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Thinking on Scripture with Dr. Steven R. Cook

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Providing verse by verse analysis of Scripture and discussions about Christian theology.

Providing verse by verse analysis of Scripture and discussions about Christian theology.
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Providing verse by verse analysis of Scripture and discussions about Christian theology.




Zephaniah 3:9-20

In the previous section, God had pronounced judgment against His people in Judah (Zep 1:1—2:3), the surrounding Gentile nations (Zep 2:4-15), and Jerusalem (Zep 3:1-8); but now, His final message is one of hope, in which He promises future blessings upon His people as well as the world (Zep 3:9-20). God is the One who will bring all these blessings to pass, eight times declaring “I will” throughout this pericope. The prophecy opens with a promise in which God will give Gentiles purified...


Zephaniah 3:1-8

God opens with a charge against wicked Israelites who were called “rebellious and defiled.” So corrupt and systemic was their oppressive behavior, the whole of Jerusalem became known as “the tyrannical city.” The word tyrannical translates the Hebrew יָנָה yanah, which denotes “to cheat, annoy (with words), oppress, [or] be violent.” The word is used in the Mosaic Law to forbid Israelites from oppressing foreigners (Ex 22:21-24; Lev 19:33), slaves (Deu 23:15-16), or engaging in harmful...


Zephaniah 2:4-15

Having pronounced His judgment upon Judah for their sins (Zep 1:1-2:3), God now turns His focus upon the surrounding Gentiles nations ((Zep 2:4-15). He opens with a pronouncement of judgment upon four Philistine cities which lie west of Judah, saying, “Gaza will be abandoned and Ashkelon a desolation; Ashdod will be driven out at noon and Ekron will be uprooted” (Zep 2:4). The Philistines had a longstanding hostility toward Israel (Gen 20-21, 26), and had even taken some Judahites captive...


Theological Aspects of God's Justice

God is the sovereign Creator of the universe, and He rules supreme over all things. Scripture reveals, “The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all” (Psa 103:19), for “our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Psa 115:3), “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps” (Psa 135:6), and “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of...


The Lord's Supper

The Lord’s Supper is mentioned in the Gospels of Matthew (26:26-29), Mark (14:22-25), Luke (22:19-20), and by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians at Corinth (1 Cor 11:23-34). The Lord’s Supper is also called the Eucharist, from the Greek word εὐχαριστέω eucharisteo, which means to give thanks, which is what Christ did when He instituted this church ordinance (Luke 22:19). And, it is called Communion, from the Geek word κοινωνία koinonia, which means communion, fellowship, or...


Zephaniah 1:1-2:3

The book opens with a declaration that what follows is the “the word of the LORD” to his messenger, the prophet, Zephaniah (Zep 1:1). Immediately, there is a pronouncement of judgment that God will bring upon the world (Zep 1:2-3), specifically “against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (Zep 1:4a). The reason for the judgment is because His covenant-people had followed idolatrous priests and worshiped Baal (Zep 1:4b), the “host of heaven” (Zep 1:5a), and blended the worship...


Introduction to Zephaniah

Author: The author is identified as “Zephaniah son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah” (Zep 1:1a). It could be that Zephaniah was the great-great-grandson of King Hezekiah, who ruled from 715-687 B.C. If so, he would be a cousin to King Josiah, who was reigning during his time of prophetic ministry; and, it would connect Zephaniah with two good kings who ruled in Judah. Also, he could be the priest who was captured and killed in 586 B.C. (2 Ki 25:18-21). However,...


Judges 1:1-19

The Central Idea of the Text is that Israel failed to follow in the pattern of faith and obedience to God. After the death of Joshua, Judah and Simeon led the first military campaign against the Canaanites. Their obedience to God resulted in the defeat of the Canaanites and the Perizzites at the city of Bezek. They captured Adoni-bezek and disabled him from being a threat. Adoni-bezek recognized his defeat and punishment as divine retribution for the evil he did to seventy other kings. He...


Introduction to Judges

The judges of Israel were God’s chosen representatives to arbitrate legal matters among His people. They were also given the responsibility to administer social affairs and to lead in military campaigns against Israel’s enemies. God Himself was the supreme Judge of the judges over Israel. Authorship and Date It’s likely the book of Judges was written during the reign of Saul, Israel’s first king. There are several references in the book of Judges which state “in those days there was no...


Habakkuk 3:1-19

Habakkuk became fearful at the Lord’s reply to his questions (Hab 3:1-2a), knowing God was bringing judgment both upon Judah and Babylon, and this prompted him to write a prayer-song of praise to God for His past and future acts of judgment. Habakkuk petitioned the Lord: 1) to do a visible work of judgment in his day, and 2) to remember mercy in judgment (Hab 3:2b). In the remainder of the chapter, Habakkuk set forth a history lesson of God’s works when He delivered His people from the...


Habakkuk 2:1-20

The chapter opens with Habakkuk waiting on the Lord’s reply (Hab 2:1). God answers him with a command to “Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run” (Hab 2:2). This could be understood to mean that the vision is sure, and the one who reads it will know to run for safety when he sees it coming to pass. Or, it could be translated, “Write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets so one may easily read it” (CSB). Both renderings are possible, though...


Habakkuk 1:1-17

The opening sentence identifies Habakkuk as God’s prophet (Hab 1:1). Habakkuk is troubled by the violence and injustice he sees in Judah and brings his frustrations directly to God, who is the only one who can really correct the situation. But it seems to the prophet that God is not answering his prayers; therefore, he asks, “How long, O LORD, will I call for help, and You will not hear? I cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ Yet You do not save” (Hab 1:2). Habakkuk knew his people were in a covenant...


Introduction to Habakkuk

Author: The book was written by Habakkuk, who is called a “prophet” in the opening verse (Hab 1:1). Habakkuk chapter 3 was written as a Psalm, “For the choir director, on my stringed instruments” (Hab 3:19). This might imply the prophet belonged to the Levitical priesthood which was known for their music and worship (Ezr 3:10; Neh 12:27). Audience: Habakkuk wrote to Judah about his conversation with God concerning why the Lord would use the wicked Babylonians to judge His people for their...


Nahum 3:1-19

In chapter three, Nahum addresses Nineveh as the “bloody city” that was built up through violence, lies, and whose prey never departs (Nah 3:1). However, the people who once destroyed and plundered others would now experience the same, as the prophet graphically describes the sights and sounds of the invading army of the Babylonians and Medes (Nah 3:2-3). God would bring this destruction upon the Assyrians because of their abuses of other nations. Nahum declares this was “All because of the...


Nahum 2:1-13

The Central Idea of the Text is that God brings an invading army against Nineveh to destroy it. Nahum opens his prophecy with a sarcastic call to the Ninevites to defend themselves, saying, “Man the fortress, watch the road; strengthen your back, summon all your strength” (Nah 2:1). The effort, of course, is futile, for the primary attacker is God Himself, against whom no one can stand. Part of the reason for the attack against Nineveh is God’s intention to “restore the splendor of Jacob...


Nahum 1:1-15

Nahum had received a vision of God’s judgment concerning the Assyrians who had been afflicting Judah (Nah 1:1). In the vision, God is revealed as jealous, avenging, wrathful, slow to anger, and all powerful, and will not leave the guilty Assyrians unpunished for their violent behavior to His people (Nah 1:2-3a). This would have been good news to the Judahites who had suffered for many years under Assyria’s cruelty. In picturesque language, Nahum describes God’s greatness, saying, “clouds are...


Introduction to Nahum

Author: Nahum is the author of the book. His name (נָחוּם Nachum) means “consolation.” Jonah (Jon 3:2-4), Nahum (Nah 1:1; 2:8; 3:7, 18), and Zephaniah (Zep 2:13) all prophesied to/against Nineveh. Audience: Nahum wrote to his fellow Israelites in Judah (Nah 1:15). Date of Ministry: Nahum prophesied sometime between 663-620 B.C. The author mentions the fall of the Egyptian city of Thebes which occurred in 663 B.C. (Nah 3:8). He also predicts the fall of Assyria, which occurred in 612...


Chasing After Donkeys - A Study of God's Providence

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 9:1-17 Summary of 1 Samuel 9:1-17: The Central Idea of the Text is that Saul went out to find his father’s donkeys, but was actually being directed by God to find a kingdom. The meeting of Saul and Samuel was divinely orchestrated, for neither of them knew each other or planned the occasion. God is here portrayed as the divine conductor orchestrating these events. What seemed like a normal, even mundane activity—searching for lost donkeys—was ultimately under...


What is the Church?

The church refers to the body of Christ which began on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. It is comprised of Jews and Gentiles who have believed in Jesus as Savior. The church exists universally as an organism, the global presence of Christians who form the body of Christ. The church also exists locally as an organization, a nearby assembly of believers who gather together for Bible study, worship, fellowship, and the practice of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The...


Micah 7:1-20

Micah opens as if he were a fruit-picker looking for fresh fruit to eat that he might be nourished; but there is none to be found (Mic 7:1). The fruit he’s looking for is the fruit of righteousness, but instead he finds “the godly person has perished from the land, and there is no upright person among men” (Mic 7:2a). Instead, he finds the vast majority of Israelites “lie in wait for bloodshed; each of them hunts the other with a net” (Mic 7:2b). The rulers, judges and prominent men were...