New Testament Reading Commitment

Study Questions

Questions to Consider

Week 22: Romans 7-11
  1. Romans 7:4-6 – Again, Paul identifies a contrast – the contrast between bearing fruit for God and bearing fruit for death – the contrast between the new way of the Spirit and the old way of the written code. What does Paul mean? How do we stay on the side of fruit for God and serving in the new way of the Spirit?
  2. Romans 7:21-25 – In what ways is Paul’s struggle your struggle? How does the battle between serving the law of God or serving the flesh play out in your life?
  3. Romans 8:1-7 – The Good News of the Gospel assures us that those of us who are in Christ are free from condemnation. Free, yet the battle still rages, so how do we set our minds on the things of the spirit and not on the things of the flesh consistently?
  4. Romans 8:37-38 – How is it that we are more than conquerors? What does it mean to you practically that nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus?
  5. Romans 9:6-9 – What does Paul mean that not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel? What is Paul saying about what it means to be truly the children of God, to be truly children of the promise? What promise?
  6. Romans 9:19-24 – What is the danger of asking God to justify his sovereign plan to us? Who answers to whom? Must God answer to us, or must we answer to God? What does this difficult teaching show us regarding what it means to trust God unequivocally?
  7. Romans 10:13-15 – Paul presents the steps that enable people to “call on the name of the Lord” and be saved. What would you say is the most significant step? Why that step? Why is it that those who preach the good news have “beautiful feet?”
  8. Romans 10:18-21 – What is Paul saying about Israel, perhaps to Israel, as he drafts several Old Testament Scripture passages into his letter to the church at Rome?
  9. Romans 11:1-6 – What is the importance of a remnant, chosen by grace? What place does such a remnant have in the plan of God for the people of Israel?
  10. Romans 11:11-12 – In what way do these two verses present both highs and lows for the people of Israel? In what way do these two verses declare Good News for the Gentiles? What does Paul mean by “full inclusion” for some of the people of Israel?
Week 21: Romans 2-6
  1. Romans 2:1-3 – In these verses, and throughout this chapter, the Apostle Paul passes judgment on being judgmental. Why is it so easy to pass judgment on someone else? Why is it so easy to be blind, or at least understanding, of our own sins and failures?
  2. Romans 2:4-5 – Paul highlights the danger of being presumptuous regarding God’s kindness. How so? Where should God’s kindness lead us? What are the implications of God’s kindness leading us to repentance in our attitude toward the sins of others?
  3. Romans 3:9-18 – The banner in this section is that all are sinners, that all, Jews and Greeks, meaning everyone, “are under sin.” Verses 10-18 are quotes from several Old Testament passages that are extremely harsh. Why, do you suppose, is Paul being so harsh? What’s the point that he’s driving home? How are we to respond?
  4. Romans 3:21-26 – At last, Paul gives us some Good News. What do all people hold in common? What is available for all who believe? All who believe what? Why?
  5. Romans 4:1-8 – How is it that, though we’re not authentically righteous, we’re counted as righteous? What does this say about us? What does this say about God? Compare verses 7-8 with Psalm 32:1-2. How does this two-sided coin of blessing speak to you: one side – sin is not counted against you; the flip side – you are counted as righteous?
  6. Romans 4:13-15 – What is the promise to Abraham and his offspring? Who are his offspring? How do these verses confirm the promise?
  7. Romans 5:1-5 – Paul speaks of hope of the glory of God. According to Paul, how is hope produced? In what way(s) does hope NOT put us to shame?
  8. Romans 5:18-21 – These verses are lessons in contrast. What is: The contrast between the one trespass and the one act of righteousness? The contrast between one man’s disobedience and one man’s obedience? The contrast between the increase of sin and the increase of grace? The contrast between the reign of death and the reign of grace?
  9. Romans 6:1-4 – What is this “newness of life” in which we are to walk? How are we able, or more precisely, how are we enabled to do so?
  10. Romans 6:12-14 – How are we to make the godly choice to present ourselves to God in righteousness rather than presenting ourselves to sin in unrighteousness? (Rom. 12:1-2)
Week 20: 2 Corinthians 10-13; Romans 1
  1. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 – What war is Paul referring to? What are the weapons of divine power? How might we utilize those weapons in moving the message of Jesus forward?
  2. 2 Corinthians 10:14-16 – What does Paul see as his mission? For him to move on to other lands that are unreached by the Gospel, what must happen within the Corinthian church? How does this speak to growth and maturity in the faith?
  3. 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 – It appears that the Apostle Paul might have a sense of humor. What does he mean by divine jealousy? Why is he concerned that the Corinthians might not hold fast in their faith?
  4. 2 Corinthians 11:12-15 – How does Paul describe false prophets? What is characteristic of false prophets in our day? How can we recognize them and filter out their false messages in a day when we are deluged with communication every day?
  5. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – Paul came to grips with his thorn in the flesh, reasoning that even the seemingly bad things in life come from God. How is it that God’s power can be made “perfect” in weakness? What might your weakness be? How does God use it?
  6. 2 Corinthians 12:20-21 – Paul seems very unsettled about his next trip to Corinth. What is at the core of his concern? How does repentance, or the lack of repentance, factor into his dire perspective on what he might find there? Is repentance an issue for you?
  7. 2 Corinthians 13:5 – Paul highlights the importance of self-examination. Do you practice some regular form of self-examination? How so? What metrics do you use? Are you seeing gains in your spiritual maturity, in your walk with the Lord?
  8. 2 Corinthians 13:11 – Paul lays out guidelines for how we should live with each other in Christian community. What are the components he includes? What is the benefit that we receive when we live with each other in this way?
  9. Romans 1:16-17 – What do you think it means to live by faith? Faith in what? How does living in faith play out in real life as actions taken and not just as a theological position?
  10. Romans 1:18-23 – God is the God of grace, mercy, love, and peace, but we also must acknowledge the very real wrath of God. What is it in the beliefs and actions of people that evokes the wrath of God? What’s the alternative?
Week 19: 2 Corinthians 5-9
  1. 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 – OK – So Paul is not really talking about tents, buildings, and houses here. What is he talking about and what is he trying to tell us? What encouragement surfaces for you as you consider what lies ahead in our heavenly dwelling?
  2. 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 – In what ways have you become a new creation? What of your “old” has passed away; what “new” has come? What is the ministry of reconciliation?
  3. 2 Corinthians 6:1 – In what ways might someone receive the grace of God in vain? What are some of the ways we might proactively avoid falling into such a state?
  4. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 – How can we balance Paul’s teaching here regarding unequal yoking and separation from the ungodly with the prayer of Jesus in John 17 that (in the King James Version of the Bible) reveals Jesus saying that we are to be “in the world but not of the world?” In what ways can we walk the line between separation from today’s secular culture and yet be salt and light?
  5. 2 Corinthians 7:1 – Wow! Paul exhorts us to be all in with our commitment to God eliminating every defilement, bringing holiness to completion. What areas or dark corners of your life need work? What will you do about that? When? What’s at the heart of living “in the fear of God?”
  6. 2 Corinthians 7:10 – What is the difference between godly grief and worldly grief? Where does godly grief lead? Where does worldly grief lead? What examples of these two disparate kinds of grief have you observed or come to know about?
  7. 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 – What can we learn about generosity from this glowing testimony of the giving among the churches in Macedonia? What strikes you most about this?
  8. 2 Corinthians 8:8-10 – What is Paul teaching us in this word play between “rich” and “poor?”
  9. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 – It turns out that the adage, “you reap what you sow,” is biblical. Where does motivation for giving fit into this equation?
  10. 2 Corinthians 9:12-15 – The tangible gift for the Christians in Jerusalem generates thankfulness to them and to God. Why? What is God’s “inexpressible gift?”
Week 18: 2 Corinthians 1-4
  1. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 – In what ways have you seen or felt the comfort of God in your life or in the lives of those around you? What does the comfort of God mean to you?
  2. 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 – In these verses, Paul offers a reason for suffering in the lives of believers. What is that reason? In what ways does suffering teach us to rely on God?
  3. 2 Corinthians 1:17-22 – Paul’s “Yes/No” teaching is a bit tricky, but what do you think he means in saying that in Jesus “it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him?” What does this mean to you? Why is this important?
  4. 2 Corinthians 2:5-8 – The issue here appears to be that someone among their number has sinned in a way that has caused pain to the fellowship. As such, punishment of some sort has been rendered. Why, now, does Paul press for the fellowship to offer comfort and forgiveness to this offender? What is the biblical purpose of “punishment?” A word that captures the essence of biblical punishment is the word discipline. See Mt. 18:15-20
  5. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 – Why do you suppose Paul uses the analogy of fragrance and aroma in regard to sharing our faith, in regard to spreading the message of Jesus? Consider the qualities or attributes of a fragrance, an aroma. How does this analogy fit?
  6. 2 Corinthians 3:1-3 – These believers were led to Christ through the ministry of Paul by the grace of the Holy Spirit. How is it that they are “letters of recommendation” attesting to the ministry of Paul and his traveling ministry companions?
  7. 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 – To whom does Paul give credit for any success that might be attributed to his ministry? Why does he do that? What’s at stake in this claim?
  8. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 – Paul seems a bit harsh in his comments about Moses, but what is he driving at when he says that where the Lord is there is freedom? What does he mean in saying that we can behold the glory of God with “unveiled” faces?
  9. 2 Corinthians 4:1-2 – Paul alludes to “underhanded and disgraceful” ways of handling the truth as he commits to making only open statements of the truth? What does he mean in making this accusation and in making this commitment?
  10. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – Paul pits the outer nature against the inner nature and the transient against the eternal. What is your takeaway from this teaching?
Week 17: 1 Corinthians 11-16
  1. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 – What do the broken bread and the cup symbolize in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper? What is the substance of the remembrance that Jesus has in view? How does partaking of the Lord’s Supper proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes?
  2. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 – What is Paul teaching us in his back-and-forth usage of “varieties” and the “same?” How is this variety of gifts, services, and activities to be used?
  3. 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 27 – What is Paul’s point in instructing us that the “body” consists of many individual members but is simply one body?
  4. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 – What are the consequences of NOT having love? What are the characteristics of love? Of faith, hope, and love, why is love the greatest?
  5. 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 – In this context, prophesying could be defined as clearly articulating biblical truth in ways that are understandable. How would such prophesying result in the conviction of the unbeliever? What’s the connection between worship and evangelism?
  6. 1 Corinthians 14:26 – What is the purpose of coming together, i.e. meeting together for study and worship?
  7. 1 Corinthians 15:12-20 – What’s at stake for us in the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
  8. 1 Corinthians 15:42-49 – What is the nature, or what is characteristic, of the resurrection body? How have we born the image of the man of dust (the original Adam)? How will we bear the image of the man of heaven (Jesus, the second Adam)?
  9. 1 Corinthians 15:53-58 – How is it that our labor in the work of the Lord is not in vain? How is it that we have victory over death? (See Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14.)
  10. 1 Corinthians 16:13 – How might strong men and women be watchful, standing firm in the faith? How can everything that we do be done in love?
Week 16: 1 Corinthians 6-10
  1. 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 – Paul seems quite animated in this admonition and exhortation. What is at the root of what he’s trying to communicate? What are we to learn from this passionate instruction? What does this say about how life should be lived among believers in the church?
  2. 1 Corinthians 6:12-14 – What does Paul mean when he says that all things are lawful for him? Why wouldn’t something that is “lawful” also be “helpful?” Should we be living our lives according to what is lawful or according to what is helpful? How so? Which is the higher standard, what is lawful or what is helpful?
  3. 1 Corinthians 7:17 – Paul has much to say about whether a person should marry or not marry, summarizing his bottom line with this verse. Regarding marriage, what is Paul getting at with the instruction to lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him or her, to which he or she was called by God? How does this speak to life issues other than marriage?
  4. 1 Corinthians 7:20-24 – Is Paul supporting slavery in these verses? What is at the heart of what he’s teaching here? What does this say about finding peace, rest, and contentment in the Lord regardless of our outward circumstances?
  5. 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 – In our cultural context, it’s highly unlikely that we would be presented with food that has been offered to idols. What might be presented that would be analogous to being presented with food offered to idols? How should we respond in ways that are both faithful to God and considerate of people who don’t know him the way that we do?
  6. 1 Corinthians 8:13 – Paul adopts the practice of disciplining himself from doing anything that would make his brother stumble, even though he might have the freedom or right to do so in the eyes of God. How might that perspective play out in your life?
  7. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 – What does Paul mean when he says that he has become all things to all people that by all means he might save some? Is there some way that you might “become” something other than your natural self in order to connect with someone and introduce that person to Jesus? How so?
  8. 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 – How is the discipline of following Christ like the discipline of an athlete? What might that look like in your life?
  9. 1 Corinthians 10:14 – Paul warns us to flee from idolatry. What are potential “idols” in your life?
  10. 1 Corinthians 10:31-33 – Why is Paul so concerned about giving offense to people? What is he trying to avoid? What is he trying to accomplish?
Week 15: 1 Corinthians 1-5
  1. 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 – Have you ever seen divisions in the church over people such as a favorite pastor or a highly influential leader? Have you ever contributed to such division yourself? What was the situation, and how was it resolved?
  2. 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 – Why is it that so many in the world see the truth of Jesus Christ as foolishness while following their own course, perceiving themselves to be wise? Why is it that this upside-down view of reality is so prevalent? What can the church do about it?
  3. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 – What do these verses reveal about the nature of Paul’s ministry? What is he saying in comparing the so-called wisdom of men and the power of God?
  4. 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 – What does it mean to have the “mind of Christ?” How can we know the mind of Christ? What contributes to our knowing the mind of Christ?
  5. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 – What does it mean that we are God’s fellow workers? Do we work with God on our own, or do we work as part of a team? What do you think that means as a description of the church?
  6. 1 Corinthians 3:16 – What does Paul mean that we are God’s temple, and that his Spirit lives in us? What does that enable us to do? What responsibility comes with it?
  7. 1 Corinthians 4:6-7 – What is at the root of Paul’s warning not to go beyond what is written? What does he mean by saying that everything you have is something you have received? What human tendency (tendencies) is Paul addressing?
  8. 1 Corinthians 4:15-17 – Is Paul being prideful in setting himself up as an example to be imitated? What’s at stake; what is he telling us about his commitment to Christ and what our commitment to Christ should be?
  9. 1 Corinthians 5:3-5 – What’s the connection between the destruction of the flesh and the salvation of the spirit? How does this kind of destruction actually build us up?
  10. 1 Corinthians 5:6-9 – What “boasting” is Paul referring to? What picture is he painting by saying that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? What’s in view? What’s the warning that he’s issuing? What does this have to do with righteous celebration?
Week 14: Matthew 25-28
  1. Matthew 25:1-5 – What do these verses reveal about the value of patience and preparedness in the unfolding of God’s plan and will? What separates the foolish and the wise in anticipating what God might be doing at any given time?
  2. Matthew 25:16-18 – What was the nature of service that the servants entrusted with five and two talents respectively rendered to God that earned God’s commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant?” What of value has God entrusted to you? What are his expectations of you?
  3. Matthew 25:31-34 – Why were the sheep blessed by God the Father, and why did they receive a kingdom inheritance? In what ways do you reflect the empathy and generosity of the “sheep?”
  4. Matthew 26:10-13 – What act of honor did a woman perform for Jesus? How did her actions connect with Jesus’ impending burial? Why is she to be remembered?
  5. Matthew 26:36-46 – How many times did Jesus pray to God the Father for the “cup” he was about to drink to pass from him? What does this teach us about prayer and submission to the will of God?
  6. Matthew 26:47-49 – What sign did Judas use to identify Jesus? What are your thoughts about Judas using such an intimate sign to betray the one that he should have worshiped?
  7. Matthew 27:11-14 – Why do you think Jesus gave no response when chided by Pilate regarding his supposed identity and the false charges made against him? Why did he remain silent?
  8. Matthew 27:51 – What is symbolic about the tearing in two of the curtain in the temple? Who tore the curtain in two?
  9. Matthew 28:6-8 – How do you explain the simultaneous mixing of fear and great joy? Have you ever had an experience that seemed to be a mix of the two? How did that affect you? How did you handle it?
  10. Matthew 28:16-20 – What authority does Jesus possess? What did he do with that authority?
    How are we to respond to what Jesus instructed his disciples to do
Week 13: Matthew 20-24
  1. Matthew 20:6-7 – What does the portrayal of the master hiring workers even at the eleventh hour (5:00 pm with only one hour left in a twelve-hour work day) say about people coming into the kingdom late in life? What penalty might they pay for coming to faith so late?
  2. Matthew 20:20-22 – What was the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, misunderstanding about who Jesus was and what his kingdom was about? What did Jesus mean with his comment that she, and they, didn’t know what they were asking?
  3. Matthew 21:3 – What is the only righteous response to the statement, “The Lord needs them?” Do you have a sense that the Lord need something from you? We might reason that the Lord never really NEEDS anything for us, so what’s really going on when it seems that he’s asking something of us?
  4. Matthew 21:18-19 – What is the God-given purpose of a fig tree? What does Jesus do when the fig tree fails to be what it’s meant to be, fails to do what it’s meant to do? What are you meant to be and do? Hmmm?
  5. Matthew 22:21 – What point is Jesus driving home in his directive to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s? What “things” are Caesar’s What “things” are God’s?
  6. Matthew 22:40 – What is Jesus referring to in his identification of the Law and the Prophets? How do the Law and the Prophets resonate with what God’s Word reveals in the New Testament?
  7. Matthew 23:1-3 – What does it mean that the scribes and the Pharisees “sit on Moses’ seat?” Jesus makes a distinction between what they teach and what they do, or don’t do. What are the people to put into practice, what the scribes and Pharisees teach, or what they practice? Why?
  8. Matthew 23:37-39 – Why is “house” of Jerusalem left desolate? What does Jesus mean by this? When will the people say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord?” Why will that celebration be short lived?
  9. Matthew 24:14 – In what parts of the world will the Gospel ultimately be proclaimed? When will the end come? What “end” is in view?
  10. Matthew 24:36-37, 44 – When will the return of Christ occur – what day and hour? What, then, are we to do?
Week 12: Matthew 15-19
  1. Matthew 15:1-3 – What is at the root of the tension between traditions of people and the commandments of God? What is so compelling about people’s traditions and repelling about God’s commandments? In what way are you caught in that tension?
  2. Matthew 15:10-11, 17-19 – What is the point that Jesus is making? What does he mean by defilement? What is the opposite of defilement? How do we avoid defilement?
  3. Matthew 16:1 – What is ironic about the Pharisees and Sadducees asking Jesus to show them a sign from heaven? What “signs from heaven” have you seen or experienced in your relationship with Jesus? How have these signs strengthened your faith?
  4. Matthew 16:16-18 – What, not who, is the rock upon which Jesus is building his church? How does the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, happen?
  5. Matthew 17:3, 10-13 – What were Jesus, Moses, and Elijah discussing? Hint: See Luke 9:30-31. What’s the relationship between Elijah and John the Baptist?
  6. Matthew 17:24-27 – Why doesn’t Jesus, or Peter for that matter, simply reach into the folds of his clothing for a coin to pay the temple tax? (OK – there’s no obvious biblical answer to this question, but think it through and see where it takes you.)
  7. Matthew 18:4 – What’s the connection between humility and greatness? Why is this lesson repeatedly taught in Scripture?
  8. Matthew 18:15-17 – What is the objective or goal of the accountability afforded by exercising the church discipline pictured in this passage? Why has the exercise of such discipline faded into obscurity in today’s evangelical church?
  9. Matthew 19:3-6 – What is God’s intent for a man and a woman who commit to each other in marriage? It seems that divorce is quite prevalent in the church. Why is that?
  10. Matthew 19:23-26 – What is the challenge that the wealthy face in regard to entering kingdom of heaven? What is Jesus revealing with this startling statement? How does the power of God affect this needle’s eye perspective?
Week 11: Matthew 10-14
  1. Matthew 10:5 – In this initial assignment, the disciples were sent with the same message delivered by Jesus and John the Baptist, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” What did that mean? What does that mean? Why did Jesus limit this message to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, excluding Gentiles and Samaritans?
  2. Matthew 10:34 – In what ways did Jesus bring a “sword,” explaining that he did not come to bring “peace?” Isn’t Jesus the Prince of Peace? How are we to understand this seeming contradiction?
  3. Matthew 11:2-6 – John the Baptist witnessed God’s confirmation that Jesus was his Son at Jesus’ baptism. Why is he asking later if Jesus is “the one who is to come?” What’s the basis of John’s inquiry? Why is there apparent confusion about the identity of Jesus in John’s eyes?
  4. Matthew 11:27-28 – What’s the connection between all things having been handed over to Jesus by God the Father and Jesus’ offer of rest?
  5. Matthew 12:6-7 – Jesus makes two startling claims in this interaction with the Pharisees. First, that something greater than the temple is here. Second, that he, the Son of Man, is lord of the Sabbath. What does Jesus mean in making these claims? What’s at stake for the Pharisees?
  6. Matthew 12:33 – How does the fruit of the tree reveal the tree to be either good or bad? What does our “fruit” reveal about who we really are?
  7. Matthew 13:1-9 – In the Parable of the Sower, what is the role, the responsibility, of the sower? What does this parable teach in terms of our role or responsibility to sow the seeds of the Gospel? How is our role as sowers defined in this parable?
  8. Matthew 13:44-46 – These two short parables tell the same story. What is that story? What are we to learn from these two parables? What actions, then, are we to take?
  9. Matthew 14:15-16 – What do you think the disciples felt when Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat?” What are some of the thoughts that likely passed through their minds? How would you have felt? What did they, what do we, learn from this?
  10. Matthew 14:25-26 – This might be a bit abstract, but has there ever been a time when you. were “terrified” of Jesus? In your relationship with Jesus, have you ever had cause to fear? How so? What was at the root of your fear? In what ways have you overcome that fear?
Week 10: Matthew 5-9

Matthew 5-7 contains the teachings of Jesus known as the Sermon on the Mount.

  1. Matthew 5:1-11 – The Beatitudes: Each of these verses deserves and even demands significant attention, but that’s beyond the scope of this study. Zero in on v. 6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” What does this mean to you? In what ways are you hungry and thirsty for righteousness? What will you do about that? When?
  2. Matthew 5:13-16 – What does it mean that we are the salt of the earth? What does it mean that we are the light of the world? How are you living into that opportunity, into that responsibility?
  3. Matthew 6:6 – What is the value of “secret prayer?” What does this secret prayer provide for you that’s different from what public prayer provides? Why is that important?
  4. Matthew 6:14-15 – What if you had to forgive others in order to be forgiven yourself? Oh…wait a minute…You do! How are you faring on that score? Does anything need to change?
  5. Matthew 6:25, 34 – Where are you on the anxiety scale? Are you mostly living in peace and contentment or does life get you tied up in knots? As children of God, followers of Christ, what is the source of our inner peace? How do we get there?
  6. Matthew 7:1-2 – Perhaps the flip side to forgiving others so that we can be forgiven is the exhortation not to judge others lest we be judged. Ironically, the person who “judges” others is the one who finds himself, herself, guilty. How might you become more forgiving, more accepting, less judging, of others in your life?
  7. Matthew 7:13-14 – Why can’t the narrow gate be easy, easy enough for just about anyone to get through with little to no effort? Consider this: should the objective of the Christian be to try to widen the narrow gate by making the path easy or to make the narrow path through the narrow gate more clear, more visible? How so?
  8. Matthew 8:18-22 – What on earth (or maybe what in heaven) is Jesus talking about here? What’s at stake in these cryptic remarks by Jesus?
  9. Matthew 8:23-27 – It seems that the disciples thought the storm was more powerful than Jesus, hence, Jesus’ accusation of little faith. What are you facing that seems to be a storm that you can’t survive? How will you find comfort in Jesus?
  10. Matthew 9:37 – There is no shortage in the harvest of people out there that could be reached with the Gospel. The problem is a labor shortage of those who will invest in working/serving in that harvest. What about you? Are you working in the harvest field? How so? Are you willing to work in the harvest field?
Week 9: Matthew 1-4
  1. Matthew 1:1, 20 – Jesus is identified as a son of David. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, was addressed by the angel of the Lord as a son of David. What’s going on here? Why is it important that both Jesus and Joseph were in the bloodline of King David?
  2. Matthew 1:6 – Sometimes the nuances in Scripture are easy to miss with a casual reading, but what does it say about the veracity and transparency of Scripture when this verse reveals that David was the father of Solomon by a woman who was the wife of another man? Do you know who gave birth to Solomon? That story begins with 2 Samuel 11 if you’re interested.
  3. Matthew 1:21-25 – The Hebrew name “Jesus” means “Yahweh saves.” The name “Immanuel” means “God with us.” What’s the significance of these names in terms of both God’s promise in these names and the theology behind these names?
  4. Matthew 2:3-4 – Why was Herod “troubled” by the news that reached him through the wise men from the east?
  5. Matthew 2:12, 16-18 – How did God thwart the treachery of Herod regarding the wise men? What was Herod’s response when he realized he had been “tricked” by the wise men?
  6. Matthew 3:1-5 – What was the message that John the Baptist preached in the wilderness of Judea? How did people respond? Does JB’s fashion sense or wilderness diet give you any ideas?
  7. Matthew 3:8 – What does John the Baptist have in view when he exhorts the “vipers” to bear fruit in keeping with repentance? What might that mean in your life?
  8. Matthew 3:15-17 – In these few verses, we see the humility of Jesus (Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness) and the supremacy of Jesus (This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased). How does the humility of the King of kings and Lord of lords speak to you?
  9. Matthew 4:1-11 – The temptation of the devil first appealed to physical need, then to a spectacular show of miraculous power, and then to greed, power, and ego. How does, or how might, the devil tempt you? How do you leverage the Word of God to ward off such temptation? Is there anything here you need to work on?
  10. Matthew 4:17 – Matthew 3:2 revealed that the message of John the Baptist was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 4:17 reveals that Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is the same message, but two distinctly different messengers. How are they the same? How are they different?
Week 8: 2 Thessalonians 1-3, Acts 18-20
  1. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 – What are the implications for Christian living in Paul’s reference to faith that is growing abundantly and love for one another that is increasing?
  2. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 – In what ways are these verses a commentary or even an indictment of much of we see taking place socially, culturally, educationally, and politically in the U.S. today?
  3. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 – What “traditions” does Paul have in view in his encouragement to the believers in Thessalonica to stand firm?
  4. 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 – The Apostle Paul says a great deal regarding the dangers of idleness and the value of not being idle, encouraging us to be “busy at work, not busybodies.” What lessons do you take from this teaching for yourself?
  5. Acts 18:5-6 – What prompted Paul to “go to the Gentiles” with his ministry of preaching and teaching?
  6. Acts 18:24-27 – What can we learn about discipling people in the whole truth of God’s word from the example of Priscilla and Aquila and their relationship with Apollos
  7. Acts 19:10 – In terms of spreading the message of Jesus Christ, what was the result of Paul’s two years of ministry in Ephesus?
  8. Acts 19:17-20 – What were some of the positive outcomes from the ministry of Paul in Ephesus in terms of transformations in the hearts, minds, and lives of the people?
  9. Acts 20:7-10 – What do these verses say about sermons that run too long (just kidding)? What do these verses say about who holds power over life and death? How does knowledge of that power, and who holds it, speak to you
  10. Acts 20:36-38 – In what ways does this scene illustrate the costs that some are called to pay in following Christ? In what ways has following Christ been costly to you?
Week 7: 1 Thessalonians 1-5
  1. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3, 8 – When Paul and company speak of “your word of faith and labor of love” and “so that we need not say anything,” to what are they referring? (Hint: consider the geography of Macedonia, Achaia, and “everywhere.”)
  2. 1 Thessalonians 1: 6-7 – What is the significance of the believers in Thessalonica first becoming “imitators” and then “examples?”
  3. 1 Thessalonians 2:8 – Paul and company shared both the Good News of the Gospel and their own selves, speaking of the affection they had for the people in Thessalonica. How does the balance of the truth of the Gospel and affectionate care work to grow the family of God?
  4. 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 – What obstacles and resistance to the faith did the people of faith in Thessalonica have to overcome? How does that speak to obstacles and resistance that we face in our day?
  5. 1 Thessalonians 3:4 – Why is it that it’s quite common, and therefore predictable, for followers of Christ to “suffer affliction?” How might we prepare for and combat such affliction?
  6. 1 Thessalonians 3:6-7 – What are the many ways that we might be comforted in the midst of distress and affliction resulting from our faith? How does any distress or affliction we might face here in the U.S. differ from that of believers in other parts of the world?
  7. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 – In what ways does how we live as followers of Christ influence “outsiders” to the faith?
  8. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 – How is the return of Christ at the consummation, the Second Coming, going to be different from the birth of Christ at the inauguration of his earthly life, the First Coming?
  9. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6 – What is the benefit to us of being “children of light, children of the day,” regarding the return of Christ? In what ways are you ready for the return of Jesus Christ at this very moment?
  10. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – What insights do these few verses give us in regard to the will of God in Christ?
Week 6: Galatians 4-6; Acts 15-17
  1. Galatians 4:4-7 – What is the significance of being adopted as God’s sons and daughters, and, thereby, becoming heirs? Of whom are we heirs? Of what are we heirs? Is our adoption reversible, i.e. can we be un-adopted by God?
  2. Galatians 5:1 – Christ has set us free, and Paul admonishes us to stand firm in that freedom and not submit again to the yoke of slavery. What kind of slavery is in view? What would it mean to be yoked to that kind of slavery?
  3. Galatians 5:16-17 – What/Who should guide our “walk?” What does this kind of “walk” keep us from gratifying? What difference does that make? Why is walking the way we should present a challenge to us?
  4. Galatians 6:1-2 – How should we treat those among us who transgress, who sin? What temptation does Paul have in view? How are we to help each other? Why is helping each other both good and necessary?
  5. Acts 15:10-11 – In what way were the Jewish Christian leaders in Jerusalem putting God to the test? What did Peter mean when he questioned those leaders about placing a yoke on Gentile believers that they themselves could not bear? What truly brings about salvation?
  6. Acts 15:36-41 – What was at the root of the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas? What happened as a result? Who was right? How did God use this disagreement to multiply the spreading of the gospel?
  7. Acts 16:9-10 – What did Paul see in his vision? What did he conclude that this vision meant? What action did Paul take as a result?
  8. Acts 16:14-15, 40 – Who was Lydia? How did she become acquainted with Paul? In what way did Lydia minister to Paul and his fellow travelers?
  9. Acts 17:11-12 – In what way were the Jews in Berea “more noble” than the Jews in
    Thessalonica? What is the value of examining the Scriptures? Would you say that the
    faith of the Berean believers was a blind faith or an informed faith? Why is that
    distinction important? In what way is your faith an informed faith?
  10. Acts 17:22-23 – Are being religious and believing in Jesus the same thing? Why would the Athenians worship an “unknown god?” Why do people tend to worship a god, or a god substitute, without knowing who/what that god is? How can we be certain that the God of the Bible is the living and true God?
Week 5: Acts 13-14; Galatians 1-3
  1. Acts 13:1-3 – What did the church at Antioch stand to lose by sending Barnabas and Saul away on a ministry trip? Why would they do that? What was the purpose of them spending time fasting and praying?
  2. Acts 13:47-49 – What does this episode tell us about the power of God’s message in penetrating the hearts and minds of people who might be distant from God? How should this awareness affect our efforts in sharing the message of Jesus Christ?
  3. Acts 14:1-4 – What is it about the message of Jesus that is so divisive? Why is it that people on opposite sides of the Believe-or-Not-Believe-in-Jesus Divide think that their side is theologically correct? How does our enemy, the devil, leverage this Divide for his purposes?
  4. Acts 14:15-16 – What are the dangers posed by “celebrity” preachers in our day? Why do so many in our day seem to be disciples of a celebrity minister rather than disciples of Jesus? Where should our faith, commitment, and loyalty be invested?
  5. Galatians 1:6-9 – According to the Apostle Paul, how many “gospels” are there? What has Paul found astonishing? Why would anyone quickly desert the faith and turn to a so-called “different” gospel? How can you be sure you’re committed to the one and only true gospel?
  6. Galatians 1:22-24 – What happened in Paul’s life that changed him from persecutor of the faith to preacher of the faith? What changes has Jesus made in your life?
  7. Galatians 2:7-9 – Though Paul and Cephas (Peter) both followed Christ, and both had been called into ministry to serve Christ, how were their ministries distinct from one another? What does the inclusion of Jews and Greeks in this case say about different types of people having access to the truth about Jesus Christ and finding salvation in him?
  8. Galatians 2:15-16 – What does it mean, biblically, to be justified? How does justification happen, or what is the root of justification – works or faith? What kinds of works are in view? What kind of faith?
  9. Galatians 3:7-9 – Who are the sons of Abraham? How does this fulfillment in Galatians 3 connect with Genesis 22:15-18 and Matthew 28:18-20?
  10. Galatians 3:28-29 – Paul states negatively that there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, and male nor female. He states positively that all are one in Christ Jesus, and, as such, are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. So then, who are we and how did we become who we are?
Week 4: Acts 11-12; 2 Peter 1-3
  1. Acts 11:17-18 – For whom is the Good News of the Gospel intended? Who should be restricted from access to the Gospel or limited from receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord?
  2. Acts 11:19-21 – In what ways did persecution of the early Christians lead to the expansion of the Gospel and the building of the church of Jesus Christ?
  3. Acts 12:14-15 – Why did the people gathered at Mary’s house think that Rhoda was “out of her mind?” What does that say about their faith since they had been praying for Peter (v. 5)? Doesn’t prayer work? Why is it that we often pray for God to move but follow our prayer with doubt?
  4. Acts 12:23 – Where do pride and haughtiness lead? In what ways has an overblown self-assessment led to trouble for you?
  5. 2 Peter 1:5-8 – What does the effort to supplement our godly attributes look like in real life? In what ways can we be self-leading as we, by the grace of God, take responsibility for our own spiritual development? How will you keep or put those “ways” into practice?
  6. 2 Peter 1:19-21 – What is the “prophetic word?” Why is it so important to pay attention to the prophetic word?
  7. 2 Peter 2:1-2 – Have you ever been strongly influenced by a false prophet or teacher, or have you ever bought into what turned out to be a false doctrine? How did that affect you, and how did you come to the truth?
  8. 2 Peter 2:20 – What would cause someone who has escaped worldly ways through Christ to return to their worldly ways? What’s so attractive about the world? Why would we go back? In what way has this ever happened to you? How do you guard against returning to the world?
  9. 2 Peter 3:8-9 – What does Peter mean when he says that the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise but is patiently waiting for more people to come into the family of God? Who might you help find his or her way into the family of God?
  10. 2 Peter 3:14 – While we wait for God to fulfill all his ultimate promises, how are we to live? What must we do to ensure that we do so?
Week 3: 1 Peter 1-5
  1. 1 Peter 1:1-2 – What is the connection between Peter’s salutation and Acts 1:8/8:1?
  2. 1 Peter 1:3-5 – What is the ultimate benefit of being a true follower of Christ? How is God’s power protecting us for our eternal future?
  3. 1 Peter 1:13-16 – In what ways does obedience align with holiness?
  4. 1 Peter 1:22 – In what ways does obedience align with loving one another?
  5. 1 Peter 2:4-8 – What picture is Peter painting with his use of the phrases “living stone” and “living stones?” What’s the connection between this stone imagery and Matthew 16:18?
  6. 1 Peter 2:9-10 – According to the Apostle Peter, who are we?
  7. 1 Peter 3:1-2 – What’s at stake when wives don’t honor and respect their husbands?
  8. 1 Peter 3:7 – What’s at stake when husbands don’t honor and respect their wives?
  9. 1 Peter 4:1-2 – What must we set aside in order to live for the will of God? Why is that so difficult?
  10. 1 Peter 5:6-7 – In what ways is exalting ourselves different from when God exalts us? In what ways might being anxious be a form of self-exaltation?
Week 2: Acts 6-10
  1. Acts 6:3-4 – What do these verses suggest as the ministry priority of senior leaders within the body of Christ?
  2. Acts 6:3-4 – What example do these verses set regarding the practice of ministry delegation?
  3. Acts 6:7 – What is the apparent outcome when senior leaders within the body of Christ maintain their focus on the correct ministry priorities?
  4. Acts 7:44-48 – If the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, where does the Most High dwell, and how is the dwelling of the Most High tied to the coming of the Holy Spirit?
  5. Acts 7:54-56 – What does it mean that Jesus is “standing at the right hand of God?” What is the significance of God the Son being at the right hand of God the Father.
  6. Acts 8:1-4 – How might Acts 8:1 be seen as a fulfillment of Acts 1:8? How might persecution be understood as an evangelistic tool?
  7. Acts 8:32-34 – In what ways is this quote from Isaiah 53 a picture of the Good News of the Gospel?
  8. Acts 9:3-6 – How can you explain that the Apostle Paul discovered the truth about Jesus Christ as he was vigorously and violently seeking to destroy the truth about Jesus Christ and those who followed Christ?
  9. Acts 9:15-16 – What was the mission of the Apostle Paul? Who sent him on that mission?
  10. Acts 10:27-29 – What did Peter learn from his three-fold vision? Why is that significant?
Week 1: Acts 1-5
  1. Acts 1:4-5 – What is the promise for which the disciples were to wait, and what was/is its significance?
  2. Acts 1:8 – What’s the connection between receiving power and being effective witnesses to the truth about Jesus?
  3. Acts 1:15-16 – In what way did the Scripture have to be fulfilled concerning Judas, and why, do you think, was that the case?
  4. Acts 2:1-4 – How did the power of the Holy Spirit enable the disciples to be witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth
  5. Acts 2:42 – What was the importance of the devotion seen in the early church?
  6. Acts 2:47 – What is the relationship between the Lord adding to their number day by day and the devotion pictured in v. 2:42?
  7. Acts 3:19 – What is the outcome or result of repentance, and what is true repentance?
  8. Acts 4:11-12 – In what way is Jesus the “cornerstone?” What power rests in the name of Jesus and in his name alone?
  9. Acts 4:29-30 – What does speaking in boldness look like in American society and culture at the start of 2024?
  10. Acts 5:29 – When the will of God and the will of men are in an adversarial position, to whom must the true Christian give allegiance? Why?

2024 The Year of the New Testament

The New Testament course covered the Book of Acts and the Epistles, led by Dr. Reggie Kidd, a Greek and New Testament scholar and a gifted musician and worship leader. He’s also one of the contributors to the ESV Reformation Study Bible. As I recall, the course was offered during my second year of seminary study toward my Master of Divinity degree. Not that I thought too much ahead, but I probably expected that we would work through the Acts of the Apostles from first verse to last and then dive into the epistles one by one. Not so.

Dr. Kidd used the Book of Acts as a roadmap that stretched from the beginning of the semester to the end, and our study dropped into relevant people and places along the way. For example, Peter is the dominant biblical character in the early chapters of Acts, so we studied those early chapters and then dropped into 1 and 2 Peter.

Next, we hit Paul’s conversion and his missionary journeys, tracing the routes that Paul’s travels took him. When we came to a particular city or region, we’d pause in Paul’s journey to consider his writings to the faithful in that geographic area. So, when Paul came to Corinth in Acts Chapter 18, we dropped into 1 and 2 Corinthians, and so on. I loved the course and the schema of study designed by Dr. Kidd.

Post-graduation, as pastor of a revitalizing church in Phoenix, AZ, I wanted to get our congregation into the Bible. One method I chose was to have the congregation read through the New Testament in a year. Sure, we could start with Matthew and read through Revelation, but Dr. Kidd’s schema came to mind. I stretched it out over a year, added the four Gospels, one per quarter, factored in Revelation, and the New Testament Reading Commitment that I’ve now introduced to North Park Church was born.

A few reading features of note include Matthew’s account of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ that falls near Easter, John’s account of the birth of Jesus that falls in December, and the collection of John’s writings that cover the final ten weeks of the reading schedule with 1, 2, and 3 John, Revelation, and the Gospel of John. Have a wonderful 2024 as you read your way, and perhaps pray and reflect your way, through the New Testament with the New Testament Reading Commitment.

Rejoice & Enjoy! – Pastor Ken Priddy