miracles by Peter

Our Lessons for October 25 to 31

What's ahead in our Bible readings

October 25 to 31, 2018
The Twenty-second Week After Pentecost
The Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time*

Bible Review: Amplified Holy Bible

The most important thing you need to know about The Amplified Bible is that it has amplifications (no surprise, I'm sure). The Amplified Bible started as a project of Frances Siewert and is now stewarded by the Lockman Foundation. It is a literal equivalent (often called formal equivalent) translation. This means it is not a thought for thought translation, but rather an attempt at a word for word translation. Here are the types of amplifications and how they are designated:

  • Definition in context: (regular type parentheses)

  • Words or phrases not fully expressed in the preceding English text,but validated by the original Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek. [Regular type brackets]

  • Text not found in early manuscripts or only in some early manuscripts [bold brackets]

  • Italicized conjunctions are not in the original text, but are used to connect additional English words indicated by the original language and, or nor

  • Italicized words are not in the original language but are implied by it word

In addition to these conventions a (bold parenthesis) indicates text that is in the original text and is parenthetical.

The Amplified Bible includes section headings, which as we always write are not part of the text but there to help us anticipate what follows. The books are in the standard biblical order. (It does not include the deuterocanonical/apocryphal books.) Each verse is starts on a new line. Paragraphs are indicated by bold verse numbers or bold words. The preface says this is to make individual verses are easier to find. I find this arrangement annoying, but many will find it helpful. Parallel passages are shown with the Bible text, which I find helpful; they are given in brackets after the first verse of a passage or, if only a single verse is involved, are the end of the passage. In a future review of the Modern English Version I will illustrate another approach to parallel passages.

Our Sunday Gospel is Mark 10:46-52. Here it is in the Amplified Bible translation:

Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
46 Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar, Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting beside the road [as was his custom]. [Matt 20:29-34; Luke 18:35-43]
47 When Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and say "Jesus, *Son of David (Messiah), have mercy on me!"
48 Many sternly rebuked him, telling him to keep still and be quiet; but he kept shouting all the more, "Son of David (Messiah) have mercy on me!"
49 Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." So they called the blind man, telling him, "Take courage, get up! He is calling for you."
50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped up and came to Jesus.
51 And Jesus said “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabbi (my Master), let me regain my sight.” 52 Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith [and confident trust in my power] has made you well. Immediately he regained his sight and began following Jesus on the road. [Is 42:6,7]

10:47 A common Messianic title recognized the Messiah as a descendant of David.(AMP)

If you decide to buy the Amplified Bible, please consider using one of these links, which will help us to bring God's word to more people:
Amplified Holy Bible, Paperback $16.99
Amplified Holy Bible, Large Print, Hardcover $22.43
Amplified Holy Bible, Compact, Small Print $17.99
The prices above are as of October 20, 2018.

Previous Bible reviews covering the NET Bible, the Message, and The Inclusive Bible, are here.

This week's image

This image evokes a real sense of the power of healing touch, at least for me. Even now, Jesus touches us with his words and the remembrance of his actions. I pray that Jesus touches you this week.

Healing Touch

Gospel Lessons and a healing from Acts

Our Gospel lessons this week all concern healing of the physically blind. In the Sunday lesson, Jesus heals Bartimaeus. On Saturday, we have the curious story of the blind man from Bethsaida who, after Jesus first puts saliva on his eyes, perceives people looking like trees. Jesus touches his eyes again and his sight is completely restored. On Wednesday, Jesus heals two blind men as he is leaving Jericho. In a reading from Acts Peter heals Aeneas, who has been crippled for many years. The Bethsaida and Jericho healings involve touch and the cured aren't named for us. Bartimaeus is healed by faith and Aeneas is simply told that Jesus Christ heals him. Neither is touched. It may be that the touch strengthened the faith of those who received it.

Epistle Lessons

Our Epistle lessons in the time of preparation and on Sunday come from Hebrews, and our friend King Melchizedek makes another, important, appearance. To be a priest in first century Israel or Judah, you had to be a descendent of Aaron. Melchizedek first appears in Genesis 14 where he blesses Abram. He lived sometime between the eighteenth and sixteenth centuries BCE. Aaron and Moses lived about the thirteenth century BCE, so Melchizedek couldn't have been a descendent of Aaron. As you know from our readings last week, Melchizedek was also acknowledged as a priest in Psalm 110:4. He represented a separate order of priests, and an exception to the requirement of descent from Aaron. Assigning Christ's priesthood to the order of Melchizedek nicely avoids his needing to be descended from Aaron. Also of note, there is no Scriptural reference to the death of Melchizedek, which explains some of the language about his order being eternal. To modern people, all this fuss about orders of Israelite priests may appear pretty silly, but to first century Jewish Christians, it was very serious.

Complementary Hebrew Scripture

Yet another story about vision is in our Tuesday Hebrew Scripture. The King of Aram finds out that it is Elisha who keeps warning the King of Israel about the Aramean plans, so he sends his army to find Elisha. They surround Dothan, where Elisha is, and Elisha's servant is greatly afraid. Elisha prays that his servant be allowed to see that the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. Elisha prayed that the Aramean army be struck blind, and it was.

Consider this week the ways in which you might be blind, and ask God to give you a vision of the army that surrounds you to support you in doing God's will.

Four of our other Hebrew Scripture readings come from Jeremiah. On Thursday, Jeremiah warns the prophets of Samaria (the capital of Israel, the northern kingdom) and Jerusalem (the capital of Judah, the southern kingdom) that they will eat wormwood and drink poisoned water because of their infidelity and adultery toward God. On Friday, Jeremiah says that it is God who sent him to prophesy, and tells them to amend their ways and perhaps God's mind will be changed. In a shining moment of faith he says “But as for me, here I am in your hands. Do with me as seems good and right to you. Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will be bringing innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city and its inhabitants, for in truth the Lord sent me to you to speak all these words in your ears.” On Sunday, this prophet of doom and gloom proclaims that God will save a remnant of Israel, and the remnant will return from their exile with songs of gladness and praise.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture

We finish up our reading of Job on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday God effectively scolds Job's friends for not speaking rightly of God. On Sunday, Job answers God that he is humbled and satisfied. Job's fortunes are restored and he gains a new family. It is somewhat irksome that the narrative assumes that Job's first children could be replaced by another set. However, this may be a convention in this kind of story in the Middle East, or there may be some other explanation for it.

Our other lessons except Tuesday have to do with the exile. On Thursday, Isaiah tells King Hezekiah that the Babylonians will take all that he has and his sons will be eunuchs in the King of Babylon's palace. On Monday, Isaiah says that injustice and oppression will be punished, and on Wednesday Ezekiel says that the land has sinned against God and that not even Noah, Daniel, or Job (all exemplars of righteousness) could save sinners, yet there will be a remnant left.

Tuesday's lesson, the eighteenth chapter of Ezekiel, says that the sinner will be punished for his or her sins, but neither the parents nor the children (provided they are righteous) will be punished. The way I interpret that is the remnant who were left behind at the time of the exile were those who had not sinned.

Of course, there is more, including Moses arguing with God and Peter declaring that once we were not a people, but now we are God's people. May it be so for you.

I hope these readings bring a special blessing into your life. Thank you for all that you do to bring God's reign into being.
Mike Gilbertson

If you know someone who could deepen his or her commitment to being a Christian through these readings, why not forward this newsletter to that person? Here is a link that leads to the sign up form: Sign up link

Summary and links for the week ahead

Thursday to Sunday Psalms
Complementary Psalm 126
Restore our fortunes. Let those who weep as they go out to sow return joyfully with their sheaves.
Semi-continuous Psalm 34:1-8, 19-22 Taste and see that God is good.

Thursday: Preparation for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Jeremiah 23:9-15 God says "Both prophet and priest are ungodly; even in my house I have found their wickedness.
Semi-continuous 2 Kings 20:12-19 Isaiah tells King Hezekiah that the Babylonians will take all that he has and that his sons will be eunuchs in the Babylonian king's palace.
Both Hebrews 7:1-10 Melchizedek remains a priest forever.

Friday: Preparation for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Jeremiah 26:12-24 Jeremiah, prophesying in the temple, is threatened with death.
Semi-continuous Nehemiah 1:1-11 Nehemiah prays for the return of the exiles.
Both Hebrews 7:11-22 Jesus is a priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Saturday: Preparation for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Jeremiah 29:24-32 Jeremiah speaks God's words condemning Shemaiah.
Semi-continuous Job 42:7-9 Eliphaz has not spoken rightly about God. God tells him to make a sacrifice to Job and God will answer Job's prayer on behalf of Eliphaz and his friends.
Both Mark 8:22-26 Jesus heals a blind man at Bethsaida.

The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Jeremiah 31:7-9 God will gather the people from the furthest parts of the earth and bring them back, consoling them.
Semi-continuous Job 42:1-6, 10-17 Job answers God that he is humbled and satisfied and his fortune is restored.
Both Hebrews 7:23-28 Christ, who lives forever, is our merciful high priest.
Both Mark 10:46-52 At Jericho, Jesus heals Bartimaeus of his blindness.

Monday to Wednesday Psalms
Complementary Psalm 119:17-24
Open my eyes so I can see the wonderous things out of your law.
Semi-continuous Psalm 28 God, save your people and bless your heritage; be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Monday: Reflection on the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Exodus 4:1-17 God shows Moses the signs he is to use to convince the people that God has appeared to him.
Semi-continuous Isaiah 59:9-19 Injustice and oppression will be punished.
Both 1 Peter 2:1-10 Peter, quoting from Hebrew Scripture, urges his readers to be a holy priesthood and offer spiritual sacrifices.

Tuesday: Reflection on the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary 2 Kings 6:8-23 God answers Elisha's prayer first to make the Arameans blind, then to restore their sight.
Semi-continuous Ezekiel 18 The sin belongs to the sinner, not to his or her parents or children. God urges the house of Israel to repent and get themselves a new heart and a new spirit. God says, "Turn, then, and live."
Both Acts 9:32-35 Peter, through Jesus Christ, heals Aeneas, who has been paralyzed for eight years.

Wednesday: Reflection on the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Complementary Jeremiah 33:1-11 God will bring recovery and healing.
Semi-continuous Ezekiel 14:12-23 The land has sinned against God. Not even Noah, Daniel, and Job could save sinners from the land. Yet there will be a faithful remnant.
Both Matthew 20:29-34 As Jesus is leaving Jericho, he heals two blind men.

Give something to help spread God's word:
Help Reach More People

Let your Amazon purchases support our work (Amazon donates .5% of your purchase price): Amazon Smile for The Lectionary Company

*Denominations have different ways of designating the weeks during the year, so your church may refer to this week by a different name or number or both. Regardless of the name or number, the readings are the same. Here is an explanation: Calendar Explanation

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from The New Revised Standard Version, (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Scripture passages ending in (AMP) are from Amplified Holy Bible, Paperback, Copyright 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987, 2015 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Image credit: Healing Touch by an unidentified painter, downloaded from markcommentary.blogspot.com