1SAMUEL 11-12:Yesterday we heard of the way God arranged for Saul to meet Samuel, and how God revealed amazing details to Samuel about what would happen to Saul in the short term. Saul became king. It is such a shame that Saul fulfilled the earlier prophecy given by Samuel a few chapters back, rather than continuing to be humble like he was at the start of his reign. PSALM 96:EC Olsen’s chapter on this psalm is entitled, “A Psalm which ought to give every living person a thrill!!” He’s right. This psalm is like vitamins for the soul. This is one of the most loved of all psalms. ROMANS 4a:Yesterday Paul arrived at the first explanation of his main point in 3:23-31. This happens to be a difficult passage to translate. GNT and NLT do a great job making many difficult concepts clear. You might particularly compare verses 23 and 26 with a literal translation. GNT Translation notes:Rom. 4:3 The scripture says, “Abraham believed God, and because of his [belief//faith] God accepted him as righteous.” 5 But those who depend on [believing//faith], not on deeds, and who believe in the God who declares the guilty to be innocent, it is this [believing//faith] that God takes into account in order to put them right with himself. 6 This is what David meant when he spoke of the happiness of [a//the] person whom God accepts as righteous, apart from anything [the//that] person does:9 Does this happiness that David spoke of belong only to those who are circumcised? No indeed! It belongs also to those who are not circumcised. For we have quoted the scripture, “Abraham believed God, and because of his [belief//faith] God accepted him as righteous.”11 He was circumcised later, and his circumcision was a sign to show that because of his [believing//faith] [before he had been circumcised//0] God had accepted him as righteous [0//before he had been circumcised]. And so Abraham is the spiritual father of all who believe in God and are accepted as righteous by him, even though they are not circumcised. 12 He is also the father of those who are circumcised, that is, of those who, in addition to being circumcised, also live the same life of [believing//faith] that our father Abraham lived before he was circumcised.14 For if what God promises is to be given to those who obey the Law, then [our believing//faith] means nothing and God's promise is worthless. 16 And so the promise was based on [believing//faith], in order that the promise should be guaranteed as God's free gift to all of Abraham's descendants—not just to those who obey the Law, but also to those who believe as Abraham did. For Abraham is the spiritual father of us all; [Here is my new attempt at rendering the meaning of this verse:]16 So the promise is received by [believing//faith]. It is given as a free gift. And if we become Abraham’s spiritual children by believing like Abraham did, we are certain to receive it— whether or not we live by the Law of Moses. For Abraham is the father of all who believe.]17 as the scripture says, “I have made you father of many nations.” So the promise is [valid//good] in the sight of God, in whom Abraham believed—the God who brings the dead to life and whose command brings into being what did not exist. NLT Translation notes:Rom. 4:3 For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his [fully believing//faith].”4 When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned.5 But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their [believing//faith] in God who forgives sinners. 9 Now, is this blessing only for the Jews, or is it also for uncircumcised [non-Jews//Gentiles]? Well, we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his [fully believing//faith].11 Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had [believed//faith] and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous—even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have [believed//faith] but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their [fully believing//faith]. 12 And Abraham is also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised, but only if they [believe the same way Abraham did//have the same kind of faith Abraham had] before he was circumcised.13 Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by [fully believing//faith].14 If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then [believing//faith] is not necessary and the promise is pointless.16 So the promise is received by [believing//faith]. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we [believe like Abraham did//have faith like Abraham’s]. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. [Here is my new attempt at rendering the meaning of this verse:] So the promise is received by [believing//faith]. It is given as a free gift. And if we become Abraham’s spiritual children by believing like Abraham did, we are certain to receive it— whether or not we live by the Law of Moses. For Abraham is the father of all who believe.]19 And [Abraham did not weaken in his belief//Abraham’s faith did not weaken], even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his [believing//faith] grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. 22 And because of [Abraham fully believing God’s promise//Abraham’s faith], God counted him as righteous.25 [Jesus/He] was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.
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