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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, a Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.

However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.

To see more Bible study outlines go to: More Bible Study Outlines.





Rev. Ronald Purkey will be out of the office from Sunday, May 17th until Thursday, May 28th. You will find TWO BIBLE STUDIES on this page today: (1) “The Gift Of Languages” for May 24, 2015 and (2) “The Greatest Gift Is Love” for May 31, 2015. All other Bible studies are found on “The Archives Page” (CLICK: More Bible Study Outlines).



May 24, 2015


SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:1-13; 1 Corinthians 14:13-20


KEY VERSE: 15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. (1 Corinthians 14:15)


INTRODUCTION: Jesus' followers are all together in one room. Suddenly, a mighty wind fills the room, visions of fire dance over the people's heads, and all the believers are filled with the Holy Spirit. As a sign, they begin to speak in different languages, languages so diverse that people from all the surrounding nations recognize their own languages among the mix. Acts 2:11 says that the believers were declaring the wonders of God in many languages.


A woman wrote in to Reader's Digest to tell about her six-year-old son who was dazzled the first time he heard the Welsh language being spoken.


“Mom,” he said, “it sounds like they're scribbling with their tongues.”* That's the way it might have sounded on the first Pentecost -- that the disciples were scribbling with their tongues.  But there were people in the crowd who heard and understood and were converted.




A. The power of Pentecost.


1. Pentecost means fiftieth.


2. The feast of Pentecost took place fifty days after the feast of first fruits.


3. This was a Jewish celebration which is outlined for us in Leviticus 23:15-22.


4. The timing is significant here – Jesus Christ had told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem. (See Luke 24:49).


5. Now -- when Jerusalem was crowded with multitudes of Jews who had come for the celebration of Pentecost the “promise of the Father” was to come.


B. The filling of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:1-4)


·        (Acts 2:1-4) And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.


1. Luke tries to describe for us what took place; but as is often the case he was limited by his vocabulary and experience.


2. A sound came from heave -- like a mighty wind.


3. This sound filled the house where they had been assembled.


4. There appeared "cloven tongues" like as of fire.


5. It sat upon each of them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost.


6. The Holy Spirit enabled them to speak with other (Heteros) or different languages.


C. The reaction of the multitude. (Acts 2:5-13)


·        (Acts 2:5-13) And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? 13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.


1. Sometime between verse 4 and 5, the disciples left the house and went to the temple.


2. The reaction of the multitude of Jews was varied.


a. They were confounded. (See Acts 2:6)


b. They were amazed. (See Acts 2:7)


c. They were doubtful. (See Acts 2:12)


II. EXERCISING THE GIFT OF LANGUAGES. (1 Corinthians 14:13-19)


·        (1 Corinthians 14:13-19) 13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? 17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. 18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: 19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.


A. Primary passages in two books (Acts and 1 Corinthians) describe the “gift of tongues.”


One resulted in thousands being saved, the other in confusion and problems in the church. In Acts 2 the apostles and about 120 other disciples were gathered in a room near the temple when the Holy Spirit filled these believers and they began to praise God in other languages.


Note: People had gathered from 15 different provinces, yet each person heard the words of praise to God spoken in his or her own dialect.


1. In Acts 10, Cornelius -- the first Gentile convert -- had a similar experience but without all of the supernatural manifestations.


Several years later in the city of Ephesus the Apostle Paul met 12 believers in Christ who had been led to the Lord by a follower of John the Baptist.  They had an incomplete understanding of the Gospel, so Paul instructed them, baptized them and placed his hands upon them. The Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke with languages and prophesied (Acts 19:6).


2. Each of these instances involved individuals speaking in a known language they had not learned.


Their speaking was understood by those who heard them. No evidence is found that anyone sought or prayed for the gift of speaking in other languages. Every occurrence was the spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit. The fact that this phenomenon was not mentioned in all of the other great experiences recorded in Acts shows its lack of importance as an ongoing ministry.


B. The emphasis in Acts is not on the gift of tongues, but the filling of the Holy Spirit in believers.


1. That filling revealed the continuous control that the Holy Spirit exercised over the disciples so they could witness in great power (Acts 1:8).


In the 22 books of the New Testament that follow Acts, only 1 Corinthians mentions tongues. These 22 books contain 143 chapters, yet only three chapters make any reference to this gift, and only one chapter treats the subject in detail. Whatever we may learn from this, it certainly means that speaking in tongues was not a major factor (1) in the spread of the Gospel or (2) in the practice of the apostolic church.


2. Additionally, when Paul listed the spiritual gifts in Romans 12 and Ephesians 4, he did not mention speaking in tongues.


Believing that the Holy Spirit has inspired every word of the Bible as the Holy Spirit spoke through the writers, we must conclude that (1) the gift of tongues was either not a matter of importance, or (2) that it was not practiced by the Christians in Rome, Ephesus and elsewhere.


C. In the three chapters in 1 Corinthians several things emerge regarding gifts that need to be noted.


1. No one is left out; everyone is given a spiritual gift or gifts.


They are not rewards for spiritual maturity and achievement. 1 Corinthians 12 clearly teaches that the gifts are divinely distributed and work for the good of the entire body of believers. They are designed to prepare a people to function as a witnessing community.


2. Another thing is abundantly clear in this passage.


The abuse of tongues was a problem in the church in Corinth. Care was given to regulate and restrict the use of tongues (i.e., languages) in the church and not to encourage their use. Clearly it teaches that no believer has all of the gifts and none of them are equated with the infilling of the Holy Spirit.


Paul used a distinctive negative participle in all of the questions asked in 1 Corinthians 12:29-30 which indicates that the answer to each one was “no.” (1) None of these gifts is bestowed upon all, (2) nor are all bestowed upon any one individual.


The great apostle concludes in 1 Corinthians 12:31 that the Corinthian believers should “desire the greater gifts. And I will show you an even better way.” The Apostle Paul showed that the better way is love, according to 1 Corinthians 13.


D. In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul provides restrictions for the use of the gift of tongues and in-depth instruction on how to correct abuses found in the church.


1. The key is found in the last verse of this chapter when we read, “But everything must be done decently and in order.”


Paul noted something positive about the gift of tongues, but each time he did so he followed the positive with a qualifying statement. For instance, he wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:4 that tongues edifies only the person speaking, but follows that with the better alternative. It is best, he wrote, to do what builds the body of believers.


In 1 Corinthians 14:5 he expressed a desire that all of the Corinthian believers should speak with other “languages”, but he desired even more for them to prophesy. That is, he wanted them to expound the Word of God in a language that was understandable. Paul saw this act of proclaiming the Gospel as being far superior to speaking in other languages.


Note: Though Paul spoke in languages more than those in Corinth, he wrote that he would rather speak five words with understanding than 10,000 in another language (1 Corinthians 14:18-19).


2. Careful restrictions were given on the exercise of the gift of tongues in these chapters.


Here are just a few. (1) The gift of tongues should not be exercised in the presence of unbelievers (1 Corinthians 14:23). (2) Only one person at a time is to speak and not more than three in one service and an interpreter must always be present (1 Corinthians 14:27). (3) This must not cause confusion among believers (1 Corinthians 14:33). (4) Women are not to speak in tongues at any time in the church (1 Corinthians 14:34-35).


Note: This (not having women speak in tongues at any time in the church) was probably because it would be too similar to the temple prostitutes’ ecstatic frenzies as they practiced their pagan, immoral rituals. In no way does this mean that women cannot teach or speak in church. That issue was settled in 1 Corinthians 11:3-10 when Paul gave instructions to the women as to how they were to dress when they prayed or prophesied in the church.


E. One thing is clear: pre-occupation with tongues-speaking is childish (1 Corinthians 14:20).


·        (1 Corinthians 14:20) 20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.


1. Speaking in tongues was a problem with the immature and carnal Christians in the Corinthian church.


These chapters were not given to recruit people to speak in tongues. These chapters were given to correct, control and restrict the use of the gift of tongues.


2. All spiritual gifts are divinely bestowed by our sovereign God.


He can give the gifts as He pleases and to whom He pleases. No one can “develop” a gift or be “taught” how to exercise a gift. This gift must not be a test of fellowship, but it must be restricted and regulated by Scripture under the authority of the ministers of the church.


We must remember that nowhere in Scripture is anyone commanded to speak in tongues. Gifts are sovereignly bestowed individually by God. The church must be a ministering church expressing love as the greatest gift, “the even better way.”


CONCLUSION: The Christian’s spiritual gifts are all about the Lord Jesus Christ, and always will be all about Jesus Christ, for building up the “Body of Christ” (i.e. the church). Christians are to use spiritual gifts in the way Christ directs us because He is the head of the Body of Christ, and the Body does what the head tells it to do. Titles, jobs, duties, are not as significant as using Christian gifts to be the Body of Christ (the church at work) in the world.


THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “God’s gifts to us are not for us but for others.”


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May 31, 2015


SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13


KEY VERSE: And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (1 Corinthians 13:13)




A. The local church in Corinth was in serious trouble.


Sad to say, the problems did not stay within the church family; they were known by the unbelievers outside the church.


B. To begin with, the church at Corinth was a defiled church.


(1) Some of its members were guilty of sexual immorality; (2) others got drunk; (3) still others were using the grace of God to excuse worldly living. (4) It was also a divided church, with at least four different groups competing for leadership (1 Corinthians 1:12). (5) This meant it was a disgraced church. Instead of glorifying God, it was hindering the progress of the Gospel.


C. In every chapter of this epistle we find the apostle Paul correcting the church either in doctrine or practice.


In chapter twelve Paul corrected their misunderstanding of spiritual gifts. In the final verse of chapter 12 he tells them that he will show them "a more excellent way".


D. The more 'excellent way' is the way of charity (or love).


The Greek word Paul uses here is “agape” which speaks of unselfish and unconditional love for others. Chapter thirteen has become known as the “great love chapter” of the Bible. Our text for the message today is found in verse thirteen.


·        (1 Corinthians 13:13) And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.


E. In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul gives us what I believe are three virtues that sum up what it is to be a Christian. Let's take a closer look at them today.


I. THE ABSOLUTE NECCESSITY OF LOVE. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)


·        (1 Corinthians 13:1) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.


A. I am sure the tongues of angels mean eloquence.


I have never heard an angel speak, but I think Paul had heard them.


B. The most marvelous eloquence without love is nothing in the world but a noisy bell.


Dr. Scroggie says it like this: “Language without love is noise without melody.”


·        (1 Corinthians 13:2) And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.


C. The first verse was speaking of charity (or love) as it comes from the heart.


This is from the mind, love as an act of the intellect. Knowledge alone is not sufficient. Love must be added to that knowledge.


D. Understanding alone is not enough.


Love must be added to that understanding.


Note: I feel this is the sad thing in some Bible-believing churches in 2015. These churches have a knowledge of the Bible and an understanding of the truths of the Bible but a lack of love.


How terrible to find churches filled with gossip, bitterness, and hatred! Along with knowledge there must be love.


·        (1 Corinthians 13:3) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.


E. This charity (or love) is an act of the will.


Love involves (1) the heart (vs. 1), (2) the mind (vs. 2), and (3) the will (vs. 3). (4) Love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.


Although we are to covet earnestly the best gifts, they are to be exercised in love -- and only the Holy Spirit of God can do that.


Illustration: Look at it this way: Write down a string of zeros – (1) eloquence alone is zero, (2) prophecy alone is zero, (3) knowledge alone is zero, (4) faith alone is zero, (5) sacrifice alone is zero, (6) martyrdom alone is zero. Six zeros still add up to nothing!


But you put the numeral 1 to the left of that string of zeros, and every zero amounts to something. And LOVE is the thing that needs to be added to every gift of the Holy Spirit.


Without charity (or love) our gifts are worthless!


II. THE ETERNAL NATURE OF LOVE. (1 Corinthians 13:13)


·        (1 Corinthians 13:4-13) Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.


Note: Notice the THREE VIRTUES that sum up what it is to be a Christian. They are FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE.


A. The Importance of Faith. (Hebrews 11:1)


·        (Hebrews 11:1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."


1. Faith is indispensable to us.


(1) The Bible declares that without faith it is impossible to please God.


(2) We are saved by grace through faith.


(3) We are instructed to live by faith and to walk in faith.


(4) In other words…we cannot be a Christian without faith!


2. Faith is not just believing.


(1) Faith involves believing and acting upon that belief.


(2) In chapter eleven of Hebrews we have one account after another of people who expressed their faith in God by obedience to His Word.


3. Faith is taking God at His Word …believing what God said is true.


(1) What God said about salvation.


·        (Romans 10:9-10) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.


(2) What God said about eternal security.


·        (John 10:28) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.


(3) What God said about heaven.


·        (John 14:1-3) Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.


 (4) What God said about hell.


·        (Luke 12:5) But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.


How Do You Get Faith?


Dwight L. Moody said this about Faith:   "I prayed for faith and thought it would strike me like lightning.  But faith did not come. One day I read, 'So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.' I had closed my Bible and prayed for faith. I now began to study my Bible and faith has been growing ever since."


Faith is NOT like gasoline that runs out as you use it, but is like a muscle which GROWS STRONGER as you exercise it. – Anonymous


B. The Importance of Hope. (Romans 15:13)


·        (Romans 15:13) Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.


1. Hope is confident expectation.


(1) The Biblical concept of hope is much different than the way many of us uses the word today


(2) We might talk about hoping it might not rain…but we realize that it probably will.


(3) We are certainly not confident that it won't.


2. The difference between faith and hope.


(1) Faith believes that God can do it.


(2) Hope believes that God will do it.


Note: It is one thing for us to have faith that God can meet our every need. It is another to believe that He will!


3. What should we be hoping for?


(1) We should be hoping for Jesus to return soon.


·        (1 John 3:2-3) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.


 (2) We should be hoping that our prayers are answered.


(Philippians 4:19) But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.


(3) We should be hoping for results from our witness.


(2 Peter 3:9b) The Lord is … not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.


(4) Without hope there is despair.


The “Hope” of D. L. Moody


Near the end of his life, while preaching an evangelistic meeting in Kansas City, Dwight L. Moody became ill. He canceled his engagements, and returned home to Northfield, Massachusetts. Moody lugged himself up to his bedroom to dress for dinner, but felt so exhausted that he took to bed. He declined quickly, and it became clear he was dying of “fatty degeneration of the heart.”


On December 22 he suddenly opened his eyes and spoke clearly: “Earth recedes! Heaven opens before me.” His son, sitting near him, suggested he was dreaming. “This is no dream, Will,” Moody replied. “It is beautiful! It is like a trance! If this is death, it is sweet! God is calling me, and I must go!”


The family gathered around. “This is my triumph!” said Moody. “This is my coronation day! I have been looking forward to it for years.” Moody’s face suddenly lit up. “Dwight! Irene! I see the children’s faces!” (Dwight and Irene were his recently deceased grandchildren.) Moody closed his eyes and appeared unconscious. Then he spoke again. “No pain! No valley! If this is death, it’s not bad at all! It’s sweet!” And finally Moody slipped on to heaven. -- From the writings of C. I. Scofield who preached Moody’s funeral.


Note: R.A. Torrey, one of Moody’s closest friends, writes his conclusions in his famous book “Why God Used D.L. Moody”: (1) He was fully surrendered, (2) He was a man of prayer, (3) He was a student of the Word of God, (4) He was a humble man, (5) He had a freedom from the love of money, (6) He had a consuming passion for the lost, (7) He had a definite enduement with power from on high.


C. The Importance of charity (or love). (1 Corinthians 13:13)


·        (1 Corinthians 13:13) And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.


1. The object of our faith will be FULFILLED.


All our hopes will be realized. There will be nothing left to hope for; so hope will disappear. There will be no need for faith.


However, love is going to abide. The greatest of these is love. Faith, hope, and love are the high words of the Christian vocabulary.


2. In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul is NOT describing an abstract term -- love.


Paul is writing a biography of Jesus Christ.


Of Jesus it was written, “… having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (John 13:1). The love of Jesus is an eternal love.




CONCLUSION: We need Charity (or love).


A. Jesus referred to LOVE as the GREATEST COMMANDMENT of all. (Matthew 22:36-40)


·        (Matthew 22:36-40) Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.


B. Why is love greater than faith and hope?


1. LOVE is the only one that will last forever.


2. FAITH will NOT last (remember it is the evidence of things unseen), but when we get to heaven our faith will be turned to sight.


3. HOPE is confident expectation, but when we are with the Lord all our hopes will be realized.


4. The only one that will continue on is LOVE…we will love the Lord throughout all eternity, and He will keep on loving us!


C. We should love…


1. The Lord.


2. The Brethren (other Christian believers).


3. Those who are lost. (We should SEEK the lost and try to get them SAVED!)


4. Only then will we communicate successfully God's love to this lost and dying world.


·        (John 13:35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.


·        (1 John 3:14) We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.


THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.”


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REFERENCES: References used in the Bible study are the King James Bible (KJV), Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.




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