the midst of trials, especially when those trials
involve material needs {3:17 -18), and to look beyond the present to the coming
day when Christ returns and God rewards the righteous who live by faith in his
Habakkuk was given a vision to help answer the question of the role of faith in a
world saturated by chaos and injustice; therefore, the stewardship principle of living
by faith plays a central role in the book. God told Habakkuk t o record a vision
concerning the justice God would bring in the future {2:2-3); though fulfillment
might "linger," the righteous were to wait patiently for it (2:3). In this revelation, the
curtain would be pulled back on God's plan, and all would be given a chance to see
things as they truly were {2:14). In the context of the economy of his day, Habakkuk
said, in effect, "In spite of bankruptcy and economic disaster, I will rejoice in the
Lord. Come what may, I will be joyful in the presence of poverty and content myself
even in the absence of every material blessing because I believe in God's provision"
(see 3:17 -18).
The book of Habakkuk introduces concepts that illustrate stewardship themes. You
will read about waiting for God {2:1-2) and delayed gratification (3:1-19).
Habakkuk expresses a message for us today. We live in a world where injustice
saturates society and chaos marks the global landscape. Righteousness in its fullness
is deferred, and we as believers are often asked to wait patiently and joyfully in the
midst of painful circumstances. Our contentment is based on our faith in God's
provision: "The Sovereign LoRD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a
deer, he enables me to go on the heights" (3:19).
Jllll llllllll l l ll lllll ll l llll llll l ll lll l lll ll lll lllllll lll lll ll l lll l l lllllll l lll l llll l lll l lll ll lll l llll l llll l llll ll ll ll lll ll llll l ll lll lll ll llll lll ll lll l l l ll ll lll l llll lll lll l l lllllllll
The oracle' that Habakkuk the prophet re-
's Complaint
'How long, 0 LORD, must I call for help,
but you do not listen ?b
Or cry out to you, "Violence!"
but you do not save?'
lWhy do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerated wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, f and conflict abounds.
'Therefore the laws is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted. h
The LORD's Answer
'Look at the nations and watch-
and be utterly amazed. i
For I am going to do something in your
that you would not believe,
even if you were told)
'Jam raising up the Babylonians, ak
that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth
to seize dwelling places not their own.
They are a feared and dreaded people;m
they are a law to themselves
and promote their own honor.
' Thei r horses are swifter" than leopards,
fiercer than wolves at dusk.
Their cavalry gallops headlong;
their horsemen come from afar.
They fly like a vulture swooping to
they all come bent on violence.
1:1'Na 1:1
1:2 'Ps 13:12;
22:12 'Jer 14:9
1:3'ver 13
1:4Ps 119:126
'Job 19:7;
lsa 1:23; 5:20;
Eze 9:9
1:5 'lsa 29:9
lAc 13:41'
1:6 '2Ki 24:2
Jer 13:20
1:7 1sa 18:7;
Jet 39:59
1:8 'Jer 4:13
1:9 'Hab2:5
1:10 P2Ch 36:6
1:11 Jer 4:11-12
oa 4:30
1:12'1sa 31 :1
'lsa 10:6
1:13 La 3:3436
1:15 ' lsa19:8
Jet 16:16
1:1&Jer 44:8
1:17 >lsa 14:6;
Their hordesb advance like a desert wind
and gather prisoners
like sand.
They deride kings
and scoff at rulers.P
They laugh at all forti fied cities;
they build earthen ramps and capture
Then they sweep past like the windq and go
guilty men, whose own strength is their
Habakkuk's Second Complaint
0 LORD, are you not from everlasting?
My God, my Holy One,' we will not die.
0 LORD, you have appointed' them to
execute judgment;
0 Rock, you have ordained them to
Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
you cannot tolerate wrong."
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?
Why are you silent while the wicked
swallow up those more righteous than
You have made men like fish in the sea,
like sea creatures that have no ruler.
The wicked foe pulls all of them up with
he catches them in his net, w
he gathers them up in his dragnet;
and so he rejoices and is glad.
Therefore he sacrifices to his net
and burns incense' to his dragnet,
for by his net he lives in luxury
and enjoys the choicest food.
Is he to keep on emptying his net,
destroying nations without mercy?Y
9 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word Is uncertain.
11111111111111111 1111111111111111111 11111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111 1111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
he prophet Zephaniah called God's people to seek the Lord in light of God's
coming judgment in the "day of the LoRD" -a term applied by Old Testament
prophets to decisive events in time (including the future final judgment) when God
would act both in salvation and in judgment. Zephaniah prophesied that while the
day of the Lord would sweep clean the entire face of the earth (1:2), God's coming
judgment would also have a decidedly financial focus (1:11-13). The book ends with
a command to rejoice in God's presence and in his saving works among his people.
The book of Zephaniah presents the stewardship principle of generosity and
judgment. The prophet Zephaniah reminds us that God's judgm.ent encompasses
everything-including our money. In fact, Zephaniah prophesied that while the day
of the Lord will leave no stone uncovered, God's future judgment will also result in
financial destruction (1:11-13). Zephaniah prophesied in Jerusalem during a time
when the people spurned their God. Though the northern kingdom of Israel had
been wiped away in judgment, the southern kingdom of Judah persisted in their
wickedness. The people gloried in their riches and oppressed the poor, ridiculing the
repeated warnings of judgment given by the prophets (3:1-2).
The book of Zephaniaq concepts that illustrate stewardship themes.
You will read about Zephaniah and his call as a prophet (1:1). Features address the
financial focus of the final judgment (1:1-13) and Christian values and "real world"
economics (3:19-20).
The bo9k of Zephaniah reminds us of the all-encompassing scope of God's
expectations for our stewardship of his gifts and our accountability for what he has
placed in our hands. He created all good things for our enjoyment and has blessed
us with every resource; his judgment will extend to all spheres of life, including
financial arenas. Zephaniah details harsh judgment for those who ignore God, but
he glories in the restoration of those who repent and return, including a financial
restoration: "'At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I
will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your
fortunes before your very eyes,' says the (3:20).
llliilllll ll ll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll l llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllltlll
The word of the LORD that came to Zepha-
niah son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the
son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, during
the reign ofJosiah son of Amon king ofJudah:
Warning of Coming Destruction
l"J will sweep away everything
from the face of the earth,"b
declares the LORD.
l"J will sweep away both men and animals;
I will sweep away the birds of the air<
and the fish of the sea.
The wicked will have only heaps of rubble
when I cut off man from the face of the
declares the LORD.
Against Judah
"1 will stretch out my hand against Judah
and against all who live in Jerusalem.
I will cut off from this place every remnant
of Baal/
the names of the pagan and the
idolatrous priestsB-
those who bow down on the roofs
to worship the starry host,
those who bow down and swear by the
and who also swear by Molech, b h
'those who turn back from followingi the
and neither seeki the LORD nor inquirek
of him.
Be silent
before the Sovereign LORD,
for the day of the LORDm is near.
The LORD has prepared a S(\crifice;"
he has consecrated those he has invited.
1:1 '2KI22:1 ;
2Ch 34:135:25
1:2 'Ge 6:7
Hos 10:5
1sa 1:4;
Jer 2:13llsa 9:13
'Hos 7:7
Hab 2:20;
Zec 2:13
ver 14 1sa 136
1sa 34:.6;
Jer 46:10
1:8 lsa 24:21
1:10 '2Ch 33:14
1:11 Jas 5:1
' Hos 9:6
1:12 ' Am6:1
JeJ 48:11
Eze 8:12
1:13 Jer 15:13
Am 5:11; Mic 6:15

Joel1:15 'Eze 7:7
On the day of the LORD's sacrifice
I will punish the princes
and the king's sonsP
and all those clad
in foreign clothes.
On that day I will punish
all who avoid stepping on the
who fill the temple of their gods
with violence and deceit. q
"On that day," declares the LORD,
"a cry will go up from the Fish Gate/
wailing from the New Quarter,
and a loud crash from the hills.
Wail,' you who live in the market districtd;
all your merchants will be wiped out,
all who trade with' silver will be
At that time I will search Jerusalem with
and punish those who are complacent, u
who are like wine left on its dregs,
who think, 'The LORD will do nothing,w
either good or bad.'
Their wealth will be plundered, x
their houses demolished.
They will build houses
but not live in them;
they will plant vineyards
but not drink the wine.Y
The Great Day of the LORD
"The great day of the LORD' is near-
near and coming quickly.
Listen! The cry on the day of the LORD will
be bitter,
the shouting of the warrior there.
:3 The meaning of the Hebrew for this line is uncertain. 5 Hebrew Ma/cam, that is, Milcom '9 See 1 Samuel 5:5.
11 Or the Mortar ' 11 Or In
lllllllll llll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
6 "I have cut off nations;
their strongholds are demolished.
I have left their streets deserted,
with no one passing through.
Their cities are destroyed;b
no one will be left- no one at all.
7I said to the city,
'Surely you will fear me
and accept correction!'
Then her dwelling would not be cut off,
nor all my punishments come upon her.
But they were still eager
to act corruptly' in all they did.
&Therefore waitd for me," declares the
"for the day I will stand up to testify."
I have decided to assemble the nations,<
to gather the kingdoms
and to pour out my wrath on them-
all my fierce anger.
The whole world will be consumedr
by the fire of my jealous anger.
9 "Then will I purify the lips of the peoples,
that all of them may call& on the name of
the LORD
and r v ~ him shoulder to shoulder.
From beyond the rivers of Cush b i
my worshipers, my scattered people,
will bring me offerings)
11 On that day you will not be put to shamek
for all the wrongs you have done to me,
because I will remove from this city
those who rejoice in their pride.
Never again will you be haughty
on my holy hill.
12 But I will leave within you
the meek
and humble,
who trustm in the name of the LORD.
3:&'Lev 26:31
3:7 ' Hos9:9
3:& 'Ps 27:14
'Zep 1:18
3:1 Zep 2:11
'Jsa 19:18
Ps 68:31
3:11'Joel2:26 27
1sa 14:32
Na 1:7
3:13 ' lsa 10:21;
Mlc 4:7 Ps 119:3
Rev 14:5
Eze 34:15;
Zep 2:7
'Eze 34:25 28
3:14 zec 2:10
'lsa 12:6
3:15 Eze 37:26
28 'lsa 54:14
3:16 Job 4:3;
lsa 35:34;
Heb 12:12
Ylsa 62:4
3:19 Eze 34:16;
3:20 Jer 29:14;
Eze 37:12
' lsa 56:5; 66:22
13 The remnant oflsrael will do no wrong;
they will speak no lies,P
nor will deceit be found in their mouths.
They will eat and lie downq
and no one will make them afraid.'"
14Sing, 0 Daughter of Zion;'
shout aloud,' 0 Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
0 Daughter of jerusalem!
1s The LoRD has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The LORD, the King oflsrael, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm.
16On that day they will say to jerusalem,
"Do not fear, 0 Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.w
17 The LoRD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save!
He will take great delightY in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."
18"The sorrows for the appointed feasts
I will remove from you;
they are a burden and a reproach to you.'
19 At that time I will deal
with all who oppressed you;
I will rescue the lame
and gather those who have been scattered.'
I will give them praise and honor
in every land where they were put to
2o At that time I will gather you;
at that time I will bringb you home.
I will give you honor' and praise
among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunesd d
before your very eyes;'
says the LoRD.
8 Septuagint and Syriac; Hebrew will rise up to plunder 10 Thatjs, the upper Nile region ' tJ!sOr I will gather you who
mourn for the appointed feasts; 1 your reproach is a burden to you 20 Or I bnng back your cap
ll ll lllllllllllllllllllll
lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
he prophet Haggai delivered one of the simplest messages in the entire Bible. The
Jews had returned from exile in Babylon and had begun to resettle in Jerusalem.
Haggai watched with disgust as the people busily began building their own houses,
while God's temple lay in shambles. "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in
your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?" (1:4). Haggai called God's
people to honor the work of God before their own work and to demonstrate their
priorities in the way they used their time and resources. By God's grace the people
listened and were richly blessed with God's presence, protection and the joy of
The conflict of dual loyalties is presented in the book of Haggai and in the steward-
ship principle of building God's house, not our own. Haggai ministered to a people
who thought they could live in the city of God while their hearts remained in
Babylon. They were busy building their own houses, while God's temple lay in ruins
(1:4,9). Even though they knew the temple was the symbol of God's presence with
them, they rationalized that the rebuilding could wait (1:2). Haggai directly rebuked
the people's priorities and reminded them that the time to engage in God's work is
always now. Their lack of motivation revealed their indifference toward God, while
the energy and resources they spent on their own houses demonstrated what they
really cared about-themselves.
The book of Haggai introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship such
as putting off God's priorities (1:1-8). Features include working and leaving the
worry to God (2:1-5).
The great Reformer Martin Luther once called the book of Haggai "the easiest of all
the prophets" because his message was clear-cut. Haggai simply tells God's people
to reorder their priorities: God's work must come first; God's house must be built,
even if it means putting God's work before our own comforts. While the prophet's
message is easy to understand, it is hard to obey, especially for contemporary Chris-
tians. Today, God's people are his dwelling place (see 1Co 6:19). Therefore, are
we working to build up those around us who are in ruins? Are we reordering our
priorities so that we can minister first to God's house?
echariah's underlying message was one of encouragement for God's
people. Zechariah addressed the same group of Jewish exiles as Haggai
lid, encouraging them to the task of rebuilding the temple, and Haggai,
romoting a spiritual renewal. The meaning of Zechariah's ri.ame- "The LORD
emembers" -provides an overarching theme for the entire book. Just as God called
tis' people to remember the covenant. and return to him at the outset of the book
1:3), God would remember his covenant and return to his people. When we are
empted to trust in some other hope or comfort, Zechariah reminds all of us of the
oming "day of the LoRD," when God will claim everything that belongs to him,
rom horse bells (14:20) to human hearts.
:::entral to the book of Zechariah is the stewardship principle that all things are holy
o the Lord. The final words concluding Zechariah's prophecy have much to teach
tbounhe way Christians should view the seemingly insignificant details of life.
God has revealed the enormity of his redemption by his concern for even
he smallest of things, we testify most effectively to his lordship when we exercise
;tewardship over all things that have been entrusted to our care (14:20-21). A
;econd principle is that of belonging. When Zechariah delivered his message to the
:lisplaced Jewish exiles who had just returned from captivity in Babylon, the comfort
1e gave hinged on the idea of the continuation of the covenant between God and his
people (2:8-12). God reminded the people that he had chosen them as his "portion"
:2:12). One additional principle is that of stewarding' the flock . In his revelation to
Zechariah, the Lord cursed leaders who neglected their responsibilities as 'stewards
The book of Zechariah introduces concepts that illustrate stewardship themes.
Features include repentance and stewardship (1:2-6), fleeing our former ways of life
(2:1 - 7), the Spirit's promptings (4:1-6), religion God accepts (7:1-12), creation's
savior (8:9-17), shepherding the flock (10:3 - 11:3), a time for introspection
(12:10-13:6) and the expanse of redemption (14:20-21).
Like the Jews of Zechariah's day, Christians today still suffer from the residual
effects of alienation, or "exile," from God. Our deepest feelings of despair and
dissatisfaction do not spring from lack of possessions or belongings but from a
failure to recognize that we belong to God. Comfort comes when God's Holy Spirit
teaches us that satisfaction springs not from what we own but from knowing whose
we are (see Rev 21:2-3).
A Call to Return to the LORD
In the eighth month of the second year of
Darius, the word of the LORD came to the
prophet Zechariahb son ofBerekiah, c the son of
1:1 Ezr 4:24
6:15 'Ezr 5:1'
'Mt 23:35;
Ll< 11:51
ver 7;
1:2 '2Ch 36:16
1:3 'Mal3:7;
Jas 4:8
1:4 2Ch 36:15
'Ps 106:6
"The LORD was very angry< with you-r fore-
Therefore tell the people: This is what"
the LORD Almighty says: ' Return to me,' de-
clares the LORD Almighty, 'and I will return to
says the LORD Aimighty.
Do not be like
your forefathers,8 to whom the earlier prophets
proclaimed: This is what the LORD Almighty
Turn from your evil waysh and your evil
practices.' But they would not listen or pay at-
tention to me,' declares the LORD.
Where are
your forefathers now? the prophets, do
they live forever?
But did not my words and
my decrees, which I commanded my servants
the prophets, overtake your forefathers?
"Then they repented and said, 'The LORD Al-
mighty has done to us what our ways and prac-
tices deserve,i just ,as he determined to do.'"
The Man Among the Myrtle Trees
0n the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh
month, the month ofShebat, in the second year of
Darius, the word of the LoRD came to the prophet
Zechariah son ofBerekiah, the son oflddo.
During the night I had a vision-and there
before me was a man riding a redk horse! He
was standing among the myrtle trees in a ra-
vine. Behind him were red, brown and white
'I asked, "What are these, my lord?" ..
The ange]m who was talking with me an-
11\'ered, "!will show you what they are."
2Ch 24:19;
Ps 78:8; Jer 6:17
1:61Jer 12:14
17; La 2:17
1:8 'Rev6:4
'lee 6:27
1:9 mzec 41 4-5
1:10 zee 6:5-8
1:11 'lsa 14:7
1:12 Da 9:2
1:13 lee 4:1
1:14 'Joel2:18;
lee 8:2
'Ps 123:3-4;
1:1&zee 8:3
'lee 2:1-2
1:17 tsa 51:3
'lsa 14:1
'lee 2:12
'Drhen the man standing among the myrtle
trees explained, "They are the ones the LORD
has sent to go throughout the earth.""
1:19 'Am 6:13
1:21 Ps 75:4
'Ps 75:10
And they reported to the angel of the LORD,
who was standing among the myrtle trees, "We
have gone throughout the earth and found the
whole world at rest and in peace."
Then the angel of the LORD said, "LoRD
Almighty, how long will you withhold mercy
from Jerusalem and from the towns of Judah,
which you have been angry with these seventyP
So the LORD spoke kind and comfort-
ingwords to the angel who talked witb me. q
Then the angel who was speaking to me
said, "Proclaim this word: This is what the
LORD Almighty says: 'I am very jealous' for Je-
rusalem and Zion,
but I am very angry with
the nations that feel secure.' I was only a little
angry, but they added to the calamity.''
"Th ' h. . h
ere.ore, t IS ts w at the LORD says: 'I
will return" to Jerusalem with mercy, and there
my h?use will be rebuilt. And the measuring
line' will be stretched out over Jerusalem,' de-
clares the LORD Almighty.
"Proclaim further: This is what the LORD
Almighty says: 'My towns will again overflow
with prosperity; and the LORD will again com-
fort w Zion and choose' Jerusalem.' "Y
Four Horns and Four Craftsmen
Then I looked up .:.._ and there before me
. were four horns!
I asked the who was
speaking to me, "What are these?"
He answered me, "These are the hornsz that
scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.''
Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen.
I asked, "What are these coming to do?"
He answered, "These are the horns that scat-
tered Judah so that no one could raise his head
but the craftsmen have come to terrify then:
and throw down these horns of the nations who
lifted up their horns against the land of Judah
to scatter its people.''b
11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 1
alachi delivered his message during a period of spiritual stagnation when
the Israelites were infected by indifference toward God. God said, "I have
loved you," but the people doubted God's love and failed to respond to it (1:2). One
of the indicators of Israel's apathy was the people's halfhearted giving. God had
commanded that they bring sacrifices, tithes and offerings, but the priests and the
people had neglected their sacrificial duties, and by doing so, they had "robbed" God
(3:8). Malachi prophesied about a day when God would visit his people and purify
their defiled offerings (3:1-4). Jesus would refine the gifts of his people and make
them pleasing and acceptable to God through his sacrifice (Heb 13:15 -16).
Malachi presents the stewardship principle of abundant blessings. Although God
longed to give without restraint, the people of Israel insisted on keeping back
something for themselves, so God dared Israel to seek his blessing through obedience
in tithing and generous giving (3:10,12). A second principle deals with Jesus and
acceptable offerings. According to Malachi's prophecy, the result of the ministries
of Jesus and John the Baptist would be that the Lord would have men who would
"bring offerings in righteousness" (3:3). Although Jesus' coming remedied many
wrongs, Malachi specifically emphasized that Jesus and John the Baptist were sent to
set straight the problem of halfhearted giving (3:1-4). Another principle addressed
in Malachi is that of robbing God. The Israelites had been commanded in the law
to give a tenth of their income and possessions to God (see Ex 29:27 -28; Nu 18:26;
Dt 14:22-23), yet the Israelites of Malachi's day had given nothing. When Malachi
accused them of robbing God, they pretended to be unaware of what he was talking
about (Mal3:8-9).
The book of Malachi introduces concepts that illustrate stewardship themes,
sometimes through challenges to stewardship such as robbing God (3:6-9). Features
include dishonoring God (1:1 -3:10) and spreading the joy around (4:2).
The book of Malachi shows us how greed robs us of our greatest blessings, while
joyful abandonment in giving to God assures us of our greatest wealth. But giving is
not a means to an end; it is a reflection of a heart entranced with God. The wonder
of God's love for us is that his greatest treasure is our hearts. To give him less is to
rob him of his one true desire.
llllllflllllllllllllllllll lllfllllllllllllllllllllllllflllllllllllfllllllllllllllfllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
An oracle: The wordb of the LORD to Israel 1:1'Na 1:1
through Malachi. ' 1Pe 4:11 With such offeringsP from your hands w'll h
1:2 '014:37 a t ?" , 1 e
'Ro9:13' ccep you. -saystheLORDAI h
Jacob Loved, Esau Hated
"1 have loved' you," says the LORD.
"But you ask, 'How have you loved us?'
1:3 'lsa 34:10 IO"Oh m1g ty.
'Eze 35:3-9 ' that one of you would shut the temple
1:4 lsa 9:10 doors th
' Eze 25:1214 ' so at you would not light useless fires
"W.,as not Esau Jacob's brother?" the LORD
says. Yet I have loved Jacob, d lbut Esau I have
bated, and I have turned his mountains into a
wasteland' and left his inheritance to the des-
ert jackals. f
35:27; on my altar! I_ am not pleased q with you," says
Almighty, "and I will accept no offer-
mg from your hands. II My name will be great
Lev 21:6 . a_mong the nations, from the rising to the set-
22:22: tmg sun. In every place incense' and pure
'lsa 43:23 ff,
o enngs be brought to my name, because
' Edam may say, "Though we have been
crushed, we will rebuildB the ruins." .
But this is what the LORD Almight .
"Th . y says.
ey may build, but I will demolish Th
WI e called the Wicked Land a p
1 1 , eop e a-
ways under the wrath of the LORD h sv .
11 . . lOU WI
see It With your own eyes and say, 'Greati is the
LORD- even beyond the borders oflsrael !'j
Blemished Sacrifices
' "A son honors his father, and a servant his
master.? If I am a father, where is the honor
due me. If I am a master, where is the respectk
due me?" says the LORD Almighty 1 "It .
. . 1s you,
pnests, who show contempt for my nam
,t '
u you ask, How have we shown contempt
filryour name?'
ou p ace defiled food m on my altar.
"But ask, 'How have we defiled you?'
By saymg that the LORD's table is contempt-
When b bli
fi . you nng nd ammals for sacri-
IS not wrong? When you sacrifice crip-
T e or diseased animals, n is that not wrong?
them to your governor! Would
pleased with you? Would he accept you?"
the Almighty. o
Now Implore God to be gracious to us.
1:8Plev 23:3344
1:10 ' Hos 5:6

1:11 'lsa 60:6-7;
1:12 ' vor7
1:13 "Jsa43:2224
1:14 Lev 22:18-
21 m 6:15
ver 1
2:2 '01 28:20
2:3 'Ex 29:14
' 1KI14:10
my name wlll be great among the nations" says
the LORD Almighty. '
ut you profane it by saying of the Lord's
table, 'It is defiled,' and of its food ' 'It .
t 'bl ,
, 1s con-
emptJ e .. And you say, 'What a burden!'"
and you s_n,ff at it contemptuously," says the
LORD Aim1ghty.
_"When you bring injured, crippled or diseased
afilmals and offer them as sacrifices, should I
accept them from your hands?" says the LORD
14"Cu:sed_ is the cheat who has an
m his flock and vows to give it, but then
sacnfices a blemished animal" to the Lord F I
am k' . or
a mg, w says the LORD Almighty, "and
my name IS to be feared among the nations.
Admonition for the Priests
2 now
this admonition is for you,
0 pnests.X If you do not listen, and if you
do not set your heart to honor my name " says
the LORD Almighty, "I will send a curse; upon
you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have
already cursed them, because you have not set
your heart to honor me.
of you I will rebukeb your descen-
dants ; I spread on your faces the offal' from
your festival sacrifices, and you will b . . d
ff . h . 4 e carne
o Wit II. a And you will know that I have sent
ac I means my messenger 3 0
Ill . r cut off (see Septuaginl) '3 Or will bii ht .
istorically, Christians have found it easy to fall into "cheap grace," relying
on Jesus as Savior yet forgetting he is Lord over every part of life, including
our money and possessions. He laid down his life to bring us into a new family in
which our Father provides generously and rules in justice. This family of believers
has the task of creating a loving, caring community that obeys the Lord and teaches
the nations to do the same (28:18-20). The community of believers practices
obedience to God, which leads to good works; as a result, others glorify God while
the community shines like a light (5:14-16). As Christians live under the lordship
of Jesus and the law of love, their mercy, righteousness and justice reflect the beauty
and order of heaven. These major themes in Matthew's Gospel carry many explicit
and implicit teachings on generosity, money and possessions.
One overarching principle in the book of Matthew is the cost of discipleship, which
includes a willingness to give up anything required of us: to sacrificially give of our
personal resources, to love others as we love ourselves, to take on God's kingdom
agenda and to be committed to justice, mercy and faithfulness (23:23). A second
principle deals with Jesus' lordship over finances, which gives him the absolute right
to command us regarding our use of possessions and our attitude toward money
(6:19-34). Our only proper response to Jesus' lordship is humble obedience (see
The Gospel of Matthew introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
stewardship themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to
stewardship such as dissatisfaction with God's good material blessings (6:25 -34).
You will also read about the joys of helping others (4:12-17), the blessedness of
those who are poor in spirit (5:1-12), being stewards in secret (6:1-18), seeking
first God's kingdom (10:7-10), losing our lives for Christ (16:21-28), the gift of
children (18:1-6), an invitation to obedience (19:16-28), giving beyond the tithe
(23:23), Jesus' teaching regarding the end times (24:36-51), stewardship of talents
(25:14-30), breaking the alabaster jar of giving (26:6-13) and stewarding the Great
Commission (28:18 - 20).
The Gospel of Matthew is not simply a spiritual message regarding a heavenly
kingdom. Jesus' life and message of redemption lay claim to every realm-our
spiritual destinies, our physical bodies, the created world, and economic and social
orders. "Kingdom" involvement is not an option for disciples; all who follow Jesus
wholeheartedly pursue God's kingdom and participate in sharing the Good News in
all spheres of life.
to the chief priests everything that had hap-
pened. 12When the chief priests had met with
the elders and devised a plan, they gave the
soldiers a large sum of money, ntelling them,
"You are to say, 'His disciples came during
the night and stole him away while we were
asleep.' t4If this report gets to the governor,
we will satisfy him and keep you out of trou-
ble." ts s
the soldiers took the money and did
as they were instructed. And this story
been widely circulated among the Jews to thts
very day.
Mt 27:2
28:16 ver7, 10;
Mt 26:32
21:18 oa 7:13,
14; lk 10:22;
Jn 3:35; 17:2;
1Co 15:27;
Eph 1:2022;
Php 2:9, 10
21:19 Mk 16:15,
16; lk 24:47;
Ac 1 :8; 14:21
PAC 2:38; 8:16;
Ro 6:3,4
21:20 Ac 2:42
Ac 18:10
The Great Commission
t6Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain where Jesus had told them to
go. m 17When they saw him, they worshiped him;
but some doubted.
Then Jesus came to them
and said, "All authority in heaven and on eanh
has been given to me."
Therefore go and make
disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in"the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
and teachingq them to obey everything
I have commanded you. And surely I am with
you' always, to the very end of the age."'
Or Into; see Acts 8:16; 19:5; Romans 6:3; 1 Cor. 1:13; 10:2 and Gal. 3:27.
he Gospel of Mark emphasizes Jesus' powerful works and sufferings as the
Christ, the Son of God. Jesus' interactions with different people groups such
as the disciples, the crowds and the religious leaders highlight his opposition to
the proud and self-satisfied and his desire for mercy and justice on behalf of the
humble and needy. Mark's Gospel also contains some of the most astonishing and
uncompromising commands that Jesus gave to his disciples and all who would come
after him (8:34-35). The Good News according to Mark makes it vividly clear that
to be a follower of Jesus Christ, we must be willing to sacrifice everything and die to
ourselves for the sake of Christ and the gospel, just as Jesus gave himself up for us.
Jesus' sufficiency is an overriding stewardship principle in the book of Mark.
The completeness of Christ's lordship through his works as God's Son is
unmistakable-whether it be in the way he exercises authority over evil spirits
(1:25 -26), heals the sick (1:34), forgives sins (2:10-11), directs the desires of the
human heart (2:14), calms storms (4:39), raises the dead (5:41-42), feeds hungry
masses (6:30-44), walks on water (6:48), or brings reconciliation with God
(15:38). The principle of wealth and poverty is also addressed. In Mark 10:47, blind
Bartimaeus comes to Jesus knowing his desperate need, while the rich young man
has no compelling desire for Christ (10:17-22). An additional principle encompasses
sacrificial discipleship. The call to sacrificial discipleship can be seen through Jesus'
teaching and the disciples' example as they abandon families and careers (1:18-20)
and are later challenged to sacrifice their lives (8:34-35).
The Gospel of Mark introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship such
as fear (6:45 -52). You will also read about God's call to us to be disciples (2:13 -17),
keeping a day of rest (2:23-28), fruitful stewards (4:10-20), funding models for
ministries (6:7 -13), stewardship of the heart (7:14-23), "one flesh" stewardship
(10:1-12), heavenly (10:28-31), the consecration of our lives associated
with the table of the Lord (14:12-25) and the crucifixion as a part of God's plan
The Gospel of Mark introduces the life of discipleship-losing our life to gain it. We
are called to mirror Christ's grace-filled, tangible, generous, voluntary and sacrificial
love. When we respond in obedient sacrifice, then and only then will we find life
(8:35). Mark reminds us of Jesus' example of great love that is expressed by action:
"Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever
wants to be first must be of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be
served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (10:43-45).
MARK 15:36
36Qne man ran, filled a sponge with wine
vinegar," put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus
to drink. "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Eli-
jah comes to take him down," he said.
37With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.'
38The curtain of the temple was torn in two
from top to bottom. w
And when the centuri-
on,' who stood there in front ofJesus, heard his
cry and" saw how he died, he said, "Surely this
man was the Sonh of God!"Y
40Some women were watching from a dis-
tance. z Among them were Mary Magdalene,
Mary the mother of James the younger and of
Joses, and Salome.
In Galilee these women
had followed him and cared for his needs. Many
other women who had come up with him to Je-
rusalem were also there. b
The Burial of Jesus
42It was Preparation Day (that is, the day be-
fore the Sabbath).< So as evening approached,
43Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member
of the Council, d who was himself waiting for
the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and
asked for Jesus' body.
Pilate was surprised to
hear that he was already dead. Summoning the
centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already
died. swhen he learned from the centurionf
that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph.
Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down
the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed
it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a
stone against the entrance of the tomb.S
Magdalene and Mary the mother ofJosesh saw
where he was laid.
The Resurrection
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Mag-
dalene, Mary the mother of James, and
Salome bought spicesi so that they might go
to anoint Jesus' body.
Very early on the first
day of the week, just after sunrise, they were
on their way to the tomb
and they asked each
other, "Who will roll the stone away from the
entrance of the tomb?"i
15:36 'm23;
Ps 69:21
15:37 Jn 19:30
15:38 Heb 10:19,
15:39 ver 45
YMk 1:1,11; 9:7;
15:40 'Ps 38:11
Lk 24:10;
Jn 19:25
15:41 'Mt 27:55,
56; Lk 8:2,3
15:42 'M127:62;
Jn 19:31
15:43 'Mt 5:22
Lk 2:25,38
ver 39
15:4&Mk 16:3
15:47 ver 40
Lk 23:56;
Jn 19:39,40
11:3lMk 15:46
11:5 'Jn 20:12
Mk 1:24
16:7 Jn 21 :1 23
Mk 14:28
16:11 >ver 13, 14;
Lk 24:11
16:12 Lk 24:13
16:14 'Lk 24:36
16:15 M128:18
20; Lk 24:47,48
16:16 'Jn 3:16,
18,36; Ac 16:31
16:17 Mk 9:38;
Lk 10:17; Ac 5:16;
8:7; 16:18;
19:1316 'Ac 2:4;
10:46; 19:6;
1Co 12:10,28, 30
16:11 Lk 10:19;
Ac 28:35
'Ac 6:6
But when they looked up, they saw that the
stone, which was very large, had been rolled
away. s As they entered the tomb, they saw a
16:19 'Lk 24:50,
51; Jn 6:62;
1Ti 3:16
'Ps 110:1;
Ro 8:34; Col3:1;
Heb 1 :3; 12:2
young man dressed in a white robek sitting
the right side, and they were alarmed.
6"Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are look-
ing for jesus the Nazarene,' who was crucified.
He has risen! He is not here. See the place where
they laid him.
But go, tell his disciples and Pe-
ter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There
you will see him, m just as he told you.' "n
Trembling and bewildered, the women went
out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing
to anyone, because they were afraid.
[The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient
witnesses do not have Mark 16:9- 20.]
9When jesus rose early on the first day of the
week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,
out of whom he had driven seven demons.
went and told those who had been with him and
who were mourning and weeping.
When they
heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen
him, they did not believe it.P
12Afterward Jesus appeared in a different
form to two of them while they were walking
in the country. q
These returned and report-
ed it to the rest; but they did not believe them
14Later jesus appeared to the Eleven as they
were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of
faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those
who had seen him after he had risen.'
He said to them, "Go into all the world and
preach the good news to all creation.'
ever believes and is baptized will be saved, but
whoever does not believe will be condemned.'
17And these signs will accompany those who
believe: In my name they will drive out de-
mons;" they will speak in new tongues;'
will pick up snakes w with their hands; and
when they drink deadly poison, it will not ~ r t
them at all; they will place their hands onx stck
people, and they will get well."
19 After the Lord jesus had spoken to them.
he was taken up into heavenY and he sat at the
right hand of God.'
Then the disciples went
out and preached everywhere, and the Lord
worked with them and confirmed his word by
the signs that accompanied it.
39 Some manuscripts do not have heard his cry and 39 Or a son
llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll llllllllllllll l l l l l l l l llllllllll llllllllllllll lllllllll lllllllll llllllll lllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll lllll
uke's Gospel reveals Jesus as King and Savior, the One who brings the kingdom
of God to earth. Much of the teaching in this Gospel describes the implications
of the kingdom of God for Christian discipleship, including its implications for
the pocketbooks and possessions of believers. In fact, Luke has more to say' about
stewardship and generosity than any other New Testament writer, with the possible
exception of the apostle Paul.
Among Luke's stewardship principles is God's special concern for outcasts. Luke
makes clear that God has a special concern for the lowly and downtrodden
and uses believers to bless and lift them up. This is seen in Mary's song of
redemption (1:46-55), the birth of Christ (2:1-20), Jesus' fellowship and care for
disenfranchised people (4:31-40; 7:36-39; 19:1-10), the Beatitudes (6:20-22), and
many of Jesus' parables (e.g., 18:9-14). The second principle presents the concept
of our responsibility to the poor. It is because of God's great gift of salvation to
those who do not deserve it and can never earn it that we should help those who
are undervalued in the world, those who cannot repay us for what we do for them
(14:12-14). We are also challenged to evaluate the significance of our possessions.
Luke 21:1-4 tells us our possessions are a means of investing in eternity and are a
barometer of our commitment to eternal values.
The Gospel of Luke introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes through illuminations and profiles. You will read about Mary, the mother
ofjesus (1:46-55), Simeon (2:21 - 35), Jesus (2:41-51), Martha (10:38 -42), two
sons (15:11-32) and Zacchaeus (19:1-10). Also included are features on Jesus'
mission (4:16-21), a new kind of justice (6:27 -36), Jesus and celebration (7:24-35),
gratitude for grace (7:36-50), Jesus' love and compassion (9:10-17), the parable of
the good Samaritan (10:25- 37), the treasure principle (12:22-34), counting the cost
(14:28-33), stewards of small and great (16:1-13), the economy of grace (17:1-4),
jesus and the rich (19:1-10), the widow's offering (21:1-4), servant leadership
(22:24-27) and the resurrection and stewardship (24:1-12).
The Gospel of Luke reminds us that stewardship goes beyond economics. It is first
and foremost rooted in our stewardship of the Good News of God's kingdom. Anna,
who possessed nothing but the gospel message, lived a life of joy and expectancy and
carried out her responsibility to share her precious gift (2:36-38). She gave all that
she had in a life of total devotion to God. If we shared Anna's devotion, how would
our relationship with God and our world be changed?
LUKE 24:24
they had seen a vision of angels, who said he
was alive.
Then some of our companions went
to the tomb and found it just as the women had
said, but him they did not see."t
25He said to them, "How foolish you are, and
how slow of heart to believe all that the proph-
ets have spoken!
Did not the Christ have
to suffer these things and then enter his glo-
ry?"" 27 And beginning with Mosesv and all ~
Prophets,w he explained to them what was satd
in all the Scriptures concerning himself.'
28 As they approached the village to which
they were going, jesus acted as if he were going
But they urged him strongly, "Stay
with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is al-
most over." So he went in to stay with them.
Jowhen he was at the table with them, he
took bread, gave thanks, broke itY and began to
give it to them.
Then their eyes were opened
and they recognized him,Z and he disappeared
from their sigl)t.
They asked each other,
"Were not our hearts burning within us while
he talked with us on the road and opened the
Scripturesb to us?"
33They got up and returned at once to jeru-
salem. There they found the Eleven and those
with them, assembled together
and saying,
"It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared
to Simon."'
Then the two told what had hap-
pened on the way, and how jesus was recog-
nized by them when he broke the bread. d
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
36While they were still talking about this,
jesus himself stood among them and said to
them, "Peace be with you."
24:24 ' ver 12
24:2& Heb 2:10;
1Pe 1:11
24:27' Ge 3:15;
Nu 21 :9: Ot 18:15
tsa 7:14; 9:6;
40:10, 11; 53;
Eze 34:23:
oa 9:24;
Mic 7:20; Mal3:1
Jn 1:45
24:30 Mt14:19
24:31 ver 16
24:32 Ps 39:3
ver 27,45
24:34 '1Co 15:5
24:35 'ver 30,31
24:38 Jn 20:19,
21,26; 14:27
Mk 6:49
24:391Jn 20:27;
1Jn 1:1
24:43 'Ac 10:41
lk 9:45;
18:34l MI 16:21;
lk 9:22,44;
18:31-33; 22:37
ver 27
Ps 2;
16; 22; 69; 72;
110; 118
10:43; 13:38
24:48'Ac 1:8;
2:32; 5:32;
13:31; 1Pe 5:1
24:49PJn 14:16;
Ac 1:4
24:51 '2Ki 2:11
24:53 Ac 2:46
37They were startled and frightened, think-
ing they saw a ghost.
He said to them, "Why
are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in
your minds?
Look at my hands and my feet. h
is I myself! Touch me and see;& a ghost does not
have flesh and bones, as you see I have."
owhen he had said this, he showed them
his hands and feet.
And while they still did
not believe it because of joy and amazement,
he asked them, "Do you have anything here to
They gave him a piece of broiled fish,
43and he took it and ate it in their presence.h
44He said to them, "This is what I told you
while I was still with you:i Everything must be
fulfilledi that is written about me in the Law of
Moses,k the Prophets and the Psalms."'
4SThen he opened their minds so they could
understand the Scriptures.
He told them,
"This is what is written: The Christ will suf-
fer and rise from the dead on the third day,
47and repentance and forgiveness of sins will
be preached in his namem to all nations, be-
ginning at jerusalem.
You are witnesses of
these things.
I am going to send you what my
Father has promised;P but stay in the city un-
til you have been clothed with power from on
The Ascension
sowhen he had led them out to the vicinity
of Bethany, q he lifted up his hands and blessed
them. st While he was blessing them, he left
them and was taken up into heaven.'
they worshiped him and returned to jerusalem
with great joy.
And they stayed continually at
the temple,' praising God.
26 Or Messiah; also in verse 46
ohn wrote his Gospel so people would believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and
that by believing, they might have life in his name (20:30-31). John develops key
words, images and phrases that play a central role in the way we think today about
basic Biblical truths and ideas such as being "born again" (3:3) and seeing Jesus as
"the bread of life" (6:35) and "the good shepherd" (10:14). In keeping with John's
purpose, much of his Gospel demonstrates Jesus' power and authority as someone
who is fully God. Yet Jesus' full humanity is also demonstrated, especially through
the personal way he sympathizes with the poor and needy.
A primary stewardship principle in the book of John is that of caring for people's
needs, including their need for salvation. One of the first places where Jesus' power
and our need come together is in John 1:29. Here John the Baptist says of Jesus,
"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of world!" Another principle is
that all human needs are interconnected. One might think that because Jesus came
to save the world, he wouldn't want to be bothered with physical needs; however,
this is not the case. In fact, we see that Jesus personally takes time to feed over 5,000
people (6:1-13), after which he declares, "I am the bread of life" (6:35). John's
Gospel underscores the significance of humanity's relational needs. The importance
of these needs is emphasized when Jesus calls himself the "good shepherd" (10:11).
We also see the principle of Jesus as the source of all blessing. To be good stewards of
his resources, we must understand that everything comes from him (1:16). Another
stewardship principle presents the reality of Jesus' sacrifice. John's Gospel helps us
understand Jesus' identity as "the one sacrifice for sins" (Heb 10:12) when he is called
"the Lamb of God" (Jn 1:29), recalling the idea of a sacrificial lamb (see Ge 22:7).
The Gospel of John introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes through illuminations and profiles. You will read about Thomas (11:1-16)
and Joseph of Arimathea (19:38-42). Features include the Word Incarnate (1:1-18),
God's ultimate gift of love (3:16-21), sharing the living water (4:1-39), the God of
abundance (6:1-14), freedom in the truth (8:32,34), life to the full (10:10), stewardship
of suffering (12:1- 8), the discipline of servant humility (13:1-17), stewardship of love
(15:1-17), the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer (16:5 -15), stewarding
unity (17:20-21), being a witness (20:10-18) and stewardship of failure (21:15-19).
Throughout John's Gospel we see Jesus as the fountainhead of blessing; he is the
Lamb of God; the living water; the bread of life; the restorer of life; the very way,
truth and life. All that we have flows from him. We are merely channels for resources
beyond our comprehension. This all-encompassing truth is presented in John's
opening words: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and
the Word was God" (1:1).
uke wrote the book of Acts as a sequel to the Gospel that bears his name.
The book of Acts describes the historical "acts" of the apostles and the early
church. The narrative begins with Jesus' final words before the ascension and
traces the expansion of the church throughout the world after the outpouring of the
Holy Spirit at Pentecost (ch. 2). Acts is especially significant because it provides a
historical account of the practical priorities of the early church such as the worldwide
proclamation of the gospel (1:8), fellowship and generosity within the Christian
community (2:42-47), and corporate concern for the poor (4:32-37; 6:1-6;
The importance of generosity is an integral stewardship principle in the book of
Acts. The church's understanding of the apostles' teaching on generosity reached
astounding heights and became a part of the early Christian lifestyle (4:32-37;
20:33-35). Accordingly, the principle of generosity and mission is highlighted. The
missionary witness of the early church began at home and spread as a result of the
generous lifestyle of the Christian community (2:42-47). An additional principle
addresses the gift of the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit was first poured out, one of
the clearest expressions of the Spirit's activity was generosity among the Christian
community. Following Pentecost, radical generosity immediately emerged among
believers (2:44-46). Sacrificial living is also a primary principle. For the early
church, sacrificial Christian discipleship was based on obedience to God and the
inner transformation that caused believers to desire to share with each other and
even die for the gospel (2:43-45; 4:32-37; 7:54-60).
The book of Acts introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship such as rights to
ownership (4:32-37) and deception (5:1-11). You will read about Simon (8:9-24),
Tabitha (9:36-43), Cornelius (10:1-33), Paul (13:1-3; 18:1-4; 28:30-31), and
Lydia (16:13 -15,40). Other features include the gift of the Holy Spirit (2:14-41),
the heart, mind and possessions (4:32-37), following the Spirit (16:6-10),
acknowledging God as Lord of all (17:22-34), how truth threatens unrighteous
industries (19:23-41), stewardship of the Word (20:17-35), giving at any cost
(24:1-21) and stewarding our stories (26:1-23).
The church's mission is to utilize our master's gifts-our ransomed lives, the gospel
and the power of the Spirit-to accomplish our master's purposes. Unless the
church embraces a culture of generosity, our evangelistic efforts will be ineffective
because generosity and the gospel are inseparable. When we integrate the message
of the gospel with the practice of sacrificial generosity, we imitate not only the early
church's example but the very head of the church, Jesus Christ (see 2Co 8:9).
(SUS Taken Up Into Heaven 1:1 ' lk 1:1-
fi ' Lk 3:23
In my ormer book, Theophilus, I wrote
about all that Jesus began to do d 'M128:19,
b 2 1 h an to 'Mk 6:30
!eac untl t e day he was taken up to heav- 'Jn 13:18
en,' after. giving instructionsd through the

Holy Spmt to the apostles e he had ch r Jn 20:19.26;
osen. 21:1, 14;
Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas
. 12Then they returned to Jerusalem' from the
hill c:lled the Mount of Olives, t a Sabbath day's
walk from the city 13When they . d h
arnve , t ey
upstairs to the room" where they were
After h1s suffering, he showed hl'mself to 1eo 15:5-7
1:4 'Lk 24:49;
:hese men and gave many convincing proof:s Jn 14:16; Ac 2:33
!hat. he was alive. He appeared to themg over a 1:71Mi24:36
staymg. Those present were Peter, John, James
and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew
and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Si-
d f
t 1:1'Ac2:1-4
peno o tOrty days and spoke about the king- 'Lk24:4B
lo f G d
4 Ac 8:1-25
m o o On one occasion, while h 'Mt28:19
. . h h e was 1:9 ver2
tatmgw1t t em, he gave them this command:

Do not leave but wait for the gift 1:11 Ac 2:7
Father promised, which you have heard 'Mt 16:27
k b h s me
tpea a out. For John baptized with" t
. wa er,
m a ew days you will be baptized with the
!So when they met together, they asked him
. are you at this time going to restore; th:
ungdom to Israel?"
'He said to them: "It is not for you to know
limes o: dates the Father has set by his own
But you will receive power when the
I _comes on you;k and you will be my
tn Jerusalem, and in all Judea and
, and to the ends of the earth.""
After he said this, he was taken upo before
very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their
ey were looking intently up into the
he was when suddenly two men
m whtteP stood beside them. ll"M
"q h en
. t ey said, "why do you stand here
Ia mto the sky? This same Jesus, who has
. ken from you into heaven, will come
m the same way you have seen him go
Or;, '72Th
1:12 'lk 24:52
1:13 'Ac 9:37;
20:8 'Mt 10:2-4;
lk 6:14-16
1:14 "Ac 2:42;
6:4 'lk 23:49,55
' Mt 12:46
1:18 ver20
'Jn 13:18
1:11 ' Mt 2614
15 'Mt 27:3-io'
1:20 'Ps 69:25
Ps 109:8
mon Zealot, and Judas son ofJames. v rhey
al! JOmed together constantly in prayer, w along
wtth and Mary the mother ofJesus,
and w1th h1s brothers.Y
. tsrn those days Peter stood up among the be-
lievers' (a group numbering about a hundred
and twenty) said, "Brothers, the Scripture
had to be fulfilledz which the Holy Spirit spoke
ago through the mouth of David concern-
mg Judas, who served as guide for those who
arrested Jesus- 17he was one of our numberb
and shared in this ministry."'
t8(With the rewardd he got for his wicked-
ness, bought a field; there he fell head-
hs body burst open and all his intestines
spilled out. 19Everyone in Jerusalem heard
about this, so they called that field in their lan-
that is, Field of Blood.)
For, satd Peter, "it is written in the book
of Psalms,
"'May his place be deserted
let there be no one to dw:ll in it,df
"'May another take his place of
Therefo 't
reI IS necessary to choose one of the
men who have been with us the whole time the
at IS, about 3/4 mile (about 1100 met )
I ' ers ' 75 Greek brothers '20 P
llltll llllllllllllllllllltllllllllltlllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll salm 69:25 20 Psalm 109:8
--- - --L-- 111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
fall Paul's letters, his letter to the Romans contains his most systematic
presentation of the gospel and basic doctrine. The apostle declares his
mfidence in the gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all people (1:16)
1d explains humanity's desperate condition because of God's righteous judgment
~ i n s t sin (1:18-2:11). Paul explains that the way of salvation is by faith and that
te hope and assurance we receive through salvation is the gift of God {3:21-5:11).
s an added benefit, Jesus Christ makes us dead to sin and alive to God by giving
> new life in the Spirit {8:1-11). Paul follows with a series of commands and
<hortations regarding obedience in everyday life: stewarding our individual gifts
2:4-8), stewarding our attitudes and emotions (12:9-12), practicing hospitality
2:13), stewarding our relationships (12:14-16), showing generosity to enemies
2:17 -21), paying taxes (13:1-7) and living debt free (13:8-10).
he apostle Paul presents the stewardship principle that all things work together for
Jod. This principle, perhaps more than any other principle, frees Christians to give up
1e pursuit of self-interest and instead seek the good of others (8:28-29). Because we
now that God himself is working on our behalf, we can abandon our inclinations to
1ckey for position and strive for our own advantage. The close relationship between
enerosity and faith, a second principle, is also presented in Romans. Paul explains that
.braham was ready to act upon what he believed-even when it meant sacrificing his
nly son {4:1-11). A similar principle, generosity in view of God's mercy, is emphasized
1 the first 11 chapters of Romans and culminates in Romans 12:1 with an appeal for
elievers to present their bodies as living sacrifices. Another principle is the importance
f the created world. The world is not just something to be exploited; it has inherent
alue, for it displays the qualities of God, the Creator. The earth is valuable in its own
tght, and God's caretakers must treat it in ways that respect and sustain it {1:20).
aul's letter to the Romans introduces characters and concepts that illustrate steward-
hip themes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship such as failure
J give thanks (1:18-32). You will also read about Isaac (4:13-25), witness to the cov-
nant God made with Isaac's father, Abraham; and Priscilia and Aquila (16:1-5). Fea-
ures include commitment as an antidote to futility (1:18-23), amazing grace (3:21-31),
Jstruments of righteousness {6:1-14), walking with the Spirit {8:1-11), stewards of
>rayer (8:18-27), Christ's lordship and ownership of all things (10:5 -13), unity in sac-
ifice (12:1-21), governing authorities (13:1-4), stewardship of our neighbors (15:1-7).
:ifth-century church father Augustine said, "God gives what he demands." God
!ways prepares us for the obedience he requires with the grace that he gives. In light
,f the grace God has given, how is he challenging us in new ways to show mercy,
eed the hungry, practice hospitality, associate with people of low position, pay what
ve owe, give honor, bless those who persecute us, and forgive others?
llfilll llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll l lll l llllllllll lllll llllllllllllll lllll lllll lllllllllllllllll lllll l l
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be
an apostle and set apartb for the gospel of
God' -
the gospel he promised beforehand
1hrough his prophets in the Holy Scripturesd
lregarding his Son, who as to his human nature
was a descendant of David,
and who through
the Spirit of holiness was declared with power
to be the Son of Godb by his resurrection from
the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through him
and for his name's sake, we received grace and
apostleship to call people from among all the
Gentilesf to the obedience that comes from
And you also are among those who are
called to belong to Jesus Christ. h
To all in Rome who are loved by God; and
called to be saints:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father
and from the Lord Jesus Christi
Paul's Longing to Visit Rome
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ
for all of you, k because your faith is being re-
ported all over the world.
God, whom I servem
with my whole heart in preaching the gospel
of his Son, is my witness" how constantly Ire-
member you
in my prayers at all times; and I
pray that now at last by God's will the way may
be opened for me to come to you.
1:1'1Co 1:1
'Ac 9:15
' 2Co11:7
1:3'Jn 1:14
1:6 'Rev 17:14
Ro 8:39
11Co 1:3
1:8'1Co 1:4
1:1 2Tl1:3
1:10 Ro 15:32
1:11 Ro 15:23
1:13 Ro 15:22.
1:14 ' 1Co 9:16
1:15'Ro 15:20
2Ti 1:8
Ro2:9, 10
1:17 'Ro 3:21
'Hab 2:4;
Gal3:11 ;
Heb 10:38
1:18 'Eph 5:6;
Col 3:6
llong to see youP so that I may impart to
you some spiritual gift to make you strong-
that is, that you and I may be mutually en-
couraged by each other's faith.
I do not want
rou to be unaware, brothers, that r planned
many times to come to you (but have been pre-
vented from doing so until now)q in order that I
might have a harvest among you, just as I have
bad among the other Gentiles.
1:19 'Ac 14:17
1:20 'Ps 19:1-6
1:21 'Jer 2:5;
Eph 4:17. 18
1:22 ' 1Co 1:20.
1:23 ' Ps 106:20;
Jer2:11 ; Ac 17:29
Eph 4:19
1:25 rsa 44:20
Jer 10:14!Ro 9:5
I am obligated' both to Greeks and non-
Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. tsrhat
is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to
you who are at Rome.
1 am not ashamed of the gospel, ' because
it is the power of God" for the salvation of ev-
eryone who believes: first for the Jew, then for
the Gentile. w
For in the gospel a righteousness
from God is revealed, x a righteousness that is
by faith from first to last,' just as it is written:
"The righteous will live by faith."dy
God's Wrath Against Mankind
The wrath of God
is being revealed from
heaven against all the godlessness and wick-
edness of men who suppress the truth by their
since what may be known about
God is plain to them, because God has made it
plain to them.
For since the creation of the
world God's invisible qualities- his eternal
power and divine nature-have been clearly
seen, being understood from what has been
made, b so that men are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither
glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him,
but their thinking became futile and their fool-
ish hearts were darkened. '
Although they
claimed to be wise, they became fooJsd
exchanged the glory of the immortal God for
images made to look like mortal man and
birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them overf in the sinful
desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the
degrading of their bodies with one another.s
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, h
and worshiped and served created thingsi rath-
er than the Creator- who is forever praised)
Or Who as to his spi rit 4 o
r was appoi nted to be the Son of God wi th power ' 17 Or is from fai th to faith "17 Hab. 2:4
11111l lll l l l lllllllllllllllllllll l l l lllll l ll ll lll l l lll llllll l lllll ll lllll l lll l llllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll l l lllll lllllll lllll l l l l lllll l l lll l l lll l l l lll l lll l l lll l ll
aul's first letter to the Corinthians follows 18 months of church planting in
Corinth and deals in part with behavioral problems present within the Corinthian
church. Paul also uses this letter as a chance to defend his apostleship against criticism
and misunderstanding. Additionally, Paul encourages the Corinthians to mimic his
pattern of life. In ethics, world view and lifestyle, Paul insists that appropriate action
is determined not by rights and self-interest but by the Spirit's guidance (2:6-16).
The Corinthian believers must respond to the benefits of the cross of Jesus by taking
up their crosses and laying down their lives, imitating Paul as he imitated Jesus
(11:1). The Corinthians had been set free-but Christian freedom is not about self-
indulgence; rather, believers are set free to love and to serve (ch. 9).
The principle of collecting for the poor permeates Paul's writing and is driven by the
concept of sacrificially caring for God's family in the same way that we sacrificially
care for our own flesh and blood. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Paul writes, "Now about
the collection for God's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do [cf. Gal
2:10; 6:6-10]. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum
of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections
will have to be made." Paul even postpones evangelistic endeavors for the Jerusalem
collection (1Co 16:5 -9). Dovetailing with this principle is the principle of ministry
and sacrifice. Paul teaches the Corinthians to distinguish experiences of Christlike
leaders from the intellectualism, rhetoric and "name-dropping" of his opponents. He
cautions them not to judge on the basis of appearances and worldly accomplishments
(4:3-6). Paul also addresses the principle of discipline within the church. We must
discipline in grace and truth, with our objective being the hope of restoration (5:1-5;
see also 2Co 7:8-12; Eph 4:15). Discipline also applies to financial matters and
social inequity within the church (1Co 5:9-6:8).
The first letter to the Corinthians introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
stewardship themes through illuminations and features such as wise foolishness
(1:18 -2:5), what it means to be a trustworthy steward (4:1 -5), God's design for
sexuality (6:18-7:7), God's call to conversion (7:17-24), discipline of body and
soul (9:24-27), life in community (10:23- 33; 11:17-34), stewardship of spiritual
gifts (12:1-31), essential love (13:1-13), stewarding worship (14:26 -40) and regular
giving (16:1-4).
The book of 1 Corinthians asks us to reflect on the nature of sacrificial love. How
can we more effectively embrace the call to suffer for Jesus' sake and the sake of
others in love? In what ways will we need to challenge the tendency to focus on
living "good lives" defined by health, happiness and pleasurable pursuits? Like Jesus,
Paul's goal was to give his life away sacrificially, and that is the life of sacrifice to
which Jesus calls all who follow him.
111 1111111111111 111111111111111111111111111111 111111 1111111111 1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 1111111111 111111111 11111 1111111111 11111 111111 1111
Paul, called to be an apostle" of Christ
jesus by the will of God, b and our brother
1:1 ' Rot:1;
Eph 1:t '2eo t :t
'Ac 18:t7
'Ro 1:7
To the church of God in Corinth, d to those
sanctified in Christ Jesus and called' to be holy,
rogether with all those everywhere who call on
!he name of our Lord Jesus Christ- their Lord
Grace and peace to you from God our Father
ltld the Lord Jesus Christ. f
! always thank God for you8 because of his
vacegiven you in Christ Jesus.
For in him you
have been enrichedh in every way- in all your
tpeaking and in all your knowledgei- 6be-
our testimonyi about Christ was con-
firmed in you.
Therefore you do not lack any
spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord
ksus Christ to be revealed. k
He will keep you
strong to the end, so that you will be blame-
r on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
has called you into fellowship with his Son
Christ our Lor4, m is faithful."
1 appeal to you, brothers, in the name of
Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with
another so that there may be no divisions
you and that you may be perfectly unit-
rd rn mi nd and thought.
My brothers, some
Chloe's household have informed me that
are quarrels among you.
What I mean
One of you says, "I follow Paul";
"I follow Apollos";P another, "I follow Ce-
still another, "I follow Christ."
ls Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for
1:3'Ro 1:7
1:4Ro 1:8
1:5 '2eo9:11
t:&lRev t:2
Tn 2:t3; 2Pe 3:t2
t :t1Jn 1:3
rsa 497
1Th 5:24'
1:12 teo 3:4,22
' Ac t8:24
Jn 1:42
1:13 'MI 28:t9
1:14 'Ac 18:8;
Ro 16:23
'Ac t9:29
1:1& teo 16:15
1:17 'Jn4:2
reo 2:1,4,13
1:11'2Co 2:15
t:1t rsa 29:14
1:2orsa 19:11,
t2'Job 1217
Ro 1:22 .
1:22 ' Mt t 2:38
1:23' Lk2:34;
' 1Co 2:14
1:24 'Ro 8:28
ver 30; eol2:3
1:25 'vert8
2Co 13:4
13 Or in; also in verse 15 ' 19 Isaiah 29:t4
you? Were you baptized intob the name ofPaul?'
I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you
except Crispus' and Gaius,'
so no one can say
that you were baptized into my name. 16(Yes, I
also baptized the household ofStephanas;" be-
yond that, I don't remember if I baptized any-
one else.)
For Christ did not send me to bap-
tize, v but to preach the gospel- not with words
of human wisdom,w lest the cross of Christ be
emptied of its power.
Christ t he Wisdom and Power
of God
For the message of the cross is foolishness
to those who are perishing,' but to us who are
being saved it is the power of God. Y
For it is
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will
Where is the wise man? Where is the
scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age?
Has not God made foolishb the wisdom of the
For since in the wisdom of God the
world through its wisdom did not know him,
God was pleased through the fool ishness of
what was preached to save those who believe.
Jews demand miraculous signs' and Greeks
look for wisdom,
but we preach Christ cru-
cified: a stumbling blockd to Jews and foolish-
ness to Gentiles,
but to those whom God has
called, fboth Jews and Greeks, Christ the power
of God and the wisdom ofGod.8
For the fool-
ishnessh of God is wiser than man's wisdom,
and the weakness
of God is stronger than
man's strength.
Brothers, think of what you were when
II lllll lll lllllllllllllll l l llllllll lllll l l lll ll lllllllll lll llll lllll llll llllll lll llllll lllllll ll lllllllllllll l l l ll lllllllllll l llll l llll llll l llllllllllllll lllll l llllllllll l ll l l l l
aul's second letter to the Corinthians continues the defense of his ministry and
apostleship. Believers must respond to Jesus by taking up their crosses and laying
down their lives, imitating Paul as he imitated Jesus (see 1Co 11:1). In 2 Corinthians
8-9 Paul provides the longest sustained writing on giving in the New Testament;
he addresses motives, priorities and principles for Christian giving as he instructs
the Corinthians about participation in his collection for the poor. Paul insists that
his weaknesses-and ours, if we follow Jesus-are not a detriment but a strength
(4:7-5:10; 11:16-12:10). Paul's letter challenges our worldly models of success,
influence and power. It challenges us to reject the quest for comfort and wealth that
all too easily shapes our priorities and expectations.
Central to Paul's message in 2 Corinthians is the principle of sacrificial ministry.
Paul openly shares his trials and hardships (4:7 -18) and reminds his readers that
their ultimate home is heaven (5:1-10). Therefore, the ultimate goal of life is not the
accumulation of earthly treasures, but living for God. Additionally Paul addresses
the principle of worldliness, a recurrent problem among the Corinthians. Paul
challenges this congregation to practice sacrifice and selflessness instead of pursuing
power, success and riches (6:3 -10).
The second letter to the Corinthians introduces characters and concepts that
illustrate stewardship themes through illuminations or through the positive example
of the financial sacrifice of the Macedonian churches (8:1-5; 11:7-12). Features
include the believers' witness as the aroma of Christ (2:12-17), a discussion of
eternity (4:16-5:10), the grace of giving (8:1-7), accountability in finances and
other areas (8:16-24) and a heart for giving (9:6-15).
Paul's second letter to the Corinthians provides us with a specific example of the sort
of sacrifice required of us. Paul challenges us to extend ourselves to those who are
culturally and socially different than we are as we think through the needs of fellow
believers. Likewise, we must tune our ears and hearts to discern the needs in our
world and sacrifice accordingly, with the same selflessness that Paul exhibited for the
Corinthians and Christ demonstrated for us.
111 1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will
of God, a and Timothy our brother,
To the church of Godh in Corinth, together
with all the saints throughout Achaia:<
Grace and peace to you from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ d
The God of All Comfort
lPraise be to the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the
God of all comfort,
who comforts usf in all our
uoubles, 'so that we can comfort those in any
trouble with the comfort we ourselves have re-
ceived from God.
For just as the sufferings of
Christ flow over into our lives,s so also through
Christ our comfort overflows.
If we are dis-
tressed, it is for your comfort and salvation;h if
we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which
produces in you patient endurance of the same
sufferings we suffer.
And our hope for you is
firm, because we know that just as you share in
our sufferings,
so also you share in our com-
We do not want you to be uninformed,
brothers, about the hardships we sufferedi in
the province of Asia. We were under great pres-
sure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that
wedespaired even ofl ife.
Indeed, in our hearts
felt the sentence of death. But this happened
we might not rely on ourselves but on God, k
who raises the dead.
He has delivered us from
such a deadly peril,
and he will deliver us. On
him we have set our hope that he will continue
to deliver US,
as you help US byyour prayers. m
Then many will give thanks" on our behalf for
gracious favor granted us in answer to the
fl'ayers of many.
1:1'1Co 1:1;
Eph 1:1;
Col 1:1; 2Ti 1:1
'1Co 10:32
'Ac 18:12
Ro 1:7
1:3' Eph 1:3;
1Pe 1:3
1:4 '2Co 7:6,7,13
1:5 2Co 4:10;
1:&'2Co 4:15
1:7 ;Ro8:17
1:8i1Co 15:32
1:9 'Jer 17:5,7
Ro 15:31
1:11 mRo 15:30;
Php 1:19
'2Co 4:15
1:12 'Ac 23:1
P2Co 2:17
1:14'1Col :8
1:15 '!Co 4:19
' Ro 1:11,13;
1:16 '!Co 16:57
1:17 '2Co 10:2,3
1:18 "!Co 1:9
1:19 'Heb 13:8
1:20'Ro 15:8
'!Co 14:16
1:21'1Jn 2:20,
1:22 '2Co 5:5
1:23 'Ro 1:9;
Gal 1:20
1:24 '1Pe 5:3
'11 Many manuscripts your 19 Greek Silvanus, a variant of Silas
Paul's Change of Plans
Now this is our boast: Our conscience
testifies that we have conducted ourselves in
the world, and especially in our relations with
you, in the holiness and sincerityP that are from
God. We have done so not according to world-
ly wisdomq but according to God's grace.
we do not write you anything you cannot read
or understand. And I hope that,
as you have
understood us in part, you will come to under-
stand fully that you can boast of us just as we
will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.'
Because.I was of this, I planned
to visit you' first so that you might benefit
1 planned to visit you on my way" to
Macedonia and to come back to you from Mac-
edonia, and then to have you send me on my
way to Judea.
When I planned this, did I do
it lightly? Or do I make my plans in a worldly
manner so that in the same breath I say, "Yes,
yes" and "No, no"?
But as surely as God is faithful, w our mes-
sage to you is not "Yes" and "No."
For the Son
of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among
you by me and Silasb and Timothy, was not
"Yes" and "No," but in him it has always' been
For no matter how many promisesY
God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ And so
through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the
glory-of God.
Now it is God who makes both
us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed
set his seal of ownership on us, and put his
Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing
what is to come. b
1 call God as my witness< that it was in or-
der to spare youd that I did not return to Cor-
inth. HNot that we lord it over your faith, but
llillll lllllllllllllllllll lll llllllllllllllllll ll lllllllllllllllll ll llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll!llllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll lll l "'
his letter warns against a corrupted version of the gospel that has infiltrated the
churches in Galatia. After Paul had moved on to preach the gospel elsewhere,
alse teachers arose who taught that Christians must keep the Old Testament law in
to be accepted by God. Appealing to his apostolic authority, Paul rebukes this
eaching, focusing his message on gospel purity. Accordingly, Paul's letter emphasizes
orne of the most elementary doctrines of the Christian faith such as the call to
emember the poor (2:10; 6:6..,.10), justification by grace through faith (2:15 -21),
mr inheritance as God's redeemed children (3:15 - 4:7), and the equality of Jew and
:Jentile in the new covenant (3:26-29; 5:1-15).
rhe important stewardship principle of faith overturning greed is presented in
:Jalatians. No one can please God or be justified apart from faith, the means by
.vhich we receive Jesus' righteousness. The free gift of grace through faith is a
:eflection of God's generosity toward undeserving sinners who have snubbed their
rroses at his offer of justification (2:15 -16). It is only through faith that we escape
:>ur greedy, grasping sin nature. A second principle relates to our inheritance, the
blessing promised to Abraham in the Old Testament: the promise of the Messiah
and, ultimately, the gift of God's presence in the person of the Holy Spirit (3:14;
5:25). An additional principle presented in Galatians is remembering the poor. When
the church in Jerusalem asked Paul to remember the poor, his response was that
this was "the very thing I was eager to do" (2:10). This area of Christian labor is a
basic part of our gospel mission, not merely because it alleviates material needs, but
because care for the poor brings eternal rewards (6:6-10).
The letter to the Galatians introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
stewardship themes, sometimes through illuminations or through profiles. You
will read the profile of Peter and Paul (2:1-9), as well as features on accountability
(2:1-10), heirs and stewards (3:25 -4:7), walking in the Spirit (5:22-26) and
sharing good things (6:6- 10).
Understanding the true value of our inheritance in Christ provides the proper
perspective on possessions, wealth and abundance. The gift of God's presence
is of matchless value, surpassing anything we could attain on our own, defining
abundance itself, and undoing the idea that success resides in the things we possess.
The true life of abundance was perfectly demonstrated by Jesus, who revealed what
he treasured in what he gave away.
dllilll fllllllllllllllilllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllfllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll llllllllllll
Paul, an apostle-sent not from men nor
by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the
Father, who raised him from the deadb- 2and
all the brothers with me, c
To the churches in Galatia:d
Grace and peace to you from God our Fa-
ther and the Lord Jesus Christ,
who gave him-
selffor our sinsf to rescue us from the present
evil age, according to the will of our God and
to whom be glory forever and ever.
Amen. h
Other Gospel
I am astonished that you are so quickly de-
serting the one who calledi you by the grace of
Christ and are turning to a different gospeJi-
which is really no gospel at all. Evidently
some people are throwing you into confusionk
and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
But even if we or an angel from heaven should
preach a gospel other than the one we preached
let him be eternally condemned!m 9As
we have already said, so I say again: If
anybody is preaching to you a gospel other
than what you accepted," let him be eternally
Am I now trying to win the approval of
men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men?o
If! were still trying to please men, I would not
bea servant of Christ.
Paul Called by God
want you to know, brothers,P that the gos-
pel I preached is not something that man made
I did not receive it from any man, q nor was
I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation r
from Jesus Christ.
'IS Ortrommymother's womb
18 Greek Cephas
1:1'Ac 9:15
'Ac 2:24
'Ac 16:6;
1Co16: t
1:3 Ro 1:7
1:4 'Mt20:28;
Ro 4: 25; Gal2:20
I Php 4:20
12co 11: 4
1:7 'Ac 15:24;
1:9 'Ro 16:17
1:10 ' Ro 2:29;
1:11 1Co 15:1
1:12ver 1
'ver 16
1:14 'Mt 15:2
1:15 'lsa 49:1, 5;
Jer1:5 Ac9:15
1:18 'Ac9:22, 23
' Ac9:26,27
1:19Mt 13:55
1:21'Ac 6:9
For you have heard of my previous way of
life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the
church of God and tried to destroy it.' 14I was
advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my
own age and was extremely zealous for the tra-
ditions of my fathers."
But when God, who set
me apart from birthav and called mew by his
grace, was pleased
to reveal his Son in me so
that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I
did not consult any man/
nor did I go up to
Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before
I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and
later returned to Damascl)s.
We need to be shaken up from
time to time, to make sure that
our reach for eternal truth far
exceeds the grasp of our feeble
understanding and to continue
resisting all attempts to bottle up
our God in a closed system of select
rules, regulations, or rituals that
one can handle without too much
discomfort or pain.
Then after three years, I went up to Je-
rusalem to get acquainted with Peterb and
stayed with him fifteen days.
I saw none of
the other apostles- only James, b the Lord's

I assure you before God that what I
am writing you is no lie.'
Later I went to Syr-
ia and Cilicia. d
I was personally unknown to
you are led by the Spirit, you are not under
tW.m bvious
5:18 mRo 6:t4;
11i t:9
5:19 'teo6:t8
5:21 Ro t3:t3
5:22 Mt 7:t6
20; Eph 5:9
5:23 Ac 24:25
ver t6,17
5:21 Php2:3
6:1 teo 2:t5
6:2 Ro t5:t;
Jas 2:8
not be deceived:z God cannot be mocked.
A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who
e his sinful nature, from that na-
sows 0 p . b
'll reap destructiOn; the one who sows
ture WI S . . .
the Sp
irit from the pmt WI reap
top ease ' .
. 'e c 9Let us not become weary m do-
eterna 11'
. d d for at the proper time we will reap a
mggoo ' IO h f
harvest if we do not give up. T !ere ore, as we
19The acts of the sinful nature are o .
. orality n impurity and debauchery'
exua 1mm ' d d' d jeal
3' dolatry and witchcraft; hatre ' , . -
fits of rage, selfish ambition,
ll and envy- drunkenness, orgies, and
actiOnS ' d'd b e that those
he like. o I warn you, as I I e .or ' .
1/ho live like this will not inhent the kmgdom
6:3 'Ro t 2:3;
6:6 qeo 9:tt,t4
nity Jet us do good to all people,
aveopp ' .
. II to those who belong to the fam1lys of
espec1a Y
>fGod. . . 1 e q joy
ll But the fruitP of the Spmt IS ov .' ,
atience kindness, goodness, faithful-
peace,Sgentle;ess and self-control.' Against
ness, h . o law l4Those who belong
such things t ere IS n . 5
to Christ Jesus have crucified the
d d
s t 2ss10ce we !Ve
'th its passions an estre . . .
Wl . ' th the Spmt
S . 't let us keep 10 step WI .
by t e pm ' . d u provoking and
26Let us not become concette ,
envying each other.
Doing Good to All . .
Brothers, if someone is caught 10 a
6 you who are spiritual should restore
gently. But watch yourself, or you also may b d
ted 2Carry each others burdens, .an"'
temp. . . '11 fulfill the law of Chnst.
in this way you WI h
3If anyone thinks he
nothing, he deceives himself. Each ones. d .
test his own actions. Then he can take pn e 10
himself, without comparing himself to .some-
body else, Sfor each one should carry his own
loa: An one who receives in the wor:
yh II good things with hts 10Structor.
musts are a
6:7 teo 6:9
1:8 Job 4:8;
Hos 8:7 Jas 3:18
8:9 '1CO15:58
Rev 2:t0
1:10 'Pr 3:27
Eph 2:19
6:11 teo t6:2t
Ac t 5:1
6:13 'Ro 2:25
Php 3:3
&:14Ro 6:2,6
&:15 teo 7:t9
'2C0 5:17
&:17 lsa 44:5;
2eo t:5
&:18 Ro 16:20
'2Ti 4:22
Not Circumcision but a New
II See what large letters I use as I write to you
with my own hand!h .
12Those who want to make a good Impres-
. dly are trying to compel you to be
s1on outwar ..
. . d i The only reason they do this ts to
ctrcumCise .
'd b . persecutedi for the cross of Chmt.
avm e10g .
13N t even those who are circumcised obey the
k h want you to be circumcised that
law, yet t ey 114M I
they may boast about your flesh. ay nev-
b Pt

n the cross of our Lord jesus
er oast exce
. h h whichb the world has been
Chnst, t roug ts h
'f' d to me and 1 to the world.m Nett er
cruel 1e ..
. sIon nor uncircumciSIOn means any-
circumci . o I6p
h' .n what counts is a new creatiOn. eace
t tdng, to all who follow this rule, even to
an mercy
the Israel of God. f 1
17finally, let no one cause me trouble, or
b O
n my body the marksP of Jesus. .
ear Ch tqbewlth
I8The grace of our Lord Jesus ns
your spirit,' brothers. Amen.
8 Or his flesh. from the flesh 14 Or whom llllllllllllllllllllllllllll:llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
llllllll lllll lll llll lllllll lllllllllllll lll llllll lllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllllllll llllllllll
aul's letter to the believers in Ephesus contains rich descriptions of the unity of
the body of Christ, his church. This unity is grounded in the redemptive grace
of Jesus (4:7), and Paul teaches that the love of Christ transforms us as individuals
and as communities, knit together in the Spirit of God (3:14-21; 4:17-32). The
central themes of redemption, unity and thanksgiving for God's glorious grace lead
to a lengthy description of the believer's new life in Christ (4:17 - 6:20). Paul also
mentions four times his present status as a prisoner, exhibiting his own sacrifice for
the sake of the kingdom (3:1,13; 4:1; 6:20).
Greed is a sign of unbelief. When the apostle Paul examines what the Christian
life should look like, he says, "For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or
greedy person-such a man is an idolater-has any inheritance in the kingdom of
Christ and of God" (Eph 5:5). Why would Paul categorize greed as idolatry? If we
examine these two sins, we find that greed is a form of idolatry-giving something
else the love and trust that belongs only to God. However, the principle of Jesus'
lordship over everything provides a stark contrast. As Lord of everything, Jesus
guarantees an unimaginably rich inheritance to those who commit their lives to him
(1:3-14). He has t he right to demand everything we have, for he owns it all; we are
merely stewards of his resources, including the gospel itself. (3:4-13; 1Co 4:1-2).
Related to t his reality is t he principle of the unit y of the church, the body of Christ,
whose head is Jesus (Eph 4:3-6; 5:23). All Christians form one body, and Paul
repeatedly stresses the unity of Jew and Gentile (2:13-22), people who typically
had nothing to do with each other. We should seek to imitate Jesus' humility and
sacrifice in all our relationships (5:1 -2).
The letter to the Ephesians introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
stewardship themes, sometimes through illuminations or through features that
include being crafted by God (2:1-10), being stewards of unity (4:1-16), making the
most of the time (5:15 -16) and stewardship of employers and employees (6:5-9).
Christ is not just the ruler and owner of everything; he is the Lord of love as well.
He is neither an absentee landlord nor a harsh and unloving employer. His love is' so
great that it "surpasses knowledge" (3:19). His love led him to lay down everything
for the sake of his bride, the church (5:25 -30). We are called to respond to his love
by loving others in the same manner. This call carries implications not only
for our finances but also for the sacrificial way we show Christ's love to those within
the body who are least like us.
aul's letter to the Philippians is occasioned as a thank you note for their material
support of him while he is in prison. Written in response to the Philippians'
partnership of "giving and receiving" (4:15), this letter explains and emphasizes the
importance of Christian fellowship and solidarity in the work of the gospel. The
importance of imitating Christ's sacrificial example is also featured at the book's
center (2:1-11), revealing the necessity of sacrifice as a distinguishing mark of the
Christian life. For anyone who has become weary in labors of stewardship and
generosity, Paul's jubilant letter, written from prison, is a source of strength and
The apostle Paul presents the stewardship principle of avoiding greed in general
and gluttony in particular by describing how "enemies of the cross of Christ" live:
"Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their
shame. Their mind is on earthly things" (3:19). A related stewardship principle is
that of contentment and joy. Paul had discovered the secret of contentment and joy
in all circumstances (4:11), and he explains that this secret is (1) anchored in union
with Christ and his work (1:18-20; 3:10-11) and (2) amplified by his partnership
and solidarity with other believers in the work of the gospel (1:3-6,25; 2:1-2; 4:1).
Intertwined with this recognition is the principle of partnership in the gospel. For
Paul and the Philippians, "Christian fellowship" meant a partnership in the work
of the gospel and a partnership of "giving and receiving" (4:15). One additional
principle deals with relinquishing our rights. Paul exhorts us to imitate Christ's
example by relinquishing all claims to things that in one sense rightly belong to
us (2:5- 8). Christ had a rightful claim to everything, but he chose the path of a
servant-steward and relinquished those rights; we, however, cannot make a claim
that anything rightfully belongs to us since God owns everything. We are born
as stewards with resources lent to us by God. Our challenge is to follow Christ's
example of servant-stewardship, recognizing our lack of rights from the beginning.
The letter to the Philippians introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
stewardship themes, sometimes through illuminations or through profiles. You
will read about the selflessness of Timothy and Epaphroditus (2:19-30), as well as
features on the definition of a mature steward (3:8-16) and the contented steward
Christian generosity must first transform the believer's mind. Paul tells us that
imitating Christ's sacrifice begins with our "minds" and "attitudes" (2:1-5). It is
only as our minds are renewed that our lives can be transformed as we adopt the
new "attitude" that Christ demonstrated through his humiliation and sacrificial
servanthood (see Ro 12:2).
--- -- --- - - -- - - - -- --- - - - - - - --
Paul and Timothy, a servants of Christ
To all the saintsb in Christ Jesus at Philippi c
together with the overseersd and deacons: '
1:1' Ac 16:1; -
2Co 1:1 'Ac 9:13
' Ac 16:12
1:2 ' Ro 1:7
1:31Ro 1:8
in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the
word of God more courageously and fearlessly
, t IS true that some preach Christ out of

and rivalry: but others out of goodwill.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ. r
Thanksgiving and Prayer
Ac 2:42;
Php 4:15
lAc 16:12-40
1:1 ' veno;
2Pe 1:13
M2Co 7:3
ver 13,14, 17;
Ac 21:33 ver 16
1:1 Ro 1:9
1:10 ver 6;
1Co 1:8
The latter do so tn love, knowing that I am put
here for the defense of the gospeL 11The former
preach Christ out of selfish ambition, w not sin-
cerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble
me while I am in chains. ex IS But what does
It matter? The important thing is that in every
3J thank my God every time I remember
you. s rn all my prayers for all of you, I always
b 'th 5b
pray WI JOY ecause of your partnershipi in
the gospel from the fi rst dayi until now, 6be-
ing this, that he who began a good
work m you Will carry it on to completion until
the day of Christ Jesus. k
1:11 'Jas 3:18
1:13 'ver 7, 14,17
1:14 ver 7,13,17
:-ray, whether from false motives or true, Christ
IS preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19for I
that your prayersY and the help
given by the Spmt of Jesus Christ,' what has
happened to me will turn out for my deliver-
I eagerly expect' and hope that I will
tn no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient
courageb so that now as always Christ will
be exalted in my body, c whether by life or by
death. d
For to me, to live is Christ and to die
Ifi am to go on living in the body, this
will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall
1Jt h l r
IS ng t tOr me to feel this way about all of
you, since I have you in my heart;m for whether
I am in chains" or defending and confirming
the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with
God can testifyP how 1 long for all of you
wtth the affection of Christ Jesus.
'And this is my prayer: that your loveq may
abound more and more in knowledge and depth
of insight, to so that you may be able to discern
is best and may be pure and blameless
until the day of Christ, r II filled with the fruit
of r_ighteousness that comes through Jesus
Chnst- to the glory and praise of God.
Paul's Chains Advance the Gospel
tzNow I want you to know, brothers, that
lfhat has happened to me has really served to
advance the gospel. 13As a result, it has become
clear throughout the whole palace guardb and
else that I am in chains' for Christ.
Because of my chains, u most of the brothers
1:18 ver 7,12
1:17 "Php 2:3
ver 7, 13, 14
1:1912Co 1:11
'Ac 16:7
1:20 'Ro 8:19
'ver 14'1Co 6:20
'Ro 14:8
1:21 'Gal 2:20
1:23 ' 2T14:6
Jn 12:26;
2Co 5:8
1:27 ' Eph 4:1
I Jude 3
I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between
the two: I desire to departf and be with Christ g
which is better by far; 24but it is more necessar'y
for you that I remain in the body. zsconvinced
of this, I know that I will remain, and I will con-
tinue with all of you for your progress and joy in
the _faith, 26so that through my being with you
agatn your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on
account of me.
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in
a manner worthyh of the gospel of Christ. Then,
whether I come and see you or only hear about
you in my absence, I will know that you stand
firm' in one spirit, contendingi a:s one man for
; I Traditionally bishops 13 Or whole palace
19 Or salvation ' 16,17 Some late manuscripts have verses 16 and 17 in reverse order.
IIJiillllllilll llllllllll
aul's letter to the Colossian Christians is a powerful testament to the supremacy
of Christ. The letter to the Colossians teaches the importance and significance of
all creation in how it relates to Jesus: all things were created by and for him, and he
reconciles all things to God {1:15-20). This letter has a great deal to teach us about
redemption, suffering, fruitfulness and the transformed Christian life-all of which
have direct and far reaching ramifications for Christian stewardship.
Greed provides the focus for two related stewardship principles within the letter
to the Colossians. First, greed is identified by Paul as idolatry; it is equated with
sexual immorality and must be put to death (3:5). A central stewardship theme
of Colossians is that Christ provides fully for our needs but greed subverts Jesus'
sufficiency (2:9 -10). A second related principle identifies idolatry as worthless. Paul
highlights Christ's superiority over everything and the importance of worshiping
Christ alone. Jesus Christ is "the image of the invisible God" and creator and
redeemer of the world (1:15 -16,19-20); all things are his and subject to his rule.
The stewardship principle of Jesus' lordship over every person and thing is also
evident in Colossians. Jesus' lordship is verified by his resurrection and shown
through his involvement in the creation and preservation of all things (1:16-17).
Christ's lordship brings into focus yet another stewardship principle: the new
creation. We must "put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the
image of its Creator" (3:10). Our job is to live as nearly as possible to the reality of
the kingdom and the new creation in this life and in our stewardship of the world, its
resources and our bodies (2:16-3:10).
The letter to the Colossians introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
stewardship themes, sometimes through illuminations or through features such as
work as co-creation (1:15-23), being stewards of God's good things (2:16-23) and
the Christian rule of love (3:1-4:6).
We are easily lured into the belief that we can find satisfaction in this world. French
philosopher, theologian and mathematician Blaise Pascal, writing three and a half
centuries ago, reminds us that men and women of all ages come to life with the
same "infinite abyss" within themselves, the same "craving" for infinite satisfaction.
Throughout the ages God's invitation has stood-to find that our source of
fulfillment and purpose is in him alone.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will
of God, band Timothy our brother,
To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ
Grace' and peace to you from God our Fa-
Thanksgiving and Prayer
We always thank God, the Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,
causewe have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus
and of the love' you have for all the saintss-
~ h e faith and love that spring from the hopeh
that is stored up for you in heaven; and that you
have already heard about in the word of truth,
the gospel
that has come to you. All over the
worldi this gospel is bearing fruitk and growing,
~ s t as it has been doing among you since the
day you heard it and understood God's grace in
aU its truth.
You learned it from Epaphras,
dtar fellow servant, who is a faithful ministerm
of Christ on our' behalf,
and who also told us
of your love in the Spirit."
'For this reason, since the day we heard
about you,
we have not stopped praying for you
and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of
his wii!P through all spiritual wisdom and un-
derstanding. q
And we pray this in order that
JOu may live a life worthy' of the Lord and may
~ e s e him in every way: bearing fruit in every
&ood work, growing in the knowledge of God,
"being strengthened with all power' according
tohis glorious might so that you may have great
tndurance and patience,' and joyfully
thanks to the Father," who has qualified youd
to share in the inheritance" of the saints in the
1:1 ' 1Co1:1
'Ro 1:7
1:5 ' 1Th5:8;
1:&1Ro 10:18
'Jn 15:16
Phm 23
1:8"Ro 15:30
1:9 Eph 1:15
PEph 5:17
Eph 1:17
1:11 'Eph 3:16
1:12 "Eph5:20
Ac 20:32
1:13 Ac 26:18
'Eph 6:12:
2Pe 1:11 Mt3:17
'Eph 1:7
1:15 2co 4:4
'Jn 1:18
Jn 1:3
'Eph 1:20,21
'Ro 11:36
1:f7 Jn1:2
1:11 'Eph 1:22
Rev 1:5
1:19iEph 1:5
'Jn 1:16
2Co 5:18
Eph 1:10
"Eph 2:13
1:21"Ro 5:10
Eph 2:3
1:22Ro 7:4
'Eph 5:27
1:23 'Eph 3:17
'ver 5 Ro 10:18
ver 25; 1Co 3:5
kingdom of light.
For he has rescued us from
the dominion of darknessw and brought us into
the kingdom of the Son he loves,Y
in whom
we have redemption, z the forgiveness of sins.
The Supremacy of Christ
He is the imageb of the invisible God,' the
firstborn over all creation.
For by him all
things were created:d things in heaven and on
earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones
or powers or rulers or authorities ; all things
were created by him and for him. f
He is be-
fore all things,s and in him all things hold to-
And he is the headh of the body, the
church; he is the beginning and the firstborn
from among the dead, i so that in everything
he might have the supremacy.
For God was
pleasedi to have all his fullnessk dwell in him,
and through him to reconcile' to himself all
things, whether things on earth or things in
heaven, m by making peace through his blood,"
shed on the cross.
0nce you were alienated from God and
were enemies in your mindsP because off your
evil behavior.
But now he has reconciled you
by Christ's physical bodyq through death to
present you holy in his sight, without blemish
and free from accusation'-
if you continue
in your faith, established' and firm, not moved
from the hope' held out in the gospel. This is the
gospel that you heard and that has been pro-
claimed to every creature under heaven, u and of
which I, Paul, have become a servant.'
Paul's Labor for the Church
Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you,
and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in
Or believing 2 Some manuscripts Father and the Lord Jesus Christ '7 Some manuscripts your 12 Some
llanuscripts us 14 A few late manuscripts redemption through his blood I 21 Or minds, as shown by
llllllll lll lllllllllllll l lllllllllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllllll llll ll llllll l lllll llll l lllll lllll ll l llllllllll
his letter was written by the apostle to give than_ks f_or the
salvation (1:2-10; 5:9-10), and to provide encouragmg Instructions con-
!rning the hope Christians have in Jesus' return and the resurrection of the body
k13-5:11). Paul also includes a number of other important reminders and
'Chortations such as to refrain from sexual immorality (4:3-8), to "lead a quiet
fe, to mind your own business and to work with your hands" (4:11), and to "give
1anks in all circumstances" (5:18). Readers will find Paul's emphasis on the daily
tsks of stewardship and living a life that is pleasing to God both instructive and
,mong the stewardship principles in the first letter to the Thessalonians is the
rinciple of quiet obedience. Rather than call the Thessalonians to exhibit their love
uough social spectacles that attract public attention, Paul does almost the exact
pposite. He calls them to develop a sense of urgency about the common lives they
ve and to excel in the minute details of life and loving one another (4:9-12). A
!cond stewardship principle, self-giving and the gospel, demonstrates a similar facet
f this same love. Paul says he presented "not only the gospel" but his own life as
rell (2:8). The power of the message he brought was weighted with the authenticity
f his personal sacrifice through "toil and hardship" as he worked "night and day"

' he first letter to the Thessalonians introduces characters and concepts that
tlustrate stewardship themes, sometimes through illuminations or through features
oncerning the stewardship of influence (1:2-10), the giving of our time, energy and
ffection (2:1-16), and the stewardship of holiness and honor (4:1-8).
Christians, we are given the unique opportunity to excel in the smallest details
,f life. Loving God with our whole heart and loving our neighbor as ourselves
neans that an ordinary life will not cause us to be anxious or ashamed because the
tltimate objects of our affection are God and others. We have no reason to jockey
or a better position or strive for greater attention. In knowing we are already seated
.t the right hand of our Father, our smallest acts of service are weighted with eternal
1 Paul, Silas and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessaloniansb in God
the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace to you. he
Thanksgiving for the
Thessalonians' Faith
2We always thank God for all of you, d men-
tioning you in our prayers.
We continually re-
member before our God and Father your work
produced by faith, e your labor prompted by
love, and your endurance inspired by hope in
our Lord Jesus Christ.
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he
has chosen you,
because our gospel
came to you
not simply with words, but also with power, with
the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You
know how we lived among you for your sake.
'You became imitators of uss and of the Lord;
in spite of severe suffering,h you welcomed the
message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.;
And so you became a model to all the believers
in Macedonia and Achaia.
The Lord's message
rang out from you not only in Macedonia and
Achaia- your faith in God has become known
everywhere) Therefore we do not need to say
anything about it,
for they themselves report
what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how
you turned to God from idolsk to serve the liv-
ing and true God,
and to wait for his Son from
heaven, whom he raised from the dead
- Jesus,
who rescues us from the coming wrath. rn
Paul's Ministry in Thessalonica
You know, brothers, that our visit to you"
was not a failure.
We had previously suf-
1:1'Ac 16:1;
2Th 1:1 'Ac 17:1
'Ro 1:7
1:3 '2Th 1 :11
1:5 '2Th 2:14
'Ac 17:510
Ac 13:52
1:8iRo 1:8;
1:9 .,co 12:2;
Ac 2:24
2:2 'Ac 16:22;
Php 1:30
2:3 P2C0 2:17
2:4 <Gal2:7
2:5 'Ac 20:33
2:7 ver 11
2:8 "2Co 12:15;
1Jn 3:16
2:9Ac 18:3
'2Th 3:8
2:10'1Th 1:5
'2Co 1:12
!Co 4:14
2:12 'Eph 4:1
2:13.1Th 1:2
Heb 4:12
2:14 'Gal1:22
Ac 17:5; 2Th 1:4
and been insulted in Philippi, as you
know, but with the help of our God we dared
to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposi-
For the appeal we make does not spring
from error or impure motives,P nor are we try-
ing to trick you.
0n the contrary, we speak as
men approved by God to be entrusted with the
gospel.q We are not trying to please men' but
God, who tests our hearts.
You know we never
used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover
up greed'- God is our witness.
1 6
We were not
looking for praise from men, not from you or
anyone else.
As apostles" of Christ we could have been a
burden to you,
but we were gentle among you,
like a mother caring for her little children. v
We loved you so much that we were delighted
to share with you not only the gospel of God but
our lives as well, w because you had become so
dear to us.
Surelyyou remember, brothers, our
toil and hardship; we worked night and day in
order not to be a burden to anyoneY while we
preached the gospel of God to you.
You are witnesses, and so is God, of how
holy, righteous and blameless we were among
you who believed.
For you know that we dealt
with each of you as a father deals with his own
children, b
encouraging, comforting and urg-
ing you to live lives worthy< of God, who calls
you into his kingdom and glory.
And we also thank God continuallyd be-
cause, when you received the word of God,
which you heard from us, you accepted it not as
the word of men, but as it actually is, the word
of God, which is at work in you who believe.
For you, brothers, became imitators of God's
churches in Judea, f which are in Christ Jesus:
You suffered from your own countrymens the
'1 Greek Silvanus, a variant of Silas 1 Some early manuscripts you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
e apostle Paul's second letter to the church at Thessalonica expands upon
1any of the same issues he addressed in his first letter. Again he gives thanks
e Thessalonian believers' obedience (1:3-4), offers more instructions about
return (2:1-12) and encourages the believers to stand firm and be unafraid
-17). Paul warns the Thessalonians against the sin of idleness and calls them
ork and care for themselves, emphasizing the example he set when he was with
(3:6-12). Finally, he encourages them to not "tire of doing what is right"
:econd letter to the Thessalonians focuses our attention on the important
trdship principle of work and idleness. While it is true that our bodies need
, and a Biblical way of life includes regular times set aside for rest, it is
utely untrue that the purpose of work is to find time for leisure. Scripture is
that satisfaction and rest-whether daily or eternal-are gifts from God,
he products of human efforts (see Ps 127:1-2). Paul does not make a complex
ogical argument about the "meaning of labor." Instead, he points to his
mal example as a common worker and uses his two hands to get his point
;s-physical tasks intimately coincide with the work of the gospel (2Th 3:7-10).
re called to work hard and provide for our practical needs and at the same time
all of our ordinary efforts with the work of the gospel itself.
second letter to the Thessalonians introduces characters and concepts that
crate stewardship themes through illuminations, through challenges to
ardship such as idleness (3:10-12) or through a feature on being a steward of
tpostles' teaching (2:13 -15).
)rtunately, many of us separate God's "good works" into material and spiritual,
nary and redemptive, and treat our leisure as the goal of our labor. The rest Jesus
s is not inactive. It is rejuvenating because it is done in union with Jesus' power
his own redeeming work. Therefore, Paul reminds believers that he is a good
lei to follow: "We were not idle when we were with you ... We worked night and
laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you" (3:7 -8).
~ ]
1 Paul, Silas and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God
our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace to you from God the Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ. b
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3We ought always to thank God for you,
brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is
growing more and more, and the love every one
of you has for each other is increasing.'
fore, among God's churches we boastd about
your perseverance and faith in all the persecu-
tions and trials you are enduring. f
All this is evidences that God's judgment is
right, and as a result you will be counted wor-
thy of the kingdom of God, for which you are
God is just: He will pay back trouble
to those who trouble youh
and give relief to you
who are troubled, and to us as well. This will
happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from
heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. i
He will punish those who do not know Godi
and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. k
'They will be punished with everlasting de-
struction1 and shut out from the presence of the
Lord and from the majesty of his powerm
the day" he comes to be glorified in his holy
people and to be marveled at among all those
who have believed. This includes you, because
you believed our testimony to you.P
With this in mind, we constantly pray for
you, that our God may count you worthyq of
his calling, and that by his power he may ful-
fill every good purpose of yours and every act
prompted by your faith.'
We pray this so that
1:1'Ac 16:1;
1Th 1:1
1:2 'Ro 1:7
1:3 '1Th 3:12
' 1Th1:3
1Th 2:14
1:5 Php 1:28
1:6 'Col3:25;
1Th 4:16;
Jude 14
' Ro2:8
2Pe 3:7 2Th 2:8
1:10 ' 1Co3:13
' Jn 17:10
1:11 ver 5
'1Th 1:3
1:12 Php 2:9-11
2:1 'Mk 13:27;
1Th 4:15-17
2:2 '2Th 3:17
teo 1:8
2:3 Eph 5:6-8
oa 7:25; 8:25;
11:36; Revt3:5, 6
2:4 '1Co8:5
'/sa 14:13,14;
Eze 28:2
2:8 '/sa 11:4;
Rev 19:15
2:1 'M124:24;
Jn 4:48
2:10 '1Co 1:18
2:11' Ro 1:28
the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in
you,' and you in him, according to the grace of
our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. b
The Man of Lawlessness
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ and our being gathered to him, t we
ask you, brothers,
not to become easily un-
settled or alarmed by some prophecy, report
or letter" supposed to have come from us, say-
ing that the day of the Lord has already come.
Don't let anyone deceive youw in any way, for
Lthat day will not come" until the rebellion oc-
curs and the man oflawlessness' is revealed,<
the man doomed to destruction.
He will op-
pose and will exalt himself over everything that
is called God Y or is worshiped, so that he sets
himself up in God's temple, proclaiming him-
selfto be God!
Don't you remember that when I was with
you I used to tell you these things?
And now
you know what is holding him back, so that he
may be revealed at the proper time.
For the
secret power of lawlessness is already at work;
but the one who now holds it back will contin-
ue to do so till he is taken out of the way.
then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the
Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of
his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his
The coming of the lawless one will be
in accordance with the work of Satan displayed
in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and
wonders, b
and in every sort of evil that de-
ceives those who are perishing. ' They perish
because they refused to Jove the truth and so
be saved.
For this reason God sends themd a
powerful delusion so that they will believe the
and so that all will be condemned who
'I Greek Silvanus, a variant of Silas 12 Or God and Lord, Jesus Christ '3 Some manuscripts sin
, I
l l
. I
is passage and others in Scripture make it clear that Christians are not to be idle, either
lifestyle or in attitude. Meaningful work was instituted before Adam's sin (see Ge 2:15),
i work is meant to be embraced, not avoided. Our work is integral to how we steward
r gifts in a II areas of life.
Prayerfully evaluate your attitudes toward work and idleness in the following "quiz."
member that "work" can be any activity that builds up others, including work outside
: home, work in the home, caring for others (children, parents or others), volunteering
an avocation.
Strongly Agree Strongly D1sagree
I view my employment and attitudes toward
employment as opportunities to glorify God.
1 2 3 4 5
I give 100 percent on the job in an effort to
honor God and be a steward of the gifts he's
2 3 4 5
given me.
I'm a good steward of my time, investing it
wisely at work and in recreation that refreshes
1 2 3 4 5
my body, mind and spirit.
At work, I avoid idle talk and gossip, innuendo
1 2 3 4 5
and conversations that demean God's image in
I focus on doing my work quietly and caring
2 3 4 5
for those entrusted to me rather than focusing
on the details of others' lives.
I view work as both a privilege and a redemp-
1 2 3 4 5
rive act.
I see conversation and communication as
1 2 3 4 5
means to glorify God and carry out his work
through my life rather than as means to fulfill
my needs.
I view recreation as an opportunity to extend
2 3 4 5
stewardship of my body, soul and spirit.
aul writes the first letter to Timothy to counter false teachers who are leading
the Ephesian church astray. He instructs Timothy to guide the church in many
important areas, including the selection of financially faithful leadership {3:1-13).
Two chapters are almost entirely about generosity and wealth (chs. 5-6); they
include instructions on giving to widows {5:3 -16), financial support for those
teaching and preaching the Word {5:17-18), contentment rather than greed
(6:6-10), and fleeing from the love of money and pursuing a godly life (6:11 - 16).
Paul also gives a "charge to the rich," advice describing pitfalls to avoid, coupled
with positive instructions on which areas of life merit striving for riches {6:17-19).
First Timothy contains some of the most important, and one of the most misquoted,
passages on wealth in all of Scripture {6:10). It is a critical letter for understanding
Biblical generosity and sound financial stewardship.
As Paul writes his first letter to Timothy, addressing false teaching in the Ephesian
' church, he presents principles relating to the consequences of greed. Greedy people
become enslaved to their sinful desires; this is why Paul called greed idolatry
(see Eph 5:5; Col 3:5). "People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a
trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and
destruction" (1Ti 6:9). This description of greed's effects is similar to the description
of idolatry's effects (seePs 106:36). As a related teaching, 1 Timothy also presents
the stewardship principle of pastors and financial discipleship. In letters to Timothy
and Titus, Paul designates teaching what God's Word says about a Christian's
relationship to money and possessions as a pastoral responsibility. The best way to
teach.about this matter is by example: do not love money or pleasure or desire riches
(see lTi 3:3,8; 2Ti 3:2-4; Tit 1:7).
The first letter to Timothy introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
stewardship themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to
stewardship such as a desire to be rich (6:9-11). You will also read about Timothy's
stewardship of truth (1:18.,.-20; 2Ti 1:5) and features on modesty (lTi 2:9-10), godly
leadership (3:1 -13) and stewardship at home (5:1-16).
So, what do we do with our stuff? First, acknowledge that it comes from God, not
from our own hands, and receive it with thanks. Second, do good so we can be "rich
in good deeds," and be generous and share wjth others, so that we might bless others
(6:18). Third, live lives of self-restraint, contentment, moderation and consideration
of the needs of others. Through generous giving, self-discipline and denial, we can
wage war against our desires to indulge and overconsume.
tMOTHY 6:11
&:10 Jas 5:19
6:11 ' 2Ti3:17
'\"re we grateful for what we have,
ather than resentful for what we
ion't have? When we look around,
there's always someone else who
&as more. It's easy to ask, "Why
did he (or she) get that instead
&:12 1co 9:25,
26; 1l1 1:18
Php 3:12
Jn 18:33
&:15 '1TI1:11
6:16 1l11 :17
'Jn 1:18
of me?" Satan tries to get to
be discontented by comparmg
ourselves to others. The way to
counteract that is to pratse God
for what we have and not let what
others have affect us. Thankfulness
is not based on an accumulation
of assets; it is a positive attitude
toward life.
-LARRY BuRKETT (I939-2003)
ot of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager
r money, have wandered from the faithd and
erced themselves with many griefs.
aul's Charge to Timothy
11 But you, man of God, flee all this,
d pursue righteousness, godliness, faith,
ve/ endurance and gentleness.
Fight the
Jod fightg of the faith. Take hold eter-
allife to which you were called when you made
our "good confession in the presence
itnesses. 13In the sight of God, who gtves hfe
> and of Christ Jesus: who while
before Pontius made
ood confession, I charge you' to keep thts
ommand without spot or blameuntil the ap-
earing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which God
.,m bring about in his own time- God, the
lessedk and only Ruler,
the King of kings and
,ord oflords, m
wh9 alone is immortal n and
'lho lives in unapproachable light, whom no
me has seen or can see. To him be honor and
night forever. Amen.
6:17 Plk 12:20,
21 Hi 4:10
Ac 14:17
6:18 '1Ti 5:10
'Ro 12:8,13
6:19 'MI 6:20
&:20 '2Ti 1:12,
14 "2Ti 2:16
6:21 '2Ti 2:18
11Command those who are rich in this
present world not to be arrogant nor to put
their hope in wealth,P which is so uncertain,
but to put their hope in God, q who richly pro-
vides us with everything for our enjoyment.'
18Command them to do good, to be rich in
good deeds, and to be generous and willing to
19Jn this way they will lay up treasure for
themselves" as a firm foundation for the com-
ing age, so that they may take hold of the life
that is truly life,
zoTimothy, guard what has been entrusted'
to your care. Turn away from godless chatterw
and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called
which some have professed and in
so doing have wandered from the faith.'
Grace be with you.Y
1 TIMOTHY 6 17-19
The man who is rich in money
may become rich in good works,
if he follows out the instructions
Scripture lays down. The money
must not be given to be seen of
men but as unto the Lord: Nor as
from an owner, but a steward who
administers the .Lord's money,
with prayer for His guidance. Nor
with any confidence in its power or
influence, but in deep dependence
on Him who alone can make it a
blessing, Nor as a substitute for,
or bringing out from that personal
work and witness, which each
believer is to give. As all Christzan
work, so our money-givmg has tts
value alone from the spirtt in whrch
it is done, even the spirit of Chrzst
Jesus. ,
-ANDREW MURRAY (1828-I917)
. 111111111111111111111111111
n every congregation, the apostle Paul mentored leaders to guide the church. These
leaders were to model the lifestyle of a disciple in matters such as finances. Paul
spells out the roles of leaders in 2 Timothy. This letter charges the church to suffer
for the gospel in imitation of Paul and Jesus, both of whom led and served to the
point of giving up their lives (2:1-13). The theme of 2 Timothy is "join with me in
suffering for the gospel" {1: 8; see also 1:9-14). Paul calls Timothy and all believers
to counter the self-centered spirit of the age, which tempts believers and unbelievers
alike to love themselves and pursue earthly pleasures {3:1-5).
Among the stewardship principles presented in 2 Timothy is the role of leaders and
the importance of financial. faithfulness. The heartbeat of Christian leadership is a
sacrificial, others-centered lifestyle. Paul is clear that those who follow Jesus as he
does will encounter difficulty {3:10-12). A second principle regards pleasure and
' possessions. Paul warns pastors to guide their flocks when it comes to money and
possessions, and he identifies financial failures: pleasure seekers and the ungrateful
(3:2,4), those who love money and want to get rich {3:2), overindulgent consumers
and those who are lazy (Tit 1:12), thieving employees (Tit 2:9-10), leaders given to
dishonest gain (lTi 3:8), and those enslaved by worldly passions and pleasures (Tit
2:12; 3:3).
The second letter to Timothy introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
stewardship themes, sometimes through illuminations or through profiles. You will
read about Onesiphorus (1:16-18) and features on what it means to be set apart
(2:14-21) and taking the other path as a steward of God (3:1-9).
Pastors must be aware of the dangers of the temptations and evil desires that plague
all people, including believers: people are tempted to be ungrateful and pleasure
seekers {3:2,4), lovers of money {lTi 6:9-10; 2Ti 3:2) and lazy gluttons (Tit 1:12) . .
Many are enslaved by worldly passions and_pleasures. Pastors are to encourage their
flo((;k to turn away from self-indulgence and turn towar9 the needs of others. As
leaders, pastors must present a good example, knowing that the pastoral life requires
the sacrifice asked of every Christian and that God cares for his own {2:3-10; 3:12).
his letter to Titus, the apostle Paul addresses the topic of developing leadership
, guide the church on the island of Crete. He spells out the characteristics of such
lers (1:5 - 9) and emphasizes their responsibility in training believers to do good
ks (2:7-8,14; 3:8,14). Paul's goal for the churches was good works, an excellent
tsurement of spiritual vitality. Such good works have everything to do with
finances, as does the old living from which Paul wants the Cretans to repent
1l's letter to Titus focuses on the spiritual principles for sowing good steward
ders.in church. Paul's goal is not to get people to say a prayer or to craft
onfession. Instead, he seeks to create communities of believers saved by grace,
ievers who worship and obey Jesus as Lord. Paul's goal is to create disciples and
ng them into community. He spends the majority of his time in ministry creating
;h churches. His two letters to Timothy and this one to Titus discuss in detail the
dership and life of these communities. A second stewardship principle, pastors
d financial discipleship; builds upon the principle of church planting. In letters to
mothy and Titus, Paul designates teaching what God's Word says about a Chris-
.n's relationship to money and possessions as a pastoral responsibility. The best
ty to teach about this matter is by example: do not love money or pleasure or desire
:hes (see 1Ti 3:3,8; 2Ti 3:2-4; Tit 1:7).
he letter to Titus introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
temes, sometimes through illuminations or through features such as discerning
dtural influences (1:12-2:15) and the work of Christian leaders to prepare
isciples to do good (3:1- 15}.
oday, no less than in Paul's day, there is a great need for church planting and the
1illing bodies necessary to start churches and support church plants. Whether we're
ailed as a full time church-planter or not, we are to step outside of our comfortable
hurches, both physically and financially, so that we can contribute to the growth of
tew churches and the fulfillment of the Great Commission (see Mt 28:18-20}.
Paul, a seFvant of God and an apostle of 1:1'Ro 1:
esus Ch . t h < . h f mz their own prophetsw has said, "Cretansx areal-
ns or t e all o God's elect and 1:2'2TI1:1
the know21edg_e of the truthb that leads to godl!- '2TI1:9 liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons." 13This tes,
1:3 '1TI2:6 t .
ness- a fa1th and knowledge resting on the lmony IS true_. Therefore, rebukeY them sharply,
hope of eternal life, c which God, who does not 'Lk 1:47 so that they will be sound in the faith' 14and will
. d 1:4 '2Co2:13 payno tt f J
be:ore the beginning of time, d t : 5 1Ac27:7 a en JOn to ewish myths or to the corn-
an at IS appomted season he brought h' mandsb of those who reject the truth. JsTo the
d li
f IS 1 7 II h.
wor to ght through the preaching entrusted pure, a t mgs are pure, but to those who are
to me8 by the command of God our Savior, h corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.' In
2TI3:3 fact, both their minds and consciences are cor-
To Titus,i my true son in our common faith:
Grace and peace from God the Father and
Christ Jesus our Savior.
1:8 '1Ti 1:19


They claim to know God, but by their
Ac 11:2 act10n_ s they deny him. d They are detestable, dis-
1:11 '2Ti 3;6 b d
o e Ient and unfit for doing anything good.
Titus's Task on Crete
sThe reason I left you in Cretei was that you
might straighten out what was left unfi nished
and appoint eldersk in every town, as I di-
rected you. 6An elder must be blameless,' the
husband of but one wife, a man whose children
and. are open to the charge of being
wild and disobedient. 7Since an overseerbm is
entrusted with God's work, n he must be blame-
less-:-: not overbearing, not quick-tempered,
not to drunkenness, not violent, not pur-
dtshonest gain. o a Rather he must be hos-
pllable,P one who loves what is good, q who is
!elf-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
He.must hold firmly' to the trustworthy mes-
sage as it has been taught, so that he can en-
courage others by sound doctrine' and refute
those who oppose it.
1: 12 Ac 17:28
1:13 '2Co 13:10
1:14' 1TI1:4
'Ro 14:14,
there are rebellious people, mere
and deceivers, especially those of the
nrcumcision group." u They must be silenced,
because they are ruining whole householdsv by
teaching things they ought not to teach-and
that for the sake of dishonest gain. t2Even one of
1:18 1Jn 2:4
2:1 'Hi 1:10
' 5 Or ordain 7 Traditionally bishop
What Must Be Taught to Various
2 You must teach what is in accord with
sound doctrine. 2Teach the older men to
be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled,
and sound in faith/ in love and in endurance.
3Likewise, teach the older women to be rev-
erent in the way they live, not to be slanderers
TITUS 2 2 - 3
the Church must do for
Christians, if it is to
accept the missionary concept of
membership, is to equip people to
make the retired years into years
of glorious opportunity for ser-
vice. For the committed Chris-
tian, retirement means not an
to nothingness, but
lzberatzon for service.
(I 900-I994)
"' <D
TUS 3 : 1-15
Ready to -Do Good
hroughout this <;hapter Paul describes the work of a Christian leader, which can be
summed up as preparing disciples so that they can live righteous lives in the midst of
arkness and delusion. Paul repeats four times the exhortation to Titus to prompt his fol-
1wers to do what is good. South African pastor and author Andrew Murray (1828-1917)
{pands on this exhortation.
Teach them clearly what good works are. Lay the foundation in the will of God, as
revealed in the law, and show them how integrity and righteousness and obedience are
the groundwork of Christian character. Teach them how in all the dl;lties and relation-
ships of daily life true religion is to be carried out. Lead them on to the virtues which
Jesus specially came to exhibit and teach-humility, meekness and gentleness and love.
Open [up] to them the meaning of a life of love, self-sacrifice, and beneficence--.:entirely
given to think of and care for others . . . .
Teach them what an essential part of the Christian life good works are ... In becom-
ing imitators of God, and walking and working in love, even as Christ loved us and gave
Himself for us, we have the very image and likeness of God restored in us. The works
of a man not only reveal his life, they develop and exercise; they strengthen and perfect
it. Good works are of the very essence of the Divine life in us.
Teach them, too, what a rich reward they bring ... Let Christians understand that
there is no service where the reward is so rich as that of God ... In a life of good works
the Christian becomes conscious of his Divine ministry of dispensing the life and grace
of God to others. They bring us into closer union with God. There is no higher fellow-
ship with God than fellowship in His saving work of love. It brings us into sympathy
with Him and His purposes; it fills us with His love; it
secures His approval. And great is the reward, too, on
those around us.
And now the chief thing. Teach them to believe that
it is possible for each of us to abound in good works.
Nothing is so fatal to successful effort as discouragement
or despondency. Nothing is more a frequent cause of ne-
glect of good works than the fear that we have not the
power to perform them. Put them in mind of the power
of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Show them that
God's promise and provision of strength is always equal
to what He demands; that there is always grace sufficient
for all the good works to which we are called . .. Train
them to begin at once their service of love. Lead them
to see how it is all God working in them, and to offer
themselves as empty vessels to be filled with His love and
grace. And teach them that as they are faithful in a little,
even amid mistakes and shortcomings, the acting out of
the life will strengthen the life itself, and work_for God
will become in full truth a second nature.
I What prompts you to do
I Why are good works an
integral part of the Chris
tian life?
I How might you encour-
age others who may be
discouraged or disheart
ened to continue doing
Today determine a way in
which you could do some-
thing good and thus imitate
aul's letter to Philemon and his ch h
of God should view earthly p u:c reAveals how a member of the kingdom
ossesswns. ccordi p 1 h
nee s trump all our agendas, and the lordshi to au ' t e kmgdom's
not owners, of all God has placed . h pd of Chnst means we are stewards
m our an s (18 19) 0 '
save under the stewardship of Ph"l - nesimus, a runaway
d h
. . 1 emon met Paul and d . . .
an t IS letter Is Paul's address to Ph "1 ' d . converte to Chnstiamty,
how can Philemon put Onesimus t I emkofn anh church regarding this slave:
o wor or t e kmgdo p 1 1
present status as a prisoner wh" h d" l h. m. au a so mentions his
kingdom (13). , Ic ISp ays Is own sacrifice for the sake of the
letter to Philemon examines the stewardsh. . . .
tian community and its implic t. . tp pnnciple of life and love in Chris-
a IOns m our walk of faith I . 1
someone who is under the stew d h . f n parttcu ar, it is about
Philemon and the church to Ph"alr s o another. Paul expects the response of
. . I emon s converted runa J b
reconc1 tatwn, forgiveness radc ll d ways ave to e one of
. . I f ' I a ove an generous giv (17 21) A
prmcip e ound in the letter to Ph .
. h mg - . second
Paul writes that he expects Ph'! I emon t e concept of sacrifice for the kingdom
for the sake of Christ's kingdoi empon It? give up _property rights to his slave
. m. au IS proposmg a ne
gam-not in personal terms but . . w way to measure loss and
to Philemon and his church an:; terms (15 -16). Paul's letter
order to find it. ercise m osmg your life" for the sake of Jesus in
The letter to Philemon introduces characters a d . .
themes through the profile of Philemon concepts that Illustrate stewardship
The to Philemon presents a plot is never f 11 '
and his church respond to Ones. W: h u y resolved. How did Philemon
D"d Ph"! Imus.. as t e runaway sl b d
J I emon relinquish his rights and a valuabl ave em race as a brother?
and the gospel? Colossians 4:9 suggests that 0 e for the sake of service to Paul
fellow servant and beloved broth . . . nesimus went on to become Paul's
challenge us to examine our o er m mmJstlry. The lives of Philemon and Onesimus
. . wn countercu tural com "t f .
reconci JatJon radical love and . . mi ment to orgiveness
' generous givmg. '
11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 1111111111

he letter to the Heb'rews was written when the church was on the cusp of fierce
persecution. Jews (including Jewish Christians) had been expelled from Rome in
.D. 49 (10:34). the date of this letter is likely the early 60s, as Nero's persecution
)Oms ever closer but no one has yet lost their life due to it (12:4). However, the
igns are increasingly ominous, and the recipients of the letter must have been
;ready encouraged to be. reminded of the supremacy of Jesus Christ, "heir of all
hings" (1:2). This letter provides many of the theological underpinnings of giving
n all respects. The Old Testament sacrificial system has been fulfilled and replaced
hrough Jesus' sacrifice (10:10). Today giving no longer anticipates God's gift and the
>ermanent payment for sin but comes as a grateful response to that gift. We learn
tbout heroes of th,e faith and sacrifice (11:4-40) who demonstrate that God gives
:verything to those who withhold nothing from him. We are encouraged to follow
:heir example by throwing off hindrances and fixing our eyes on Jesus for the reward
;et before us (12:1-2).
The looming persecution of the church reveals the primary stewardship principle of
Hebrews: to throw off what hinders. It is impossible to run effectively while carrying
cargo. Christians who contestants in the race of life must "throw off everything
that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles" (12:1}. Although it is relatively easy
to recognize sin, it is more difficult to acknowledge things that hinder us. This is true
because the things that often hinder us can be good in themselves. For Christians
today, the issue is not simply whether it is "right" or "wrong" to buy a bigger house
or drive a nicer car. Instead, the question is: What will slow us down in our pursuit
of holiness? What is best for our spiritual journey?
The letter to the Hebrews introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
stewardship themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to
stewardship such as the love of money (13:5 - 6). You will also read about Noah's
faith (11:1-3,7). Features include Christ, faithful steward over God's house (3:1-6),
the virtue of perseverance (4:1 -13), the truth of the Word of God (5:11-14), giving
as worship (7:1-22), Christ's once-for-all sacrifice as the template for Christian
stewardship (8:1-10:18) and accountability in regard to our finances (10:24).
When Jesus talks about things that compromise our ability to run effectively in
the race of life, one of the greatest stumbling blocks he identifies is the pursuit of
material prosperity. Too often we are encumbered by a love of all we see around us.
Especially for those of us who have become weighed down with the love of money
or things, generosity becomes an essential part of what it means for us to throw off
what hinders for the joy set before us (12:2).
111111111111111111111111111 111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111
1111111111111111111111111 I II II 11111111111 IIIII llll lllll l ll ll ll lll ll lll ll lll l llll lll l llll l l
The Son Superior to Angels
1:1 Jn 9:29;

'Nu 12:6,8
1:2 'Ps 2:8
'Jn 1:3
1:3 'Jn1:14
'Heb 7:27
' Mk16: 19
1:4 1Eph 1:21;
Php 2:9, 10
1:5 'Ps 2:7
2Sa 7: 14
therefore God, your God, has
above your companionsP
by anointing you with the oilq of joy." I
He also says,
"In the beginning, 0 Lord, you laid the
foundations of the earth,
in the past God spoke to our forefathers
through the prophetsb at many times and
in various ways, c 2but in these last days he has
spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed
heird of all things, and through whom he made
The Son is the radiance of God's
the ex_act representation of his being,
sustammg all thmgss by his powerful word. Af.
ler he had provided purification for sins, h he sat
at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.;
So he became as much superior to the angels as
name he inherited is superior to theirs)
1:8 Heb 10:5
'01 32:43 (LXX
and OSS); Ps 97:7
1:7 'Ps 104:4
and the heavens are the work of your
They will perish, but you remain;
For to wh1ch of the angels did God ever say,
"You are my Son;
today I have become your Father"b?k
Or again,
"I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son"'?'
'And again, when God brings his fi rstborn into
the world, m he says,
"Let all God's angels worship him."dn
ln speaking of the angels he says,
"He makes his angels winds,
his servants flames offire."o
'But about the Son he.says,
"Your throne, 0 God, will last for ever and
and righteousness will be the scepter of
your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated
s o
1:8 Php 2:9
1: 11 'lsa 34:4
1:12 'Heb 13:8
' Ps 102:2527

ps 110:1
1:14 " Ps 103:20
'Heb 5:9
Heb 1:1
'Ot 33:2; Ac 7:S3
'Heb 10:28
2:3 ' Heb 10:29
'Heb1:2 'lk1:2
2:4 ' J" 4:48
'reo 12:4
'Eph 1:5
they will all wear out like a garment r
12 . .
You w1ll roll them up like a robe;
like a garment they will be changed.
But you remain the same, s
and your years will never end."Kt
To which of the angels did God ever say,
"Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool" for your feet"h?v
t4Are not all angels ministering spiritsw sent to
serve those who will inherit salvation ?x
Warning to Pay Attention
2 We must pay more careful attention, there-
fore, to what we have heard, so that we do
F.or if the message spokenY by
angels was bmdmg, and every violation and
received its just punishment, a
how we if we ignore such a great
salvatwn?b ThJs salvation, which was first an-
nounced by the Lord, c was confirmed to us by
those who heard him. d 4God also testified to it
b:' signs, wonders and various miracles, and
gifts of the Holy Spirit
distributed according
to hiswilJ.8
Sep r have begotten you '5 Psalm 27 '5 .
tuagint) '7 Psalm 104:4 lg

6 Deut. 32:43 (see Dead Sea Scrolls and
Psalm 110: 1
"' 0
:s's letter, written "to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations" (1:1),
tains an array of practical teaching on living the Christian life. In five chapters,
touches on a host of issues. From perseverance to prayer to partiality to
g the tongue to warnings about wealth to encouragement for the poor, james's
calls Christians to work out their faith in the details of everyday life. Some
trgued that James's emphasis on the necessity of good works conflicts with
teaching on justification by faith alone. However, the apparent differences
ve when their respective a1.1diences and contexts are taken into account.
cal stewardship principles are abundant in James's letter; it is perhaps best
n for its teaching on the subject of faith and works. The apostle Paul warns
;t the danger of trusting good works as the basis of salvation in many letters to
hes where Christians were tempted to believe they could please God through
)Wn efforts (see, e.g., Eph 2:8-9). In this letter, James calls believers to reject
chalant attitude toward personal actions; rather, he exhorts them to live out
:aith by obeying God's commands (]as 1:21-25). James writes to a group of
ers who are being swayed by a false teaching that faith and deeds can exist
endently of each other. James refutes this teaching by explaining that good
are evidence of genuine faith (2:14-26). One additional principle presents
ngs to the rich. Wealth presents a tremendous obstacle for those who want
e God wholeheartedly and love their neighbor as themselves. James's letter
ins vehement warnings against the charms of wealth (5: 1-6).
!tter of James introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
:s, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship such
uble-mindedness (4:1 -10). Features include being doers of the Word (1:22- 27),
works and deeds (2:14- 26), and speaking the truth in love (3:1- 12).
; does not respond to the problem of actionless faith with warnings alone; he
examples of what active Christian faith should include. He suggests that care
.e poor is the hallmark of true religion: "Religion that God our Father accepts
re and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to
oneself from being polluted by the world" (1:27).
l lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll llllllll.lllllllllllll ll lllllllllllll ll lllllll
James, a servant of Godb and of the Lord
Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scatteredd among the
Trials and Temptations
Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
er you face trials of many kinds,<
because you
know that the testing of your faith develops
perseverance ..
Perseverance must finish its
work so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.
If any of you lacks wis-
dom, he should ask God, f who gives generpusly
to all without finding fault, and it will be giv-
en to him.s
But when he asks, he must believe
and not doubt, h because he who doubts is like a
wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
Th at man should not think he will receive any-
thing from the Lord;
he is a double-minded
man, i unstable in all he does.
' The brother in humble circumstances
ought to take pride in his high position.
the one who is rich should take pride in his low
position, because he will pass away like a wild
For the sun rises with scorching heat
and withersk the plant; its blossom falls and its
beauty is destroyed,
In the same way, the rich
man will fade away even while he goes about
Biessed is the man who perseveres under
trial, because when he has stood the test, he "Viii
receive the crown oflifem that God has prom-
ised to those who love him. n
nwhen tempted, no one should say, "God is
tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by
evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
but each one
is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is
dragged away and enticed.
Then, after desire
1:1 ' Ac 15:13
'Tit 1:1 'Ac 26: 7
'Dt 32:26;
Jn 7:35; 1Pe 1:1
Pr 2:36 Mt 7:7
1:6' Mk11:24
1:10l1Co 7:31;
1Pe 1:24
1:11 ' Ps 102:4,
1:12 1Co 9:25
'Jas 2:5
1:15Job 15:35;
Ps 7:14Ro 6:23
rver 19
1 :17' Jn 3:27
'Nu 23:19;
'Eph 1:12;
1:21'Eph 4:22
'Eph 1:13
1:25 'Jas 2:12
'Jn 13:17
1:26 'Ps 34:13;
1Pe 3:10
1:27 ' Mt25:36
' lsa 1:17,23
Ro 12: 2
1Co 2'8
Lev 19:15
has conceived, it gives birth to sin;
and sin,
when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.P
Don't be deceived, q my dear brothers.'
Every good and perfect gift is from above,'
coming down from the Father of the heavenly
lights, who does not change
like shifting shad-
He chose to give us birth" through the
word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-
fruits of all he created.
Listening and Doing
My dear brothers, take note of this: Every-
one should be quick to listen, slow to speakw and
slow to become angry,
for man's anger does
not bring about the righteous life that God de-
Therefore, get rid oP all moral filth and
the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept
the word planted in you,Y which can save you.
Do not rnerely listen to the word, and so de-
ceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Anyone who
listens to the word but does not do what it says
is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror
and, after looking at himself, goes away and
immediately forgets what he looks like.
the man who looks intently into the perfect law
that gives freedom, and continues to do this,
not what he has heard, but doing
it-he will be blessed in what he does.
If anyone himself religious and
yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, b he
deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure
and faultless is this: to look after' orphans and
widowsd in their distress and to keep oneself
from being polluted by the world.<
Favoritism Forbidden
My brothers, as believers in our gloriousf
Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favorit ism.s
Suppose a man comes into your meeting
llllll illllllllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
MES 5:5
!Sg of the harvesters have reached the ears of
Lord Almighty. h
You have lived on earth in
ury and self-indulgence .. You have fattened
trselvesi in the day of slaughter."i
You have
tdemned and murdered innocent men, k who
re not opposing you.
Ja"mes clearly warns against a kind
of "luxury and self-indulgence"
that is wrong, that shows little
or no concern for others, and
that does not take seriously the
stewardship obligations that God
bestows along with great wealth. It
seems that those who are wealthy
can too easily slip beyond a level
of spending on themselves that
is appropriate to their place m
life and spend excessively and
ostentatiously on themselves while
neglecting to give generously to
ttience in Suffering
7Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's
ming. See how the farmer waits for the land
yield its valuable crop and how patient he is
r the autumn and spring rains.
1 8
You too, be
tient and stand firm, because the Lord's com-
g is near. m
Don't grumble against each other,
5:4 0124:15
Am 6:1
l Jer 12:3; 25:34
5:6 'Heb 10:38
Jer 5:24
5:8 Ro 13:11;
1Pe 4:7
5:9 Jas 4:11
teo 4:5; 1Pe 4:5
5:10 1MI5:12
5:11 'MIS:IO
'Job 1:21,22;
'Job 42:10, 1217
'Nu 14:18
5:12 MI5:34-37
5:13 Ps 50:15
5:14 Mk 6:13
'1Pe 2:24
5:17 'Ac 14:15
'1Kl17:1; Lk4:25
5:18 ' 1KI18:41
5:19 r Jas 3:14
5:20'Ro 11:14
1Pe 4:8
brothers," or you will be judged. The Judge is
standing at the door!P
Brothers, as an example of patience in the
face of suffering, take the prophetsq who spoke
in the name of the Lord.
As you know, we con-
sider blessed' those who have persevered. You
have heard of}ob's perseverance' and have seen
what the Lord finally brought about.
The Lord
is full of compassion and mercy."
Above all, my brothers, do not swear- not
by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let
your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will
be condemned!
The Prayer of Faith
Is any one of you in trouble? He should
pray. w Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of
praise. x
Is any one of you sick? He should call
the elders of the church to pray over him and
anoint him with oilY in the name of the Lord.
5 And the prayer offered in faith will make the
sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.
If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
fore confess your sins z to each other and pray
for each other so that you may be healed. The
prayer of a righteous man is powerful and ef-
Elijah was a man just like us.< He prayed
earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not
rain on the land for three and a half years.d
18Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain,
and the earth produced its crops. e
19My brothers, if one of you should wander
from the truth
and someone should bring him
remember this: Whoever turns a sin-
ner from the error of his way will saveh him
from death and cover over a multitude of sins.i
Or yourselves as in a day of feasting
llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllillllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll lllllll lllllllll
n this, his first epistle, the apostle Peter writes to Christians scattered throughout
Asia, referring to them as "strangers" (1:1,17; 2:11) because they had been
scattered from their earthly homes due to Roman persecution (1:6- 7; 5:8-9). Peter
urges Christians to put away evil desires like lust and greed and to live holy lives that
will set them apart from the world (4:3-5). He also calls on Christians to submit
themselves to the authorities God has placed in this world (2:13-25). Christians
should not be surprised to suffer or to have difficulty finding "success" in this world
(4:12). Jesus himself suffered rejection and made great sacrifices as a "stranger" in
this world, and we are called to imitate him. (2:20-21).
The overarching stewardship principle of pilgrimage is woven throughout Peter's first
letter. Peter writes to Christians in various parts of Asia who had been driven from
their homes by persecution. Peter remiJ?.ds them of the inheritance God is keeping
in heaven for them, "an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade" (1:4). This
is an encouragement to readers ostracized by society and to those who forfeited
inheritances or lost employment because of their faith (see Ac 19:18-20).
The first letter of Peter introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
themes, sometimes through illuminations or through features such as God's stewards
being a royal priesthood (2:4-10), suffering stewards (3:8-22) and the stewardship
of hospitality (4:7.-11).
Unfortunately, many Christians make themselves at home in today's world ~ d
assume that because God loves us and has wonderful plans for our lives, he wants us
to have peace and prosperity. But that is not a Scriptural view of life. Peter reminds
believers that suffering as Jesus suffered is a part of the Christian walk: "Do not
be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering" (4:12). But our future reward is
sharing in the glory of God (see Ro 8:17.; Heb 11:26; 1Pe 2:11-12).
1 his second epistle, the apostle Peter calls us to confirm our faith by practicing
Jersonal holiness and love (1:3- 7). He tells of Christ's glory at the transfiguration
-16 -18), the certainty of the Scriptures (1:19 -21), and the danger of false teachers
10 "follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness"
.15; see Nu 22, where Balaam is tempted by the riches of Balak). Such teachers
to destruction (2:1-22). Peter reminds Christians about the certainty of
uist's victorious return and the final judgment, despite "scoffers" who mock the
of Christ's coming again (3:1-13). Because Christ's return could come at any
Jment, Peter calls us to make ourselves ready by living holy lives as we grow in the
ace of Jesus Christ (3:14-18).
his second letter, Peter presents the stewardship principle of judgment. If we think .
tr Savior gave us new life for us to keep our old self-focused or stuff-obsessed I
estyles, we are in for a rude awakening when he comes again. Peter reminds Chris-
tns that this world will undergo the refining fire of God's judgment in anticipation
Christ's rule in the new heavens and the new earth (3:10-13; see Rev 3:18-19).
ter explains that the reason for these cataclysmic events is simple: Jesus is coming
tck to reign in a "new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness" (2Pe
13). Everyone who looks forward to the fullness of Christ's coming kingdom
.ould strive now to be blameless (3:14). Another stewardship principle is the
ernal significance of economic sacrifice (see Mt 6:19-21; 19:27 -29). God does
>t promise a small reward for Christians; "but in keeping with his promise we are
oking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness" (2Pe
13). A final stewardship principle is the renewal of creation (cf. Ro 8:18-22; 2Pe
10-13). The physical universe is not destined for destruction but for renewal (see
ev 21:1).
he second letter of Peter introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
ewardship themes, sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to
ewardship such as fal se teachers (2:1-22). There is also a feature on being stewards
f spiritual growth (1:3-11).
is impossible to be at peace with God and look forward to Christ's reign if we
re too concerned with the present world. If we are consumed with desires for the
things" of the world, we are on the path to being consumed with them in the fire
f judgment. Our deeds, particularly how we use or pursue money (see Mt 16:27;
Pe 2:1- 22), indicate our identities as saints of the Lord or as sinners reserved
>r judgment (2:13). We can know we are escaping the "corruption of the world"
if we are generous and willing to share our possessions and resources (see Lk
2:15 -21; Jas 2:14-17; 1Jn 3:16-19).
1111111111111111111111 111111111111111111111111111111 1111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 111111111111111111111111111111111111
Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus
To those who through the righteousness' of
our God and Savior Jesus Christd have received
a faith as precious as ours:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance
through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our
Making One's Calling and
Election Sure
His divine power
has given us everything
we need for life and godliness through our
knowledge of him who called us8 by his own
glory and goodness.
Through these he has
given us his very great and precious promises, h
so that through them you may participate in the
divine nature; and escape the corruption in the
world caused by evil desires)
For this very reason, make every effort to
add to your faith goodness; and to goodness,
and to knowledge, self-control;'
and to self-control, perseverance; and to perse-
verance, godliness;m
and to godliness, broth-
erly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. n
'For if you possess these qualities in increasing
measure, they will keep you from being inef-
fective and unproductive
in your knowledge of
our Lord Jesus Christ.
But if anyone does not
have them, he is nearsighted and blind,P and
has forgotten that he has been cleansed from
his past sins. q
Therefore, my brothers, be all the more ea-
ger to make your calling and election sure. For
if you do these things, you will never fall, r II and
you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal
kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
1:1'Ro 1:1
'1Pe 1:1
'Ro 3:21-26
1:2 Pilp3:8
1Pe 1:5
1:4 '2Co 7:1
Eph 4:24;
Heb 12:10;
i2Pe 2:18-20
1:5 'Col2:3
Ac 24:25
1:7"1Th 3:12
1:8 Jn 15:2;
1:9 1Jn 2:11
Eph 5:26
1:10 '2Pe 3:17
1:12 'Php 3:1;
1Jn 2:21
1:13 '2Co 5:1,4
1:14 '2Ti 4:6
'Jn 21 :18, 19
1:15 "lk 9:31
1:1&Mt 17:18
1:17 Mt3:17
1:11 'Ps 119:105
'Rev 22:16
1:21 '2Ti 3:16
'2Sa 23:2;
Ac 1:16; 1Pe1:11
2:1 ' 0113:1-3
Prophecy of Scripture
So I will always remind you of these
things,' even though you know them and are
firmly established in the truth you now have.
I think it is right to refresh your memory as
long as I live in the tent of this body,
1 14
I know that I will soon put it aside, u as our Lord
Jesus Christ has made clear to me.
And I will
make every effort to see that after my depar-
turew you will always be able to remember
these things.
We did not follow cleverly invented stories
when we told you about the power and coming
of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewit-
nesses of his majesty.'
For he received honor
and glory from God the Father when the voice
came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying,
"This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am
well pleased."r
We ourselves heard this voice
that came from heaven when we were with him
on the sacred mountain.z
And we have the word of the prophets
made more certain, and you will do well to pay
attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark
place, until the day dawns and the morning
starb rises in your hearts.
Above all, you must
understand that no prophecy of Scripture came
about by the prophet's own interpretation.
prophecy never had its origin in the will of man,
but men spoke from God' as they were carried
along by the Holy Spirit. d
False Teachers and Their
But there were also false prophets among
the people, just as there will be false teach-
ers among you.
They will secretly introduce
'17 Matt. 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35
1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111111
"' ...
L lthough the recipients of John's first epistle are not recent converts (2:21),
l.John focuses his letter on Christianity's central truths to combat the danger of
se teaching. John reminds his readers of the incarnation (2:18-25; 5:6-12), the
portance of active obedience (3:4-10; 5:18), and the centrality of love in God's
nily (3:11-24; 4:7 -12). This letter also contains important teaching about the
:ans by which we are assured of salvation. This assurance comes especially as we
~ God's commands (3:24) and grow in our love for one another (4:7-8).
Christian's joy is fulfilled in community with God and fellow believers. This
wardship principle is foundational to John's first letter. Because believers are
!mbers of the same body and partakers of the promise of Jesus Christ through
! gospel (see Eph 3:6), it is impossible to experience full joy in isolation. In order
: joy to be complete, it must be shared. This idea of shared joy appears repeatedly
roughout John's Gospel and his letters and is one of the primary reasons he wrote:
1/e proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have
lowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus
trist. We write this to make our joy complete" (1Jn 1:3-4). We should be eager to
ve fellowship in the gospel with everyone we encounter. This means proclaiming
! gospel to those who have not heard the Good News and reiterating it to those
10 have.
te first letter of John introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship
emes, sometimes through illuminations or through features such as stewarding
!rnallife (2:24-25), love in action (3:16-18) and graceful correction (5:13- 18).
timately, Christian fellowship is about gospel partnership, which calls us to
ilize everything we have for the sake of Christian fellowship and the promotion of
e gospel. This is why when the apostle Paul described true Christian fellowship,
called it a partnership of giving and receiving (see Php 4:15). By sharing our
ssessions and time with others, we also may share in the full joy God grants
rough our community with fellow believers.
1 jOHN
11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111111 11111111111111111111 1111111111 1111111111 111111 111111111111111 1111 1111111111111111
The Word of Life
That which was from the beginning,'
which we have heard, which we have seen
with our eyes, b which we have looked at and our
hands have touched<- this we proclaim con-
cerning the Word of life.
The life appeared;d
we have seen it and testify to it, and we pro-
claim to you the eternal life, which was with
the Father and has appeared to us.
We pro-
claim to you what we have seen and heard, so
that you also may have fellowship with us. And
our fellowship is with the Father and with his
Son, Jesus Christ.
We write thisf to make our"
joy complete. 8
Walking in the Light
This is the message we have heardh from
him and declare to you: God is light; in him
there is no darkness at all.
If we claim to have
fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness,i
we lie and do not live by the truth)
But if we
walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have
fellowship with one another, and the blood of
Jesus, his Son, purifies us from a lib sin. k
If we claim to be without sin.' we deceive
ourselves and the truth is not in us. m
If we
confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will
forgive us our sins" and purify us from all un-
If we claim we have not sinned,
we make him out to be a liar
and his word has
no place in our lives.P
My dear children,q I write this to you so
that you will not sin. But if anybody does
sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in
our defense'- Jesus Christ, the Righteous
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,'
1:1Jn 1:2
'Jn 1:14;
2Pe 1:16
'Jn 20:27
1:2 'Jn 1:1-4;
1:3'1Co 1:9
1:4 '1Jn 2:1
Jn 3:29
1:5 '1Jn 3:11
1:6 ' 2Co 6:14
l Jn 3:19-21
Rev 1:5
Pr 20:9:
Jas 3:2 1Jn 2:4
1:9 Ps 32:5;
1:10'1Jn 5:10
1Jn 2:14
2:1 ver12,
13,28 'Ro 8:34;
Heb 7:25
2:2 'Ro 3:25
2:3 'Jn 14:15
2:4 ' 1Jn1:6,8
2:5 Jn 14:21,23
"1Jn 4:12
2:6 'Mt 11:29;
1Pe 2:21
2:7 Y1Jn 3:11, 23;
2Jn 5,6
2:8 'Jn 13:34
'Ro 13:12 'Jn 1:9
'Eph 5:8; 1Th 5:5
2:10 1Jn 3:14
2:11 Jn 12:35
ver 14
and not only for ours but also for' the sins of
the whole world.
We know that we have come to know him if
we obey his commands.'
The man who says,
"I know him," but does not do what he com-
mands is a liar, and the truth is not in him."
But if anyone obeys his word, God's loved is
truly made complete in him. w This is how we
know we are in him:
Whoever claims to live in
him must walk as Jesus did.
Dear friends, I am not writing you a new
command but an old one, which you have had
since the beginning.Y This old command is the
message you have heard.
Yet I am writing you
a new command; its truth is seen in him and
you, because the darkness is passing and the
true lighth is already shining. c
Anyone who claims to be in the light but
hates his brother is still in the darkness.
ever loves his brother lives in the light, d and
there is nothing in him to make him stumble.
But whoever hates his brother is in the dark-
ness and walks around in the darkness; he does
not know where he is going, because the dark-
ness has blinded him.
I write to you, dear children,
because your sins have been forgiven on
account of his name.
I write to you, fathers,
because you have known him who is
from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil
I write to you, dear children,
because you have known the Father.
Some manuscripts your 7 Or every ' 2 Or He is the one who turns aside God's wrath, taking away our sins and not only
ours but also 5 Or word, love for God 10 Or i t '
lllllllllfllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllltllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllfllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll ~

:>HN 5:19
n him.Y
9We know that we are children
od, and that the whole world is under the
:rol of the evil one. a 20We know also that
Son of God has come and has given us un-
;tanding, b so that we may know him who
5:18 Jn 14:30
5:19 1Jn 4:6
5:20 ' Lk 24:45
' Jn 17:3 'ver 11
5:21 '1Co 10:14;
1Th 1:9
is true. c And we are in him who is true- even
in his Son jesus Christ. He is the true God and
eternal! if e. d
21 Dear children, keep yourselves from
. ,
ohn's second letter was written to "the chosen lady" and her children (1). Many
scholars take this designation as a reference to a church, not an individual person.
This brief letter emphasizes the importance of hospitality and persevering in God's
command to love one another. When we walk in the way God has commanded, in
reliance on Christ, we know that we abide in him (6).
The stewardship principle of doing and not just hearing is exemplified in John's
second letter. In his epistles the apostle John brings clarity to the importance of
uniting words and actions. Although we tend to think about truth as something a
person grasps intellectually with the mind, John teaches that truth is also something
we do or practice through our lives and actions (9 -10). That is, either we live the
truth or we live a lie; either we "continue in the teaching of Christ" or we do not
have God (9). Similarly, John teaches that true love for God is inseparably connected
to our actions. If the truth is something we do, it will be impossible to have true
love for God and our neighbor without expressing that love by our actions (see 1Jn
3:11-24). Interestingly, when John chooses an example of what true and active love
looks like, he chooses an example of generosity that could not be more basic: "And
this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands" (2Jn 6).
The second letter of John introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
stewardship themes through features such as walking in love and in obedience (6-9).
Walking out a life of stewardship means making our way through a world that
exerts its magnetism upon our self-centered natures. John reminds us of the proper
motivation for serving as he concludes his letter: "I hope to visit you and talk with
you face to face, so that our joy may be complete" (12). Having a servant's heart
is what should drive our passion for others and our desire for relationship. Serving
should not only motivate what we do for others, but it should also inform our desire
to know more intimately the God whom we serve.
"'1he goal of John's third letter is to encourage a man named Gaius: "Dear friend,
. I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even
your soul is getting along well" (2). But John's simple words of encouragement to
tius have been twisted by false teachers to mean that God wants all Christians to
physically and materially prosperous. Like John's second letter, his third letter
tphasizes the importance of hospitality and Christian partnership (5-8). John
trns against the sins of selfishness (9), exclusion and gossip in the church (10). He
;o includes a warning that anyone who does such things is not from God (11).
1e third letter of John focuses on the stewardship theme of hospitality. The Bible
lls us to show hospitality to all kinds of people: strangers, the needy and fellow
:lievers. This third letter focuses on the .importance of hospitality among believers,
trticularly those who labor for the gospel (5-8). John's first letter teaches that
e know we have fellowship with God if we love one another (1Jn 2:9-11). This
inciple is especially important in the area of hospitality, for says that if
od's love abides in us, then we will meet the needs of others and lay our lives
>wn for them (1Jn 3:16-18). Joh'n's third letter encourages his friend Gaius in this
:ry matter. John delights in Gaius's generous provision for fellow workers he did
?t even know, but he condemns Diotrephes's refusal to welcome and provide for
!lievers who were doing the Lord's work (3Jn 5 -10).
he third letter of John introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
ewardship themes, sometimes through challenges to stewardship such as selfishness
1-lO).' You will also read about Gaius's living hospitality (5-8).

adly, our cultural tendency to view our possessions, energy and time as our own
uher than as gifts to be used for others leads us away from Biblical hospitality
1to narcissism. To counter this attitude, we must pray that our hospitality will
xtend beyond mere recreation and begin to meet real needs and serve the kingdom.
hospitality helps to free us from serving idols so that we can use all of
;od's gifts entrusted to us for his kingdom. It is true that "where your treasure is,
here your heart will be also" (Mt 6:21). If we truly are united with Christ, we will
e hospitable, exhibiting his love for others as we serve his kingdom by providing for
heir needs.
11 111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
The elder,
To my dear friend Gaius, whom 1 love in the
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good
health and that all may go well with you, even as
your soul is getting along well. lit gave me great
joy to have some Qrothersb come and tell about
faithfulness to the truth and how you con-
tmue to walk in the truth. c 4J have no gceater
JOY than to hear that my child rend are walking
in the truth.
1'2Jn 1
3 'ver 5,10
'2Jn 4
4 ' 1Co 4:15;
1Jn 2:1
5 Ro 12:13;
Heb 13:2
7 'Jn 15:21
lAc 20:33,35
Dear friend, you are faithful in what you
are doing for the brothers, even though they
are strangers to you. e 6They have told the
church about your love. You will do well to
send them on their way in a manner worthy
of God.
It was for the sake of the Namef that
they went out, receiving no help from the pa-
We ought therefore to show hospitality
to such men so that we may work together for
the truth.
1 wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who
loves to be fi rst, will have nothing to do with
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3 .JOHN 5-8
Gaius lived a life of genuine commitme f ll .
message of Christ. He opened hi h nt to e ow believers and ministers of the
vancement of the gospel. s orne to total strangers for the sake of the ad-
Gaius's ministering heart included h . . .
in an area where the price can often an a He gave
ing others in his home b t r .he hJs relatJOnshlpS. By host-
them, Gaius sacrificed his WJ:h theirs and by interacting with
He gave lavishly, in spite of the an
ort for t?e good of the kingdom.
dealing with misunderstandings d ve 1-embracmg messy relationships,
advantage of him and his family. an emg vu nerable to people who might take
Gaius appears to have understood a k . . 1 f . . . .
giving: great love (see 3Jn 6) G . k ey rlDClp e or fmdmg JOY m sacrificial
than himself and the joy that hnew t e secret of viewing others as better
minister to others. s w en we pour out what we have to equip and
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ifl come,h I will call attention to what
, doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not
sfied with that, he refuses to welcome the
:hers.; He also stops those who want to do
nd puts them out of the church) . .
t Dear friend, do not imitate what IS evil but
tt is good.k Anyone who does what is good
om God.' Anyone who does what is evil has
seen God.m 12Demetrius is well spoken of
10 ' 2Jn 12
ver 5
IJn 9:22,34
11 'Ps 37:27
1Jn 2:29
12 1TI 3:7
Jn 21 :24
1 2Jn 12
Jn 10:3
by everyone"- and even by the truth itself. We
also speak well of him, and you know that our
testimony is true.
t3I have much to write you, but I do not want
to do so with pen and ink.
I hope to see you
soon, and we will talk face to face.P
Peace to you. The friends here send their
greetings. Greet the friends there by name.q
llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll l l l tl
3 .JOHN 9-10
Interpersonal conflict and church conflict are m
our inability to see our self-centered and egocentriC tendencies.
Satan's first interaction with Eve in the garden (see Ge 3:1-
set into motion a sinful cycle of self-promotion,
d If
. ' f' t'on We seldom see the deceit that lies in our own hearts, whether we stt
se -JUSt! tea 1 .
the pew or stand the sion of res ect for appropriate authority (see 3Jn
Putting ourselves fust result_s m a? h b dy Christ the church. A selfish spirit is
and a distortion of our funcnon m t o_ dgmental against fellow believers
rther evidenced by an a JU t be faithful in preaching against and
'e 3]n 10). John clearly mdtcates t at pastors
. . d f gance greed and selfishness. .
,nfrontmg atntu es o arro ' fl own tendencies What self-promotmg
. h , mple reminds us to re ect on our
DtOtrep es exa ' Wh t self- rotecting patterns of behavior prevent us
titudes do we need to face up tod f h p 2237-39? What sinful, self-justifying
om living out the love command s o att et:er ,;.e are all trapped in the cycle set into
. d d cling to' To one egree or ano , . d f h
m sets o we . 11 h h . it of Diotrephes and stand m nee o t e
otion by Satan and Eve. We a s are t e sptr
tme repentance and forgiveness.
ude's letter is one of urgent warning and gentle encouragement for believers to
maintain the purity and vitality of their faith and fellowship (3). Jude addresses
false teachers who had wormed their way into the church; Jude condemns their
licentiousness and exhorts believers to remove dangerous false teachers from the
fellowship (5 -16). This teaching is important today, for it is impossible for churches
to be spiritually healthy while leaders and members engage in financial rebellion
through covetousness, greed or denial of God's ownership of their money and
possessions (11). Jude calls us to lifestyles that are so clearly focused and dependent
on Jesus that we show our faith by our works, especially with our financial
Jude's letter shows how false teaching leads to various doctrinal and stewardship-
related distortions. Jude's broad charge against the false teachers is that they deny the
lordship of Jesus and use the gospel to justify disobedient lifestyles of self-indulgence.
Jude lays out and condemns three forms of disobedience exhibited in the lifestyles
of the false teachers. First, they are sexually immoral-so much so that Jude
likens them to the infamous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (7). Second, they reject
authority, claiming authority for themselves even over things they do not understand
(8-10). Finally, they are selfish and greedy and are in the fellowship to look after
themselves and to support their extravagant lifestyles (11-12).
Jude's letter introduces characters and concepts that illustrate stewardship themes,
sometimes through illuminations or through challenges to stewardship such as the
I legacies of Cain, Balaain and Korah (11 - 13 ) .
What can Christians do to help fellow believers who have been led astray by false
teaching? We must be humble and merciful (22-23), for only God's grace keeps us
from falling (24). We must build ourselves up in our faith and pray for the Spirit's
guidance (20) when we confront false teaching so that we might snatch straying
believers away from erroneous teaching that endangers their understanding of the
gospel and the Christian life (23). It is not easy to contend for a faith that does not
guarantee our comfort. However, with the promises of God himself, "who is able to
keep [us] from falling and to present [us] before his glorious presence without fault
and with great joy" (24), we can contend for and rejoice in our faith.

he book of Revelation, written by the apostle John, begins with letters from the
Lord Jesus to seven churches in Asia Minor. The Lord addresses issues in each
rch-such as commendation for the church in Smyrna because of their faith
id affliction and poverty (2:9) and criticism for Laodicea's arrogance because of
ir wealth (3:17). Visions pertaining to the judgment of the wicked and the fall
3abylon and her excessive luxuries follow later in the book (18:1-3). The saints
called upon to withdraw from idolatrous, worldly economic systems (18:4-5),
.pite the high cost, and to persevere until Jesus' victory (18:9-19:16). At that
1e there will be a new heaven and a new earth (21:1), the world will be perfect
:4), the world's wealth will flow back to the new Jerusalem (21:24-26), and the
thful in Christ will receive their inheritance (21:1,7).
nong Revelation's stewardship themes is a concern with the potentially deadly
.ritual effects of wealth and the sinister systems of economic injustice in our world
1. 18). Often we are blind to systems that allow certain groups to accumulate
)re than they need while others are disenfranchised. We are in desperate need of
God's Word offers in the area of affluence (18:7,16-17). A second
erne is that of true wealth. Jesus' words to the churches in Smyrna and Laodicea
aw a stark contrast between material and spiritual wealth-so much so that on
e surface it seems there is a one-to-one correspondence between Smyrna's spiritual
:hes and material poverty (2:9-10) and Laodicea's spiritual poverty and material
:hes (3:17-18).
he book of Revelation introduces characters and concepts that illustrate
ewardship themes, sometimes through illuminations or through the profile of Jesus
; the husband of the church (2:1- 7) . Features include Jesus' shaping of us to be a
mgdom and priests who radiate the Father's glory (1:4-8), the spiritual state of
eing poor, blind and naked (3:14-22), stewards who are worthy of praise (ch. 5),
1e mark of the beast (13:11-14:1), Babylon, the greedy (ch. 18) and all things made
ew (ch. 21).
Vhile it would be easy to look down on the Laodicean church, we should be careful.
S Christians living in the wealthiest era of history, we have little reason to believe
hat Jesus would not have something similar to say to us. Many of our brothers and
isters around the world are rich in God's eyes because of their faithful sufferings
n the midst of material poverty. Many of us are in need of the true spiritual wealth
hat only greater fellowship with Christ and his sufferings can provide (see Ro 8:17).
11 1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 1111111111 1111111111 1111111111111111111 11111 1111111111 11111111
The of Jesus Christ, which God
gave him to show his servants what must
soon take place. He made it known by sending
his angel' to his servant John, 2who testifies to
everything he saw- that is, the word of God and
the testimony of Jesus Christ. b lBJessed is the
one who reads the words of this prophecy, and
blessed are those who hear it and take to heart
what is written in it, c because the time is near.
1:1 ' Rev 22:16
1:2'1C<J 1:6;
Rev 12:17
1:3'lk 11:28
1:4 'Rev3:1; 4:5
1:5 'Rev 3:14
'C<JI 1:18
One Like a Son of Man
I, John, your brother and companion in the
suffering" and kingdom and patient endur-
ance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island
of Patmos because of the word of God and the
lOOn the Lord's Day I was in
Spmt,P and I heard behind me a loud voice
hke a trumpet, q II which said: "Write on a scroll
what you see and send it to the seven churches: '
Pergamum, Thyatira, Sar-
dis, Philadelphia and Laodicea." Greetings and Doxology
Rev 17:14
1:&' 1Pe 2:5
Ro 11:36
'Zec 12:10
Rev 21:6
Rev 4:8
To the seven churches in the province of
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and
who was, and who is to come, and from the sev-
. ad b t
en s?mts . e,ore his throne, sand from Jesus
Chnst, who IS the faithful witness, e the first-
born from the dead, f and the ruler of the kings
of the earth.g
To him who loves us and has freed us from
sins by his blood, 6and has made us to be a
kmgdom and priestsh to serve his God and Fa-
ther- to him be glory and power for ever and
ever! Amen.i
Look, he is coming with the clouds)
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples of the earth will
mournk because of him.
So shall it be! Amen.
am the Alpha and the Omega,"' says the
Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to
come, the AJmighty."m
'4 Or the sevenfol d Spi ri t 13 Daniel 713 '20 0
2n 2:12
1:11 'ver 4, 20
1:12 'Ex 25:31-
40; Zec 4:2
1:13 eze 1:26;
Da 7:13; 10:16
' Da 10s
Rev 15:6'
1:14 oa 7:9;
10:6; Rev 19:12
1:15 oa 10:6
'Eze 432
Rev 14:2 '
1:16 'Rev 2 1
Heb 4:12;
Rev 2:12,16
1:17 'Eze 1:28;
Da 8:17,18
'lsa 41:4; 44:6;

' Rev 4:9, 10
' Rev 20:1
ver4, 11
'Mt5:14, 15
turned around to see the voice that was
speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven
golden lampstands, r lland among the lamp-
stands was someone "like a son of man b u
in a robe reaching down to his feet
With a golden sash around his chest. v I4His head
and hair were white like wool, as white as snow
and his eyes were like blazing fire. w 1sHis fee;
we_re like bronze glowing in a furnace, x and his
VOice was like the sound of rushing waters. Y
I h" . h
n IS ng t hand he held seven stars z and
out of mouth came a sharp
sword. His face was like the sun shining in all
its brilliance.
17When I saw him, I fell at his feetb as though
dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and
said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the
Last. c lSI am the Living One; I was dead, d and
behold I am alive for ever and ever!' And I hold
the keys of death and Hades. r
19"W. h
. nte, t erefore, whatyouhaveseen, what
IS now and what will take place later. 20The mys-
tery of the seven stars that you saw in my right
ha_nd and of the seven golden lampstandsS is
th1s: The seven stars are the angelst of the sev-
en churches, hand the seven lampstands are the
seven churches. i
r messengers
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