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Daily Devotionals

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one’s mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

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Dr. J. Vernon McGee :: Outline for Matthew

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OUTLINE: “Behold Your King” — Matthew presents the Lord Jesus Christ as the King.

I. Person of the King, Chapters 1, 2

II. Preparation of the King, Chapters 3:14:16

III. Propaganda of the King, Chapters 4:179:35

IV. Program of the King, Chapters 9:3616:20

V. Passion of the King, Chapters 16:2127:66

VI. Power of the King, Chapter 28

There is a movement in Matthew. Learn to think your way through the entire Gospel from the first chapter through the twenty-eighth. You must know Matthew to understand the Bible. You can no more understand the Bible without understanding the Gospel of Matthew than you can write without an alphabet.

Moving Through Matthew
 1 Genealogy and record of virgin birth of Jesus
 2 Visit of wise men; flight to Egypt; return to Nazareth
 3 John the Baptist, forerunner of King, announces kingdom and baptizes Jesus, the King
 4 Testing of the King in wilderness; begins public ministry at Capernaum; calls disciples
 567 Sermon on the Mount
    (1) Relationship of subjects of kingdom to self, Mat 5:1-16
    (2) Relationship of subjects of kingdom to Law, Mat 5:17-48
    (3) Relationship of subjects of kingdom to God, Mat 6
    (4) Relationship of children of King to each other, Mat 7
 8 Six miracles of King demonstrate His dynamic to enforce ethics of Sermon on the Mount
 9 Performs six more miracles; calls Matthew; contends with Pharisees
10 Jesus commissions twelve to preach gospel of the kingdom to nation Israel
11 Quizzed by disciples of John; rejects unrepentant cities; issues new invitation to individuals
12 Conflict and final break of Jesus with religious rulers
13 Mystery parables of kingdom of heaven
14 John the Baptist beheaded; Jesus feeds 5,000; sends disciples into storm at sea; walks on water to them
15 Jesus denounces scribes and Pharisees; heals daughter of Syrophoenician woman and multitudes; feeds 4,000
16 Conflict with Pharisees and Sadducees; confession from disciples, Peter spokesman; Jesus first confronts them with church, His death and resurrection
17 Transfiguration; demon-possessed boy; tax money provided by miracle
18 Little child; lost sheep; conduct in coming church; forgiveness parable
19 God’s standard for marriage and divorce; little children blessed; rich young ruler; apostles’ position in coming kingdom
20 Parable of laborers in vineyard; Jesus makes 4th and 5th announcements of His approaching death; mother requests places of honor for James and John; Jesus restores sight to two men
21 King offers Himself publicly and finally to nation; cleanses temple; curses fig tree; condemns religious rulers with parables of two sons and householder
22 Parable of marriage feast for king’s son; Jesus answers and silences Herodians, Sadducees, Pharisees
23 Jesus warns against and pronounces woes upon scribes and Pharisees; weeps over Jerusalem
2425 Olivet Discourse: Jesus answers questions about sign of end of age and sign of His coming; parable of ten virgins; parable of eight talents; judgment of sheep and goat nations
26 Jesus plotted against; anointed by Mary of Bethany; sold by Judas; observes last Passover and first Lord’s Supper; agonizes in Gethsemane; arrested and tried by religious rulers; disowned by Peter
27 Trial, death and burial of the King
28 Resurrection of the King; His great commission


There are approximately 400 years between the days of Nehemiah and Malachi and the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. This is a great yawning chasm of silence as far as Scripture is concerned. Nevertheless, this period was a thrilling time when momentous and world-shaking events were transpiring. A brief understanding of these days is at least essential to a right appreciation of the New Testament.
World history made rapid strokes in this interval. The internal condition of Judah experienced a radical transformation. A new culture, different institutions, and unfamiliar organizations arose in this period and appear in the New Testament.
The Old Testament closed with the Medio-Persian Empire being the dominant power. Also, Egypt was still a power to be reckoned with in world politics. During the interval between the Testaments, both faded from the scene as outstanding nations. World power shifted from the East to the West, from the Orient to the Occident, from Asia to Europe, and from Medio-Persia to Greece. When the New Testament opens, a new power, Rome, is the world ruler. Aconsideration of some important, approximate dates will give a rapid succession of major events that mark the transition.

  480 B.C.   Xerxes, the Persian, was victorious against the Greeks at Thermopylae, but he was defeated at the battle of Salamis. This was the last bid of the East for world dominion.
333 B.C. Alexander the Great led the united Greek forces to victory over the Persians at Issus.
332 B.C. Alexander the Great visited Jerusalem. He was shown the prophecy of Daniel which spoke of him; therefore he spared Jerusalem.
323 B.C. Alexander died, and the world empire of both East and West was divided among his four generals.
320 B.C. Judea was annexed to Egypt by Ptolemy Soter.
312 B.C. Selucius founded the kingdom of the Selucidae. Judea became the battleground between Syria and Egypt as a buffer state.
203 B.C. Antiochus the Great took Jerusalem, and Judea passed under the influence of Syria.
170 B.C. Antiochus Epiphanes took Jerusalem and defiled the temple. He had been mentioned in Daniel as the little horn (Daniel 8:9). He has been called the “Nero of Jewish history.”
166 B.C. Mattathias, the priest of Judea, raised a revolt against Syria. This is the beginning of the Maccabean period. The Jews have never suffered more than during this era, and never were they more heroic than in this interval. Judas Maccabaeus, “the hammer,” was the leader who organized the revolt.
 63 B.C. Pompey, the Roman, took Jerusalem, and this people passed under the rulership of a new world power, where they were at the time of the birth of Jesus.
 40 B.C. Roman Senate appointed Herod to be King of Judea.
 37 B.C. Herod took Jerusalem and slew Antigonus, the last of the Maccabean king-priests.
 27 B.C. Caesar Augustus became emperor of Rome.
 19 B.C. The rebuilding of the Herodian temple was begun.
  4 B.C. Anno Domini — “in the year of the Lord” — Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

The experiences of the nation of Judea during the inter-testament period affected its internal life. In fact, a radical change took place. After the Babylonian captivity, they turned from idolatry to a frantic striving for legal holiness. The Law became an idol to them. The classic Hebrew gave way to the Aramaic in their everyday speech, but the Hebrew was retained for their synagogues. The synagogue, which seemed to have come in right after the Captivity, became the center of their life in Judea and also everywhere they went into the world.
Many parties appeared among them. In Judea there were several prominent ones. They were:

1. Pharisees — The Pharisees arose to defend the Jewish way of life against all foreign influences. They were strict legalists who believed in the Old Testament and who were nationalists in politics.

2. Sadducees — The Sadducees were made up of the wealthy and social minded who wanted to get rid of tradition. They rejected the supernatural and were opposed to the Pharisees who accepted it. The Sadducees were closely akin to the Greek Epicureans.

3. Scribes — The scribes were a group of professional expounders of the Law that stemmed from the days of Ezra. They became “hair-splitters” and were more concerned with the “letter of the law” than with the “spirit of the law.”

4. Herodians — The Herodians were a party in the days of Jesus who arose as political opportunists seeking to maintain the Herods on the throne.

There was great literary activity during this period in spite of the fact that there was no revelation from God. The Old Testament was translated into Greek in Alexandria in Egypt during the period 285-247 B.C. It was made by six members from each of the 12 tribes; hence, the name given to this translation was “Septuagint,” meaning seventy.
The Apocrypha of the Old Testament was written in this era. These are 14 books that bear no marks of inspiration. They are as follows: 1 and 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, 2 Esther, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Song of the Three Holy Children, History of Susannah, Bel and the Dragon, Prayer of Manasses, and 1 and 2 Maccabees. There are two books classified as the Pseudepigrapha because they bear the names of two characters of the Old Testament, but there is no evidence that these two were the writers. These two books are the Psalter of Solomon and the Book of Enoch.
Although this is a period marked by the silence of God, it is, nevertheless, evident that God was preparing the world for the coming of Christ. The Jewish people, the Greek civilization, the Roman Empire, and the seething multitudes of the Orient were all being prepared for the coming of a Savior, insomuch that these events produced the scene Paul labeled “the fulness of time.”


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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