Mailbag

Throwback Thursday ~ The Mailbag: May Christian Women Wear Pants?

Originally published April 3, 2017

 

What are your views on women wearing pants?

For readers who are a little confused by this question, you may not be aware that there are various churches that require women and girls to wear skirts or dresses rather than pants. The local churches I’m familiar with which carry this requirement are Pentecostal and Independent Baptist, though there may be others. (Some of these churches also require women to have long hair and abstain from wearing makeup.)

The initial basis for this requirement is Deuteronomy 22:5…

A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.

…along with the general desire to encourage God-given femininity for women and masculinity for men. Definitely a good idea these days.

But, since my opinion is of zero importance – it’s what God thinks that counts – let’s look at what the Bible says. Is it biblical for a church to make this requirement of Christian women, or, for a Christian woman to choose, on her own, not to wear pants?

Let’s tackle that last question first.

There’s nothing in the Bible that says women have to wear pants, so if you want to wear skirts and dresses all the time, you’re absolutely free to do that. What you may not do (biblically) is think, or say, that wearing skirts and dresses somehow makes you holier or more obedient to God than women who choose to wear pants- because there’s nothing about that in the Bible either.

But what about Deuteronomy 22:5?

Well, let’s take a look at that Scripture using good hermeneutical principles. We need to look at the context, culture, audience, and intent of this verse.

First we need to recognize that Deuteronomy is in the Old Testament. Right off the bat, we must keep in mind that, while there are many underlying, timeless principles in the Old Testament that still apply to Christians (usually because they are reiterated in the New Testament) the particular pronouncement of the Old Testament verse we’re reading may not apply.

Next, Deuteronomy 22 is smack dab in the middle of the Levitical law that was given as a part of the Mosaic covenant. The Mosaic covenant was fulfilled in Christ, which means its laws are no longer binding on us as Christians. We are under the New Covenant of grace through Christ. This is why you’re not sinning if you build a house without a parapet around the roof (verse 8), sow your vineyard, if you have one, with two kinds of seed (verse 9), wear fabric that’s a wool-linen blend (verse 11), or go tassel-less (verse 12). If you think Deuteronomy 22:5 prohibits women from wearing pants, a good question to ask yourself is: “Why would I feel required to obey verse 5 of Deuteronomy 22, but not verses 8-12?”

The next thing we need to look at is the actual wording of Deuteronomy 22. Does it say anything about pants or any other specific item of clothing? No. It says women are not to wear men’s clothes and men are not to wear women’s clothes. Now, keep in mind that the audience for this verse was Old Testament Israel, and that, at the time, in that culture, both men and women wore what we would technically describe today as a “dress.”

Were Moses and rest of the Israelite men – who were actually receiving this law from God at the time – sinning because they were wearing “dresses”? (And, let’s remember, Jesus dressed the same way.) Of course not. In our time and culture, they’re wearing dresses, and dresses are for women. In their time and culture, they’re wearing a garment designed for men. God has never said, “Pants are for men. Dresses are for women.” Pre-twentieth century western culture has said that. So if the men of the Bible weren’t sinning for wearing “dresses” designed for men, how could Christian women be sinning for wearing pants designed for women?

Deuteronomy 22:5 is not addressing the construction of specific garments. It’s addressing the intent of the heart. Since men and women of that culture both wore garments of similar construction (i.e. sleeves, an opening for the head, and a sheath for the torso and legs), there must have been differing accessories (veils, turbans, sashes, belts, cloaks, etc.) that clearly distinguished between male and female outfits. A woman could wear those male accessories and still be wearing a “dress,” but what would her motive for doing so have been? The only motive she could have had was to appear to others to be a man.

In other words, Deuteronomy 22:5 is not addressing American women wearing pants designed for women’s bodies, sold in the women’s department of the store, marketed to women, and purchased by women who have no intention of trying to impersonate, or appear to others to be, a man. It is addressing the sin of cross-dressing (transvestism).

And that is a prohibition that does carry over into the New Testament under the heading of sexual immorality. We are to respect and honor God’s perfect and holy decision to create us as women or men. We are not to alter our clothing, accessories, cosmetics, hair styles, gait, body language, speech patterns, lifestyles, or anatomy in order to appear to others, or ourselves, to be the opposite sex. To do so is to tell God that His decision to make you a woman or a man was wrong. That is rebellion.

So, if a church today really wants to correctly handle and apply Deuteronomy 22:5, it will do so in light of the New Testament passages on sexual immorality. The church should teach that God always makes the right decision to create someone male or female, and that to rebel against God’s perfect design by altering one’s appearance to impersonate the opposite sex is sin which needs to be repented of and forgiven by the shed blood of Christ.

Deuteronomy 22:5 is not about 21st century American women wearing pants designed for women. So, when a church prohibits women from wearing pants – even when done with the best of intentions to honor God – what they are doing is mishandling Scripture and making a law where none exists. Jesus wasn’t too happy when “church leaders” of His time did that, and our churches today shouldn’t be doing it either.

All of that being said, I’ve had the privilege of knowing and, on occasion, worshiping with some dear saints in an IFB church which required skirts for women. These folks truly loved the Lord and honored His word. Any time I attended one of their activities, I wore a skirt so as not to be a stumbling block or draw attention to myself. Churches which carry the requirement of skirts for women but are otherwise doctrinally sound should not be regarded as apostate.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Mailbag

The Mailbag: May Christian Women Wear Pants?

 

What are your views on women wearing pants?

For readers who are a little confused by this question, you may not be aware that there are various churches that require women and girls to wear skirts or dresses rather than pants. The local churches I’m familiar with which carry this requirement are Pentecostal and Independent Baptist, though there may be others. (Some of these churches also require women to have long hair and abstain from wearing makeup.)

The initial basis for this requirement is Deuteronomy 22:5…

A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.

…along with the general desire to encourage God-given femininity for women and masculinity for men. Definitely a good idea these days.

But, since my opinion is of zero importance – it’s what God thinks that counts – let’s look at what the Bible says. Is it biblical for a church to make this requirement of Christian women, or, for a Christian woman to choose, on her own, not to wear pants?

Let’s tackle that last question first.

There’s nothing in the Bible that says women have to wear pants, so if you want to wear skirts and dresses all the time, you’re absolutely free to do that. What you may not do (biblically) is think, or say, that wearing skirts and dresses somehow makes you holier or more obedient to God than women who choose to wear pants- because there’s nothing about that in the Bible either.

But what about Deuteronomy 22:5?

Well, let’s take a look at that Scripture using good hermeneutical principles. We need to look at the context, culture, audience, and intent of this verse.

First we need to recognize that Deuteronomy is in the Old Testament. Right off the bat, we must keep in mind that, while there are many underlying, timeless principles in the Old Testament that still apply to Christians (usually because they are reiterated in the New Testament) the particular pronouncement of the Old Testament verse we’re reading may not apply.

Next, Deuteronomy 22 is smack dab in the middle of the Levitical law that was given as a part of the Mosaic covenant. The Mosaic covenant was fulfilled in Christ, which means its laws are no longer binding on us as Christians. We are under the New Covenant of grace through Christ. This is why you’re not sinning if you build a house without a parapet around the roof (verse 8), sow your vineyard, if you have one, with two kinds of seed (verse 9), wear fabric that’s a wool-linen blend (verse 11), or go tassel-less (verse 12). If you think Deuteronomy 22:5 prohibits women from wearing pants, a good question to ask yourself is: “Why would I feel required to obey verse 5 of Deuteronomy 22, but not verses 8-12?”

The next thing we need to look at is the actual wording of Deuteronomy 22. Does it say anything about pants or any other specific item of clothing? No. It says women are not to wear men’s clothes and men are not to wear women’s clothes. Now, keep in mind that the audience for this verse was Old Testament Israel, and that, at the time, in that culture, both men and women wore what we would technically describe today as a “dress.”

Were Moses and rest of the Israelite men – who were actually receiving this law from God at the time – sinning because they were wearing “dresses”? (And, let’s remember, Jesus dressed the same way.) Of course not. In our time and culture, they’re wearing dresses, and dresses are for women. In their time and culture, they’re wearing a garment designed for men. God has never said, “Pants are for men. Dresses are for women.” Pre-twentieth century western culture has said that. So if the men of the Bible weren’t sinning for wearing “dresses” designed for men, how could Christian women be sinning for wearing pants designed for women?

Deuteronomy 22:5 is not addressing the construction of specific garments. It’s addressing the intent of the heart. Since men and women of that culture both wore garments of similar construction (i.e. sleeves, an opening for the head, and a sheath for the torso and legs), there must have been differing accessories (veils, turbans, sashes, belts, cloaks, etc.) that clearly distinguished between male and female outfits. A woman could wear those male accessories and still be wearing a “dress,” but what would her motive for doing so have been? The only motive she could have had was to appear to others to be a man.

In other words, Deuteronomy 22:5 is not addressing American women wearing pants designed for women’s bodies, sold in the women’s department of the store, marketed to women, and purchased by women who have no intention of trying to impersonate, or appear to others to be, a man. It is addressing the sin of cross-dressing (transvestism).

And that is a prohibition that does carry over into the New Testament under the heading of sexual immorality. We are to respect and honor God’s perfect and holy decision to create us as women or men. We are not to alter our clothing, accessories, cosmetics, hair styles, gait, body language, speech patterns, lifestyles, or anatomy in order to appear to others, or ourselves, to be the opposite sex. To do so is to tell God that His decision to make you a woman or a man was wrong. That is rebellion.

So, if a church today really wants to correctly handle and apply Deuteronomy 22:5, it will do so in light of the New Testament passages on sexual immorality. The church should teach that God always makes the right decision to create someone male or female, and that to rebel against God’s perfect design by altering one’s appearance to impersonate the opposite sex is sin which needs to be repented of and forgiven by the shed blood of Christ.

Deuteronomy 22:5 is not about 21st century American women wearing pants designed for women. So, when a church prohibits women from wearing pants – even when done with the best of intentions to honor God – what they are doing is mishandling Scripture and making a law where none exists. Jesus wasn’t too happy when “church leaders” of His time did that, and our churches today shouldn’t be doing it either.

All of that being said, I’ve had the privilege of knowing and, on occasion, worshiping with some dear saints in an IFB church which required skirts for women. These folks truly loved the Lord and honored His word. Any time I attended one of their activities, I wore a skirt so as not to be a stumbling block or draw attention to myself. Churches which carry the requirement of skirts for women but are otherwise doctrinally sound should not be regarded as apostate.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

The Ten (10 Commandments Bible Study)

The Ten: Lesson 13

the-ten

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Exodus 20:18-20

Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.”

Exodus 24:3-8

Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”


Romans 3:19-20

Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Romans 7:1-12

Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

Galatians 3:23-26

Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.


Romans 13:8-10

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

1 John 5:2-3

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


Questions to Consider:

1. In Exodus 20:18-19, how did the Israelites react to God’s appearance to Moses? What was Moses’ response to them? (20) What did Moses say would be two results of God testing the people? (20) How many times does the word “fear” appear in verse 20? What is the difference in meaning between the first “fear” and the second one?

2. Briefly skim Exodus 20:21-23:33. In addition to the Ten Commandments, what are some of the other laws, or categories of laws, God gave Moses? In the Exodus 24 passage above, what was the people’s response to hearing all of these laws? (3) Describe the sequence of events taking place in Exodus 24:3-8. Why did the people respond twice? (3,7) Was there any difference between these two responses? Compare the people’s response in this passage with their response in Exodus 19:5-8. What events transpired between the response in chapter 19 and the response in chapter 24?

3. In Exodus 24:6,8, why did Moses sprinkle the altar and the people with blood? How did this formalize Israel’s agreement to the Mosaic covenant? How does the Mosaic covenant point ahead to the new covenant in Christ? Are Christians still bound by the Mosaic covenant?

4. In what ways did the giving of the law and Israel’s agreement to the Mosaic covenant help officially establish Israel as a nation and set Israel apart from the surrounding pagan nations?

5. Examine the Romans 3 and 7 passages. What does it mean that the law makes us “accountable” to God? (3:19) Why can’t we be made righteous in God’s eyes by simply striving to keep His laws? (3:20) Read Romans 3:20 and 7:7-8 together. What do these verses tell us about the connection between knowing the law and sin?

6. Explain the analogy of dying to works of the law that Paul is trying to convey in Romans 7:1-6. Compare verse 6 to Galatians 3:23-26. What does Galatians say was the purpose of the law, and what is our obligation to it now? What does the latter part of verse 6 – “we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” – mean? Does this mean we no longer have to obey God’s moral laws such as the ones in the 10 Commandments? (12)

7. Study the Romans 13 and 1 John 5 passages. What is the theme of these two passages? What does Paul mean when he says, “the one who loves another has fulfilled the law”? (13:8) Who are the two parties we demonstrate love for when we keep God’s commands? How does loving God and keeping His commands automatically translate into loving others? (5:2) How does loving God and our neighbors, thus keeping God’s commands, demonstrate to others that we belong to Christ?


Homework:

This week, view your sin or obedience through the lenses of love. Examine the sins you commit. How do they demonstrate your failure to love God and love your neighbor? Examine instances of your obedience to God’s commandments and think about how they demonstrate your love for Him and for your neighbor. As you pray, ask God to increase your love for Him. Increased love leads to increased obedience.

The Ten (10 Commandments Bible Study)

The Ten: Lesson 2

the-ten

Previous Lessons: 1

Exodus 19:

On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain, while Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord. And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.”

When Moses told the words of the people to the Lord, 10 the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people; and they washed their garments. 15 And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”

16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 19 And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. 20 The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

21 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to the Lord to look and many of them perish. 22 Also let the priests who come near to the Lord consecrate themselves, lest the Lord break out against them.” 23 And Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for you yourself warned us, saying, ‘Set limits around the mountain and consecrate it.’” 24 And the Lord said to him, “Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, lest he break out against them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


Questions to Consider:

1. Refresh your memory on the answers to the bullet point questions from Lesson 1 (link above). What are the major events that led Moses and Israel up to the point where they are now in chapter 19? Do you see the steps God has taken to call Israel out of slavery and begin establishing them as a nation? In what ways has God demonstrated that He has a right to rule over Israel? How does God’s right to rule Israel lay the foundation for God giving the 10 Commandments?

2. Briefly review Exodus 18:13-26. How would having a codified set of laws (i.e. the 10 Commandments) have helped the people as well as Moses and the elders as they judged cases? Do you see how this passage helps show the need for the 10 Commandments to be laid down?

3. In chapter 19, verses 3-6, which words and phrases show God’s goodness, kindness, tenderness, love, and care for His people? How do these verses indicate God’s authority over His people? Verses 5-6 outline what we now call the Mosaic Covenant. In this “if/then” pronouncement, what are the “ifs” required of the people and the “thens” God promises them in return? Is this a unilateral or bilateral covenant? What was the people’s response to the covenant? (7-8)

4. Did the Mosaic Covenant promise people right standing with God as long as they simply obeyed His laws with their outward behavior? How did faith and the attitude of the heart factor into Old Testament obedience and righteousness? How is this similar to God’s expectations of obedience for Christians today?

5. What actions were the people to take in preparation for God’s appearance on Mount Sinai? (10,14,15) How do verses 9-25 demonstrate God’s power and holiness? The seriousness and solemnity with which the people should treat His presence and His words? How did the people respond? Do you think the church today reveres God and His word as deeply as Israel did that day? Should we? Why or why not?

6. What does the word consecrate mean? How should physically consecrating themselves (10,14,15) have been an object lesson to Israel that they were to be spiritually consecrated to God as well? What does it mean for Christians to consecrate ourselves to the Lord?

7. How do verses 11, 16-17 give us a mini-foreshadowing of the resurrection of Christ?


Homework:

Ask God to reveal any areas of your life or worship in which…

…you do not treat Him or His word reverently and solemnly
or
…you need to consecrate yourself, or set yourself apart from worldliness, more for Him.

Repent where you have fallen short. Is there any tangible action you can take to help you revere God more or pursue holiness to a greater degree?

Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ Deuteronomy 30

circumcise heart

Deuteronomy 30

“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there he will take you. And the Lord your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. And the Lord your God will put all these curses on your foes and enemies who persecuted you. And you shall again obey the voice of the Lord and keep all his commandments that I command you today. The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, 10 when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

11 “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.


 

Questions to Consider:

1. To whom was this chapter written?

2. What are “all these things, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you” in verse 1? (Hint: Read Deuteronomy 28)

3. What are some of the material ways God promises to bless Israel if they will repent of their sin and obey Him (1-10)? Does God make these same promises of material prosperity to Christians today? Compare these promises to Israel with these promises God makes to Christians. Is God being inconsistent?

4. What would “I will circumcise your heart” (v. 6) have meant to an Old Testament Israelite? What does it mean for Christians today?

5. Was Israel capable of obeying God the way He was asking them to? (11-14) How does God enable Christians today to obey Him?