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Ancient Gospel Promise

Ancient Gospel Promise
Abraham lived in an ancient city called Ur. Nearly 4000 years ago, when God first appeared to Abraham, Ur was one of the most important cities in the world. It was a busy commercial center located in the country of Mesopotamia on the Persian Gulf and bordered by the Euphrates River.
The city covered about four square miles and had a population of about 300,000 people. History records and archaeology confirms, that many of these people were highly educated. They were proficient in mathematics, astronomy, weaving, and engraving. Furthermore, they preserved their ideas by writing on clay tablets, which have been invaluable to archaeologists in reconstructing the social and religious life of these people.
Like the rest of the world, Ur was polytheistic. The people worshiped many gods, particularly nature gods. But in the center of Ur was a large worship center or temple called a ziggurat. It was here that the people worshiped their chief deity, a moon god called Nanna.
Abraham no doubt lived with his family outside of the city of Ur. Terah, Abraham’s father, was a shepherd who had settled in the rich pasturelands surrounding the city.
As we look at everyday life in the 21st Century, B.C. that is, we find that it has not changed much. God’s friend Abraham was faced with the same daily struggle each of us must endure. Let us examine the TEN SPECIFIC STRUGGLES he went through and seek to learn a lesson for our lives from each. We might summarize each of his struggles as a question God was asking him. We may be asked the same questions so let’s listen.
Here are links to the 52 Greatest Chapters Bible Study Resources we are using:
1. The MacArthur Study Bible I use: https://amzn.to/33vqwsm
2. Grudem Systematic Theology: https://amzn.to/3y1M1iu
3. The Larger Moleskin Notebook I use: https://amzn.to/3biMwLh
4. The Smaller Moleskin Notebook I use: https://amzn.to/33vTNmN
“As an Amazon Associate, I earn income to support us in ministry from qualifying purchases.”


Welcome to the 52 greatest chapters in the Bible study through God’s word. John Barnett here. Get your Bible and get your notebook. I want to show you how to begin a lifelong pattern, a habit, a discipline of how to understand the word of God. How to systematically study God’s word and in this specific class, how to get a big picture of the whole Bible. To understand the whole Bible by pulling out from it, those 52 chapters that have every major doctrine, every major theological truth that you need to know. Plus, a framework of all the important, big events of the Bible. That’s what we’ll see this year as we study.

If you look at the slides with me, right here it’s unlocking the Bible: a unique overview of the whole Bible. We’ve come to week four, Genesis 12. Which, if you notice my title… now remember when I read each of these chapters I write down a title… my title is: The Call of Abraham, God’s Friend, to Touch the World. God called Abraham to touch the whole world and He called him His friend.

The next slide, you see where we are right here in week four. In week four, what we’re looking at is Abraham’s call. We’ve already covered the creation of the universe, the fall, and the global flood. Now we’re looking at Abraham’s call and the amazing events that are tied to that.

Before we jump into the scriptures I’d just like to give you an overview. What I do, now remember in my mind I’m looking, I’m sitting here in this house of some gracious people, they’re letting us use it. Bonnie and I are commuting between virtual studios teaching Pacific Rim next generation students. That’s basically what we do. As we do that, we come home at night, and I’m here at night catching up with you. You’re in my weekly Bible study. For five years of my life, I had these weekly Bible studies that grew and grew until I had 10 of them. We would meet either in Chipotle, or Panera, or Starbucks, or even McDonald’s. Wherever we met we would follow this same pattern. I’m basically doing the same thing with you. Even if I have to look at you through the lens there.

On that slide, I always draw on the placemat or on a piece of paper what you see in front of you. Let me just go through this. I call it a simple Bible event timeline. This is very simple. The technical ones are coming and I’m going to probably overwhelm you with those. If you just use round numbers and big numbers, Adam would be the year zero. Because of creation, he was the first man. God made him from the dust of the ground and breathed into him life. It was the beginning of humanity, human history, human existence. Noah was about 2,500 years BC. Now, we’re going to our calendar where we can think zero doesn’t mean anything to us. Abraham was about 2000 BC. Moses was about 1500 BC. David lived a 1000 BC. Do you see this? From Noah to Abraham 500 years. From Abraham to Moses is 500 years. From Moses to David is 500 years. If this was us today, this would be from today here. This would be Christopher Columbus. This would be back in European, medieval times. This would be back in the dark ages and the fall of the Roman empire. So, you understand what I mean? 500 years, 500 years, 500 years, 500 years then right here from David to Isaiah is 250 more years. Then from Isaiah to Ezra is another 250 years. Then from Ezra to Jesus is 500 years. So, this is a biblical timeline. If you think about it, we’re right here looking at Abraham who was living 500 years after Noah and the Ark, and 500 years before Moses. That’s just a quick way that I would draw on a placement to get a chronology in your mind.

Now here’s a more complex one. I call this the Panorama of biblical history. Creation. The fall of man. Creation was about 6,000 years ago. The flood was about 2,500 BC… about 4,500 years ago. Here’s Abraham’s lifetime. We’re going to look at that more in depth. The Exodus, that’s a history. These are historically dated events because the Bible actually nails those down and gives us from the time that David, the temple that he provided the material for, and his son Solomon launched the temple; the Bible says that it was 480 years after the Exodus when that event took place. We can date all of these Abraham, the Exodus, and the history that’s in the scriptures. The time of the exiles. Here’s Christ, here’s His cross. The Church age. Since the Church age started, Israel has returned to the land and we’re looking forward to prophetic events coming.

Now another way to look at it is the book of Genesis. So, here we are looking at the scriptures. Where does Genesis fit in the scope of the books of the Bible? Here it is, right here. It’s actually the first book that was written. It starts and covers the greatest span of time. It goes from eternity past when God creates everything, all the way through the time of Jacob being in the land of Egypt and his son, Joseph. It covers from creation to about 1900 BC. It’s the longest span of any book in the Bible. Look at what’s right next to it, the book of Job. The book of Job covers one of the earliest events in recorded history. It’s just after the flood and Job is living over there in Mesopotamia, which I’ll show you on a map in just a second. Job sees two types of dinosaurs and describes them. Plus he sees, guess what? Glaciers. He calls it a mountain and a huge frozen expanse of ice. He saw what we would call the ice age, the endings of it with dinosaur still around.

You see that in the chart, then Exodus, and Leviticus, and Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and Joshua, Judges, Ruth. We go through the historic books, 1&2 Kings and then of course the Chronicles is given a priestly view of those things. The Psalms started in the time of David.  Then of course, Solomon wrote Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon. Jeremiah wrote Lamentations. Israel goes into captivity and then the post exilic. Now, the exile is the captivity, we call it the exile, the Babylonian exile. In the Bible, we call them pre-exilic prophets. See these right here? These prophets wrote before the exile, these prophets were carried away in the exile. Ezekiel and Daniel.

These prophets were post exilic after the captivity. What’s interesting is there are three prophets and also three other books written, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. This is the order of the biblical books in sacred history. Now, look at this. Here’s King Saul, King David, 1000 BC. His son, Solomon. Under Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, we split into a northern kingdom. There’s a civil war and a split in half of Israel. Israel is in the north and they are taken captive, carried away to Assyria in721/722 BC. Judah in the south exists a little bit longer till 586. They’re taken to Babylon.

Another way to look at this summary of the Bible is, the history of the human race we’ve already covered in Genesis. We covered 1 and 2 and also chapter 3, and then 6 through 8. Right here is where we are right now. We’re in the section, the history of the Hebrew people. Now you notice, remember I said that Genesis covers from creation past all the way up to just before 1500 BC. It’s the longest amount of biblical history recorded there. Then everything we’ve already covered. The order of the books here, we saw that in the last chart. Then the united kingdom, divided kingdom, to single kingdom, just Judah. Then, we get to the New Testament times.

You say wait a minute. I thought we going to study the Bible? When are we going to study the Bible? This is giving you the big picture before we jump into chapter 12. So, just bear with me a little bit longer, we’re only at the 10th minute. We’ve seen sacred history.

The next thing I cover with all of my students, sacred history is everything happened sometime. There are. Chronological date stamps on everything. Sacred geography is everything happens somewhere. So, sometime… chronology. Somewhere… geography. Look at this, is a very simple map. This is the Mediterranean Sea and the island of Cyprus. This is the nation, modern nation, of Egypt. This is where the children of Israel were in Goshen. This is the Nile River flowing, actually flowing up. It flows this direction and puts the sand into the Mediterranean Sea that covers the beautiful coast of Israel. Sacred geography involves the Sinai Peninsula, where we have the wandering of the children of Israel. The desert of Paran and Shur that are mentioned. The desert of Zin. These are all mentioned in the Bible. This is the right here along the coast, see this black is the coast of Israel. The Philistines lived on the coastal plain. The Canaanites lived up here in the mountainous region. You see this little circle? Here is the dead sea. Midian was down here. Moses spent 40 years in the backside of the desert in Midian. Edam, this is Esau’s descendants. Moab, this is the descendants of Lot’s two daughters. Ammon and Moab. Then here are the Aramaeans. You say what’s that? The people lived in Damascus, the traders, but they’re huge in biblical history. Why? Their language became Aramaic. Jesus spoke Aramaic. It was the language of the ancient world, the trade language until the time of the Roman empire, Alexander the Great, and then the Greco Roman empire. and Greco Roman culture. The language of the world became koine greek.  Before that in the ancient times, it was the Aramaean language called Aramaic.

Now here, I love this map. Look back, see Egypt near Cyprus, what we already talked about, the Mediterranean Sea. This up here, Lydia is where modern day Turkey is, but the Lydians lived there. The Cimmerians lived here. The Medes remember the Medes and the Persians, the Medes lived up here, the Persians are here. Now we’re getting into the important geography of Abraham, and I hope this just starts crystallizing in your mind, here on the map and then as we go through the text.

This is where Abraham was born Ur of the Chaldees. The Chaldean people live down in this area. See the Persian Gulf? This is modern day Iraq in this area, Babylon is in Iraq. This is modern day Iran, Persia, but this is where Abraham was born and called of God. It says he went up the fertile Crescent following this river valley of the Euphrates River. He got up here to Haran and his father Terah settled there. Then Abraham went on with the call of God. This is what we’re going to be seeing. Chapter 11 is leaving and going to Iran. Chapter 12 is leaving Haran and going down here to the promised land.

The whole geography of Abraham’s life is born in this idolatrous Chaldean city. The museums of the world are filled with artifacts. Ur was a huge, important city. Probably 300,000 people. Four square miles. Walled city. Indoor plumbing. Two-story houses. 2000 years. Wow. So, 4,000 years ago they were civilized in that area, in Ur. But they were also pagan, idolatrous, moon god, worshipers. Ziggurats, and the tower of Babel, and all that is over in this area.

So, they go by Babylon… Babylon’s very famous… up the Euphrates River, stop at Haran, come to the promised land. Then we’ll see in chapter 12, Abraham has a test from the Lord. A choice he’s going to make. He goes down to Egypt. Now that’s fascinating. We know exactly when that was in chronology it was, I’ll show you in my notes. It was 2091 BC. We even know what Pharaoh it was, the Pharaoh that was interested in Sarah. There’s so much that historically we can learn.

That’s a fascinating map. Let’s move on. We each need a biblical framework to understand the Bible and my framework, and we’re going to pray in just a moment to ask the Lord to open His word, but my framework that I’ve shared with you many times, but some of you it’s your first time, so I’m going to go over this for you. I’m an evangelist. That means people must be saved. You weren’t born saved because you were in a Christian family. You were born a pagan lost sinner, just like me. Each of us were born lost, have to be saved, we can only be saved by Christ alone. Not by being baptized, not by trying hard, not by doing pennants and the sacraments, not by crawling across the Piazza, whatever to do some type of good work. No, by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ and the cross. The Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

I’m an inerrantist. The scriptures are inspired. This book is not like any other book in the world. When I’m home, in my study I have over 7,000 books that I have used over the last 40 years and studied. I’ve read hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds. Probably 1,500 of those books, but I use them. This is the only book that’s divine. This is the only book that is the living and abiding word of God. I’m in a near interest.

I’m also a creationist. God made everything in six solar days.

Catastrophists, everything the Bible says about Noah’s flood really happened.

A cessationist.

I believe the historic and scientific facts are true. That’s called a maximalist.

Israel is not the Church, that’s a dispensationalist.

That’s the framework I use, but now I want to go through my Bible. This is chapter 12 in my Bible, and I’m going to do a handheld here.  Let me get this for you.

We’re in Genesis chapter 12. It says here, I wrote in the margin, the Lord said to Abraham, he listened and obeyed God. I noted, I will bless you. Blessing. Look at verse 3. Blessed, bless, bless. There’s a lot of blessing going on, but basically it says all the families of the Earth will be blessed. That’s the gospel going global. That’s just amazing to me. I wrote in here Galatians 3:8, the gospel to Abraham is what it says in. Paul said that in Galatians 3:8. Verse 4, “Abraham departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him.” “Abraham was 75 years old when he departed from Haran.”

Remember they go from Ur, up here in chapter 11, right there in verse 28, they’re in Ur. Then they get to Haran and then they come down here. Abraham departed Haran and it says he was 75 years old when he departed.  We know he was born in 2166 BC. So that was in 2091. Look at verse 7, “the LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants, I will give this land.’ And there he built an altar.”

Notice what I wrote. You know what he’s doing? He’s staying in touch with God, but also altar number one. This was a public declaration. God is my God.

Just a minute, let me talk to you about how big this is, building altars. An altar is a public declaration. Altars were outside. A structure you built in public, and you offered a sacrifice on it. It’s a big public declaration. When you read about someone in the Bible, building an altar, they’re making a public statement. One of the fascinating things about Abraham’s life is that he built altars.

As far as we know, Abraham never… once God called him… never owned any property except for a grave. He bought a grave to bury his wife in and he was buried in. He never built anything. He lived in tents. He never built anything but altars. That’s maybe a few clues about why he was the friend of God. He as Hebrews 11 says, looked for a city whose builder and maker is God. There’s a lot to see in these chapters. Now, let’s go on from chapter 12 verse 7, and let me get the handheld on here.

Keep reading in verse 8. Oh, by the way, he’s a friend of God, so I wrote it up here. It says, Abraham is the only person in the Bible called a friend of God. That’s in James 2:23, 2 Chronicles 20 and Isaiah 41:8. It says in verse 8, “he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east.” Look, built another altar. Altar number two and then the events. There’s a famine, he went to Egypt. Then he says, look at verse 13, gets scared of Pharaoh and says say that you’re my sister. Wait a minute, whoa. Got scared of Pharaoh. Now, if you know anything about the chronology that I just shared with you. When Abraham went down into Egypt, the pyramids were almost 500 years old. The big pyramids, the ones that you’ve seen. Pharaoh was a pretty impressive fellow, but Abraham was God’s friend. For a moment like we all do, Abraham took his eyes off and looked down at his problems. Like Peter looking at the storm and sinking when he was walking to Jesus on the water. There’s so many lessons and I can’t wait to get to our journal. Let’s go back to the handheld, you can read all the rest. “So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had. Then Abram went up from Egypt,” and went back to the promised land.

Let me now take you, we’re going to continue with the slides, so let me get over to the slides with you. Bonnie’s not here running my cameras. You can tell.

After I read the scriptures and mark, I read all the passages and check the background materials in the MacArthur Study Bible. Let me take you over to the MacArthur Study Bible here.

Here’s just some of the things that give insight. This, by the way, it’s on my laptop. You can see it. It’s really important to me to get this insight from a study Bible. I highlighted this passage as a promise whose fulfillment extends all the way through scripture. We’re talking about the Abrahamic covenant, all the way to Revelation chapter 20. Why we’re studying, why this is the reason that chapter 12 is one of the key chapters in the Bible is the Abrahamic covenant goes from right here all the way through, until we get to the kingdom in the millennium. Everything is influenced by what we’re studying in this 12th chapter. So, it’s huge. Now back to the MacArthur Study Bible, the actual Abrahamic covenant is introduced in 12:1-3 we already saw it.  The covenant made is ratified in chapter 15, reaffirmed in chapter 17, renewed in chapter 26, and then with Isaac, and then with Jacob in 28. It says in Genesis 17, it’s an everlasting covenant. It has four elements. A seed that’s Jesus Christ. A land, that’s why God’s made an unbreakable promise to Israel that this is their land, that’s why Israel is so important in the news. A nation. Number four, a divine blessing and protection. You can see there’s a map there, something like what I showed you in the MacArthur study Bible. You can read, there’s lots of good notes.

It says in 12:5 there, they came to Canaan in 2090. And that’s how we know who the Pharaoh was. Look in the note there. See chapter 12, verse 7 on the left side. Then, look at the highlighted area, altar to the Lord. By this act, Abraham made an open confession of his religion, established worship of the true God, and declared his faith in God’s promises. This is the first true place of worship ever erected in the promised land. Isaac would later build an altar to commemorate the Lord’s appearance to him. Jacob does the same thing. You can just go on through, there’s so many more wonderful notes there.

Back to your slides. I read the passage. I check all the background materials in the MacArthur Study Bible, like I just showed you. Then, I start recording my devotional method findings. Remember, the elements should always have a title. You always find the lessons and note as many of them as possible in your journal. Let me show you once again. Holding it up, this is what I’ve worked on today. This is my Bible that I’ve marked up. I’ve been showing you with the handheld, now back to the slides.

Then after all that process is the most important part, you write a prayer to the Lord with these truths. Now, this is my journal and I’ve actually typed it and clipped it, so here you go. We’re in week four, we’re studying Genesis 12.

Here’s my title for Genesis 12; the call and impact of Abraham. God promises to touch the world through Abraham. Now, look up from your slides. God promised Abraham that through him, the whole world would be blessed. Guess what? You and I, as partakers of the Abrahamic promise of the gospel going global, we’re a part of that covenant. Paul says that because Abraham’s descendant, Jesus Christ, died a sacrificial substitutionary death you and I partake of the endless blessings of God’s promises, His word, His salvation, His savior, all of those things. Wow. It’s because of Abraham. That’s why this chapter is so important.

Back to the slides. Here’s a summary of what I found in this study of chapter 12. God promises to bless the whole world through Abraham, His friend. What an example Abraham is to each of us. Abraham is called God’s friend in James 2:23, 2 Chronicles 20, Isaiah 41.

God gave Abraham a series of tests. Now this is important. He passed some and failed others. Actually, He gives him 10 tests and he passes seven, possibly eight and fails three of the tests. Actually, I’m sorry, he passes six, maybe more than six and fails three of them, or maybe four. You know what that means? That means that Abraham was not a perfect student. Look up for a second. God doesn’t expect perfection. I am painfully aware that I am the greatest sinner that I know in the whole world. I don’t know you. I don’t know a lot of the wild people.

Bonnie and I, we were recently teaching in a major city and the place that they put us up in was on the sixth floor of an old apartment building. No elevator. All these stairs. Every morning when we came in, the party we had heard drifting up to our window on the sixth floor was on the sidewalk. You could see broken bottles. You could see the party. They were sweeping it up. In many places, they were washing the sidewalk off because the people had drunk so much that they vomited. It was amazing. You know what? I’m the greatest sinner I know in the world. I don’t know any of those people. Why they were drinking. What they were doing. I don’t know how much they know about the Lord. I know that I’ve read this book 100 times. 100… more than a hundred, but a hundred plus. I know so much more than I’m fully obedient to. And God loves me in spite of it. God does not expect perfection. He operates on grace and truth. The love of Jesus Christ draws us and compels us to obey and serve Him.

Back to your slides, next slide. Here are the lessons I found. The first test Abraham had was to listen and obey. He passed it by the way. God asks Abraham to leave all that was familiar and go to a promised land. That’s the first six verses. The second lesson I had, Abraham left home, obeying God at age 75. You know what that tells me? God’s never through with us and you can accomplish great things for Him at any age. Here’s the third point, second test. Are you going to stay in touch with God? Abraham built an altar. He passed the test. Test one, pass. Test two, pass. In the place that God asked Abraham to go, God appeared to him and promised him a land. Abraham built an altar, and that altar was saying, God is my God. That’s verse 7. When Abraham moved on from there, he built altar two. In other words, God, you’re my God wherever I am. It was a renewal, a statement of his love and devotion to God.

Now we come to the third test, remember there are 10 of them, trusting God with emergencies and fears. That’s verses 10 to 20. Abraham fears and deceives. He failed this test. Yet God cares for him even when he’s afraid and disobeys. That’s the gracious love of our wonderful God. Here’s test four, it’s actually in the next chapter and the tests go on and on. I don’t want to cover all those other chapters. Let me just talk to you for a second. This is lesson and week four. You’ll notice on the playlist in YouTube that there’s a 4a, 4b. 4a as a whole chronology. I spend a whole hour talking about biblical history and the reliability and authenticity of every historic fact recorded in the Bible. God authenticates and tells us the best record of ancient history. There’s a 4b. Each of these lessons on the playlist are going in depth and that’s true for every week. Week one is just the survey of chapter 1 and 2 of Genesis, but there’s a 1a, 1b, 1c if you want to deepen your study. I studied all week long this chapter. Today, which is about a half hour to study. A little further, study notes and some chronology over here.

Back to the slides without Bonnie, here we go, I got it. The test of contentment is in chapter 13. Would Abraham grab the best for himself or trust God? Abraham let Lot pick first and Lot was prompted by the lust of his eyes, became a friend of the world like James 4 says, and ended up losing everything. But he was saved, yet so as by fire. That’s a seventh observation in chapter 13.

Abraham, this is amazing, faces his tent away from the world. Against. He turned his back on Sodom and Gomorrah. He faced towards God, that’s what Hebrews 11 says, that he was a pilgrim and stranger. He looked for the Heavenly city. He builds another altar reaffirming he’s God’s friend, not a friend of the world.

Just a second, remember of 1 John 2 says. If you’re a friend of the world, you can’t be God’s friend. James 4 also says that we’re not supposed to love the world or the things in the world. Now, I have blessings, and clothes, and a watch, and computer, and all these things, and a handheld iPhone camera but I don’t love those things. I use them. I love people, and I love the Lord, and I want to serve Him. Not loving the world. So, Abraham showed what friendship of God looks like.

Back to the slides. Here’s the final lesson I learned. The altars of Abraham marked God’s promises in his life. Number one, he wanted to stay in touch with God. Number two, second altar, he wants to show his loyalty to God. Number three, wants to renew his dedication to God. He wanted to turn away from the world and face Heaven as a Pilgrim. Then, he wants to offer what God asks for, even if it’s hard. Asking for his son, his only son, Isaac.

Now the application prayer. Let me talk to you about this. I’m going to emphasize this at the end. I emphasize that every week this is the most important. Dig into the word, find the truths, the lessons, the doctrines, the trues. Then don’t just gather all this food, digest, meditate on it. After you meditate on it, find parts of the truths that you have found, that you can apply to yourself.

Let me show you what I mean by going to this prayer. This is my prayer that I wrote after reading this chapter. Lord, thank you for choosing Abraham and blessing me through him. I want to set up an altar to you today, marking your promises, and calling upon your name. Lord, you test me and want to see me listen to you, trust you, and obey you. Today I hear your voice in your word. Wow. I’m listening, trusting, and obeying. Helped me stay in touch all through the day. I want to trust you with all those things out of my control. Increase my faith. I want to learn contentment. Here, I like this one. Help me pitch all the tents of my life toward you God. I write this prayer as an altar to your promises oh God. Thank you for loving and seeking me. I love and seek you.

That’s my prayer. Remember Jeremiah 15:16, one of the themes of this entire course? “Your words were found,” that’s devotion. “I ate them,” That’s meditation. “Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart,” that’s transformation. “I’m called by your name,” that’s identification. Like Abraham being the friend of God. “O LORD of hosts.”

Two final challenges. Find someone with whom you can share your findings and application. Now, that is one of the most vital parts of this study. All of you have either a roommate or fellow worker, probably many of you are married or you have you’re living at home with your family. I hear from many young people that are joining this on YouTube because that’s their medium. Find someone.  There’s two ways you can do it. Either, if they’re a godly Christian, say Hey, this is something I’m seeking the Lord through studying His word. Can I share it with you? If they’re not a Christian, say, you know what? I’m in this class and I’m supposed to talk to someone. It’s a great way to share the gospel by the way. Many people are very interested in the Bible. When I read my Bible in a public place, at Starbucks, on airplanes, Panera, every week no matter where I am someone will stop by.

Bonnie and I live on the road, we’re full-time missionaries. Most of the time we were overseas last year in 2019 until COVID started in March of 2020. So, from 3-2019 to 3-2020, we were only home 37 days. We traveled 125,000 miles around the world teaching. When I’m in these coffee shops, I’ll be reading my Bible. I’ll have someone stop politely and stand over there by my table. They say, excuse me, could I ask you a question? I go, yeah. They said, I’ve been watching you. You’re marking in that book and you’re writing in a notebook. What is that book you’re marking and underlined? It’s a Bible. They say, I thought it was a Bible… what are you doing? I said, oh, I’m a Bible teacher. I don’t say I’m an ordained Baptist minister because they would be scared and run away. I say, I’m a Bible teacher. Nine out of 10 times, people standing right there at my table will go, I have a question. Can I ask you a question about the Bible? See, most people have this internal interest that God has built into them to understand something about God. It’s part of what God is doing in this world, it’s their conscience. They have a little bit of that God-given conscience that responds to the Bible.

Back to the slides. One of the most important parts of this course is find someone with whom you can share your findings and your application prayer. If they’re believers say, could I share this with you? What God has laid on my heart and what I’m asking him to do in my life.

Number two, start or review a scripture passage and take the ultimate challenge. Grab the most valuable space… See, this is my phone, and these are my verses on the back of my phone.

What I’ve done is, I’ve invested in a plan. These 52 greatest chapters can be paralleled in the 52 greatest passages from the MacArthur Study Bible. This costs $7 on Amazon, used. It’s all these little cards that have 52 passages on them.

Here are the 52 passages. This morning when it was still early, and there was the mist in the morning as the day was starting, and it was still dim and hazy out there, I was drinking my coffee. I, out loud quoted and went through all 52 of these passages. I started learning these after my 2016 first run through the 52 greatest chapters in the Bible. After that onward, I started memorizing these 52.  I review them about every other day.

The 52 key chapter study, this is what I write on the marker board, is one year to master the key chapters of the Bible, the key doctrines, the key attributes of God, and verses.

Here’s what one of my cards looks like. On this side I have the reference, the verse. On this side or at the top…“for He has made Him who knew no sin.” I learn verses by the first letter of each word. “To be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” That’s just the method, the first letter method.

Here’s one of the MacArthur cards. Week 10 from the 52 cards. “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure. Making wise the simple.”  So, the law is perfect, testimony is sure, statutes are right, commandments are pure, fear is clean, and judgments are true and righteous all together.

Here’s our prayer card. Bonnie and I invite any of you that would like to partner with us. We’re fully faith based missionaries. We serve through frontline missionaries in Sub-Sahara Africa, in the Middle East, I’m teaching here in Central Europe. We work with the refugees. We work a lot in East Asia. When we’re home, we live here in Colorado, usually a month a year.

Week four, Genesis 12, the call of Abraham, God’s friend to touch the world. I’m going to close by praying for you, and then offering my application prayer.

Father in Heaven, I pray for every one of these students that are listening to this class right now. I pray that you would be at work in their hearts, that they would invite you to become their teacher. That they would bow their head and say, Lord, open your word to me. That they would study Genesis 12 each day of this week and maybe 13 and 14. There’s so many treasures in the chapters that follow.  I pray that you would take your truth and change our lives. Like I’m praying right now from my study today of this chapter.  I pray Lord, you test me and want to see me listen, and trust you, and obey. Today I’ve heard your voice in your word and I’m listening to you. I’m trusting you. I’m obeying. Help me stay in touch all through today. I trust you with those things out of my control. Increase my faith. I want to learn contentment and I want to pitch all the tents in my life toward you, my God. I’ve written this prayer as an altar to your promises. So God, thank you for loving and seeking me. I love and seek you.

Thanks for joining this study. God bless you. Stick with it, you’re going to master the scriptures through this study.


Check Out All The Sermons In The Series

You can find all the sermons and short clips from this series, 52 Greatest Chapters In The Bible here

Looking To Study The Bible Like Dr. Barnett?

Dr. Barnett has curated an Amazon page with a large collection of resources he uses in his study of God’s Word. You can check it out here.