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Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Part 1: Getting to Know God


1. The Holiness of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
2. The Bible as God’s Word . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
3. Respecting God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
4. God’s Amazing Grace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
5. Worshiping God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
6. Seven Things God Hates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
7. God’s Compassion for the Needy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
8. Who Is Jesus Christ? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
9. Is Jesus Really God? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
10. Old Testament Prophecies Jesus Fulfilled . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
11. Examples of Jesus’ Humanity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
12. Prayer: The Channel to God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
13. What’s So Great about the Lord’s Prayer? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Part 2: Living in Our World


14. God’s Interaction with the World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
15. Understanding God’s Attributes through Nature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
16. The Awesome Creator behind Our Amazing Creation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
17. How Nature Reveals God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

Part 3: Marriage and Family


18. A Baby as God’s Gift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
19. The Bible on Marriage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
20. The “His” and “Hers” of Marriage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
21. Proverbs 31: A Word for Women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
22. Wisdom for Parents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

Part 4: Friends, Neighbors, and Enemies


23. Finding (or Being) a Good Friend . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

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24. God’s Word on Friendship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68


25. Life Together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
26. Building Stronger Relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
27. How to Respond to Enemies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76

Part 5: Work, Money, and Business


28. What Has God Entrusted You With? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
29. Stewards of God’s Money . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
30. Reasons to Give . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
31. Loving Money . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
32. Is Wealth Evil? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
33. Work as God’s Gift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
34. Being the Boss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
35. Wisdom about Work and Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
36. Serving in Government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94

Part 6: Struggles and Suffering


37. People Who Suffered and God’s Resolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
38. Facing Temptation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
39. Enduring Suffering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
40. Tough Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
41. How to Deal with Anxiety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
42. Why Worry Is a Waste . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108

Part 7: The Supernatural


43. Fighting Evil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
4 4. Satan: Real and Active . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
45. What Hell Is Like . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
46. A Glimpse of Heaven . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118

Part 8: Sin and the Solution


47. What the Bible Says about Sin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122

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48. What the Bible Says about the Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124


49. Sin’s Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
50. The Sinful Nature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
51. The Barrier Formed by Sin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
52. The Gift of Salvation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
53. The Cost of Following Jesus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
54. Believers versus Unbelievers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
55. Persistent Sin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
56. Missteps in Honoring God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
57. Imperfect Bible Heroes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
58. Learning from David’s Troubled Sons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
59. The Extent of Jesus’ Forgiveness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146

Part 9: Living as a Christian


60. A Christian’s New Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
61. Bible Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
62. A Leap of Faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
63. Growing in Faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
64. Why Church? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
65. The Body of Christ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
66. God’s Relationship with Believers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
67. God’s Promises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
68. Serving God with Spiritual Gifts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
69. Biblical Commands to Christians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
70. What Is Genuine Love? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170
71. Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
72. Protecting Yourself with God’s Armor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174
73. What Is Wisdom? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
74. Down-­to-­Earth Wisdom from Proverbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
75. Foolish Talk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
76. Who Should Lead the Church? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182

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13

Introduction

P eople call the Bible many things: the Word of God, Scripture, Holy Writ, the Good
Book. Augustine even called this ancient collection of sacred documents our “letters
from home.”
Here’s a valid question: Why should we read this hodgepodge of Jewish history and law,
Christian sermons, and personal letters? The Bible was written by about forty different
authors over a period of perhaps fifteen hundred years. What’s the relevance of an old book
that often feels more like a national scrapbook with its tabernacle plans and genealogies,
its hymns and prayers, its prophecies and census records?
Here’s why the Bible deserves your attention:
It claims to be divinely inspired. Many books are inspiring. The Bible says it is inspired—­
the authoritative, trustworthy words of God (2 Timothy 3:16), delivered to and through
Spirit-­g uided human authors.
It shows all that God has done to rescue mankind and restore the world. The Old
Testament prophesies the coming of a Messiah (i.e., Savior/King). The New Testament
powerfully shows Jesus to be that promised Divine One (John 20:31; 1 John 5:13).
It is the greatest power on earth. God’s good news is able to save those who are far
from God (Romans 1:16). Not only this, but his Word can make people pure and give them
power over sin (Psalm 119:9, 11; John 17:17). In the prophecy of Jeremiah, we read these
words: “ ‘Is not my word like fire,’ declares the Lord, ‘and like a hammer that breaks a rock
in pieces?’ ”(23:29). Countless believers throughout history would testify that God’s Word
both shattered their hard hearts and healed their broken hearts.
It contains valuable warnings about how—­and how not—­to live. It teaches us valuable
lessons from the lives (good and bad) of those who have gone before us (1 Corinthians 10:11).
It equips us for a life of wisdom and purpose. The Bible not only reminds us of what
is true but also shows us where we are wrong and instructs us how to get back on track
(2 Timothy 3:16).
While the Bible speaks on many topics, this book will help you digest some of the most
important teaching on the following topics:

• Getting to know God


• Living in our world
• Marriage and family

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• Friends, neighbors, and enemies


• Work, money, and business
• Struggles and suffering
• The supernatural
• Sin and the solution
• Living as a Christian

In all these ways and more, the wisdom of the Bible continues to change lives. No wonder
Paul wrote, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that
through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we
might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
My hope is that you will read the Bible for what it says, engage what God is saying,
and apply it deeply in your life.

Christopher D. Hudson
www.ReadEngageApply.com
Twitter: @ReadEngageApply
Facebook.com/Christopher.D.Hudson.books

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PART 4

FRIENDS,
NEIGHBORS,
AND ENEMIES

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66 A Quickview Guide

Chapter 23

T hey had always thought of themselves John to take care of his mother, Mary
FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS & ENEMIES

as Jesus’ disciples (i.e., his student-­ (John 19:25–27).


apprentices). And on many occasions they Feels sympathetic and comforts us during
functioned as his helpers. So imagine how difficulties. The Gospels reveal a compas-
surprised the Twelve must have felt when sionate Savior who assured his followers the
Jesus announced, “I no longer call you ser- blessing of divine comfort (Matthew 5:4).
vants, because a servant does not know his Rejoices and mourns with us. John showed
master’s business. Instead, I have called you Jesus celebrating at a wedding (John
friends, for everything that I learned from 2:1–11) and weeping with grieving
my Father I have made known to you” (John friends (John 11).
15:15, emphasis added). Is irate when those he loves are ignored or
Friends of Jesus? There is no greater mistreated. Jesus often became furious
honor or blessing on earth. Jesus is the with Israel’s callous religious leaders,
ultimate good friend. who used rather than served people
Jesus possesses—­perfectly—­all the traits (Mark 3:1–5; John 8:1–11).
of a good friend. He . . . Eagerly wants to see us succeed (Luke
10:17–24). Remember how excited Jesus
Gives us flawless counsel. In fact, before he was when his disciples returned full of
returned to heaven, he arranged to send joy over what they’d seen God do on
his followers an indwelling Counselor and their first “short-­term mission trip”?
Helper—­the Holy Spirit (John 14:16; 16:7). Never stops loving us. As he told his original
Offered his life for us (John 10:15). Jesus’ followers on the eve of laying down his life,
death paid for our sins while we were “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved
still sinners. His spotless life secured our you. Now remain in my love” (John 15:9).
righteousness. Doesn’t envy us. On the contrary, Jesus wants
Offers help and comfort when we’re sick us to have everything good. He even made
or scared. The Gospels show Christ as us his fellow heirs (Matthew 25:34).
quick to come to the aid of those who
hurt (Luke 4:40; John 14:27). By any standard of measure, Jesus isn’t
Doesn’t leave loved ones behind when life just a “good friend.” He’s the best friend we
gets hard. From the agony of the cross, could ever have—­one who went so far as to
for example, Jesus arranged for his friend lay down his life for us (John 15:13).

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The Most Significant Teachings in the Bible 67

Finding (or Being) a Good Friend

FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS & ENEMIES


Loving One Another
Love one Help each other
another during trials

Encourage one
another
Jn 13:34 1Jn 3:23
Jn 13:35 1Jn 4:7 2Co 13:11 Gal 6:2
Ro 13:8 1Jn 4:11 1Th 4:18
Heb 13:1 1Jn 4:12 1Th 5:11
1Pe 3:8 2Jn 5 Heb 3:13
1Jn 3:11

Live in peace and Serve each other Be humble,


compassionate Forgive and
harmony with without submit to one
one another grumbling and gentle with
each other another

1Co 1:10 Gal 5:13 Eph 4:2 Eph 4:32


Ro 12:16 Jn 13:14 1Pe 3:8 Col 3:13
1Th 5:13 1Pe 4:9 1Pe 5:5 Eph 5:21

Be devoted to one Don’t judge


another, honor others, each other; Speak kindly about
and do good to rather accept and to each other
each other one another

Ro 12:10 Ro 14:13 Jas 4:11


1Th 5:15 Ro 15:7 Jas 5:9

CROSS-­REFERENCES
Exodus 33:11
Luke 5:33–35
John 21:1–14

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68 A Quickview Guide

Chapter 24

W e live in the most “connected” fellow citizen with whom one may
FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS & ENEMIES

generation ever—­and perhaps the not have a previous connection or


loneliest. People seem to have more and personal history.
more online friends, but fewer and fewer • A neighbor (geographical
“inlife” companions and confidants. proximity). This is a person who
Why are meaningful friendships increas- lives nearby (Exodus 22:7), perhaps a
ingly rare? And where can we find help in casual acquaintance.
learning how to develop healthy real-­life • A friend (personal intimacy). This
connections? is a trusted companion or comrade
Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are classified as (Job 6:14), a person with whom one
Old Testament wisdom literature. Most of the enjoys a close association.
content of these books is ascribed to Solomon.
The Hebrew word translated “wisdom” is Obviously, we are affected most by
hokmah. It literally means “skill or expertise” those to whom we are closest. Thus the
and was commonly used to describe the heavy emphasis by Solomon on choosing
handiwork of artisans who displayed rare close friends carefully and—­when you find
ability in their craft. The biblical writers some choice ones—­sticking together for the
took this word and used it to refer broadly to long haul.
the ability of some to skillfully navigate life.
Biblically speaking, a wise person is adept Life Application
or competent at handling everyday things
like money, work, and human relationships. Think about your long history of
What’s interesting is that in the Bible (as friendship—­childhood friends, high
in life) the relationships we’ve been given to school buddies, college chums. Who
wisely manage vary in their intimacy. For are the people you stay in touch with
example, the Hebrew word rea can have var- on a casual basis? Who are your
ious meanings, depending on the context. closest friends—­who know you best
The word can refer to any of the following: and love you most? What relation-
ship wisdom from Solomon do you
• A countryman (group identity). most need to remember and apply
This is one who is of the same racial today?
or social group (Exodus 2:13), a

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The Most Significant Teachings in the Bible 69

God’s Word on Friendship

FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS & ENEMIES


Those Friends
who fear can help
the Lord you when
treat their you fall
Friends can friends with Ecc 4:10
accomplish kindness
more if they Unreliable
Job 6:14
work friends
together cause
Ecc 4:9 destruction
Pr 18:24
Friends can
rescue you when Some friends are more
you’re in trouble loyal than family
Ecc 4:12
Wisdom
Pr 18:24

Friends can comfort


about It’s better to be
wounded by a friend
one another
Ecc 4:11 Friendship than kissed by an enemy
Pr 27:6

Don’t
Don’t overstay forsake your
your welcome friends
Pr 25:17 Pr 27:10
Gossipers Be friends
ruin with the wise
friendships Good rather than
Pr 17:9 friends the foolish
cover Pr 13:20
offenses
Pr 17:9

CROSS-­REFERENCES
Exodus 33:11
Deuteronomy 13:6–8
1 Samuel 18:1

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70 A Quickview Guide

Chapter 25

S omething seems amiss when we use the It is anything but. Real love tells the truth
FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS & ENEMIES

same word love to describe how we feel even when the truth is hard to hear. “Better
about our Maker, our mate, the movie we is open rebuke than hidden love” (Proverbs
just saw, and the meal we’re about to eat. 27:5; cf. Psalm 141:5). It even allows and/or
But what is real love? God’s love is the basis administers “negative consequences” when such
for our definition of love. things will prove beneficial (Hebrews 12:6).
The Bible speaks of love as our defining Love doesn’t throw in the towel. So much
characteristic. In John 13:34–35, Jesus said of what passes for “love” is conditional—­
that love for one another—­not our theolog- contingent on this or dependent on that.
ical knowledge, nor our maintaining high Such “love” is often short-­lived. The love
moral standards—­is the distinguishing of Christians, however—­which comes from
mark of his followers. The world will know God (1 John 4:7)—­“always perseveres . . .
we are Christ’s disciples by our love. never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:7–8).
Here’s what the Bible says about the whys
and hows of loving one another:
Life Application
Sacrificial. Love is a sacrifice. Love
inevitably means giving (John 3:16)—­our atten- The renowned theologian Augustine
tion, time, energy, resources, valuables—­even of Hippo said, “What does love look
laying down our lives for others (John 15:13). like? It has the hands to help others.
A life of love will include allowing disruptions It has the feet to hasten to the poor
and inconvenience, swallowing pride, and and needy. It has eyes to see misery
surrendering personal agendas. Such an and want. It has the ears to hear the
unselfish life is not natural—­it’s supernatural. sighs and sorrows of men. That is
We can’t do it apart from Christ (John 15:5). what love looks like.”
Selfless. Love seeks the best and works Using your hands, feet, eyes,
for the ultimate good of the other. Love has and ears, how can you show love to
one unselfish goal—­to see the other person someone today?
become all that God wants him or her to be
(Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 4:13; Philippians
2:4; Colossians 1:28–29). CROSS-­REFERENCES
Solid. Love is willing to say and do hard Proverbs 27:6
things. Many assume that love is mushy. 1 Corinthians 10:24; 13

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FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS & ENEMIES
71

Life Together

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Traits of a Good Friend
The Most Significant Teachings in the Bible

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9780310566182_MostSignificantTeachings_int_SC.indd 71
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72 A Quickview Guide

Chapter 26

W e routinely send rockets and satel- and apologize for thoughtless words and
FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS & ENEMIES

lites into outer space. We’ve mapped selfish actions.


the human genome and can manipulate Look around—­b e reactive. Love
human DNA. We have robots now that watches vigilantly, then responds quickly
can perform brain surgery. Given all these and decisively. Thus, when we become
advancements, why does the human race aware of relational needs or problems,
still have so many interpersonal difficulties? we act immediately. In the case of unad-
Here (in brief) is how the Bible says we dressed tension or unresolved conflict, the
can improve our relationships: Bible is clear: “If it is possible, as far as it
Look back—­b e retroactive. If we depends on you, live at peace with everyone”
have any sort of history with a neighbor, (Romans 12:18). This doesn’t mean we will
coworker, or acquaintance, that experience be able to resolve every disagreement per-
likely includes both positive and negative fectly, but it does mean that we need to do
moments. Relationships are never improved everything in our power to clear the air and
by ignoring hurtful interactions or forgetting keep the peace.
happy ones. It’s only by humbly addressing
the former (Matthew 5:23–25) and happily
Life Application
remembering the latter that we keep the
peace and build ever-­stronger bonds with Good interactions with others aren’t
others. The Bible encourages us to look back dependent on having a certain
over our histories with others. Rough patches temperament. You don’t need a “big”
need to be smoothed over (Colossians 3:13). outgoing personality. You can be
Good times ought to be celebrated. a shy introvert and still enjoy great
Look ahead—­b e proactive. The relationships. Each morning, pray
famous “Golden Rule” (Matthew 7:12)—­ for God’s help in turning your gaze
if rigorously practiced—­would eliminate outward. Then pay attention to other
almost all our relational difficulties. Being people. Put yourself in their shoes.
empathetic—­that is, being mindful of the In God’s strength, determine to serve
needs, desires, and feelings of others—­ them and treat them like Jesus would.
keeps us from having to come back later

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The Most Significant Teachings in the Bible 73

Building Stronger Relationships

FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS & ENEMIES


Principles from Jesus
about Dealing with
Others

DO THIS
Do to others what Give to those
you want them to who ask
do to you anything
Mt 7:12 of you
Mt 5:42
Love one another
Jn 13:34–35
If anyone has
something
Love your enemies against you, be
Mt 5:44–45 the first to
make amends
Mt 5:23–24
Be forgiving
Mt 6:14–15
Settle disputes
before they get
out of hand
Mt 5:25

Be good to
others
Pr 3:27

DON’ T DO THIS
Do not judge hypocritically
Mt 7:1–5

Don’t retaliate
Mt 5:38–41 CROSS-­REFERENCES
Luke 10:30–37
Don’t have unrighteous anger
Mt 5:22 Romans 12:9–21
Philippians 2:1–11

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74 A Quickview Guide

Chapter 27

I n a dog-­eat-­dog world, there’s unanimous another. Kindness, however, functions


FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS & ENEMIES

consensus on how to respond to cold and like a wrecking ball. Even the smallest
cruel people—­you give them a dose of their act effectively removes a stone or two from
own medicine. Tit for tat? No indeed. More the wall—­and begins to pave the way for
like hit for tat! Do unto others after (and possible reconciliation.
even better, before) they do unto you. Kindness to enemies models the gospel.
Given that the world typically operates by The Bible says that before Christ’s forgive-
the principles of retaliation and revenge, are ness, we were God’s enemies (Romans 5:10).
we really surprised that so many conflicts—­ (And the Bible makes clear that this rela-
between siblings and spouses, neighbors tional friction was our fault, not his.) God
and nations—­linger for years, even decades? had every reason to “go off on us,” but
The Bible offers a better way. instead of treating us as our sins deserved,
Kindness to enemies disrupts evil. he showed us kindness. He came near
When we’ve been wronged, the thought in Jesus and did everything necessary to
of “going off on someone” can feel very reestablish peace with us. Thus, when we
powerful. But all that does is make the forgive others the way he forgave us, we
environment more toxic and “give the devil a imitate the love and grace of God.
foothold” in our lives (Ephesians 4:27). Sol- Reconciliation—­not retaliation—­is the
omon said that, ironically, a gentle response way of the gospel.
has the real power to defuse someone’s wrath
(Proverbs 15:1). A thousand years later, Paul Life Application
urged, “Do not be overcome by evil, but
overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Hopefully you don’t have any true
It’s the good (i.e., godly) response—­the one “enemies,” but probably you do have
that seems weak and wimpy—­that has the people in your life with whom you’re
most power to change the status quo. not on the best terms. Maybe just the
Kindness to enemies breaks down mention of their names makes you
walls. Think of unkind actions (and harsh frown. Do this: Begin to pray regularly
reactions) as stones of mistrust and ani- for those people. Pray also for God’s
mosity. Over time, these callous cruelties direction on how you could model the
combine to form thick walls that effectively gospel in the way you relate to them.
separate individuals and groups from one

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The Most Significant Teachings in the Bible 75

How to Respond to Enemies

FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS & ENEMIES


Dealing with Enemies

Help them when Don’t rejoice in


they’re in need their downfall
Ex 23:4–5 Pr 24:17

Pray for them Love them


Mt 5:44 Mt 5:44

Feed them when


they’re hungry
(be kind to them)
2Ki 6:22–23;
Ro 12:20

CROSS-­REFERENCES
Proverbs 25:21–22
Luke 6:27–36
John 15:18–25

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Also by Christopher D. Hudson

The Quickview Bible


The Most Significant People, Places,
and Events in the Bible

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ZONDERVAN

The Most Significant Teachings in the Bible


Copyright © 2019 by Christopher D. Hudson

ISBN 978-0-310-56618-2 (softcover)

ISBN 978-0-310-56619-9 (ebook)

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