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NT Survey: Background to Mark and the Reading Plan and Questions for Luke – Part I January 28, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Mark, Matthew, New Testament, Religion.
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Date – between 50 and 70 AD; Author – Mark

The early church fathers of the second century held that it was written by Mark on the basis of what he had learned from Peter. Papias, bishop of Hieropolis (A.D. 140), based this on the testimony of the Apostle John.

The internal evidence supports that this gospel was written to Roman believers.

Mark’s focus is on the deeds of Jesus more than his teaching. This is the biggest contrast between Mark and the other gospels. Why are the deeds of Jesus Christ of such importance?

While Matthew cites Jewish custom without explaining it, Mark carefully explains the Jewish customs.

He emphasizes the humanity, the service, and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Mark emphasizes the power of Jesus Christ in His works.



What are your impressions of the individual gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke? How easy was it for you to see the differences? Give a specific occasion where you have asked yourself, “I wonder why _______ put that in his gospel?” What was your answer to your own question?

Reading Plan for the Survey

January 27, Luke 1, What is the stated design of Luke’s gospel?

January 28, Luke 2-3, What does Luke tell us of the first thirty years of Jesus’ life? 

January 29, Luke 4-5, Do you think Luke 5:1-9 is the same event as the one in Mark 1:16-20? Why or why not?

January 30, Luke 6-7, How does the context of Luke affect the understanding of the teachings in Luke 6, many of which are also found in the Sermon on the Mount? 

January 31, Luke 8-9, What is the contrast in these two verses between Jesus and His disciples?

February 1, Luke 10-11, From whom do you think Luke good have gotten the material for these two chapters?

February 2, Luke 12-14, What does the context of Luke tell you about the meaning of blaspheming of the Holy Spirit?

February 3, Luke 15-17, What is the purpose with Luke’s gospel of the narrative of the Rich Man and Lazarus at the end of chapter 16?

New Testament Survey Reading Plan (Beginning Mark’s Gospel) January 22, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Mark, New Testament, Religion.
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Questions to consider when following the survey reading plan.

Reading Plan for the Survey (week 3)


January 21, Mark 1-3, What picture does Mark paint both positively and negatively of the early ministry of Jesus in these three chapters?

January 22, Mark 4-7, Is there a unifying theme in the teachings of Jesus in these four chapters? If so, what is it and if not how do the various themes relate to one another?

January 23, Mark 8-10, What impression do you get from Mark of the final phase of Jesus ministry before He went to Jerusalem to be crucified?

January 24, Mark 11-13, What is the emphasis that Mark gives to the final week of Jesus’ life in these three chapters?

January 25, Mark 14, Based on what you have read so far, is there any difference in how Mark’s gospel comes across to you as compared to how Matthew’s gospel came across?

January 26, Mark 15-16, According to this chapter, why was Jesus crucified?

January 27, Luke 1, What are the main differences between Mark’s closing chapter and Matthew’s closing chapter?


New Testament Survey Reading Plan with Questions – Matthew – Week 2 January 15, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Jesus, Matthew, New Testament, Religion.
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Reading Plan for a Survey


January 14, Matthew 16-17, How does Matthew 16:13-20 fit into the purpose of Matthew’s book? What is the cost in verses 24-26 for believing Matthew’s message?

January 15, Matthew 18-19, What importance is the question of divorce in Matthew 19 to Matthew’s purpose (hint: Matthew 5:17-48 is helpful to answering this question)?

January 16, Matthew 20-21, In context, what is the point of the parables in these two chapters?

January 17, Matthew 22-23, Why does Matthew give great emphasis to the scribes and Pharisees in his book?

January 18, Matthew 24-25, Based on what we know of Matthew’s purpose, how would his readers have reacted to the Olivet discourse?

January 19, Matthew 26, According to this chapter, why was Jesus crucified?

January 20, Matthew 27-28, Why did Matthew tell about attempt of the rulers to hide the facts of Jesus’ resurrection?

New Testament Survey – Reading through Matthew January 8, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Matthew, New Testament, Reading, Religion.
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    Questions to consider when following the survey reading plan. I apologize for posting this a day late. 

    1. January 7, Matthew 1-2, In what ways is Jesus presented by Matthew in chapters one and two?
    2. January 8, Matthew 3-4, If chapters one and two emphasize Jesus as the Son of David, what emphasis is given in chapters three and four?
    3. January 9, Matthew 5-7, In one sentence, what is the point Matthew is making by including the Sermon on the Mount in His gospel.
    4. January 10, Matthew 8-9, What is tension portrayed in the events of these two chapters?
    5. January 11, Matthew 10-11, How does the commissioning of the apostles in chapter 10 further the purpose of Matthew’s gospel?
    6. January 12, Matthew 12-13, Chapters 11-12 bring the conflict between Jesus and His enemies to a head. How does this help you to understand the parables in chapter 13?
    7. January 13, Matthew 14-15, What picture do we have of Jesus’ ministry in chapters 14-15? Don’t forget chapters 4-13 in your thinking on this question!

By Monday, January 21 select one of the five major teaching sections of Matthew and write how that section furthers Matthew’s purpose in presenting Jesus credentials as the Messiah, the king of the Jews. The five major teaching sections are:  the Sermon on the Mount (5-7), the commissioning of the apostles (10), the kingdom parables (13), a discourse about the childlikeness of the believer (18), and the Olivet Discourse (24-25). Your answer will be shared with all those who respond to this question. Feel free to ask questions in the meantime.

New Testament Survey – Introduction and the Gospel of Matthew January 4, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Matthew, New Testament, Religion, Sermon on the Mount.
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We begin on Sunday night a new series surveying the New Testament. Here are the notes from this weekend’s lesson. The second follows in three weeks. The reading plan reflects that. 


The base of the mountain is Genesis with the lower heights being the Old Testament books. The New Testament books are the upper parts of the mountain. When you get closer to the top, you are looking at things from God’s perspective, Bible Doctrines. Seeing the universe as God sees it. The pinnacle of spiritual maturity, i.e., being like Jesus Christ, is based on what is in knowledge of God’s Word and understanding of His truth.


How we study the Bible, that is, the method used, largely determines the fruit of our Bible study. There are two primary methods, survey and analysis. Survey is observation. Good observation results in correct interpretation and profitable application. Also, analysis is difficult to make without first doing survey.  

1.     With survey you see the emphasis God wants to make.

  • By observing the total structure — Example: Ephesians 6:2 “The first commandment with promise.”
  • Learning not only what is said but also how. A sermon is different from a song, a story different from a list of laws, a genealogy different from a proverb.
  • Get a feel for the book’s atmosphere. Galatians is at times angry. Philippians is a joyful book.
  • The lessons we will learn come from this emphasis. We learn to emphasize what God wants to emphasize and not set our own agendas during Bible study.

2.     With survey you see the relation of the different books to each other.   

Reading Plan for the Survey through the end of Mark’s Gospel.

January 7 Matthew 1-2
January 8 Matthew 3-4
January 9 Matthew 5-7
January 10 Matthew 8-9
January 11 Matthew 10-11
January 12 Matthew 12-13
January 13 Matthew 14-15
January 14 Matthew 16-17
January 15 Matthew 18-19
January 16 Matthew 20-21
January 17 Matthew 22-23
January 18 Matthew 24-25
January 19 Matthew 26
January 20 Matthew 27-28
January 21 Mark 1-3
January 22 Mark 4-7
January 23 Mark 8-10
January 24 Mark 11-13
January 25 Mark 14
January 26 Mark 15-16


I.     Date – between 50 and 70 AD; Author – Matthew

 II.  “Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism” {Origen (ca. A.D. 185-254) quoted by Eusebius (ca. A.D. 265-339) in his Ecclesiastical History}.

  • Matthew quotes Old Testament prophetic passages more than 60 times emphasizing how Christ is the fulfillment of all those promises.
  • In contrast to other gospels, Matthew cites Jewish custom without explaining it.
  • He constantly refers to Christ as the “Son of David”.
  • He shows a strong interest in the Messianic kingdom mentioning the “kingdom of heaven” 32 times. His use of this phrase is unique in Scriptures. 

III.   Is Matthew applicable for the church today?

  • The recipients lived in the “church age”.
  • The purpose of the book is primarily doctrinal and secondarily practical. James’ epistle is a good example of how the doctrine taught in Matthew can be applied in our lives.
  • It is a mistake to treat the teachings of Jesus in the same way as we treat the law which was supplanted by the cross. Understanding the kingdom context should help us to know how to apply its teachings in today’s context rather than excusing us from taking the teachings seriously.  
  1. Matthew has five major teaching sections:  the Sermon on the Mount (5-7), the commissioning of the apostles (10), the kingdom parables (13), a discourse about the childlikeness of the believer (18), and the Olivet Discourse (24-25).
  2. The beginning of the book (1-4) establishes Jesus’ credentials and credibility.
  3. The ending of the book (28:16-20) shows how the disciples as well as the recipients of the gospel are to apply the truth of Christ.
  4. Key turning point:  Matthew 16:21, “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
  5. Matthew emphasizes the credibility of the historical Jesus as the Messiah. 

Historical Reliability of the New Testament August 22, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Bible, New Testament, Religion.
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I’ve been reading a book loaned to me by Larry. It is a good book and I had thought about reviewing it but then I came across this article by Craig Blomberg. This article does a great job explaining the historical reliability of the New Testament. By the way the book is “Fabricating Jesus” by Craig Evans. If the Da Vinci Code, the Gospels of Thomas and Judas, etc. bother you then both the article and the book are well worth reading.