Note: I am using the S.O.A.P. Bible study method (Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer) as well as reading each book word for word. While I am studying, I do my own prayer for each verse. I encourage you to pray your own prayer about these verses.
These studies are not a thorough walkthrough of the Bible (I would encourage you to still study on your own!). These are a few scriptures that jumped out at me as something I could use in my life today and want to show you how you can apply it to yours (not to mention the Bible is enormous!). I hope that explains why I leave some stories or scriptures out.
All scriptures are from the NKJV.
Book of Matthew Bible Study (Part 1)
I dove into the New Testament with eager eyes. Reading through the Old Testament can get a little laborious. Once you start reading about Jesus, boy does that excitement get going again!
Jesus came to give so much and teach us countless things that even this many years later – we can still apply to our 2017 lives. Isn’t that wondrous!
Through my book of Matthew Bible study, I was humbled, touched and inspired by reading about some of Jesus’ life and what He came here to teach us.
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
39 “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
I imagine it would have been amazing to be on Earth at the time when Jesus was alive and hear these teachings directly from Him. It’s a nice thought but it also was probably hard for them to grasp the things He was saying. Previously, they were told that it was okay to get even and vengeance was the way to go but along comes Jesus and says to turn the other cheek.
The rest of the passage goes on even further to add to the things we should let others do to us that we should not retaliate against. It may be hard, but if we want to follow Jesus, we need to put more practice into doing these things He’s told us we should.
Even though it’s hard to do, Jesus is telling us that the right thing to do is turn away from those who wrong you. When someone hurts us, it feels natural to want to hurt them back.
It’s so much better to take the high road. How many arguments are stopped by having to have the last word? None. Fights usually stop because someone chooses to “be the bigger person” and accept that somebody has to be more mature.
I myself struggle with not being kind enough in those moments of anger when I may feel hurt or wronged. It’s so easy to fire back, it may even make you feel retribution or some kind of false victory. In truth, you’re not doing yourself any favors in the sight of God and you’re also not shining your light to the other person either.
2 “Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
3 “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4 “that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
Mostly there are two kinds of giving:
- To get a reward.
- Because you have a generous heart and don’t seek anything in return. (This probably comes from learning God’s word)
You may give because God tells us that’s what we should do. But you still may find that deep down, you still want His rewards that He promises come from giving. It’s such a fine line to walk when we decide to give. But I find that the more you get comfortable with giving freely, the reward comes naturally.
It’s hard to give and not want to brag about it. You want others to see and validate your good works and get that pat on the back. But Jesus clearly tells us not to sound the trumpet. God knows when you give and He also knows why, which is infinitely more important.
All I could think of when reading this scripture is “random acts of kindness”. It was even going on my local news station the week I read this scripture. I’m so tired of seeing this on TV and social media – I even saw some cards set up at the library for kids to do an act of kindness.
If you think about this idea, it’s of the world – not God. God’s kindness shouldn’t be random and it definitely shouldn’t be put on Facebook so the world can “like” your post a thousand times (making you feel like Mother Teresa).
The ideas being thrown at you aren’t even really all that kind. Giving a stranger flowers or coffee isn’t a big charitable gift. If it’s not costing you much in time, effort or money, you need to be thinking bigger. How about going to serve food at your local shelter? And not take a selfie of you and the homeless guy and post it on Instagram.
You don’t need anyone’s validation of your giving other than the one who told us to give in the first place. Let’s stop broadcasting the kindness and take it with us wherever we go. People will start to notice, trust me. It’s always a surprise to find someone out in public with good manners anymore, let alone someone who does something truly kind and out of their way.
23 “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
There are many different kinds of faith. There are different levels of our own spirituality. But to gain the most benefit, we need to absorb and understand the word. I think this is one of the top argued points among believers – what the word actually says. The benefit is awesome for those who take the word and study it to gain the true meaning, bearing fruit and eventually producing a hundredfold.
Reading the word is the starting point. From there, we need to listen and hold those words on our heart. If you don’t understand a passage, read it again slowly, ask questions and ask God to reveal its true meaning. That’s the only way we can grow as believers. We can listen to pastors (or even bloggers, like me) give their interpretation but the best thing you can do is see for yourself.
I do believe scripture can mean different things to different people. There are some that are point blank rules or something God was crystal clear on. But there are instances where you can apply a scripture to a situation differently because of the knowledge you have that someone else doesn’t.
The rest of that parable says that receiving the word other than on “good ground” has terrible consequences. If we’re not careful, the deceit of the world will steal away our ability to be fruitful.
I’m glad you came along with me today for this book of Matthew Bible study. I hope you found something that spoke to you. I pray for you to dive into the Bible without fear, knowing that you will increase your knowledge of God through reading His word. May you continue to grow and be humble while you walk along with Christ, forever improving.
Continue to Part 2.