Just for interest’s sake: a look at how the sixteenth verse of the third chapter of every book of the Bible (where such a reference is applicable) provides a surprisingly useful snapshot, a different way of looking at the “Bible in a nutshell.” I’ve already done this for the New Testament, so here we go, from Genesis to Malachi. Some of the results will seem a bit bizarre, but it’s quite remarkable the extent to which the overall thrust of each particular writing is encapsulated in this seemingly semi-random fashion. (All scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version [NRSV]):
To the woman he said,
”I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children,
yet your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.“
”Go and assemble the elders of Israel, and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying: I have given heed to you and to what has been done to you in Egypt.“
Then the priest shall turn these into smoke on the altar as a food offering by fire for a pleasing odor.
All the fat is the LORD’s.
So Moses enrolled them according to the word of the LORD, as he was commanded.
And to the Reu´ben‧ītes and the Gad´ītes I gave the territory from Gil´e‧ad as far as the Wadi Ar´non, with the middle of the wadi as a boundary, and up to the Jab´bok, the wadi being boundary of the Am´mon‧ītes;
…the waters flowing from above stood still, rising up in a single heap far off at Adam, the city that is beside Za´re‧than, while those flowing toward the sea of the Ar´a‧bah, the Dead Sea, were wholly cut off. then the people crossed over opposite Jericho.
Ē´hud made for himself a sword with two edges, a cubit in length; and he fastened it on his right thigh under his clothes.
She came to her mother-in-law, who said, ”How did things go with you, my daughter?“ Then she told her all that the man had done for her,
1 Samuel 3:16
But Ē´lī called Samuel and said, ”Samuel, my son.“ He said, ”Here I am.“
2 Samuel 3:16
But her husband went with her, weeping as he walked behind her all the way to Ba‧hū´rim. Then Abner said to him, ”Go back home!“ So he went back.
1 Kings 3:16
Later, two women who were prostitutes came to the king and stood before him.
2 Kings 3:16
And then he said, ”Thus says the LORD, ‘I will make this wadi full of pools.’
1 Chronicles 3:16
The descendants of Je‧hoi´a‧kim: Jec‧on‧ī´ah his son, Zed‧e‧kī´ah his son;
2 Chronicles 3:16
He made encircling chains and put them on the tops of the pillars; and he made one hundred pomegranates, and put them on the chains.
Ezra [3rd chapter has only 13 verses]
After him Nē‧he‧mī´ah son of Az´buk, ruler of half the district of Beth-zur, repaired from a point opposite the graves of David, as far as the artificial pool and the house of the warriors.
Esther [chapter 3 has 15 verses; as a bonus, here’s 4:1] When Mor´de‧caī learned all that had been done, Mor´de‧caī tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went through the city, wailing with a loud and bitter cry;
Or why was I not buried like a stillborn child,
like an infant that never sees the light?
Psalms 3 has 8 verses
Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
Moreover I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, wickedness was there, and in the place of righteousness, wickedness was there as well.
The Song of Solomon [chapter 3 has 11 verses]
The LORD said:
Because the daughters of Zion are haughty
and walk with outstretched necks,
glancing wantonly with their eyes,
mincing along as they go,
tinkling with their feet;
And when you have multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, says the LORD, they shall no longer say, “The ark of the covenant of the LORD.” It shall not come to mind, or be remembered, or missed; nor shall another one be made.
He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
and made me cower in ashes;
At the end of seven days, the word of the LORD came to me:
Shad´rach, Me´´shach, and A‧bed´ne‧gō answered the king, “O Ne‧bū‧chad‧nez´zar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter.
Hosea [chapter 3 has 5 verses]
The LORD roars from Zion,
and utters his voice from Jerusalem,
and the heavens and the earth shake.
But the LORD is a refuge for his people,
a stronghold for the people of Israel.
Amos [chapter 3 has 15 verses]
Obadiah [has just one chapter]
Jonah [chapter 3 has just 10 verses]
Micah [chapter 3 has 12 verses]
You increased your merchants
more than the stars of the heavens.
The locust sheds its skin and flies away.
I hear, and I tremble within;
my lips quiver at the sound.
Rottenness enters into my bones,
and my steps tremble beneath me.
I wait quietly for the day of calamity
to come upon the people who attack us.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands grow weak.
Haggai [has 2 chapters]
Zecharaiah [chapter 3 has 10 verses]
Then those who revered the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who revered the LORD and thought on his name.
I’ve been wanting to do this exercise for some time. It’s hard to find anyone, at least among churchgoers, who cannot quote, or at least recognize, John 3:16, which in my memory runs as follows: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. It’s a bit interesting, though, to go through other books of the Bible and pick out the sixteenth verse of the third chapter. I’ll save the Old Testament results for later, but here’s what the list looks like in the New Testament. All verses here are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). It gives a surprisingly well-rounded mini-overview of New Testament teaching.
And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending on him like a dove and alighting upon him.
And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy.
John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.
…ruin and misery are in their paths,
1 Corinthians 3:16
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
2 Corinthians 3:16
…but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.
Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring; it does not say, ”And to offsprings,“ as of many; but it says ”And to your offspring,“ that is, to one person, who is Christ.
I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit,
Only let us hold fast to what we have attained.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God.
1 Thessalonians [chapter 3 has only eleven verses]
2 Thessalonians 3:16
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with all of you.
1 Timothy 3:16
Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great:
He was revealed in flesh,
vindicated in spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the Gentiles,
taken up in glory.
2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
Titus [chapter 3 has only fifteen verses]
Philemon has only one chapter, but as a bonus here is verse 16:
…no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother —especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
Now who were they who heard and yet were rebellious? Was it not all those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses?
For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.
1 Peter 3:16
…yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame.
2 Peter 3:16
…speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.
1 John 3:16
…for all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches—comes not from the Father but from the world.
2 John contains just 13 verses.
3 John contains just 15 verses.
Jude consists of just one chapter.
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
Another biblical exercise: here I’m gathering together in one place just those passages in which Jesus asks a question. Warning: Of necessity, this means taking these verses out of their context. If any of these questions here listed seem surprising or confusing, the reader is urged to look at it in context, in your favorite version. I’m going to do this for all four gospels, and then eventually go to another series, namely, Questions Jesus Answered, and perhaps yet another, Questions Jesus Never Answered. Let’s get started (quotations from the NRSV, emphasis added to highlight just the questions.)
From The Gospel According to Matthew:
Matthew 5:13: You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?
Matthew 5:46: For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Matthew 5:47: And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Matthew 6:25b: Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Matthew 6:26: Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Matthew 6:27: And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?
Matthew 6:28: And why do you worry about clothing?
Matthew 6:30: But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
Matthew 7:3: Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?
Matthew 7:4: Or how can you say to your neighbor, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” while the log is in you own eye?
Matthew 7:9: Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone?
Matthew 7:10: Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake?
Matthew 7:11: If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him?
Matthew 7:16b: Are grapes gathered from thorns, of figs from thistles?
Matthew 8:26: And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?”
Matthew 9:4: But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil thoughts in your hearts?”
Matthew 9:5: “For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’?”
Matthew 9:15: And Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they?”
Matthew 9:28a: when he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
Matthew 10:29: Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
Matthew 11:7-9: As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
Matthew 12:3: He said to them, ”Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?
Matthew 12:5: Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests in the temple break the sabbath and yet are guiltless?
Matthew 12:11: He said to them, “Suppose one of you has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath; will you not lay hold of it and lift it out?”
Matthew 12:26-27: If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I cast out demons by Bē·el´ze·bul, by whom do your own exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.
Matthew 12:29: Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property, without first tying up the strong man? Then indeed the house can be plundered.
Matthew 12:34: You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Matthew 12:48: But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”
Matthew 13:51: “Have you understood all this?” they answered, “Yes.”
Matthew 14:31: Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Matthew 15:3: He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”
Matthew 15:16: Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding?”
Matthew 15:34: Jesus asked them, “How many loaves have you?” They said, Seven, and a few small fish.“
Matthew 16:8-11: And becoming aware of it, Jesus said, ”You of little faith, why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How could you fail to perceive that I was not speaking about bread? Beware of the yeast of the Pha´ri·sees and Sad´dū·cees!“
Matthew 16:13: Now when Jesus came into the district of Caes·a·rē´a Phi·llip´pī, he asked his disciples, ”Who do people say that the Son of Man is?“
Matthew 16:15: He said to them, ”But who do you say that I am?“
Matthew 16:26: For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?
Matthew 17:17: Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.”
Matthew 17:25: He [Peter] said, “Yes, he does.” And when he came home, Jesus spoke of it first, asking, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their children or from others?“
Matthew 18:12: What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?
Matthew 19:4: He answered, ”Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?“
Matthew 19:17: And he said to him, ”Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.“
Matthew 20:21a: And he said to her, ”What do you want?“
Matthew 20:22a: But Jesus answered, ”You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?“
Matthew 20:32: Jesus stood still and called them, saying, ”What do you want me to do for you?“
Matthew 21:16b: Jesus said to them, ”Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise for yourself’?“
Matthew 21:25a: Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?
Matthew 21:-31a: What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?
Matthew 21:40: Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?
Matthew 21:42: Jesus said to them, ”Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’?
Matthew 22:18: But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites?”
Matthew 22:20: Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?”
Matthew 22:31-32: And as for the resurrection of the dead,have you not read what was said to you by God, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob“? He is God not of the dead, but of the living.
Matthew 22:42-45: ”What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?“ They said to him, ”The son of David.“ He said to them, ”How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, ”Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet: ‘? If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?“
Matthew 24:2: Then he asked them, ”You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.“
Matthew 26:10: But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, ”Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me.“
Matthew 26:40: Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ”So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?“
Matthew 26:45: Then he came to the disciples and said to them, ”Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.“
Matthew 26:53-54: Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?
Matthew 26:55: At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me.”
Matthew 27:46: And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Ē´lī, Ē´lī, le·ma´ sa·bach´tha·nī?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
As above, from the Gospel According to Mark:
Mark 2:8-9: At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’?”
Mark 2:19: Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.”
Mark 2:25: And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food?”
Mark 3:4: Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent.
Mark 3:23: And he called to them, and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan?”
Mark 3:33-35: And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ”Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.“
Mark 4:13: And he said to them, ”Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables?“
Mark 4:21: He said to them, ”Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lampstand?“
Mark 4:30: He also said, ”With what can we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?“
Mark 4:40: He said to them, ”Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?“
Mark 5:9: Then Jesus asked him, ”What is your name?“ He replied, ”My name is Legion; for we are many.“
Mark 5:30: Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ”Who touched my clothes?“
Mark 6:38: And he said to them, ”How many loaves have you? Go and see.“ When they had found out, they said, ”Five, and two fish.“
Mark 7:18-19: He said to them, ”Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, hot the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?“ (Thus he declared all foods clean.)
Mark 8:5: He asked them, ”How many loaves do you have?“ They said, ”Seven.“
Mark 8:12: And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, ”Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.“
Mark 8:17-21: And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, ”Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?“ They said to him, ”Twelve.“ ”And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?“ And they said to him, ”Seven.“ Then he said to them, ”Do you not yet understand?“
Mark 8:23: He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, ”Can you see anything?“
Mark 8:27: Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caes·a·rē´a Phi·llip´pī; and on the way he asked his disciples, ”Who do people say that I am?“
Mark 8:29: He asked them, ”But who do you say that I am?“ Peter answered him, ”You are the Messiah.“
Mark 8:36-37: For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?
Mark 9:12-13: He said to them, ”E·lī´jah is indeed coming first to restore all things. How then is it written about the Son of Man, that he is to go through many sufferings and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that E·lī´jah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written about him.“
Mark 9:16: He asked them, ”What are you arguing about with them?“
Mark 9:19: He answered them, ”You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.“
Mark 9:21: Jesus asked the father, ”How long has this been happening to him?“ And he said, ”From childhood.“
Mark 9:33: Then they came to Ca·per´na·um; and when he was in the house he asked them, ”What were you arguing about on the way?“
Mark 10:3: He answered them, ”What did Moses command you?“
Mark 10:17: Jesus said to him, ”Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.“
Mark 10:36: And he said to them, ”What is it you want me to do for you?“
Mark 10:38: But Jesus said t them, ”You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?“
Mark 10:51: Then Jesus said to him, ”What do you want me to do for you?“ The blind man said to him, ”My teacher, let me see again.“
Mark 11:17: He was teaching and saying, ”Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.“
Mark 11:29-30: Jesus said to them, ”I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin? Answer me.“
Mark 12:9: What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others.
Mark 12:10-11: Have you not read this scripture: ”The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes“?
Mark12:15b: But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, ”Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me see it.“
Mark 12:16: And they brought one. Then he said to them, ”Whose head is this, and whose title?“ They answered, ”The emperor’s.“
Mark 12:24: Jesus said to them, ”Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?“
Mark 12:26: And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?
Mark 13:2: Then Jesus asked him, ”Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.“
Mark 14:6: But Jesus said, ”Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me.“
Mark 14:37: He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ”Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour?“
Mark 14:41: He came a third time and said to them, ”Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.“
Mark 14:48: Then Jesus said to them, ”Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit?“
Mark 15:34: At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ”Ē´lō·ī, Ē´lō·ī, le·ma´ sa·bach´tha·nī?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
As above, from the Gospel According to Luke
Luke 2:49: He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must *be in my Father’s house?” *Or, be about my Father’s interests?
Luke 5:33-34: When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’?“
Luke 5:34: Jesus said to them, ”You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you?“
Luke 6:3-4: Jesus answered, ”Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?“
Luke 6:9: Then Jesus said to them, ”I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?“
Luke 6:32: If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
Luke 6:33: If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
Luke 6:34: If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
Luke 6:39: He also told them a parable: ”Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?
Luke 6:41: Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?
Luke 6:42: Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.
Luke 6:46: Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?
Luke 7:24: When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind?
Luke 7:25: What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who put on fine clothing and live in luxury are in royal palaces.
Luke 7:26: What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
Luke 7:31: To what shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like?
Luke 7:44: Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, ”Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.“
Luke 8:25: He said to them, ”Where is your faith?“ They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, ”Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?“
Luke 8:30: Jesus asked him, ”What is your name?“ He said, ”Legion“; for many demons had entered him.
Luke 8:45: Then Jesus asked, ”Who touched me?“ When all denied it, Peter said, ”Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.“
Luke 9:18: Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, ”Who do the crowds say that I am?“
Luke 9:20: He said to them, ”But who do you say that I am?“ Peter answered, ”The Messiah of God.“
Luke 9:25: What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?
Luke 9:41: Jesus answered, ”You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.“
Luke 10:15: And you, Ca·per´na·um, will you be exalted to heaven? No you will be brought down to Hades.
Luke 10:26: He said to him, ”What is written in the law? What do you read there?
Luke 10:36: Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?
Luke 11:11: Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish?
Luke 11:12: Or if the child asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
Luke 11:13: If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
Luke 11:18: If Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? —for you say that I cast out the demons by Bē·el´ze·bul.
Luke 11:19: Now if I cast out the demons by Bē·el´ze·bul, by whom do your exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.
Luke 11:40: You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?
Luke 12:6: Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight.
Luke 12:14: But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?”
Luke 12:42: And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and prudent manager whom his master will put in charge of his slaves, to give them their allowance of food at the proper time?”
Luke 12:56: You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
Luke 12:27: And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?
Luke 13:2: He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans?”
Luke 13:4: Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Si·lō´am fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem?
Luke 13:15: but the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water?
Luke 13:16: And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?
Luke 14:3: And Jesus asked the layers and Pha´ri·sees, ”Is it lawful to cure people on the sabbath, or not?
Luke 14:5: Then he said to them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that has fallen into a well, will you not immediately pull it out on a sabbath day?”
Luke 14:28: For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?
Luke 14:31: Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand?
Luke 14:34: Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?
Luke 16:11: If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?
Luke 16:12: And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?
Luke 17:7: Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’?
Luke 17:8: Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you amy eat and drink’?
Luke 17:9: Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded?
Luke 18:7: And will not God grand justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them?
Luke 18:8: I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?“
Luke 18:41: ”What do you want me to do for you?“ He said, ”Lord, let me see again.“
Luke 20:4: Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?
Luke 20:17: But he looked at them and said, ”What then does this text mean: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?
Luke 20:24: “Show me a denarius. Whose head and whose title does it bear?” They said, “The emperor’s.”
Luke 22:27: For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
Luke 22:35: He said to them, “When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “No, not a thing.”
Luke 22:48: But Jesus said to him, “Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?”
Luke 22:52: Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit?
Luke 24:17-19a: And he said to them, ”What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?“ They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Clē´o·pas, answered him, ”Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?“ He asked them, ”What things?“
Luke 24:26: Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?
Luke 24:38: He said to them, ”Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?“
Luke 24:41: While in their joy they were disbelieving and wondering, he said to them, ”Have you anything here to eat?“
Questions Jesus asked from the Gospel of John.
John 1:38a When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?”
John 1:50 Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.”
John 2:4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”
John 3:10 Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?”
John 3:12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
John 4:35 Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting.
John 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”
John 5:44 How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God?
John 5:46-47 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?
John 6:5-6 When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do.
John 6:61-62 But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does his offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?”
John 6:67 So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”
John 6:70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.”
John 7:19 Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you looking for an opportunity to kill me?
John 7:23 If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath in order that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I healed a man’s whole body on the sabbath?
John 8:10 Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
John 8:25 Jesus said to them, “Why do I speak to you at all?”
John 8:43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept my word.
John 8:46 Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?
John 9:45 Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
John 10:32 Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?”
John 10:34-36 Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If those to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’—and the scripture cannot be annulled—can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?”
John 11:9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world.
John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, ”I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?“
John 11:34 He said, ”Where have you laid him?“ They said to him, “Lord, come and see.”
John 11:40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
John 12:27-28 Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—’Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.
John 13:38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.”
John 14:2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”
John 14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
John 16:19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and ou will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’?
John 16:31 Jesus answered them, ”Do you now believe?“
John 18:4 Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, ”Whom are you looking for?“
John 18:7 Again he asked them, ”Whom are you looking for?“
John 18:11 Jesus said to Peter, ”Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?“
John 18:21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.
John 18:34 Jesus answered, ”Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?“
John 20:15 Jesus said to her, ”Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?“ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ”Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.“
John 20:29 Jesus said to him, ”Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.“
John 21:5 Jesus said to them, ”Children, you have no fish, have you?“ They answered him, ”No.“
John 21:15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ”Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?“ He said to him, ”Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.“ Jesus said to him, ”Feed my lambs.“
John 21:16 A second time he said to him, ”Simon son of John, do you love me?“ He said to him, ”Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.“ Jesus said to him, ”Tend my sheep.“
John 21:17 He said to him the third time, ”Simon son of John, do you love me?“ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ”Do you love me?“ And he said to him, ”Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.“ Jesus said to him, ”Feed my sheep.“
John 21:22 Jesus said to him, ”If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!“
Acts 9:4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ”Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?“
Our church is known for its prayer ministry. People sometimes will call just to get a name on the prayer list, because it is well known that we take prayer seriously, not being unrealistic but asking in faith, and, often, seeing miraculous results. But there’s a curious thing about human nature: it’s easy to just move on to the next need, the next urgent problem, and lose track of the victories we have seen along the way. So as a way of reminding one another of God’s goodness, some of our leaders got together and constructed an “answers to prayer” tree. It was set up in the narthex on New Years Day 2008, and will remain there until the turn of the next new year. Here’s how it works.
In the basket to the left of the “tree” is a supply of paper “leaves” and some mini-clothespins. Whenever a significant answer to prayer has been received, members are encouraged to take a “leaf,” then write, if they choose, the nature of the answer on the back of the leaf, and using one of the mini-clothespins, attach that leaf to the tree. Each week a few more leaves appear on the tree. We’ll let that process go forward and see how “fruitful” our tree is by the end of the year.[At the beginning of Advent 2008 in an evening celebration with other churches also assembled, we read aloud many of the dozens of “leaves” on the tree.]
Friday evening I was driving through the rain.
It was a beautiful drive, in a way; thick fog, bursts of heavy rain, down a country road where I was late for a homegrown arts program in a little part of the world that nobody goes to unless that’s where they’re going. As I drove through the rain, late for my meeting, I thought of those nearby who have no car to drive. I remembered the warm bed and the dry clothes waiting for me at home, and I thought of those nearby whose roofs would leak this very night, who would wake up to a day of cleaning as best they could the damp and the mildew that can’t be separated from their lives. What good does it do, I asked myself, to sing of a God of love, without letting that love somehow get past me and to someone else? Of course, the benefits I enjoy, plenty of food (too much!), a warm place to sleep, a means to go from here to there, and people nearby who care about me: these are the things that are characteristic, are they not, of the kingdom of God. ”Give us this day our daily bread” we are taught to pray; indicating that the wise man who taught that prayer thought it appropriate for everyone who prays it to have enough to eat. ”If we have food and covering, we shall therewith be content” says the apostle who carried that wise man’s message to the nations. But oh, how far from content we are!
It’s hard enough even to be content with food and covering for oneself, since it seems to be built into the modern mind to want so much more: not just clothes but fashion, not just good solid food but the best we can find to satisfy a discriminating palate, not just a warm place to sleep but a house with many mansions, prepared for us right here on earth. We want to own, to have enough and to spare; not to spare for someone else, of course, but to spare for our own rainy days, for that rainbow’s end of retirement, for the days when we can use our savings in toys and travel; maybe even for our children, if we’re nobly responsible; but not for someone else’s children, not for someone outside of our circle.
But ancient wisdom speaks and says, Woe to those who add house to house and field to field (Isaiah 5:8)! And I’m not content with my covering nor with my food if someone is cold and hungry.
I could tell stories. I know what it’s like to be on the street, without a warm place to sleep. I’ve slept in fields and under picnic tables by the side of the highway, drowsed in cars and in doorways, pulled an all-nighter in a bus station, crashed in a chair in someone else’s apartment, lived out of a suitcase, lost the suitcase, set out on the road with the clothes on my back and a borrowed pair of shoes, walked all day for days on end. In a pinch, no doubt I have the skills to live such a life again; but Providence has allowed me to echo the words of Jacob in Genesis 32:10: ”With my staff I crossed over this Jordan, but now I have become two bands.”
With such blessing comes responsibility. On this comfortable Sunday afternoon, comfortable in a house I can call my own (based on a debt to match) with my family nearby, food in the cupboard and cars in the driveway, I think of those within my reach who need to know that the simple blessings of a warm place to sleep and enough food for the day are not out of their reach. Lacking great financial resources, what can I do? I can speak, write, show up as an advocate and say that as a Christian I know God pronounces blessings on the poor, and as an American I hold dear the ideal of equality, and as a human being I have to remind all my neighbors that we are in this together, and none of us can be comfortable while some of us are cold and hungry. So I try to help anyone I can find who is making an effort to ensure that food, housing, health care, transportation, sanitation, the basic decent comforts of life, are not denied to anyone because of the discontent of others like me who already have more than enough.
I am deeply connected with all of humanity, and with every person in particular.
So long as anyone remains unloved, I am lonely.
So long as anyone remains hungry, I am not satisfied.
So long as anyone remains in need, I am poor.
So long as anyone remains imprisoned, I am not free.
So long as anyone remains in danger, I am not safe.
So long as anyone suffers from illness, I am not well.
But when my heart aches for the unloved, Christ is with me.
And whoever spends themselves on behalf of the hungry, Christ is with them.
And for those who dare to see the needs of others, Christ is their light.
And for the prisoner, Christ is the open door.
And for the fearless warrior for peace, Christ is the shield.
And to those who attend to the wounds and sickness of this world,
Christ, the Great Physician, lends his skill, his care and compassion.
Bob Buehler, December 2006