B i b l e   S t u d y




Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained 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 page two: More Bible Study Outlines.



December 24, 2017


SCRIPTURE: Matthew 2:1-12


KEY VERSE: And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)




·        Everyone knows of the wise men that are connected with the birth of Jesus.


Most manger scenes at Christmas time have the wise men positioned somewhere near the manger. Traditionally they are kneeling beside the manger worshipping the Baby Jesus. If in reality they were there the night of the birth they had “jet-powered camels”. They came from afar off.


·        But they did not arrive until sometime later (perhaps as long as two years later).


Many scholars believe that it was two years before they arrived in Bethlehem. Matthew 2:16 suggests this time frame. In Matthew 2:11 we do find that the Baby Jesus was in a house and not a manger. The announcement that Jesus Christ was born brought interest from all over the world. The same is true today. There is more interest in and about the birth of Christ than any other person.


·        The Bible study for today is not “when did the wise men arrive,” but rather “why they sought Him.”


According to our scripture, they came to worship the Savior (Matthew 2:2 & 11).




A. The Wise Men Visited When Jesus Was Born. (Matthew 2:1)


(Matthew 2:1) Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem.


This is the historical record of the coming of the wise men. Notice that they came in the days of Herod the king. His title was the “King of the Jews,” and one thing that Herod did not want was competition. In fact, the one thing that Herod would not tolerate was competition. So the wise men coming to Jerusalem really alerted him.


What does the Bible say about the number of wise men? “Behold, there came three wise men from the east to Jerusalem.” You say, “NO, you’ve inserted the number three!” Well, isn’t that what we have been taught by our Christmas cards? I think a great many people know more about the Christmas story from Christmas cards than from the Bible, and therefore they have many inaccurate impressions. We will attempt to correct several of them in our Bible study today.


Notice that the record DOES NOT tell us there were three wise men. I don’t know how many there were, but I doubt whether three wise men would have disturbed Herod or have excited Jerusalem. I do believe that three hundred men would have done so. These wise men who came from the East evidently came from different areas. They had been studying the stars, and when this new star appeared, they joined forces and came to Jerusalem.


INSIGHT: I don’t know how many there were, but I’m almost sure it wasn’t three, and I believe three hundred would be more nearly true. But, please, don’t say that I said there were three hundred! But the wise men did come, and I don’t know how many came.


B. The Wise Men Came To Worship Jesus. (Matthew 2:2)


(Matthew 2:2) Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.


They were looking for the “King of the Jews,” and that was the thing which disturbed Herod because that was his title. “We have seen his star in the east.” In poetry that is called the eastern star, and, actually, there is an organization by that name. But if the wise men had seen His star in the east and it had been an eastern star, the wise men would have ended up in India or China. The star was in the west! The wise men were IN THE EAST. (The star was in the west, and they followed it; they came west, not east.)


INSIGHT: My question is this: How in the world did they associate a star with a king, and how did they identify it with Israel? All I know is that in that section of the East, the people had a prophecy given by Balaam, which is recorded in Numbers 24:17. (Remember that old Balaam gave this prophecy concerning the nation Israel.) “I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.”


Notice that the prophecy says a Star shall come out of Jacob -- that is, the nation of Israel. And a scepter shall rise out of Israel. The star and the scepter go together. That is the only place I know where they are put together in prophecy in the Old Testament. The wise men in the East had that prophecy, and so they came out of the mysterious East seeking a king. This did disturb the city of Jerusalem and old king Herod.




A. Herod Was Not Happy To Hear About The Birth of Jesus. (Matthew 2:3)


(Matthew 2:3) When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.


When there converged on the city of Jerusalem a very impressive delegation of wise men, asking a question about the baby born the king of the Jews, the whole city was disturbed.


Because Herod was the “king of the Jews,” and he wanted to know about this baby. This man was Herod the Great, a very superstitious man, and his family was a bunch of scoundrels. Herod the Great was the biggest scoundrel of them all. He was an Edomite who had bought his position from the Roman government; he was not of Israel at all. And he was really anxious to locate this One who appeared to be a rival for his throne.


B. Herod Got His Information From The Scribes. (Matthew 2:4)


(Matthew 2:4) And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.


He didn’t ask; he demanded. He said, “I know that you have the Scriptures and in them you have a record of a Messiah that is coming. I want to know where He is to be born.” One of the amazing things is that they were able to tell him.


C. Herod Was Told Where the Messiah Would Be Born. (Matthew 2:5-6)


(Matthew 2:5-6) And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.


When Herod asked the scribes this question, they didn’t have to search the Scriptures for it; they knew where it was -- Micah 5:2. As a matter of fact, they didn’t need even to turn to it, because they had it in their minds. They could quote it: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).


They knew all about the coming of the Messiah. The problem was that their knowledge was academic rather than vital. It was not personally meaningful to them. They are examples of people who know the history contained in the Bible and they know certain factual truths, but these things carry no personal meaning for them. Since the scribes knew the Old Testament Scriptures so well, you would have thought that they would have gone to the wise men and said, “How about letting us ride down with you? We are looking for the Messiah, too!”


D. Herod Wanted Information From The Wise Men Also. (Matthew 2:7)`


(Matthew 2:7) Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.


I am going to make a statement now and will try to prove it later: The star had appeared in the night sky sometime before the wise men appeared in Jerusalem. Remember that they made the trip by camel -- not by jet plane. It is a long, hard trip by camel! I am of the opinion that they didn’t arrive in Jerusalem until at least a year after the appearance of the star.


This wasn’t just a little Christmas celebration for them. As they traveled the long, weary miles, they had been hanging on to the hope of seeing the Messiah and presenting their gifts to Him. Notice that Herod “inquired diligently” the time of the star’s appearance in the sky. Keep that in mind. It will be an important fact later in the story.


E. Herod Sends The Wise Men On To Bethlehem. (Matthew 2:8)


(Matthew 2:8) And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.


Herod is being as subtle as an old serpent, and that’s exactly what Herod was. Suppose he had said, “If there’s a king born around here, I’m going to get rid of him,” and then had sent soldiers down to Bethlehem. I can assure you that he would never have found the Child because He would have been hidden. He knew that the clever way and the best way was to let the wise men go down and find the child and then come back and tell him. He said he wanted to go down and worship Him, but of course what he really wanted to do was to kill Him.




A. The Star Appears Again. (Matthew 2:9-10)


(Matthew 2:9-10) When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.


Now the star appears again. I think they must have traveled a long time without seeing the star. That ought to answer the nonsense one hears today about there being a confluence of certain stars that happened at one particular time.


Matthew makes it clear that this star was a very unusual star; in fact, it was a supernatural star. It was miraculous, and we needn’t try to find an explanation for it. Now, it may be, as many astronomers think, that there was quite a movement in the heavens at that time. When He came, heaven and earth both responded to His coming into this world. I think such things did take place, but the wise men saw a supernatural star.


B. The Wise Men See Jesus. (Matthew 2:11)


(Matthew 2:11) And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.


When they arrived, Jesus was not in the stable behind an inn. The great movement of people in the city of Bethlehem had now all ceased. They had gone back to their homes because the enrollment was over. But this little Baby was newly born, and they couldn’t move Him for a while. Probably such a trip for the Little One would have jeopardized His life. So they had stayed in Bethlehem, and the wise men found them in a house. Again, the Christmas cards show the wise men coming into the stable. Well, unless Joseph pointed out that stable to them, they never even knew where it was. They came to the house.


Please note that when they saw the young child with Mary His mother, they fell down and worshiped HIM. If ever there was a time when Mary should have been worshiped, this was it. But they didn’t worship her -- they were wise men! They worshiped Jesus the Messiah and presented to Him their treasures: (1) gold, (2) frank-incense, and (3) myrrh.


INSIGHT: It is very interesting to study the facts concerning His Second Coming as they are related to us in Isaiah 60:6: “The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah, all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord.” What gift is left out at His second coming? Myrrh! They do not bring myrrh because that speaks of His death.


When Jesus Christ comes the second time, nothing will speak of His death. Gold speaks of His birth. He is born a King. Frankincense speaks of the fragrance of His life. Myrrh speaks of His death. All of this is indicated in the gifts that were brought to Him at His first coming. But at His Second Coming, myrrh will not be brought to Him. The next time Jesus comes, He won’t come to die upon a cross for the sins of the world. He will come as King of kings and Lord of lords.


C. The Lord Sent Them Home Another Way. (Matthew 2:12)


(Matthew 2:12) And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.


The wise men had assumed that Herod was sincere and wanted to come down and worship Him. However, he would have killed the Child had not an angel of the Lord warned the wise men to go back to their own country by a different route. They may have continued south down to Hebron, then crossed over south of the Dead Sea, and thus they would be out of the range of Herod altogether.


A Special Birth
By Dave Branon


Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14


In the pages of Scripture, several baby-boy births stand out. Cain, the firstborn after creation. Isaac, the hope of Israel’s future. Samuel, the answer to a mother’s fervent prayer. All extremely important. All joyously expected. And all described exactly the same by the chroniclers of Scripture: In each case, we are told that the mother conceived and bore a son (Genesis 4:1; 21:2-3; 1 Samuel 1:20).


Now consider one more baby boy’s birth. The description of this arrival was much more greatly detailed: a few words were clearly not enough to tell of Jesus’ birth. In Micah, we were told where He would be born -- Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). In Isaiah, that His mother would be a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), and that He was coming to save people from their sin (Isaiah.53).


In the New Testament, we were given such key information as what His name would be and why (Matthew 1:21), where He was born in fulfillment of prophecy (Matthew 2:6), and how both His birth mother and His adoptive father were part of God’s plan (Matthew 1:16).


Jesus’ birth stands above all births. His coming changed the world and can change our lives. Let’s celebrate Him! -- Adapted from Dave Branon, Our Daily Bread, December 14, 2014


CONCLUSION: Do you know Christ today? Have you met Him personally? Has He changed your life? Why not come today and allow us to introduce you to the Savior?


Christian, are you worshiping Christ as you should? Does He have His rightful place in your life? Do you offer to Him that which is worthy of the King of Kings? Why not come today?


THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Christ is the greatest gift known to man.”


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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, 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, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook ( www.sermonnotebook.org ), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.



E-Mail: Ronald Purkey


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