Bible Reading Week 10 (Feb 7th -13th, 2022)

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7Week 8; Week 9

Old Testament: Exodus 14-20; New Testament: Matthew 16:13-20:34

List of Questions

  1. Exodus 14: 4, 14, 17-18: What does it mean for God to get glory for himself over/through Pharoah?
  2. Exodus 14:31: What does this say about Moses’s role and status? (see also the role God gives Moses in vv 15-16 and 19:9)
  3. Exodus 15:17: What is the mountain and sanctuary mentioned in this verse?
  4. Exodus 18:2-3: What does it mean that Moses sent away his wife and children? And why did he do this? 
  5. Exodus 19:5: Is the treasured status of the people based on keeping the covenant?
  6. Exodus 19:10: What’s the significance/purpose of washing clothes?
  7. Exodus 19:13: Why is it only when a ram’s horn blast sounds that the people can approach the mountain?
  8. Exodus 19:14: What does it mean for Moses to consecrate the people?
  9. Exodus 20:5-6: What do these verses say about God’s mercy and justice?
  10. Exodus 20:12: Why does honouring of parents have the blessing of living long in the land attached to it?
  11. Matthew 16:19: what is meant by the keys and binding and loosing?
  12. Matthew 16:20 (see also 17:9): why this secret?
  13. Matthew 16:24-28: how are these important verses linked to what comes before?
  14. Matthew 17:4: why does Peter say this?
  15. Matthew 17:20: So is the failure to perform this miracle due to lack of faith?
  16. Matthew 17:24-27: what do these verses say about Jesus’s relationship to tax and the Roman empire? How might these verses shape a political theology? 
  17. Matthew 18:7: What is the world here and the one through whom stumbling blocks come?
  18. Matthew 18:11: What does this say about angels?
  19. Matthew 18:17: What is the church/ekklesia at this point? Is this not harsh on pagans and tax collectors? How does this square with the fact that Jesus spent time with them?
  20. Matthew 18:18: This was said of Peter before (16:19). What does it mean?
  21. Matthew 19:1-3: Do the Pharisees like to test Jesus when he has performed healings? Is this significant and if so, how/why?
  22. Matthew 19:11-12: What do these classifications mean?
  23. Matthew 19:18: Does Jesus prioritise these commandments?
  24. Matthew 19:28: What are the twelve thrones for the 12 disciples? 
  25. Matthew 20:21: Is the question of James and John’s mother asked on the basis of 19:28 (she had heard about this promise and wanted her sons to have the prized places)?  

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Bible Reading Week 9 (Feb 28th – March 6th, 2022)

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7; Week 8

The lectionary for this week takes us right up to the edge of two great turning points in the narrative. In Exodus 7-13 in the Old Testament readings, we encounter the 10 plagues, the passover and the Israelite departure from Egypt. We stop just short of the crossing of the Red Sea.

In the journey through the gospel of Matthew, we read of further miracles (12:15-21; 14:13-36; 15:29-39), teaching episodes (e.g. on family, 12:46-50; 13:53-58), the third “sermon” which takes the form of an extended series of parables (13), and the increasing tensions between Jesus and the Pharisees (12:22-42; 15:1-20; 16:1-12). We stop just short of the turning point of Matthew, when Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (16:16).

This week’s notes are limited to just the list of questions, which I hope to return to and address at a later point.

List of Questions

  1. Exodus 7:3, 13, 22, 8:15, 19, 32, 9:12, 34-35, 10:1, 20, 27, 11:10: what does it mean for God to harden Pharaoh’s heart? And what is the relationship of this to Pharaoh hardening his own heart?
  2. Exodus 8:4-5: why is there no initial response this time from Pharaoh?
  3. Exodus 8:18: why can’t the magicians produce gnats?
  4. Exodus 8:22: why now the distinction between Israelites and Egyptians?
  5. Exodus 9:31-32: what’s the purpose of these two verses? 
  6. Exodus 12:23: what is the destroyer?
  7. Exodus 12:37: is 600,000 the right translation?
  8. Exodus 12:42: when was this written? There seems to very much be a later present day sense to this account.
  9. Exodus 12:43, 48: so can a foreigner eat Passover?
  10. Exodus 13:6-7: why is this material repeated?
  11. Exodus 13:13: what does it mean to redeem a firstborn donkey with a lamb?
  12. Exodus 13:21-23: why a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire?
  13. Matthew 12:25-27: what is the logic of Jesus’ argument here?
  14. Matthew 12:31-32: what is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?
  15. Matthew 12:36-37: what is the role of speech in the judgment? How does this relate to the verses on speech in Matthew 7:21-23?
  16. Matthew 12:43-45: what is the meaning of these verses?
  17. Matthew 12:46-50: what do these verses say about family? 
  18. Matthew 13:10-17: so why does Jesus speak to the people in parables?
  19. Matthew 13:39-40, 49-50: is the role of angels here in judgment consistent with other early Christian and Jewish texts? 
  20. Matthew 14:9: why is Herod distressed at having John executed if he wanted him killed (5)?
  21. Matthew 14:28: why would Jesus asking Peter to come out of the boat on to the water convince Peter that it was Jesus?
  22. Matthew 15:1-10: what, in context, is Jesus saying about the traditions of the Pharisees and the elders?
  23. Matthew 15:21-28: is Jesus initially reluctant to heal the Canaanite woman’s daughter and if so why?

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash