The Movie “Noah” – Assaulting God’s Children For Fun and Profit

English: A photo I personally took of Darren A...

English: A photo I personally took of Darren Aronofsky when he visited San Diego to talk about his upcoming movie “The Wrestler.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is official. We live in a world where “tolerance” for just about anything is heralded like it is the national motto. Almost everyone goes out of their way to be careful not to offend anyone about anything. That is, unless the group of people you are offending is Christians. Christians, it seems, are fair game for any sort of denigration, disrespect, ridicule – whatever suits you. Darren Aronofsky (director and co-writer) and company are shamelessly making a fortune at the expense of the sensibilities of Christians of today, and of Christians of days gone by. If he had made a comedy about all of the Christians that were murdered and even made into human torches in the time of the great persecution of the first century, I suppose that would have been worse. But not by much.

Never before can I remember being conscious of frowning so much during a movie. Never before can I remember becoming so angry at the makers of a film while watching it. I wanted to leave before it ended many times. But I forced myself to stay until the closing credits.

I wanted to like this film – truly I did. From the day when I first saw the previews, I had high hopes that at last a film was being made that might do justice to the story of the second biggest event since creation. Don’t get me wrong, I knew that it probably wouldn’t be true to God’s word. But I was willing to overlook a lot of that in hopes of seeing something besides a small fishing boat with a giraffe’s head poking out of  the top. What I got instead was about two hours of disregard for the truth, disrespect for God, and ridicule for believers of His word. It is unimaginable to me that Aronofsky’s intention was not to offend me, my brothers, and my sisters.

English: God's conversation with Noah. Series ...

English: God’s conversation with Noah. Series History of Noah. Français : Conversation de Dieu avec Noë. Série Histoire de Noë. Polski: Rozmowa Boga Ojca z Noem. Seria Dzieje Noego. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In fairness, there are some things that they did get right, whether by accident or just for the sake of good film segments. I would give them a “B-” on the animals making their way to the ark. There were far too many that appeared to be the same “kind,” in my opinion. But their appearance and entrance to the ark was spectacular. I would give a “C+” also on the size of the ark. Estimates are from the measurements in the bible that it was equal in volume to about 520 railroad cars. This one seemed much smaller, but it was quite massive nonetheless.

I would have to give them an “A” on many aspects of the flood, including an attempt at portraying the opening of the “fountains of the great deep” (Genesis 7:11). In fact, that was one of the things that had attracted me to the movie in the previews. And they get extra points for recognizing the flood as a global event (something that some of our own brethren cannot get right, believe it or not).

I perhaps could have gotten past the Nephilim. There is so much misunderstanding of this term (largely because of the bad translation of the King James version) that I suppose getting that part right would have been too much to ask in any case. But these guys appeared to be the product of J.R.R. Tolkien. At several points, I really thought the Hobbits might make an appearance.

For 120 years, Noah built the great ark, as God had commanded. Noah was an example of obedience (Genesis 6:14-22).

For 120 years, Noah built the great ark, as God had commanded. Noah was an example of obedience (Genesis 6:14-22).

Unfortunately, those creatures are not the worst of the errors and distortions of this movie. “The Creator” uses the big bang to create everything, and man’s presence is explained with the unscriptural viewpoint that we know as “theistic evolution.” But is the movie “Noah” as bad on the level of distortion and blasphemy as “The DaVinci Code?” Absolutely. God (who is only referred to as “the Creator” throughout the film) is depicted as being cruel and viscous.

And He doesn’t even give Noah the instructions he needs about what he is supposed to do or how he is supposed to do it.  Instead, Noah has to rely on his grandfather (Methuselah), who is represented as some sort of sorcerer (as if God would allow a practice He condemns to be used in such a purpose). And incredibly, the serpent’s shed skin is kept by Adam and Eve, and handed down through the generations as some sort of magic juju that they use to “bless” their families.

Noah is depicted as a murderous psychopath even at the beginning of the film, and it got worse (Genesis 6:9 says that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God“). And he purposely allows a girl who may have otherwise become his daughter-in-law to be brutally murdered. Noah himself comes very close to murdering his own infant grandchildren in their mother’s arms while on the ark. When he stops himself at the last minute, he declares that he has failed “the Creator” by not completing the task.

You see, Noah had figured out that “the Creator” was destroying man because of what they had done to the earth (not because of sin), and that he intended for the innocents (the animals) to be the only ones to ultimately survive. He and his family were to die off without reproducing. In the end, Noah decides to further “defy” the Creator, and it is his idea to tell his family to “be fruitful and replenish the earth.” The only time Noah prays is when he decides that he must murder his unborn grandchild if it is a girl. But who can blame him? Every time he looks up into the heavens asking “the Creator” what he is supposed to do, he gets no help at all.

After the flood ended Noah sent out a raven, then a dove, to search for dry land (Genesis 8:6-12).

After the flood ended Noah sent out a raven, then a dove, to search for dry land (Genesis 8:6-12).

There is much more that I could say about the distortion of scripture and the blasphemous nature of this film. In the end, one might say “what is the harm? It’s only a movie.” There is much harm. Anyone who does not know the truth, as well as those who have always thought of the Bible as a book of fairy tales, will from this Tolkien-esque abomination, see nothing but reinforcement of that opinion. Those Christians who themselves have never been taught the reality of the great flood will have every reason to have doubt cast on the scripture’s account, in light of this depiction.

I am not advocating a boycott of the film. For one thing, as is the case with most boycotts, it would be ineffective. But should a Christian go ahead and see this movie simply for its entertainment value? I do not believe so, and must recommend against doing so. We are expected to be “a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9) – not conformed to this world (Romans 12:2). I cannot see any justification for throwing financial support for something that openly contradicts God’s word and even His righteousness itself. There are better ways to entertain one’s self. And as far as Noah is concerned, I recommend the book. It’s much better.

I also recommend a secular book for anyone interested in some good analysis of the ark itself and the time Noah and his family spent with it – “Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study” by John Woodmorappe.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.

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O T Facts (First Book of Law) – Genesis

In this installment of our Old Testament Facts series, we will focus today on the first book of the Pentateuch – Genesis, the first “Book of Law.”   This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of events of this book.  Rather, it is presented as a summary of events that seem most relevant to worship of the Lord and the ultimate coming of Jesus the Christ.

Creation_003Genesis

The book of the beginning and of new beginnings

Genesis 1 – Creation of the universe

Genesis 2 – Adam and Eve created

Genesis 3 – “The fall” – sin enters the world; first promise of the Messiah (Gen 3:15)

Genesis 4 – Cain murders Abel

Genesis 6–9 – Noah and the flood

Mamre, near Hebron. Abraham's home at one time

Mamre, near Hebron. Abraham’s home at one time

Genesis 12 and 15 – God’s covenant with Abraham (promise of land, a “great nation” and the Messiah)

Genesis 21 – Birth of Isaac

Genesis 32:28, Gen 35 – God names Jacob “Israel” (meaning God fights)

Genesis 37 – Joseph sold into slavery

Genesis 41 – Joseph rises to power in Egypt under Pharoah

Genesis 46 – Joseph brings his family to Egypt, is reunited with Jacob

Tabernacle - arrangement of tribes

Tabernacle – arrangement of tribes

Genesis 48 – Jacob (Israel) blesses Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh, claims them as “his” (Gen 48:5-6), again favoring the younger (Ephraim) over the first-born (Genesis 48:14-20).

Genesis 49 – Jacob blesses his sons, but declares that Simeon and Levi (their descendants) will be scattered among the other tribes (Gen 49:5-7).  So the Twelve Tribes of Israel are named – to include Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 49:3-28).  Jacob’s death and burial (Genesis 49:29-50:14).

Genesis 50:22-26 – Death of Joseph – end of Genesis

/Bob’s boy

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image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Genesis 46 – Joseph Brings His Family to Egypt

The Lord tells Israel in verse 2 that Egypt is where he should now go, and where he will become a great nation. Remember, God had forbidden his father Isaac to go there during a previous famine (Gen 26:1-5).  So Jacob, his sons and daughters, and all of their families set out for Egypt.  The Lord, through Moses, remembers his sons – and their sons in the text; and verse 26 tells us that the number of Jacob’s descendants (not including his sons’ wives) was 66.  Add Israel himself, Joseph and his two sons, and there were 70 (verse 27).  That number will multiply by more that 80,000 – to over 600,000 at Sinai (Num 1:44-46) after Moses has led them out of Egypt in Exodus 12:51.

Joseph and Israel have an emotional reunion in Goshen, and Joseph reveals how they will be (for now) left to their own devices there in verses 31-34 because “every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians”.

(Side note: “Ferrell’s Travel Blog” has several articles, accompanied with some photographs, concerning Goshen.  Two that I find interesting are “Why were shepherds detestable to Egyptians?” and “The Land of Rameses“)

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
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image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

 

Genesis 45 – Joseph Provides for His Brothers and Family

Judah’s speech evokes high emotion in Joseph, and he finally reveals himself to his now speechless brothers.  When they were brought back to this governor accused of theft, they must have thought that life had turned about as badly as it could get.  Now they find out that this powerful ruler is the brother they sold into slavery!  But Joseph is quick to reassure them in verses 5 and 7 that God is working through him and intends to continue to do so through their descendants. This does not absolve them of their guilt, but it shows God’s power to use even the worst actions of men for good!

With Pharaoh’s pleasure, and even his own instruction for providing for them generously (verses 16-18), Joseph sends them back to bring their father, Israel and the rest of their families to Egypt to dwell in the land of Goshen.  Israel is unbelieving at first, but when convinced, is very happy (verse 28).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Robert
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image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

 

Genesis 44 – Joseph Tests His Brothers

When Joseph sends them away, he has his steward once again place their money in their sacks.  But this time, he has his silver cup placed in Benjamin’s bag and he has them followed, accused of theft, and brought back.  The brothers who have carried the burden of their guilt for so long are convinced that God himself has brought this on them for what they did to Joseph so many years ago.

Joseph tells them that the rest of them can go, but Benjamin will remain as his slave.  The brothers are purposely placed in the position of losing their younger brother – and facing Jacob’s (Israel’s) devastation.  Judah begins a passionate plea of repentance in verse 18, offering himself in his younger brother’s place.  Remember, it was Judah’s idea to have Joseph sold instead of killing him in Gen 37:26-28.

The change that has taken place in his brothers is no doubt what Joseph was looking (and hoping) for.

(Side note: Here is a link to a lengthy, but very interesting article from the publishers of “Bible and Spade” magazine calledThe Joseph Narrative (Genesis 37, 39–50)that includes information about Egyptian captives from Canaan)

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Preview – “Jumping Forward” to Exodus \ Feb Week 1 Summary Posted

Building Better Bible Habits

Three quick tips for making Bible reading a habit in your life

  • Plan – to keep the “appointment”
    • Set aside a time (maybe even a second, backup time) that is just for you to spend with the Lord each day.  Repetition, as with anything, is the key.  It takes 2-3 weeks of doing something regularly to make it a habit in your life.
  • “Arm” yourself – keep it handy!
    • I love reading from my regular “hold it in my hands” Bible.  But I make use of free Bible apps on my electronic devices, so no matter where I go I can use “down time” to read the Bible whenever I want.
  • Listening counts!
    • If you have never tried audio, give it a shot! It is a very handy way to get your “reading” in.  There are many resources for your PC, eReader, phone or tablet. Many of them pay for great voices to do the reading. YouVersion.com and ESVBible.org are just two of many providers.

Remember, even a little bit of reading any part of the Bible each day is better than none at all.   Hearing from the Lord is what matters!

As for this blog’s “jump” to Exodus:

We will move on from Genesis 46 on Wednesday, all the way to Exodus and the story of its author Moses.  Why skip so many chapters?  As this plan attempts to help us get the story of the Bible as a whole this year, some choices must be made as to where to move forward. That does not mean the chapters we will jump over are unimportant, though.  As the longest book of the Bible in terms of time-span, Genesis covers a couple thousand years; and it is proper to note that from the end of the book (chapter 50) to Exodus 1, about 400 years pass before the Lord’s word to us begins again.  This is because the events of those years were not what the Lord intended for Moses to relate to us for our instruction concerning salvation and the coming of the Messiah and our savior, Jesus Christ.  That story resumes in Exodus 1, where we will take it up on Thursday.

Summing Up

Each weekend, I am now posting a page-length PDF of one week of chapter summaries (on the website’s “Summaries” page), current to the beginning of the previous week.  I have posted the summary for Week 6 (February Week 1) of the schedule I am following.  This short PDF document contains condensed comments about Genesis chapters 29, 30, 31, 32 and 37, with hyperlinks to the ESV version of each chapter for listening or reading, and joins the summaries for other weeks already posted there.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 43 – Joseph’s Brothers Return to Egypt

The grain that Joseph’s brothers brought back from Egypt has run out.  Jacob (who is referred to as “Israel” more times in this chapter than previously) knows that the brothers must go back for more, but it is Judah who speaks up convinces his father to entrust Benjamin to him (verse 9).  In stark contrast to Reuben, he places the responsibility for the boy’s safety on his own shoulders; and Israel is resigned that there just is no choice, and fears he may not see them again (verse 14).  So he sends them with gifts and a double portion of money, and they return to Joseph.

When they are brought to Joseph’s house, their fears mount (verse 18), but instead of harsh treatment, they are fed and treated well.  Joseph’s love and compassion for his younger brother is great, and Benjamin receives five times the amount of food that his brothers get.  Joseph has plans for little brother.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 42 – Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt

With the famine in full swing now, Jacob  hears that there is grain for sale in Egypt and sends all of his sons except Benjamin to buy some.  Having already suffered the loss of Joseph, he is not willing to risk his youngest.  The brothers appear before their brother, who is the governor.  But Joseph was just a teenager the last time they saw him and they have no reason to think he may still be alive.  Moreover, this powerful “Egyptian” governor who speaks to them through an interpreter (verse 23) commands and receives respect from all of the hungry masses who come to him.  Joseph has no trouble recognizing them, however, as the dream he told them about in Gen 37:5 comes to pass in verse 6, and verse 9 tells us that he remembered those dreams as they bowed down to him.  He accuses them of being spies and has them confined for three days to show them his power.

Joseph then sends all but Simeon back to return with the younger brother they mentioned as proof they are not spies, holding Simeon “hostage” until they return.  When he sends them on their way, he does so with the grain they came for – and has their money placed back in their bags.  The discovery of the money brings great fear to them and to their father, Jacob, when they return.  Is this the work of God upon them for what they did to their brother (verse  28)?  If they were caught with it, what then?  Jacob has to wonder himself why they still have money – and perhaps, what has really become of Simeon.  And now they say they have to take Benjamin with them.  Reuben’s statement about his own sons in verse 37 would not exactly inspire Jacob to trust him with the safe return of his youngest.  Jacob flatly refuses to allow it (verse 38).

The brothers spoke to one another of their guilt concerning Joseph (and even of Joseph having begged in verse 21) as being the reason that this predicament fell on them, not knowing that “the governor” understood them.  Joseph then had turn away to weep, as he was keeping his hard front up to them.  Their sin is weighing heavily on them, as sin often does – and hearing so undoubtedly stirs many emotions in Joseph.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

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Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 41 – Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams

We come to a lengthy, but crucially important chapter of the Bible – two years after Pharaoh has his chief baker hanged.  Pharaoh has two dreams of his own.  When his wise men were unable to tell him what the dreams mean, his cupbearer (undoubtedly hoping to gain favor) had a sudden improvement in his memory, and told him about Joseph rightly predicting the baker’s fate and his own by interpreting their dreams.  So Joseph is quickly brought out of prison (verse 14), cleaned up, and brought before Pharaoh, who repeats his dreams to him.

Joseph is quick to point out before interpreting (verse 15), that it is God who will give Pharaoh the answers he is looking for, not Joseph himself.  Then throughout the interpretation, he makes it clear that God has shown Pharaoh through these dreams the reality of what He is about to do.  Joseph says that the “doubling” (verse 32) of the dreams (for they both mean the same thing) means that they will be fulfilled soon.  There will be seven years of great abundance, followed by seven years of severe famine.  He tells Pharaoh that he should appoint overseers over the land and take “one-fifth of the produce” from the plentiful years into reserves “so that the land may not perish through the famine” (verse 36).

So begins Joseph’s rise to power, as the Pharaoh decides that he will be that overseer.  He declares that Joseph will be second only to Pharaoh himself in all the land (verse 40).  To complete his acceptance as such in the land, Pharaoh gives him an Egyptian name (Zaphenath-paneah) and the hand of “Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On” in marriage.  It is from this marriage that Joseph’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim are born.  We will see these two names figure prominently throughout the Old Testament, as their descendants become the famed “half-tribes” destined to go with the descendants of Joseph’s 11 brothers, as the “Twelve Tribes of Israel” are led by Moses, and finally by Joshua to the Promised Land ~400 years later.

For now though, Joseph’s choice of names for the two in verses 51-52 (the name Manasseh ironically relates to “forget” and Ephraim sounds like the Hebrew for “make fruitful”) reflects his acknowledgement throughout the chapter that God is in control, and that by His power Joseph’s life has been blessed.

The boy who was 17 years old (in Gen 37:2) before his brothers threw him away is 30 years old when he begins with Pharaoh (verse 46); and after the famine began 7 years later, “all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth” (verse 57).

Now, thanks to God, the young Hebrew has just become the second most powerful man in the world!

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 40 – Joseph Interprets Two Prisoners’ Dreams

Joseph has already been in prison for a long enough time to have earned great confidence from his keeper,  and now he is joined by Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer and baker (roles important to any Pharaoh, should he not wish to be poisoned), who are imprisoned for an unnamed “offense against their lord of Egypt.”  These men would be accustomed to a better lifestyle and to having access to the magicians and “wise men” in Pharaoh’s court.  It would seem that the Lord has inspired them to be very curious about the dreams they have had; and the scripture tells us that these dreams did in fact each have its own interpretation (verse 5).

But now they have nobody to turn to in order to try to find out what these dreams mean.  Joseph, seeing their distress, persuades them to tell him about the dreams.  After hearing each one, he says “This is its interpretation” – as someone speaking with authority,  as indeed he was.  In verses 20-22 both prophecies are fulfilled, proving him correct (unfortunate for the baker).

But the cupbearer does not honor Joseph’s request to “remember” him to Pharaoh, and Joseph remains in prison.  But note his confidence that he can interpret those dreams, and the knowledge of where that gift comes from (verse 8).  After all he has endured – and still in prison, he clearly knows that God is helping him.

When circumstances in life are such that our own outlook seems dim, do we tend to wonder why the Lord has turned His back on us?  If we do our very best to serve Him, we can sometimes examine some of those times and see for ourselves how He has enriched us – or someone else through us.

In those situations, I have often found great comfort in the book of James, and am fond of the New American Standard version’s translation of James 1:2-4 ” Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert