The Road to Spiritual Maturity — Genesis 45:5

“[Joseph told his brothers], ‘And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life’” (Genesis 45:5).

Many believers aspire to the spiritual maturity of Joseph, who treated his brothers with extraordinary goodness despite their sins against him. Deeply wronged by them when they kidnapped him and sold him into slavery, he expressed no desire to punish them, but forgave them and comforted their guilty conscience. He held no resentment against them, and he did not want them to feel angry with themselves for the great injustice they had inflicted on him. Joseph chose to disregard the wrongs of others, because he wanted everyone to be at peace with God, others, and within themselves.

Joseph chose to emphasize and explain some of the ways that God uses to help people. To preserve life, God had sent Joseph to Egypt through the slave trade. God prepared him through imprisonment to ascend to the second highest place of authority in Egypt. Joseph understood that God had blessed him, not so he could selfishly enjoy the riches of Egypt, but so he could save the lives of many during seven years of famine. God used the evil deeds of Joseph’s brothers to get Joseph to Egypt before them so God could save from starvation the Egyptians and all who would go to Egypt; therefore, Joseph chose to focus on the good intentions and purposes of God, and let God deal with the intentions and actions of others. Similarly, the evil deeds of some religious leaders led to the crucifixion and death of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, but God planned and used Jesus’ sacrificial death to save those who believe in Him, to forgive all the sins of many believers, and to give all believers in Jesus the gift of eternal life. Only the most spiritually mature can forgive those who have wronged them and look instead for the good that God has brought into every situation so He could meet the needs of many.

The International Bible Commentary and International Bible Lesson
Uniform Lesson Series Archives

2010-Present

International Bible Commentary
Genesis 45:3-15 Commentary
Genesis 45:3-15 Large Print Commentary

Study Hints for Discussion Study Questions
Teacher Study Hints for Genesis 45:3-15
Teacher Study Hints for Genesis 45:3-15 Large Print

International Bible Lesson Archives
2010 to Present

How To Serve While Suffering — Genesis 41:51

“Joseph named the firstborn son Manasseh, ‘For,’ he said, ‘God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house’” (Genesis 41:51).

Throughout the Bible, many parents gave their children names with special meanings, sometimes because God commanded them and sometimes not. Joseph himself named his sons with thanksgiving to God. He named his second son Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my misfortunes” (Genesis 41:52). God chose the name for Jesus, “for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). In the providence of God, when Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons, he gave the special blessing for a firstborn son to the second born son; perhaps he did not want to bless the firstborn son with the name “Manasseh” that emphasized forgetting “all my father’s house” (see Genesis 48:13-20).

The Bible records some of the ways Joseph suffered; but rather than blame God, Joseph thanked God for saving him through them all. Perhaps Joseph’s faith was similar to the faith of Job, who declared, “Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?” (Job 2:10). After Jacob died, Joseph told his brothers, who had sold him into slavery, “Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good” (Genesis 50:20).

If we strive to serve God with faith as Joseph did, we will see all of our misfortunes as opportunities to serve God in ways that we had not thought of before. When we make every effort to serve God in the midst of hardships, we will be able to look back as Joseph did and see h0w God worked for good and made us fruitful in what appeared to be less than ideal circumstances.

For Commentary on the Book of Genesis
go to the
The International Bible Lesson Commentary Archives

True Wisdom Leads to Right Living

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy” (James 3:17).

James wrote that many evils and disorder are the result of envy and selfish ambition (James 3:16). For example, to achieve their selfish ambitions, some people goad the poor to envy the rich. Unfortunately, some people bring selfish ambition and envy into the church, which causes division and disorder. Therefore, James wrote that Christians need to act based on the pure wisdom of God as revealed in the Scriptures. Believers should love God supremely and promote what is best for all people. They should do what is best for the poor and the rich without being partial toward anyone. Christians need to practice speaking gently to others in an effort to remain at peace in so far as peace depends on them. When James wrote that Christians should be “willing to yield,” he did not mean people should yield to evil and let the wicked have their own way instead of trying to stop evil deeds. Rather, James meant that believers should be open to reason and should speak and act reasonably, because “love does not insist on its own way” (1 Corinthians 13:5). Not everyone will act upon the basis of biblical values and Christians do not speak and act perfectly all the time, so the Bible tells believers to show mercy toward everyone. Faith in Jesus Christ should enable believers to bear good fruits and do good to all without hidden or selfish motives. The way of grace, love, and mercy that the Bible teaches will turn some people away from envy and selfish ambition toward the truth, righteousness, and peace.

For Commentary and Discussion Questions
see The Letter of James,
Good News for Uncertain Times

Newspapers Prove the Bible is True

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice” (James 3:16).

Our newspaper headlines often prove the Bible is true. Along with a lot of good news that reveals the gracious gifts of God to others and their gifts to us, we read stories about disorder that we often hear called “disorderly conduct.” We learn about evil practices that sometimes result in the death of others or the punishment of criminals. Think about some of the sad events of the past week or so. How many have envy as a root cause or evil influence? A dictionary defines envy as “a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.” How many envy something someone or some group has, so they steal, riot, maim, or kill among other harmful acts? How many have lost their businesses or jobs because of rioters?How many people have suffered because of someone else’s selfish ambition; an ambition that drives them to slander and defame the character of another person or business? When we take some time to think about the evil practices we have indulged in or the evil practices that we condemn, how often have envy or selfish ambition played a part?


Ambition to serve the Lord and use His gifts as prayerfully, as lovingly, and as wisely as possible according to the Bible for the benefit of others and ourselves is not “selfish ambition.” Selfish ambition is self-centered instead of God-centered. James wrote, there is a “wisdom” that is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic, and that “wisdom” is often given to those who have envy or selfish ambition (James 3:15). Then, James wrote that those with heavenly wisdom should show forth a good life of pure, sincere, and peace-loving deeds done in humility.

For Commentary and Discussion Questions
see The Letter of James,
Good News for Uncertain Times

Strengthen Your Heart and Endure — James 5:7-12

Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful (James 5:11).

In an uncertain world where disaster, disease, and death can surprise us at any moment, James tells Christians to be patient, to endure, and strengthen their hearts. Then, he tells us why. “The coming of the Lord is near.” We need to remember that the Lord is near now. The Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit indwell Christians. In 1 John 4:4 & 6, John wrote, “Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” Jesus will come again, though His coming has not been as soon as many Christians have hoped, and Peter tells us why. Peter explained in 2 Peter 3:8-9 “But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” In addition, remember this: whenever Christians die, the Lord Jesus has come to take them to the place He has prepared for them. Jesus promised in John’s gospel, in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” We can endure with this blessed hope. Christians have good reasons to patiently endure because of the character of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians can remind themselves that God is compassionate and merciful. God’s mercies are new every morning as Jeremiah explained in Lamentations 3:21-25, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.” Our trials have a purpose and through them we will become more like Jesus Christ. We will become more compassionate and merciful, and others will see the work of Jesus Christ in us and be drawn to faith in Jesus Christ. Amid our afflictions and before they begin, Christians need to strengthen their hearts. We do this through praise and prayers to the Lord God. We do this through the study of the Bible and through daily quiet times of Bible reading. We do this by showing the Lord we love Him by our daily obedience to Him and His Word. By believing and doing what the Bible teaches, people will be blessed.

For Commentary and Discussion Questions
see The Letter of James,
Good News for Uncertain Times at
https://www.ouosu.com/IBLC/JamesBibleCommentaries.html

Letter of James Uniform Lessons

During the past ten years, so many International Bible Lessons on the Letter of James have been written that I only need to write three more to complete a commentary on the Letter. For this reason, if you go to the Letter of James Archives, you will find lessons and activities completed or in preparation that should help you with your studies during the month of August. The goal is to provide 12 lessons that you can mix and match to cover all your lessons and finish a complete commentary. Go to this new and in process Letter of James Commentary.

John 14:1-14 Uniform Lesson

For July 26, 2020 John 14:1-14

These commentaries and lessons are from the International Bible Lesson Commentary Archives (Uniform Lesson Series) from May 27, 2012.

I hope you find them helpful in teaching your class or for personal study.

John 14:1-14 for July 26, 2020

John 14:1-14 Easy-Print Commentary

John 14:1-14 Easy-Print Large Print Commentary

Teacher Study Hints for Thinking Further

Teacher Study Hints for John 14:1-14

Teacher Study Hints for John 14:1-14 Large Print

International Bible Lesson

Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Believe in God, believe also in me”

(John 14:1).

Reasons Not to Worry

Reasons Not to Worry (Large Print)

Reasons Not to Worry (Bulletin Size)

Receive our periodic International Bible Study Newsletter by sending me an email request to lgp@theiblf.com.

May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!

Begin your study of the Gospel of John now!! OR Go to the “Contents” page to begin with John 1:1. Use for private Bible study, mid-week Bible study and Sunday schools.

Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,
L.G.

Proverbs 1:1-4, 7-8, 10, 20-22, 32-33 Activities for June 7, 2020

Now available for Proverbs 1:1-4, 7-8, 10, 20-22, 32-33.

GO TO: CROSSWORD PUZZLES, TRUE AND FALSE TESTS, AND WORD SEARCH PUZZLES

Even though the new International Bible Study Commentary is now a verse-by-verse study through the Gospel of John, I will try to answer any of your questions on each week’s Uniform Lesson, if you will send your questions to me at lgp@theiblf.com. I will answer them (or try to) here on the Forum, where you can also make Comments.

Receive our periodic International Bible Study Newsletter by sending me an email request to lgp@theiblf.com.

May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!

Begin your study of the Gospel of John now!! OR Go to the “Contents” page to begin with John 1:1. Use for private Bible study, mid-week Bible study and Sunday schools.

Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,
L.G.

Hosea 11:1-10 & Hosea 12:1-14 Activities for May 31, 2020

Now available for Hosea 11:1-10 & Hosea 12:1-14.

GO TO: CROSSWORD PUZZLES, TRUE AND FALSE TESTS, AND WORD SEARCH PUZZLES

Even though the new International Bible Study Commentary is now a verse-by-verse study through the Gospel of John, I will try to answer any of your questions on each week’s Uniform Lesson, if you will send your questions to me at lgp@theiblf.com. I will answer them (or try to) here on the Forum, where you can also make Comments.

Receive our periodic International Bible Study Newsletter by sending me an email request to lgp@theiblf.com.

May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!

Begin your study of the Gospel of John now!! OR Go to the “Contents” page to begin with John 1:1. Use for private Bible study, mid-week Bible study and Sunday schools.

Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,
L.G.

Jeremiah 22:1-10 Activities for Uniform Lesson Series—May 24, 2020

Now available for Jeremiah 22:1-10.

GO TO: CROSSWORD PUZZLES, TRUE AND FALSE TESTS, AND WORD SEARCH PUZZLES

Even though the new International Bible Study Commentary is now a verse-by-verse study through the Gospel of John, I will try to answer any of your questions on each week’s Uniform Lesson, if you will send your questions to me at lgp@theiblf.com. I will answer them (or try to) here on the Forum, where you can also make Comments.

Receive our periodic International Bible Study Newsletter by sending me an email request to lgp@theiblf.com.

May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!

Begin your study of the Gospel of John now!! OR Go to the “Contents” page to begin with John 1:1. Use for private Bible study, mid-week Bible study and Sunday schools.

Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,
L.G.