Thematic Bible: Figurative


Thematic Bible








And He spoke many things to them in parables [i.e., brief stories to illustrate His teaching], saying, "Once a farmer went out [to his field] to plant grain. And some of the seed he sowed [i.e., scattering it by hand] landed along the side of the road and birds came and ate it. And other seed fell on rocky ground where there was not much soil and immediately it sprouted up because the soil was so shallow. read more.
But when the sun came up these tender sprouts were scorched and, since they had such tiny roots, they [quickly] withered away. And other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and [eventually] choked out the tender sprouts. And [still] other seed fell onto fertile soil, where some of it produced a crop of one hundred, some sixty and some thirty times [as much as was planted].

When anyone hears the message of the kingdom but does not understand it, the evil one [i.e., the devil] comes to him and grabs away what had been sown in his heart. This is the person who was scattered to the side of the road. And the person who was sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the message and immediately welcomes it joyfully, but since he has such a shallow root, he lasts for [only] a short while. Then when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, immediately he falls away [from God]. read more.
And the person who was sown among the thorns is the one who hears the message, but the anxieties of the world [i.e., of life] and the deceptiveness of [material] riches choke the message and he becomes unproductive. But the person who was sown on the fertile soil is the one who hears the message and understands it. Truly, he produces a crop that yields one hundred, sixty or thirty times [as much as was planted]."

A farmer went out [to his field] to plant grain. And as he sowed [i.e., scattering seeds by hand], some of it landed along side of the road; it was stepped on by people and [eventually] birds of the sky came and ate it. And other [seed] fell on rocky ground and as soon as it started to grow, it [quickly] withered away, because it had no moisture. And other [seed] fell among thorns, which grew up with it and [eventually] choked out [the tender sprouts]. read more.
And [still] other [seed] fell into fertile soil; it grew and produced a crop of one hundred times [as much as was planted]. As He said these things, He called out, "The person who has ears to hear with ought to listen [to this] carefully." Then Jesus' disciples asked Him what this parable meant. And He said to them, "You [disciples] are being given an understanding of the secrets of the kingdom of God, but the rest of the people [are being told] in parables, so that [even though they appear to be] seeing, they will not [actually] see; and [even though they seem to] hear, they will not understand. Now [the meaning of] the parable is this: The seed represents the word of God. And those people [represented by the seed falling] along side of the road are those who have heard the word [of God], but the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they do not believe it and receive salvation. And those people [represented by the seed falling] on rocky ground are those who, upon hearing the word [of God], accept it gladly, but since they have no root [system], they believe it for [only] awhile, and [then] in times of trial fall away [from God]. And those people [represented by the seed] that fell among thorns are the ones who have heard [the word], and as they go about their business, they become choked by worry, by money and by worldly pleasures, and produce no mature crop. And those people [represented by seed falling] in the fertile soil are those who possess a good and honest heart when they hear the word [of God]. They hold on to it and patiently [continue until they] produce a crop.


[Then] Jesus told them another parable, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is similar to a person who sowed seed in his field, but while his workers were asleep his enemy came and scattered weed seeds throughout his wheat field and then left. But when the [green] shoots sprouted up and produced grain, weeds appeared also. read more.
The farmer's hired hands came and asked him, 'Did you not plant [only] good seed in your field? Where did the weeds come from [then]?' And he said to them, 'An enemy [of mine] has done this [to me].' The hired hands replied, 'Do you want us then to go and gather up the weeds?' But the farmer said, 'No, for while you are gathering up the weeds, you might root up [some of] the wheat with them. Let both of them grow together until it is time for the harvest; then at that time, I will tell the harvesters, "Gather up the weeds first, and bind them up into bundles to burn. But gather the wheat into my barn."'"

He then left the crowds and went into the house. [While there] His disciples came to Him, and said, "Explain to us [the meaning of] the parable of the weeds in the field." And He answered them, "The person who planted the good seed is the Son of man, and the field [represents] the world. The good seed [represents] the children who belong to the kingdom, and the weeds [represent] the children who belong to the evil one [i.e., the devil]. read more.
The enemy who scattered the weed seeds is the devil; the harvest time is the end of the world; and the harvesters are angels. Just like the weeds were gathered up and burned with fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of man will send out His angels and they will gather out of His kingdom all those people who cause others to fall away [from God] and those who [continue to] sin. He will throw these people into the fiery furnace where there will be crying and excruciating pain. Then the people who did what was right will shine out like the sun in their Father's kingdom. The person who has ears [to hear with] ought to listen [to this] carefully.









for which I am an ambassador in prison. [And pray] that I may be able to proclaim the Gospel boldly, as I ought to.






We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, [a hope] that is safe and secure, and one that enters the curtain [i.e., figuratively, of the heavenly sanctuary],








For [truly] it was both Herod and Pontius Pilate, together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, who gathered together in this city [of Jerusalem] against your Holy Servant Jesus

You have loved what is right and hated what is wrong, therefore God, your God [i.e., the Father], has placed you above your companions when He anointed you [i.e., specially chose you] with the oil of joy [i.e., your selection as king was a joyous occasion]."


Now God is the One who makes us stand firm with you in [fellowship with] Christ. He has anointed us [Note: "Anointed" here probably refers to selecting, appointing and commissioning people for some form of Christian service. See Luke 4:18];

But, you people have a "special gift" from the Holy One [Note: The Greek word for "special gift" is "charisma" and probably refers to the Holy Spirit (See Acts 2:38); "Holy One" probably refers to Jesus, (See Acts 2:27; 3:14)], and all of you know [the truth].

And this is important to you: The "special gift," which you received from God [See verse 20], continues to live in your hearts, [so that] you do not need anyone to teach you [anything different]. But, since this same "special gift" teaches you concerning everything that is true, and [what it teaches] is not false, you should continue to live in [fellowship with] Christ.


Now God is the One who makes us stand firm with you in [fellowship with] Christ. He has anointed us [Note: "Anointed" here probably refers to selecting, appointing and commissioning people for some form of Christian service. See Luke 4:18];

But, you people have a "special gift" from the Holy One [Note: The Greek word for "special gift" is "charisma" and probably refers to the Holy Spirit (See Acts 2:38); "Holy One" probably refers to Jesus, (See Acts 2:27; 3:14)], and all of you know [the truth].

And this is important to you: The "special gift," which you received from God [See verse 20], continues to live in your hearts, [so that] you do not need anyone to teach you [anything different]. But, since this same "special gift" teaches you concerning everything that is true, and [what it teaches] is not false, you should continue to live in [fellowship with] Christ.


In [harmony with] Him the entire building [i.e., the church] is properly assembled, rising into a dedicated temple for the Lord. [See I Cor. 3:16-17]. In [harmony with] Him you people are also being constructed together into a place where God lives by His Spirit.






And the armies of horsemen numbered two hundred million. I was told how many there were.




by preaching the truth; through the power of God [i.e., possibly including miracles]; and by [using] weapons of righteousness in [our] right and left hands. [Note: This could allude to offensive and defensive weapons and means that Paul was fully equipped to do whatever was right].


You people should put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to withstand the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not [actually] against human beings, but against rulers and authorities and leaders of this world's darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. [Note: "Heavenly realms" here refers to the struggle against Satanic powers which permeates life around us]. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that you can withstand [the devil, See verse 11] when the evil day comes. And, after you have done everything you can, still remain standing firm [in the faith]. read more.
So, you people should stand firm [in the faith], with the belt of truth firmly buckled around you, and with the "flack jacket" of righteousness on your chest. And put on your shoes, ready to [go and] spread the Gospel of peace. And along with everything else, take up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the fire-tipped arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Holy Spirit, which is God's word.

















And even now the axe is ready to chop down the trees [i.e., you Jewish people]. Every tree [i.e., person] that does not produce wholesome fruit [i.e., godly, repentant lives] will be cut down and thrown into the fire [i.e., the final punishment of the wicked].


if you are instructors of the ignorant, and teachers of babies [i.e., immature people] and possess in the law of Moses the [correct] form of knowledge and truth ---

And I could not speak to you, brothers, as I would to spiritual people, but [I have to speak to you] as I would to worldly people, for you are immature children in [the fellowship of] Christ.

For everyone who has to drink "milk" is inexperienced in the teaching about righteousness, for he is [still] a [spiritual] baby.



Then [I saw] a second angel following [him]. He said, "Fallen! Great Babylon has fallen. She has forced all the nations to drink the wine of her passionate sexual immorality [Note: The word "passionate" here could also mean "angry"]."

And the great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations were destroyed. And God remembered the great Babylon and made her drink from the cup of wine of His fierce anger.







And when the Lamb broke open the third seal, I heard the third living being saying [to the one on the black horse ?], "Come [out]." So, I looked and before me [stood] a black horse, and the man riding on it had a pair of scales in his hand.



But if you do not receive [such] discipline, like all of us do, then you are illegitimate children and not true children.


And why do you look for the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye but ignore the board in your own eye?

And why do you look for the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye but ignore the board in your own eye?



And the beast I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like a bear's, and his mouth like a lion's. And the dragon gave him his power, his throne and his great authority.














[They are like] raging ocean waves, whose shameful actions bubble up like foam. [They are like] shooting stars [whose light quickly goes out], for whom total darkness has been reserved forever.















For they [i.e., the followers of the beast. See verse 2] have shed the blood of God's holy people and [their] prophets, and you have given them blood to drink because they deserved it [i.e., these persecutors deserved the punishment they received for shedding blood].









So, I looked, and before me [stood] a white horse, and the man riding on it had a bow. And he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror [going out] to conquer [someone].























So, I run with a purpose and I fight that way [too]; I do not just shadow box.














If a person does not remain united to me, he will be thrown out as a [fruitless] branch and dried up. People gather up such branches and throw them into the fire to be burned [as fuel ?].

But some of the branches [of a cultivated olive tree] were broken off [i.e., God's rejection of the Jews] and you [Gentiles], representing a wild olive tree [branch], were grafted into it. So then, you [Gentiles] were able to benefit from the roots and sap of the olive tree, along with the Jews.

For if God did not spare the natural branches [i.e., the Jews], He will not spare you [Gentiles] either.





He will cut off [See verse 6] every branch [i.e., follower of Christ] who is in [fellowship with] me that does not bear fruit. And He will prune every branch that does bear fruit, so it will bear more fruit. You people are already 'clean' [i.e., have been pruned of undesirable traits] because of [obedience to] the teaching I have given you. Remain united to me, and I will remain united to you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains united to the vine, so neither can you people [bear fruit] unless you remain united to me. read more.
"I am the vine; you people are the branches. The person who remains united to me, and I to him, will bear much fruit. For you cannot do anything if [you are] separated from me.


He will cut off [See verse 6] every branch [i.e., follower of Christ] who is in [fellowship with] me that does not bear fruit. And He will prune every branch that does bear fruit, so it will bear more fruit.

If a person does not remain united to me, he will be thrown out as a [fruitless] branch and dried up. People gather up such branches and throw them into the fire to be burned [as fuel ?].














And His feet were like shiny brass, [glowing] as when it is being refined in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of much rushing water.


Inasmuch as there is one loaf of bread that we all share, we who are many make up one body [of believers].


Now God, who provides seeds to the planter and bread for food, will [also] supply and [even] multiply your seeds for planting, and will increase the harvest of your generosity.


So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I tell you, it was not [really] Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who is [now] giving you the real bread from heaven. For the bread God gives is the One [see verse 35] who comes down from heaven, and [He] gives [spiritual] life to the world." Then they said to Him, "Sir, [please] give us this bread all the time." read more.
Jesus replied, "I am the bread who gives [spiritual] life; the person who comes to me will never get hungry [again], and the one who believes in me will never get thirsty [again].
















We should rejoice and be extremely glad, and we should give honor to Him. For the time has come for the Lamb's marriage, and His bride has prepared herself [for the wedding]. She was given expensive, bright, clean linen [clothing] to wear." (Now the expensive linen [clothing] represents the righteous deeds of the saints [i.e., God's holy people]).

Then one of the seven angels who held the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues [i.e., judgments, See 15:1], came and spoke to me, saying, "Come here, [and] I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife."













But the beast was captured, along with the false prophet [See 16:13], who performed [supernatural] signs in his presence. [He had performed these signs] to deceive those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his statue. [See 13:15-16]. The beast and the false prophet were both thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur.





And this is how the horses and their riders looked in the vision: They had on their chests fire[-red], [smoke-]blue and sulphur[-yellow] armor plate, and the horses' heads were like lions' heads. And fire, smoke and sulphur proceeded out of their mouths. One third of mankind was killed by these three plagues --- the fire, the smoke and the sulphur, which proceeded out of the horses' mouths.

he will also [have to] drink the wine of God's anger, as an undiluted mixture in the cup of His anger. And he will be tortured with burning sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.




Jesus [then] said to the leading priests and elders of the Jewish people, "Did you not ever read in the Scriptures [Psa. 118:22-23], 'The building block rejected by the builders is the same one that was made the principal stone by which the entire building was aligned. This was planned by the Lord and is a marvelous thing to us'?

He is that [Psa. 118:22], 'stone that was rejected by you builders but was made the principal stone by which the entire building is aligned.'

To those of you who believe in Him then, this "Stone" is [very] precious. But to those who do not believe [Psa. 118:22 says], "The stone which those in charge of the building project have rejected has been made the principal stone for aligning the whole structure."

For he was looking forward to [living in] a city with [lasting] foundations, designed and built by God. [Note: This undoubtedly refers to heaven].










Yes, they require people to bear heavy and difficult responsibilities, and place them on people's shoulders [to carry out], but they themselves will not lift a finger to do them.

And He replied them, "It is too bad for you teachers of the law of Moses also! For you heap heavy responsibilities on people, which are difficult to bear, while you do not even lift a finger to bear them yourselves.

Take on yourselves the [spiritual] burdens of one another, for in doing so you will be fulfilling Christ's law [of love, John 13:35].








[This happened when you were] buried with Christ in [the act of] immersion, from which you were also raised up with Him through [your] faith in the accomplishment of God, who raised Him up from the dead.

Therefore, we were buried with Him through [our] immersion [in water] into [a relationship with] His death, so that, just like Christ was raised up from the dead through the glorious power of the Father, so we also can [be raised up from the water to] live a new life.




and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among these people are Hymenaeus and Philetus,


They are the kind of people who enter homes and influence [morally] weak-willed women, loaded down with sins, [and] led on by all kinds of evil desires.

But I work out and get my body in shape [i.e., spiritually], so that after preaching to other people, I myself do not become disqualified [i.e., for winning the prize from God. See verse 24].



and that they will come to their senses and escape from being trapped by the devil, who had captured them to do what he wanted.




Therefore, it says [Psa. 68:18], "When He ascended on high [i.e., to heaven], He led a procession of captured prisoners [behind Him] [Note: This originally referred to God leading His people in triumph over Israel's enemies, but here is applied to Christ], and gave gifts to [various] people."











His winnowing shovel [Note: This was a process whereby grain was tossed into the air so that the wind could blow the husks away, leaving only good grain on the ground] is in His hand and He will completely clear off His threshing floor [by removing all of the husks]. And He will gather His wheat into the barn, but will burn up the husks with a fire that will never go out."








His separating shovel is in His hand and He will completely clear off His threshing floor [i.e., by removing all of the husks]. And He will gather the wheat into His barn, but will burn up the husks with a fire that will never go out."




And angels, who did not remain within [the bounds of] their proper authority, but left their own realm, God has kept in perpetual bondage, under [thick] darkness, awaiting judgment on the Great Day [when they will be punished].




Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key to the pit and a huge chain in his hand.




Their chests were covered with armor plate made of iron, and their wings sounded like the noise of many horse-drawn chariots rushing to battle.








When I was a child I spoke, thought and reasoned like a child. But now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things. [Note: Paul uses an analogy to illustrate that the church made use of the supernatural gifts in its infancy, but that these would no longer be needed when it matured].



For I tell you that Christ was [appointed] to be a servant of the circumcised ones [i.e., the Jews], in order to uphold the truth of God. This was so He could confirm [as valid] the promises made to our forefathers,


[In this state] there cannot be [such distinctions as] Greek [i.e., Gentile] and Jew; circumcised people and non-circumcised people; barbarian and Scythian [Note: These last two words refer to foreigners whose language was unintelligible and who were uncivilized heathens], or slave and free person; but Christ is all [that is important] and [He is] in all [of His people].

In [fellowship with] Him you people were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human beings, but performed by Christ, consisting of the removal of the body of [sinful] flesh.






For that person is not a Jew who is one [merely] on the outside. And circumcision is not [merely] an outward physical ordinance. But the [true] Jew is the person who is one on the inside, and [his] circumcision is a heart condition, [produced] by the Holy Spirit and not by the written law of Moses. [Note: Some translate "Spirit" here as "spirit" and make it simply an amplification of "heart"]. This person receives his praise from God and not [merely] from people.

For we [Christians] are the [true] circumcision [i.e., the real "Jews" in God's eyes. See Rom. 2:28-29]. We worship by means of God's Holy Spirit [i.e., are empowered and motivated by the Holy Spirit], and boast in [the person and work of] Christ Jesus, and [we] place no confidence in the flesh [i.e., in any outward ritual or status for salvation].


And the believers of Jewish descent, who had come with Peter, were amazed [when they saw] that the gift of the Holy Spirit had [now] been poured out on the Gentiles also.

Also, when they perceived that this [special] favor [of preaching to Gentiles] was granted to me, James, Cephas [i.e., Peter] and John, the highly regarded pillars [i.e., leaders of the church] extended to me and Barnabas their right hands [signifying an agreement] to share [in the preaching of the Gospel], with us going to the Gentiles and they going to the circumcised ones [i.e., Jews].

For there are many rebellious people, especially among the circumcision [i.e., the Jews], whose talk is useless and who deceive people.

So, you Gentiles by birth should remember what you once were. You are called "Uncircumcision" by those who are called "Circumcision" [i.e., the Jews], (which refers to a physical procedure performed by people).

And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those [believers] of Jewish descent began to argue with him,

Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends his greetings. These men are the only Jews among my fellow-workers for God's kingdom; they have proved to be an encouragement to me.


For we [Christians] are the [true] circumcision [i.e., the real "Jews" in God's eyes. See Rom. 2:28-29]. We worship by means of God's Holy Spirit [i.e., are empowered and motivated by the Holy Spirit], and boast in [the person and work of] Christ Jesus, and [we] place no confidence in the flesh [i.e., in any outward ritual or status for salvation].






But you [Christians] have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. [Note: These terms describe people who have entered a spiritual relationship with God as part of the church]. [You have come] to a praise gathering of innumerable angels [Note: Christians are here pictured as assembled in worship of God, along with angels],

But instead, they longed for a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

For he was looking forward to [living in] a city with [lasting] foundations, designed and built by God. [Note: This undoubtedly refers to heaven].

For we do not have a lasting city here on earth [i.e., such as Jerusalem] but we are looking for the city to come [i.e., heaven. See 10:11].






Or, does not the potter have the right to make what he wants to out of the clay? Can he not make both a beautiful vase and a common pot out of the same lump [of clay]?







[It is also] from Jesus Christ, who is the Faithful Witness [to the truth], the Firstborn from the dead [i.e., the first One raised never to die again], the Ruler of the kings of the world. May there be honor and power forever and ever to Christ, who loved us and released us from our sins by His blood [Note: Some manuscripts say "washed us" since the two words are spelled almost alike].









They would not be guilty of sinning if I had not come and spoken to them. But now [that I have], they have no excuse for their sin.

For we were never found using flattering words at any time, as you know, nor did we try to cover up any greedy desires. God can testify [to this].



























Truly, truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat drops into the soil and dies, it remains a single grain, but if it dies, [then] it will produce many grains.




For it says in the Scripture [Isa. 28:16], "Look, I am placing a stone in [the city of] Zion [i.e., Jerusalem]. It is a specially selected, very valuable cornerstone. And the person who trusts in the Him [i.e., the One represented by this stone] will never have to suffer shame [i.e., because of unforgiven sin being brought up against him]."


Jesus [then] said to the leading priests and elders of the Jewish people, "Did you not ever read in the Scriptures [Psa. 118:22-23], 'The building block rejected by the builders is the same one that was made the principal stone by which the entire building was aligned. This was planned by the Lord and is a marvelous thing to us'?

He is that [Psa. 118:22], 'stone that was rejected by you builders but was made the principal stone by which the entire building is aligned.'




Have you never read this Scripture [Psa. 118:22-23], 'The building block rejected by the builders is the same [one] that was made the principal stone by which the entire building was aligned.

But Jesus looked at them and said, "Then what does it mean that is written [Psa. 118:22], 'The building block rejected by the builders [is] the same [one] that was made the principal stone by which the entire building was aligned?'





However, these people are like unreasonable, ignorant creatures of instinct, born as animals which are [to be] caught and destroyed. They speak out against things about which they are ignorant. In [the process of] destroying others, they will certainly be destroyed themselves.










But the last thing I want to do is brag [about such things]. For [if I had any bragging to do at all], it would be about [salvation through] the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, for it is through Him that this [sinful] world has been crucified [i.e., died] as far as I am concerned and I have been crucified [i.e., died] as far as it is concerned.




For I have often told you before, and am telling you again with tears in my eyes, that many people are living as the enemies of the cross of Christ [i.e., their lives oppose the purpose of Christ's death].




For Christ did not send me to immerse people, but to preach the good news. [Note: Christ specifically commissioned Paul to preach; most of the immersing was done by his attendants]. It was not to be done with words of [human] wisdom, so that the [message of the] cross of Christ would not have its power taken away. For the message of [Christ dying on] the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing [i.e., in a lost state], but it is God's power to us who are being saved.

But, brothers, if I were still preaching [that a person had] to be circumcised, why am I being persecuted? [Note: Paul's argument seems to be "I must not be preaching circumcision since I am being persecuted by those who believe in it"]. [If I preached that a person had to be circumcised] then my preaching that Christ died on the cross would not be such an offense [to those who believe in it].





And when the Supreme Shepherd [i.e., Jesus] comes back, you will receive [for your effort] a glorious crown [of reward] that will never fade away [Note: The idea of "fading away" is suggested by the laurel wreath bestowed on the winner of an athletic contest].


And everyone who [strenuously] competes in athletic events exercises self-control during training. Now they do this to receive a laurel wreath that withers, but we [do it to receive] a lasting crown.

I am coming soon [or, suddenly. See 2:16, 25; 3:3]. Hold on firmly to what you have [i.e., opportunity, obedience, steadfastness, etc.] so that no one takes away your crown [See 2:10].










We know that our old self was [figuratively] crucified with Christ, in order that the body of sin [i.e., our whole life of sin] might be destroyed [i.e., become powerless to control our actions and thoughts], so that we should not be enslaved to the practice of sin any longer.



But the last thing I want to do is brag [about such things]. For [if I had any bragging to do at all], it would be about [salvation through] the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, for it is through Him that this [sinful] world has been crucified [i.e., died] as far as I am concerned and I have been crucified [i.e., died] as far as it is concerned.



Then Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword back in its sheath. Should I not drink the cup [i.e., of suffering] the Father has given me?"





he will also [have to] drink the wine of God's anger, as an undiluted mixture in the cup of His anger. And he will be tortured with burning sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.






But Jesus replied to her, "You [really] do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup [i.e., of suffering] that I am about to drink?" They [i.e., James, John and their mother. See Mark 10:35ff] answered, "[Yes] we are able to." He said to them, "Indeed you will drink my cup [of suffering]. But it is not my prerogative to appoint who sits at my right side and at my left, but rather these places are for those to whom it has been assigned by my Father."




















[Unlike the Israelites at Mount Sinai] you [Christians] have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that burned with fire [See Ex. 19:12, 16-19; 20:18-21; Deut. 4:11]; to [a place of] darkness, gloom and wind;




for all of you people belong to the light; you belong to the daytime. We do not belong to the night or to darkness. [Note: In this passage "light" and "daytime" refer to spiritual illumination, while "darkness" and "night" refer to spiritual ignorance].

And the fifth [angel] poured out his bowl on the throne of the [first] beast [See 13:2], and darkness fell over his kingdom. And they [See verse 2] chewed their tongues in agony,

When I was with you every day in the Temple you did not raise a hand against me. But this is your hour [i.e., the time for you to act against me] and the power of darkness [has now taken over]."









"God has blinded their eyes [of understanding] and closed their minds. If He had not done so, they would [be able to] see with their eyes and understand with their minds and turn [to God] so He could heal them [spiritually]."


For these people's minds are dull, and their ears have difficulty hearing, and they have shut their eyes. For if this were not the case, they would perceive what they see with their eyes, and comprehend what they hear with their ears, and understand with their minds and would turn [back to God] again so I would heal them [from their sins].'



saying, [Isa. 6:9-10], 'Go to these people and say, you will hear all right, but you will not understand [what you hear]. You will see all right, but you will not perceive [what you see]. For these people's minds are dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes. For, if this were not the case, they would perceive what they see with their eyes, and understand what they hear with their ears, and comprehend with their minds, and would turn [back to God] again and I [God] would heal them [from their sins].'














But, when he was in Rome, he looked for me diligently until he found me.


He was a man who had learned the way of the Lord, and with spiritual fervor, taught accurately [what he knew] about Jesus, although he knew [and had received] only the immersion [taught and practiced] by John.


And we have sent [i.e., are sending] with them our brother [Note: This is a different person from the one mentioned in verse 18], who has often proven his diligence to us in many ways, and is now proving to be even more diligent because of the great confidence he has in you [i.e., confidence in the Corinthians completing their collection for the poor].






















Watch out for the "dogs!" [Note: "Dogs" were viewed with disgust by the ancient Jews (Deut. 23:18; II Kings 8:13; Rev. 22:15), so the term is used here derogatorily for Jewish Christians who were trying to impose on the church the requirements of the law of Moses]. Watch out for the evil workers! Watch out for those who mutilate the body meaninglessly! [Note: Paul here alludes, in a derogatory wordplay, to the Jewish practice of circumcision].

On the outside [of the city] are the dogs [Note: This probably refers to people who practiced sexual perversions. See Deut. 23:17] and the sorcerers, and the sexually immoral people, and the murderers, and the idolaters and every person who loves and practices falsehood.


"And write [this] to the angel of the church at Philadelphia: These are the words of Him who is holy and true, [and] who possesses the key [i.e., the power and authority] of King David, [and] who opens [a door] which no one will close, and who closes one that no one will open:

Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, leaving you standing outside knocking on the door, [and] saying, 'Sir, [please] open [the door] for us.' and he answers you, 'I do not know you or where you came from,'

And while they were away [trying] to buy olive oil, the [bride and] groom arrived, and those who were ready [to welcome them] entered the [house where the] wedding reception [was being held] and the door was shut.


I know about your deeds. (See, I have placed before you an open door, which no one can close). [Note: This probably refers to their being assured of some unspecified opportunity]. [I know] that you have [only] a little bit of strength, but [in spite of that] you have obeyed my word and did not deny my name.

because a great door [of opportunity] has opened up to me [here] for doing an effective work [for God], but there are [also] many enemies who oppose me. [See Acts 19].




They would not be guilty of sinning if I had not come and spoken to them. But now [that I have], they have no excuse for their sin.

For we were never found using flattering words at any time, as you know, nor did we try to cover up any greedy desires. God can testify [to this].












































And if your right eye is what ensnares you into falling away [from God], gouge it out and throw it away from you. For it would be better for you to lose a part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. [Note: This is the word "Gehenna," and because of its Old Testament connotation of burning bodies, II Chron. 33:6, it is used figuratively here, and elsewhere, to describe the place of future, final punishment of the wicked].










But Jesus replied to him, "A certain man prepared a lavish supper and invited many [guests]. When the supper was about ready, he sent his slave out to tell those who were invited, 'Come, for everything is [now] ready.' Then all of them, in the same way, began to excuse themselves [from attending]. The first one said to the host, 'I just bought some land and I need to go out and look it over, so please excuse me [from attending the supper].' read more.
And another person said, 'I just bought five teams of oxen and I need to go and test them out, so please excuse me [from attending the supper].' And the third person said, 'I just got married, so I cannot attend [the supper].' Then the slave returned and told his master about these things. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his slave, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring people who are poor, and handicapped, and blind and crippled in here [i.e., to the supper].' And the slave said, 'Master, I did what you ordered me to do, and still there is room [at the dinner table].' Then the master said to the slave, 'Go out into the roads and along the brushy trails and urge people to attend [the supper] so that my house will be full [of guests].' For I tell you, not one of those who were invited will [even] taste my supper."

Then the angel said to me [See 17:1; 18:1-2], "Write [this]: Those who are invited to the wedding reception of the Lamb are blessed." And he said to me, "These are the true words of God."

Jesus again spoke in parables to them [i.e., the Jewish leaders], saying, "The kingdom of heaven is similar to a certain king who held a wedding reception for his son. He sent his servants out to call those who had been invited to the wedding reception, but they refused to come. read more.
Again he sent out other servants saying, 'Tell those who were invited, look, I have already prepared the dinner; my cattle and [other] well-fattened animals have been butchered and everything is ready. [Now] come to the wedding reception dinner.' But they made fun of it, and went on about their business, one to his farm, another to his store. But the rest of them grabbed his servants, physically abused them and [finally] killed them. The king became furious and sent his army to destroy these murderers and burn their city. Then he told his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited to it [proved they] were not worthy [to attend]. Now go to the main crossroads of the highways and invite everyone you find there to the wedding reception.' So, his servants went out to the highways and gathered in all those who could be found, both bad and good, so that the wedding [reception] was full of guests. But when the king came in [to the dining hall] to meet the guests, he noticed a man who was not wearing a [proper] wedding outfit. He said to the man, 'Friend, how did you get in here without wearing the proper wedding outfit?' And he could not say a word. Then the king said to his servants, 'Tie him up, hand and foot, and throw him into [a place of] outer darkness where there will be crying and excruciating pain.' For many people are called [by God] but [only those] few [who respond] are chosen [by Him]."

Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he called out in a loud voice to all the birds that fly in midair, "Come and be assembled together for the great supper of God,




"Now learn this parable [i.e., a brief analogy to illustrate a lesson] from the fig tree: When its tender sprouts appear and its leaves begin to develop, you know that summer is near.

And the stars in the sky fell to earth, like a fig tree dropping its unripe figs when shaken by a strong wind.





"I have come to bring fire to the earth. [Note: This means division within families. See verses 51-53] And how I wish that fire were already started [i.e., so I could complete my mission sooner]!










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and throw the sinful ones into the fiery furnace where there will be crying and excruciating pain."

And the fallen star opened the shaft leading to the deep pit and smoke drifted up from the shaft like smoke from a huge furnace. And the sun and the sky were darkened by the smoke from the shaft.



"I certainly am immersing you in water following [your] repentance, but the One who follows my [ministry], whose sandals I do not deserve to remove [as His slave], will immerse you people with the Holy Spirit and with fire [i.e., the punishment in hell. See verses

John answered [their concerns] by saying to all of them, "I am [the one] immersing you in water, but One who is more powerful than I will follow my [ministry]. I am not [even] worthy to loosen the straps of His sandals. He will immerse you people with the Holy Spirit and with fire [i.e., the punishment of hell. See Matt. 3:10-12].




If your hand or your foot becomes the occasion for you falling away [from God], cut them off and throw them away. It would be better for you to enter [never ending] life disabled or crippled, rather than keeping both hands and both feet and being thrown into the never ending fire [i.e., because they caused you to fall away from God].

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