This article is part of the Key Bible Verses series.
All commentary notes adapted from the ESV Study Bible.
1. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. Read More
Reassurance. Paul gives some final words of comfort to the Thessalonians in the wake of the false claim about Christ’s return (2 Thes.2:2). In Greek, the last word of 2 Thess. 3:2 is “faith” (Gk. pistis) and the first word of 2 Thes.3:3 is faithful (Gk. pistos)—the unbelievers’ lack of faith contrasts with God’s faithfulness. guard you against the evil one. Satan has been seeking to destroy the Thessalonians’ young faith. But God’s faithfulness assures Paul that the Evil One will not succeed: the Thessalonians will overcome him by responding appropriately to Paul’s two letters. He has confidence that they already are doing and, when they get this letter, will do the things that we command. Paul may have in mind his instruction to discipline those within their community who are idle (2 Thess. 3:6–15) and/or his command to hold to the traditions about the day of the Lord (2 Thes. 2:15).
2. Lamentations 3:22–23
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. Read More
God’s steadfast love (his “covenant mercy” or beneficial action on his people’s behalf) never ceases, even in the face of Judah’s unfaithfulness and the resulting “day of the LORD” (cf. Joel 2:1–2; Amos 5:18; Zeph. 1:14–16). mercies. Or “compassion.” This type of mercy goes the second mile, replacing judgment with restoration. never come to an end. God is willing to begin anew with those who repent.
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3. Romans 3:1–4
Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,
“That you may be justified in your words,
and prevail when you are judged.” Read More
Even though the Jews were unfaithful and refused to trust and obey God, he remains faithful to them and therefore will fulfill his covenant promises, particularly his promise to save them. (Paul is speaking generally and does not mean that every single Jew will be saved; he further develops God’s faithfulness to the Jews in Romans 9–11.) Since every person is a liar and a sinner, God is justified, i.e., vindicated in the justice of his judgment, especially (in this context) his judgment of unbelieving Jews.
4. Exodus 34:6–7
The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” Read More
The Lord’s proclamation of his name and the declaration of his character becomes a central confessional passage for the OT (e.g., see Neh. 9:17, 31; Ps. 86:15; 103:8; Jonah 4:2; Joel 2:13). This confession describes the Lord’s gracious character in preserving Israel as a whole for the sake of God’s overall purpose and in sparing those individuals who look to him in true faith. Moses will argue these very words back to the Lord when he intercedes for the people after their rebellion following the spies’ report on Canaan (see Num. 14:18–19). The description emphasizes the merciful and gracious character of the Lord (see Ex. 33:19), whose steadfast love and forgiveness extends to thousands (probably of generations, cf. Deut. 7:9; and note on Ex. 20:5–6) in contrast to the few generations upon whom he visits iniquity. Moses will appeal to Israel’s need for the Lord’s gracious and merciful presence so that he might forgive them and take them as his inheritance (see Ex.34:9).
5. Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Read More
Jesus the Messiah (Christ) is eternally trustworthy in his position as high priest and as Son of God—yesterday active in creation (e.g., Heb.1:2–4), today offering salvation (e.g., Heb.4:7–10), and forever reigning in heaven (e.g., Heb.10:12). This verse may be a transition from Hebrews 13:7 (their leaders trusted in this Christ, and Jesus remains trustworthy) to Hebrews 13:9 (strange teachings are departures from the Jesus who is always the same).
6. 2 Timothy 2:11–13
The saying is trustworthy, for:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself. Read More
The trustworthy statement moves from comfort to challenge and back to comfort: 2 Tim.2:11b is a reminder of life even in the face of death; 2 Tim.2:12 calls for perseverance; 2 Tim. 2:13 is a reminder of God’s preserving power and faithfulness. In this context, to deny him must entail a more serious offense than being faithless. Denying Christ envisions final apostasy, in contrast with a temporary lapse in trusting Christ (“if we are faithless”). Those who deny Jesus will be judged forever; but all believers sin, and God is faithful and will pardon, restore, and keep those who are truly his.
7. Psalm 36:5
Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds. Read More
God’s Precious Steadfast Love. This stanza has two descriptions of God’s steadfast love: it extends to the heavens, so that God can save man and beast; and it is precious to those who know it from the children of mankind. The pairing of steadfast love and faithfulness evokes Ex. 34:6, describing God’s benevolence; this helps readers to see that the other terms, righteousness and judgments, also express God’s enduring commitment to act kindly toward his creatures and to save them. In view of this, people can take refuge under his wings and find themselves welcome guests at his table. Although the psalm is a hymn for Israel, it looks beyond Israel to the rest of mankind (Ps. 36:6, 7); Israel’s calling was to live in their land in a way that displayed the true image of God, with a view toward bringing its blessing to the whole world.
8. 1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Read More
Christians must confess (their) sins, initially to receive salvation and then to maintain fellowship with God and with one another (1 John 1:3). faithful and just to forgive. God is “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression” (Num. 14:18). Yet John also makes it clear (1 John 3:6, 9) that persistent unrepented sin is not the mark of a Christian—God “will by no means clear the guilty” (Num. 14:18).
9. Micah 7:18–20
You will show faithfulness to Jacob
and steadfast love to Abraham,
as you have sworn to our fathers
from the days of old. Read More
Who is a God like you . . . ? The question underscores the peerless nature of the God who defends and pardons his people (Ex. 15:11; Deut. 3:24; Ps. 35:10; 89:5–8; cf. Mic. 7:10). because he delights in steadfast love. This provides the basis for why God forgives and relents of his anger. The divine and prophetic confrontation as a result of Israel’s sin (Mic. 1:5; 3:8) yields to the feeding (Mic. 7:14) and forgiving of his inheritance (Jer. 50:17–20).
cast . . . into the depths. As God cast Pharaoh’s armies into the sea (Ex. 15:4), so he will deal decisively with the sins of his people (cf. Jer. 31:34).
faithfulness . . . steadfast love . . . you have sworn. The book rightly concludes by summarizing the foundational attributes and actions of the covenant-keeping Lord (Ex. 34:6–7; Deut. 4:31; 7:12). the days of old. God’s character (his steadfast love) moves him to keep his word (his faithfulness), and thus the old promises to our fathers (Abraham and Jacob) still stand.
10. Revelation 1:4–5
John to the seven churches that are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood. Read More
Epistolary Opening. This greeting identifies author and recipients, then pronounces blessing upon the recipients. the seven churches that are in Asia. Since churches existed in other cities of Roman Asia (e.g., Colossae, Troas), Christ’s selection of “seven,” symbolizing completeness, implies that he addresses the whole church through them. him who is and who was and who is to come. God is eternal, and in Christ he will come at the end of history to judge and save. the seven spirits. Revelation presents the Holy Spirit as one person (Rev. 3:6, 13; cf. Eph. 4:4), but he also appears as “seven spirits” (cf. Rev. 3:1; 4:5; etc.), representing perfection, and as “seven torches of fire” (Rev. 4:5) and “seven eyes” (Rev. 5:6) to express his omnipresence and omniscience. from him who is . . . from the seven spirits . . . and from Jesus Christ. John’s greeting comes “from” all three persons of the Trinity. the faithful witness. Witness (cf. “testimony,” Rev. 1:2) is central to the church’s calling amid suffering. As Jesus was the faithful witness even to death (1 Tim. 6:13), so must his followers be (Rev. 2:13; 12:11; 20:4). Christians are called to be faithful witnesses, but Jesus is “the” faithful witness par excellence. John comforts his persecuted readers with the truth that Jesus has triumphed over death (the firstborn of the dead) and that he is sovereign over all earthly powers, even Caesar, since he is the ruler of kings on earth (cf. Rev. 19:16). made us a kingdom, priests. Israel’s roles now belong to those of all nations who are freed from sins by Jesus’ blood (Rev. 5:10; Ex. 19:6). From the outset, Jesus’ death is central to the message of Revelation.
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