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Ipswich Christadelphians

"Prove all things, hold fast what is good" 1Th 5:21

Short articles that give food for thought. Click on the '+' to review articles.

Women in Christ's Genealogy…

Women in Christ's Genealogy…

Women in Christ's Genealogy

  The women in Christ’s line…An extract from the Testimony Magazine, February 2016 There are four women mentioned in the genealogy of Christ as recorded by Matthew. It is suggested that they reflect the life in Christ of a baptised believer. &nbs hab, the harlot. Rahab lived in Jericho in a world so steeped in sin that it had to be totally destroyed. However, she heard of the might of the God of Israel and believed in the way that He had led His people Israel out of Egypt and throug…

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Keep Hanging On!…

Keep Hanging On!…

Keep Hanging On!

Every day we say things which are not to be taken literally. If we’re not feeling well, we might say that “We’re under the weather” or that we “Feel like death”. That’s just a colourful way of expressing our feelings, and everybody understands that. Literaurative? Smetaphors are used which have a quite different meaning when applied literally. We might say that “My heart stopped when I saw it!”, when we really mean that we were very shocked at something we had seen. But…

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The Prophet Isaiah…

The Prophet Isaiah…

Isaiah lived in the times of Uzziah, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah – about 740 to 680 BC. This was the period when the Assyrian Empire was growing in power, and Judah was about to be invaded by Sennacherib. Isaiah lived in royal circles (he was a great friend and advisor of King Hezekiah) and had a wife and children in Jerusalem. Isaiah is writing at a time of nations in decline, he is as it were sent at the 11th&n ur to speak to Israel. Basically the book can be divided into 3 rough s…

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Developing Bible Study Skills - 5…

Developing Bible Study Skills - 5…

David's input into Solomon's temple This study s designed to highlight a number of different aspects of Bible study, as follows: that Bible study is not difficult or the preserve of the intellectual the need to give careful attention to the text the value of comparing Scripture with Scripture the value of building up a picture from various scriptures the value of recording and preserving information found. &n  You will need: Bible with marginal references, concordance or compueriz…

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When the time is right…

When the time is right…

When the time is right

Sometimes things happen just because we are in the right place at the right time. Or, if it is something bad that happens, because we were in the wrong place at that very time. What if we had been born at a different time in the world’s history?&n  you had been born in the Middle Ages, just reading this website (had it been around at the time!) could have cost you your life. Many people were executed just because they wanted to read the Bible for themselves. At that time the Church held the m…

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Developing Bible Study Skills - 4…

Developing Bible Study Skills - 4…

  The Promise To David  This study is designed to highlight a number of different aspects of Bible study, as follows: that Bible study is not difficult or the preserve of the intellectual the need to give careful attention to the text the value of comparing Scripture with Scripture the value of following up quotations the value of recording and preserving information found. You will need: Bible with marginal references, concordance or computerized Bible There are two ac…

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Developing Bible Study Skills - 3…

Developing Bible Study Skills - 3…

Psalm 34 and David’s experiences This study is designed to highlight a number of different aspects of Bible study, as follows: at Bible study is not difficult or the preserve of the intellectualtrneed to give careful attention to the texttrimportance of contexttrvalue of comparing Scripture with Scripturetrvalue of recording and preserving information found. will need: &nbs e with marginal references; &nbs ordance or computerised Bible&nbs The title of Psalm 3…

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Developing Bible Study Skills - 2…

Developing Bible Study Skills - 2…

Developing Bible Study Skills - 2

  The death of Saul You will need a Bible, a Bible Atlas, a concordance.   Read 1 Samuel 31     This study is designed to highlight the following aspects of Bible study from the list given in Part 1: 1 show that Bible study is not difficult or the preserve of the intellectual show the need to give careful attention to the text reveal the value of knowing Biblical geography highlight the value of recording and preserving information found The Bi…

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Developing Bible Study Skills - 1…

Developing Bible Study Skills - 1…

Introduction This series of short articles is designed to demonstrate, by working through some simple pieces of Bible exposition, that Bible study is not just for the academic. It is hoped that any who read these short expositions will realise, if they have not done so already, that rewarding Bible study is within the grasp of us all. All that will be required to develop your own studies along similar lines will be a Bible, ideally with marginal cross-references; a good concordance or comp…

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Salvation from sin and death…

Salvation from sin and death…

Salvation from sin and death

  Criminal Convictions The original Guildhall at Lichfield probably goes back even further than 1421, the first recorded date. It was known to be the meeting place of the guild of St Mary and St John which was founded in 1387, hence its name the “Guildhall.” And the later use of part of the building as a prison is enough to send a chill down one’s spine. For in the times in question there was little mercy shown to suspected criminals; the only protection from the weather was the bars w…

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The Lamb of God…

The Lamb of God…

The Lamb of God

    It was John the Baptist who first made the connection. He had become a well-known figure in First Century Israel; a priest by birth who had become a reformer instead. Positioning himself by the River Jordan, instead of in the Temple at Jerusalem, he had summoned the nation to renew their vows and to enter into a new spiritual experience. They were to repent of their sins and be baptised in the Jordan. Coming Deliverer But, on his own admission, John was not the centre of the r…

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What's around the corner?…

What's around the corner?…

What's around the corner?

    Have you ever travelled along a twisting and narrow road hoping that there is no other vehicle approaching the same tricky corner at the same time? Or have you walked along a winding path wondering what you are going to see around the corner, hoping that you will get a new insight into how near you are to your journey’s end? rld Events Things that are happening in today’s world are a bit like that for some people. We seem to be turning a corner, but nobody is very sure what…

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One step at a time…

One step at a time…

One step at a time

Climbing steps is easy enough when you are young and fit but not so easy when you’re getting older and a bit stiff. Young people love to race up, partly to show what they can do at their age; older folk have learned that it’s surprising what you can accomplish if you take things one step at a time. r ChallengesLife can present us with some formidable challenges. We might have a crisis with our health, or with that of someone close to us. We could lose our job; have to move home; make…

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Coping with Change…

Coping with Change…

Coping with Change

 This is the time of year in Britain when it might snow. It might or it might not. The weather has been so unpredictable of late − 2012 being almost the wettest year since records began − that anything might happen. Some years it snows heavily; occasionally we get a very severe winter; but it could remain mild. It’s that unpredictability that makes it difficult to plan ahead so that everything carries on much as before, snow or no snow. ck! is well known that a light snowfall c…

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Felixstowe Talk…

Developing Bible Study Skills - 2

The death of Saul

You will need a Bible, a Bible Atlas, a concordance.

Read 1 Samuel 31

 

 

This study is designed to highlight the following aspects of Bible study from the list given in Part 1:

1 show that Bible study is not difficult or the preserve of the intellectual

2 show the need to give careful attention to the text

8 reveal the value of knowing Biblical geography

9 highlight the value of recording and preserving information found

The Biblical record informs us: “Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa” (1 Sam. 31:1). The Philistines “put [Saul’s] armour in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan” (v. 10). We learn also that “all the valiant men [from Jabesh-gilead] arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there” (v. 12).

Where it happened

SaulBattle

On reading the account of the death of Saul we realise that there are a number of pieces of geographical information given in the text. The first task is to become familiar with the location of the places named. A Bible atlas will provide that information, and the outline map above shows the locations of Beth-shan, Mount Gilboa, Jabesh-gilead, and Aphek, where the Philistines initially assembled (1 Sam. 29:1).

Mount Gilboa is in the Jezreel valley, close by where the Jezreel River enters the Jordan. Bethshan is a few miles south of the southern end of the Sea of Galilee, by the Jezreel River and close by Mount Gilboa. Jabesh-gilead is across the River Jordan to the southeast of Beth-shan. The journey from Jabesh-gilead to Beth-shan would be quite difficult as there would be the need to drop right down into the Jordan valley and then up the other side.

Beth-shan is about five miles from Mount Gilboa, whilst Jabesh-gilead is about thirty miles from Beth-shan. All these places are some distance from the area that we would normally consider to be Philistine territory. It is roughly fifty miles from Ashkelon to Dor along the coast, and then a further twenty-five miles from the coast at Dor to Mount Gilboa.

A look at a relief map of the land of Israel will show us that there is a coastal plain from the land of the Philistines up to Dor and then a valley running eastwards to join the Jezreel valley. As the Philistines had chariots (1 Sam. 13:5) it is easy to understand how and why they were able to travel up the coastal plain and right into the heart of the land of Israel.

The geographical data we have to hand provides us with a vital piece of information about the extent and location of Saul’s kingdom. As the Philistines were in control of the whole of the coastal plain and the Jezreel valley, we have to conclude that Saul’s kingdom was confined to the hill country down the central part of the land of Israel.

The information we have picked up from 1 Samuel 13:5 provides the explanation, in human terms, for the Philistines’ control of the coastal plain; chariots are not much use in the mountains. The truth of this can be seen from the comment regarding the time of the Judges: “And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron” (Judg. 1:19).

Jabesh-gilead and Saul

We are now left with the question, Why did the men of Jabesh-gilead recover the bodies of Saul and his sons? A review of the map will show us that the men of Jabesh-gilead actually went into occupied territory, thus risking their lives, to recover the bodies. Furthermore, the journey was not the asiest, due to the terrain. Posing the question in a slightly different form, we ask, Is there any information about Jabesh-gilead having an association with Saul which would provide an explanation for their actions?

Look up Jabesh-gilead in a concordance or computerized Bible.

A quick search in a concordance or a computerised Bible shows that ‘Jabesh-gilead’ occurs only twelve times in Scripture. Three of these occurrences are to do with the life of Saul (1 Sam. 11:1,9; 31:11). Now is a good time to read 1 Samuel 11 in full to remind ourselves of the details of the record, in particular the mention of Jabesh-gilead.

Read 1 Samuel 11

A review of 1 Samuel 11 shows that Saul delivered the men of Jabesh-gilead from the Ammonites at the beginning of his reign. This may provide the reason for their bravery. However, we should not restrict our analysis to this limited time period. Having made this link, we ask, Is there any relevant mention of Jabesh-gilead before the time of Saul?

The only occurrences of this place name before the days of Saul are to be found in Judges 21:8,9, 10,12 and 14. We should not disregard these references simply because we cannot see a link with Saul. As they are all in the same passage it will be easy to review them all and see if there is any pattern which might give us a further clue about the men of Jabesh-gilead and Saul. Now is a good time to read the whole of Judges 21. Take particular note of the place Jabesh-gilead in relation to the involvement of the tribe of Benjamin in the events recorded.

Read Judges 21

The chapter recounts the way in which the men of Benjamin, early in the time of the Judges, took wives from the daughters of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead after the tribe of Benjamin had been decimated over the matter of the Levite’s concubine. Is this relevant to the life and times of Saul?

The answer is, most probably, Yes. Given the nature of the relationship between the men of Benjamin and the maidens who lived in Jabesh-gilead, it is most probable that Saul’s ancestry would be able to be traced to a family in Jabesh-gilead.

So we can see that there are two probable reasons why the men of Jabesh-gilead would risk their lives travelling all night to recover Saul’s body. First, Saul had delivered them from the Ammonites, and second, Saul’s ancestry doubtless went back to Jabesh-gilead. We might conclude that Saul’s willingness to call all Israel to defend the men of Jabesh-gilead (1 Sam. 11) was due in part to his family links with that town.

Conclusions

We have seen in this short study that our discoveries have come simply from reflecting on the text of Scripture and looking for related passages. We have not needed any special skills other than an ability to ask questions and to look at maps. The benefits have come from a careful and thoughtful reading of the Bible text, and nothing else.

Record your findings

Having made these discoveries about the death of Saul, it is probable that we will not remember them. It will be valuable therefore to note our findings in some way. We must develop our own methods of recording our findings rather than use a method prescribed by others. Our method must fulfil some basic criteria:

• it must be easy to implement

• it must be easily understood

• the notes that we make must be readily accessible and not easily lost.

A method that works is to highlight marginal references and underline words. If the link is not found in the marginal references it is wise to write a note in the Bible margin clearly. Your Bible is the best place to note your discoveries, as then they will always be readily to hand when you read.

 

PART 3 

Acknowledgements:  http://www.testimony-magazine.org,

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