Discipleship

Green Tree Bible Study: Parables on the Cost of Discipleship (Luke 14:25-33)

By Dr. Robert E. Picirilli

Here are two short parables that Luke groups together. Neither of them appears in the other gospels. Apparently, Jesus meant to convey the same message through them both. Sometimes that message is seen as negative. It is summarized in v. 33 and is shown to not be negative after all. Let’s look at these two parables to get an understanding of this point.

The first parable is found in vv. 28-30. It might be called “The Parable of the Unfinished Tower.” As was often His custom, Jesus introduces it with a “Which of you?” question that expects the answer “No one.” The question is whether a person would start building something without first making sure he has enough to complete it. Obviously, no rational person would do so. Otherwise he might wind up with a building left unfinished. This would make him an object of ridicule. […]

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Green Tree Bible Study 19: The Certain Appearance and Judgment of False Teachers (2 Peter 2:1-9)

By Dr. Robert E. Picirilli

You might have wondered why Peter made spiritual growth so important in chapter one. The answer is in chapter two: erroneous teaching exists to threaten the spiritually immature. Peter tells us to expect the certain appearance and judgment of false teachers. He deals with each of these characteristics individually. […]

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Green Tree Bible Study 18: God’s Word and Spiritual Growth (2 Peter 1:12-21)

By Dr. Robert E. Picirilli

Peter has urged us to “grow in grace” (l:5-11). He has assured God has provided everything we need for that (l:3, 4). Now we are going to find out that we need more than bread to live. We are sustained by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Thus in 1:12-27, Peter will discuss the proper use God’s Word as a means for instruction and spiritual development. […]

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Green Tree Bible Study 17: Add to Your Faith (2 Peter 1:5-11)

By Dr. Robert E. Picirilli

Being a Christian is more than going to heaven when you die. It also includes continually living for God in the here and now. It includes growing toward spiritual maturity. Peter has assured us that God has provided everything needed for our spiritual well being. He now expounds and expands on the subject.

First, he exhorts us in the proper manner of spiritual growth (1:5-7). Adding it to our “faith” is the key. In attitude we are to be “giving all diligence.” The Greek word used here is spoude. This carries the idea of earnestness or zeal—even urgency.

There are seven Christian graces we should earnestly strive to add to our saving faith. […]

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Green Tree Bible Study 16: Foundation for Spiritual Growth (2 Peter 1:1-4)

By Dr. Robert E. Picirilli

Peter’s epistles don’t always get the same attention as Paul’s. That’s a pity because II Peter is certainly for our age. There has never been a time when Peter’s “false teachers” (2:7) were more prevalent than now.

The theme of II Peter, growing in grace, is well expressed in 3:18. The urgency of this message is made clear in chapter 2. It was needed in order warn to warn Christians of false teachers who would attempt to lead astray the spiritually immature (vv. 1, 18). Spiritual growth is the best way to avoid apostasy (1:8-10). In this article we will look at the foundation for spiritual growth laid out in the first four verses of II Peter. […]

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Green Tree Bible Study 14: Jesus’ Prayer for His Disciples (John 17:6-19)

By Dr. Robert E. Picirilli

Imagine what it would be like to hear Jesus praying for you! That is exactly what happened during the high priestly prayer of Jesus in John 17. Verses 6-8 identify the disciples as the persons being prayed for. Jesus here describes the disciples as men given to Him from His Father (v. 6). Jesus passed on to these men the information His Father had given to Him. In this way Jesus demonstrated to them that He came from the Father (v. 8). So the prayer was prayed aloud primarily for the disciples benefit.  There are three main petitions made on their behalf in the course of the prayer. […]

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