fbpx

Posts by Bryan Murawski

Isaiah 8 in the New Testament

One area I love to study but rarely have time to explore thoroughly in a sermon is the New Testament’s use of the Old Testament.  The NT seems to love Isaiah 8, quoting the chapter no less than four times in three different books. Here are a few charts comparing the NT’s use of Isaiah 8 (all Scripture in ESV).  I have highlighted the text that is quoted in both the original and quoting source and will offer minimal comment…

Does Isaiah 7:15-16 Teach An Age of Accountability?

Does the Bible teach an “age of accountability”?  This phrase refers to the belief that before a certain age, children are not held accountable by God to their sinful nature since they do not yet have the ability to understand their need to place their faith in Jesus as their Savior.  Usually, discussion on the age of accountability relates to God allowing children who die under this age to go to Heaven even though they have not actually accepted Christ…

Isaiah 5: Isaiah among the Prophets

Readers of the OT prophets will sometimes notice that oftentimes a prophet’s words will sound similar to other prophecies made by other prophets.  There is much evidence of overlapping messages between the prophets of Israel.  Isaiah is no exception. In Isaiah 5:13, the prophet writes, “Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst” (all Scripture in ESV).  Isaiah threatened the people of Judah with exile due…

Isaiah 4 – Connections with Psalm 132

In my sermon on Isaiah 4, I explored several connections “branching” out from 4:2 (pun intended), including connections in Jeremiah 23, Zechariah 3 and 6, and even Isaiah 11.  One connection I wasn’t able to dig into in the sermon was Psalm 132, which offers a number of thematic connections with Isaiah 4. This psalm does not use the phrase “Branch of the LORD,” but you’ll find several connections to Isaiah’s words within the short hymn.  The psalm begins by…

Isaiah 3 – Connections and Quirks of the Text

A good study of a biblical text will produce more insight than a preacher can ever share in a single sermon.  Here are a few connections and quirky traits of Isaiah 3 that did not make my sermon: Isaiah 3 predicts a time of coming exile as judgment against Judah’s sin.  Particularly, Isaiah focuses on the social upheaval and reversal of fortunes for the leadership in the land.  A few connections with the book of Lamentations caught my attention.  Keep…

Isaiah 2:2-5 // Micah 4:1-5

Note: All Scripture in NASB. *Black font indicates identical Hebrew language; gray font indicates differences; red font notes where “peoples” and “nations” are switched in Hebrew. **In a number of places, the NASB is inconsistent with the translation from the Hebrew. In these places, the Hebrew is identical and the English translation slightly differs. Examples: “Now” and “And” in the opening sentence both translate vav. “Concerning” and “about” in Isa 2:3//Mic 4:2 are the same in Hebrew. “Learn” and “train…

Isaiah 1b – What Does God Hate?

We like to think about God as a loving God.  And he is.  1 John says it twice: “God is love” (4:8, 16).  2 Corinthians 13:11 calls God “the God of love.”  The testimony of Scripture is clear that God is a God of love. But it may come as a surprise to some Christians that the God of love… hates.  But isn’t hatred a sin?  Not when it is directed at sin. Isaiah 1:10-31 speaks against religious hypocrisy.  The…

Isaiah 1a – 58 Years of Faithful Ministry

Ministry longevity is something to be valued.  Unfortunately, fewer pastors boast decades of ministry in the pulpit, much less to a single church.  I consider those I studied with in Bible college and seminary and very few of them still pastor (though many are still involved in ministry in some form). In my sermon on Isaiah 1:1-9, I mentioned that—at the very least—Isaiah ministered faithfully for 58 years.  Nearly six decades of ministry! Where did that number come from?  There…

Hebrews 13c – Big Ideas in Hebrews

At the end of each sermon series, I like to collect together all the “Big Ideas” of each sermon and reflect on the entire book as a whole.  Skim down through each Big Idea and see if you can notice some of the main themes and emphases in this magnificent book!  (For two sermons, I did not have a formal Big Idea, mainly because the original intent was to preach it with the passage before or after and the original…

Hebrews 13:7 – Who Are Our “Leaders”?

The word “leader” can mean many different things.  It can refer to the leader of a country or the leader of a team of employees.  One can be a leader in the game, “Follow the Leader” or one can be the leader of a sports team with most points scored. So what does the Preacher mean in Hebrews 13:7 when he says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God.  Consider the outcome of their way…

Hebrews 12b – A Hidden Allusion in Hebrews

Hebrews is a book well-known for its many overt quotations of the Old Testament.  Usually the author announces such references with explicit lead-in statements like, “he said” or “it has been testified somewhere.”  They usually aren’t hard to miss! Occasionally, though, with someone as saturated in OT thought as the Preacher in Hebrews, allusions can slip by almost unnoticed.  In Hebrews 12:12-13, the Preacher writes, “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for…

Hebrews 11:35 – Heaven is Better than Bacon

How great is Heaven?  The author of Hebrews might give us a clue. In Hebrews 11, the anonymous writer recites dozens of examples of men and women of faith.  In verse 35, he writes, “Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life” (ESV). Though most (if not all) the examples given in Hebrews 11 point to people in the Old Testament, many Bible scholars believe that this verse possibly refers to…

The Structure of Hebrews 11

Hebrews 11 offers a simple structure that helps organize the material in a nice, orderly fashion.  Yet it still throws in a few surprises along the way that serve to highlight some of the author’s main points. A cursory reading of the text will show 18 times when the author begins a sentence, “By faith.” 11:3 – “By faith we…” 11:4 – “By faith Abel…” 11:5 – “By faith Enoch…” 11:7 – “By faith Noah…” 11:8 – “By faith Abraham…”…

Hebrews 10b – Closing the Gap with 4:14-16

After reading Hebrews 10:19-25, you might feel like you’ve heard some of this before.  That’s because you have!  Hebrews 4:14-16 sounds remarkably familiar, paralleling much of the language in 10:19-25 in what scholars call an “inclusio.”  The effect frames the material in between, wrapping up a long, detailed argument. I did a textual comparison between the two texts (using NASB for the English).  Studying this, you can see how carefully the two texts parallel each other in their main thoughts…

A Double Parallel: Hebrews 9:20 // Exodus 24:8 // Matthew 26:28

Most times when we quote another source, that quote is singular: we want our audience to think about one reference.  Whether we quote a movie, a book, or a music lyric, our quotes tend to be singular and—let’s be honest—usually superficial. The author of Hebrews, however, often has multiple layers to his references.  Consider the quote in Hebrews 9:20.  I’ll give you the verse before as well for context: “For when every commandment of the law had been declared by…

Hebrews 9a – What Was in the Ark of the Covenant?

What was in the Ark of the Covenant?  Hebrews 9:4 reads, “the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant” (all Scripture ESV).  Here, the author of Hebrews lists three items that were “in” the Ark: a golden urn holding manna, Aaron the high priest’s staff and the tablets of the 10 Commandments. It seems so straightforward.  But…

Hebrews 8 – The Relationship between Israel and the Church: An Analogy

The quotation and application of the New Covenant from Jeremiah 31 in Hebrews 8 encourages us to consider the relationship between Israel and the Church.  Jeremiah 31:31-34 clearly and emphatically speaks of the recipients of the New Covenant as Israel (“I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah”; vs 31; cf vs 33; ESV translation used throughout).  The New Testament, however, broadens the application of the covenant to the church, including Gentile…

Hebrews 7b – 10 Reasons Why Jesus’s Priesthood is Greater Than the Levitical Priesthood

In my sermon on Hebrews 7:11-28, I noted 10 reasons why Jesus’s priesthood is greater than the Levitical priesthood.  I’ll also throw in here three bonus topics that I had to cut from the sermon due to time and pacing. Here are the 10 reasons why Jesus’s priesthood is greater, along with the verse references: 1) The new priesthood obtained perfection (7:11) 2) The new priesthood changed the Law (7:12) 3) The new Priest is indestructible (7:16) 4) The new…

Hebrews 6b: Are You the Only One Who Holds That View, Pastor?

I was taught in seminary that if you ever come up with a totally new view while studying Scripture, you should study harder.  It’s not that pastors never have new thoughts, but after 2000 years of Bible study, a genuinely new thought is sometimes hard to come by. After my sermon last week on Hebrews 6, where I presented five views on the passage, then argued for one of them, I had a few people ask me, “Are you the…